Sunday, October 18, 2009

Surprise guests

A little Sunday morning "where's Waldo" exercise...can you find 3 deer in this picture?

(*HINT*) They're all leaving....

This is the only one that really came out of the weeds so that we could take a picture of it yesterday. So pretty. They came up quite close to the house. We usually see their footprints, and their -ehm - droppings, but not themselves - except on the road!

After it was dark out last night, we were sitting in the living room together. SOMETHING BIG walked into one of our picture windows...I could see some light and dark shapes, but couldn't make out what it was. I turned on the outside lights to find that it was one of our neighbour's cows! He was here with several of his closest friends, probably quite disappointed that we don't have much around here by way of grass. They didn't seem to like the light on, and didn't hang around long.
Other wildlife here? Youngest and I saw a brown bear with two cubs in the last week or two, heading up toward our area from the road down below. We haven't seen too much evidence of them in the yard, but I haven't gone down the hiking trail in a while, either. We've had some bear poops up at the top of the driveway, but no fresh tracks around the house.

There's a flock? gaggle? murder? of wild turkeys that is often on the side of the road as I head up the valley to work in the morning. I almost hit one a few days before Thanksgiving weekend...we joked that I could just wrap it in tin foil and put it on the manifold to cook it up for dinner! In all honesty, though, I'm as afraid of hitting the darn turkeys with my van as I am the deer. I don't think it would cause as much damage to the vehicle, but I don't want to stand in for the grim reaper with any critter, no matter how big or small.

No elk sightings yet this fall, but there is evidence on the south side of the property that we're still on their daily path. I'm surprised that our big dog has not ensured that they find a new route.

Happy fall weekend,

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Apple pie filling

My Mom and Dad shared their apple bounty with me - THANKS!

I spent a couple hours last night and this morning making Christmas gifts of canned apple pie filling (be forwarned, family and friends) and thought I'd share the recipe...

4.5 C white sugar
1 C cornstarch
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp salt
10 C water

Combine in a large pot, mixing well. Cook until thick and bubbly. Remove from the heat and add

3 Tbs lemon juice.


Peel, core and slice
6 lbs apples ( I used about 8 lbs for each 7 L of finished filling, but many of the apples were small)
I put mine into a sink full of cold lemon-water as I worked so that they didn't get too brown.

Pack 1 L jars with apples, leaving about 1/2" head space.

Fill the jars with the hot syrup and gently remove air bubbles with a knife.

Put lids on and process in a hot water bath canner for 20 minutes.


I made a pie from the leftover bits of yesterday's jars and this morning's jars using a pre-made pie shell.

If you wanted to do this with pre-made shells (from the grocery store freezer section), make sure you buy a 2 shell, deep dish box.

Let the two shells thaw on the counter for at least 15 minutes, then pour the contents of one jar into one of the shells. Unmold the other shell onto the counter top so that it flattens out a bit.
Place the flattened shell on the pie , pinching all around the edges. Cut a few vent holes in the top, and bake in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees, then bake another 25-35 minutes, until the pie is lightly browned on top and the crust is flaky.

Let it rest for 15 minutes or so before cutting into it...serve with ice cream, or cheddar - or, with my dad in mind, BOTH!

Happy Sunday,