Oh dear! What a week we are having here at Sweet Briar Cottage. I do believe some little gremlins have taken up residence. The week started out with me noticing a small leak in our boiler. Some small leak! We ended up replacing the entire heating system. Then in the middle of doing the laundry the washing machine just up and quit. Followed by the vacuum cleaner. Now I understand what it is like to live in the golden olden days before the advent of modern technology. I can tell you that even though it sounds romantic to sit by the fireside, it's another thing entirely to live by heating your home the old-fashioned way. Give me central heating any day. And now I can truly appreciate what wonderful machines washers and vacuum cleaners are. How did people keep their homes clean before them? Probably didn't have corgis for pets, that's for sure! It's also a good reminder that an emergency fund is a very nice thing indeed. Otherwise, you would have to add heart attack to list of mishaps when Jake, the plumber, told me the amount for the new boiler! I love my plumber! He's the only contractor that I've ever hired that does his work without a lot of drama. BTW, had to fire my siding contractor this month too. Just was not getting the job done. So unfortunately, there won't be any pictures posted of my "new" cute gray shingled cottage. So here's our "central" heating for the present:
Pumpkin Tea Loaf
1 3/4 C. flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 1/3 C. sugar
1/3 C. oil
1 C. pumpkin puree
1/3 C. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
1/3 C. raisins or chopped dates (we prefer the dates)
Sift the first six dry ingredients together. Beat oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in the pumpkin. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the water and vanilla. Mixing well. Fold in the nuts and raisins/dates. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean (as if I have to tell you that!).
Speaking of pumpkins, if you can have the kiddies hold off carving theirs until the day of Halloween, they will stay fresh enough so that you can then take it inside after the trick or treating and roast it to get a nice puree to freeze for your Thanksgiving pie. Of course the day after Halloween is a good time to purchase pumpkins for canning and freezing, as they usually go on sale.
I wish I were young enough to go trick or treating! What fun it was to get dressed up in some outlandish costume. The treats were never much of a treat when I was a girl; usually peanut butter kisses and popcorn balls with some candy corn thrown in for good measure. No, what I loved about Halloween was walking about in the dark, crunching through the piles of leaves, and just being free from parental constraints. What a jolly good time my friends and I had!
We usually ended the evening with a walk through the cemetery (I lived next door to it), and it was a good spooky one too. Several blocks square with a pointy wrought iron fence, lots of lichen covered headstones, massive old elms and a huge mausoleum in the center of it. It had glass doors so that you could look in on it. Oh! the wonderful ghost stories my oldest sister told me about that! Spent many a night sleeping with the lights on thanks to her stories. She was a master of the macabre. Although we hoped to encounter a ghost, we never did, but the many bats that kept house in the trees gave us a good scare. Of course, this was long before the world got so crazy and people started thinking it was fun to vandalize cemeteries. So if we don't meet again before the 31st, remember to keep a lookout "er the gobble-uns 'll git ya, ef you DON'T WATCH OUT!".