Friday, February 29, 2008
Well, he called her a couple hours later (bless him; HIS cell phone is EASY to use!) and told her the cookies were ‘awesome’. Now if only she had measured and recorded what she did…
Actually, here is the recipe for anyone brave enough to give it a try:
Scratch-nut Creek Special Sandies
¾ C butter (approximately)
½ C golden brown sugar
½ C white flour
½ C whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp vanilla
Cream butter and sugar, add remaining ingredients. Roll into balls, flatten on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for approx. 12 – 15 minutes. Allow to cool. Spread one cookie with chocolate frosting, (or jam) and make a sandwich with a second cookie.
The Bag Lady used chocolate frosting because she had some available. She apologizes to all the dieters out there… It doesn’t make very many, if that’s any consolation!
Have a great weekend, all!
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Her new phone has a camera in it. She doesn’t need a camera in her phone, but you cannot get a cell phone now without one. At least, that is what the salesperson told her.
She went a little crazy and splurged on a new ‘bundle’. Not only will her phone allow her to talk to people, she can see who is calling and decide whether she wants to talk to them. She also has voicemail now, which she didn’t have before. And she has text messaging. She has no idea how to make that feature work, and she really doesn’t have anyone in her life to text message with, but if she ever wants to send a text message, she has the technology! Her nephew has text messaging, so perhaps she will enlist his help to teach her how to use it. Then she can text message him. He’ll be thrilled.
She really only wanted a basic phone. Something to take along in case she has trouble on the road. Of course, if she has trouble on the road, it’s practically a guarantee that she’ll be in a no-service area! Cell phones are handy come haying time, too. The Cowboy can call her when he needs something brought to him in the field. A few years ago, the Bag Lady bought him a new phone. He broke down in the field, so he called her to bring him some parts. When he was finished with the phone, he set it on the tractor tire. The Bag Lady brought him the parts he needed; he fixed whatever was wrong, and set off again. Yup, you guessed it. He forgot his brand-new phone was on the tractor tire, and he ran over it.
So the Bag Lady will try not to run over her new phone, and just as soon as she figures out how, she may send a text message to her nephew. And perhaps take a few shaky pictures. As soon as she figures out how. And she may even use it to call someone. As soon as she figures out how. She is really hoping no-one ever leaves her a message, because then she’d have to figure out how to retrieve it. She may have to take it over to the elementary school and have a first-grader show her. Of course, if she can't find a first-grader, and can't figure out how to use the phone, she just may be tempted to run over it...
Friday, February 22, 2008
(Isn't that the sweetest expression on his face? Just soaking up the sun!)
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Between Hilary and............Hilary.
And here's one she took when the moon was first rising:
She probably should have cropped out the farm equipment in the foreground, but I guess it's too late now...
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
1. Just Another Float in the "Hay Pride Parade".
2. Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons go Country with "Chair hay, chair hay baby. Chair hay, Won't You Come Out Tonight."
3. "The Bag Lady was to accompany the Cowboy on his ride into town. Evidently, she baled."
4. A local hay farmer was arrested for driving this over-sized load of hay, but he'll soon be out on bale.
5. I know the guy who invented the round hay-baling machine. He made a bundle.
6. Wide Load?
7. Is that a Lawn Chair?
8. What the Hay? I knew I shouldn't have left my lawnchair there.
9. Looks like someone left the lawn waaaay too long.
10. "Here we are at the first-annual Hay Hauling Competition. Oh, my, it looks like someone got caught up in the excitement..."
11. You can imagine I baled out of that chair pretty quick!
12. The Bag Lady knew that no matter how he approached it, the driver was never going to be able to fit those big hay buns onto that little metal chair!
13. (late entry) "Told Pa not to sit up there...."
Please leave your vote in the comment section some time today, and the Bag Lady will announce tomorrow which caption everyone thought was the most appropriate. Thank you all for playing along with the silliness!
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
The Bag Lady has a neat little feature that informs her when someone is calling her when she is on the Internet. It’s called Internet Call Director, but she prefers to think of it as Interfering Call Demander. A little green screen pops up and the computer makes a ringing noise. This invariably happens when she is attempting to up-load a photo onto her blog, which seems to take forever anyway! She will have been waiting and waiting; gone to the bathroom, gotten a coffee, vacuumed her living room and negotiated a peace treaty between two small Balkan States; then, just as she thinks the photo is finally going to appear, that little green screen will pop up! Now, the little green screen is also kind enough to tell her who is calling. Most of the time, she will disconnect from the web and take the call. And most of the time, it will be someone who recognizes the fact that she has been on the Internet, so their first words will be “Were you on the computer?” (Unless it’s the Cowboy, who will add a few choice words about the devil’s tool, and the end of the civilized world as we know it…) That question always makes the Bag Lady want to lie: “No, I hired that woman to screen my calls to make people ask that very question…”
The Call Demander has several features that the Bag Lady does not take advantage of, partly because of her smart-ass tendencies. There are 6 options: answer the call, tell the caller she’ll call them back, send it to voice mail, or play one of your own recorded messages. The Bag Lady has never recorded one of her own messages because she a) is afraid of what she might say, and b) isn’t that busy that she can’t answer the phone. She really thinks there should be one more option – IGNORE! Because she can see who is calling, and can recognize when it’s a telemarketer, she really wishes she could just tell the Call Demander to ignore the call. But her Internet Provider doesn’t have that much imagination. If the little green screen tells her someone is calling her from Michigan, she knows that it’s a recording exclaiming about the latest sales at WalMart or Macy’s or somewhere, and she really wishes she had a “f**k-off” option. Of course, the recording wouldn’t know the difference, but it would certainly make her feel better!
She doesn’t have voice mail, either. She has an old-fashioned answering machine that works just fine when she is away from home. She figures it doesn’t make sense to pay her telephone company even more money for them to take messages for her. Nor does she have call-waiting. That, to her, is just one more example of rudeness. To have call-waiting on your home phone is like telling all your friends that yeah, okay, I’ll talk to you, but if someone else is trying to get through, I’m going to put you on hold because it might be (someone I like better), er, important. In the Bag Lady’s experience, if it’s that important, they’ll call back. If it is “life and death” important, the operator will still break in and tell you there’s someone trying to reach you! When the Cowboy is talking to someone who puts him on hold to answer another call, he hangs up.
The Bag Lady doesn’t get so many phone calls that she needs any of those things. Call waiting would be a complete and total waste. Why, when she gets perhaps 3 calls in one day, would she think they would all be calling at once? And that’s what busy signals are for! The Bag Lady likes to think that occasionally, someone will try to call her and get a busy signal, which would then make them believe, mistakenly or not, that she actually has a busy life!
Perhaps she should remove the Interfering Call Demander from her computer so that people will get the occasional busy signal…nah, she might miss a call…
Sunday, February 17, 2008
She also sprinkles essential oils inside the cold air returns when she is finished vacuuming them. When the furnace comes on, the house is filled with a lovely scent - this time she used a Kiwi/Strawberry/Melon combination that reminds her of spring.
She also got a bit of a work-out by washing her floors. She has carpet in the living room and the bedrooms, and has linoleum in the remaining million square miles… She washes her floors the old-fashioned way, using a string mop (yacht mop) and really, really hot water. The Bag Lady is ashamed to admit she doesn’t wash her floors as often as she should. She finds it discouraging to go to all that trouble and turn around to find the dog and cats have left little footprints all over her nice clean floors! So in between thorough washings, she uses one of those Swiffer wet pads to wipe up any mess. She has linoleum that looks like black and grey marble tiles, so the dirt doesn’t show as much as it would on a lighter floor. The Cowboy picked out the flooring, bless his heart – he knows how much the Bag Lady despises housework!
One good thing about living in this part of the country – it is traditional to remove one’s shoes when in the house. The Bag Lady has heard rumors that there are places where it is common to leave your shoes on in the house! In this part of the country, the seasons aren’t conducive to leaving your shoes on – we have snow boot season and rubber boot season - "winter" and "mud" (or, if you are driving somewhere, "construction") - neither set of footwear would be welcome, even on the Bag Lady’s mostly black floors!
What about where you live? Do you leave your shoes on in your house?
Friday, February 15, 2008
The weather has gone from that insanely cold minus 54C to a promised high today of plus 4C (roughly 45F). The Bag Lady is definitely not complaining. She will be quite happy if the weather stays mild for the rest of the winter. She has had enough of the cold.
Yesterday morning, her dog (the Princess) tried to rid the yard of the evil birds, as usual, but she was also quite distraught about the moose that was bedded down out by the driveway! She barked and barked, but is experienced enough to know not to get too close. Moose are rather cranky critters, and have put the run on her more than once. A moose is quite capable of killing a dog, or at the very least, wounding it severely, so the Princess keeps her distance. Rather than chase the moose, she will annoy it to the point where it finally gives up and leaves!
This morning she had yet another invader in her yard. She almost knocked the door down in her haste to get outside this morning and scarcely waited for the Bag Lady to open it before she was tearing down the driveway in hot pursuit….of a stray cat. The Bag Lady really must give that cat points for persistence. He belongs to the neighbour a quarter mile down the road, and divides his time between the Bag Lady’s place and her mother-in-law’s place a mile on the other side of the neighbour. The Bag Lady isn’t sure how much of his time he actually spends at his own home. And she fails to understand the attraction here. Both of the Bag Lady’s cats are neutered males, so there is no opportunity to do what comes naturally…
The Bag Lady has heard that there is also another cat in the neighbourhood, but this one is much more dangerous and worrisome than the stray tomcat from next door. Apparently this one visited a place a couple miles down the road and rid them of their pet Pyrenean Mountain dog! For those of you not well acquainted with dog breeds, the Pyrenean Mountain dogs are very large dogs, standing roughly 30 inches tall (at the shoulder) and weighing between 100 to 125 lbs. The owners heard a disturbance in the night and arose to discover that a cougar had killed their dog. This worries the Bag Lady, not only because of her own dog, but because there will soon be calves around her place.
But there are always wild animals around. There are coyotes, and wolves, and occasionally, bears. Many years ago, the cowboy’s father shot a bear that had been bothering his cows. The bear had climbed a tree, and when he was shot, fell to the ground. Father was astonished at the cows’ reaction. Bellowing and roaring, they attacked that bear carcass and literally stomped it and tore it apart until there was nothing left! Father just shook his head and went to the house.
The Bag Lady hopes you all have a great weekend, and don’t encounter any wildlife…well, unless you are looking for it…
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Happy Valentine's Day!
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
And feast your eyes on this:
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Around 1925, the Bag Lady's grandparents decided to move further north from their home in Central Alberta. Their house had burned down one day while they were in town, and they lost almost everything they owned. So they loaded up their meagre belongings and headed out for wilder country around the Athabasca River. They homesteaded at a place north of The Athabasca River on the Klondike Trail.
Not far from their homestead were the ruins of the camp left by those prospectors years before. The Bag Lady's father told her that when he was a child, there were a couple log buildings still standing, and the graves of two children.
To the best of the Bag Lady's knowledge, this is a photo of one of those abandoned buildings, taken around 1930.
This is a photo of the one-room school the Bag Lady's father and brothers attended. (this is included for the benefit of missicat, in honour of her grandmother.)
One of the Bag Lady's uncles told her that when he was a child, the natives still used the trail on their annual pilgrimage to Lac St. Anne. He can remember the natives would walk through the bush, silently appearing, and just as quietly slip away again.
Thus ends the history lesson for today. Sorry for any inaccuracies or blatant lies!
Monday, February 11, 2008
The Cowboy has seen an owl hanging around the hay-stacks, which would be like Buffet Royale for the owl – the stacks are full of fat little mice. The Bag Lady has never seen the owl (it must be a man-thing to see owls, as proven by Bunnygirl in her post over the weekend), but Baggie has seen the tracks of what is probably a weasel weaving amongst the bales.
There is a herd of elk in the neighbourhood, too. This is not a welcome sight for ranchers as elk can decimate an unprotected haystack in the time it takes to write this. The herd that the Bag Lady sees every morning in the field across the road is increasing daily, so she is very happy that she and the Cowboy fenced their haystack to keep them out. Keeping them out of the haystack is one thing, keeping them away from the area where we feed the cows is another. If we get a lot of snow that makes it difficult for the elk to forage, they will start chasing our cows off their feed.
We also have coyotes who pass through the yard. Their mournful cries fill the air, causing the Princess much distress. The Bag Lady isn’t sure what their message is, nor is she sure the Princess understands it, but the Princess feels compelled to answer the call. Unfortunately, sometimes that call is in the middle of the night, waking the Bag Lady from a sound sleep!
Oh, and one more little wildlife story the Bag Lady must share…a couple years ago, she was helping the Cowboy do some repair work on some equipment, and had to go into her mother-in-law’s pumphouse to find a tool the Cowboy needed. She was searching the gloom for said tool when she felt something smack her on the hip. It made her jump, and her automatic reaction was to brush it off. Her eyes finally adjusted to the gloom and she looked down to see what the heck had hit her. There on the floor was a stunned-looking little bat! She must have startled him as much as he did her. He managed to crawl into a pile of rags for cover. The Bag Lady found her tool and left him alone. Bats eat mosquitoes, and the Bag Lady hates mosquitoes far more than she hates bats! That little guy managed to startle a few more unsuspecting humans who ventured into his domain, but survived all the encounters.
What about the rest of you? Had any walks on the wild side lately?
Saturday, February 9, 2008
The Bag Lady has been hearing a new noise in or around her house lately. For the last week or perhaps even 10 days, she has been hearing a strange chirping sort of noise. Occasionally at first, she thought it was her dog. Her dog makes a lot of funny little half-whining noises. The dog snores, whines, yips, talks and vocalizes an amazing variety of funny sounds. But the Bag Lady has been hearing this noise when the dog is nowhere to be found. When she is in her office, the sound seems to be coming from behind her, which is the sunporch, or outside. When she is in bed, it also sounds like it's coming from either outside or the sunporch. Now, her sunporch is just a glassed-in, un-heated space that doesn't get used at this time of year - especially when the temperature is as cold as it has been the past 10 days or so!
The noise kinda sounds like a bird chirping, and is very intermittent. It is definitely not something that is regular, because she spent one night counting in between chirps (yeah...crazy...it was keeping her awake!) and there were varying intervals. It can't be a bird - they don't chirp all night long. At least, the birds in the Bag Lady's neighbourhood don't!
She is going to bundle up and go out to the sunporch and try to determine what is causing this chirping, insanity-inducing noise.
After all, it's -51C this morning, and she can always go to the other end of the house where she can't hear it!!
She is determined to discover what is causing this. It's driving her nuts. (more nuts than usual, that is!)
But she might just wait until it warms up. The way it's going, that'll be sometime in April...sigh.
Friday, February 8, 2008
The Bag Lady is getting just a wee bit tired of winter. Oh, what a liar she is!! She’s totally and completely fed up with this freakin’ cold weather and wishes it would just go the hell away!! Sheesh.
She has used up all her coping methods for this type of weather – one can only stay inside and not look out the windows for so long! There are things that absolutely must be attended to that require bundling up and actually leaving the house. And when the Bag Lady says bundling up, she means it. Long johns, jeans, heavy socks, T-shirt, shirt, heavy jacket, boots, gloves, ear-muffs and scarf.
One good thing about the cold weather is that she gets to see a lot of birds. She has 3 birdfeeders in her yard that attract all kinds of birds. Yesterday she had Pine Grosbeaks, Common Redpolls (as opposed to the unusual ones…who named them, anyway? Is that common as in ‘trashy’, or what? They seem like perfectly nice little birds – well, okay, a wee bit competitive, but hey…), Nuthatches, Chickadees, and Downy Woodpeckers.
She had to rescue a chickadee from her sunporch yesterday. She’s guessing one of the cats caught it, took it into the sunporch through the hole in the screen door, then lost hold of it. She has no idea how long the poor little thing was stuck in there, but it must have been awhile, because he really wasn’t all that difficult to catch. She tried opening the door and guiding him out, but he must have been very confused by all the windows. He finally just gave up after crashing into the glass several times, and allowed her to pick him up and carry him outside.
She doesn’t want all of you to think she is a total whiner. (She casts her mind about, desperately trying to think of something positive to say about the cold weather…)
Oh, she heard somewhere that if it stays cold long enough, it will kill off the Pine Beetles that have been decimating our forests. Unfortunately, that “long enough” part is something like “below -40 for three weeks”. Tough little bastards. Tougher than the Bag Lady, ‘cause if it stays that cold for that long, well…
Don’t get the wrong idea. The Bag Lady doesn’t mind winter, it’s the extreme cold that she hates. And the bad roads. And the snow. And the…you get the idea. She doesn’t like extreme heat, either though. She liked it when she was younger, but now that she has her own little tropical vacations (every damned day, several times a day!!), she prefers the temperate zone.
Goodness, this has certainly turned into a bitch session. Sorry folks. What about the rest of you? Tell the Bag Lady about something good happening to take her mind off her troubles!
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
After the Bag Lady’s parents left the farm, her father’s parents moved into this house. When her grandparents died, Leah’s family moved in. The house underwent a few renovations through those years, but remained basically the same.
Sometime in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s (the Bag Lady’s memory fails her, but she’s sure that Leah will set her straight in the comment section!), Leah’s father built a brand new house and the old house sat empty.
The house was eventually demolished, but the tree remained for many years.
The last time the Bag Lady stopped in at this farm, which has now passed out of the family, she barely recognized the place. The ‘new’ house that Leah’s father built is still standing, but even the tree is gone now. Big steel grain bins stand where the house and tree stood.
Monday, February 4, 2008
Here are some of the Bag Lady’s favourite things. She knows you will be totally fascinated by this…right?
The smell of fresh-baked bread.
The smell of coffee brewing.
The smell of rain after a dry spell.
The smell of freshly cut hay (or, for you city folk, grass.)
Watching new-born calves. When they learn how to jump, the look of surprise on their faces is hilarious! When they land with all four legs splayed for balance and shake their heads, then do it again just because they can; always makes the Bag Lady smile.
Long, leisurely walks in the pasture in the evening.
Sitting around the campfire.
Coffee cooked over a campfire.
Soaking in a scented bath.
Exploring abandoned buildings.
How about you? What are some of your favourite things?
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Everyone pretty much advised to start slowly and not diet too strenuously, which is what I did. I cut down on portion size, and cut out some sources of empty calories. Unfortunately, with the cold weather, I didn't get outside to exercise as much as I would have liked, but I did do my regular chores (at a faster pace due to the extreme cold!) and did some additional stair-stepping exercises in the house.
If anyone has any suggestions for exercises that will help strengthen my back (not sit-ups ), feel free...
Oh. By the way - I lost 4 lbs this week.
Friday, February 1, 2008
The books she found so fascinating were published in the 1940’s, when our nations were either at war or about to go to war, so rationing was prevalent. One of the books has instructions for building a Fireless Cooker, which is a precursor to our modern-day slow cookers! There is a lot more work involved in building your own slow-cooker, but the Bag Lady loves odd and unusual things, so just may have to build one of these (in the summer, mind you – not now, when it’s too cold to spend much time outside.)
There are recipes for things she hopes she never has to eat (the Bag Lady is definitely NOT a fan of organ meats!) like Liver Spoon Cakes, Kidney in Creole Sauce, or Brains and Scrambled Eggs (shudder!). How about Stuffed Heart or Heart Chop Suey? Pickled Tongue?
There are also some rather interesting beverage recipes. Prune Milk, anyone? How about Fruit Jerry, which is avocado, ice cream, milk and carbonated water.
There ARE some recipes that do sound quite appealing. Brazil-nut Pie Shell with Lemon Filling or War-time Beef Stew.
Another of the books is full of household hints. Believe me, ladies, we don’t work half as hard as they did in the 1940’s!! When was the last time you starched anything using home-made starch? Or used a mangle to do your laundry? If we all followed the instructions in this book to clean our homes, we would never rest! Here are some examples:
To remove bathtub stains, first use a cloth moistened with kerosene and rub with a scratchless cleansing powder. Then wash the tub with warm water and cleanser…does anyone out there even have kerosene in their home? (well, okay, the Bag Lady does, but it’s for a lamp we could use if the electricity goes out.)
To clean brass, use salt and vinegar or lemon juice. Rub well. Wash and dry.
To test linen, rub briskly between hands. If a fuzzy nap appears on the surface, the material is part cotton.
To keep your turkeys in their enclosure, clip one wing – the outer wing feathers at the top.
To soften shoe paste, add a little turpentine.
Cleaning – Each Day: Sweep walks and porches; use carpet sweeper over rugs; dust furniture; use dustmop on floors; put rooms in order; brush upholstered furniture. Clean bathtub, kitchen sink and fittings. Clean stove after each use.
Cleaning – Each Week: move each piece of furniture and dust thoroughly. Dust radiators, baseboards, doors and windows. Dust all woodwork, pictures, mirrors, lighting fixtures, electric light bulbs, clothes closets, Venetian blinds, etc. Dust doors and windows outside of the house. Wash and polish bathroom fixtures. Clean the fridge, polish silver, clean pantry, put shelves in order. Clean the stove, including burners and oven, and polish all bright metal parts. Clean the mouthpiece of the telephone, wash and dry door knobs, dust stair rails.
There now. That’s only part of what you should do to keep a proper house. The Bag Lady is exhausted from just typing that out, so she isn’t going to get into what you should do monthly and semi-annually and annually.
She’s going to go mangle some laundry now...