Thursday, March 18, 2010

Strawberries! and Daffodils! and Clematis! Oh My!

Yep... I see GREEN! NEW Green!

LOTS of Yellow!
CLEMATIS is waking up after her winter's nap!

and the HENS are out in their yard ... peeking over the board....
What on EARTH are they LOOKING at??

.... oh! COMFREY!
They LOVE comfrey!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Making Sourdough - Walnut Raisin Twist

This sourdough starter is made with Prairie Wheat unbleached flour that I get at our Amish bulk foods store about 20 miles away. It has a nice fine texture with all the good nutrients left in.

Let the starter get to room temp, meanwhile starting 1 1/2 cups warm water, 2 1/2 tsp yeast and 1 T sugar in the bowl to start working. After 10 min add 1 cup starter and mix well. Add 1/2 cup softened butter to the mix
...... then proceed to add 3 1/2 cups unbleached Prairie Flour and 1 tsp salt to stir in. Add enough more flour to make a soft dough. ( It takes about 6 1/2 - 7 cups altogether)

.... put it on a floured board and knead for about 10 min, adding flour as needed. Meanwhile, wash and grease your bowl.

... eh, I found it a little hard to knead AND take pictures at the same time.

Knead until it is nice and smooth ...

then form into a smooth ball and placing it back in the bowl, turn it once to grease it all over. Cover with a clean cloth and set in a warm place to raise.
Let rise about 1 1/2 hrs or until double (mine rose too much as I had to pick up Izzy from the vet after her "surgery")
When you punch it down, add 1 cup raisins that have been plumped in warm water (drain the water) , 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1 tsp cinnamon and gently knead it in. Divide ino 4 equal pieces making ropes about 20in long of each. Twist 2 together, then form it into a circle on a cookie sheet. This gives you 2 "Twists", one for you and one to share with a neighbor. Bake 30 min at 375*. When cool frost with a thin cream-cheese frosting. I cut this one into sections as it would not fit on any of my plates :)

(for some reason these last pictures turned out funky)

Umm, love it, chock full of nuts and raisins! Old-timey goodness!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Just in time for St Patrick's Day!

From this...

to this, in a couple days!

and, BTW, looking at that empty garden plot and that green grass, reminds me ....

This came in the mail a few days ago...

They sure have me pegged!

Wish it were that easy...

but there are some good ideas in this book. I think I will get it from the library and save my $39.95 + shpg and hndlg charges :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"Changes" means progress .... doesn't it?

Changes are never easy; but hopefully, the changes we make will produce positive results. Our beautiful herd of Hereford cows are now gone, sold to a private individual ...

We will miss the cows' gentle presense, and the frolicking new calves...

These fields will be growing soybeans and corn this year.

It was a hard decision to make but we have found in the past that when one door closes, another opens. We are looking forward to a much lighter work load, putting our time into our commercial rabbit operation, Sunny's Bunnies , and will be able to sit on the front porch and sip ice tea following a still-very-full day!

The Monster in my Kitchen!

(a re-post from the earlier blogging days, for some of my new readers)
There is a monster in my kitchen! ........You would think I could get rid of it, with just 2 people living here, and use the space more wisely. This monster fakes me out every time I give in and let its call beckon me; to let it do something for me that I already know good and well I can do better and quicker myself! It pleads with me, like a small child saying, "I wanna help! " .... just to find that I have to do at least half the job again anyway. I have to bend over and "bow" to it whenever I let it bribe me by its beckoning presence. Soon as its mouth is open I have lost the battle. I have to fill that mouth, and it will take many handfuls of what it likes best to ever get to the place where I can shut its mouth and silence the guilt within myself for allowing it to be open in the first place. Then there is the constant "bowing" again, to undo what I previously did at the start! And, deep inside I know ...... I know ..... that that so-called time-saver is actually a waste of MY time.

And really, I could get better results asking a toddler to clean up his plate than I do from this monster that I am slave to....

So ........ If anyone would want to take my dish-washer, and replace it with a nice cupboard of 2 shelves and a deep drawer, I would be ever grateful!

( Are you listening, dear hubby? )