Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Typical Friday in the Woods


This morning, I woke up to this critter outside the bedroom window, rapping and tapping on a tree. A Pileated woodpecker, no doubt looking for wood-boring beetle larvae, which doesn’t sound very appetizing I suppose, that is, unless you’re a crow-sized woodpecker looking for breakfast.
This week is the beginning of muzzle-loader season in the woods. I’m cleaning the Mill Cabin to make ready for 6 hunters from Vermont who will be staying for a week. Nature has provided them with a winter wonderland; unfortunately, for the deer, this will make tracking them much easier.


I found two deer gnawing on the shrubs outside the Mill Cabin. They obviously didn't get  the memo about the impending arrival of the Vermont hunters.
Don't worry. Tom and will make it clear to the hunters that they can't shoot deer off the Mill Cabin porch or any area surrounding our cabins.
While I don’t relish the idea of any deer getting killed, I know there’s an overabundance and hunting season downsizes the population so other deer can find an adequate amount of food during the winter months.  


The Mill Cabin cleaned, I’m now in the kitchen making my hubby a wholesome cookie treat, while he’s outside bringing in wood to feed our two wood stoves inside the house. Upstairs, we have the Vermont Casting stove and in the basement, a wood burner that funnels heat into the upper regions of the house. Although we do have an electric furnace that kicks on whenever we're away from the house, we try to keep room temperature up around 69 degrees. A little cool for you? Well, unbelievably, Tom and I like the cooler temps and our  bodies adjust quite nicely.

Wow, setting all the ingredients out on the counter is a bit intimidating, don't ya' think? It makes you wonder if making homemade cookies is worth all the hassle. Well, take it from me, it definitely beats packaged cookies with preservatives.

Oatmeal, Raisin, Walnut Cookies (A cold winter treat)
1 cup of Buttery Crisco
1 cup of packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup of flour
3 cups of rolled oats
1 cup raisins and 1 cup chopped walnuts
Combine Buttery Crisco, brown sugar, white sugar and eggs – beat on high speed for 2 minutes
Add baking powder, vanilla, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves – beat for another minute
Add flour on low speed
Add rolled oats on low speed
Add raisins and walnuts by hand.
Bake in a preheated 375 deg. Oven for 10-12 minutes until deliciously brown on top
Take from oven and rap the cookie tray on a solid surface to “set” the cookies and then let cool before putting them into the cookie jar, that is, if they make it that far.


Tom, in from the 11 deg. temp today, more than deserves the first warm cookie from the oven.


Now, the preparation of  the cinnamon rolls for the guests (hunters). Every Saturday I provide a plate of gooey cinnamon rolls for cabin guests. I prepare the rolls on Friday afternoon up to the point of the second proof of the dough. Store the rolls (covered with plastic wrap)  in the fridge overnight. In the morning, take them out of fridge and let them do the second proof before baking in a 375 deg. Oven for 15 minutes.

Step 1. Use a saucepan to heat 1 cup of evaporated milk plus 1 cup of water, along with 1/4 cup butter, 1/3rd cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. In a separate container, have ready 1 Tablespoon of yeast, plus 1 teaspoon of sugar. When the milk mixture is warm, start your yeast prep by adding 1/4 cup of hot tap water (not too hot) and watch the sugar and yeast bubble to the top (about 10 minutes). In the meantime, pour the milk mixture into your mixing bowl, adding 2 cups of flour to the mixture and stir.

Step 2. When the yeast is bubbly and ready, add to the milk mixture and stir, and then let set for a couple of minutes and watch the yeast begin to bubble again. Next, turn on the mixer on lowest setting with the attached dough hook, slowly adding an additional 3 cups of flour. On number 2 speed let the mixer do the work for ten minutes. After ten minutes, scrape the elastic dough out onto a smooth work station and slowly knead in enough flour to make the dough smooth and silky. Put the dough into an oiled bowl (I use my trusty red enamal bowl that I bought at an auction years ago and no matter how beat up it is, I just can't let it go to the thrift store) I use spray oil to mist the top of the dough and then cover with plastic wrap, but be careful not to seal the bowl, and then put in a warm place to raise for about 1-1/2 hours.  

After the first raising, let the dough rest for a few minutes on your work table. Then roll out and slather the dough with 1/4 cup of soft butter, and then cover the buttered dough with 1/2 cup sugar combined with 1 Tablespoon cinnamon.Roll up the dough jelly roll fashion and seal the end with dabs of water. Then cut the dough into approx. 12 sections (Warning: these will make big cinnamon rolls, so if you want more than a dozen, extend the dough into a longerthinner jelly roll before cutting).

Look at all the measuring cups! When cooking or baking, I tend to use every set in my cupboard. Don't ask why, I just do. At any rate, days end, and not making much for supper except for grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and salads. Oh, yeah, the hunters arrived a little after eight in the evening. They had a little run-in with the bad weather and cold temperatures, but they're here now, safe and sound. Good night from Log Cabin Journal


  1. I swear my first post disappeared. Don't know what I did. Anyway, love the posts from Inn A Cabin. Treats look delectable and I know they are, anything that comes from your kitchen is delicious. May try the cookies one day. The rooms look ready to be snuggled into. Happy everyone arrived safe. Take care and keep writing. Beautiful photos.