Sunday, March 27, 2011

For Haiti with Love

We have supported a ministry in Haiti for over 20 years and I wanted to encourage you to keep them in mind if you are looking for a way to help the people of Haiti. For Haiti With Love is an excellent ministry where your money will be well spent.

Eva and Don DeHart are the founders of this wonderful ministry in northern Haiti. Don has passed on, but Eva and her daughter continue to run this ministry. Eva runs the stateside ministry and her Haitian daughter Roseline and her husband Presume run the Haitian side.

The have a food program and run a medical clinic, plus have a Sunday Church service and help build homes for families as well. We have known Eva for over 20 years and you will not find a more dedicated woman who loves the Lord anywhere.

What I really like about For Haiti with Love is that the food program consists mostly of distributing a weeks worth of rice and beans or sometimes ready to eat meals if they are donated to a family. Then each family cooks their own food in their own home so they can preserve their dignity and their own traditions.

They all specialize in treating the myriad of burn victims [lots of burns because people cook with charcoal and use oil for light and son on] that even the local hospitals won't treat because they are not equipped to do it. Silvadene cream is very expensive and so the local hospital does not have it.

They are located in Cap Haitian, in the northern part of Haiti. They were not directly affected by the earthquake but many, many people have fled to the north to stay with relatives, etc. since the earthquake. There are many more needs than ever, but giving is down because of the need in the south.

PLEASE--if you feel led to help meet the needs of the people of Haiti, consider this ministry. It is worthwhile and your money will really be squeezed to get the most out of it.

I once read a biography to Kari and Scotty about William Carey who is called, "The Father of Modern Missions." He lived in the late 18th into the 19th century. He was asking for monetary support from some gentlemen so he could go minister to India and translate the Bible so the people there would have it in their own language. He said that he was willing to go into a big dark hole to bring light, but he was asking them to hold the ropes while he was going down. To give him support.

I have thought about this different times. Even though I am not in Haiti and am not taking care of orphans, bandaging the injured or feeding the hungry, I can help hold the ropes.

Here is a picture of the For Haiti with Love team that works in Cap Haitian. The woman in the front right is Eva's daughter, Roseline, with her husband behind her. She is only 25 years old and it is amazing what she does to keep things going. You can read the latest newsletter by going here.

Take care,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Deck Building...

Bob had been working on retaining walls around our cottage at the farm. Because it is built into a hill, there is a real need for retaining walls or else all the mud and dirt run down the hill into the basement, onto the concrete pad outside the basement, etc.
So, yesterday he and I finished making the retaining walls [you can see the side of one on the far left of this photo]  and today we started on the lower deck.

Because of the way our house was built into the hill it was tricky figuring out what to do to keep the dirt from piling up against the siding. It is hard for me to describe our problem, but suffice it to say, we could not leave it like it was and Bob had the great idea [and I do mean GREAT IDEA] to make a deck over the dirt.  

There was a lot of figuring out how to make sure everything was level. You can see Scrappy in the background, jumping around and having a good time.

 I was ever helpful manning the tape measure, pencil and Larabars. We tried two new flavors, Fudge Brownie and Coconut Cream Pie. The Coconut one was fantastic! Brownie, not so much. :(

If you haven't had a Larabar, they are great, and very nutritious. Since we didn't eat lunch, the Larabar was a great energy boost.  The Coconut one had dates, coconut, almonds, cashews and extra virgin coconut oil. Delicious! I digress.

 I helped shovel at first, but then I whimped out. Shoveling mostly clay is not really very fun!

You can see how much dirt we had to dig out. We had to do this because dirt was piled up under the deck so that it sloped toward the basement--and that is not good. You want the dirt to slope away from the house. So, there was a lot of digging.

Bob said if he would have known there was this much digging to start with, he would not have been so enthusiastic to start this job today. Sometimes, we both decided, it is better not to know.

 Here you can see the boards that we will eventually nail the deck boards on to. Of course, we will need to put in some more posts and cement. We bought 600 pounds of dry cement yesterday.  We plan to put it into the holes dry and then add some water and poke with a stick. It works well for setting posts.

Our day's work. You can see the sections that we have ready to cement and then nail the deck boards on.  The part in the back, next to the house, still needs to be done. I think there will be more shoveling to be done, then we will screw in the boards, making sure everything is level.

After that, we will cement the short posts [the posts you can see are already cemented in as they are holding up the upper deck.

We hope next Saturday will be nice weather so we can finish the job, or at least get it further along. Not bad for a long afternoon's work.


Friday, March 18, 2011

A Biscuit Recipe so good your sister won't even share...

2-ingredient biscuits and homemade jam with real butter.
 Well, maybe that is a bit extreme. I probably should have titled it, "Two Ingredient Biscuits" but the other title sounds more dramatic, don't you think?

At any rate, these are two ingredient biscuits. I am known for my baking and I don't mean to sound braggy, but I do make some great biscuits. But these SIMPLE 2-ingredient biscuits are as good as any I have ever made. When I was telling my sister how wonderful they are [she was a foods teacher for years and went to the Culinary Institute in NY] she said, "Oh, yeah. I know that recipe."

Batter bowl, cream and self-rising flour.
I asked why she never told me and she said she forgot about it. I believe her because she is very generous and will share anything. But, I couldn't believe she never told me about this. No cutting in butter or shortening. No sifting or getting buttermilk.

Ahh, Heaven on a plate,
I don't use self-rising flour very often, so I keep some in my freezer for when I do need it. I pulled it out, got a little carton of heavy whipping cream at our local IGA and my little batter bowl. In a few minutes I had wonderful, homemade biscuits.

All you need is cream and self-rising flour. That's right. just two ingredients to get these wonderful fluffy biscuits.

2-Ingredient Biscuits

1 1/2 C self-rising flour [If you live in the south you better use While Lily. I read a  food science book a year or so ago and the very learned author said White Lily is THE best white flour and I tend to believe it]

1 Cup heavy whipping cream--8 oz

Combine ingredients and knead 1 to 2 minutes [you may need to put a little flour on the counter to knead it on, or you could do like I do and just knead the dough right in the batter bowl so there isn't much to clean up].

Roll  or pat dough out to 1/2 to 3/4 inch thickness [I just pat with my hands]. Cut with biscuit cutter. Place on un-greased cookie sheet or in a cake or pie pan It's OK if they touch. Bake at 450 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

As you can see I made about 7-8 biscuits. It occurred to me, that if a person wanted just a few biscuits it would be very easy to cut this recipe down. You could use 3/4 C self-rising flour and 1/2 C cream for about 4 biscuits, or 1/2 it again for 2 biscuits. 

The cream makes these biscuits rich and delicious. I am telling you, I am not sure I have ever made better. 
Try these out and even if you never made homemade biscuits before, I am sure they will be fabulous. If the dough is a bit sticky, add a bit more flour when you knead them, if it is dry you can add more cream, a bit of milk or water. 

Take care and enjoy,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 in gutters

Bob tackled the problem of our gutters last weekend. The gutter that is next to the stairs is a problem. It empties out so that any water coming out of it erodes the dirt in front of the stairs that lead into the cottage. You can't put a long extension on it because it would trip you everytime you use the stairs.

So, last Friday, while I waited for the Lowes to finally finish up my cabinets, Bob decided to take care of the gutter problem.  He had purchased all the necessary fittings to run the gutter down into the ground and then run the pipe underground so the water can dump out the side of the hill. I plan to eventually make a rain garden there, or at least plant a nice tree or two in that area.

You can see it was quite a job. Our ground is mostly clay, but on this day it was easy digging. The ground was not baked to cement nor was it wet and sticky. Perfect for this job.

He finished up and you can see how the gutter goes underground. He put a limestone rock on top as a type of stepping stone. You can see his short retaining walls on the right. I plan to put some of my nice compost on there and plant some marigolds and tomatoes.

You might wonder what I was doing this whole time. I did wait for the Lowes people and supervised their work by working on a crocheted rag rug, then I did what come naturally to me...

Yep, I tried out the window seat. Very nice and so relaxing. I was going to make a cushion for that seat, but decided instead to pile up three quilts and leave it at that. You are probably thinking, "What a slug...but I don't care. It was very relaxing."

[As a note I did help later on when we put lag bolts in the posts holding up the wrap around deck. The deck was not properly built to start with and it took a lot of work to get it up to code. The lag bolts were the final step to make the deck safe.]

As it turned out it was good Bob finished up the gutter on Friday, because during the night it poured and poured. We have had so much rain this year, we were glad to get that gutter water routed underground and down the hill.

We think we are ready for the final inspection, nearly 15 months after we pulled the building permit. I will let you know how it goes.

Bob has two more gutters to fix this same way. Hopefully if it stops raining this weekend he can finish up. I look forward to getting the final grading done so we can get some rye or grass seed planted this spring. It is such a muddy mess right now.

I do have some awesome boots, though, that I love to wear around in the mud. Necessary equipment when there is wet clay.

Take care,