Sunday, December 20, 2009

10 reasons why I need to stay busy

You might wonder, now that my fall craft show season is over and the next show isn't until February, whether or not I am taking some time off and relaxing a bit. In answer to that question-yes, I have taken a bit of time to get many of the projects completed around the house that were put on the back burner while I was running back and forth to craft shows over the past few months. I have painted nearly every room in our house and am now in the process of rehanging pictures, rearranging furniture and generally putting the house back in order. Whether or not that sounds relaxing, I don't know, but it is for me.
Now that my inside projects are nearing completion, I took some time today to give the animals some attention. I thought that it might be nice to take some holiday photos while I was out with my little friends. They were all so happy that I was spending time with them. I was very busy with the animals today...very busy indeed.
First I spent some quality time with the kitties. They were so excited.
Then I went out to give my sheepies some much-needed attention.
Can't you see the happiness on their little faces?

Of course the dogs really wanted to spend some time with me as well. They weren't wagging their tails or anything, but I could tell how thrilled they were that I was with them.

"Please mom, go back to work...pleeease?"
I couldn't tell for sure what the chickens were thinking, but I bet they had a good time as well.

"Somebody, make it stop!"
"Here, Mira, let me get this ridiculous thing off of you.....what is that crazy woman thinking???"

Hmmm, maybe it's a good thing that I don't normally have a lot of free time.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Let the baking begin!

Those of you that know me well are aware that I normally don't do my holiday baking until Christmas eve. I am a freshness freak and like to have everything "out of the oven" fresh for Christmas day.....which also makes me just a plain old freak because that means that I am baking for six or seven hours and never get to really enjoy the day. This year, however, I am changing things up a bit. Our daughter and son-in-law are coming in next week from California and we haven't seen them since their wedding in August, our son will also be here from Iowa City for a couple of days, plus we have the whole family coming here, to our tiny little house, for Christmas dinner, so I have a lot to do and I don't want to spend all of my time chained to the oven. It hurts me to say this, but I am baking some things ahead of time and putting them into the <gasp> freezer! I know, I know, it's hard to believe that word is even in my vocabulary....I must be mellowing with age.

I make a variety of scrumptious desserts for the holidays, some new, some tried and true, but there are a few 'must haves' that we absolutely can not do without. One favorite is a coveted recipe that my mother got from one of my aunts before I was even born. My mother guarded this recipe with her life. Over the years, she would make it for friends and neighbors, but when they would ask for the recipe....well, let's just say things got ugly! After my sisters and I were grown mom passed the recipe on to us...this old family recipe, which I, in turn, guarded with my life and passed on to my daughter. You can only imagine my horror and dismay when, one day as I was flipping through an old Betty Crocker cookbook, I saw a photo and description that bore a striking similarity to our secret family recipe. I studied the page, went down the ingredient list line by line, measure by measure...OMG, it was the exact same freakin recipe! Unless we are somehow related to Miss Betty Crocker we have been living a lie for some 50 years....we stole our family recipe from Betty Crocker.....does it count as stealing if she is a fictional character??

In an attempt to redeem our good name and share the deliciousness, I will pass this recipe on to you.

Nut Cups (or as Betty likes to call them-Pecan Tassies, call them whatever you want Betty, you're not real so who is going to listen to you? Whatever).


1 Cup softened butter ( if you use margarine don't tell me about it)

6 oz. softened cream cheese (2 small packages-please don't use fat free...I don't even know what that means)

2 Cups flour

Cream together butter and cream cheese, gradually add flour until well combined. Mold dough into mini muffin tins to form the crust. Bring the dough all the way up the sides of each tin making sure not to get it too thin along the sides or bottom.

1 Tablespoon softened butter

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg slightly beaten

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

Mix all filling ingredients together and fill crusts with mixture to about 3/4 full. I know, this doesn't look very appetizing, but trust me you will like it. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.

Be careful not to do this when you fill the crusts...

Any little bit of filling that goes over the edge of the crust does this (below) and makes it really hard to get the little buggers out of the pan.......and then they fall apart...
Like this (below). When they fall apart you have to eat them to hide the's the law....OK, not really, but it isn't really an old family recipe either now is it?????


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


You may have heard that it is snowing a little here in the Midwest. We got about 10 inches of snow overnight and today winds are gusting between 30-40 miles an hour which makes it feel like.....well, let's just say it's pretty nasty out!

The animals are not wanting to venture away from the shelter of their barns.
The snow really started piling up in drifts this afternoon with the high winds.
You can see the horses in there somewhere.....
A couple of hours later the inches of snow were still multiplying.....I figure by morning I may have to tunnel through to get to my equine friends!
There really shouldn't be a 'high surf' situation going on in the horses' water tank, but the wind had other ideas and was making waves and ripples below the little icicle ridge.
Although they are appropriately dressed for it, the sheep don't seem overly amused by the frigid weather.

"OK, where'd the grass go? I know it was out here somewhere!"

"Frozen. Sheep."

"Starving. Frozen. Sheep."

But, a few of our fuzzy friends didn't seem to mind the adverse conditions.

Bailie prepares for take-off into the wind.

As does Emma....and of course, Jolly Ball.

and awaaaaay she goes!

"Darling, I simply ADORE this scrumptious weather MWaaaH!"

"Yeah, right, I'm not going out there!"

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a very happy 'turkey day' from your kooky friends at Crosswinds Farm.

"Turkey day? Why isn't it chicken da......oh, wait a minute....."

"They do WHAT with turkeys??"

"I am glad that I'm a chicken." "I'm not taking any chances, I'm outta here!"Have a wonderful and safe holiday!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Close encounter of the worst kind

Here in Eastern Iowa, we finally got a short reprieve from the all-too familiar wet, cold weather that has plagued us this past summer and early fall. Over the last couple of weeks we have had a welcome stretch of unseasonably warm, dry weather. The temperate conditions offered a much needed opportunity to get some outdoor projects completed and to ready the barns for the coming winter months. It was finally dry enough for the neighbors to get their combines out into the fields and get this very late harvest underway. What a very strange year it has been in the weather department!
Unfortunately, as of yesterday, our stint of Indian summer seemed to be drawing to a close as we returned, once again, to the rainy cold weather that we have become accustomed to over the past several months.....I knew it was too good to last!
Some of the flora around our farm is as reluctant as I am to let the nice weather slip away. Granted, they look a bit bedraggled, but I still have potted plants that are blooming...on the 18Th of November...strange indeed.
Of course dandelions are near impossible to kill, but to have a few still happily blooming amongst the fallen leaves in mid-November is quite odd.

My Asparagus is all decked out like a Christmas tree.

With the fall harvest in full swing there are always wayward critters that have been displaced from their homes and end up seeking shelter closer to the farm buildings. We never see a live mouse during the summer....we see lots of tails and maybe a leg or two here and there. Occasionally the barn cats will find it necessary to deposit a mouse or rat carcass in it's entirety somewhere that I will be sure to find it...that is always a pleasant 'good-morning' cats are so thoughtful. This time of year, however, I don't think the barn cats can quite keep up with the influx of illegals that come seeking refuge. I have had a several instances over the last few days where I had the lovely surprise of opening a feed bin to find different members of mousy varmint family scampering about trying to hop their way out of the bin with too-full bellies, only to have their efforts thwarted and instead be scooped up by the waiting barn cats.....

We suspected a similar problem recently with the barn cats' food, it was disappearing at an alarming rate. We keep a large bowl of food out for the cats and I normally fill it once a day. Several mornings when I have gone out to do chores the bowls have been completely empty...not even a crumb - that is not how the cats leave it. I decided that we had better start picking up the food dish at night and only leave it out during daylight until we can identify the culprit.

Last night I didn't get outside until way after dark.....considering it gets dark at, like, 4 o'clock...that probably doesn't give you a point of was 9 o'clock.. I KNOW.. past my bedtime........anywaaay. I went out to the barn and as I flipped on the light something caught my eye in the back corner.

It was a large opossum. I had been buying cat food to feed a giant rat! Of course I told it to wait there until I got my camera....
I am not sure why people always say that these little vermin are shy, every time I have run across one they are in no way intimidated by my presence...or the cats. In fact, this guy was at arms length away and wasn't really making any effort to get away. He just stared at me with those beady little eyes and turned his naked little tail toward me...I think he even asked me to fill up the food dish again!
Sure you're interesting with your fancy little prehensile tail and your little baby pouch-not to mention the whole playing dead routine, but a possum in the barn is unacceptable, you carry a lot of diseases that can endanger the health of my, my little marsupial adversary, the live-trap is coming out tomorrow, there will be some yummy kitty food for you in there.....we'll see who wins this match!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I always feel like somebody's watchin' me.

Have you ever had the feeling that someone, or something, is watching you? You just can't quite to put your finger on it, but something just doesn't seem right? I have that feeling all the time when I am outside doing chores. I don't know what it is, I just can't seem to shake it.
I know that it is silly and there is no logical reason for me to have this anxiety, but whenever I am outside trying to complete my chores, whether I am working on something near the ground.......
..or whether I am working on something up high, it's like I can sense an eerie presence close by.

It's almost like there is something lurking behind every fence post.

As if something is lying in wait, under the cover of a leafy curtain, planning it's attack. Watching my every move.

Weird.......I can't imagine why I am being so ridiculous....I am certain that there is no logical basis for my uneasiness.

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