Saturday, February 28, 2009

a popular and yummy snack

recently i found an easy snack recipe to make in the crock pot, and even better, Dave loves it! M has mentioned before that he is very hard to culinarily impress, and that is certainly true! if it doesn't involve a large piece of red meat (preferably steak) and mountain dew, he can be pretty indifferent.

so when i found this recipe, i thought it was something i would try, and I've been pleased with the results. to be honest, it can be a bit on the pricey side, but Dave likes to remind me that i shouldn't muzzle the ox that treads the grain. yes, dear.

the cast of characters: 2 bags mini marshmallows, 2 bags chocolate chips, and one bag walnuts. and, of course, your crock pot. i use my 6 quart one, and that works well.

turn the crock pot on high, and dump in both bags of chips. let them in there to get soft and melted, about half an hour. set your timer for 30 minutes so you don't forget. then come back and stir them up, and dump in the marshmallows and walnuts.

i take the crock out of the heating element at this point, otherwise the marshmallows start to melt too much. stir it around until everything is nice and evenly coated.

then drop by the spoonful onto waxed paper. let harden, then store in the freezer, or an airtight container. but don't worry, they probably won't last long enough to go stale! my gang would eat them in no time flat. i have to hide them, or there won't be any left at all for Dave's lunch!

if you want more cool recipes to try in your crock pot, you can find heaps and hoards of them here, which of course, is where i found this recipe.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

late winter creativity- a relaxing pastime

I've been working at finishing a few quilts that i had started, hoping to get them done before i needed to break away from my "winter rest" and concentrate fully on gardening and other outside chores.

Dave and i both have ordered our seeds, and last week Dave brought home a mini indoor greenhouse. we are both eager to start our seedlings, and it's getting harder and harder each day to wait! it's still too early to start most of our plants, as living in zone 5 we can expect frost until late may. but we will be having some hoop houses in the garden, and we hope to put out tomatoes, lettuce and radishes as soon as early April.

in the meantime, I'm done with the split 9 patch quilts. i made one twin size (approximately) and two wall hangings. the twin quilt, and one wall hanging are to sell at the library auction, and the other wall hanging i will keep for myself. that one is not done yet, because i didn't have enough batting, but it wont' take long at all to get it done.

I've been drawn to these colors- the teals, royal blues and purples, for several years, so was really glad to have the chance to create these quilts. it was a simple pattern, and really allowed the colors to be the focus, not the pattern.

here's a detail of the quilting that i did. i used metallic silver thread, and did a stippling pattern. instead of the regular meandering, i did a stippling in squares and rectangles. i thought that would go nicely with the linear design of the blocks. i 'm pleased with how these quilts turned out, and since i still have a wall hanging to keep for myself, i won't be too sad to see them go.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

like i said, country living is not for the fainthearted!

yesterday there was excitement in the house- we got 7 eggs for the first time! we've been consistently getting 5 or 6 eggs every day, but since we have 7 laying hens, it was a momentous milestone to actually gather 7 eggs from the nest. A was all excited when she brought them in to me.

here they are, all lined up. the first one on the left it a little small, and it looks as if it might be the first pullet egg that the hen laid. owwie! (imagine having a baby every. single. day. those poor, poor hens!)

unfortunately, as with so many milestones and momentous occasions in our lives, we didn't realize that yesterday would be the first and last time that we got 7 eggs.

this afternoon when G went outside, it was to this shocking sight:

a chicken hawk! eating my chicken! G was able to get quite close, as you can see. the hawk would have flown off with its prize, but the hen was too heavy. the rest of the flock is either hiding down in the woods, or quaking in fear and shock under the back porch! kind of gives you new respect for Foghorn Leghorn.

Monday, February 23, 2009

he's mr. neat, and i'm mrs. tidy

we are so all about being neat and tidy around here. no, that wasn't sarcasm, why do you ask? that we are slowly finishing stuff around here, I'm trying to teach (or re-teach) the kids to pick up after themselves, and put something away when they are done with it. and while I'm at it, that would be a good lesson for Dave to learn, too! she said fondly.

we do have these handy storage baskets in the mud room, and they are perfect for all those hats, gloves, mittens and lightweight coats. every one has their own basket, and even A and B know to put their stuff away when they come inside.

but wait! what is that furry hat i see in the bottom basket?

it's not a hat! it's the cat! we store her in the basket. cuts down on the cat hair all over. because remember, we are all about neat and tidy around here!

Friday, February 20, 2009

we've all been there...

whether you ARE a mom, or just simply HAVE a mom, i think that we'll all be able to relate! this is for you:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

once and done.

i am daily reminded of what a privilege and blessing it is to be a full time wife, mother and homemaker. although the financial sacrifices that come with only one income are often a concern, we are commited to this old-fashioned lifestyle.

i truly love being at home, and strive every day to be more organized and efficient, running the household and the myriad of details that go with it to the best of my ability. i feel God's pleasure when i do it well.

but to be totally honest, sometimes it's hard not to get discouraged and/or frustrated. almost everything i do is something that i will need to do again tomorrow. now, I'm not complaining, just saying is all. no matter how much (or how well) i cook, clean, do laundry, feed animals, change diapers... it all starts again tomorrow. or sooner.

that's why i love knitting so much. a friend taught me how almost 18 years ago, and I've been hooked ever since. i can knit and purl to my heart's content, and (as long as i guard my knitting needles from curious little hands) what I've knit and purled will stay knit and purled. it's very satisfying, relaxing and therapeutic.

but these days i don't have much time to knit anything too complicated. so a few weeks ago, on one of my infrequent forays into town, i bought this rather large cone of variegated yellow cotton yarn. i could feel my fingers itching to start knitting something, and what a perfect opportunity to make some new dishcloths for our new kitchen!

the pattern is an old classic and quite simple:

CO 3 stitches
K 1 row
*K 1, YO, knit to end of row*
repeat from * to * until 50 stitches on needle
*K 2 tog, YO, K 2 tog, knit to end of row*
repeat from * to * until 5 stitches on needle
K 2 tog, YO, K 2 tog
K 3
bind off

I've been knitting a bit every day, and now have 5 dishcloths to show for it. the first 4 on the left, i only knitted up to 42 stitches. the bigger cloth on the right was knitted until i reached 50 stitches on the needle. i think i like the bigger size better. I'm planning on saving the new dishcloths until we get our new counter top installed. i still don't have a sink in the kitchen, so I'll have two things to celebrate when that finally gets done- water in the kitchen, and new dishcloths!

what an exciting (but blessed) life i lead!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

country living- not for the faint-hearted!

most of us have been thoroughly enjoying our transition to the country. i find it very satisfying to teach my children the practical things of life, and strive for a level of self-sufficiency and provision that is uncommon in today's world. while we'll never be totally self-sufficient, and don't anticipate even trying to meet that goal, there is a great feeling of satisfaction knowing that we are heading towards (and might i dare to say living?) a lifestyle of simple Christian agrarianism.

so, all those lofty and idealistic thoughts aside, there is the practical and down to earth reality of living in the country. it's not all gentle streams babbling on their way to the river, beautiful scenery and idyllic wildlife glimpsed at dawn.

here's some of the reality that is our life:

*tractor ruts in the front yard
*mud as far as the eye can see
*chicken poop on the front walk
*tractor ruts in the back yard
*don't even think about mulching the flower beds! the chickens like the mulch for a dust bath
*chicken poop on the side walk
*5 gallon buckets strewn about seemingly everywhere
*what little bit of mulch the chickens don't scratch up, the pigs will root up
*tractor ruts in the side yard
*did i mention the mud?

it's a good thing we have a *mud* room! the mud around here last week was unbelievable! here's a picture of the doormats in the mud room. shoes everywhere. we don't even have this many people in our family!

and that's all i have to say about that!

Monday, February 16, 2009

ham and sausage- coming right up!

last week we catapulted the new pig pen to the top of the priority list, as we've had continuing incidents of the pigs getting out. when we first got them last fall, i had grand plans of fencing them in down in the field with and electric fence. that way, i figured, they could till up my new garden for me. however, pigs are escape artists very smart, and unless the charge on the electric fence is very strong, and extremely consistent when they are piglets, it becomes nearly impossible to contain them as they get older and bigger.

lesson learned for next time. (and yes, there will be a next time. and the plans are even grander!)

so now we are the proud creators and owners of possibly the first pig tractor. ever. and don't forget that you saw it here first!

Dave got a cull pile of lumber from work, some 16' 2x12's, and a few stock panels from tractor supply. while he had a general idea of where he wanted to end up with the design of the tractor, there were no specifics. however, there is an old saying about the perfect fence: horse high, pig tight and bull strong. there is a lot of wisdom in that, and we knew that the pig tractor would have to withstand being moved nearly every day with the tractor, as well as containing the 200+ pound pigs slamming and rooting around in there.

both girls were excited and eager to go outside and help daddy and G. they both love being outdoors.

G worked steadily, helping the 2 days that it took to build the pig tractor. we shingled the roof and two sides, while the back has another piece of stock panel. it's covered right now with a piece of plywood, due to the cold weather, but is designed to come off in the hotter weather. that way there will be air circulation to help keep the pigs cooler.

the whole pig tractor was built on the trailer, so when it was done, Dave just hooked up the trailer to the tractor, and we took it down to the field. it was fairly easy to get the pigs from their old (and muddy and gross) pen, into their new home. right away they started to root around. i was glad that they have better quarters now.

we gave them a treat of slops, and they dug right in, pushing and shoving to get the best pieces of garbage.

Dave taught me how to drive the tractor over the weekend, and this morning G, A and i went down to the field. i took along a bale of straw in the tractor bucket for the pigs bedding, and i moved the pig tractor to a new spot for them. they immediately start rooting and pawing around, and even thought the ground was still frozen so early in the morning, they seemed to be finding something to eat.

we're just a few weeks away from the pigs being ready to butcher,so i'm trying to fatten them up as much as i can.

because happy pigs make sweet pork!

Friday, February 13, 2009

it's Guest Friday- all the way from Louisiana! well, sort of.

recently G was able to go on a short-term mission trip to Louisiana with our church. the essay that he wrote about it is today's guest Friday post.

My trip down to Louisiana is an experience I am unlikely to forget. Not only because I had to spend 25 hours in a bus with Justin, but because I learned many new things, and had new light shed on some things I thought I already knew.

I went down to Louisiana with a group of 36 people, some from my church and some from other churches. We went as volunteers for the Mennonite Disaster Service, to help victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We split into two crews, one went to New Orleans, and the other, of which I was a part, went to Diamond. The crew in New Orleans did mostly finishing work, while the Diamond crew did basics such as plumbing, drywall, electrical work, and siding.

The bus ride down was fairly uneventful, though I was taught a rather addictive dice game, which I promptly began to lose at. We stopped several times to eat on the way down, and the weather got nicer with each stop. After eating breakfast on Sunday, we played Frisbee in the parking lot of Arby's, basking in the warm sun. Later that day we went to the beach, walking in the sand and out along the pier. We also got our first taste of the effects of the hurricane, driving past estates stripped of their stately mansions. In Louisiana, we drove through the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, which had been underwater for months. It was still a mess, with debris in the streets, foundations where houses used to stand, and almost no houses being fixed up. Then we dropped of the gear for the New Orleans crew, and headed out to dinner. After making several laps to make sure there weren’t any better restaurants, we settled on a Chinese buffet that boasted everything from duck heads to sushi to at least five different kinds of shrimp. Then we dropped of the New Orleans crew and headed off to the last frontier: Diamond, Louisiana.

We arrived around six o’clock, and after orientation, were able to catch the last quarter of the Super Bowl. Then we went to bed, getting some rest in preparation for our first day of work. We woke up around six, packed our lunch, and ate breakfast. The first step outside sent everyone scurrying for cover and bug spray. We fought our way through the clouds of gnats to pile in the vans for a short ride out to the bayou, where a boat relayed us to our work site. We started a fire to take care of the bugs, and our next task was to insulate the underside of a house, 15 feet off the ground. After one of our crew kindly checked the depth of a puddle for us, we set up the scaffolding, and got to work. The rest of the day was uneventful, save for a lunchtime sighting of dolphins in the canal. These sightings became a daily occurrence, and would quickly put a stop to any work as all hands ran for their cameras.

After quitting for the day, we returned to base camp, showered, and relaxed until dinner. After dinner a few of us watched live footage from hurricane Katrina. It was amazing to see the damage that was done. Buildings moved, debris piled up against the boats on the water, and huge ships floated onto the highway. While we were working, we could see the ships on the Mississippi, and could walk out to see them on the river from our camp. It’s incredible to think that the water could toss these giant hulks around as if they were toys.

The next day, we began to get our rhythm. I was assigned to work with two people from the group I rode down with, and one from another group of volunteers. They were all good humored, and we were always laughing or joking, even when we messed up. Which we did a lot. Tools would mysteriously fall off the scaffolding, and joists would move the moment before I shot the nail gun. It took off a lot of pressure to know that even if you messed up, no one really cares, because you could just fix it and keep going. After a long day of work, we would relax by playing ping-pong, volleyball, cards, and watching the Three Stooges.

The other group that was there at the same time as us was composed of New Order Amish and Mennonites. I learned that they were normal people too. They joked and laughed and played cards and had iPods and cell phones. It opened my eyes to the fact that just because someone looks different or talks different, doesn’t meant that they are aliens. I probably seemed the same to them. But by the end of the week, we were all friends, and sorry to have to say goodbye.

We had worked steadily on the “basement” of the house, and had nearly completed it. Though the work wasn’t physically demanding, it was extremely tedious. Each piece had to be cut and recut, as there were many posts and pipes to fit around. Some pieces had to be screwed onto the joists, and nailers had to be placed around the perimeter of the house. And then there was things that could only be blamed on the workers. You would cut out for the post, but when you held the plywood up, you found that a bolt had suddenly appeared. Or you would cut out for an exhaust pipe only to find that it had moved to the other side of the piece while you were cutting. You would then try to frantically fix your mistake before the boss showed up, or just hope that he was too distracted to notice. But in spite of all this, we managed to finish nearly all of the job, with no injuries to speak of.

However, all this work would not have been possible without the long term volunteers. They organized the crews, acquired the tools and building materials, and kept the short-termers fed and happy. The majority of the long-termers were Canadian, and their accents added a bit of a challenge to our daily routine. As for the food, it was always excellent. The cooks did a wonderful job, and if there were any complaints, it was only the fainthearted saying it was too spicy.

But the food wasn’t the best part. The best part was the camaraderie, the fellowship. We were all working together, making a difference, and having a good time while doing it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Afternoon chores

nearly every afternoon A will walk down to the lower field to feed the pigs with me, and then we make our "loop" of feeding the animals and tending to the fire. i enjoy this time with her, as well as the chance to be outside. both Dave and i would like both of the little girls to find pleasure and satisfaction in the daily routine of country life, and in a job well done.

we have a nice variety of wildlife on our 7 acres. we don't always get to see the woodland creatures, but on this snowy day we were able to observe some of their comings and goings.



possum intersecting with rabbit
resident two year old

next we head back up around the house, and stop off at the chicken tractor to gather the eggs. we have 8 Buff Orpington chickens; 1 rooster and 7 hens. we are getting about 5-6 eggs a day, which is remarkable, considering how cold it has been! (when it is very cold, we collect the eggs twice a day.)

A has a little pail that she carries along, and uses that to put the eggs in. that increases the chances of the eggs actually making it safely into the house! i have noticed that while A enjoys gathering the eggs, she's not too interested in eating them! other than french toast, i can't get her to eat eggs.
the chicken tractor is on part of the garden. last fall we planted a cover crop of winter rye, and it's nice and green. just what Dudley the bunny likes! we pick a nice handful of grass for the bunny, and stop to visit with him for a moment.
we've almost completed our circle now, and just need to feed the outdoor wood furnace. i feed it more often in the daytime, but the boiler will hold a nice fire all night long.

now we're done, and after putting the eggs in the fridge, A is ready for her nap, and I'm ready for a cup of coffee and a quiet moment. or as A likes to say, "a little bit of peace and be quiet."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

it's like living with a barrel of monkeys!

there are whole organizations and web sites dedicated to exposing how inept and wasteful our government can be. it doesn't take a rocket scientist (or a republican) to figure out that our government is sometimes inefficiently run, and almost always wasteful.

while i am well aware that not a single one of my faithful readers stops by here for pithy, insightful and thought provoking political commentary, i would still like to put in my 2cents worth on the whole topic of governmental ineptitude. case-in-point: self-adhesive stamps.

obviously, the committee that invented the world's most expensive stickers has not even heard of a curious toddler, never mind tried to keep tabs on what they are doing every single minute of the day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

maybe she's growing out of it...

on more than one occasion I've "caught" B while she's being mischievous with toilet paper, boxes of tissues or the baby wipes. I've come upon such scenes as whole rolls of TP in the toilet, entire boxes of tissues pulled out, or even piles of baby wipes surrounding the youngest member of our family.

i have to laugh, because she's so darn cute!

it seems as if baby B has now moved on. she's really growig up now; no more boring stuff like TP, tissues or baby wipes.
of course not! we're moving onward and upward to scotch tape!

Monday, February 09, 2009

a great, big, fat thank you!

the days are can get a little long around here- the cold weather, and the MUD! make it a challenge to get the girls outside to burn off some of that extra energy. whatever the weather, one of A's favorite things to do is go get the mail.

on Saturday we found a treasure out at the mailbox! my blogging friend, Angie, sent us a package in the mail. it was full of hair bows that she had made just for the little girls! A was so excited, and wanted to wear one right away.
they both look darling in their matching overalls and bows, and that act of kindness and thoughtfulness brought a bright spot to our day!

thanks so much, Angie! now everyone head on over to her blog, and show her some bloggy love! if you leave a comment to let her know that you visited, she and her family will donate $1 to St. Jude Children's Hospital. it's an easy way to spread the love just a little bit further on this February day!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

my new kitchen is almost done, and it's wonderful!

it's been a long haul, these last few weeks. and as Dave says, it has to get worse before it gets better. (at least, i think he was the one who said that!) i will say that ripping apart and making a HUGE mess remodeling the kitchen has not been as bad as i thought it would be. we haven't eaten as many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as i originally thought we would, either. however, egg sandwiches are another matter altogether...
remodeling the kitchen has required some flexibility on my part, as you can well imagine. besides having to look at the naked dishwasher, there was the minor detail of working around all the drill bits, screws, glue guns, levels, drills, shims and miscellaneous tools and shelves strewn about. good luck on finding that bowl or spatula that you really need to finish cooking dinner...

but in the end, it is all worth it. well worth it! Dave has done an amazing job, plus he's very thorough and meticulous, and as a result, the kitchen looks outstanding! i really like how this window over the kitchen sink turned out. Dave is an excellent finish carpenter!

all the base cabinets are in, and when the counter top comes in, we can install the rest of the upper cabinets. (they will be at the extreme left in this photo. you can't really see that spot.) for now I'm functioning with some plywood and cardboard counters, but it sure is a huge improvement over what i had before! Dave will temporarily install my sink sometime this week, and it will surely be a relief to have a sink in the kitchen again!

this is the other side of the kitchen. i decided to hang the tin Noah's ark sculpture between the windows. i like the way that looks, but there is still a dilemma about where to put the clock. there is still some work to be done on our checklist, but the bulk of it is done, at least until the counter top comes in. then I'll get my remaining 3 cabinets, and have just a little bit more storage room. the majority of food stuff is out of the hutch, and i will begin to slowly bring down all my mother's china and other kitchen things that have been packed away in the attic for the last 17 months.

although, the question begs to be asked, if I've survived without all that stuff this long, do i really need it at all? i could just have a yard sale, and sell the boxes for $20 each. that could help pay for all the cabinet knobs and drawer pulls, which were outrageously expensive. I'll have to give that some thought...

Friday, February 06, 2009

Guest Friday- Merry Christmas, just a *little* bit late!

well, our Christmas letter is finally going out today! it's been a challenge to get it done, and due to some technical difficulties, it is much later than we would prefer... if you're on my snail mail list, you will have your own copy in the next few days, but if you're a regular reader, i wanted to share it with you. I'm blessed and honoured that you would take time out of your day to follow the adventures of our family.

(This started out as our annual Christmas letter, but we blinked for a moment and suddenly it's February 2009 . . . So I guess it's better late than never!! This actually was written in December, so bear with us.)

Once again it is the time of the year to reflect on our family's milestones and major events of the past year. I guess this year could be summed up in one sentence: "We worked on the house!" It was one year ago this month that we bought our house in the little town of Monroeton. We have all worked very hard to get it back in shape after many years of neglect. D, N and G removed all the lath and plaster from almost every room in the house. We filled two roll off dumpsters with debris and plaster. We put a new foundation under part of the house, installed a new septic tank, all new plumbing, new electrical service, new heating system, insulated the house, installed new entry doors, and started drywalling some of the rooms. We just took delivery of new kitchen cabinets, so hopefully the kitchen will soon look shiny and new.

We also managed to raise 100 chickens for the freezer this year, and are presently waiting for our Buff Orpington laying hens to start giving us some eggs. We did phase out of the rabbit breeding business, only Dudley the blue rabbit remains. Since that left us with so much extra time (!!) we decided to get some pigs instead. These pigs have given N and I our claim to fame: we are probably the only people you know that were ever late to church because we had to chase pigs back into their pen. The memory of that will keep us from being teary eyed while eating ham and sausage next spring.

M had a milestone year, graduating from high school last summer, then heading off to Bob Jones University in South Carolina in the fall. She is working on a degree in nursing, and is doing very well. We certainly miss her, but it is good to see her doing so well in college. She and I also managed to squeeze in another mission trip to Haiti last Easter.

D has enlisted in the Navy, and is set to leave for basic training next summer. Unfortunately he has decided that he does not wish to live at home anymore and has gone to live with a friend of his.

N just got his drivers license, having passed the test on his first attempt. He is finishing his senior year of high school, and is thinking about what he wants to do after graduation. He will be going down to Bob Jones University in a few weeks to see if it might be where he would like to attend college. He is working a lot of hours at Dunkin Donuts in Towanda and also takes martial arts lessons.

G is becoming a talented guitar player. He has played in church twice in the last few weeks and did very well. He is in tenth grade and is doing well in all his subjects, especially chemistry and history. He is also becoming a talented firewood splitter, as we have an outside wood boiler that uses a lot of wood.

A is now two and a half. She is a very busy little girl. She likes to read books and go to story time at the library. In the summer she likes to go down to the creek with me to throw stones in, wade in the water and look for tadpoles and crayfish. So, when she says to me, "Stones, Daddy?" I usually drop what I'm doing and off we go. Other times, I hear "Drive tractor, Daddy?” as she likes to help me drive the tractor and raise and lower the bucket. She also loves to play with her dolls, especially B's Cabbage Patch doll named Donna.

B just celebrated her first birthday on October 10, she is another busy little girl. Now that she is walking, she has to investigate everything. A while back we heard her crying but did not know where she was. Turns out, she climbed up the stairs, walked into an upstairs room and shut the door. When she couldn't get it open, she started crying till she was "rescued". This coming summer should be fun with her as she starts to explore her world.

As I write a summary of our year gone by, I am amazed at how quickly time passes, as our children grow up and get ready to begin a life of their own; as our babies in the blink of an eye grow into little girls.

We have family devotions fairly regularly, although it seems some days that due to everyone's schedule we just can't find time. That's when A keeps me accountable, as she looks at me while we eat supper and says, "Devos, Daddy?" It always reminds me that our time as a family at home, that my time with these little girls is just a moment that will be gone before I realize it. I need to make the most of it and show them what really matters in life. It is not money or television or the endless stream of things that take up our time. Rather, it is faith in God and family. In the end, that's all that really matters. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Dave and Jennifer Caplinger and family

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Pumpkins, Pigs and a Promise

last fall we were blessed with an abundance of pumpkins. most we fed to the pigs, but some of the best i brought up to the house and processed into pumpkin puree, which i then froze. a dear friend blesses me with all her cooking magazines, and i was happy to find this recipe for pumpkin oat muffins. the main ingredients- pumpkin and oats are something that we have alot of, so i was eager to try out this new recipe. they turned out well, but when you make them, they'll taste even better. why, you ask? that's because you'll be a good little cook, and follow the recipe, right? right.
Pumpkin Oat Muffins

1 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cups raisins

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 T flour
3/4 t pumpkin pie spice
1 T cold butter

in a large bowl,combine the first six ingredients. combine the egg, pumpkin, mild and oil; add to the dry ingredients just until moistened. stir in oats and raisins. fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and pie spice; cut in butter until crumbly. sprinkle one rounded teaspoonful over each muffin. bake at 375 for 15-20 mun, or until a toothpick comes out clean. cool for 5 min. before removing from pan to a wire rack. serve warm. Yield: one dozen

the pumpkins are all gone now, (but for the little bit of puree that is left in the freezer) but the pigs are still here and growing big and fat. they are fed every morning and afternoon. recently, i made arrangements with a local restaurant to pick up all their food scraps. so every other day we go down and bring home several buckets of pig yummyness.

A comes with me nearly every afternoon to give the pigs their slops. the pigs just love the variety of food- potato chips, watermelon rinds, olives, salad, scrambled eggs, french toast, cookies, tomatoes and french fries. it's a veritable smorgasbord- Templeton would be in heaven!

this afternoon when we went down to feed the pigs, Dave came along to help me measure them. i wanted to know about how much they weighed. according to this source, our pigs are 160 pounds- give or take a pound or five. they will soon be ready to butcher, and none of us will be too sad to see them go! between interrupting our Christmas breakfast, making us late for church and giving me *more* grey hairs and a stomachache, it will be a relief to have them all wrapped up in neat little bundles in the freezer!

now to complete the aforementioned alliteration alluded to in the title, i will post pictures of the kitchen sometime this weekend. Dave is still working steadily, and we're making very nice progress. most of the cabinets are in... but you'll have to stop in later to see pictures!


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