The Super Secret Secret to Getting Stuff Done

Quite often when I tell people what I have been up to I give them the short list and as far as I can see, it’s not much. Yet I tend to get a surprised reply of “how do you find the time?’ or “I wish I had that much energy.” Well, let me tell yah, it’s not that I have a never ending supply of energy or that I don’t get tired. There are days that I wonder how I made it home from work. Scary I know. You know you’ve been there too, you know the way and could get there in your sleep and sometimes do.

It’s not a matter of so much cardio and the perfect amount of sleep and all those things that the health magazines tell you. They do help, but there’s more to it than that. It’s motivation. It’s the drive to get up in early morning hours to “get stuff done”. It’s the daily and weekly “to do” list and the need to get it done.

It most certainly is something that everyone can do. The whole “if it were easy everyone would do it” is bologna. It takes practice and the feeling that you want to do it. It’s got nothing to do with difficulty. How difficult is it to fold a load of laundry? For most people it’s a very simple task and still not everyone does it. Those that want things organized and put away do it, (or have their wives do it) not those that sit back and think “gee it sure would be nice if …”.

I have always been busy but I wasn’t always motivated to get things done. There is a difference. So many people race to get here and there and at the end of the day can’t seem to think of a single thing the actually accomplished aside from going to work or picking up groceries. That is where the “to do” lists come in to play.

A good list will keep you on track. At the end of the day you will have a piece of paper with all sorts of things crossed off and can see exactly what you got done and what will have to be added to tomorrows list. You only have to fall behind a couple times on your list to understand that it needs to get done or tomorrow (and possibly days after) will be affected. At that point you have the choice to give up or to decide that you will put in a little more effort.

For my lists I like to have them organized, which sometimes means I write a list and then rewrite it to get the “kitchen stuff” together, the “barn stuff” together and so on. I also include any craft or fun project I want to work on. Everything that I hope to accomplish for the day goes on the list. I need to think about a nap category; that might be nice. This way as you are working on one task you know what the next will be there is no time wasted wandering around trying to remember what you were going to do next or deciding what to do. You already have your plan set. Just get to it!

A good list is like new exercise program. You can print off as many programs as you want but they aren’t going to get you in shape. You still need to do the work to see the results. Your “to do” list is the same way. Write as many as you want, color coded, categorized, sprinkle it with glitter if you want. You just wasted good time glittering a list of things that are actually needing to be done. Good job. Take the time to get organized and then get to work. That sparkly list isn’t going to complete itself.

Motivation is not something that can be taught in a book sense but I do think it can be learned in a working sense. If you start small, make a little list for the day. Get everything on your list done by the end of the day and look back on what you accomplished. Let that feeling of accomplishment drive you to try again tomorrow. You also really have to want to accomplish your list. I mean really want to. Just like anything else, talking is just that, it doesn’t add up to anything but noise. The cliché “actions speak louder than words” although over used, is true.

So now you have your list, your motivated and “I will start tomorrow”. Just toss your list at that point.

Start today.

Sitting on lunch break making your list? Make one for the remainder of the day. Then start writing tomorrow’s if you want. Starting tomorrow really doesn’t work for too many people. You go to bed all motivated and ready to get started. When you wake up, are half asleep, “oh that list thing, I will start later” and so it begins. The next thing you know you are going to bed and haven’t touched the list because you forgot to start “later”. Start now. Diets don’t need to start on a Monday, neither does a “to do” list. Besides the sooner you start the sooner you’re done.

I think I may have perfected my “to do” list/ Daily planner organizing. I will continue to give it a trial run for a while. If it proves effective I will make the print outs available to you. Daily planners with time slots have never done me much good. I don’t make that many appointments in the day (if any). I do have a rather lengthy list that needs to get done. I have managed to come up with a system that keeps everything in it’s category and even includes a meal plan! It’s great!

I remember on Saturday mornings, mom would work and it was up to dad to get things going around the house. We used to ask mom to tell dad to let us sleep in. “Get up! You’re burn’n daylight!” was what I remember him saying. At the time I was not happy about the wake up call. Now, I can’t believe he let us sleep in as late as he did! The amount of time I wasted sleeping in when I could have been doing something, oh boy. I now find that I am telling myself “get out of bed, or you will just waste a day”. It’s still about as well received as it was when dad would say it, but it’s true and so I get up.

At this point I am pretty sure that even though I have the drive, the motivation and a well organized list, I am still running on perpetual motion and coffee. :)

To do list

 

All in a Day’s Work

Go to work, for a long shift, plow snow, do animal chores, haul a little firewood, deliver a baby, make supper. Just a normal Tuesday on the farm.

I know over the years I have unintentionally, we will say “given Mike opportunities” to do things that he never would have guessed he would do. Own a farm, raise his own livestock, tend a garden, deliver his daughter. That’s right, he delivered our little girl last week. The midwife was on her way but baby decided not to wait.

I share a lot of what goes on around here but the stuff that is the most “close to home” I like to keep “close to home”. I want to share this story because I am so amazed and proud of my husband.

I hadn’t been feeling real great Monday night to Tuesday, but by the time it was time for me to go to work Tuesday night I was feeling better, so in I went. I figured it was only a 4 hour shift and not strenuous by any means, there was no reason not to go. I had been there about an hour and a half when I began to feel uncomfortable again. Slight contractions but mostly uncomfortable. A bit later a co-worker asked if I was going to make it through my shift. I had planned to but wasn’t totally sure. A half hour later I headed home, knowing the roads were terrible and the drive would be a slow one. I needed to be able to walk to my car and drive home and if this was labor I didn’t want to be stuck at work. (I can see the hospital from my office window but had no intention of ending up there.)

Mike was working an extra long shift due to the snow we had been getting and wasn’t home when I arrived. I called him to say I was home. Then I called Rebekah, the midwife,

“I think I’m in labor. I know the roads are awful and I would hate to have you come on a false alarm but if you don’t mind, it might be a good idea to head this direction.”

(She was only 1 1/2 hours away. Much closer than when our little boy was born.) She was on her way with her apprentice within 15 minutes and had called a second apprentice to meet her here as well.

I called my dad to see if it was ok that the little boy stayed a bit longer.

“That’s just fine. Call if you need anything; I’ve pulled a lot of calves in my day!”

We had a good laugh. (It’s not the first time I have been likened to a cow. Some might take offense, but hey, if the shoe fits! Haha!)

I decided to try to relax by taking a hot shower. At some point Mike arrived home and checked in to see how I was doing.

“I’m fine.”

He was headed out to plow snow and take care of the animals.

“Flash the porch light if you need something.” (He wouldn’t be able to hear the dinner triangle in the truck.)

When he got back in from chores I headed upstairs. He was getting things from the birth kit (supplies ordered and on hand for home births) ready for when Rebekah arrived. Checking in every little while on me and on the phone with her giving updates.

M:”She said she’s doing good. She hasn’t been able to time contractions yet.”

R:”Has her water broke yet?”

M:”Has your water broke?”

A:”No.”

M:”No.”

R:”Ok, you have some time then.”

A:”My water broke.”

After that I’m not sure how the conversation went. Mike kept checking in and preparing.

M:”Are you doing ok? Going to make it til she gets here in about 45 minutes?”

A:”I’m fine. I will make it… I’m sorry, I know you didn’t want to catch but you’re going to have to.”

M:”I see that. I’m just looking for gloves.”

A:”They are in the… You don’t need gloves!”

M:”Okay!”

Two quick pushes.

M:”Well do you want to know?”  “It’s a girl!”

I held her as he cleaned her up. He called the midwife with the update. We had a half hour or so and used the time to let our parents and siblings know.

The ladies arrived and did their midwife thing and helped clean up. My parents brought up the little boy for a quick visit and brought supper. Mike got that going and the night went on. For how he handled everything, you would think this was just a regular Tuesday night.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, “Everything works out as God plans it is to be and there is never a dull moment on the farm.”Baby

We are very thankful for Rebekah Knapp for her prenatal care and venturing out to help us on delivery night. A thank you to Molly and Karissa too! All wonderful women to work with.

 

The Book Shelf

One of my hap-hazard book shelves.

One of my hap-hazard book shelves.

I have a ever so slight book problem. I made mention of my cookbook collection a while back, but the book collecting isn’t limited to those. Every time I take up a new interest or just have a question about something I feel the need to get a book. I may do a quick web search to tide me over but eventually the question will end up in a book.

I like to read, but if I sit down to read I need to be able to feel like I am not wasting time. By reading something non-fiction, instructional, reference or something where I am learning something, the guilty feeling of “doing nothing” goes away. I am learning. Not every book I own I buy into the full truth of it, but I usually find some bit of information that is useful. I like to read different views on the same topic at times as well. Looking up the references a book uses can lead to more interesting reading also.

Someday the we are planning a built-in bookshelf that is floor to 12 foot ceiling. When that happens our books are going to be so organized even the library will be jealous! I can hardly wait for that day to come. As of now, we have a few bookshelves that I try to keep somewhat categorized at least but that just doesn’t always work either.

I started a “short” list of some of what’s on my shelf as of now. The cookbooks, I am not ready to admit just how many are actually there; a five shelf case dedicated to cookbooks that is overflowing is where we will leave that. As time goes on and I continue to collect, you can find the running list of my “reference” books here.

The Book Shelf
Some of these fall into multiple categories, in which case I just picked one.

Animals
The Back Yard Cow, Sue Weaver
Storey’s Guide to Raising Beef Cattle, Heather Smith Thomas
Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, Gail Damerow
Storey’s Guide to Raising Horses, Heather Smith Thomas
Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs, Kelly Klober
Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry, Glenn Drowns
Storey’s Guide to Training Horses, Heather Smith Thomas

Babies and Family
A Christian Guide to Childbirth Handbook, Jennifer Vanderlaan
Beautiful Babies. Kristen Michaelis
Ina May’s Guide to Child Birth, Ina May Gaskin
Smart Martha’s Catholic Guide for Busy Moms, Tami Kiser
Special Delivery, Rahima, Baldwin
What to Expect When You are Expecting, Heidi Murkoff

Food
Artisan Cheese Making at Home, Mary Karlin
Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, Michael Pollan
Fields of Plenty, Michael Ableman
Home Cheese Making, Ricki Carroll
Natural Wonder Foods,
Wild Fermentation, Sandor Ellix Katz

Gardening and Farming
Carrots Love Tomatoes, Louise Riotte
Complete Guide to Gardening, Better Homes and Gardens
Garden Wisdom and Know-How, from the Editors of Rodale Gardening Books
The Heirloom Life Gardener, Jere and Emilee Gettle
Home Grown Whole Grains, Sara Pitzer
New Garden Book, Better Homes and Gardens
Seed to Seed, Susanne Ashworth

General “How to” and Homesteading
These are good starting points for some fun projects and ideas.
Country Wisdom and Know-How, from the Editors of Storey Books
Encyclopedia of Country Living, Carla Emery
Little House in the Suburbs, Deanna Caswell and Daisy Siskins
The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading, Nicole Faires

Health and Nutrition
Breaking the Vicious Cycle; Intestinal Health Through Diet, Elaine Gloria Gottschall
The Gerson Therapy, Charlotte Gerson and Morton Walker D.P.M.
Natural Relief for Anxiety, Edmond J. Bourne Ph.D
Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon
Nourishing Traditions; Book of Baby and Child Care, Sally Fallon

Leather Working
The Stohlman’s Encyclopedia of Saddle Making 1, Al and Ann Stohlman
The Stohlman’s Encyclopedia of Saddle Making 2, Al and Ann Stohlman
The Stohlman’s Encyclopedia of Saddle Making 3, Al and Ann Stohlman
To be continued…There’s more on the shelf.

Other Reading (non-fiction)
The Bible
Montana Women Homesteaders: A field of ones own, Sarah Carter

 

 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies Made With Crystalized Honey

Yes, another cookie recipe and Oatmeal Raisin at that. They are another “healthy” cookie as far as I am concerned and these ones are among the top.

If you have ever bought raw honey, you have most likely had at least a little crystalize on you. It’s ok when this happens. A hot water bath and it will be good as new. I tend to buy raw honey a few gallons at a time. While it’s still fresh and in it’s most liquid state, I portion it into jars for easier handling. In time, the honey crystalizes.

Crystalized Honey

Crystalized Honey

The first time I had wanted to make these cookies my butter was froze, so I had to wait. The second time I tried to make these the only honey I had left was solid. I wasn’t waiting any longer for these cookies.

To hell with it! Solid honey it is!

They actually turned out really well and I have been making them like that ever since.

Oatmeal Raisin

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, made with honey
1/2 c.      Butter, at room temperature
1 c.         Honey that has crystalized
1/4 c.      Molasses
3 ea.       Eggs
1 tsp.      Vanilla Extract
1 tsp.      Baking Powder
1/2 tsp.   Fine Sea Salt
1 tsp.      Cinnamon
2 c.         Whole Wheat Flour
2 1/2 c.   Old Fashioned Oats
1 1/2 c.   Raisins

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, honey and molasses. With the mixer on low, add the remaining ingredients in the order listed. Mix to combine. Scoop the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

*This dough keeps well raw in the refrigerator or freezer for baking later.

 

I Was Going To…

They say women get what is referred to as “Pregnancy Brain” when pregnant and it gets worse the farther into the pregnancy they get. “Bologna” was my thought to this. I am usually one that has my act together. I have my lists all organized, any paperwork is done timely and filed as needed, the house work and chores are done and everything runs pretty smoothly.

I think I need to retract my “Bologna”. Now my lists are a jumble, assuming I remembered to write one and know where it is. List’s most certainly help. If I can remember to keep my list from the day before I can “copy and paste” in a sense: Breakfast, Laundry, Dust, etc..

My phone, who knows where that is these days; some days it’s on the counter, other days I will find it tomorrow (if I notice it’s missing). “What’s for supper?” has been answered with a blank stare and then “pancakes?” more often than not lately. Chores, yeah, it’s a good thing I’m not in charge of that right now. I turned the kitchen upside down last Sunday looking for my favorite stone pie plate. I never freeze anything in it because it’s my favorite and I use it a lot. Even my husband joined the search. I finally gave up still a little worried about it. It was found, froze with the chicken pot pie I had put together a few days prior. The list goes on…

Some speculation is that this happens because the mother-to-be is consumed with thoughts of what needs to be done or gotten before baby arrives. Some say it’s due to hormones or something. I don’t know which it is, but I don’t think it is the “baby thought” theory. Everything we need, we have, at least the basics to get us through the first bit or so. As far as I can tell there is nothing going on up there right now. I think I could shake my head and loose a few more marbles if there are any left to loose.

Last night my husband was reading something about what guys should know about pregnancy. Of the few I remember, she will move much slower than usual, it takes a lot for her to do simple tasks and she will forget everything, even the simplest most routine things- gone. I don’t remember where I was going with this (not kidding, lost it).

I’m just going to sit here for a bit and plug my ears; try to keep in anything that might be left.

To be continued…?

Bathing Chickens

I have yet to have a need to actually give my chickens a bath. The little boy is not old enough to be in 4-H or FFA, so there is no chicken showing and we don’t have a bird worthy of an entry in the county fair either. But just as any animal does, chickens need to get clean too.

On their own, they take dust baths. This seems a bit contradictory if you as me. But there is good reasoning behind their method. Chickens wiggle and flutter around in loose dirt, the finer the better it seems. When outside, they will dig holes, wallow in them and in sunny spots take a nap. They work the dust into their feathers and when done they give a good shake and leave a cloud of dust around them. By doing this they are able to control any excess moisture or oils on their skin. It clean feathers, allowing them to control their body temperature and keep their feathers healthy and injury free. Feathers broken in the right spot can bleed and for the 100th time that is not good. This also helps rid them of fleas, mites and parasites.

During the summer it is quite easy for the girls to find a good dusty spot for a bath but in the winter this is a whole new challenge for them. During another “after church coffee” conversation my Great Uncle Bill said they used to toss out their wood ash for the chickens to bathe in. I had been putting our ash for the girls and was glad to hear that I was on the right path. I found an article where they had mixed their wood ash with sand and diatomaceous earth (DE). I was leery about adding the DE to the ash because it can cause some serious respiratory problems and when its super cold out I don’t want that wafting about the coop. Ash can cause respiratory issues too so it should be used with caution. The addition of sand to the ash gives it a little weight and in theory, helps. I however, am not going to start buying sand just to add to the dust pan.

In our coop, I have placed a pan, about the size of a small cow lick tub, in which we put our wood ash. The pan was the dish I used to coax Lucy with grain. She won’t mind it the chickens use it now. It works really well. When it’s super cold out I put the pan inside the coop; on the nicer day’s it goes in the outside run. Those are the days there is a line of birds waiting to get their bath in.

Using wood ash has some advantages all it’s own too. The ash contains vitamin K, a blood clotting agent. The tiny bit of vitamin K that the birds can get from the ash may be all they need to stop bleeding quickly should they break a feather or get a scratch. Ash also contains calcium and magnesium. It is also naturally removes toxins from their system (people take charcoal supplements for such purposes as well). The charcoal or ash will work as a laxative (one reason I have not tried the supplement myself), it will move impurities out of the body and rid their system of harmful internal worms too.

Just because there are so many positives with using ash doesn’t mean it will be completely harmless. I just mentioned it can cause respiratory issues, so keep an eye on your birds when using ash; especially if you are not mixing it with sand. Another thing to give some thought to is lye. Wood ash makes lye in the right environment, just add water. Personally, I would not let my chickens play in an ash pan that has been rained in. I soak hides in wood ash and water to remove fur, I don’t want to start removing feather like that. In the case that a pan gets a good watering, dump it out, rise it out and start again with fresh ash.

There are many beneficial herbs that can be added to the ash as well. The two that I have used are rosemary and thyme. Both are said to help clear respiratory problems. I haven’t gotten to deep into the herbs for chickens yet so that might have to be a discussion for after I do some more research and trial and error.

A dust bath... Still a few missing their tail feathers unfortunately.

A dust bath… Still a few missing their tail feathers unfortunately.

A Table to Share

TableThe last dining room table we had was 100 years old. Over the years the extra leaves were lost and to top finally glued together. All but 4 of the chairs had disappeared along the way as well. So many meals were share at that table over the last century, countless stories told, some filled with roaring laughter and others tears. That is the beauty of a table and a meal. Our table sat 4 comfortably, there were times that we had at least double that squished around there. A rouge elbow may have ended up in someone’s mashed potatoes every now and then, but we were together.

It never mattered who showed up at the door, hungry or not a place was set and they ate.

Two years ago I received a chop saw for my birthday, with it I proceeded to build a book shelf in the living room. I admit it wasn’t the smartest place for a construction project but it turned out nice. Kind of a crate/pallet style shelf you could say. After that I was on a roll.

It was time for a new dining room table. I had always envisioned a long farmhouse style table with benches (it’s easier to squeeze more people at the table on a bench than with chairs). I searched online for plans that were simple enough for my amazing carpentry skills. I found the perfect ones and it was complete an extension on each end in case extra space is needed. I measured the floor and “Yep, it will fit perfect”.

I showed the plans to my husband and he reluctantly said “ok”. As he looked over the plans and questioned whether or not it would fit, I brought him the tape measure and told him he could check but I’m pretty sure it will fit.

“I think we should shorten these plans, by about 2 feet and we can think about the extensions when the time comes. I will give you a hand with this.”

Knowing how my impressive carpentry skills are I decided to follow his advice. The next day he left me the truck and to the lumber yard I went. Picked up all the wood for the project.

When Mike got home he checked over my purchase and gave it a rather… um… disapproving and funny look.

“What?”

“You bought stud grade lumber. Some of this has holes and deep knots. This one even has a slight twist.”

“And?”

“Nothing.” as he shook his head and sighed.

We started cutting pieces and screwing them together. Each piece he let me inspect to see which had “prettier” knots and which end they should go on. Slowly we got the table and benches assembled.

table

I sanded off the “stud grade” stamps and smoothed out the rough spots. On two sides I burned “Give us this day our daily bread”. A simple reminder that today we only need enough for today. Tomorrow we can again ask for enough to get us through the day. I should have put a “fishes and loaves” inscription on there. The amount of times I have prayed for one of those miracles is… well… plenty.

Let me explain. There is a story in the bible where Jesus feeds a thousand people with a few fish and a couple loaves of bread. I would think they had to be small whales and huge loaves of bread but the little sketches only show tiny little fish. So now when we keep adding a place at the table and I’m not sure if we will have enough to fill everyone I ask for a “fishes and loaves” miracle. Every time, everyone goes away full.

The table was stained, sealed and moved into the dining room. Good thing we went with Mike’s measurements rather than mine. It fit perfect, any bigger and we would have been sitting in the living room too.

Bench

When we bought the farm, we were worried that the table wouldn’t fit in the dining room again. There was talk of taking it apart and shortening it. Considering I had planned to make it two feet longer and with extensions I wasn’t too fond of the shortening idea. But I would rather that, than the scrap the table all together. It was only a few months old. Again, it fit. It’s a little tighter fit than the last house; any longer and one end would be eating in the bathroom and the other in the living room.

“Can I get the mashed potatoes down here?”

“What do you need toilet paper for?”

“Mashed Potatoes not chicken!”

“Will tissue work?”

So the room isn’t that big but you can see the problems that could occur.

It doesn’t seem to matter what size table we have, it always gets filled. There is somehow always enough food to go around and enough people to squish onto the benches and leave me searching for more chairs. I find great joy in setting a meal of any sort on the table surrounded by friends and family. Some nights the stories start flowing and laughter rolling. Other nights it’s a smaller crowd with a quiet meal after an exhausting day of setting fence posts or baling hay. We have already had so many great memories sitting at the table and I know there are many more to come. It really is a wonderful blessing to have and share a spot at the table.

Table

Tales of the Pregnant Farmer- The Passing of the Pitch Fork

Pitch forkWell, it’s official. I have taken a temporary “leave of absence” from barn chores. My hard working husband now has to work even harder for a little while. It has been a little over a week now. He is doing a great job; not that there was any doubt. I did the chores as long as I could but with only a couple weeks left it was time.

The other day he cleaned the barn out really good. When he was done he came to the house to have me come out and see. It was so nice outside! He let me put the fresh straw down for the cows. That was nice. I got to feel like I helped a little, even if it is a job that our little boy could handle.

We took a walk out in the corral and checked out the herd; all three of them. Everyone is doing well there.

Mike cleaned the chicken coop too. The girls are all looking good and happy too. They were lined up for a dust bath outside.

Now we are just waiting…

Caramelized Onion Pierogies

I admit I had never had a pierogie until I met my husband. In fact I had never heard of them until then. After having the store-bought ones I was on a mission to make my own. They couldn’t be that hard. It’s basically a mashed potato filled ravioli. I can make ravioli. When they are homemade there are many more filling options too.

Perogie1

I began working on what I would call a traditional filling; onion and cheddar. It was good. Nothing too exciting. Then I moved to this one. It is still in the traditional realm, but has a little more flavor as far as I am concerned. Since then I have made them with blue cheese and bacon instead of the onions. I also tried one with some spinach and chevre cheese too. Both were delicious! I measured nothing in those recipes, so the next time I make them, if I remember to measure, I can share those filling recipes too.

The filling recipe below is double what is needed for the dough listed. I did this for a few reasons:
1. It is easier to work with a medium sized batch when you are learning something new. Too small can be less forgiving and too big, well who needs that much on hand.
2. I like to make the pierogies, but I also like to use the filling in a few other things. It works well in a pot pie recipe I came up with, as well as making potato patties.

Perogie2

When I make pierogies, I use my pasta roller to roll the dough and my ravioli cutter to seal and cut them. This means mine are square not the traditional half circle shape. They do sell these, what look to be handy, little pierogie cutter/maker/press things. It would require rolling the dough, cutting it into circles, placing one circle on the “press” at a time, filling the circle and pressing. I won’t say I don’t want one, because I do. But in a time sense of things, the ravioli cutter is much faster. I only have to roll dough once, because there is no extra scrap to reuse. I can also fill all 40 pierogies at one time.

Once they are all filled and ready for cooking, they can be cooked right away and eaten or froze raw to be cooked later.

Caramelized Onion Pierogies
Makes approximately 40 pierogies with filling to spare

Filling
1 ea.        Yellow Onion, medium sized and chopped
4 ea.        Garlic Clove, minced
1-2 tbsp.  Olive Oil
1 1/2 lb.   Potatoes, pealed, cooked and mashed
2 ea.        Eggs
1/2 c.       Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt

In a medium sauce pan, warm the oil. Sauté the onion until it has just started to caramelize. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onion is fully caramelized.
Place the finished onions in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the remaining ingredients.
Whip the filling until everything is well incorporated and the potatoes are not lumpy.

Pasta
2 c.       All-Purpose Flour
1 c.       Dark Whole Wheat flour
1 tsp.    Fine Sea Salt
2 tbsp.  Butter or Lard, melted
1 c.       Water
2 ea.    Eggs

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the water, eggs and butter. Add the flour and knead until smooth. This will be a soft but stiff dough. Set the dough aside to rest for 15 minutes.

Assembly
Divide the dough into two. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough “pasta” thin. One piece will make the tops and one for the bottoms. I like to use my pasta roller for this. The settings on mine are 1-6. One is the widest setting. I start with one and quit on 3.
Once the dough has been rolled thin place about a tablespoon or so of filling on one of the halves. Space the filling evenly.
Place the second piece of dough on top. Using a ravioli cutter and cut each pierogie.
If you space the filling carefully there will be minimal trimming, leaving next to no extra. This way you don’t need to re-roll any dough.

Cooking
Mike is usually the one in charge of cooking the pierogies. I tend to have them burnt on one side and ok on the other or under done or any combination of. But he warms a sauté pan and add a little butter; enough to coat the bottom of the pan and keep them from sticking. Place the pierogies in the preheated pan and sauté until they are golden brown on each side.

Serving
We always accompany these with sour cream (and hot sauce).

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Notes on This Recipe
*When making the filling, make sure everything is room-temperature. If the potatoes or onions are too hot, they may cook the eggs. Not good.
*The filling can be made days ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.
*The filling recipe listed makes twice the amount needed for the dough recipe.
* The flour can be all all-purpose flour or all whole wheat if you choose. You will need to adjust the water accordingly.

You’re Not Supposed to Swear on Sunday

If you really want to get into it, you’re not supposed to swear at all but it seems worse on a Sunday. One Sunday however, I made an exception… It’s supposed to be a day of rest and that already went out the window. I had a barn to clean, a coop to clean, the house to clean, baking to do, this list went on. Little by little I was making some progress.

FlourMill1

I was into the “kitchen” portion of my list, the room was a disaster as I had chicken bricks mixed up, little boy lunch going, my husbands lunch going, bread to start and so on. I ran downstairs to get the flour mill going, because of course I had ran out of flour. Filled the hopper with grain, plugged it in and ran back up to the kitchen.

A short while later, this horrible smell started to waft through the house.

My first thought ” why does my coffee taste bad all of a sudden?”

I went down to check on my flour and then the explicits started to fly. My flour mill was radiating the stench that was filling my house and ruining my coffee. Not only that but it was smoking, not because it was grinding wheat super fast. Nope. It was not doing anything but smoking and stinking.

Why not add a little fuel to the fire…

After I unplugged the mill, I tried to remove the grain filled hopper, carefully. That went well. I had grain everywhere…

Oh what a beautiful day it was.

Now, that little mill is as old as the hills. It’s got a well seasoned mill stone and the rest is heavy cast iron. It worked so well and I loved it. I used it a lot. To replace it would cost at least $700. You know, pocket change. Ha! To have it fixed may not be worth it though either. Then the thought of replacing it, if I’m going to spend the money, I want something of the same “hundred year” quality, but with a bigger capacity. For how often I use this one, something a little bigger (twice the size) would be really nice.

(sigh)

I think I will be adding a mill to the “Save For” want list. Until then, I have some plans to make a hand mill, not that I want to use one of those frequently. It may be time to give making one of those a try.

That’s what I get for working on a Sunday…

FlourMill2