Thursday, November 11, 2010

Indian Summer, firewood, and potato cakes

Last week was quite chilly... with daytime temps in the 40s and nighttime in the 20s.  This week, however, we welcome our Indian Summer with sunny weather and temperatures in the upper 60s!  Nevertheless, we must continue to get ready for winter's fury.... firewood and more firewood.

I had some leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge, and decided to whip up a batch of mashed potato cakes.  I'm not real sure if this is a common dish to everyone else, but I do know that it was a REAL treat at our house growing up.  Anytime Mom made mashed potatoes for supper, she usually made sure she had enough for leftovers, and the leftovers always ended up being potato cakes for the next day's meal.  I usually do the same.  If you've never made them, you don't know what you're missing!  Take your cold, leftover mashed potatoes, add an egg and some flour and mix until they are nice and stiff.  I usually add a sprinkle of onion powder and a dash of cumin, but they taste fine plain.

Next, you add dollops of the potato mixture to a skillet of hot oil. 

Fry the cakes in the hot oil, turning once when they are brown and crispy on one side.  The idea is to have a solid crispy outside, and a soft middle! 

Mmmmm... a true delicacy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Circle of Life....

This is a picture of me when I was about two years old.  I showed it to Steve a few nights ago, and he laughed... he laughed because he said I had a big head (do I have a big head in this picture?...I don't think I have a big head).... and he laughed because he said it looked like I was complaining about something even then!  (do I complain about things now?....I don't think I complain). 

If I was complaining, I shouldn't have been.  I look back on my past, and I feel as if I lived the life of a princess. Life was good.  I had all I wanted... well, not ALL I wanted, but it SHOULD have been all I wanted.  It was pretty darn good.

I love this picture of my brother Josh and me saying our prayers!  I think I'm seriously praying, but my little brother looks a little ornery ... it's adorable!  I was taught to pray at an early age.  I don't remember my life without God in it.... what an amazing thing to be able to say.  My dad became a preacher when I was only four years old, and I spent many hours of my life on a church pew.... sometimes I was sound asleep, sometimes I was doing homework, sometimes I was writing notes to my BFF, and sometimes I was listening and taking it all in.

My baptizing!  I was six years old in this picture.  The man on my right, the one who is holding my hand so tightly, is my daddy.  Oh how I miss this man... he was such a part of my life... my everything.  I was such a Daddy's Girl. And how fitting that he should be there to baptize me, as he was there when I knelt on my knees and asked Jesus to come into my heart.... as he was there for every important event in my life until the day he died. 

And isn't it neat that I was baptized in a REAL river?  They used to do that you know.... all the time... all year round! 

This is me with my older brothers, Ronnie and Steve.  I'm wondering why I have my arms folded again like I'm mad at the world.... I must have been a regular little whipper-snapper.  And why in the world did my mother curl my hair like that? 

Senior prom!  These plastic swans on the porch always make me laugh... why did I pose between the plastic swans? 

My babies, Alec and Kyle.  They were probably ages two and four here.... now they are 15 and 17. 

This is one of my favorite pictures ever... I have no idea what Alec is holding, but I love the expression on Kyle's face as he looks at whatever is in Alec's hand.  Just look at these cute little guys in their little denim bibs. 

omgoodness!  What a cutie pie!  This is Kyle around age two... and posing in a flannel shirt with pumpkins of all things.  This is just too much cuteness for one picture.  This post was supposed to be about my past though... a reflection of my past.  I could post pictures of these two adorable babies all day. 

Okay so I had to post one more of Alec just to be fair.

Present day --- the love of my life.  He makes my heart go pitter-patter when he looks at me that way!

One of my favorite quotes from another anonymous person:  May the dreams of your past be the reality of your future.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Letting their Lights Shine!

Since we had the pumpkin farm this year, we thought we should put the kids to work carving a few of the now-world-famous Bolte Pumpkins!!  Well.. maybe not world famous.  Well... maybe not famous really, but popular....  The now-popular Bolte Pumpkins!!
Alec pulling out the guts....

This one has an ugly side.  We kept the less-than-perfect ones for ourselves.  We are sympathetic....We understand what it feels like to have an ugly side.....  We encourage all our pumpkins to turn their good side toward the world and SHINE!

See?  Not bad!

These are the three jack-o-lanterns that Alec carved.....

Lewis carved the scary guy on the right....

And here they are ... turning their good sides outward and letting their lights shine!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall Festival

One of the best things about living in a small town is the local fall fesitval.  Here in my town, it's called the Black Walnut Festival, and this year was the 56th year! 

I love the beautiful agriculture exhibits where local farmers and gardeners compete for prizes.  The array of colorful vegetables are so pretty!

And I'm happy to report that the Bolte Farm pumpkins received two first place ribbons! 

Some people even entered sacks of hay into the competition.

And then some ladies enter their gorgeous canned produce.

Steve and I bought this wooden pumpkin carved by a chain saw artist!! 

This is the ONE time of the year that our little town's main street is lined with thousands of people.

It was a BEAUTIFUL day for a parade....
There were marching bands, floats, clowns, children, and festival royalty... but my favorite of all was the Calhoun Middle High School Marching Band! 

Here's my all-time favorite drummer playing his snare drum.

He's so SERIOUS....

My favorite drummer's best friend Kameron on the bass.

And here's my "fake" son ... RYAN!!!!!  He moved to another county two whole hours away, and now he plays for another band.  They are bigger and better though!  Go Ryan!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Comforts of Fall

What is it about fall that makes us want to simmer a big pot of soup on the stove?

Something about that first nip in the air makes me want to cook comfort food.

I love fall!  There's something to be said for coming home in the evening chill as the sun is starting to set, knowing that I have a limited about of time outside before dusk.  Even though the farm work is never-ending, we call it quits earlier each evening this time of year. 

Fall work is different than summer work.  We put on sweatshirts and boots, and we carry flashlights.  The animals are almost always fed after dark, and Steve never comes in before it's pitch black out.  The warm blanket finds its home more frequently on the couch. 

And it's firewood season.  All of our spare time will now be spent chopping trees, hauling wood, splitting wood, and stacking wood.  Very very soon it will be time for burning wood.  We'll burn the what's left of last year's dry wood while we start cutting the new wood. 

In just a few short weeks, we'll be sitting in front of the wood stove..... in comforting warmth ... waiting for winter.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Fall is officially here, and as testimony, the leaves are starting to turn into their brilliant palette of warm oranges, yellows, and reds.  We have picture-perfect autumn landscapes here in West Virginia.  I don't live in the mountain region... just the hills of central West Virginia.  Here the rugged hillsides are dotted with farms.  Farm houses are built on the sides of hills or in hollows between them, as in our case.  And there are cattle, old barns, and crooked farm fences everywhere .... perfect for pictures.

 I love old barns and wooden fences.

Calves meandering along the hillside.

I love the effect of the orange pumpkins against the white of the barn.

A late September evening on the farm.
With all the beautiful colors, and the cooler feel of the autumn air, it's no wonder fall is a favorite season for most people.