Friday, October 30, 2009

Jon and I went down to the shop to help Travis and Cindy cut up and wrap elk meat. Rod and Angus came to help. Angus and Rob can cut up an elk in no time at all. They are both very good with a knife. Jon was in charge of the grinder and Cindy and I wrapped. It took us about 5 hours to finish the project. Travis gave us some elk burger. It makes the best chili and spaghetti sauce.

I finished canning the apple pie filling, a total of 22 quarts. Next on the list is applesauce and maybe some spiced apple rings. We had a little snow yesterday but today is one of those foggy, rainy, cold, damp days. Tomorrow we get to see JP and Melissa and the grandkids.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kazak Plov

mmmm. Tonight I made Plov. I think it is actually a Uzbek recipe which is made with leg of lamb cut in stew size pieces. It is simmered longer to tenderize the lamb. They also slice the top off a whole garlic bulb and add the bulb to the mixture. Some recipes add cumin or turmeric to the dish. This is an easier version and quick to make. It is delicious! Kazak comfort food.


1/4 c.veg. oil (or oil that can stand high heat)
2-3 gloves minced garlic
1 1/2 c. onion, thinly sliced
1 pound ground lamb
1 1/2 c. julienned carrots
2 cups long grained white rice
4 hot cups water
1-2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
ground pepper

Heat oil, saute' onion slices, add garlic and lamb. Stir until lamb is cooked. Add seasoning. Add the carrots and saute' for a couple of min. Sprinkle the rice over the top of the mixture. With a spoon handle, make a hole in the center of the mixture and slowly pour water into the hole, covering rice. Cover tightly, reduce heat and simmer approx. 25 min. until rice is done.

Fire Guy

Guy with man-sized blow torch. I think it's one of his favorite things to do. Burning pile of brush. It's spitting some snow today. Just enough to give us fair warning that fall is over.

I am canning the roasted tomatoes and more canned apple pie filling. Yum. Then it's time to go out and rake some more leaves.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

College Student

College Student

I just got an email from Dylan! It sounds like he is doing great in his music theory class and he is starting to play the piano. It would be nice to be a college student.....or not. It's so good to hear from him.

Canned Apple Pie Filling Recovery

OK, so after spending all day yesterday making the apple pie filling I stayed up until 12:30 a.m. working on the photos for next year's calendar. Which means I actually slept in until 9:07 a.m. Whoa! A slow start today. The last of the tomatoes are roasting in the oven. Not sure what I'm going to do with them. Maybe some more Italian tomato sauce....

Jon is walking up to get the paper and I am going to go out to plant some more spring bulbs. Time to go get dirty!

Canned Apple Pie Filling

Apple Pie Filling
Note: when using Clearjel, be sure to mix well with the dry ingredients BEFORE adding liquid.

Use firm, crisp apples, and if they lack tartness, add an extra 1/4c. of lemon juice for each 6 quarts of slices. Wash, peel, core apples; slice 1/2 inch wide and treat with ascorbic acid. Combine sugar, Clearjel, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large kettle with the water, apple juice, and optional food color; stir and cook on medium-high heat until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Drain apple slices. Add to sweet mixture and heat through, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Fill jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Adjust lids and process immediately: 25 min. either pints or quarts. Boiling-Water Bath. Be sure jars are covered with 1 inch of water for entire time. Make time adjustments for higher altitude. At 2500 feet, I added 5 min. of processing time. Check your canning book for the correct adjustment.

6 quarts sliced apples
6 c. sugar
1 & 3/4 c. Clearjel
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
4 c. cold water
5 c. apple juice (not cider)
3/4 c. lemon juice
1 teas. nutmeg (optional)
7 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rainy Day

It's a rainy day. I mean it's one of those really rainy rainy days where we get one or two inches of rain. Hot chocolate, popcorn, good book, play guitar.......cook some apples to make applesauce.

We heard that Travis got an elk yesterday and Joe went with him to help get it out. That's good news.

There's snow on Middle Mountain and it's working it's way down to Susie's Knob. Time for more coffee and another tune on the guitar.

Cornhusker Red Day

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Trip to Cornhusker Country

My mom, my sister, Kathy and I flew to Nebraska on Friday, Oct. 16Th. After surviving the airline hassles, we landed in Omaha at 8:30 p.m., got our rental car(a candy red PT Cruiser). It seemed appropriate, Cornhusker Red with three old ladies in it. It was almost unbelievable but we manage to navigate our way from Omaha to our hotel in Lincoln without a hitch! We found a grocery store to buy some dinner and a bottle of brandy to finish off the night.

My brother Don and nephew Cody met us around noon and we all headed to the football game. Driving in Lincoln was not bad at all and we found a parking place and wandered around looking for a place to grab some lunch. There were crowds of people walking everywhere in their Neb. Red, headed to the stadium. After lunch Kathy and I walked to the stadium and up to row 96. We were definitely up at the top and it was all downhill after that including the football game. Nebraska football sucks! We suffered through the first half and left. Go Big Red in 2015! It might take that long to rebuild the team.

When we got to Massena, Linda had a houseful. Her parents, Cal and Wilma, Travis and Lacey and little Hailey. Her brother Mike and his wife. Her nephew Aaron and his wife and baby. They had just flown in from N.C. for a few days. We ate good food and opened the Cougar Creek Wine. Don setup his electric guitar and amp and started playing music. He and Travis rocked until about 2:30 a.m. Linda, Kathy and Lacey sang and Hailey danced.

We spent the next two days visiting, eating great food, a little brandy now and then. Mom, Kathy and I went for a walk in downtown Massena. Monday night we all headed to the casino in Council Bluffs for our last night.

We had the good fortune to have our flight changed to 6:30 a.m. Then Kathy left her cell phone at the hotel and our plane broke down in Denver. We finally got out of Denver and when we got to Spokane the flight attendant announced that we couldn't land in Spokane due to the fog and we were going to Pasco...........! Our fortune changed for the better when the plane turned and we flew back to Spokane to land.

We drove to Hope and had a chance to get some rest. What a great trip! Now it's back to work. Roasting tomatoes, applesauce, canned apple pie filling, the final stages of putting the garden to bed.

Two does in the field yesterday. We just need a buck to show up and we'll have some smokies.

The mandolin gals, Ellie and Ann, came over for a practice session. Ann and I practiced again today. They sound great! It is so much fun to make music together.

I'm at the bottom of the football pool again this week. My football picks still suck.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Grandbaby Ben

Ben Bug!

A Little Night Music in Hope - Sweet



Krewe of Cougar Creek Band

This photo was taken at our Clarkfork Dumpster gig.
We had band practice tonight at Neil and Ann's. Our band consists of several acoustic guitars, bass guitar, keyboard, recorder, two mandolins, banjo, violin, trumpet, trombone, tenor sax, accordion , harmonica and Julie with her new Djembe drum. The drum sounds awesome!
We have a very interesting mix of instruments and we have a great time singing and playing together. It won't be long and we'll be ready for our gig at Bear's Pizzeria.

Concord Rose' Wine 2008

Ok! The final bottle of 2008 wine has been corked! Since we have already started 5 carboys of 2009 wine, we were under extreme pressure to get the 2008 wine bottled. We did it! Whew!
I also made Huckleberry Jam and Plum Syrup. It was a fruitful day. :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bottling 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Concord Blend

White wine in the making

Plum Fruit Leather

Jon and I bottled 50 bottles today. It only took two hours to bottle and cork. The Plum Fruit Leather is in the oven.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

White Wine 2009

I started two five gallon vats of white wine today. The first is a Chardonnay Niagara Grape blend, the 2nd is a Elderberry Blossom and Niagara blend. I should have a nice selection of wine next year. Elderberry, Concord Blush, Concord-Elderberry, and the two whites.

We did a wine tasting of the three carboys we will bottle in a couple of days. They taste good. We should get 50 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon-Concord Blend and 25 bottles of the Concord Blush. Cheers!

Winemaking 2009

2008 Wine Tasting

The 2008 wine will be ready to bottle on Monday or Tuesday.
Brrrrr! 18 degrees. I hope all the hunters are dressed warm. I didn't hear any gunshots this morning.

Today's project will be to test the 2008 wine in the carboys. I have a carboy of Concord Blush and two carboys of Concord Cabernet Sauvignon.

I also need to check the S.G .of the 2009 wine to see if it's ready for the first racking into the carboys. All 3 of the new wines taste good. I like the Concord-Elderberry Blend the best. Once these are in the carboys, I will start the white wine.

If I have time, I might start making some plum fruit leather.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fall on Cougar Creek Road

A bright sunny day on the hill. Jon and I spent the afternoon in the sunshine picking all the apples on the Yellow Delicious tree. We picked twenty 5 gallon buckets of Red and Yellow Delicious apples and five gallons of plums. I don't think we're going to have enough.

I love the smell of the wood smoke coming from the chimney, the leaves falling to the ground in the breeze.

When we came in the house, I roasted some of the ripe tomatoes and some garlic cloves. Added some basil and oregano, olive oil.

I made my football picks for the pool, but so far my picks suck!

Fall Day

Another day and more apples to pick! What a season for veggies and fruit. Yesterday I canned a Plum Dipping Sauce that should be good with dumplings, wontons, etc.

Plum Sauce from Ball Blue Book guide to preserving
4 pound plums
2 c. brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 c chopped onion (about 1 med.)
2 Tbsp mustard seed
2 Tbsp chopped green chili peppers
1 (1/4 x 1 inch) piece fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp salt
1 clove garlic minced
1 c cider vinegar

Wash plums; drain. Pit and chop plums. I used my food processor. Combine remaining ingredients in a lg saucepot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Add chopped plums. Cook until thick and syrupy. Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust two-pice caps. Process 20 min in boiling-water canner.

Note: When cutting or seeding hot peppers, wear rubber glove to prevent hands from being burned.

The weather report said that we could get some snow last night. We have a clear sunny day and no snow, but Jamie says they have 4-5 inches in Kalispell.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I picked the flowers today as we are supposed to have 19 degree temp tonight. The last bouquet of summer.

Last of the Tomatoes

Baby Ben's Plum Sauce

End of Summer

It's finally happened, the first cold hard frost. It's time to say goodbye to all of the beautiful dahlias, rudbeckia, cosmos......they were so lovely. On the other hand, the days of harvesting, cleaning, cooking and canning are almost at the end. Whew! I am almost ready for those snowy days when I can just watch the snowflakes fall and read a good book.

Winemaking 2009

Jon and I picked two 5 gallon buckets of wild elderberries on Sept. 20th. I de-stem them and put them in my steamer/juicer to get two gallons of elderberry juice. The juice tastes really good. I picked a five gallon bucket of concord grapes this year and a 2 & 1/2 gal. bucket of white grapes. It's a poor harvest this year. Normally, we would have 5-7 five gal. buckets of grapes. I steamed the grapes and stored them in the frig until ready to begin winemaking project. I started the fermentation on Oct. 1. I am making 5 gal. of elderberry wine, 5 gal. of concord grape wine and 5 gal of a concord grape/elderberry blend.

Recipe: makes 5 gallons
Concord Grape
2 1/2 gal. grape juice at room temperature
2 1/2 gal water at room temperature
sugar to S. G. (Specific Gravity) 1.085 (around 15 cups) but you must test it
4 t.pectic enzyme
dissolve wine yeast in 1/4. cup water at about 100 degrees
Place wine vats in a warm room (75 degrees)

Sterilize all equipment as you work with the wine

Recipe: Makes 5 gallons
Elderberry Wine
2 gal. elderberry juice at room temperature
3 gal. water
sugar to S. G. 1.085
4 t. pectic enzyme
wine yeast dissolved in 1/4 c. warm water (see above)

The Concord Grape/Elderberry is a matter of taste. The elderberries have a strong flavor. I used 1 & 1/2 gal. of grape juice and 1 gal. of elderberry juice and added water to 5 gal. Sugar to 1.085. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out.

Wind Storm

Our Saturday night wind storm blew over some nice trees. Our power was out from 7:00 pm to the next day at noon. I had to go the basement with a flashlight to find our camp cook stove, the heater and most important, the camp coffeepot! I don't mind being with electricity but I'm older than dirt and there's an urgent need for coffee in the morning!

Celebrating the Harvest

The last of 42 jars of salsa. It's going to be a HOT 2010!

Tomato/Tomato Paste Salsa
from New Mexico State University

3 qt. peeled, cored chopped slicing tomatoes
3 c. chopped onions
6 jalapenos seeded, finely chopped
4 long green chiles, seeded, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 12-ounce cans tomato paste
2 c. bottled lemon juice
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp gound cumin
2 Tbsp oregano leaves
1 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 min. stirring occasionally. Ladle hot into pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner. 15 min at 0-1000 feet altitude:20 min. at 1,001-6000 feet, 25 min. above 6000 feet.

Important: Do not change ingredients or amounts in this recipe as it is important to have the correct amount of acidity, etc. for safe waterbath canning.