Pileated Woodpeckers Hammer

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tree-whittled-by-pileated-woodpeckers

I have been watching the Pileated Woodpeckers hammer this tree for a few days now. This tree is nearly rotten and appears to be full of beetles. They continue to whittle this tree to eat the beetles.

base of tree pileated woodpeckers

I have seen two Pileated Woodpeckers on this time at the same time, male and female. Every time I try to sneak up to take pictures of them on this tree they fly away. All of my pictures were blurry so I don’t have a picture to share with you.

You can see a previous post I did on the Pileated Woodpecker last year, click this link Pileated Woodpecker 🙂 Below is a picture that I took last year.

beautiful pileated woodpecker

The pileated woodpecker is the largest woodpecker and is very beautiful!

pileated woodpeckers destroy tree

They can really destroy a tree in no time at all.

Enjoy your weekend!

 

Walnut Slabs

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I had time today to check a few boards for nails. After cutting a couple boards to shorter lengths I ran them thru the planner. A couple passes thru the planner on each side was all I needed to do to get the boards planned.

If you missed my previous post about this walnut, check out the before pictures in my previous post from yesterday, Wood Gloat and now the after pictures in this post.

live edge walnut

I was very happy to see what I had, great color, light and dark browns, a little black streaking and red streaking with cream color running down the edges. Beautiful colors, grain and character too!

live edge walnut

I wiped a little of tung oil on one of the boards to bring out the colors, I can only believe that the remaining boards will be just as good or better. I am very pleased and super happy with what I found, just excellent!! This walnut will be excellent for a nice piece of furniture.

My wife took one look at the walnut and also thought is was very beautiful and then asked me to make her a new stepping stool. I made her a stepping stool many years ago using red oak which she uses in the kitchen all the time. So my first project will be making my wife Debbie a new stool. This afternoon I sketched out three designs for her to look at but she is having a hard time deciding which one she likes the best.

So, I’ve decided that I will post my process of making the stepping stool from start to finish which will be in multiple post. My first post will be coming soon!

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Click picture below to link for more information about my cutting boards!

solid Walnut cutting board       rectangle cutting board

Wood Gloat

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walnut slabs

Ok, I’m not generally one to gloat but my chances to gloat are very far and few between. Plus this is too good not to share. Who would drive two hours one way for a board? I would! I did and I am glad I did! I managed to score 200+ board feet of air dried walnut. Boards are all 5/4 inch thick, and are 8 inches to over 16 inches wide.

Anyways…I just wanted to share a few shots of the live edge slabs of walnut I brought home yesterday.

walnut lumber slabs

Once I check the boards for nails I will run them through the planner. All of this walnut lumber will be dark brown in color with pretty grain quality and nice figuring. There are a couple pieces that have a nice crotch with a lot of figuring.

live edge walnut slabs

Next project will be to run these though the planner. I can’t wait to get started and see what comes of these beautiful boards! I will post again soon with pictures after getting a couple boards thru the planner.

See a few of these boards that were ran thru the planner, Walnut Slabs

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solid Walnut cutting board       rectangle cutting board

Beautiful Sunset Sky

 

winer sunset

February 25, 2014 sunset

Good morning y’all

It’s a beautiful morning with temperatures at 43 degrees F and is suppose to warm today to the low 50’s. Could spring be around the corner?

Enjoy your day!!

 

Best Ever Strawberry Pie

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Delicious strawberry pie

My Strawberry Pie!!! …. absolutely delicious!!

When strawberries are fresh, it’s time to make a Strawberry Pie! A fresh strawberry pie is one of my favorites. As a child, our family would eat at Shoney’s and I loved their strawberry pie but this recipe is much better. During the strawberry season I will make nearly 20 or more of these pie’s for family, friends and don’t forget myself. They are easy to make and oh so delicious!:-)

fresh strawberry pie

This is a simple southern strawberry pie recipe.

Ingredients:
Pie Crust
1 – large deep dish pie crust baked
3 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar

The cream cheese will help keep the crust from getting soft.
Note: if you are having a party consider making mini-strawberry pies!

Filling
1 lb. Strawberries, more if  you like to have a full pie and plan to eat a few!
1 –cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
3 tablespoons corn starch

Add to above filling after it has boiled.
3 tablespoons of strawberry Jello (less than 3 oz box)

If you increase the strawberries you will need to increase your mixture.

Place pie crust on a cookie sheet in the oven and bake according to the instructions on the package, usually 400 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Watch the crust so that it doesn’t over bake. While the crust is baking, mix the cream cheese and sugar. If you don’t like cream cheese you can skip this process. Leave at room temperature for now to make it easy to spread in your pie crust.

preparing-strawberries-for-the-strawberry-pie

I usually buy 2 lbs. of strawberries and add extra. I like to have the pie over flowing with strawberries. I will double the filling recipe when adding extra strawberries or better yet make two pies. If you make two pies at the same time, triple the recipe and you will have plenty of filling. If the berries are really sweet this also gives me plenty to eat plain! Wash and clean your strawberries, I like to leave my strawberries whole. If you slice the berries you will need more than 1 lb.

Once the crust is done and cooled, spread the cream cheese mixture on the bottom of the baked pie crust. Be careful not to break your crust! Add the strawberries to the pie crust.

homemade strawberry pie

Sugar, salt, water and corn starch combined and starting to boil.

Start the filling by measuring and adding to your heavy pot the cold water, it is important the water is cold. Then add a little of the corn starch at a time and stir continuously to mix corn starch. Once the corn starch is mixed, add sugar, salt and water.  Stir to get everything mixed together. Place on medium heat and stir, I stir almost constantly. When it starts to boil, it will thicken, be sure to stir the entire time it is boiling. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the strawberry jello and stir until completely mixed.

homemade strawberry pie

Strawberry pie filling after adding the strawberry jello.

best ever strawberry pie recipe

Pie crust with one layer of strawberries, almost ready for the filling!

Let the filling cool for a no more than a couple minutes. Don’t wait too long or it will harden and you won’t be able to spoon over strawberries. After pouring on the filling over the first layer of strawberries, I stack n more strawberries and pour on more filling!!!  *** ALERT:  You will be tempted to stick your finger into the strawberry jelly, please don’t, it’s HOT and you will burn your finger. Don’t lick the spoon either while it is hot! My kids love to have a spoon full once it has cooled!

strawberry pie

The pie is ready to go into the fridge for at least 3-4 hours before serving. Use Reddi Wip cream when you serve!

This recipe can be used with peaches and other fruit as well!

Enjoy!!

amazing-strawberry-pie

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I hope you will check out my handcrafted woodwork. Beautifully handcrafted charcuterie boards, cutting boards, wine boards, serving trays, wine stoppers, unique ice cream scoops, honey sticks and more using high quality sustainable wood.

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First Night

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Yesterday afternoon I decided to move my Reconyx trail camera further into the woods along a trail where I had spotted a Red Fox just last week. I set out two stadium cup full of whole corn and a cup of birdseed.

The first night at this location I ended up with over 100 pictures. I picked out a few pictures to share, two different Red Fox and a huge Coyote! 🙂 Notice the time stamp on all the pictures!

red fox trail cam

There were two different Red Fox last night. Notice that the first three pictures are the same red fox, this one does not have any black on his legs.

reconyx trail cam red fox

red fox trail camera picture

The next three pictures are of a Coyote, he came by two hours after the first red fox. Notice the time on all the pictures.

coyote night trail camera picture

Typical of coyotes, he has a bushy, black-tipped tail, yellow eyes,  long pointed ears and a long muzzle.

coyote picture

coyote picture

The last couple pictures is of another red fox, notice that this one has a lot of black on his legs. He also appears to be smaller in size.

red fox trail cam picture

red fox

After this fox, there was nothing buy raccoons the rest of the night.

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Sloppy Joe

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easy sloppy joe's
My children love Sloppy Joe’s because they are delicious! As they were growing up they would ask for them all the time. My son would eat 3-4 of these things plus a plate full of fries!

These Sloppy Joe’s are these best ever and are easy to make. You can spice them up if you like, add peppers, hot sauce, etc. I also use this recipe to make stuff bell peppers and then bake them at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Ingredients:
1-1/2 lbs hamburger
1 small onion, chopped to large pieces
1 cup Hines ketchup
2-3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Brown your hamburger meat along with the chopped onions. When cooked, remove from the pan and drain all the fat. Add the cooked hamburger and onion mixture back to your pan, turn to medium heat and then add Hines ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, water, salt. Stir all ingredients together and cover. Be sure to stir often until the heat gets to medium and begins to bubble. Then turn down the heat to simmer, let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes covered and continue to stir often.

sloppy joe's

It doesn’t take long for all of the ingredients to combine and the water evaporates. Don’t forget to stir all along the way as it cooks.

easy sloppy joe's

I t will be time to eat before you know it! So easy to make and oh so delicious! 🙂

Enjoy your weekend!

Check out my recent post,

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Unique Cutting Boards

Snow and Ice

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mountain snow

Picture taken from our deck as the snow started!

The past week we had a lot of snow and it was very beautiful. On Thursday afternoon late the temperatures to warmed above freezing and started to melt. During the night the temperatures dipped to 21 degrees and all the snow that had started to melt changed to ice.

The ice caused major problems for those that tried to drive their cars, ice and black ice was everywhere. At our home on the mountain the snow also changed to ice but instead of having 14 inches of snow, it melted down to 8 inches of ice. Ice is always a problem especially if you plan to walk or hike on ice.

Yaktrax

Yaktrax on my hiking boots.

Many years ago a good friend and I had planned a 25 mile round trip hike along the Appalachian Trail during January near Gatlinburg, TN. We had planned to hike in, camp at an Appalachian Trail shelter and hike out the next day. Along this trail is always lot of ice and snow. To be prepared for hiking in the snow and ice I had packed in my backpack my gaiters and Yaktrax. The Yaktrax were a life saver, the trail was covered in snow and ice. If I had not had the Yaktrax there would have been  no way I could have completed this hike.

snow on the mountain

The hike out to the car.

This week I had parked our car down the mountain which is about a one mile hike in case we had to get out.  I am glad I did because we needed to get out on Friday. The hike to the car would have been extremely dangerous due to all the ice but I had my Yaktrax on my boots and away I went walking on the ice with no problems!

mountain snow

If you have snow and or ice a lot, I would recommend purchasing a pair or two of Yaktrax. They are easy to use, lightweight, and easy to carry with you or keep in your car for emergencies. They easily slide on your shoes and they will provide traction while walking on snow or ice. Great for any age! Here is a link on the Yaktrax, https://www.yaktrax.com/

I hope every has a wonderful Sunday!

Check out my beautiful cutting boards!

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New Cutting and Serving Boards

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snow on the mountain

Good evening y’all,

We are getting hammered with the snow from Winter Storm PAX! By the time this storm ends we are suppose to have 14 inches! It’s 2o degrees with a wind chill of 11 degrees.

While it is snowing I decided to write this post and introduce my two new cutting board designs. Click the link under the image to see more pictures!

solid Walnut cutting board

Double Handle Cutting Board or Serving Board
10-1/2″ wide X 16″ long X 3/4″ thick

unique cutting baord

walnut double handle cutting board

My new double handle cutting board is a beautiful design and it is practical for moving around food, cooking and serving food straight to the table. It is also great for your everyday kitchen chopping and slicing too. My other new cutting board is a rectangle cutting board.

rectangle cutting board

Rectangle Cutting Board
11-1/4″ wide X 15-1/2″ long X 3/4″ thick

If you need a nice cutting board, this is it!

walnut rectangle cutting board

All of my boards are handcrafted one at a time in my shop. I make both of these boards in a variety of different wood, rock hard Maple, Northern Cherry and Walnut.

What do you think about my new cutting boards?

I hope everyone is staying safe and warm. Enjoy your evening!
Michael

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Strawberry Topped Cheesecake

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cheesecake

I haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t love cheesecake!  For Valentine’s Day, I decided to create this delicious glazed strawberry cheesecake for my wife today. She was very Happy! Because strawberries, chocolate and Valentine’s Day just go together.  🙂
new york cheesecake
This cheesecake is a GORGEOUS show-stopper and is to die for cheesecake. And not only is it beautiful but is tastes delicious! I just love Cheesecakes so I make them all the time.

This is my regular cheesecake recipe that I use a lot. With this recipe you can easily change up the flavors. I went to Sam’s yesterday and while I was there I found the most beautiful strawberries for my cheesecake. Did I say how delicious and creamy this cheesecake recipe is? If you like cheesecake, you will love this recipe, it is so good!

The recipe is easy but it has a good many steps.

delicious cheesecake

Ingredients:
For the crust:
This time I decided to use a brownie crust but if you want to make a graham cracker crust, chocolate cookie crust, vanilla wafer crust, Oreo cookie crust, etc. you can. If you want to make a cookie crust, go to my Chocolate Cheesecake recipe post to get the ingredients. I decided used a Duncan Hines brownie mix for the crust so that I had a nice chocolate crust.

For the filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
3 – 8 ounce packages of Philadelphia cream cheese
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream

For the topping:
2 cups chopped strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
red food coloring – optional

Let’s get started, prepare your spring form pan. Be sure that it is assembled correctly so that it doesn’t leak at the bottom. I spread butter on the bottom and side, then insert a round piece of parchment paper to line the bottom. This will make it much easier to remove the cheesecake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the brownie mix according to the instructions on the box. Use only half of the mix in your spring form pan, place the other half in another pan. You can bake both of these at the same time, the other half make a good snack! When done remove from the oven and cool completely.

new york cheesecake

Brownie crust is done!

For the Cheesecake filling:
When the brownie crust is nearly done, start the filling. Set out the cream cheese and eggs, let them come to room temperature. In a clean mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese and sugar until combined, scraping down the sides of your bowl as needed. Blend in eggs one at a time until combined, be sure not to over blend the eggs. Blend only until the yolk is mixed. Now, add the vanilla, using a spatula fold until vanilla is blended. Add the sour cream, again using your spatula fold in the sour cream. Pour filling over cooled crust and smooth the top.

cheesecake

Cheesecake filling poured on top of the brownie ready to bake.

Wrap bottom of spring form pan tightly with 2 layers foil and place into a larger, deep baking pan. Pour water into large pan until water reaches about halfway up the sides of the spring form pan to create a water bath.

Carefully place pan in oven and bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes or until center is set and the top looks slightly dry. Don’t over cook or it will not be very creamy, keeping watching every few minutes until the center is set then remove from oven.

Cool cheesecake on a wire rack. Place pan into the fridge to chill overnight but do not cover the cheesecake. Remove cheesecake from pan after cheesecake has been chilled overnight. Remove from the spring form pan and place on your favorite cake dish! You are now ready to eat or you can add a topping.

cheesecake

Cheesecake is done and is cooling.

Wash your strawberries, remove the stems and pat dry with a paper towel. Pick out the best berries and place them on top of your cheesecake.

cheesecake recipe

To make the filling, chop strawberries, place in pot with sugar and water. Place on medium high heat, stirring bring to a boil. While the strawberry mixture is heating, in a separate small bowl, mix the 2 table spoons of water with corn starch until you have a slurry.

Once the strawberry mixture gets warm, continue stirring constantly until it starts to boil. Then lower the heat to medium and add the cornstarch mixture and continue to stir for 4 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat and let cool for 3-4 minutes before topping cheesecake.

cheesecake and strawberries

You can serve the topping as-is with a chunky texture, or puree it smooth with an immersion blender. You can also puree it to about halfway, so that it’s almost smooth but still has some texture. Use for anything that requires a sweet strawberry topping, like cheesecake, ice cream sundaes or waffles!! 🙂

delicious cheesecake

slice of cheesecake

Happy, happy, happy, boy this is delicious!!! 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day!! 🙂

Check out my recent post,

Making Crème Brûlée          Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cake

creme brulee       best ever chocolate chip cake recipe

Strawberry Pie                        Chocolate Cheesecake

strawberry pie       chocolate cheesecake recipe

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