Thursday, February 2, 2012

February 02, 2012

Grandpa Peter Bullinger (white shirt) in front of his Engineering & Automotive Shop in Chicago
My Mom, Theresa; Grandma Bessie; Aunt Viola (Mom's wedding day 1940)
An original blotter from Peter Bullinger's Business in Chicago, Illinois
February 02 is my Grandmother's, Bessie O'Hara Bullinger, birthday. We would always kid her about Ground Hogs Day! Grandma came from Ireland and that is about all we ever knew about her "history" before coming to the United States. Bessie was my Mom's mother and lived with us after our Aunt Viola died. She married Peter Bullinger and they resided in Chicago and had seven children. My mother was the third child.

The picture above depicts Grandma with myself, little brother Bobby, and big brother George in Northbrook, Illinois. The dog's name is Blackie. (I can see the milk order chart posted on the wall of our little rental above George's head -- the days of the milk man and bottled fresh milk on our door stoop.)

I tried and tried to have Grandma tell me about her childhood and family. She would never speak of them. She would say that she did not want to talk about the past just the present. After Grandma's husband died during the 1930's it left the family without much money and these were hard times for them. I know my Mom quit high school to go to work to support her Mom and younger siblings -- as did Viola (older sister).

Grandma was not the easiest person to get along with but I loved her and enjoyed spending time with her. She loved to crochet and made beautiful bedspreads, table clothes, and dollies -- some of which I have to this day. In her later years she had many problems with her hips and if she was living today she would probably have had hip replacements and be able to walk about. However, back then she had to use crutches to get around and she must have been in considerable pain. There was a time when I wanted to take her back to Ireland but she would not go she said in a wheel chair. I would take Grandma on little drives to get her out of the house. I so wish she told me about her childhood and her family.

...I read that the ground hog saw it's shadow and we will have 6 more weeks of winter...let's hope it is as mild as it is now. I'm all for that. Just let it snow in the mountains and pack in the moisture for the run off.

Everyone have a great day!

Doing some Backtracking here! Nov & Dec 2011

Grandpa enjoying the Chaos of all the grandsons hollering and rolling around on the floor!
The boys favorite people at the ranch -- Aunt Kara and Uncle Jason!
My boys making Mom "look slim"...oh well, they tried! Love our boys -- Jason and Mitch!

Puppet making day and the results!

For some reason or other I have neglected my blog. The days, weeks, and months are speeding by. I failed to make at least one post for the month of November and December.

We had Thanksgiving at the home place in Babb with Nichole, Mitch, Kacey, Steven, Bobby, Adam, and Jasper coming for the holiday. We also had some good friends come to help celebrate the holiday.

I had purchased a new stove a few weeks before the holiday. I had hoped we would be able to pick it up and I could test it out before the big day and cooking for 15. However, that was not to be. I did get the stove home a few days before the big day. I baked some artisan bread and other items to test it out. I planned on cooking the big turkey via the convection part of the was suppose to cook faster and be juicer. I had a meat thermometer stuck in the appropriate place in my bird. I checked the time it was to be done using the convection oven baking. The turkey browned to a golden color and the thermometer appeared to be at the right temperature.

I was so happy...I could take it out and have it set up and then cut it up and have all the mess done before everyone got there. I was talking about the new oven with my daughter-in-law when I decided to begin slicing it up for the serving tray. I let out a gasp because it was very obvious by the juices on the platter that the turkey was not done! I had an hour to get the bird back in the oven to complete the baking. This was my first "turkey disaster" in all my years of making Thanksgiving dinners.

Luckily there was enough white meat to go around. Later I reread my directions (which I thought I had "down" and understood)...and saw that I should have put the convection setting on "Roast" not "Bake"...on Bake it automatically reduces the set oven temp by 25 degrees. Yikes, I was "warming" up my turkey inside instead of baking it! It still amazes me that it was so brown and done looking!

I have yet to figure out the Broil feature. I purchased an all black stove -- since a white stove (propane) turns black by the burners, I thought it would be good to start with that color to begin with. Black has it's problems, too. Fluff of any kind shows up on the stove. Scratches show up a lot more on black than on white or so it seems. I spend my time polishing the all black top by the burners...

The burners are like torches! Thank goodness there is a little burner in the back that you can cook puddings and eggs without them sticking or going to over the top. The first time I made tapioca on my new stove I used the "torch" back burner. I left the pudding for a minute and when I came back the whole top of the stove was a puddle of tapioca...Wail! That was a real clean-up job!

There are five burners with two huge pieces of "Grates" (I think they are called) that cover the burners. If not careful these can scratch the surface of the black finish. Each burner has a metal cap which comes right off for easy cleaning. They are like little saucers.

Hopefully we will adjust to each other and I am really happy about the small not-so-intense back burner. Making puddings and eggs is a very easy pot cleanup!

Christmas was low key and enjoyed at home.