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Howdy Sugar Pies! The old farmhouse has been bustling with lots of  activity the past couple of weeks! Some delightful as you will soon see, and others called for lots of prayer. My dear hubby was bit by some kind of spider on his wrist.  At 4:30 in the morning he woke me to pray for his arm, which I proceeded to do. We turned on the lights so I could see it. His arm had swelled up, was hot to the touch and there was also a red streak running up the length of his arm toward his shoulder. Not good.  I insisted that we take him to the emergency room at the hospital. The Doctor said that hubby’s red streak was just inches away from a major medical problem. Thank the Lord we caught it in time (and for waking my hubby up in the wee hours in the morning!) Within 24 hours after taking a batch of anti-biotics his arm was back to normal. He is fine! God is good! Life has gone back to normal. Normal is a good thing and something to be thankful for!

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Once all was well again I got back into the delightful routine of  happy domesticity! With the Holidays just around the corner, I’ve been organizing the nooks and crannies of my home. One big project that I’m still working on is getting all of my books (my hubs says “too many books”…he may be right, but don’t tell him I said that) organized into  catagories….library style. I’ve been weeding through my assortment, making piles to give away and piles according to subject matter.

Although they were somewhat organized a few years ago when we moved in, things have gotten a bit sloppy. When I tried to find a book that I knew I had, it would take me for-evah to find it! It was such a waste of precious time. Not anymore!  Now they are in groupings of similar subjects and so much easier to find. I love the feeling of getting the old homestead back in order!

I’ve also been spending time with a certain adorable boy named Johnny!

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My Oh HOnEy Johnny boy is my little dream-boat! He’s four months old and quite delicious! His mama…my daughter Ashley, is a wonderful devoted and happy mother! And everytime he comes to visit his Grammie is very very happy!

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His beautiful blue eyes are always filled with wonder…all the world is facinating! Oh HoNey!

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My Johnny-boy is a butterball of joy! Oh HoNeY!

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We also had sweet Peggy come for a visit. Peg is my daughter-in-law Kimmy’s mama. I just love that Peggy travels with her favorite recipes!

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She cooked a scrumptious meal for us and treated us to three pies for dessert…two kinds of chocolate pie and one blackberry…it was pie heaven! She lives in Austin, Texas and let me tell ya, that gal’s a real hoot ‘n’ holler as they say down here in the Ozarks! Everybody needs a friend like Peggy…so full of joy and the love of the Lord!

Since Fall is one of the best times to visit Silver Dollar City (an amusement park set in the theme of the 1800′s, just minutes from my home) I just had to get out there for their Harvest Festival!

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I brought along my adorable, hilarious, ( did I say adorable?) friend Marla Jean, a sweet ‘n’ spunky  Oklahoma girl . We decided it was a great day to go to the Silver Dollar City Culinary School to enjoy a fun cooking show presented in this darling farmhouse…

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We got there a bit early so we sat on the rocking chairs and chatted like a couple of happy hens until it was time to go in…

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Come take a peek inside!

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The large kitchen has room for 35 students and the show is one hour.

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The teacher is so friendly and perfectly chatty…she makes you feel like an old friend sittin’ at her kitchen table. Each day she prepares a different dish. On this day she made a mushroom sauce for steak and also sausage gravy for her amazing biscuits. Biscuits and gravy is a staple here in the Ozarks. You can find it at most restaurants in town. Back in Californy, where I’m from, we’ve never heard of it! West coast folks don’t know what they’re missin’!

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After the show we strolled through the 1800′s park to enjoy the delightful harvest craftsmen and women. Miss Phyllis and her family came down from Kansas to demonstrate how to make Apple Butter. Oh my! It was the best I’ve ever tasted! Her secret is to add some “Red Hots” cinnamon candies to the mixture of  apples and brown sugar! apple-butter

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Here she is rolling dough for a crumb top apple pie that she’ll be baking in the wood stove behind her…the old fashioned way!

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It was facinating to watch how she handled the dough and crimped the edges in her own quaint style!

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Her daughter sat in the mellow warmth of  a honeyed afternoon sunbeam with an enamel pan in her lap as she peeled and cored the crisp autumn apples. I can imagine that it was quiet moments like these that the brave and hard working prairie women would look forward to. A time to sit a while, catch their breath,  pray and count their blessings… and even sing a hymn or two. With the aroma of fresh cut apples,  a cool breeze and the gentle motion of peeling and slicing, I can see how such a simple task would bring a warm feeling thankfulness and well being. It fills a homemaker’s heart with tender joy doing those things that she knows will nurture and bless her family.

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Some of the apples that have been prepared will be for the pie, but most of them will  go into the old copper kettle to make several batches of farm fresh apple butter to spread on homemade biscuits and toast.img_2869

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I could have chatted with Phyllis till the cows came home! She was so happy to answer all of  my many questions. She told me that back in the olden days many farm folks in the midwest and south had a “Summer Kitchen”. It was open to the outdoors like this one here, because it was too hot to cook in the house during the heat of summer and early fall.

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Canning jars, scrubbed clean and shiny, just waiting to be filled with apple goodness!

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Phyllis’ hubby, John Dale, looking quite dapper in his straw farmer’s hat I might say, pitches right in preparing the apples to put into the steaming kettle.

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If you would like a copy of Phyllis’s Favorite Recipes, send $5.00 to:

Phyllis Schrock

122 Kingsway                                                                                                                                                 Hesston, KS 67062

(the $5.00 includes postage)

Her little booklet has recipes for her family’s favorite meals, homemade noodles, cookies, pies, breads and of course apple butter. I have a bowl of apples waiting for me to simmer up a batch of apple butter later this week.

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The old Wilderness Church is one of my favorite stops at Silver Dollar City. There is such a calming feeling when you walk inside.

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Everyone is welcome to come and sit and gaze out at the view of the Ozark mountains.

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At certain times during the day they have delightful, old timey sing-alongs! It is such a heartwarming experience!

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There are of course lots of rides, activities and events going on throughout the park, but I always seem to veer off to the quaint little cabins and barns nestled snuggly in the woods.

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Doesn’t this look like a vintage photo? It’s actually one that I took–turned it Sepia— of one of the cabins you can go in to see how life was lived in the 1800′s. Every day a full meal is cooked on the wood burning stove and the folks who work there (the fiddle players, story tellers and cooks) get to sit down and enjoy the homecooked supper together. Guests can walk right in an act like a fly on the wall and watch them eat their vittles.

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Fresh sorghum canes are crushed, extracting the juice to make sorghum syrup.

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Here’s granny cookin’ up a batch of sorghum. It’s like a light molasses. They use it in cookies, breads, baked beans, and it’s drizzled on pancakes, biscuits and rolls. Scrumptious!img_2704

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It was so wonderful breathing in the delights of fall at Silver Dollar City that I had to bring sweet Summer Rose back with me! Our first stop was this darling bakery for a hot cinnamon roll, dripping with sugar-milk icing! We kept saying “OH MY GOODNeSs! This is soooooo yummy!” and then we got the giggles!

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Instead of mama and daughter we look like two little kids in this giant rocking chair!

As we were leaving the park we were walking behind this cute little family and we overheard the conversation between the daddy and his son (who looked to be around 7 yrs. old)…the daddy was talking about all the fun things they still had left  to do that day and the boy exclaimed “We’re gonna be wore out by nightfall pa!” Okay is that not the cutest thing Ev-AH! What little boy says “nightfall”?? That is so stinkin’ adorable! Summer and I kept saying that phrase the rest of the day! It sounded like a line right out of Little House On The Prairie!!  Oh HoNeY!

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I hope y’all are enjoying WoNdErFuL FaLL! Keep them home fires burnin’ Sugar Pies…get your home all comfy cozy before the chilly north wind starts to blow! (Brrrrrrrr! ) Fill your home with joyful music, yummy smells, and lots of love to bless your family!

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galations 6:9

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Well, it’s apple butter makin’ days here at the farmhouse! I’ve got to get to peeling them apples! Y’all come back now ya hear?

May the good Lord bless you and keep you real good!

Hugs!

Aunt Ruthie

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