Sunday, February 27, 2011

Training Philosophies ...Theirs and Mine

If you talk to most of the 'natural horsemanship' people today, the less resistance / restriction you use in training your horses, the better.  I can buy into that philosophy to a degree, but some of them carry it too far ... asserting that halter breaking a two or three day old foal is 'restrictive' and not natural and, therefore, not good.  That's where we part ways. 

I've had one or two very young foals that managed to get themselves hurt and require daily medicating or doctoring for a week or so.  If that foal is unaccustomed to wearing a halter and unfamiliar with being constrained by a lead rope and handler, daily medicating and doctoring can turn into a daily wrestling match.  A newborn foal weighs roughly 60-70 pounds and will double their weight in a matter of a few months.  Even if it's a newborn and I still outweigh the little critter, it's all I can do to wrestle them into submission and hold on.  If I also have to handle a syringe or bandages, forget it.  It would take one of us to hold the bugger down and the other to do the doctoring.  That's trauma and stress on all three of us that, in my opinion, doesn't work in our favor as far as building trust, and certainly doesn't do anything for the healing process.  So we always introduce a halter the first day the foal is born.  They wear it for the ten or twenty minutes it takes their mama to eat, then it is removed.  They wear it again every time their mama gets fed from that day forward.  When they are about a week old, we introduce them to the lead rope. 

At first, we just clip one on their halter and turn them loose.  Then we lead mama off a few steps because we know the foal will instinctively follow.  Inevitably, they step on the lead rope as they walk and the sudden downward pressure on their nose always surprises and sometimes bewilders them. But they soon figure out that they are stepping on the rope and they move their foot.  It's fun to see the little light bulb go off in their heads.  I think some of them have those curly-que watt saver bulbs because the light is very dim at first and brightens up as the lesson sinks in. 

That lead rope lesson is the first introduction to 'give to pressure' ...a very important foundation for everything else they need to learn.  After a few days of dragging the lead rope while they follow mama, we pick up the lead rope and put gentle pressure on it just a fraction of a second before we lead mama off.  We are standing right in front of them and they can see that WE have the lead rope and WE are putting pressure on it, but before they have a chance to think about it too much, we lead mama off and their instinctive and immediate response is to follow her.

Timing is everything at this stage.  By letting their first step release the pressure you have on the lead rope, they are learning that the reward is in giving to the pressure and following your lead.  Just a few steps the first time, then we stop mama, pet all over the foal to reinforce good behavior and repeat the process. 

Most everyone I know with horses, even the 'natural horsemanship' groupies, eventually teach their horses to halter and lead.  But the one thing I find that people don't routinely do these days is teach their horse to just stand.  Stand tied or stand with a rider on their back, just stand and wait.  You might not think a horse can learn much when he's just standing in one place, but you're wrong.  A horse learns patience.  If he's tied up, a horse learns to wait however long it takes for you to come back and release him.  He also learns trust ...that you WILL come back and release him and that you have left him in a safe place.  If he's got a rider on his back, he learns that it's okay to just stand still and rest.  We teach our horses that unless we ask them to move, they should just stand still.  We might need to adjust the saddle or adjust something on ourselves, or whatever.  If you DO need to adjust something, having to worry about controlling the fidgety horse you're sitting on only complicates the task at hand.   These are very important lessons and, in our opinion, ones that horses are never too young to learn.  So we introduce the halter the first day, the lead rope within the first week, leading lessons soon thereafter and standing tied by their second month.  You have to be smart setting all these lessons up, always try to set the horse up for success and build each lesson upon the previous ones.

Mares and foals are instinctively very emotionally dependent on each other for the first few months, so we use that bond to enhance our lessons.  Just as leading the mare off to introduce the lead rope and leading lessons, the mare is also a great great tool for teaching patience.  When we have bred mares and new foals, we feed the horses twice a day.  They are stalled while they eat and it usually takes them fifteen or twenty minutes to clean their buckets.  Like all babies, by the time foals are three or four months old, they are taste-testing everything around them.  When mama sticks her nose in her bucket to eat, the foal is curious and wants to see what she's after.  Our mares are good mamas and, like all good mamas, they are patient with the babies in their feed buckets a point.  By the time the baby is eating a noticeable amount, mama is starting to get annoyed.  So we introduce the baby to their own bucket with a little sweet feed.  They are already comfortable with being haltered during feeding and familiar with the concept of a lead rope on their halter.  So a bucket is hung just outside mama's stall and the baby is led over to their own bucket.  They are immediately enthusiastic to having their own feed bucket and they are right across the fence from mama who is calmly eating her own feed, so we are set up for success with this new lesson.  While they're eating, we are scratching and brushing and handling the foal's feet.  Constant 'feel good' contact reinforces our bond with the foal and also ensures we are right there if foal gets in a panic over being tied.  As they become comfortable with the new routine, we gradually spend less time right there with them and they learn to be confident in the situation on their own.  Mama's la-tee-dah attitude and the distraction of yummy sweet feed right under their nose makes these lessons go that much more smoothly.

All of this has been on my mind because I've decided to saddle break Lyric myself this year.  I raised her mama from the age of four months and did everything I could think of to prepare her mentally and emotionally for the day I would ride her.  But when she was finally old enough to be ridden, I sent her off to a trainer for 30 days to be professionally started under saddle.  Her daughter, Lyric, is five years old this April ...plenty old enough and plenty stout enough to carry a rider.  She's had all the same ground work and preparation that her mama had and we would have sent her off to a trainer a couple of years ago, but a long stint of unemployment and several other personal challenges got in the way.  Things are better for us now and we could scrape up the money to send her to someone later this year.  But I'm thinking it would be good for her and me both if I do the honors.  I'm no bronc rider and if she decides to buck, I will most likely hit the dirt and hit it hard.  But if I do MY JOB right, she won't ever buck.  So it's up to me to make sure I do things right.

We will start next week and I have a very specific game plan in mind.  I'll take pictures and keep you posted every couple of weeks as we make progress.  Hopefully it will be a success story in the end and I'll be riding her with reasonable confidence by the end of this summer.  But if we hit a few snags along the way, I'll own up to those as well.  We all learn from experience, even if it's not our own. 

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Nothing Like a Road Trip!

Yeoldfurt and I have racked up a lot of miles on the highway over the years.  I moved from Texas to New Mexico when we got married in 1999 and the move itself involved three or four trips back and forth.  I had only been there a few weeks when he got transferred to a location 60 miles further north so we moved again.  Five months later, we moved back to Texas.  By the time we bought our little place south of Houston, we both decided we were putting down roots.  Neither of us wanted to hear the 'M' word (as in 'move') again for a long, long time.  For the first few years, we spent many a weekend hauling horses up to Lake Somerville for overnight camping and trail riding.  The more time we spent around Lake Somerville, the more we realized this was the part of Texas we really liked.  So we started working on a relocation plan.  It took us a couple of years and many, many road trips to meet real estate agents and look at different properties.  But we were finally able to move up here in the summer of 2006.  The property we bought is twice the acreage that we had at the old place and is a brick home versus the singlewide mobile we had at the old place.  It has definitely been a step up.  But the best part is that the driveway here is only a 30 minute haul to the trails at Lake Somerville.  Yes, it has definitely been a good move.

Today, we got to take a road trip down to our old stomping grounds to buy a new hay ring.  Yes, they sell hay rings up here ...but choices locally are limited.  We could buy a welded steel ring for about $130 but, being steel, it will inevitably rusts apart and become a hazard to the horses.  The only other choice locally is a new plastic tubing model that (choke) costs $299!   Uh ...not happening.  When we lived at the old place, we had a galvanized hay ring that was extremely sturdy and was designed as two pieces that 'pinned' together so it was extremely easy for one person to maneuver.  Being galvanized, it was also extremely rust-resistant.  We had owned it for over five years when we moved and it was in perfect shape.  But we left it behind because we had decided round bales didn't work for us.  They didn't work at the old place because that place was only about 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and the climate is incredibly humid.  Even with seven horses, the big round hay bales would mold before the horses could eat them down.  Moldy hay can kill a horse, so we would end up having to burn half the bale more often than not.  Where we live now, we are at least 150 miles from the coast and the humidity is much lower.  Round bales are cheaper pound for pound and it's certainly less labor to put one round bale out every two weeks rather than wrangling square bales every day.  So it wasn't long after we moved here that we decided to buy a hay ring.  We bought a steel one locally and it is literally rusting to pieces now, a little over four years later.   We don't want to buy a new hay ring every few years or risk a horse getting injured on rusty metal, so we decided to head back to the old stomping grounds today and pick up a galvanized ring.  The heavy duty model was only $135 and I promise you, it will be in good shape and still serving it's intended purpose a lot longer than I am!  We had to drive down in the big diesel and at $3.49/gallon, we probably spend $60 in gas but it was worth it.  We also met my sister and her three grandkids and two other long-time friends for lunch while we down there.  Lunch was another $30, but it was also well worth it because friends and family are what makes life special.  For me, even the long drive down there and the long drive back were enjoyable because road trips had been such a big part of our early years together. 

My dad used to always say, 'the simple minded are easily amused.'  Well, I guess I'm simple minded because driving the same old route we had traveled so many times when we were trying to move up here and seeing so many of the same old places along the way was fun for me. The purpose of the trip may have been the new hay ring, but the journey and the time with friends and family is, for me, what made this day truly worthwhile. 


Monday, February 21, 2011

Trying to Catch Up

Why is it that when you fall behind on something, it takes longer to regain the ground than it took you to lose it in the first place?  I was off today for President's Day and managed to finish our taxes, catch up the laundry and the housework, and take care of some routine maintenance on the car.  If I had been half as productive Saturday and Sunday, my list of what still needs doing would be a whole lot shorter.  But the sun is going down and taking my last bit of motivation with it.  Tomorrow it's back to the grindstone at the paying job.

Thanks to the nasty flu bug, Yeoldfurt and I have done next to nothing around here for the past two weeks except eat and sleep and occasionally (only recently) go to work.  Other than feeding the menagerie and a bare minimum of housework, pretty much nothing got accomplished.  We are finally starting to feel better but to look around at what needs to be done just to catch up makes me want to crawl back under the covers.

The garden is a mess but we're reconfiguring the raised beds this year, so it will be a late start anyway.  The buckets we used last year need to be loosened and composted.  Seeds need to be started.  The fruit trees are budding and one is even flowering, so they need to be mulched and watered.  The chicken coop needs to be raked out and the bedding composted for mulching the fruit trees.  There's the never-ending fence projects and still plenty of downed trees to be cut up and hauled either to the burn pile or stacked for firewood.  The iron hay ring we bought when we moved here in 2006 is rusting and falling apart.  So next Saturday we're taking a road trip to our old home place to buy a new one.  The one we're buying is galvanized and will probably last longer than we do.  It's worth the trip and the price.

When we moved up here, we were raising Paint horses but the market for pleasure horses has tanked in the past couple of years.  We will be venturing into the cattle business this coming year in order to maintain our Ag Exemption on the property.  We'll buy three or four weanling calves this spring, raise them for up to six months, then put one in the freezer and sell the rest at the auction.   It should pay for itself plus a little to spare but it's not as much about making a profit as it is about putting quality meat on the table and maintaining the tax exemption on the land.  But that means we need to invest in a freezer this year too.  It's something we've wanted to do for a while, and will be useful when the garden starts producing.  I will be able to blanch and freeze vegetables as we harvest and wait until I have enough to make a whole day of canning worthwhile. 

It's going to be a busy year and, I'm hoping, a bountiful one.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, February 18, 2011


It's finally Friday, oh happy day! I ended up missing three days of work last week due to the nasty flu bug. I went back to work this past Monday, but have been dragging all week. You know how when you know you're going on vacation, you can kind of prep your desk at work for your impending absence, so the fallout won't be quite as bad when you come back? Well, nasty flu bug gave me NO WARNING and my desk was already severely backlogged. So when I showed up at 7:00am this past Monday, one of my co-workers asked me if I brought a shovel. My desk was that deep.

I made a dent this week, but it would take me at least another week to just get the backlog down to where it was before I got sick. I'm not going to get that opportunity though because the office is closed next Monday for President's Day.  My work load (applications for child support services through the Attorney General's Office) roll in around the clock.  Some people submit paper applications, either in person or by mail.  But applications can be submitted online too.  So the work just piles up.  Next week I will have only four days to accomplish five days worth of work and try to whittle down the backlog.  The following week, I have to go out of town for training for three days, so I'll only have two days to accomplish any actual work.  Anyone who thinks 'government jobs' are cakewalks ought to try one sometime.  That sure hasn't been my experience!

But now it's Friday and I'm not going to think about my desk or my backlog for three days.  Tomorrow is Yeoldfurt's birthday and we're going to celebrate.  He found a demonstration on blacksmithing he wants to check out and while we're in town, I'll take him someplace nice to eat.  We may even do a movie.  Netflix is a great deal but every once in a while, it's nice to go on a movie date.  Whatever Yeoldfurt wants to do tomorrow, we'll do.  It's his day.  

Labels: ,

Friday, February 11, 2011

Like Dominos

When one goes down, the other usually follows. I've been sick since Tuesday night with flu-like symptoms and am finally on the mend this Friday evening. But Yeoldfurt got up this morning feeling a little off and ended up coming home from work a little early because now he's sick. Good thing I'm on the mend because he needs to spend the next few days in bed. Tomorrow is his off day and he doesn't leave for work on Sundays until almost noon, so maybe he can head this off before it gets too good a hold on him.

I had to make an appointment at the local clinic today because rules where I work say if you miss a third day, you can't come back without a doctor's note. I was out Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday so I had to have a note. My insurance options through the state are both PPO's which are very picky about in-network and out-of-network stuff. But now they make you choose a PCP, a Primary Care Physician and that doctor's name is printed on your card. If you want to see someone other than you PCP, you pay the first $500 out of your own pocket even if the one you want to go see is in-network ...unless you call ahead and temporarily change your PCP. My PCP is about 10 miles from my office but about 40 miles from my house. I could either make an 80 mile round trip to see my regular guy or I could spend however long it would take to wade through the automated phone system at the insurance company to make the temporary change. It took the better part of an hour but it was worth to avoid the long round trip commute and the $500 out of pocket. I'm not sure what either of my doctor's offices would charge if they weren't billing the insurance company, but I'm pretty sure it's a lot more than the $25 in-network co-pay I ended up with today.

Long story short, my problems are probably viral but since they've drug on for this long, they gave me a z-pack of antibiotics and some prescription cough medicine. They also gave me my doctor's excuse so I can go back to work on Monday which is the only reason I bothered making the appointment. These things usually wear out on their own but rules are rules.

Maybe it's viral or maybe it's this crazy weather lately. Tomorrow will be in the 60's and several days next week in the 70's. Several days last week never got over 40. This is crazy weather, even for Texas. All I know is I need to get Yeoldfurt well as soon as possible. I'm going out of town for training the first three days March and everything will be on his shoulders while I'm gone. So I have about two weeks to whip him back in shape. His birthday is coming up in just a week and we have plans. So I really only have one week. Good thing I'm on the mend...

Labels: ,

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Snow Two Years in a Row

Snow is not a common occurrence in central Texas.  To have a measurable snowfall two years in a row is really something.  Moisture in any form is always welcome in a rural agricultural community.  The sight of a thin blanket of snow over land that's been plagued with drought for several years running is beautiful.  So as soon as Yeoldfurt had the water flowing again at the house, I took the camera and the dog and headed for the big pasture.   

My excuse was to check fence which is always a good practice after any windy weather.  But the truth is, I just wanted to forget the troubles of the last few days and enjoy the scenery.  Since snow is so rare in these parts, winter here is usually dull and barren. Just dormant vegetation in multiple shades of brown against the variegated gray of winter skies.  To see all that dullness dressed up in white from fresh fallen snow is just breathtaking while it lasts.

The catch pond had been completely dry most of the summer because of the drought.  A week of heavy rain in November brought the water level about halfway back to normal again.  Hopefully, we'll have better rainfall this spring and summer.  

Looking back toward the house and barns, the snow was already starting to melt as the temperatures were finally above freezing.  The afternoon forecast called for sunny skies and temperatures in the low forties.

The thing about walking dogs in the country is that they get to lead the way.  We take our dog with us whenever we walk the property or even if we just walk up to the road to get the mail.  She never takes off and one word from either of us stops her in her tracks or brings her to our side.  She's revels in the freedom of no leash and I smile at the freedom of having absolute control with no leash. 

The purpose of the venture was to observe the winter landscape but it wasn't long before we were being observed by the horses. 

Being herd animals, when one horse is interested enough to stop eating, instincts take over in the herd and it isn't long before the others are checking you out too.  

If they all stop eating long enough to snort and stare, it won't be long until someone is elected to come check you out.  Dancer being the low mare on the totem pole almost always draws the short straw.  She circles off to my left, probably intended as a diversion.

Then the others move in from the opposite side. You remember these two from Devious Deeds, I'm sure!  When things are boring, they pester one another so much you'd think they couldn't stand each other.  But when an adventure is afoot, they are always together and always right in the middle of it.  They move in to my right in an obvious attempt to flank me.
I was never a threat to them and they were never a real threat to me or the dog.  It was just a silly game of sneak attack, invented as a way to warm up on a cold winter day.  Either they got bored because I wasn't playing 'scared' for them or they worked up an appetite from their little game because they were back to foraging in a matter of minutes and the dog and I continued our walk down the back fence line.

There were plenty of downed limbs on our property and the neighbors, but none that damaged the fenceline so it was just a nice walk in the woods.  But after about 20 minutes, my face felt stiff from the cold so we headed back.  I was cold and I could no longer feel my toes.  But I was smiling because I knew I was going to be able to enjoy a long hot shower that evening ...all thanks to Yeoldfurt, my very own Dragon Slayer!

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, February 4, 2011

How It Really Was

Last night when Yeoldfurt came home from work, he was met at the door by a very bedraggled unhappy wife.  We had been three full days without 'indoor plumbing.'  I have been known to primitive camp for a long weekend from time to time and I have roughed it out of circumstance and necessity in a house with no lights or electricity for as much as a week a few times.  But when I was camping and roughing it, I wasn't also trying to pull off a 'professional' appearance at an office job every day.  This past week was tough.  I am no barbie doll that has to have all the frills and froo-froo every day ...but that doesn't mean I have no standards for cleanliness.  By the time Yeoldfurt got home from work last night, I was not clean, my floors were not clean, my counters were not clean, the laundry was piling up and I just had a melt down.

Yeoldfurt, being the gentlemanly knight that he is, let me blow off my steam and 'wring out my rag' as my sister calls it and then promised me it would get better.  Today, he made good on that promise.  It was still bitter cold but he was outside with my hair dryer first thing this morning, trying to thaw out the water line feeding the house.  

It took quite a while but he finally got a drip going.  It was slow at first, intermittent at times, but it was progress and I was happy.  We left the spigot open and went in the house to warm up. 

We opened the taps in the house too so air could work its way out of the lines.  Thirty minutes later, we had water.  It was wonderful! 

When Yeoldfurt mentioned in his first post this morning about HB not being happy ...he was understating the facts out of kindness to me.  When he made light of his day's accomplishments in his last post this evening ('another dragon bites the dust'), he was just being humble.  Ain't he sweet? 

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Still No Water

Yeoldfurt posted Wednesday morning about us waking up to no water in the house. He emailed me at work mid-morning to say the rural company that supplies our water had an issue overnight that they expected to have resolved by noon. We were both hoping our lack of water was due to the water company's issue. But when I got home mid-afternoon, there was still no water. It was too late to call the water company for an update. But my best guess is they fixed their problem and we could now assume our lack of water was our problem. Guess we won't know until at least Saturday since the daytime and nighttime temperatures will remain at or below freezing until then. The prediction right now is mid-50's for Saturday. By the time we hit 40 degrees, it will be pretty obvious if we have a busted pipe. We're still hoping for the best though.

The day before yesterday, we were rudely awakened fifteen minutes before the alarm went off to a big crash outside. The wind was howling when we went to bed the night before and I knew right away what had happened.

Do you remember this tree? 

It was dead as a doornail after last year's drought and had been slowly shedding it's bark and smaller limbs.  You can see how close it is to the chain link fence and stalls on the right.  What you can't see in this pictures is our house about twelve feet to the left of the tree.  Every time I walked by it, I would try to knock a few more limbs off and offer a little prayer that it would miss the house and the fence when it finally came down.  That was the sound that awakened us fifteen minutes before the alarm on Tuesday ...the sound of an answered prayer.

This is what the tree looks like now.  
It missed the house AND the chain link fence.  If we had cut it down ourselves, we could not have laid it so perfectly in that narrow space.  It will be a lot of work to get it all cleaned up, but at least it's down and no longer a threat to the other structures.  

We lost several trees in last year's drought, included these tall pines along the driveway. 

That picture was taken at the end of last summer.  They look like dead soldiers, all lined up along the driveway.  A few months later, we paid a contractor to take the tops off to make them more manageable.  They were all sixty to seventy feet tall and would have either blocked the driveway or taken down the power line on the opposite of the driveway if we tried to fell them without topping them first.

This is what they look like now, decapitated sentries. 

This picture doesn't show you the seemingly endless piles of brush created by the decapitating.  We're still working on cleaning those up and then we'll cut what's left of the trees down to the ground.  They were pretty when they were alive and healthy.  But I would rather have them gone entirely than still standing in their present state.

Such is the country life.  There are always going to be fences to be built or repaired, animals that need feeding or doctoring, gardens that need to be planted or harvested.  Rain or shine, there are always chores to be done.  It's a labor-intensive life and it's not for everyone.  Sometimes my city-dwelling co-workers see pictures or hear me talk about things we're doing out here.  Then they tell me how much they wish they could live out in the country, have horses, raise a garden, enjoy a simpler life.  They might even really believe it when they say it.  But I just smile because I know better.  They would enjoy it like they would enjoy a vacation.  They'd have fun for a while and then be ready to go back to the city.  They would be missing their Starbuck's and their movie theaters.  

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Monkey Bread and Cinnamon Rolls

I discovered Monkey Bread when I was in my early twenties.  Someone brought some to an office Christmas Party, I got the recipe and it has been a holiday tradition in our home ever since.  Over the years, I've found the same recipe by different names ...Cinnamon Bubble Ring, Cobblestone Cake.  It's all Monkey Bread with a fancier name.  I like to bake it in a fluted bundt pan because I think it's prettier but you can use a 9x13 rectangular pan or two 8-inch round or square pans.  I've even seen it baked in a 2-pound coffee can.  Just spray whatever pan you will use with Pam (or similar) nonstick cooking spray before you add the dough.
The recipe is very simple.  You need:

4 cans refrigerator biscuits
(Pillsbury or store-brand, doesn't matter)
1 cup sugar plus 2 Tbsps cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1 cube butter, melted (not margarine or butter substitute)
Put the sugar & cinnamon in a large ziplock bag
Open the canned biscuits, cut into fourths
Drop the dough pieces a few at a time in the ziplock bag
Shake to coat, then put them in pre-sprayed baking pan
When all the dough pieces are in the pan,
Combine the brown sugar & melted butter
Pour evenly over the top of the dough

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then cover top with foil and back an additional 10-15 minutes

To serve, place an appropriate sized/shaped platter over the baking pan and invert.  Can be served warm or cold and makes a good breakfast bread.  

I have been making cinnamon rolls for several family members and friends at Christmas for almost 20 years.  I usually half the dough and make two 8-inch pans (approximately 12 rolls in each pan) from one recipe of dough.  I also make a Monkey Bread or two, usually at my daughter's request and usually using my fluted bundt pan for the Monkey Bread.  While I was thinking about Monkey Bread the other day, it occurred to me that I could stack the rolls on their sides in a bundt pan and I would have pull apart cinnamon rolls!   A cinnamon roll ring!  When it was done baking, it would fit on a normal 8-inch dinner plate or round serving platter and it would be easy to use a fork to pull one (or two) rolls off at a time. Ahh, decadence and convenience all in one pan!
I was had a day off a few weeks ago and Yeoldfurt was at work, so I decided to give it a try.  My fluted bundt pan that I use to make Monkey Bread held all but five of the rolls.  So I used a small rectangular Pyrex dish to stack the remaining rolls. The result, I hoped, would be a pretty and easy to serve Cinnamon Roll Ring and (mini) Cinnamon Roll Log. 

This is what the rolls looked like after 45 minutes raising time in my Excalibur dehydrator...

As you can see, there was not much 'head space' remaining for the rolls in the pyrex dish.  These rolls always rise a bit more during baking so next time, I will use one of my 1-pound loaf pans instead to give them a little more room. 
After they're raised, I always sprinkle the tops of the rolls with cinnamon and sugar, then cover with a generous layer of brown sugar.  The last step before baking is to melt a cube of butter (not margarine or spread) and pour over the top of the rolls.  When I was making the recipe in two 8-inch square pans, I would use 1/2 cup melted butter on each.  Since the bundt pan held considerably more rolls than the pyrex, I poured approximately 3/4 cup butter over the bundt pan and the remaining 1/4 cup over the pyrex. 

I was able to bake them together in the same oven, but since the rolls in the pyrex were already so close to the top of the dish, I had a lot of bubble-over during the baking process.  A waste of buttery goodness and a mess in the oven!  Using the 1-pound loaf pan next time should eliminate that problem.   This is what they looked like after baking.  We haven't sampled them yet, but I've been making these rolls for so many years, I can tell by looking if a batch came out good.  These will be good!  

Using the bundt pan and 1-pound loaf pan will streamline my holiday baking from now and I think it makes a prettier end product as well.  

This batch went to my office with me the following week and when the email came around two weeks after that announcing an upcoming Breakfast Staff Meeting I was asked by several co-workers if I was planning to bring another batch to the meeting.  I guess they were a hit!  I'm happy because it's so much faster and easier to bake them this way and I think the end product is pretty.

Yes, pretty matters at least to me  ...if I can't make it pretty, I won't want to make it.  If I don't make it, nobody gets to eat it.  So pretty matters.  Yeoldfurt was a quick study on that one.  Ha! 

Labels: ,