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October 7, 2012
Bernice Volkens , Reinbeck Courier

You only have to step outside and look up at the sky of the bluest blue and breathe the clean crisp air to know October is finally here. What a beautiful month to enjoy the weather and harvest on the farm. Our surroundings seem to go from the tans, greens, oranges to the brightest reds. I especially like to be outside before I settle in and settle down for the winter. Before long my farmers will rake the corn husks and leaves to burn. I'll go out and enjoy the bond fire and smell, one I especially enjoy because that aroma goes back to my childhood. My childhood home had quite a few maples on it. Our family burned all of those leaves, including twigs in the middle of the garden and then raked the ash into the soil. I think my parents were the real ecologists before it ever became the "in" to do.

There is a reason and use for every season. We may not always know the reason. We are beginning to loose the warmth of the sun and the nights are certainly getting cooler. Maybe it's time for a change so we can enjoy football, plant fall bulbs, get out fall decorations and progress more and more each day with the harvest. As so many things change in the fall so does the food and cooking we do. I've found I need food or meals that are keepers. These are extremely busy days when hurry-up meals are necessary and common. As time has passed in my life I have found with all the "convenience" foods, I can spend less time in the kitchen and still put out a pretty good meal. Make ahead dishes are miracle workers for me. However, since Virg is no longer actively engaged in farming, it isn't necessary for me to do the cooking. This now falls on my daughter-in-law, Michelle, who is a great cook and even though she works outside the home she can bake and cook like a pro and it is so easy for her. I suppose this has something to do with time and age.

I have a make ahead dish that has been in my family for years. It is the kind of dish that is better every time it is warmed up.


1 lb. pork cubes

1 lb. beef cubes

Flour and brown cubes in

about 2 Tablespoons of


ADD: 2 cups celery

2 cups onion

COOK about 5 minutes


ADD: 2-3 cups water and

simmer for about 20


salt and pepper to taste.

BLEND together with a

little water.

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

6 Tablespoons flour

1 Tablespoon of

molasses or syrup.

STIR in until slightly


ADD: 2 cans of assorted

chop-suey vegetables


1 can water chestnuts


COOK in a crock pot, oven or on top of the stove. Serve on rice or chow mein noodles.

Can add additional soy sauce.

"Winter is pretty lousy, but autumn makes me sing."-Dorothy Parker



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