Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lavacicle Cave

Hubby found a cave online and decided we should go on a picnic and check it out.  We knew it was closed but we wanted to see what we could see anyway.

We ended up taking a wrong turn and had to back track a bit.  We found out the cave is not marked at all.  I actually put the name of the cave in my Google Maps Ap on my phone and that is how we ended up finding the cave.

But first we had to get there.  The tiny Forest Service/BLM roads were in pretty poor shape and at one point we had to go around a tree that had fallen directly across the road.

We just went around it.

We got to the general area of the cave.  We still didn't see anything so we parked the truck and got out and walked around.

We spotted this depression along with the small hole in the ground.  Hubby is kinda camouflaged here as he is looking into the hole.

I pushed the camera into the hole and took a picture.  You can see how the Forest Service has closed off this entrance.  We think they may have also pushed a bunch of boulders over the entrance but that's just a guess.  

It was quite interesting that there was a steady blast of cold air emanating from the hole. That would indicate to us that perhaps there is another entrance somewhere else.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Double Cream Blueberry Pie

We have long been fans of Marie Callender's Double Cream Blueberry Pie.  Unfortunately the nearest restaurant is in Eugene, about 3 or so hours away.  So of course the next best thing is to do a little internet research and find the recipe or something close.  I think I found something really, really close.

I found a recipe on a Taste of Home/Community Forum site (

Here is the recipe I copied from that site from a forum member named "Hollyga":

Marie Callenders Sour Cream and Blueberry Pie

This was the last and final pie recipe from our visit at Marie Callenders. One thing we noticed right off was that the pie had apples in it. It wasn't just blueberries.

1 9" Baked and Cooled Pie Shell

Blueberry Apple Filling

1 15oz Can Blueberries in Heavy Syrup Drained reserve juice in one bowl and 
berries in another bowl
1 1/2 C water
1 C Apple's (delicious) Pealed, Cored, and Diced, Large Pea Size
1/4 tsp. Salt
3 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1/4 C Water
3/4 C Sugar
1/2 tsp. Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon

In a 2 quart saucepan combine diced apples with water, sugar, and salt at medium temperature until the apples are done but not mushy, about 10 minutes. While apples are cooking mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and dissolve cornstarch. When apples are done add lemon juice and berry juice, cook and stir until blended. While stirring on medium heat add dissolved cornstarch slowly and stir constantly until thickened. Add berries and cinnamon mix through. Remove from heat and cool before placing into cooled prepared pie shell. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Sour Cream Topping

1C. Sour Cream
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 C Sugar
1 Tbsp. Cream Cheese
1/2 tsp. Knox Gelatin
2 Tbsp. Cold Water

Dissolve gelatin in 2 Tbsp. water and set aside. Mix the sour cream, sugar, cream cheese, dash of salt in a pan warm on low heat until sugar in dissolved and everything is mixed thoroughly, stir and watch that mixture does not burn or dry out. When all is smooth and blended add vanilla and stir. Then gradually add gelatin until mixture has a firm consistency of soft pudding, remove from heat. Sour Cream topping may be smoothed over Blueberries while luke warm and chill. May be garnished with whipped cream.

If you are on a tight schedule you may use Blueberry Pie Filling but this will taste a much sweeter.

I made a few changes because I didn't have the can of blueberries called for in the recipe.  Just for your info I used 4 cups of frozen blueberries and one Golden Delicious apple. I added the blueberries at the same time as the apples. I didn't add any extra water or juice to make up for the canned berry juice.

I had enough filling for 2+ pies so I ended up making another pie crust and doubling the sour cream topping. 

For the whipped cream I made a "stabilized whipped cream frosting" which works really well. It tends to hold up much better than regular whipped cream, which has a tendency to "melt", or disintigrate, even in the fridge.

Here's the recipe for that, again copied straight off the internet:

Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting
     --adapted from cdkitchen
  • 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 cup whipping cream (regular or heavy--I always use heavy cream)
  • 2 tbsp confectioner's sugar
1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl to soften. 
Gelatin mixture--I let this get too firm in the fridge, but it worked.
2. Scald 2 tablespoon of the cream; pour over gelatin, stirring till dissolved.
3. Refrigerate until consistency of unbeaten egg white. (This takes about 10-15 minutes.) Then, with a whisk, beat until smooth. 
4. In a stand mixer with a whip attachment, or with a hand beater, whip remaining cream and sugar; whip in the smoothed gelatin mixture, stopping to scrape the bowl twice.

Fills and frosts top of 2 8" or 9" cake layers; or frosts 10" angel
cake or spongecake. Tops one standard 9" pie with some left over to enjoy from a spoon.  Stands up well, even in warm weather. Keep leftover frosting and any product topped with it in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

The pie turned out to be a big hit and we all agreed it tasted very close to the original Marie Callender's pie.

This recipe is a keeper for our family!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Free Trees

Today we decided to go get our quota of four free trees from the National Forest.  No, they aren't stolen.  Here you can go to the BLM office and get a permit that allows you to get four live trees per year from the forest at no charge.  There are limits and rules of course.  The trees you dig up aren't supposed to be bigger than four feet tall and must be at least 100' from the road and 300' from any lake or stream.

On the way we saw a herd of deer.  

We also saw a small band of wild horses.

I think I counted about 8 of them.

Here's hubby digging up our first tree, a ponderosa pine.

Here are the two trees we got.  A ponderosa pine and a douglas fir.

We'll get the other trees on another day off.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chicken Area

We started working on the area where the chicken coops will be going.  It will be behind the shop between the shop and the horse pen.

I started the area about a week ago and Hubby finished it up.  It's all nice and smooth and relatively level.

Then we got rocks from our rock pile and lined them on the cut out.  Of course the idea is to help hold the embankment up from getting washed down in case of rain.  It turned out better than I thought it would.

Next up I will get a bunch of 6x8x16 cinder blocks to bury along the outside perimeter of the coops and pens.  I figure I will have to get about 60 blocks.  Then I can start putting the coops out here along with the coop yards.

About two and a half weeks til my chicks are here!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Third Time's The Charm...Hopefully

It was time to fix the roof on Dakota's run in shed.  Again.  

If you recall, the first roof, which was the corrugated metal roof, was blown off on a very extremely windy day just a couple weeks after we put it on.  That was partially our fault because we didn't put enough screws in to hold it down properly and just never got back to it.

So for temporary cover we got a tarp which we tied on to the top of the shelter.  Over the last year that it was on it worked fine, but with the rain, snow, and wind it started to shred and it was time to try again.

I made a plan of how I could make a hopefully more permanent roof and we got to work.

First we attached 2 x 4 x 12' lumber to the four rafters.

They were attached using u-bolts.  Before tightening all the way we used another 2 x 4 to span across to get the angle right.

After the u-bolts were tightened the bolts that were too long were cut so they were at least flush with the board.

Then it was time to put the big 4 x 8 sheets of OSB up.

The next day it was time to start putting the shingles on.  I chose to not put felt paper down first since it is just a "cheap" shed. Also I made that decision because that's how I did my little chicken coop roof in Bakersfield and it worked out just fine.

Hubby asked how to put the shingles on and I showed him how to do the first course. Backwards and folded gently over the back edge.  After those were nailed on I showed him how to do the next course and he started arguing with me that it didn't look right and he'd never seen anything like that before.  He said the roof on our house wasn't like that.  I tried to explain that our house shingles were a different style of shingle and these are what they call "three tab".  He wasn't real happy so I decided not to argue and let him have his way.  I hope it doesn't matter that the shingles are on the wrong way.

So anyway the roof is "done".  It looks good enough and I'm not going to start over.

I learned a few things.

Next time I would make more of a joist system on the roof so I can get up there myself (I weigh more than he does and I didn't trust it).

I would put the shingles on myself.

I think I would spring the extra money for the drip edges, just to be on the safe side.

All in all, I have to give Hubby a B for the actual job (and not listening to me), but A for effort (for even doing it at all).

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Blue Shades

I finished my blue shades afghan and gave it to my friend at work.  

She wasn't expecting it and was pleasantly surprised.  She really liked it.

So now I'm working on another one, this time for us.  It's a different pattern and the yarn is two shades of variegated yarn and a black yarn.  Of course I'll show pictures when it's done.

Meanwhile I'm enjoying the evening after working seven days in a row and looking forward to the next two days off.  If the weather is cooperative we'll work on the bull's run in shed...if not it will be more crocheting.