"Commentary from the Countryside"
Thoughts on current events,
history, homesteading, preparedness, real food, and anything else I find interesting, from a cranky, middle-aged woman's common-sense perspective.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

First Fire and Not Pulling the Trigger

Time just keeps on flying by.  Here it is the end of November already, and finally today we had our first fire of the season.  I guess it's appropriate, we had our first sticking snow overnight, a nice dusting over the fields and on the tree branches.  Just got it started a few minutes ago, after cleaning out the remains of the chimney swift nest.
There's nothing like the smell and sound of a big ol' wood fire, and the warmth it gives.  I think a wood fire is the best warmth ever - better than forced air heat, better than a hot bath, better than an electric blanket.  It just feels.......better.  Maybe because it's more like sunshine.  I was lucky enough to make a good craigslist find on some firewood, nice seasoned maple that should last us into the first of the year.  Since I don't have my own patch of woods it's a bit of a scrounge and scramble to come up with firewood.  Someday I hope to get to a point where I can barter for firewood.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving with family and friends.  We got together for the usual turkey and fixings, and I took along the pies.  The best part of the day, however, was when my little nephew fell asleep in my lap.  The warm weight and soft breath of a small child, totally trusting and abandoned to sleep, is a wonderful thing.
My contribution to dinner:  apple, pumpkin, and mincemeat.
The third from the top is my green tomato mincemeat pie:
   * 3 quarts chopped green tomatoes
    * 1 1/2 quarts peeled, chopped tart apples
    * 2 cups raisins
    * 1 cup golden raisins
    * 1/2 cup diced candied citron, lemon or orange peel
    * 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    * 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    * 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

    * 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    * 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
    * 3 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
    * 3/4 cup Vinegar
    * 1/4 cup lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a large heavy pan. Let mixture simmer and cook slowly until it is tender and thick, for two hours or more. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. To can, pour boiling mixture into hot, sterile jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace; seal promptly. Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Store in a cool dry place.
Makes about 5 to 6 quarts of green tomato mincemeat.

Finally had a chance to go deer hunting, but came home empty handed.  While I still see quite a few deer around, the numbers are down due to a nasty virus that has killed quite a few animals.  I sat in the blind for quite a while, watching low, blue-gray clouds playing tag with watery beams of sunshine and listening to turkeys calling off in the distance. 
 A cardinal and his missus came to visit for a while, their red plumage startling against the dull colors of the landscape.  Finally, just as dusk was settling in, a deer came bounding into the clearing.  I pulled up my shotgun and drew a sight on it, only to realize it was a youngster, probably born in the spring of this year.  It just didn't seem fair to shoot it, and there wouldn't have been much meat to it anyways.
Had a clean shot but didn't take it
So I didn't pull the trigger, but sat and watched as it played around, munching on a twig here, and chewing on a leaf there.  It kept looking back into the brush, so I held still, hoping a bigger one would come in, but as the light faded into a cold and cloudy night the little deer was still alone.  I made the trek back out of the woods and across the field in the gathering dark and headed home for some soup, and while I love venison, I wasn't too disappointed.  Just being out in the woods and enjoying God's creation makes for a good day.
From the hymnal:
"Give thanks, with a grateful heart,
Give thanks, to the Holy One,
Give thanks, because He's given Jesus Christ"

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