The Monday Optimism that I Love

It’s been a productive stretch of days around here. Thankfully, our weather has turned properly cool for autumn, which makes the work quite pleasant. I don’t see the pace slowing for several weeks, but then we’ll gratefully sink into hibernation. My intention is for this household to do so much more deeply than we did last winter. It’s common to take on indoor projects and renovations in the winter months, and I do like little things like painting a room, organizing the pantry, or building a shelf, but the upheaval of something as big as a full gut and rebuild of a kitchen is all too daunting when you can’t easily escape outdoors from the chaos. Maybe there’s really no convenient time for a kitchen renovation. Yes, that’s probably it.

Our potatoes are nearly dug (just one more row to go), and our meat birds are processed and in the freezer. We raised Color Yield again this year, which are fine and incredibly hearty (haven’t lost one in the two year’s we’ve raised them), but we don’t find their meat to be quite as good as Freedom Rangers, or even that of Cornish Cross, but raising Cornish again is not for us. We do like Rangers, I just wasn’t able to acquire any this year. Overall, we had the most bizarre yield! Our roosters were bigger than ever, and our hens were smaller than ever. Our friend who helps us said he’s seen a lot of that this year. I don’t really have an explanation, as nothing has changed in our raising program. Some years you get what you get. Well, maybe all years you get what you get. We are grateful to have a freezer full of protein raised right here. However, at this time, our plan is to take a break from raising chickens for meat next year and perhaps make way for raising animals of the ruminant variety. Something that feels a little less manufactured, a little more dependent on grass than grain.

The weekend included a visit with our new neighbors, hot apple cider, and freshly made cider donuts. I also made pizza but I’ll tell you what, my new oven is terrible at making pizza. I’m rather discouraged! Typically I make homemade pizza with a crust that rivals the best New York pizzeria, but it’s all changed with this new oven. We’ve tried everything imaginable. Directly on the rack (my go-to), pizza stone, sheet pan, par-bake the crust…. everything. Flavor is always excellent, crust is never perfect. I finally began searching around the internet and it tuns out it’s a common complaint with the oven we have. And this is exactly why I have so little faith in appliance these days. It’s always something. Who would have thought you needed to specifically seek out every type of food you plan to cook to see if it will accommodate before your purchase? I’m sharing because if you struggle with homemade pizza, it might not be your recipe, it might be your oven. If we can’t find a solution, we’re pretty sure this range will be headed to Craigslist. Life is too short for a range incapable of making pizza!

Today begins a new week, and with that comes all the Monday optimism that I love.

My top homemaking tasks for today are:

  • After weekend tidy
  • Laundry catch-up
  • Cut sheet for beef
  • Can broth (going as I type!)


Most of the leaves have fallen, and with that, stick season has commenced. There is so much to be felt deeply this time of year.

16 Responses

  1. i’m glad you mentioned the range issue about cooking. i’m in the market for a new range as i dropped a bottle on the top and it shattered the top of the range. now i know to pay close attention to reviews before i buy. also wanted to mention, i’m so glad to see you blogging again. i really love reading your posts. happy autumn…
    love & magicks

    1. Thank you, Laura. So glad you are here. Unfortunately, there was no mention in any reviews, it wasn’t until some recent internet sleuthing that landed me on reddit and other places did I find it’s a common problem. Best wishes on your search!

  2. Yay for ruminants next year! Please let me know if I can help in any way.

    We are seeing yield differences with Cornish this year also. 3.5 lb hens and 9 lb roos after 9 weeks growing. The roos are also maturing before slaughter and crowing loudly daily, something we usually only see with more heritage breeds.

  3. Here the leaves are just started falling, which I like most of autumn. The garden still gives flowers and some chard. Hoping the weather stays mild enough for the green kale to grow. But I am looking forward to hibernation season

  4. That is unfortunate about your oven and pizza, something I never would never have thought about when purchasing an oven. I make pizza almost every week fall and winter so definitely something to consider if I have to purchase a new oven. I won’t be buying your from Craigslist 😉

    It’s a cool and rainy day here, had our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner last night so I have stock simmering on the stove which makes the house smell like turkey all over again. The fall foliage is at its peak and the rain will likely fade the colours quickly now and they will start dropping. I am looking forward to getting our firewood delivered soon and trying to relax and knit/read/rug hook guilt free!

    I have a smallish urban backyard garden and it’s still producing so hopefully the frost will hold off for another week or two.

    Have a good week Heather!

  5. Yea, for meeting new neighbors! I’m planning on a Brunch soon for getting more acquainted with ladies I’ve met at church. Trying to find friends my age that have the same interests, since we’ve moved here.
    Our colors on the trees are so lovely now. I’ll have to cover the tomatoes tonight since we’ll be having our first frost, but then of course, we’ll have warm weather for a few more weeks yet.

  6. My oven also was not good at crusts (currently reno’ing so am hoping new one is better).
    My hack was to put one rack as low as possible and to put the other as high as possible. Pizza (on pan with a good coating of olive oil) on bottom rack, pan of hot water on top rack.
    Crank oven to 450-475 and get it good and steamy.
    Bake pizza until very done – give it a bit of time in the top rack (removing pan of water) if the top needs a little browning. This gave me a good crispy crust.
    Everyone’s oven is different and many new ones are not great. Maybe this method will help someone!

    1. We are processing our color yields this weekend – how many weeks did you grow them out? Will be fascinating if we have the same situation, sizewise – I bet we ordered them from the same hatchery.

  7. Oh goodness, Heather! Thank you for writing about the stove and pizza. I have tried and tried with my stove for the perfect pizza 🍕 and the crust has never been what I had hoped for in homemade pizza. I hope your Cookstove and a Dutch oven might change the pizza for you. Thanks for a wonderful Mon day visit.

  8. This whole post just made my morning. Thank you. I’m so glad I popped over and so grateful for a proper blog post.

  9. Heather,

    I have an old 1908 wood cookstove and I sometimes bake pizza in the wood stove. It is a bit of a trick because the oven is so small, but maybe that would work until you find a new “modern stove.” Good luck.

  10. We’ve just finished a heatwave here in the UK, so it only just feels like October has arrived. Still harvesting squash and raspberries, onions and garlic waiting to go in to overwinter. I can feel myself nesting, getting ready for the big Autumn clearout-and-up, and I’m so ready for it. So pleased to have joined Hearth and Home this year – I feel ready for that too!

  11. Your blog brings me such joy and contentment especially during my favorite month and season. Your words reflect how I feel. Thank you!

  12. I’m sure you’re getting lots of pizza suggestions, but here is one that worked for us. Heat a pizza stone (which works better than a steel) on a top rack until it is screaming hot (hot as the oven will go for 30 minutes or so). As soon as you put in the pizza, turn off the oven and turn on the broiler. For us, the stone was hot enough to quickly cook the bottom crust and then the broiler quickly cooks the top so that it’s cooked through but still tender.