A Story and a Recipe

By Dorothy Johnson

 

The leaves are beginning to turn colors and today’s breezes bring the feel of fall.  This is, of course, the last week in September and although we will have more warm and sunny days, we all know what is coming. Most farmers have their produce harvested, farmers’ markets are closing until the spring and forward-looking citizens are storing sand and digging their shovels out of their sheds.

Here on the farm everything is quiet. Lulu had a few bad days because she refuses to go out in the rain.  As soon as I mention going out, she gets in the back of her crate where I cannot reach her without getting in the crate myself, and we all know that would be a big mistake. I would probably get stuck in there until someone came to rescue me.

The birds are hanging around hoping I will get the picture and put more bird feed out.  I stopped feeding them in the summer, not because I wanted to get rid of them, but because I wanted to get rid of the red squirrels and the chipmunks. They are amusing little beasts, but they are destructive.  The first thing they did was store some seeds for winter on the motor in my Kia. Once I had that vacuumed, they began another nest complete with winter’s seeds in another place in the car. When I stopped feeding the birds, the squirrels and chipmunks moved to the woods.

I thought I had that problem solved until last week when I had the oil changed in the Kia. The mechanic found more seeds on the motor. He followed a trail of chewed paper and found that a mouse had used my glove compartment for his outhouse. Usually I can deal with mouse droppings, but mouse urine is a completely different problem.

Like many car owners, I keep proof of insurance as well as other important papers in my glove compartment. That mouse shredded my extra MacDonald’s napkins and made a cute little nest complete with a kitchen cupboard (seeds) and a bathroom (droppings and noxious smells).  I have had to tear the results of his/her hard work apart and now he/she has to begin over again.  I have put Bounce sheets around the inside of the Kia to discourage squatters’ rights’ arguments. I do hope that the little varmint has his/her life insurance paid up because I may have to try to kill it…and I really do not like to kill animals that are just trying to get by.

In other news from the farm, my tomatoes plants have decided to produce fruit just in time for the September frost.  The dry weather made the plants spend extra energy crying for water so they have not had a lot of energy to put into actually producing.  So what we have in the miniature garden is one cherry tomato about as large as a thumb nail and three green tomatoes that will not live to see red. I am not planning on canning tomatoes this year.

What I am planning on is enjoying the rest of September’s and all of October’s weather.  The cool days are the days I like and when the sun shines in, I am like a cat soaking up the warmth. I have more good books that need my attention and although I have several outdoor projects that also need attention, I prefer to spend time with books.  What I do not plan to do is to spend too much time worrying about the presidential election.  As far as I am concerned, the nation has been inundated with the pros and cons of both candidates and citizens are sick of it. Let’s get it over with and try to “get by” for the next four years…but before we look too far into the future, let’s try to get through another wonderful fall.

 

I was looking around for an unusual and easy casserole for the cooler fall evening meals. The one I found was a recipe for Dried Beef-Macaroni Bake.  This recipe takes a bit longer to prepare, but I believe that the young people at home will really like it.

 

Dried Beef-Macaroni Bake 

Ingredients:

Four eggs

Seven ounces (about two cups) uncooked elbow macaroni

Eight ounces (two cups) shredded Cheddar cheese

One cup frozen baby sweet peas

One (10 three-quarters ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

One (2.5 ounce) jar dried beef, coarsely chopped

One cup milk

One tablespoon instant minced onion

Paprika

Method: Place eggs in medium saucepan; cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer about 15 minutes.  Immediately brain; run cold water over eggs to stop cooking.  Peel eggs; finely chop. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 2-quart casserole with nonstick cooking spray. In large saucepan, cook macaroni to desired 

doneness as directed on package. Drain; return to 

saucepan.Add chopped hard-cooked eggs and all 

remaining ingredients to cooked macaroni; stir gently to mix.  Pour into sprayed casserole.  Sprinkle with paprika. Cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes 

or until bubbly. This recipe makes 4 

 

(one and a half cup) servings.