Monday, November 24, 2014

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

It's time again for making pumpkin pies. I started making our pies with homemade pumpkin puree a few years ago-it's amazing how light it tastes compared with store bought pumpkin puree in a can.

1. Pick out a nice looking sugar pumpkin. The bigger it is,the more puree you will have.

2.Cut the pumpkin up into pieces.Place in a microwavable bowl with 2" of water. Cover,and microwave on high for 15 minutes. It the rind is not soft enough to peel back,microwave on high for shorter increments of time.

3. Once the pumpkin rind is soft enough,wait until the pieces are cool enough to handle,peel the rind off the pumpkin pieces,and puree in a food processor.

4.Line a strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth. Pour the puree in to the cheese cloth.

 5.Twist the cheesecloth and strain out as much water from the the puree as possible.

 6.I weigh my puree into 15 oz batches,putting the batches I don't need right away into zip lock freezer bags and freeze them until I need them.

15 oz is approx 1 3/4 cups of puree. 15 oz will make one pumpkin pie,or (2) 9 x 5 x 3 pumpkin breads.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Touch of Winter

A few weeks ago,our neighbor came up to our door,opened it,and said,"Rick is passed out in the yard." I ran outside with him and there was Rick.laying on his right arm,out like a light. He had been working on building one of the walls for the barn. We tried to wake him up,but couldn't. His eyes were fluttering,and his hands were shaking. I called 911 and he was brought to the hospital in the ambulance.He was awake when Zach and I got there,but confused. He didn't remember what happened. He didn't remember being in the ambulance. Then,he passed again. His eyes fluttered,his hand shook. After a few minutes his eyes opened,and I told him to squeeze my hand if he could hear me,because he was just staring in to space. He squeezed it. I asked him if he wasn't able to talk to squeeze my hand again. He did. Then, less than a minute later,he was out again.

This happened several times. The Dr said it was either seizures,or "pseudo seizures." Because of his history,they wanted to send  him to the VA Hospital down in West Roxbury, MA.

The next day,I went down to see him.

They had him all attached to various wires so they could track his brain activity. He did wind up having another episode during the second night of his stay,so they kept him there for three days to get a good reading.

What they determined was he was having pseudo seizures. When he had the episode in the hospital, there was no seizure activity.  Rick had begun a very intensive cognitive PTSD therapy program a few weeks before. He has to write a trauma statement,with daily homework about the event,and the residual problems that is has caused.I am not allowed in with him at these sessions so he can talk freely,in case there are things that he does not want me to know about (there are).
These sessions,while good,make him think about things and emotions that he has tried to suppress for almost 10 years. It has put him through an emotional wringer. Because the memory and emotion part of the brain are on the same loop,it can get overwhelmed and basically shut down (this is the easiest way to think of it). This is turn causes him to have what looks like a seizure. We were told that it should stop after the therapy is completed. If not,they want him back for a week so they can monitor him further.He cannot drive,or climb anything higher than 3 ft until these "episodes" ( as I call them) go away.

Some days he is fine. Some days he has as much as 6 episodes in 45 minutes. Thankfully,it's been over a week without one,so that is good. It really drains him mentally and physically.

We do have new addition...Rooster Cogburn!  Our neighbor gave him to us. He is a very pretty Rhode Island Red. It took him a few days to find his voice,but he cock-a-doodle-dos throughout the day now,and loves to walk around the yard,strutting his stuff. Hey,if you were the only male among 21 females,you'd strut too!

This past Sunday,Rick and Richie officially graduated from the NEADS program. Rick is officially trained enough to have his service dog-he is licensed for 5 years. At that point,he will have to go back and be tested again,just to make sure he is doing the right things. It was a lovely ceremony. They had 26 dogs and partners-they had children,veterans with PTSD,physically disabled people,and those who use the dog for therapy or ministry purposes.

Here is a pic of some of the graduating veterans-Rick is in the blue shirt. The gentleman in dress blues to Rick's left was in Rick's class.  He also served in Ramadi Iraq at the same time as Rick,and come to find out,Rick's unit helped his unit when it came under attack,but they never met when they were over there.

I thought I had newer pictures of the barn,but I guess not.

At this point, the doors and window areas are cut out,and all four walls are up. Rick has been working on leveling the ground. Because it is getting rather late in the year,we are going to get the hayloft floor/first floor ceiling up,cover it with a tarp,and call it good until Spring when we will put the roof on it.It will just have to be shoveled off during the winter because it will be flat. We have the dog kennel chain link fencing panels that we will use for a fenced in area until the Spring when we will get our permanent fencing up.

This is what we woke up to this AM:

Since deer season for rifle opened up Wednesday,this is good for tracking. Rick and his brother went out early this AM--saw a deer,but couldn't get a shot off.

Have you been hit by this winter weather? Has it affected your farm in anyway?