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Okay, so I have been reading about stock vs. broth and figured that I would apply the test to my chicken soup recipe. What I wound up with was a “keeper” recipe in the family’s opinion. Last night we had roasted chicken. I cut all the meat off when before we ate, what was left (the carcass with some small pieces of meat) I roasted at 400 degrees until it was nice and dark (not burnt). I then transferred the roasted carcass into a stock pot with cold water, salt, pepper and two stalks of celery and one onion, both roughly chopped.

I cooked that down all afternoon today and then strained it. I took just the stock, added fresh chopped onion, celery and a couple carrots. Diced up the leftover cold chicken meat from last night and added that in. Checked the seasoning again and let that simmer until we were ready to eat. About 15 minutes before dinner, I mixed up a batch of dumpling batter and added that by the spoonful to the simmering soup. Brought it back to a boil, covered it and simmered for about 10 minutes or until the dumplings are fluffy.

The soup, along with homemade bread, made a yummy cold weather dinner when it was only 13 outside and snowing.


Well, we came back from NJ to find that the plastic had blown off the “hothouse” on my garden since it was WINDY. The goats’ kennel had blown clean over the electric fence into the yard and garbage cans were everywhere. We reset the plastic but decided to pick almost all of the swiss chard and salad that was still out there since I had no way of knowing if the plastic would hold. So now I have lots and lots of swiss chard. Since I am the only one in the family that actually eats it, this will most likely be the main ingredient of my contribution to the doomer dinner that my friend is hosting on Saturday. I believe that the sauerkraut is fermented enough also, so I have to finish washing swiss chard and can the sauerkraut, those are today’s projects in addition to the usual.

Paranoia runs high in the Heffernan house. While I wasn’t quite so much the paranoia freak as the worry wort, living with Tom has changed that. The news that Google has taken such a great interest in the flu as to develop its own flu tracker was unusual news in my opinion, but the news on any given day is replete with warnings that the flu pandemic is coming. Is it just flu season paranoia? Something for the main stream media to grab hold of with its little teeth and beat to death? Well, yes, but more disturbing is the news that you can find from the little mom and pop papers, commentators and blogs which echo that something is coming….something big is coming.

Given the fact that the rest of the world from an economic perspective is in the shitter, wouldn’t it just be ripe to get sacked with a nice flu pandemic? Eliminate a good chunk of the world’s population and minimize some problems on the economic front…..oh wait, it’s not my job to be the resident paranoid, that’s Tom’s job. Sorry sweetie.

Chickens don’t much like the snow. Or at least, our chickens don’t much like the snow. We had snow showers off and on today which left a couple of inches of snow on the ground. (Snow showers in our neck of the woods is a dangerous and misleading term since snow showers have been known to drop INCHES of snow which is the same as snow storms in other parts of the land). Anyhow, the chickens really didn’t take much of a liking to the snow and the goats, well the goats are lovable but not too smart, they had big frozen balls of snow in their fur evidently not thinking it necessary to get indoors when it was snowing.

Busy weekend. We had baby Emily’s christening and one of Tom’s cousins’ weddings in the same day. We left here bright and early in the morning and it was a long, long day. Fun but exhausting. 

Lots of catching up with friends and family.

Our Gang with Miss Emily

Our Gang with Miss Emily

I originally started this blog for me and if anyone found it, well, that was okay. Then, thanks to my biggest fan – that would be Tom evidently, seems more and more people are looking. And that makes me a little self-conscious although sometimes I can forget when I am typing in the heat of the moment. Anyway, slowly, very slowly, I am working my way out in the “public eye”. I must admit it is kind of neat to get comments from people about what I write and know that if I really need to vent there is always that wonderful little button that says “keep this post private” so I can write and vent about “whatever” and know that no one will ever see it. Anyhow, I have done two things to “promote” the blog (gosh, that sounds so commercial). I have submitted my blog to Cathy R. at 7days which posts a running list of Vermont blogs of which I am proud to be. 7days is kind of Vermont’s what’s happening and going on newspaper and I was very excited when Cathy sent me the email that “I was in”. Even more excited when checking blog stats to learn that someone actually came to me from their link. Awesome! The second thing, which is more noticeable is that I linked my LinkedIn page with my blog and vice versa. Now if you go the LinkedIn page for me (that would be Tammy Smith Heffernan – since I don’t want anyone to not find me if they were really looking) you can see recent excerpts from the blog and on the blog, there is a link on the lower left here to my LinkedIn profile. Kinda neat.

I have put down the work and picked up the computer to do something fun. Today was a productive day. Got a lot accomplished which is good since tomorrow I return to the dermatologist for the biopsies. Then we will be on the clock, one way or the other. I saw my doctor today and her advice is to wait for the results of the biopsies before rushing to any conclusions about anything. Good advice but not for someone who has been waiting for what seems like forever to figure out what is up with my leg, and my arm and now my back….if I keep waiting I will just be one giant itchy red mess. Then people on the street can take guesses as to what is wrong with me….maybe I can do a raffle or something …. guess what’s wrong with the itchy oozing woman and win a prize!

A friend of mine forwarded on an article from the BBC which relates the story of a woman who was killed by her dead husband when his coffin slammed into her head on the way to the cemetery. Ain’t love sweet? They must have been soul mates. One was not destined to live without the other. Reminds me of the Notebook, a really good chick flick that had most of the audience grabbing tissues when I went to see it with some friends. 

The ramblings of a woman who is looking for anything to keep her mind occupied. We have a wedding and a christening this weekend. Since Vermont is not a hotbed of fashion I mail ordered a dress to wear since I felt that looking pretty might help me feel better. The dress has yet to show up, so I will deal with what to wear on Friday if it doesn’t come. No use sweating the small stuff. 

I am sitting here typing in front of the very nice and toasty fire. Very relaxing for about the next 2 seconds until I have to jump up and cook…..well it was really nice…..

Music. Such a big part of my life. I have to give Tom credit for this. Since I have known him, years and years ago, music was there and it still is there. Some of my best memories are associated with specific songs as I sure a lot of people might be able to say. Without Tom, I don’t know if music would have been such a big part of things. Sure, I put music on, now and again, but the music is always going on when he is here.  Some of our whole family’s favorite evenings have been spent going through snippets of different songs and usually tormenting me with guessing what song it is (the men in my life beside scaring me with the pig, know that I am the WORST “name that song” person in the world) and getting a whole lot of amusement out of it. Last night, Timmy had some friends over for a movie and dinner and Tom and I hung around listening to a wide, weird variety of music while he cleaned up his library with the fire going in the woodstove, nice and toasty. It was fun.


Scary Pig

Scary Pig

Some of you see a cute flying pig ornament. I see a scary pig with beady eyes that seems to always be watching me. Okay, so I am weird. Some people are afraid of clowns, I appear to be frightened of this pig. Men smell fear….trust me I know I live with 4 of them. So, it has now become amusing to the men in my life to torment me with the pig. The pig sits on my table while I work, the pig stares its beady little black eyes into me on the table during dinner, the pig finds it way somewhere to watch me while I cook. Whenever and whenever they get the chance, they put the pig there – to scare the daylights out of me. And it works……

Well, it appears from listening to the news that vice-president elect Biden might have been onto something with his prediction that if elected, Obama would be tested within the first 6 months of his presidency, and it seems more and more likely that that test may come from Russia. Some Russian trouble appears to be brewing.  Am I the only one reading about this who is thinking President Kennedy and Cuban MIssile Crisis? Makes you wonder. It seems that in his State of the Federation address Russian president Medvedev clearly stated that he has no issue with the American people BUT…. and that BUT seems to be the proverbial drawing of the line in the sand. It is curious that his speech which was to take place a couple weeks ago was postponed and “just happened” to coincide with the conclusion of the election in the US and the election of a president with less than optimal experience in these areas. Interesting stuff. I guess that time shall tell, but it seems like this is going to provide some interesting reading over the next few weeks.

Today was a balmy 60ish degrees. Hard to believe that less than 2 weeks ago, we had snow. Real snow. Good chance to get out and get some of those end of the season garden tasks that I didn’t get done, finished. Pulled the dead hostas from the flower beds and played with the goats. What more can a girl ask for?

No matter who you vote for, if you voted yesterday, you helped make history. This election was historic. Our children’s children will be reading about it in social studies one day — for good or for bad. A woman and a black man, one of them was going to hold a position of power in this country that so many of us would never dream possible for them or for any of us. 

We went to vote yesterday and it was definitely different from NJ. No voting machine, not the “old fashioned” kind I remember up until a few years ago, where you actually flipped a switch to register your vote. And definitely no electronic, touch screen digital computer voting machine. No, gotta love the country, we signed in and were handed a paper ballot. An actual paper ballot, fill it in with a pen type ballot. Geez…I must admit I really was stunned. So behind the curtain I went and grabbed the felt black marker attached to the string (I am seriously not kidding here) and filled in the circles for those candidates that I chose. Then I took my paper ballot (can you tell that I am still in shock about the paper part) and placed it into the slot in the ballot box. Okay, that was weird. But still a vote and about as grass roots American as one can get. A room full of locals that I am happy to say I could name a couple of, a bake sale on the first floor by the elementary school kids, how Vermont-ish can you get?

I forget how important this election is to the kids. All of our boys have been following the election in school. Our middle son, has a chart of the United States and had to watch the election results and color the states either red or blue as the votes came through. My youngest (who was at the bake sale) was so anxious to go into the voting booth with either Tom or I that he practically knocked me over as I showed up for my bake sale shift.

Well I don’t personally care for our new president, it is historic nonetheless. It will be interesting to see, while the world seemed behind president-elect Obama that there are those stretching their arms to see how he reacts. Russia has been talking out of both sides of its mouth with its decision to move missiles and its congratulatory wishes for Obama. Mr. Biden said he would be tested and it seems that test may be coming, in one form or another, sooner than they think.


Challah bread rising

Challah bread rising


Finished product

Finished product

I baked up a storm yesterday for the 6th grade bake sale at town hall on election day. These were the challah breads and I also made a crumbcake which was my first attempt and turned out pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.


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