Friday, August 31, 2012

Are you sending spam?

If you are sending spam - don't bother!  As soon as it is discovered it is deleted, before it goes onto the site.  There are laws being worked on to make the practice illegal.  Is it worth going to jail?  Why don't you wise up and go legitimate?  In the meantime, NOBODY WILL BE READING YOUR SPAM!

National Trail Mix Day

Today is "National Trail Mix Day".  In my shop you'll find "Big Woods Trail Mix".  It includes: Chocolate Chips, Peanut Butter Chips, White Chocolate Chips, Regular and Golden Raisins, Peanuts, Almonds, Cashews, Banana Chips, Dried Cranberries, M&M's and Chocolate Graham Bears!

I'm sure this would have been a more pleasant snack than the "Hard Tack" that the Ingalls and Wilder families had with them on the trail.  If you are interested in a recipe for "Hard Tack", it is here in the archives.  But, if you are looking for a tasty snack for your travels on the trail, I suggest you stop by my shop and pick up some "Big Woods Trail Mix" - it comes in an inexpensive-sized package.

Thanks.  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Laura Ingalls Wilder sees my house!

On this date, in 1894: Laura, Almanzo and little Rose, lined up their wagon along with 10 other emigrant wagons, and made their grand entrance into the "Gem City of the Ozarks" (Mansfield, Missouri).  They passed the town square at apporoximately 11:30 a.m., as Laura wrote in her journal.

They took a tour of the town that day, which had about 300 to 400 residents at that time.  They, no doubt, saw my house (the oldest one in town - actually built before the rest of the town - in 1881).  Directly across the street from my house they saw the Methodist Church, which they would later attend.

Laura later became friends with the people who lived in my house at that time.  She was to be a frequent visitor to my house, as she attended the many teas given in conjuction with the women's club that both she and the homeowner were members.

But it was this day, in 1894, that Laura first saw Mansfield.  She and Almanzo must have liked what they saw, since they bought a farm and lived here the rest of their lives.  Who wouldn't want to live in a township named, "Pleasant Valley"?

I am proud to live in the oldest house in the town that Laura chose to live in also.  Since I now have a souvenir and candy shop inside my house, I am happy to invite all visitors who come to see Laura's hometown.

Laura's home is still standing, on her "Rocky Ridge Farm", as it was the day she died, in 1957.  The home is open to the public and is only one mile away from my house. If you come to Mansfield to see Laura's Historic Home & Museum, I hope you'll drop by and visit with me also.  And, at this present time, I have a houseguest - a 90 year old lady, who is a cousin to Almanzo.  She likes to sit in my shop and visit with customers and they enjoy the stories she has to share as well.

For more information, see my web site:  Thanks.  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Monday, August 27, 2012

Laura Ingalls' brother

It was six months after Laura had turned 9 years old.  Laura and her family had celebrated at the birth of Charles Frederick, the first boy born into the family in November.  Laura was probably very excited to have a little brother; one who would share in some of her "tomboy" ways.  Charles was probably very happy to have a son, who might help in the homesteading efforts as he grew up; and someone who might share his love of playing the fiddle.  Caroline, his mother, no doubt shared such enthusiastic hopes for her newborn child.  But it wasn't to be.  On August 27, 1876 little Freddie, as they called him, died.  He had struggled with poor health since the time of his birth.  So, at age 9 months and 26 days, he departed this life.  He was buried by a relative's home, in Troy, Minnesota.

Charles and Caroline went on to have another gift from God, born in May the following year, Grace Pearl.  But no other son was had by them.  It must have been quite a blow to them to know that they would not have a male to carry on their heritage.

In some way, Laura, writing her books may have made up for this loss; since she brought a lasting legacy to the family name.  But it was still a devastating time for them at the time.  Caroline was never to get over the loss.  In later years she lamented, "Everything would have been different if Freddie had lived."

Laura didn't write about this sad time in their family.  Little Freddie would have lived during the period covered in Laura's books, "On the Banks of Plum Creek" and "By the Shores of Silver Lake". 

It does cause one to wonder what life for the family would have been like, had he lived.  No doubt he would have been written into Laura's account of their pioneer life.  Maybe the subsequent TV show would have cast Matthew Laborteaux as Freddie, instead of the fictional Albert character.  These are things to ponder, if you are an avid "Little House" fan!

Your comments are welcomed here.  Thanks.
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Laura Ingalls & Almanzo Wilder wedding day

It was a Thursday, August 25, 1885 at about 10 am.  Ida Brown and her mother both witnessed a marriage performed by Rev. Brown.  It was the marriage of Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder.  They took their vows in the Brown's home, with Laura wearing her black cashmere dress.  They were to remain husband and wife till Almanzo's death, some 64 years later.
You can read more about their engagement and wedding in "These Happy Golden Years", by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe for "National Peach Month"

This comes from one of my family recipes.  I had to translate or interpret some of it in order to post it here.  And I'm not quite sure of what to call it!  As it passed through the generations, it lost its name!  When someone in the family had a taste for it, they just said, "Could we have some of that Peach Stuff?"  It seems to me to be part custard, part pie, part cobbler, part cake - so I'm calling it:
Farmer Boy Peach - Custard Treat
For the botttom crust:
  • 1 Cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 Cup of butter, slightly softened
For the filling portion:
  • Cups of fresh peaches, sliced or roughly chopped
  • 1/3 Cup of sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • About 2 Tablespoons of butter (dotted onto the surface)
For the custard topping:
  • 1/4 Cup of sugar
  • 1/4 Cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 2 large egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 Cup of heavy cream
Directions: In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and powder.  Cut in the butter.  Press this into an 8x8 inch pan, coming up the sides a little ways.
In a large bowl, mix together the peaches, sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Pour this into the pan, on top of the crust.  Dot the surface with the butter.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees F. for about 15 minutes.
Mix together the topping ingredients.  Remove the pan from the oven and add the topping.  Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 25 to 35 minutes (till it is set and the edges bubble and turn a dark golden color).  Serve after cooling about 15 minutes or so.
This will serve 4-6 or 1 really hungry Farmer Boy!  You may wish to serve this while it is still warm and top it with a scoop of vanilla or peach ice cream - Yee Haw!  (If you need ice cream recipes - I have some here, in my archives.)
If you think of a better name for this dish, as you serve it to your folks, you have my permission to use that name at that time, but as it sits - to me it is "Farmer Boy Peach-Custard Treat".  Any way you dish it up, its a great way to celebrate "National Peach Month"!

If you make this, please come back and leave a comment here.  Thanks.
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Sunday, August 19, 2012

National Potato Day

Here we are, (August 19) "National Potato Day"!  So what did I cook up for a posting on this day?
This is something that came from my childhood memories.  When I was but a wee lad, this side dish was made - I enjoyed it, but thought they called it "Potatoes - All Rotten"!  They were actually saying, "Potatoes au Gratin", meaning potatoes with cheese (I think).  Anyway, I have tweeked that old memory's recipe and came up with this:
Farmer Boy Cheesy Taters
  • 2 Cups of cubed Rusted Taters (Russet Potatoes :)
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup of whole milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 Cup of finely chopped red pepper (or pimientos)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 Cup of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Paprika
Directions: In an 8 inch square pan, buttered, place half of the cubed potatoes.  Mix the flour, mix, milk, cream, garlic, red peppers, salt & pepper in a bowl.  Pour half of this over the potatoes.  Spread about 1/4 cup of the cheese over this.  Then add the rest of the potatoes, followed by the rest of the mixture.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees F. for about 30 minutes.  Take the foil off and bake an additional 20 minutes, till it becomes golden brown and bubbly.  Take it out of the oven.  Sprinkle on the paprika and add the rest of the cheese to the top.  Place it back into the oven for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese on top.
Allow this to stand for a few minutes before you serve it. 
I hope you'll try this recipe, it's a good way to celebrate "National Potato Day" or any other day for that matter!  If you make this, please get back here and leave a comment on it.  Thanks.
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

National Creamsicle Day

In case you don't know what a Creamsicle is: it is like an ice cream bar, but it is made with vanilla ice cream and coated with orange sherbet.  In case you've never had anything like that: it is something to put on your "Bucket List"!

I love eating a Creamsicle and have since I was but a young boy!  But, now that I'm older and wiser, (I hope wiser!) I have turned to making my own Creamsicle (well, sort of) by making this recipe:
Farmer Boy Orange Dream Float
  • Orange soda (I prefer Orange Crush*)
  • Vanilla ice cream
Directions: Fill a large tumbler half way with the soda.  Scoop a large scoop or two of ice cream and drop it gently into the soda.  Then fill the remaining space with more soda.  Insert a straw and a long spoon.  Dive into the tumble anyway you see fit!  (I like to eat half the ice cream, then drink half the soda.  Then I like to stir the rest up and drink it.)
I hope you'll try this recipe and then leave a comment here, to let us all know what you thought of it.  Thanks.

"We can work our dreams into realities if we try, but we must be willing to make the effort." Laura Ingalls Wilder

* Note: Orange Crush was once bottled in Mansfield, MO!  Those bottles are now collector's items.  I wonder if Almanzo or Laura ever drank from those bottles!
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Laura and Almanzo's baby boy

It was on this day, in 1889, that the 12 day old son of Laura and Almanzo Wilder died.  He died suddenly, probably from what is now termed, "SIDS" (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  He would have been Rose's younger brother.  And, had he survived, grown up and had a family of his own, the family members might have made a similar contribution to our lives as did the rest of the family. 

They, of course, took the death very hard.  Laura later remarked how sorry she was to have not named him before he died.  His grave marker lies in the family plot in DeSmet, SD.  Special thanks to Laura's cousin, Sue Ellen Francis, for the photo.

We can all appreciate Laura's loss, and be ever grateful that she didn't let it stop her from sharing her life's experiences with us.  He kept the thoughts of her loss all her life, but shared the rest with us.  Thanks, Laura.
"I have learned that few persons have such happy and successful lives that they would wish to spend years in just remembering." Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe - Peaches & Cream Loaf

Still celebrating "National Peach Month" with this recipe.  Since the peaches are ripe now and since the weather is so hot, I came up with this recipe for making in a bread machine - that way the oven doesn't have to heat up the whole place!

  • 1/4 Cup of heavy cream, or half and half
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of canola oil
  • 3 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 Cups of fresh peaches, pitted, peeled and chopped
  • 3 1/2 Cups of bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of yeast
Directions: In a mixing bowl, combine the egg, cream, oil and sugar.  Whisk the mixture, till fluffly.  Add this to your bread machne.  Add the prepared peaches, then the oats, nutmeg, and salt; followed by the flour.  Top off with the yeast and let 'er go!  Setting should be for a 1 1/2 lb. loaf of basic white bread, medium or light crust setting. *Note: check after 15 minutes of kneading to be sure a smooth ball is formed & adjust with flour or water as necessary.
I hope you'll make this loaf and then leave a comment her for all of us. Thanks.
You'd better copy this one for using during the winter - yes, you can use canned peaches! (less the juice)
I like to top a slice, buttered, then topped with powdered sugar or cream cheese, whipped up with heavy cream! Yum!

"Those who stop dreaming never accomplish anything." Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thanks for looking at my blog site & please come back again real soon.
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Monday, August 6, 2012

National Peach Month

To begin the celebration of "National Peach Month", I have this recipe:
Farmer Boy Peach & Blackberry Cobbler
  • 3 Cups of fresh peaches, thinly sliced
  • 1 Cup of fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 Cup of sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Cup of all-purpose flour, divided
  • 6 Tablespoons of butter, softened
  • 1/3 Cup of heavy cream
Directions: In a mixing bowl, combine the peaches, berries, half the cinnamon, flour, and sugar.   In another bowl, lightly beat the egg, adding in the rest of the flour, cinnamon, butter and sugar.  In a greased 8 inch square pan, add the peaches & berries mixture.  Cover this with the other mixture.  Drizzle the cream over all.  Bake in oven at 375 degrees F. for about 30 - 35 minutes, till golden around the edges.
This is a simple recipe and you could even use canned fruit (without the extra juice) if you don't have the fresh fruits!  I hope you'll enjoy this and then leave a comment here to let us all know.  Thanks.
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls
"It is better to make a good pie than a poor poem." Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thursday, August 2, 2012

National Ice Cream Sandwich Day!

In order to celebrate this day, I've posted a recipe you'll need before you can make my "Farmer Boy Ice Cream Sandwich".  These are great for making Ice Cream Sandwiches or just plain great as muffins!
Farmer Boy Double Chocolate Muffin Tops
*Note: You'll need a Muffin Top Pan to make these. But, if you don't have that pan, you could use a regular muffin tin, but be sure to fill each cup all the way up, so that it will "Mushroom" and then you can cut off the excess. And be sure to spray non-stick on the part where it will "Mushroom".
  • 2/3 Cup of Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 3/4 Cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 Cups of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon of Espresso powder or instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Cup of milk
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of white vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup  of butter, melted
  • coarse sugar, for topping (optional)
Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease the pan.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt and set this aside. 
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and vinegar.  In a microwavable bowl, soften the chocolate chips - but don't melt them completely.  Add all this mixture, along with the melted butter, to the dry ingredients, stirring to blend.
Scoop the batter into the lightly greased pan; filling each cup to the top. Sprinkle with corarse sugar.
Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes, till they begin to crack on top. (test with probe) Remove the muffin tops from the oven, and after 5 minutes, from the pan.  (Allow them to cool at least 15 minutes on a rack before using them to make the ice cream sandwiches.)  This recipe should make about a dozen muffin tops.

To make the Ice Cream Sandwiches: simply scoop ice cream (I happen to like my buttermilk vanilla flavor - see my recipe in the archives) then flatten it and lay it on one side of a muffin top and cover with another.  This may seem a bit extreme to you & "Over the Top", but once you've tried it, you won't want another one of those "Sissy Ice Cream Sandwiches"!
Almanzo, the original Farmer Boy, would probably eat a couple at one sitting!  Note: you may need a spoon to eat these!
Now, you can take it from here - you may wish to experiment with different flavors of ice cream and maybe even different flavors of muffin tops - the sky is the limit!  :)  If you make these, let us all know by leaving a comment here.  Thanks.

"Life was not intended to be simply a round of work, no matter how interesting and important that work may be." Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Old Man in the Bib Overalls