Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Throw Back Thursday Family Vacation

Since the trend right now is TBT (Throw Back Thursday), I thought I would take a trip down memory lane.  In 1957 I moved to Stoughton, Wisconsin with my family.  My dad was transferred there with his company from Black River Falls, Wisconsin.  Back then the company was called Nelson Muffler Company.  I was in fourth grade at West Side school.  It was a little bit traumatic for me.  We had moved a few times during my young years, and I wasn't looking forward to adjusting again.  First of all, Stoughton 4th graders had already mastered their nines in multiplication.  I hadn't gotten that far.   These days I think they do multiplication in first grade.  The most traumatic experience of all was Syttende Mai.  No one in my family had heard of such a celebration.  Stoughton is a community with a lot of Norwegian descendants.  They celebrate the day Norway declared its independence.  Syttende Mai means 17th of May.  We moved in February so I was thrust into training for the big celebration.  My mom had to come up with a costume, and I had to do a Norwegian dance with my class.  I had to dance with strangers.

I survived and my outfit was acceptable.

The following years in Stoughton were good, and we became used to our new town.  We lived across the street from some wonderful people.  My parents became very good friends with them.  They owned a resort on Lost Lake near St. Germain/Eagle River, Wisconsin.  The wife and children would spend the summer running this resort and the husband would come up every weekend after work.  We began going there for our summer vacation every year.  We made some wonderful memories.  We fished, we played softball, we rode horses and played in the water.

One of the rustic cabins.  I think they had twenty cabins to rent out.

Every morning we would travel to the other side of the lake to play softball with another resort.  All ages and all abilities were welcome.  Across from the ball diamond was a horse stable.  We rode horses a few times.  It was different back then and there were no digital cameras.  Very few pictures were taken.  I found this one of the family holding a pet raccoon they had at the horse stable.

Oh look at the fancy white socks.

We didn't have a lot of money for vacations so during that week (sometimes two weeks) we ate a lot of fish that we caught.  I remember late at night mom would be frying fish and potatoes.

I can still bait a hook, clean a fish and row a boat to this day.  One time I caught a 24 inch Northern Pike on a cane pole.  It broke the pole so I reached in and landed the fish anyway.  I never liked eating those fish because of all the bones.  We don't fish and my daughters have no idea how to catch a fish, but it is one of my wonderful childhood memories.

The last picture I am posting is of me and my sister.  It was taken much earlier than our St. Germain vacations.  I just thought it was so cute, I had to include it.  I guess most of our vacations included lakes and fishing.  Maybe that is why I ended up living in a log cabin and enjoying nature everyday.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pumpkin Pancakes and Crockpot Pumpkin Bread

Last Tuesday I wrote about our grandchildren camping at our house, and how we made Hobo Steak.

The next morning when it was time for breakfast, I made Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes.  If you like high gluten, cakey pancakes, these won't be for you.  They weren't really for me either, but my grandchildren really like them.  It is what my daughter makes, and that is what they are used to eating.

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes

4 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin
2 Tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
Optional:  1-2 Tablespoon coconut flour

Whisk the eggs with the canned pumpkin and vanilla.  Stir in the pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and baking soda.  Melt the butter or coconut oil and mix into the batter.  Grease the skillet and spoon the batter onto the skillet.  When bubbles form, flip the pancakes and finish cooking.

Pumpkin pancakes with real Maple Syrup

I had some canned pumpkin left over in the refrigerator from this pancake recipe.  I debated if I should throw it away or make something else with it.  I decided to make Crockpot Pumpkin Bread.  I posted a recipe for Crockpot Banana Bread several months ago.

I used the same procedure for baking in the crockpot for this recipe.  

Crockpot Pumpkin Bread

3/4 cup canned pumpkin
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick of butter, melted
1 cup of chocolate chips.

In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin and cream cheese.  Mix in the eggs, butter, and sugar.  Then add the flour, baking soda and cinnamon.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spray the bottom of the slow cooker or the crockpot baking pan.  Pour the batter into it.

Cover and cook on High for 3 hours or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool and slice.

Pumpkin bread cooling on a plate.

Can be eaten with butter, whipped cream or plain.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Update on Whooping Cranes, Deer and Other Stuff

There isn't much going on these days.  Summer is coming to an end and our grandkids are going back to school tomorrow.  The Baltimore Orioles are still here.  They are busy eating a lot of grape jelly in preparation for there long migration.  The hummingbirds are fighting and competing for nectar from the feeders and flowers.

The Trumpet Vines have taken over the flower garden again.  I wrote about how invasive these plants are even though they are beautiful in a controlled situation.  The Hummingbirds love them.

We tried to dig out the roots of the trumpet vine but they came back with a vengence.  I don't know how we are going to handle this situation without killing the other plants in the garden.

The trail camera has had the usual sightings with one exception.  We have a buck come every night with a very unusual rack.  One antler is perfectly formed and the other is malformed.  It is curved.  This ugly set of antlers may save this deer during hunting season.  A lot of hunters only hunt for trophy deer and not for the meat.

 For those of you who have read this blog, you are familiar with a doe we call Limpy.  I thought she might have had a fawn this spring, but she has been showing up alone.  Her hind leg has atrophied to a skinny little leg, but she manages to get around just fine.

Limpy may not have fawned this year, but our other two girls both had fawns.  One had twins.  Their fawns spots are almost gone, but it looks like they all made it through the summer.

Did you know a baby fawn pees like a dog?  I guess, how else would it do it.

The Sandhill cranes are being really really noisy.  More and more are showing up although it will be at least a month or more before they decide to leave for the winter.  We have the training ground for the new class of Whooping Cranes about three miles from our house.  I'm still hoping to see some show up in our marsh.  Yesterday we heard that six from last years class and two from 2012 showed up at the training grounds, so I know they are in the area.  Every time I see a white bird, I get the binoculars.  It is always an Egret, but you never know.  We have perfect conditions for them to visit.  Princeton Wisconsin will be the location for the Whooping Crane Festival this year.  

I have written about the Whooping Cranes many times.  You can use the search box to read those stories.  They are so beautiful, and it is so interesting to follow the progress of them from hatching to their migration to Florida.  You can follow them in a blog written by the people of Operation Migration.  Then at the end of September you can follow the long migration to Florida with the help of the ultralight aircraft.