Fall into autumn

Fall into autumn

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Breakfast of Champions

Our usual breakfast when growing up consisted of opening the "cereal cabinet" next to the table and making a selection from a wide variety of cold cereals found next to the stash of napkins. In the winter, the options might include hot oatmeal or Cream of Wheat with chopped-up dates adding sweetness to a few lucky bites.

On the other hand, Randy grew up eating hot breakfasts the majority of the time. I got him converted in no time at all - ha!

I love eating an occasional breakfast out at a restaurant. In fact, it's one of my favorite meals to eat outside the home. And, at the Ladd B & B, where we often stay before or after K-State games, a hot breakfast is sometimes on the menu plan. This past weekend, Jill was already feeding a crowd after the homecoming parade Friday night with yummy slow cookers full of chili and chicken and rice soup. When I volunteered to bring food of some sort, she suggested Saturday breakfast.

I sometimes bring banana bread (and I did this time, too). But with an 11 AM start time for the game, I wanted to add a substantial start to our day ... and try to avoid spending a bundle at the stadium concession stand at the same time.

What did we do before we could go to a search engine, type in "breakfast casserole, sausage, eggs, hash browns" and get a list of possible ways to combine those tasty ingredients? Well, we used the shelves of cookbooks I have cluttering my kitchen, but the typing method is usually faster.

This time, I found a simple recipe at The Country Cook, a food blog. While it's not a blog I normally read, I definitely qualify as a "country cook," and the recipe qualified on the ingredients I wanted to use. I made a few modifications, and we ended up with a tasty, pre-game breakfast. (Check out the recipe below). 
Our whole family was able to sit together at the game this time, which was a lot of fun. 
After a week of rain, it was a perfect fall day. 
 And K-State even won the game vs. Oklahoma State with some help from this cute fan club!
Yes, Kinley was able to eat the breakfast casserole ... even with her current lack of front teeth.
Uncle Brent and Eric got to answer plenty of questions about the whys and where-fors of football games.
The girls actually made it the whole game, though they did take a brief time out to play with their cousins on "the hill."
We arrived in Manhattan in time for the Friday evening homecoming parade. The girls enjoyed hanging out with their cousins and a Sunday School friend.
 Who doesn't love a parade? (OK. Don't ask Brent that question. He's not a big fan.)

We saw Willie ... (Brooke hid from him) ...
... and the marching band ...

... and got a head start on Halloween candy. 
After all the candy collected, let's get back to that recipe, shall we? Besides a tasty breakfast, it would make a great breakfast for supper choice. Enjoy!
Breakfast Casserole
(Hash Browns, Eggs, Sausage)
Adapted from The Country Cook blog
2 lb. bag frozen hash browns, thawed
1 lb. pork sausage (you choose the spiciness level)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 sweet red, yellow or green pepper (or equivalent of mini peppers), finely chopped
8 eggs
1/2 cup cream or half and half
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 13- by 9-inch baking pan with baking spray. Set aside.

Cook sausage, onions and peppers in skillet until the meat is browned and vegetables are softened. Drain any excess fat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, 1 cup of cheese, salt and pepper, mixing well.

In the prepared baking dish, spread out the thawed hash browns. Put cooked sausage mixture evenly on top. Pour egg mixture evenly over the sausage layer. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese on top.

Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Take foil off, and bake for additional 10 minutes, checking to make sure the cheese doesn't become overly brown. Serve with fruit, etc.

Note: I put the casserole together the night before and refrigerated it. Because it started out cold, I baked it at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes before removing the foil and baking for 10 minutes more. I started in a cold oven so I wouldn't break my glass baking dish.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Walkin' In a Winter Wonderfand

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
In the lane, snow is glistening ...
Walking in a winter wonderland.
Now wait just a minute! Shouldn't we be humming "Autumn Leaves" right about now?
 
The calendar says October, but it felt more like December for a little while on Sunday night and Monday morning.
The weird weather continues. We had another 0.90" of rain during the day on Sunday. Then huge, wet snowflakes began tumbling down Sunday evening (October 14).
After another glum day, we were glad to see the sun come up on Monday morning. The Sunday rainfall brought our total to almost 13 inches of rain in just a little more than a week.

The snow didn't stick around for long. But it made for unusual photos since most of the leaves are still on the trees.
 
While I couldn't find records for Stafford County, the National Weather Service said Wichita's earliest measurable snowfall until this fall was 1888. On average, Wichita can expect its first measurable snowfall around December 2, with that chance increasing to 90 percent by January 1. Last year, we didn't get any snow at all here on the Stafford/Reno County line.
Jill's in-laws had given us homegrown pumpkins and gourds when we were in Manhattan for the K-State/Oklahoma State game.
Our Sunday night snowfall put a little "frost on the pumpkin" and seemed to confuse Oreo the cat.
The vine on our house had more icicles than it had fall-colored leaves.
The temperature is supposed to rebound this week. By week's end, we may push 70 degrees. I just hope it doesn't include any more rain. We are still drying out from the last round, and it's going to take awhile.
With milo to cut and more wheat to plant (or re-plant), we're not ready to "swing" totally into winter.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Want Ads: Pontoon Needed

Farm Want Ads: Pontoons for car.
Fairyland
Fairy Want Ads: A dry basement
Farm Wife Ads: A dry basement and a dry utility room.

Right now, my only viable mode of transportation to the north is the 4-wheel-drive pickup. There's too much water in the road for my low-to-the-ground car.
As far as the basement goes, both Randy's Fairyland for the girls (and himself) and my basement have water in them. The Tupperware bowl that catches rain in our leaky utility room is now dry, but it was emptied multiple times during the deluge of 9.7 to 11 inches of rain we received. (Our employee says we got 12 inches at his house. I believe it after seeing all the water.)
As I said in my post earlier this week, Peace Creek was out of its banks north of our farm headquarters. However, we couldn't get there without going around the section. Rushing water has washed out part of the road.



Randy took the top photo below on Wednesday morning. 
 
 By Wednesday afternoon at 5:30, the water had receded some. 
Water had been over the road Wednesday morning, but, south of the bridge, only the ruts were left behind yesterday afternoon.
 Peace Creek was still up along the Zenith Road, too, and water still flowed over the road.
Sea gulls have been abundant around here. Who came blame them? We have "sea to shining sea" right in the middle of the Plains.
Jill's father-in-law Alan (and our friend) sent this after we sent them a photo of our roads:
Alan, who works for Iowa Extension, said Iowa farmers were thinking this might be a viable way to harvest fall crops still in the field.

I wonder if he has a pontoon for cars.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Rainy Days and Mondays (and Tuesdays and ...)

I've always been a big fan of The Carpenters. And they were never more accurate when it came to the lyrics of one of their popular songs, "Rainy days and Mondays always get me down."

Let's expand that thought: Rainy days and Mondays (and Tuesdays and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) are currently getting me down. 

I feel a little guilty complaining about the rain. My Australian farmer blog friend, Lynda, is in the midst of a drought. It wasn't all that long ago that I was writing about being in a drought designation here. (We were officially out of the drought in August when we got 6 inches of unexpected rain during the month.)

Since last Friday, we have received between 7.80 and 9.10 inches of rain. I was going to wait to take photos until the rain quit yesterday. But it never did. And, come to think of it, all that the grayness kind of matches the mood of farmers who are worried about planting wheat and harvesting fall crops. Even my favorite perpetual optimist's mood is flagging (or drowning).
 It's been a long, long time since Peace Creek was up this far.
The photo above is looking west, where we have a pasture and lots that border Peace Creek.
It's good we don't need to get in or out of there at the moment!
This summer, I could barely see the water in the creek. Currently, that is not a problem.
Looking east from the bridge
Last week, I drove to the Peace Creek bridge on the Zenith Road to take a photo of the sunset. I had to try to get the reflection in the water.
 This is looking the same direction on Monday afternoon.
The photo below is Peace Creek looking east from the Zenith Road.
We had planted about half of our 2019 wheat crop before the rain started. We can now be classified as Quivira National Wildlife Refuge South, since ducks and geese have "parked" on mud puddles in the wheat fields. We probably will need to replant some of it, but we may not be able to get on the ground in time.
 
The Zenith Road (photo below) has water running across it in one location. It's a "major" thoroughfare, at least for us. (Yes, it's a dirt road for a portion of it, but it's still a major road for us.)
 
There's more rain in the forecast today, though it's supposed to clear up on Wednesday. However, there are more raindrops on the map on Friday and Saturday. 

With apologies to my Australian friend and anyone else experiencing drought: Rain, rain, go away! Come again another day (and not for awhile)! Or at least shift to somewhere it's needed.

Rainy days and Mondays (and Tuesdays and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) are getting me down.