Believe It or Not!

Baker's Edge Brownie PanFrom the very start, our Edge Brownie Pans were so popular that we’ve had trouble keeping them in stock. We have always said the only thing that would improve this already high-quality item is if it were made in the USA (originally they were imported from China).  Dreams do come true, because this manufacturer has just announced that it has brought production BACK to the United States! So now you can have all the edge pieces you could want, baked to perfection in a USA-made pan.

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Hitzer Coal Stove – Daily Maintenance

It seems that readers of Lehman’s Country Life are interested in the Hitzer coal stove. This stove has provided us with some economical, reliable heat. You may have read my articles The Coal Chronicles – Book I and The Coal Chronicles – Book II, I will be continuing the series in the future. However I wanted to demonstrate just how easy it is to maintain the stove.

I am still working on my skills with the video camera and editing, Enjoy!

Of Trees and Table Cloths

Living at Natures paceGene Logsdon said one time that the way he planted walnut trees was to put walnuts in the ground and cover them. That makes a lot of sense, but it’s not a popular method and the reason is time. It takes years and years for a walnut tree to grow big enough to cast a good shade when it grows from a seed (nut).

Most people would never plant a tree that way.We plant dwarf trees that mature and bear fruit or nuts in a few short years. The faster, the better. It’s even hard to find full size apple trees in nurseries, and with the narrow hybrid selection of apples on the market, who can grow a real apple tree from a seed? Who would wait that long on a tree?

I was thinking about knitting a table cloth (One really does have to do with the other, honest!), and I was thinking that it would take a long time… Continue reading

The Coal Chronicles – Book II

I am going to write several blog entries, documenting my experience with the Hitzer coal burning stove. The following is the second entry. Oh and by the way, names have been changed (sort of) to protect the innocent. I recommend starting from the beginning with The Coal Chronicles – Book I

Hitzer Coal Heat Stove

Hitzer Coal Heat Stove

At this point I am feeling like the purchase of this stove is a good move for the family, especially our budget. I also feel that with Alan and Sharon’s help choosing the stove and Simon’s help installing the stove, that this is going to be a good thing – eventually.

Simon’s advice on where to put the stove and how to run the chimney helped me firm up plans on how to get the heat into the upper levels of the house. We had a plan to handle the coal and the ash, now we needed the stove. I got up the nerve and gave Sharon and Alan the green light to order the stove, this is an expensive move you know! We talked about the options:

How big? The 30-50 seems to be the right model.
You want a glass door? Yes, I like to see the fire!
Do you want gold trim around the door? For what?
Would you like one with a blower? Definitely!

Stove in the Warehouse

So Alan and Sharon ordered the stove and a few weeks later the stove arrived. I got word about the stove’s arrival and went out to the warehouse to see it. Not much to see, it was in a box stacked on top of another stove. Oh well, going to have to wait for the stove to make it to the house. Simon was nice enough to bring the stove to our house and put it in the garage.

Now we needed to get the stove installed. With Simon’s help we got the bits and pieces ordered for the chimney. It seemed like a lot of stuff, but Simon Says! These parts do not weigh much, so I was able to get them home without trouble.

The day came to install the chimney, I have to admit to being nervous, after all we were getting ready to pop a large hole in the basement wall of my house. Simon is obviously very good at this, he knew exactly what to do, from where to put the hole in the eave allowing for clearance requirements, to how to line up the chimney pipes, proper angle of the horizontal sections, aesthetics, and above all, safety. Continue reading

‘Butcher’ Your Meat Bill

As much as I would love to be a complete homesteader, it is just not possible right now. Sure, I do as much as I can so I do not have to rely on “the man,” but there are things I still have to do. I still must have some type of job, and I still must rely on the grocery store for some of my food. While I do plant a big garden (for food and profit) I must head to the store to buy my meat products. Luckily for me, I was a meat cutter for a number of years so I know how to save at the market. And you can do the same. Just remember a few tips and techniques and you too can become your own butcher – and save big bucks at your local market. Continue reading

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Planning Your Garden: How Much of What?

There is something about the new year, something about making it over that December “hump” that often shifts our thoughts toward the garden. Maybe it is the seed catalogs that begin to arrive in the mail, or the dwindling variety in the root cellar, or boredom with what the grocery store has to offer.

Nevertheless, early in the year, many minds will turn gardenward. Veteran gardeners will ponder what to plant and where they will plant it. They’ll mull over the peas and whether they should go near the potatoes or alongside the tomatoes, whether there should be sugar snap peas, or snow peas, or good old fashioned Lincolns. A few may think of shelling those same peas and wonder if they are tired of gardening while another bunch will anticipate having their very first try. Continue reading

Little Horse (The Chick)

After a couple of weeks of frigid weather, going out to the barnyard becomes a chore no one wants. That is until someone in the family comes in with a story about the little black hen who is hanging out with the equines! She offers the kind of entertainment you can’t find anywhere else. No matter how cold it is, the barnyard is really the place to be.

Our entertaining chick is eight months old, so one might think she should know by now what kind of creature she is. But she has come to be called “Little Horse” for a reason.

This chick was born last summer to an all-white chicken. The mother hen didn’t seem to be properly caring for her chick. At least that was the excuse the children gave for bringing her inside the house. For almost three months, the baby bird lived in a box for half the day and was carried around by the children for the rest of the time. Continue reading

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Magnum Cookie Sheet

Cookies Unbaked

Cookies Unbaked

My husband brought home this giant cookie sheet for us to try since we bake cookies so often. When I first saw the cookie sheet I was not sure it would even fit in our oven. A quick test before using it for the first time revealed that it would indeed fit, though just barely.

We made the first batch of cookie dough for the trial of the giant cookie sheet. We usually whip up some chocolate chip cookie dough each weekend, so that I can bake them and share them with my friends at West View Manor. I am impressed at how many cookies I can fit on the sheet, they turn out very tasty too.

Cookies Baked

Cookies Baked

Each time we make cookies, we try to make them better and the cookie sheet helps a great deal in that task. Not only does the cookie sheet fit at least 30 cookies spaced about 1 inch apart but they bake up evenly and are easily removed for cooling (we do use cooking spray).

The giant cookie sheet also cleans up very easily, usually requiring very little scrubbing. This cookie sheet does not seem to collect baking residue like some of our older cookie sheets have. It conveniently stores in the drawer below the oven when not in use. Continue reading

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