Blessings

Many times people do not look to the positive but to the negative first. We are told to count our blessings but rarely do people do so..maybe because the word blessing is so closely connected to religion and religion sems to be a bad word nowadays.

Having worked through a brain injury that kept me from my business and eventually wiped out my savings while I healed, I always tell people who are being negative that things could always be worse! Such as when it rains, it could be snow!

When the hurdles of life are overwhelming and even the smallest task is monumental and you count sucess as just getting out of bed and dressed you learn to look for the sunshine and not the rain. And that is exactly what I did daily- looked for the sunrise or sunset and basked in that beauty.

Not many people who meet me know that I suffered a brain injury that radically altered my life. It atered not only myself but my entire family. It changed me but it also made me a person who was a lot stronger in some ways.

I underwent not just a brain injury but other injuries to my back, my neck and left hand. It changed my personality to some degree and it radically altered my emotional control and my ability to express myself.

But I was lucky..I lived. Not everyone who has a closed brain injury does. In 2009 ab actress I admired for her film roles sustained a head injury while skiing; Natasha Richardson’s death shocked the world and I counted my blessing that I survived despite doctors who refused to believe anything was wrong with me.

I have counted many blessings since July 2000. I lived. I fought to find out what was wrong. I had a client who knew what was wrong. I got properly diagnosed 5 months after the MVA. I found a groomer who could run my business. I realized I could still groom. I sold my bsusiness so I could heal. I had a friend who helped me restore belief in myself. I raised a puppy who ended up bringing me thru the hell of PTSD. I began grooming profesionally again. I opened a new business. I had a grandson. I sold my business and moved back to my homeland. I bought a smallholding to restore. I began making new friends.

I have many blessings. And with these blessings I am finding a new community in my small village. People who truly care about each other. People who do for each other because they believe in Community.

That is what Blessings are all about! As I walk thru the Journey that is my life I do count my blessings….because at one point in my life I almost lost what life is and I appreciate them all the more.

So those of you who may not know it I count you as many Blessings and I am thankful you have stepped into my Journey!!

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Something Wicked This Way Comes

Anyone who knows Ray Bradbury knows about Something Wicked This Way Comes, the tale of the battle between good and evil. I rarely think of this tale but when I do it’s with a sense of foreboding which tends to be accurate but not always in the sense one expects.

After the Loss of Henrietta and her foster pullet, I shored up the coop in the area I was quite sure the intruder came in. And for several days I have been greeted by the 3 survivors. Alas, the determination of a creature is vast and today as I stepped into the old milkhouse my heart sank; we had been visited again and this time it ripped open the wire to get in. Pretty sure this is a Coon we are dealing with and not a cat as I thought it might be. Feathers of a distinct type littered the floor and my heart grew heavy as they could only be Willard’s.

I have only 1 left of the milkhouse flock and that is the young Roo so I have moved him into the Bar building and put him into the chicken bus to protect him, I thought about putting him down mercifully but a Roo that can survive 2 visits by a determined predator might have a good future as a free range roo.

I feel I have failed these critters in my care, it is a hazard of keeping farm animals but 2 were gifted to me and their loss I feel more than any others. Henrietta was a plucky little girl and Wilard was a comical strange bird; not only with his frizzled feathers but his gentlemanly ways of trying to woo the girls constantly backing up and bowing. I had recently begun to suspect he might have sight issues but now I shall never know.

So why the Something Wicked reference? It popped into my head late last night and it keeps repeating savagely in coordination with thoughts of ED-19. Is it a warning or a confirmation- I know not, yet to me ED-19 and Willard are linked and his passing feels to me tied in some way to the whole ED-19 fiasco. We bought a defunct farm property in 2013 in the hopes of rebuilding it for ourselves and bringing several new businesses to the area. We were unaware that there was a dump property nearby that had never been utilized and is scheduled to be sold now to a mega dump creator, a use it was NOT intended for!

What I do know is that the MOE has called for a pre hearing to gather the winds that be in advance of the tribunal which is to be scheduled at a later date. And I know not if the winds foretell good or evil and I cannot get the tale out of my mind. Is the lost soul of Willard trying to get through to me? All I know is this felling came over me last night and it keeps bouncing around my head.

Something Wicked This Way Comes….Monday March 12, 10 am @ Brockville Courrhoise

Thoughts on Lifestyle

In this wild and fast paced world I hear many people say “I Wish I was born…” but few, despite having wishes, attempt to try to fit some of that lifestyle into their own fast paced world and attempt to slow down.

A few years ago, while looking for information on how women used to take care of their hair, I stumbled across a site called This Victorian Life and was quite fascinated by her and her husband’s deliberate attempt to truly insert themselves into a time period in the past! They seem to have managed it successfully and I am tempted to purchase a couple of her books about their journey. In fact, I am counting my pennies to get them!

I have spent mote than a few years trying to change my life and temove myself from the hectic world of the career I spent many years building only to find it has destroyed my body, due to the physical nature of it and in doing so I found that there are some “old things” I enjoy.

Washing clothes with a wringer washer has a comforting sound and makes you think more about how you wear your clothes and how you wash them. Many people think nothing of tossing a clothing item that has only been worn for a few hours into the hamper because to wash them requires minimal thought due to electric machines that do all the work! Whereas, while the wringer washer is electric, I must physically move the clothes thru the wringer and then, after washing, empty the machine and refill it for the rinse cycle.

Washing takes about 4 hours once a week but I also hang almost everything to dry either by sun in the summer or stove heat in the winter (except Hubby’s work clothes they go into the electric dryer). This takes planning, shifting of the stand dryer so the clothes dry evenly and removing the dry clothes to make room for wet.

By doing this over 10 years ago I noticed an immediate decrease of $50 a month in electric( basically decreased the bill by 50%)! Also the machine itself pulls very little amperage which is why many off grid homesteaders have them ( we are not off grid but hoping to eventually be grid minimalist).

And, in another way of turning my back on modern pressure, I stopped dyeing my hair in my mid 30s, allowing my natural grey to shine thru (I got my first grey hair at 13- a natural genetic inheritence) and began to grow my hair out. On occasion I have cut it shorter but never shorter than below shoulder blade and I tend to wear it up in a bun to protect it most of the time….which is totally not the accepted hairstyle of 2018!

To make a wish come true you have to start making deliberate steps to make it happen. I began collecting things that would be of use in the life I wanted and instead of asking for frivolous(to me) things for birthdays and Holidays, I asked for things that would be of value in the lifestyle I wanted to pursue. It is how I have gotten things like my dehydrator, ice cream machine and, just this Christmas, a pressure cooker/canner. Not what the average woman wants according to popular opinion.

In fact I have always been somewhat practical….for our first Christmas I asked for and got a combination mixer/blender; my husband’s sisters attacked him verbally for doing so and it was several years before I could convince him I was right and they were wrong.! In fact, another vase in point, he knew I was not a fan of red roses and when our daughter was born and he arrived with a dozen red roses I immediately berated him for listening to them yet again. His response was he had told then he was going to get me a bouquet of spring flowers and they told him he was being cheap and I deserved red roses- he never made that mistake again! It goes to show you how people influence your behavior and choices with social pressure.

Imagine of we all turned off the TVs for a month and did not listen to one word issued by the powers that be and thought long and hard about what we wanted for ourselves?

I dare you to try it. In our home there is a TV but no broadcast to it. We watch videos and get our news either by paper or internet news sites.

Instead of saying I wish , just TRY, it can make a huge difference in not just your world but in others perceptions of what can be done!

Henrietta the Lost Soul

I have shared a few stories about Henrietta the little bantam and the lessons she has taught mw….this little creature caught my heart with her looks amd most especially her personality. Imagine my shock as I went to feed and water her group and to check on her in her darkened spot when she made her nest to find first a missing Golden pullet..but even more horrifying feathers galore and a couple of peices of that Pullet and no Henrietta to be found!

A lesson in life learned the hard way..a. Predator will find any weakness and use it. I still am not sure how this critter found its way into the laying area but it did. I found several spots I had not seen before that were obvious weakeneeses but so small we assumed they were not of concern.

I was wrong and my heart hurts to think what happened to Henreitta defending her nest and paying the ultimate price for her bravery. Part of me hopes she will appear miraculously but I know it won’t happen. I only hope that my work today closing the remaining birds off from the laying coop will keep them from further predation.

Lesson in life..make sure that no one tells you its good enough make sure it is personally and never doubt your instincts.

Some people will say she was just a chicken but she was Henrietta the Brave, Plucky, Brody, Bossy Mommy Bantam and my heart will miss the hours of entertainment she gave me and surely my little corner of the World will not quite be the same without her.

Henrietta the little hen that just would

I have shared a few stories of Henrietta here and now it’s time for another!

You know how in life you meet those characters that just endear themselves to your heart? Well Henrietta is one of those characters, full of pluck and determination, despite her tiny size she barrels through life not caring that she is just, well….a bantam. From the moment I saw her at the Boneyard( her previous owners plcae) I was in love with her colour, her size and she has grown on me. She’s the first hen I look for in the milkhouse group and I enjoy her antics!

Imagine my horror over a week ago when I arrived to the milkhouse coop to find the outer door open, freezing temps inside the coop and NO Henrietta! She is usually the first to the fresh chow bowl, bossing away all the much larger birds til she’s had her choice picks! Although the coop is quite secure we all know a determined predator could get in if they were desperate! Calling and shaking the scratch bag did no good til all of a sudden I decided to look in the hay filled pallet house that I have never once seen any of them use and lo and behold there she was!

Oh my shaking heart, she came zipping out and ran to the water and then the chow almost in a desperate manner. Unusual behavior to say the least. So I made sure I brought out a flashlight the next day and was happy to see her out in the coop with everyone else. So I shone the flashlight in and there were several eggs in a back corner I just couldn’t reach(I had been hoping to catch her broody in early spring and give her Chantecler eggs i am ordering) so little Henrietta was once again determined to raise more babies!

Next day I took a couple Chantecler eggs from the Bar coop and moved them as close to her nest as possible(cursing myself for not finishing the swing out door for the end) and realized there were some eggs that looked….well…different! Could her first set of pullets be laying?

Couldn’t be sure, but today I got confirmation!

Yeap..layed in a different spot from where Henrietta is brooding and definately looking the right colour for Chantie half breeds! And for theblast 3 days she hasnt budged from the nest even when I called to her so I’ve been putting yummies close by her as close as I can stretch so she has something to eat.

Yesterday I thought she was dead not even her eyes would open! Then when a blueberry landed near her she popped one open! It’a amazing how the thought of losing this 1 little girl can make my heart pound so! Although if her adopted son does not stop picking on her as he was when she came out to eat amd drink he might very well find himself in the oven!!

After chasing him around amd then doing the upside down hang to get him to realize he was going to get picked on for picking on her I have my doubts as to whether he is pure but I will reserve total judgwment for now as he might have his own little flock to care for.

My aimnis to eventually have several flocks of purebred Chanteclers and the mixes will not be unwelcome but they will have probably free range as opposed to fiercely protected tractors!

So Henrietta is determined to hatch another group of babies because she can..even Joe her previous owner was surprised she has gone broody again so fast but if she can keep raising babies for me I am content.

But next time I will have her do it MY way…yeah right…she is a nimble little critter! She outsmarted me this time..shame on me! So the Henrietta wars on on…will she hatch chicks in the middle of winter? Will she outfox me next time..the saga continues!!

Chicken Parm

On occasion I try something new to cook, Chicken Parm is a favorite of my husbands when we go out to eat so I finally bit the bullet and decided to make a go of it! And decided to blog it as well!

For those who follow the blog you probably notice how several posts will come up on a single day..this is usually because I am doing something stationary that requires me to be in one spot for some time. Today is laundry…

So while I sit here I finish up the posts I have started while I listen to the soft chug whir of my trusty old Maytag washer!

Back to Chicken Parm..so as I was saying this is one meal I have never tried to do at home and as any cook knows, sometimes when you are very used to certain meals, things are non thought provoking..you just have a routine and all comes out well….with new foods..that doesn’t always happen as you will see!

So I make all our pasta sauces starting with just tomato sauce. So 3 small cans of tomato sauce and about 2 tsp of basil, parsley and oregano and 2 crushed cloves of garlic and a sprinkling of pepper flakes( go light at first they intensify during cooking) and of minced onion, set heat to medium and lid the pot. Once it starts to boil turn down to about 2-3. The light red will darken as it cooks.

Then it’s time to prepare the chicken. I use prepared Italian breadcrunbs because I get them so cheap and we rarely have leftover bread for breadcrumbs! I started with 2 eggs but ended up using 4. I pounded the 2 breasts flat. Whisk up the eggs and cut the chicken into sizes suitable for each person( in our family each person has different portion preferences), coat the meat in egg and then breadcrumbs.

After coating,dip back into egg and recoat the cutlet with breadcrumbs

Heat about 4TBS oil in pan on med high heat. Place the cutlet into the pan and fry til deep golden brown.

While the cutlets are cooking, begin boiling water for the pasta.

Add pasta once it reached a running boil, I cook for several minutes at full boil stirring often, then when the edges of the pasta whiten up I reduce the heat to about med and stir every few minutes.

Once the cutlets are a nice deep golden brown..not blackened like th├Ęse you see ( TG hubby likes his food WELL done) put them in the oven on 400 and heat up the garlic bread at the same time.

Pastas ready! Drain the pasta.

Add all ingredients to plate, pour on sauce and add garlic bread! And my first adventure cooking Chicken Parm!

Note to self..watch the pan when you are breading the rest of the cutlets!!

Quick Sneaky Dinner

For those days you dont want to do major cooking..we all have sneaky fast dinner. This one is Teriyaki beef.

First warm oil on the stove about 2 TBS..does not matter which type of oil.I usually use Sunflower or Olive.

Then cut up beef into thin slices and marinake in Teriyaki Sauce. You will also need 1 egg, teriyaki beef rice mixe, minced onion(mine won’t eat real onion so I cheat!) water and butter

Warm the oil on medium high heat, add the marinated beef and cook til browned, turn down the heat to low medium put lid on and cook for approx 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Turn heat back up to medium high add the minced onion as the pan heats up, add 2 cups water, 1 TBS butter, and the rice mixture.

Heat to boil, turn down heat to low medium and lid the pan til rice has absorbed liquid.

Whisk the egg. Raise heat to medium high. Add to the pan moving the rice to one side until egg is set- mix into rice, add the meat mixture and mix all together on low medium until warmed through. Sorry forgot to the finished dinner!!

However…..we have a lighter dinner in this manner so we can enjoy dessert!! Recipe is from my much loved Betty Crocker cookbook..when my aughter moved out she bought the cookbook only to find out that the generational change had happened..I had to find same book for her through a used book store!!! She hated the newer version!

As you mix the waffle batter, heat up the waffle iron.

I mix in my nice big measuring bowl so I can lid it and make waffles for breakfast from the rest of batter!

Spray the surface with cooking spray lightly. I use a 1/3 cup measure for the batter as it is the most accurate amount.

Cook til steaming slows down. Then check the colour. I find people have different preferences. Mine usually takes about 5 minutes.

Ready to remove!

Add some ice cream and a touch of chocolate sauce and a spoon and enjoy!

Food has many memories I find. We never had this sort of dessert growing up. It was when I began dating my husband that I first ate a belgium waffle sundae so this dessert takes me back to our early days which is why it is so special!!