November 12, 2012

Cold Comfort

It has turned cold and wet here in Ohio.
Crops have been harvested, leaving the fields empty, muddy, and brown.
This time of year I warm my belly and my soul with bowls of rich stew created with the ingredients that I put up so lovingly in the summer.
But I'm not the only one looking for warmth.
When fields are harvested critters have to find new homes. This one built a nest under the inspection lid of my propane tank.
Unfortunately he's not a very good housekeeper. And I would prefer it if uninvited tenants didn't poop on my propane tank.
But I have to admit, I found it hard to evict this cute little fellow, especially after he winked at me.

August 26, 2012

Wink at the Moon

I've always wanted to live deep within a forest. It sounds cozy to me. I often think about what it would be like, being tucked away, amongst the towering trees. My imaginary woods would smell clean, yet musty, like mulch, and pine. There would be a long winding dirt lane leading to my cabin. (Yes, of course it would be a cabin.) Animals would pass close by, but the scarier ones, like snakes, and mother bears, would always keep an appropriate distance. I would never have to go very far for firewood, and I would not need air conditioning in the summer because the trees would keep me in the shade.

But every time I imagine this lovely forest, with all its amenities, I realize that I would miss being able to see for a long distance in every direction.

I love being able to see for a long distance in every direction! When there is a beautiful sky, it's a great big giant beautiful sky. I get to watch the sun rise (and set) for a long time in that great big beautiful sky. I like it that sometimes, when the weather is unsettled, I can see a different looking sky in every direction. (And I'm thankful that I can see the bad weather approaching for a long time before it actually gets here.) And I love it that on clear nights I can see the moon no matter where it is in the sky. At night, when there is darkness all around me, it is comforting to look up at that familiar old far away moon in sky.

Neil Armstrong grew up in Wapakoneta, Ohio, which is not very far from here. I wonder what he thought about, as a boy in Wapakoneta, when he looked up at the moon. And I wonder what he thought about it for all of these years since he stepped onto it's surface and uttered those famous words.

In their announcement of his death, Neil Armstrong's family has asked us to wink at the moon for him. They wrote: “For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

You can read their full official statement here.

So tonight, when I look up at that familiar old far away moon, I will wink to it for Neil Armstrong.

June 13, 2012

Three Years

Dear Friends,
This afternoon, out of the blue, it dawned on me that today marks three years since my very first blog post.

When I realized this, I decided that I just had to write you all a letter. Lately I have been seriously absent from blogging. I haven't had time to put up posts on my own blog and I haven't been able to visit all of the beautiful and creative blogs out there that inspire and energize me! A few months ago several events happened, one right after the other. These incidents changed the circumstances of my life, leaving me with a number of new responsibilities.

I'm still trying to learn to juggle these new things. And I'm obviously not very good at it yet. Lately this little blog has been lost in the shuffle of those other obligations.

Oddly, my blog seems to have a life of its own. It continues to have visitors, google hits, and some dear returning friends and readers, even when it lacks my own attention.I want to thank all of you for being so patient with me! Thank you for continuing to check in once in a while to see if I've posted something new, thank you for looking at old posts, and thank you for thinking of homegrown countrygirl once in a while... this means so much to me!

I'm going to try to put up new posts more regularly... but even as I write this I know that I will occasionally be tardy. So I'm just going to appologize in advance. It will probably take some time for me to get the hang of how to juggle everything.

Thank you so very much for visiting!

love, homegrown countrygirl

May 6, 2012


There are some really dramatic photos on the web of last nights supermoon!
I think there's a supermoon every year, each time the moon is the closest to the earth for that year. But when I heard that last night the moon was the closest to the earth that it will be until 2029, I thought I'd better run outside and snap a couple of pictures of it myself.

I took these pictures at dawn this morning, just before the moon set. The moon wasn't as close or as fantastic looking as it was in the night. And although these pictures are rather unspectacular compared to the amazing web photos, it surely was neat to see the moon looking so large in the sky!

April 27, 2012

Salted Caramels

These are home grown caramels if you make your butter from a milk animal.I don't have an animal to milk so I get my butter at the getting place.

If you can believe it I actually debated posting this recipe. The whole theme of this blog is about using home grown ingredients as much as possible... and this recipe, as I make it, uses exactly NO home grown ingredients.Thank goodness I came to my senses and remembered that I'm a rule breaker!One of the dangers charms of this recipe is that you might likely find every ingredient for it in your pantry at this very minute.Another charm of this recipe is that it makes soft buttery caramels with a touch of salt that practically melt in your mouth.Another charm of this recipe is that it is simple and fun to make.And the cute individually wrapped caramels are great for gifts or bake sales or for sending to far away folks.SALTED CARAMELS

1 cup of butter
1 pound of light brown sugar
1 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
a pinch of salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
a sprinkle of coarse salt

Heat butter, brown sugar, condensed milk, and pinch of salt in a large pot, stirring continuously. Caramel is done cooking when it reaches 260° on a candy thermometer. To know when caramel is ready without a thermometer drop a little bit of the cooking caramel off a spoon into cold water. It is ready when the caramel forms a firm ball in the water. (I found a nice description of candy cooking stages here.) Pour caramel into a buttered 9x13 inch pan and let cool slightly. Sprinkle a little bit of coarse salt on top (I use about a teaspoon). When caramel has cooled enough to handle pull it out of the pan and place it on a large chopping board. (Caramel is very malleable and will change shape as it is handled.) Cut caramel into fairly uniform sized pieces and wrap each piece tightly in squares of cellophane or wax paper. Simply twist the ends of the paper to finish the wrap.

April 14, 2012

The First Picture I Ever Took with my Cell Phone

This is the first picture I ever took with the camera on my cell phone:
It's funny what people think about you when you have a food blog. They think you know about things like food. And blogging.

Ha! I get lucky sometimes, with food. And blogging? Well, computer stuff is a constant struggle. So it's funny when people think I know something.

When I got a new cell phone last year it had a camera on it. I know the rest of the world was already abuzz with cameras on their cell phones. But this was the first time I had a camera on mine. I was intrigued, yet puzzled. I didn't know how it worked. One day, while walking in the pasture, I practiced taking pictures of turkey vultures (which are also sometimes called buzzards). I thought I would write a post about them.If you live in the United States you've likely seen these huge birds. Their wingspan can be 6 feet long. You notice it when one flies over your head.But this isn't a post about turkey vultures. It's a post about the first picture I ever took with the camera on my cell phone, remember?
After I took the picture I didn't know what to do with it. It was on my phone for months because I didn't know how to get it from my phone to my computer.

I finally asked someone.

He said, "Well you might have a little card in here..." He opened up a little flap on my phone and pulled out a fleck of straw and looked at me.

"You need a sim card."

"A what?"

Long story short, I finally learned how to get a picture from my cell phone to my computer and I'm so excited to know how to do this! I've already used my cell phone to take pictures of baby chicks at Tractor Supply Company and an Amish auction. It's so handy and wonder everyone was all abuzz... or should I say, "all a buzzard...?"