Tuesday, March 22, 2011

All of the Weather of Spring

This has been the range of weather in the past 24 hours! Fog, sunshine, rain, clouds, rainbows!

Fog and rain in the early hours of the day. It was cold, wet, and white! In the stillness of the fog, Canada Geese could be heard honk, honk, honking.

The damp cloak lifted and there was sunshine and clouds! Everything was bright and warm and seemed to dry up instantly.

As evening came, there were thunderstorms along the ridgelines and rainbows showing all of the colors that couldn't be seen in the morning. It was a full day of springtime weather!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cauliflower Soup

Spring is here and so are the early spring fresh garden vegetables. Dinner tonight is soup and salad!

The cauliflower soup is so easy to make.
Start with 1 1/2 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon of salt
5 carrots chopped
1 onion chopped
1 potato chopped
3 cloves garlic sliced
Simmer for 10 minutes.
1 head of cauliflower chopped
Simmer for 10-15 minutes longer.
Let soup start sit for 5 minutes.
Get out the blender and pour everything into the blender and puree for 1 minute. If there is too much to pour in at once, pour the first batch into a separate bowl and repeat with the blender the other half of tender cooked vegetables.
Add everything back to the soup pot. It will look so smooth and creamy. Now you can add either 1 1/2 cups of milk or 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock. You can also grate some cheese in if you like that. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and maybe a few chives.

Serve with a fresh salad and some leftover Irish Soda Bread, and there is a complete meal!
~ Happy first day of spring ~

Thursday, March 17, 2011

~ Happy St. Patrick's Day ~

Here is a little journey through our day:

This quilt was handstitched by Grandma Wade with scraps from clothes she made for my dad and Aunt Billie Sue. The little photo in the middle of the shelf has my nephew David, Jolene and Karyn playing games through the window shelves at Ganny's house many years ago.

Beautiful roses and carnations were given to me from Tim, along with locally made candies in the Waterford crystal dish from Grandma Kelly. The quilt is a handmade gift from Karyn and has all of the grandchildren's names stitch on it. In the oval shaped frame is our two Irish girls when they were such tiny little people. xo

The breakfast of champions: farm grown sausage links, fresh eggs, and kiwi...well, the kiwi are green! My sister, Trina, can flip the eggs in the pan, but I never developed the proper wrist action. The eggs were cooked in the small iron skillet that was Grandad's and a gift from my mom.

The wonderful collection of cutting boards and wooden handled ulu knives are from Mom and Bob. The are the best made tools for the kitchen. The loaves of Chocolate Irish Potate Bread will be going to the Marks and Brown families. There are chocolate chip orange cookies on the stand.

The Irish Man at work for the college math classes he teaches. See the tree through the window? The moss really is that bright green color! Even walnut trees celebrate St. Patrick's Day!

Our Irish Girl, Jolene, made a special delivery from her cupcake shop, Cocoa. She created Luck-O-The-Irish Pops in a variety of colors and flavors, each one was a delicious treat.

The tasty Irish Pops stood perfectly in the "Maher" mug. Maher is my mom's family name. My grandfather's family ran a pub in Dublin.

The corned beef and spices are put to simmer on the stove top. The smell of Irish dinner fills the house all day long.

Time for a toast with a little Irish, whiskey for himself and a stout for her. The little Irish Shamrock was made by Tim's Irish grandmother, Margaret (O'Brien) Chiappetti.

The table is set and for dinner we will eat corned beef and cabbage, potatoes and Irish Soda Bread.

My Irish Sweetheart, who has the best taste in music. We are listening to Martin Marron with Charlie Austin on the fiddle. The perfect choice.

Slicing the Irish Soda Bread, which we decided we liked best with currants or raisins. Tanks for joining us and a very Happy Saint Patrick's Day to you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chocolate Irish Potato Cake

Who would think that potatoes and chocolate would go so well together?! Mashed potatoes without the butter, milk, salt and pepper is actually what is used in this yummy cake.
First, melt together
4 oz. high quality unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sweet butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract. Let cool.

Next, boil 3 medium sized potatoes in water with a dash of salt in the water. When the potatoes are soft, drain, mash or use a ricer until there is 1 cup of mashed potatoes. Let the potatoes cool completely. They cool best if spread out on a plate.

While the potatoes are cooling, beat together the melted chocolate mixture with
2 cups sugar.
Add 4 eggs one at a time and beat well.

In a separate cup, measure 1 cup of milk and 1 T. lemon juice and let it sit.

While the potatoes are cooling, the mixer is beating and the milk and juice are sitting, sift together the following ingredients:
2 C. flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Test the potatoes to make sure they are cool and finely mashed. Add to the chocolate-egg mixture. Next add the sifted dry ingredients. Finely add the milk with lemon juice. (You could also use buttermilk instead of the milk/lemon juice if you prefer).
Beat all ingredients well then pour batter into buttered and floured bundt pan or bread pans or a 9 x 13 pan. I used one 6" bundt pan and three medium bread loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Over baking will dry the cake.

Next, make the chocolate icing by melting
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 Cup butter
Beat in 2 cups of powdered sugar
It will be very thick.
Add a splash of left over black coffee from the morning brew
Beat again. Splash a little more coffee to thin.
Once it is nearly pourable, thin with milk.
The chocolate icing should be thick, glossy, but pourable.
Glaze the top of the cake and let it slide down the sides.
Enjoy with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream and always with family and friends!

Who would have thought chocolate and potatoes could taste so good? ~

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How the Eggs Turn Out!

All of a sudden the daylight hours are longer and the hens are busy! Tyler went to the barn to collect one or two and this is what he found!

Tyler was very pleased with the increased egg production and I was too! So I told Tyler everytime he found a load of eggs like this, they would turn into something special! Tyler continued to be happy!

This time the eggs turned into a Cherry Almond Cobbler!

Cherry Almond Cobbler with a tasty sweet sauce is exactly what the eggs turned into and what kept the sweet smile on Tyler's face! Of course, Tyler wanted everybody to share...

Soon, Anna and Ryan seemed to have the same sweet smiles at what eggs turn into and then...

Ada was ready to join the fun, and even though she could only smell the cherry goodness with her cousins, the sweetest smile spread across her cheeks as she thought she might eat some when she turns 1! By the way, the red bags are the latest fad in household decorating and furniture! Clever boys who discovered walnut (bean) bags!!

After everyone had a taste and licked their little fingers, Tyler sat down with Aiden as he tried to decide how the eggs will turn out next!! xoxoxoxoxo

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Barn Blues

In the barn is a secret hiding place for baby chicks that are getting bigger and ready to join the other hens in nearly a month. There are seven remaining chicks, but two have been tagged for Charlie and Jeri. That will leave five new additions to the flock on the farm, and then there will be 20 hens laying golden (brown and blue) eggs! Anna and her brothers are working on the names for the other five. We can't wait to hear which names will be chosen~

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spring is Sneaking In

This was the end of the snow and Ryan, Anna, and Tyler helped slush it up to melt faster! There is still snow in the mountains all around the valley and even down to lower elevations, but here on the valley floor at about 1,000 feet above see level, we are snow free. The windy, blustery change of season weather is turning our minds to the farming that we want to do and will do soon.

Here are some onion starts we picked up at a small nursery near town. These are yellow Spanish onions. They sold the starts for $3.00 per pound. There are 150 starter pearls here. If each little start turns into a larger spheric spicy treat, then our onions will cost approximately .02 cents per onion. Of course that doesn't include the weeding and the watering! Anyway, it is cheaper than purchasing a single organic onion at the store for .93 cents a piece.

Now with all of the rain, we checked the budding on the fig trees that were planted last year. We lost one tree to the weather or the moon phase or the soil or the little ground squirrels that like to chew off tasty roots. So in the rain, which is good luck, we planted a fig tree.

We hope the "Oregon Prolific Fig" will like its new home in the pasture. It was perfect planting weather with plenty of pouring rain to settle the new fig start into the soil!
~That was our week end, we hope springtime is sneaking up on you too!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Winter Ending

Here is the view of the Southern Mountains from our front pasture. It has begun raining on the farm, but the snow pack in the mountains is still building. That means plenty of water for the farm and gardens and fruit trees this summer!
You can see three great blue herons silhouetted against the mountain~