Saturday, February 18, 2017

Still Remembering Bobby

We were honored at our Blue Jean Ball fundraising event for    our Cherry Ridge Therapeutic Learning Programs when Peyton was brought  forward and said “Hi” to our audience.  I am pleased to announce I had actually met him before this evening when he attended our Cherry Ridge Farms Dances With Nature  program last October.   In my station, that Fall  day, he got to feed an apple slice to our miniature horse, Misty, then led her alongside his wheelchair in the arena while he had music accompanying him.  He truly likes his music! 

Introducing Peyton. He visited our farm last October. He wanted to say hi. 
My first interaction with special needs was decades ago.  When I was a small child we had moved to the country and had few neighbors. I was to learn that our neighbor had a mentally handicapped son. Mother explained to the best of her ability what that meant and what we might encounter to give us a better understanding. To this day, years later, this scene is still very fresh in my mind.

It was a warm day and we accompanied Mom to Gloria’s farm to see her backyard flower garden, situated behind a two story, Civil War era brick, a widow’s watch on top, with lovely rock pathways around it and in her garden, too.     

Upon our arrival, Mrs. Turner invited us in to meet her youngest son Bobby. Then she asked us if we cared if Bobby came outside with us to play while they went to her garden?   Being very young, we didn’t quite know what to expect, but we said yes.  Outside, Bobby joyfully stole the show.

In his backyard, near the garden, he had a mechanical merry go round. I don’t know if that is what it is really called—each sat on a seat in a circle facing one another,  and each person pushed the handles forward then pulled back and the whole lot of us four kids started going round, and round like a merry go round. We got up great speed, indeed. Bobby was across from me with a smile.  

We offer many therapeutic programs at our farm for special needs.  
To this day, I still remember Bobby laughing out loud having the time of his life. We all couldn’t help but laugh, too. His was contagious.   Soon, we had that thing going full tilt, when suddenly he let his hands loose of the handle and raised them in the air and smiled even more brilliantly. Of course we gasped at first when he let go, seriously scared that he would fly off, but no, he didn’t. His strong legs held him on.  I think he loved the great out doors and the breeze blowing in his face just like us—of course he did—maybe more.

We lived next door to Bobby for three years and visited on occasion. Of course on visiting   we couldn’t wait to ride   the mechanical contraption, expecting, waiting, watching for that magical moment when he would let go, giggling, with a smile reaching as far as the east is to the west, raising his hands in the air as if praising God. Still to this day, I’ve never forgotten that scene of Bobby’s incredible joy.  

So Here's the Thing:  To this day, I feel it was the way Mom handled our introduction to special needs that made the difference.  Bobby was a bit different, maybe more than a bit, we kids could tell,  but we were to respect that and be kind. And we were.  I heard it just the other day, from a young person, 'Kind is cool.' And that is how we should be toward those with special needs, like Bobby. Don't you agree?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

How I learned to cook.

Did your mom cook like this too? Here is a recipe made today the way I learned to cook. Spoken by expert cooks of old. A little of this and a little of that. Season to taste! 

I love soup. Here's a hearty stove top homemade soup. Mother made soup often and never had a cookbook on the counter to follow the recipe. It was all in her head.
 Make this hearty soup in less than thirty minutes. True! 


One 32oz. carton chicken broth. Chop a large handful of celery maybe a cup or so. 1/2 of a medium onion sliced in hearty size pieces One handful of carrot chunks, about a cup, not grated, this is meant to be hearty looking. Cook a bit. Maybe ten minutes.Pull chicken meat from a left over Kroger rotisserie chicken.Add. What ever you get is fine. Keep large chunks to look hearty. Cover broth mixture and if you do or don't want cover with one layer of Amish noodles. No need to stir. Cover and simmer a while. Say 15minutes. 

Buttered bread is real good with this.And a slice of Salt Rising bread toasted is a  favorite! 

So Here's the thing...I cooked this up with such speed. Remembering how I learned, "a little of this and a little of that, taste. More salt. You did too? This soup was better than any canned product out there. Ready in less than thirty minutes. And, here's the big benefit, it puts steam in to your home's  dry winter air. Enjoy! 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Peach Dump Cake

Last week I mentioned cooking with my cast-iron cookware and mentioned   a dump cake prepared by the campfire using my cast iron pot better know as a Dutch oven.   What a popular subject. I had a request for my recipe so I dug around to find it.   I was pretty sure I remembered the ingredients, only three but wanted to be sure.   

Now, please don’t stop reading because you don’t do “campfire cooking.” I never did before when I first learned of this cake. But good news is, I have another way for you to make this Dump Cake recipe right in your kitchen and it requires no fire I assure you!

I remember being gifted this original recipe with an introduction to this yummy dish from Missy Goldsberry,  mom to  one of our riding students at our farm, Cherry Ridge, a long time back; seven or eight years ago.   When she heard me talking about my learning to cook over the campfire, not just hamburgers and hotdogs, but I was sautéing vegetables and baking potatoes and doing breakfast too, though my biscuits were a bit hard on the bottom, she shared this recipe with me.  She went on to encourage me to try her family’s dump cake that she had just made for a gathering we had down by the creek. It was tasty.    I was intrigued.  So,  I did try it the next weekend. In those days, we didn’t actually go away to camp. At the time, we had a camper set up along the creek side with a nice campfire ring. We were usually grubbing a fencerow or something exciting like that pretending we were away camping! We’d go back to the camper for our meals where I was learning campfire cooking. At night, after watching the stars for a while and hearing the coyotes in the distance, we’d often times ( most always)  just head back to our comfy bed only a mile away—camping at its finest.

When I made it myself in the cast iron as Missy instructed,  I impressed myself in not scorching it by cooking it on all sides, by rotating it ½ way through. My gosh it is so moist and “gooey” just how I like cakes. I learned recently, too, that you could easily do this in a crockpot. Yep!  A bit less fuss than the campfire so this might be how you’ll enjoy my recipe. If you add a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream, serve it in a lovely dish you’ll think your eating in a fancy restaurant.  Pull out a pint size canning jar or a coffee cup to serve it in and you’ll think your camping!  It a 2017 winter’s delight! Try it. Let me know if you do and send me pictures. I like hearing from you.

1 Large Can of Peaches in Syrup
1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
1 Stick of Butter

Spray or grease crock-pot. Layer ingredients—peaches, cake mix and slice butter up and cover the top.  DO NOT STIR.  Cover with lid.  Cook on high for 2 hours.
If you like to multi task, this way is for you. Do a load of laundry, cook supper; go to the store, its called multi-tasking! Ha!

So Here's the thing...Crockpots are a wonderful addition to any kitchen and for making this dump cake. If you choose to do a little campfire cooking, you might want to line your pan with foil for easy clean up. Then nestle your Dutch oven up close to the fire for about an hour. Turning occasionally to cook evenly. 

It is delicious warm with ice cream, whip topping or as my late father would have liked, with  heavy cream drizzled over the top.  And, if you don’t like peaches that much, use apples. Would it be good with pineapple? Hmmn, I might be trying that next. Enjoy.

You might enjoy one of these too!

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