Category Archives: pumpkins

Fall Festival: Gone to the Dogs

Now it’s your turn! I’d love to hear all about how you and your family amuse yourselves as the seasons change. Do you have special activities that you do with your kids? Are there certain movies that you watch during the fall? Do you have fall crafts, games, books or field trips that you enjoy? Share your favorite autumn vacation spots at Daily Dwelling.

Today’s theme is all about fun. For me, the fun part of fall is feathering my nest by doing the things I shared yesterday. I also enjoy decorating my porch. I set out pumpkins and tie cornstalks to the porch posts. Dressing up is fun too, although I don’t always do that now that I’m a little older. Last year I went up to the bar dressed as a hippie. It was great because I love to people watch and I could do a lot of it with those big glasses on!

For us, for now, our dogs are like our kids. So, one of the best parts about fall is watching them play and have fun. Good luck trying to rake with them around!


Git ‘Er Done 2009

As many of you know, Brian & I bought his family’s farm around Labor Day of 2007. We’ve been working on the house and yard since the early spring of that year, even before we bought it. Things are far from finished as we start 2009, and I don’t want to deal with this again in 2010.

I’ve made a detailed list, room by room, of what projects need to be completed this year. I first posted about all this work in this post. I wanted to share my list but wasn’t sure how to set it up. After reading over at Green Resolutions I really like the way she sets up her checklist and shows updates. I’ve decided to use a similar format for my project list. Thanks for the inspiration GR!

I’m going to title this segment “Git ‘Er Done 2009”. This will mostly be for my benefit, to keep me motivated and accountable. I’ll try to include some before and after pictures and maybe even offer some good how-to advice. I avoid debt like the plague so these will all be pay as you go projects.

Feel free to read along. If you would like to join in, go ahead and grab the doodad, link over here, and post your updates whenever. I’ll be doing most of my work on Saturdays. I started out working all day Sunday too but got burnout very quickly. I would recommend limiting yourself to one full day per week or a few hours here and there. You don’t have to renovate your whole place, maybe you just have one small project you want to stay on track with.

In any case, I hope this is a valuable addition to the blog!

Okay, here’s my master list. Red = done last year. Black = to be done. Blue = done in 2009.

New bedding (received as wedding gift)
Paint walls & ceiling
Move closet (tear it out and rebuild in a different spot)
New TV (flatscreen – eliminated stand and gave us more floor space)

Mount lamp on wall
New trim
New curtains
Add 2nd clothes rod in closet
Cover hole for access to pipes (we cut this when changing plumbing in bathroom)

Rewire (and new switches/covers)
Curtain on closet
New light fixture
Paint window frames

Paint walls & ceiling
Eliminate old rust stains
New faucets/hardware
New shower curtain & rod

New curtain over window (in shower)
Curtain around base of sink
Refinish cabinet
Get a quote for recoating the tub
New trim
New lighting
Replace mirror (or make it look better)
Rewire (and new switches/covers)

Find Brian a desk
Get a deal on a desk chair

Paint walls & ceiling
New lighting
New curtains

Removed wallpaper/patched/painted (Thanks Mom!!)
Refinished cabinets/rearranged them
New countertops
New trim (started)
New stove
New (used) dishwasher
New faucet

Paint window frames
Curtains in front of sink/trash

Finish trim
Baseboard for long cabinet
End caps on countertops
Paint baseboard on sink
Paint fridge
Hook up range hood
New lighting

Back Room (entryway):
Paint walls/ceiling
New trim
Paint window frames
Refinish cabinet door
Build/buy a bench/shoe rack
Coat rack
Clean off/organize stair shelf

Living Room
Paint walls & ceiling
Refinish trim
Have floor refinished
New area rug

New light fixture
Make slipcovers for couches

Rabbit Room aka Guest Bedroom
Paint walls & ceiling

Move rabbits out
Fix window screen (where rabbits chewed through it)
Touch up paint on trim

Start cleaning/getting rid of everyone’s junk
New washing machine
Buy laundry tub
Build corn storage bin
New corn stove

Finish cleaning
Install laundry tub
Install shower
New cabinets/tables/shelves (build or buy)
Dust/vacuum rafters
Clean out cistern (Baxter thinks it is his litterbox…gross)
Curtain @ base of stairs

Landscape around 1/2 house
Plant 2 pear trees (one died already)
Create garden
New porch roof
Tear our overgrown bushes
Repaired bad spot in shop roof
Built lean-to on back of shed (burned)
Get rid of lots of junk/scrap that is filling backyard
Install fence/plant pasture

Finish landscaping
Plant more fruit trees
Paint foundation of house
New exterior doors on house
Farm sign/flagpole/strawberries?
Flowers by mailbox/along road
Repair shed fire damage/build new
Finish/repair fences
Tear down little red barn
Paint new OSB on shop ceiling
Paint small shop door
Tear down garage?
New stonecrete in driveway?
Better plan for black walnuts (help!?)
Plant corn & pumpkins
Improve pasture
Poultry tractors/fence

I put question marks next to things that I’m not sure we’ll get to or things that need more thought put in to them. I’ll try to add links to specific posts as I go. You can always click on the above doodad on my sidebar to pull up all related posts.

Thanks for putting up with these long posts. I think this will really help me! I’d love to hear about your own home improvements.

Pumpkin Pie Squares

Abbie over at Farmer’s Daughter is hosting a Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap! I’m excited to check out everyone recipes. Here’s my first contribution.

Pumpkin Pie Squares
Recipe taken from Farm Journal’s Best-Ever Cookies by Patricia A. Ward.

1 c. sifted flour
1/2 c. quick-cooking oats
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. butter
1 (16-oz.) can mashed pumpkin (2 c.) <—-2 c. was most of a bigger can for me, not sure about that
1 (13.5-oz.) can evaporated milk
2 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
2 Tbs. butter

Combine flour, oats, 1/2 c. brown sugar and 1/2 c. butter in bowl. Mix until crumbly, using electric mixer at low speed. Press dough into bottom and 1/2″ up sides of ungreased 13x9x2″ baking pan. Bake in 350 degree (F) over 16 minutes.
Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves in bowl. Beat well, using rotary beater. Pour into baked crust.
Bake in 350 degree (F) oven 20 minutes.
Combine pecans, 1/2 c. brown sugar and 2 Tbs. butter; sprinkle over pumpkin filling. Return to oven and bake 15 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool in pan on rack. Cut into 2 1/4″ squares. Makes 24.

My comments: I liked this one because it allows you to work very efficiently. While the crust is baking you mix the filling, while the filling is baking you mix the topping. I whipped these together the night before my hubby headed up north for Thanksgiving. This is a great thing to make if you don’t know what others are bringing, there were other regular pumpkin pies at his family’s but these squares were a little bit different and still festive.
Sorry I don’t have a pic, I’ll add one next time I make them. Basically they look a lot like pumpkin pie but you could add them to a tray of other goodies. As mentioned above, the 16 oz. can and the 2 c. didn’t add up for me so I may have used too much filling. The bars may be a little firmer and not require a fork if you stuck to the 16 oz. can. Enjoy!

Oh and of course you don’t have to use pecans, I used walnuts and no one complained.

I Used to Love Wal-Mart

Yup, I used to love it. I remember when they opened a Super Wal-Mart about 20 miles away from where I grew up. It was the new cool place to go. After all, they were open 24 hours. That was when I was just starting to do my own grocery shopping and buy my own stuff. I would always get nervous at the checkout trying to organize my coupons and find my debit card, and I remember more than once having to put something back because I had miscalculated and gone over my meager budget. For all those reasons and more, my favorite time to shop was the middle of the night. I would go to bed early and get up at 3 or 4 to go. Besides, you couldn’t beat the traffic.

I remember getting e-mails way back then encouraging me to “boycott” Wal-mart because of their crappy treatment of workers. I even read a great book in which the author experimentally tries to live on the wages she makes working for Wal-mart. That was awhile ago but I remember liking the book and would recommend it if you’re interested in such topics. I’m still not sure that I have a big problems with their policies and such. The Wal-mart in my town employs a lot of people and sad as it is to say, I guess they all think it is better than unemployment.

When I moved out here I would go to Wal-mart for our groceries and such. My husbands’ 92 year old grandpa was forever trying to get me to stop buying there and start supporting the little man. My own family (rather my Mom’s family) owns a small grocery store and I know the fear they have about losing business to the big guys. I could relate, I just couldn’t get over the low prices and convenience. The other place in town was small and, I’d always heard, expensive.

Then things changed. First, Wal-mart started to become a big pain in the you-know-what. They never had enough cashiers. I remember Brian waiting in line for over 15 minutes to buy batteries that had taken him 2 minutes to find. Next, they started a major remodeling project which meant it took 15 minutes to find things + 15 minutes to check out. We decided we were done with the place. I soon started working at the other end of town which means the smaller store is right next door. And you know what? They aren’t so expensive after all. I almost always buy on sale and stock up. Our grocery bill had gone way down anyway now that I grow and preserve a lot of our own food. My husband was really pushing me to buy local and when I found this great blog community, that sealed the deal.

It’s a pretty big sin around here to buy any sugar except Pioneer or Big Chief. They are made right here is Michigan from sugar beets that grow in our backyard. A lot of our extra income comes from hauling beets and helping out the farmers who grow them. I’m pretty sure Wal-mart’s sugar comes from sugar cane in South America. Nice.

My boss loves Wal-mart. I harass her about it all the time, mostly in a teasing kind of way. I realize that if I’m crabby and demanding people will just get mad, they won’t necessarily take me to be a good influence. I had to speak up though when she mentioned that Wal-mart had pumpkins for sale. “You’re not seriously going to buy pumpkins from Wal-mart are you?” I said. “Well, where else would I buy them?” she said. “How about a local farmer who grows them?” I suggested. She pointed out that the mini pumpkins she bought there came from Indiana and that they were probably farmers too.

It is amazing to me how so many business owners here completely miss the point that buying local supports our local economy, in turn keeping everyone’s doors open. I am learning so much about how to be patient and gently share this with the people around me. It is so nice to check in here and not have to feel like a crazy hippie for liking fresh produce & recycling.

Speaking of hippies, that’s what I’m going to be for Halloween! More on that later…