Wednesday, January 30, 2013

a Little Taste of Summer

I am sitting here at the Cottage waiting for a Peach Pie to bake.  The smell is divine!  The peaches came from a farm stand last fall and if I remember, they were some Palisade Peaches, a much prized Colorado delicacy.  We are having a potluck at church tonight  and this is the dish I'll bring so I'll have to wait to get a taste.  Pure torture!

To help pass the seemingly endless winter on the Prairie I have pulled out my trusty Elna sewing machine and have been working of various projects.  I had friends over a few weeks ago and we made pillow cases.  If you haven't made any you should, they were super easy and fun.  I made these for my Ever So Handy Husband and he was thrilled!  I'm making another set soon just for me. 

The sunsets and sunrises still thrill me no end out here on the Prairie.  This sunset was taken just the other day and the following morning the sunrise was just as spectacular!

On Monday, we celebrated Little Black Brindles' one year anniversary of coming to live at Prairie Cairn Cottage.  He may be the "rescue" dog but he truly came to rescue me.  I look back at how despondent I was over losing our little Wheaten Cairn and I realize how much my new little Cairn has helped me these past 365 days.  Good Boy!  Smart Boy!  Brave Boy!

Tabby has taken to sleeping in the sun coming in the patio doors in the Morning Room.  I swear he is 6 feet long when he stretches out.  You KNOW a cat is relaxed when he exposes his belly while sleeping.  He makes me laugh when he sleeps this way!

And lest you think the chicks have flown the coop, here is a recent shot of them practicing being free range birds.  My Ever So Handy Husband has not been able to finish the coop he started late last fall, which is just as well since we decided it was way too small anyway.  So the poor dear birds are still in their temporary, just for the summer coop!  I've been a bit worried about them and have done a lot of internet searching about winter care.  One person wrote in and asked if she needed to put in some supplemental heat in her coop and two people from Alaska both wrote her back and said they don't have any type of heat in their coop and they get very, very cold there.  That made me feel a bit better but when I went out to open their coop for the day and the thermometer said it was minus 15 degrees I was a bit apprehensive until they strolled out as if it were a nice day in July!  It was just as the Alaska chicken keepers said, they don't need extra heat as long as they get acclimated to the cold, remember they are wearing down coats!
Such are the mid winter days at Prairie Cairn Cottage.  A little sewing, a little baking, a lot of warming ourselves in the sun coming in the cottage windows.  Thank you for visiting with us today and come back soon!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Now that I have a better understanding of how this new computer works and finding the program I needed for my camera, I can finally share a few pictures from our Christmas.

What do you do when it's Christmas time and you have two new critters in the household?  Make stockings for them of course!  I took a tracing on freezer paper from another stocking that we had and got the basic shape I was looking for.  For Little Black Brindle's stocking I found the cutest terrier fabric and lined it with a basic red.  Having never sewn a stocking before, let alone a lined anything, I was very pleased with the way both stockings came out.  Tabby's stocking was a cute collage of different breeds of cat.  Both stockings served their purpose very well and if I get ambitious I may embroider their names on the cuff (probably not!).  If you're wondering, the chicks didn't get stockings.  Before you get upset, they did get Christmas presents of dried meal worms and a suet block, just no stockings. 

As you can see from the top picture of Little Black Brindle we had let him get a tad unkempt.  He was shouting, "Don't take my picture!  My hair looks awful!" So New Year's weekend we gave him a grooming session, mainly around his face, tail and skirt.  After his date at the spa and he was dried off; we were relaxing in front of the TV when he drags my camera off the sofa and hands it to My Ever So Handy Husband.  MESHH picked the camera up and Little Black Brindle stood in front of him and posed for this picture (I kid you not!).  He said to tell you he feels much better about his looks now that he's back to looking like a proper Cairn.  He also wanted everyone to see his favorite Christmas present.

Tabby wanted to let everyone know he spends his days in a nice warm bed positioned just right to catch the warm rays from the winter sun.  Santa Cat brought him some Christmas toys but his favorite present was an even nicer bed than the one in this picture.  No longer having to hunt for his dinner he is becoming one very spoiled cat but he has taken on the jobs of keeping mice out of Prairie Cairn Cottage (and is doing an outstanding job of that) and keeping Little Black Brindle in line.
Life at Prairie Cairn Cottage has taken on a soft, relaxing pace.  We are spending our days inside out of the bitter Wyoming winds and taking in the beautiful landscape that God has placed all around us.   We hope you are also finding peace, warmth and beauty in your surroundings.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Elderberry Syrup

With all the coughing and sneezing we've been hearing in public and the reports of flu all across the country I've been a bit worried about catching something.  Last year I read about Elderberry Syrup and it's health benefits and how it aids our bodies in warding off viruses; I bought some and had a fairly healthy winter.  The cost was exorbitant though, I think I paid $17.00 for a 4 ounce bottle.  I recently read on the Mary Jane's Farmgirl Forum two different posts about making your own Elderberry Syrup and I just finished making a batch.

This is the recipe I used (a combination of both posts I read)

1 cup dried Elderberries
3 cups water
3 small slices of dried ginger root (you can use fresh and to taste)
1 tsp. cinnamon  

Mix the above 4 ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil.  Lower heat and let simmer 1 hour.  Strain the juice into a jar (the berries will stain so you might want to use an old cloth);let cool slightly then squeeze the cloth to get all the juice from the berries.

The recipe then calls for 1 cup honey (or to taste).  My finished juice was palatable enough that I didn't feel the need to add any sweetener.  I did add 1 T alcohol; I used vodka, the recipe called for brandy but since it's there only as a preservative I don't think it matters what you use; the other recipe didn't call for any alcohol. 

Store the finished syrup in the refrigerator.  Take 2-3 T daily.

My Elderberries cost $2.38.  The rest of the ingredients would add to that cost but not much.  I got 2/3 cup of juice which is roughly 5 ounces, even if you add $1.00 for each of the other ingredients I used it would still only cost me $5.38 for 5 ounces.  $17.00 for 4 ounces or $5.38 for 5 ounces.  I think we've saved some money here.

Thanks for joining me here at Prairie Cairn Cottage.  We pray for a healthy cold and flu season for you and us.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Beginnings 2013

Goodbye 2012 and welcome 2013!  I always find it a bit sad to say goodbye to the old year and somewhat fearful of the new one.  This year I'm welcoming 2013 and look forward to what it has in store. 

Santa brought us a new computer and little did we realize that they no longer come loaded with even basic programs such as a calculator let alone photo capabilities so I can't share any pictures right now.  But we now have Internet at the cottage so it should be easier to keep in touch.

Winter has set in on the prairie.  It came three days earlier than the calendar indicated and we've been blanketed with snow ever since.  The temps went from pleasant high 40's to the very cold low 20's.  We even got snowed in for a day and a half right before Christmas.

Now that the holidays are done for a while and we are choosing to, remain indoors most of the day we are looking forward to seed catalogs and planning to create the lush garden of our dreams.

So from all of us at Prairie Cairn Cottage, we pray for a blessed new year for you and yours and hope for many visits from you this coming year.