Friday, June 30, 2006

Antique Tractors

These are just some of the more than 98 antique tractors which are participating in the Sesqui Antique Tractor Ride today. They start in West Bend at 8:00 a.m. and travel to three surrounding towns before coming back here for supper tonite. We took Quinten out to look at them last night - he was terribly impressed. It's odd to see these venerable machines next to today's monster tractors. They barely make it to the new guy's wheel wells!

Some of them are extremely valuable due to the fact few were ever manufactured. In the case of the Cockshutt, there were only 600 tractors made. The one next to the Farmall (I can't remember it's name) is an earlier model of Cockshutt.

Back in the days when these guys were in service, farms were a lot smaller. I can't even imagine trying to farm 1200 acres with one of these. I'm sure that every farmer on this ride feels the same way. But, for one day, it's great to relive a bit of the past. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I apologize for my lack of posts recently. Our small town has had a double tragedy - two men have been killed in less than a week of each other. Two women, two friends, have been suddenly left alone. Steve died June 9 when the semi he was driving crashed full-speed into another semi, killing both drivers. The day he was buried (June 17), Dean was driving his tractor out to cultivate his field and was hit by a train. His funeral is today.

Every wife is thinking the same thing. The town is reeling with shock. Both men were much loved by many, many people. I can't really think of much else to say.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

This Week's Meals

I was going to list everything we ate this week, but by Wednesday I realized that all I was doing was cleaning up left overs. It wasn't until yesterday that I actually dug into the freezer and cupboard and put together a meal.

From the freezer I found two poached chicken breasts, a bag of garden tomatoes from last summer and two bags of Italian style shredded cheese. I decided to roast the tomatoes a la Creampuffs in Venice (thanks Ivonne!) to deepen their flavor before adding them to the dish. From the cupboard I used a head of garlic (which I roasted along with the tomatoes) and a box of lasagna noodles that had been in the cupboard forever. The recipe I used called for a can of cream of mushroom soup and a bit of milk. This was a mistake. Even with adding the roasted tomatoes and garlic the dish still tasted like every other chicken/cream of mushroom soup/noodle/cheese recipe out there. Not bad, just bland tasting. This is really too bad because I could just as easily have made an Alfredo sauce to use.

In addition to the chicken lasagna we had a salad made from our garden lettuces and green onions with some cut-up radishes from the 'fridge. Dessert was banana bread made from a bag of cut-up bananas I found in the freezer. I don't remember when I put them there, but the bread tastes pretty good, so I'm pleased.

"Shopping from the freezer" is what someone over at eGullet called it, which describes this process perfectly. It's sort of liberating, knowing that you are using what you have instead of just buying more stuff because you don't know what you have. I know...I know... I need to make and keep a list of everything that goes into the freezer and cupboard. That's definitely on my "to do" list. As a secretary you'd think I'd be more organized in my own home.

And so the challenge continues to use what I have. I think I'm making some progress here.

Monday, June 12, 2006


I'd never even heard of these bars before I moved to West Bend. To me bars have always seemed like a lazy cook's cop-out for making cookies. However, this past Friday was the Chamber's annual Fireworks Golf Tournament to raise money to buy fireworks for our 4th of July celebration. Of course our office was on the committee, which meant I had to make a salad and a pan of bars to take to the club for the golfers' meal. Now I understand the reasoning behind this "bar" phenomenon - they're fast and easy to throw together. You don't have to waste time baking batch after batch of cookies. And they're transported to the event in the pan they're cooked in. Can't get better than that! (In other words, I've learned what thousands of harried working mothers have known for a long time.)

I figured this might be a good time to try something out of our new Sesqui cookbook so I chose Scotcheroos. If you like to eat Rice Krispie bars and a Hershey bar at the same time, these puppies are for you.


1 cup sugar
1 cup light Karo syrup
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
6 cups Rice Krispies
1 (6 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips
1 (6 oz.) pkg. butterscotch chips

Melt sugar and syrup together, add peanut butter and butter. Barely bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add Rice Krispies, mix well and press into a 9 x 13 inch pan. Melt chips together and spread over top.

Pretty simple, really. By the way - the salad got eaten but these came back home. Something about beer and bars just doesn't seem to mix. Luckily kids absolutely LOVE these things, so the grandson is happy. I now have half a bag of generic "crispy rice cereal" to use up but I am definitely not making any more bars! Well... at least not until the next fundraiser.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Old Foodie had a great idea. She suggested I list the ingredients I have to work with in the coming week's personal challenge. Then, perhaps, if anyone were so inclined, they might suggest a recipe to use with the ingredients I have on hand.

So, without further auido... auideu.. whatever, here is what I have on hand:


The usual suspects - canned corn, green beans, asparagus, beets, sauerkraut, peas, pizza sauce, enchilada sause (green and red), canned soup, pasta, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes (with various spices - Italian, Spanish and plain), potatoes, one sweet potato, garlic, pears, pineapple, orzo, rice, packaged potato mixes, spaghetti sauce, various pickles and condiments and (of course) spices.


Eggs, milk (I will, of course, replace milk as needed), salsa, carrots, celery, asparagus, parsnips, radishes, wine, opened jars of pickles, salsa, jelly, half and half, relishes, horseradish, mayo, mustard, ketchup and salad dressings.


Who the hell knows!!! Fish, for sure (haddock, cod and others), shrimp, crab, scallops, vegetables (lots of different kinds), nuts, flour, raisins, ginger, frozen soups, lots of different vegetables (home grown and otherwise), sausages (andioulle and summer), peppers, rhubarb, various cheeses. (I realize I've repeated vegetables - that's my problem.)

As you can see, I have the makings for many, many meals. They might not all be meat based, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. So, dear readers, any suggestions?

P.S. Ok... all right! I mispelled peas! LOL Got to admit, it was funny though. Now... give me your recipe, smart alec!

Challenge - Use What You Have

I have just decided to do a personal challenge this week. From today (June 11) through Saturday (June 17) I am NOT GOING TO BUY ONE FOOD ITEM! Each week we throw out enough uneaten food to feed a third world nation (OK...maybe one family in a third world nation) and I am absolutely appalled at my waste. My cupboards, freezer and refrigerator are stuffed to overflowing with food and I refuse to buy another thing until some of this stuff gets used.

So, during the coming week, I am going to challenge myself to cook meals using what I already have. This may be tricky as we still have our 6 yr. old grandson with us, but I think I can figure out things he will like which will be tasty without resorting to breakfast cereal for supper (although pancakes may figure heavily for breakfast).

I'll post the results daily. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Posted by Picasa
I have a confession to make - I LOVE Iceberg lettuce! If I hear one more person dissing my Iceberg telling me it has "no nutritional value", I'll... I'll get really mad. Nutrition be damned! To me Iceberg lettuce is a comfort food. Growing up, if you didn't raise lettuce in your garden (and let's just say Mother wasn't exactly into gardens), then if you wanted a salad, you ate Iceberg lettuce. Aunt Della had a HUGE garden, but she didn't waste precious space and effort on growing lettuces. Potatoes, carrots, onions, beets and the like were grown because she could put them up when harvest time came. Even though she was old by the time I came along, she still maintened her canning garden.

Needless to say, until I grew up and started gardening for myself, the only lettuce I ever ate was Iceberg. I do love the beautiful lettuces I grow now. Even their names are so cool: Oakleaf, Black-seeded Simpson, Red Fire. They make such a pretty and tasty salad. Using Iceberg as the base, of course.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


In small towns and big cities across the country summer means baseball. Kids everywhere are taking to the fields, parks and vacant lots to take part in this timeless tradition. We are so lucky that West Bend has an excellent T-Ball program for kids age 5-8. The parents volunteer to coach and many towns-people show up to watch the kids learn how to play ball. I was thrilled to find out that they actually pitch the ball before using the T to get the kids used to being pitched to. It's surprising how many of the young ones can actually hit the pitched ball. They also rotate the positions each child plays so they get a feel for every position.

As well as learning the game, the children also learn sportsmanship. Everyone takes a turn batting, catching and throwing. Then, at the end of the game, they line up to "congratulate" their opponents with a high five and a "good game". Small towns especially rely heavily on sports for activities for their children. I can think of no better activity for a 6 year old to partake in than summertime baseball.

In the picture there? That's my grandson, Quinten, hitting it out of the park! He's a natural. But, why wouldn't he be - his first word was "ball"! Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 05, 2006

1966 Impala SS

Posted by Picasa
Look at Jay's "new" car - a 1966 Impala SS. It was sitting in some farmer's garage for 20 years. This guy bought it brand new from Elbert's Chevrolet. He parked it in 1986 and never drove it again. The body is in fairly good shape (considering) and Jay plans to completely rebuild the engine. He's not even sure whether it will start in its present condition.

He wouldn't tell me what he paid for it, but he had a little smile on his face while talking about it. Whatever it was, I'm sure he feels he got his money's worth. He now has a hobby that will probably take him years to get running and looking cherry.

Man - does this car bring back memories!