Power is Good


Before we left home, I made a few things. The first was chili in my new cast iron pot. I wanted to make sure I could make it in that before taking the ingredients with us for our week and a half away from home. I didn’t cut the onions quite small enough but it worked.


Yum! Definitely works good! I can make this on the open fire or wood stove, now.


The second thing I made is what is known as “Civil War Coffee.” This coffee was given to the soldiers so they wouldn’t have to carry around a bunch of items just to have a cup of coffee. By making it in this tin, it was a lot easier to carry and didn’t go bad. I first heard about it at the Mountainman’s Rendezvous in Virginia City and later from Miss Grace’s husband at the Living Museum in Nevada City. Both places told me how to make it and I bought myself a tin so I could go home, make it and take it with us camping/cabin-staying. Here are the ingredients:


Instant Coffee – the kind that dissolves in water.


This is the exact same brand/make from years ago. Borden’s Sweetened Condensed Milk in a can. Basically, you take a half cup of instant coffee, add just a tablespoon or two of boiling water to it.


When done, take the Milk and warm it a bit (if you prefer, you don’t have to warm it).


And then mix it all together nice and neat.


You can put it in a mason jar (when it cools off) or in the tin can they carried. I did both. I left the tin can home and brought the jar with us on our journey. So far, the coffee is a tad stronger than I’d enjoy but delicious otherwise. I use a huge tablespoon full per cup of boiling water. I add nothing to it.


Jen’s contribution was a bunch of cookies to place in jars to carry around with us. So far, the boys have found them to be the best thing *ever*! I’m jealous she hit the spot so well… of course, I did tell her to. I should get credit for that. Of course, telling my boys that is just wrong. It’s like I’m looking for them to praise me. So, I’ll just let it go as is… Oh, and I do love the idea of cookies in mason jars. We’ll do this quite a bit, in the future. Makes them easy to carry and they don’t get smooshed or otherwise destroyed while waiting to eat them.

On Tuesday, we got Rendy inspected (cost me $34 and Jen and the boys had to leave without me) to make sure it was travel-worthy and we set out…

Hoback Guard Station: We had power, two good sized rooms, a toilet that didn’t work and no water. The boys could run and play outside without too many worries about getting hurt. Town wasn’t too far away and the trip there was pleasant and enjoyable (the hills and twists and turns). We had power but cell signal was not the best it could be.

Bishop Mountain: We had nothing but a wood stove, four walls, a couple bunk beds and a table. It’s a long drive to the top of the mountain to the cabin. We’re isolated but have a great cell signal. The boys can run around a bit and play at the top of the mountain without too much hassle. Getting to town for whatever we could need was a long process and uses up quite a bit of gas.

Warm River: We had a wood stove and a wood furnace in the basement, a fake sink, a table and many rooms that the boys love playing in. There was a constant worry about the boys falling in the river, so they didn’t get to run and play like they could have. We loved this place – what we got to see of it in between rain showers. Town was not too terribly far away and the drive was pleasant (when not worried about mud puddles swamping Rendy). Cell signal was spotty, at best and most of the time, I only got to send and receive texts. That’s it.

Deer Creek: We had propane (with a cold fridge and hot stove), a toilet indoors and running water. Quite a bit of thick woods around us. Some beautiful views but not very many places for the boys to play. Cell signal was nothing at all. Getting in and out was an amazingly annoying adventure. I doubt we’ll stay here again.

I was asked, which was my favorite. I was hard-pressed to answer. Honestly, I love cooking on a wood stove. It’s difficult to get the heat correct but it’s fun to try. Jen has to constantly cut wood to keep the fire going but she says she likes it. I like having cell signal for the emergencies or casual use. The boys actually got to watch some old Popeye cartoons last night on my Xoom, using my phone for the cell signal to get to Netflix. We’re currently on top of Bishop Mountain, by the way. We’re scheduled to stay here for a week. We’ll see how it goes.

Back to the question: Which do I like best?

For the quiet peace with the comforts I want, I choose Bishop Mountain. We’re away from the hustle and bustle of life but close enough to get water and supplies when needed. Sure, the road is annoying. That’s part of “getting away,” though.

Having decided that, I’ll show ya some of what we did at the Hoback Cabin. I haven’t updated y’all on that, quite yet.


After getting home from the hospital with Brendan, we finished making the potato soup and sat down to eat some at midnight. Here we are! Oh, and did I mention, making it with turkey bacon was gross? We threw it out.


The next morning, we had a visitor. Apparently, his home is in our front yard. He has built tunnels under the old fire ring and in a couple other places around the yard. He visited us quite a few times while we were staying here and we even left him some carrot bits – which he ate!


He was very cute.


Realizing that he’s allowed to play on the hill without mommy or nanny outside with him = priceless.


Just one of our spectacular views.


Looking down from our hill at our cabin. The building on the right is a garage that is not accessible by us. I believe it holds parts and pieces for keeping the cabin and such running smoothly.


Pretending to sneak up on bears and shoot them. Boys being boys. Learning how to survive in the wilderness. I love it!


Walking through the fields, looking for bear, tiger, lion, deer and antelope tracks.


Jen and I can’t decide what kind of bird this is but it was big and beautiful. If it had gotten just a little closer, my lens could have really picked it out. It flew around our heads for quite some time before flying off. I was almost starting to think it was going to get Brendan, being he is so small. The bird probably thought he was a ground squirrel or something!


And it gets dark on Wednesday. Our first full day and full it was! A lot of activity, naps and quite a bit of walking. More to come on this later! Where I am, I forgot the card with the rest of the pictures on it. You’ll have to wait patient until I get the rest of the pictures.

Yes, Jen. I forgot my camera. Make fun of me. Go ahead….

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Categories: Canning, Cooking School, Dinner, Family, Socializing, Trips | Leave a comment

Butter, Butter and more Butter…

Last night, I was prepping to send Mark back to work with some goodies to share. Not that he ever shares, but I do send him with them *to share.* I made my traditional garlic butter – a family favorite. Only, this time, I decided to whip it instead of melt it.


I let some of my butter sit for a few days in a cupboard to soften it up nice and pretty and then, I pulled out the mixer that Mark got for me back when I started this journey. I whipped the butter for a long time and then started adding the ingredients. After adding them, I set it to run by itself for upwards of 10 minutes or more. It really made the garlic butter nice and creamy.


This stuff is simply amazing when thrown on top of my Hot Herb Bread – another family favorite and very quick and simple to make.


Next up: Peanut Honey Spread. This is actually really good on pancakes in the morning. The boys enjoy it – especially when we run out of syrup. As you can see, whipping the butter for a good stretch of time before adding the ingredients makes the spread very smooth and sleek. I’m going to stop melting the butters when I transform them, from now on. This is a much nicer presentation!

When this was all done, I was looking around the kitchen. In my wonderings about what else I could send with him back to work, I spotted a bag of oranges on the counter. They were purchased for my boys – snacks and such – but it gave me an idea. Why not make an orange butter as well?

I asked Jen to see how much juice she could squeeze out of an orange and, unfortunately, it was pitifully little. I neglected to get pictures and I’m sorry. She ran to the store for some frozen orange juice concentrate and I researched some recipes.

I found two that I liked:  Orange Butter and Whipped Orange Butter.

The first calls for a pound of powdered sugar. Well, I’m a diabetic. That can’t work.

The second recipe doesn’t ask for as much powdered sugar (at least in their quantities, anyway) and it does say to add a dash of cinnamon.

I mixed the two recipes. I put in a half cup (total) of powdered sugar and threw in a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. I’ve been told it’s a keeper.


A caution: the recipe calls for frozen orange juice. If you use frozen, it will freeze your soft, creamy butter and you’ll have to start all over again. I recommend letting the frozen orange juice thaw to a liquid consistency before throwing it into the butter. Mine took much longer to mix up and get back to a smooth consistency because I didn’t realize this ahead of time.


I’m thinking of adding just a titch more orange concentrate when I make it again. However, it tastes really good. Used sparingly, as with all butters, I don’t think it’s terribly bad for you, either!


Remember when I said the wiffle ball hanging from the tree had been neglected all winter? Apparently, Mark reads my blog and takes it to heart. He popped outside yesterday to grill the steaks and got the boys to playing with the wiffle ball.


This is only about half what he takes with him when he leaves for a month at a time. The blue box sitting there is where he stuffs all his food. Right now, it’s full. We went to the store late last night (in an effort to keep him up until morning) and got the remaining items he needs. Of course, he’s got 2 loaves of Sourdough Bread and 2 of the Hot Herb Bread. I would send him with more but he said he has enough.

When he wakes, he’ll eat dinner with us and then pack up the truck and head out. The boys will be sad for a few days but they’ll get over it as soon as the weekend hits and they can play on their computers.

I redesigned the header image on the blog. What say you? Yes, Fay – I loved the one your daughter made but I was updating and refreshing everything and designed that one for myself – I used recent pictures, too! Looking at it, I realize something: I need to start getting active again. The winter pounds are showing!

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