Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lake Side Dining

We have had enough rain in the past three days to fill up Lake O'Brien! The hens, goats, and sheep were dining lakeside. The little goats and sheep were moved to the front pasture so they have fresh greens and their feet will stay dry. As for the hens, they love the puddles!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Grandmother's Flower Garden

It is Spring Break in Oregon and that means all of the public schools are closed for a week and many families take a vacation or visit relatives. Our break included a little visit downtown Grants Pass to the Antique Mall. This beautifully preserved quilt, called Grandmother's Flower Garden was displayed in the window of the store, along with a perfectly matching metal bed-frame. This pattern of quilt was very popular in the 1920's and 1930's and just in time to brighten up any home as the Great Depression settled in across the nation and the world. It is a very labor intensive pattern made mostly from scraps. Each hexagonal pattern is pieced and stitched almost completely by hand. What a beautiful quilt and inspiration. Of course we were truly window shopping, so the precious quilt is still on display in the store window!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Salmon Cakes

Here is an Irish Pub Treat: Salmon Cakes with Whiskey Dill Sauce. Thanks to my sister, Valarie, and her expertise in the cold water of Alaska's Kenai River, we were given the most delicious salmon fillets that we have been eating-savoring-enjoying throughout the winter with great delight! This piece was poached in some water and lemon juice, salt, peppercorns, and a little dried basil and thyme. The salmon was then flaked and mixed with some chopped bread and butter pickles, a little mayo, chives, and juice from the pickles. Then the messy part of gathering it together, forming a patty or cake, dipping it in egg, next flour, finally bread crumbs and frying them until golden brown. A sauce was made using the stock from poaching, dill, Irish whiskey, butter, and heavy cream. Fresh spinach was added to the sauce just for the wilting effect and it was all served on a bed of Jasmine rice. There were plenty of patties left over for lunch the next day and what a treat they were! Pacific Northwest Salmon with a little Irish is the perfect welcome to springtime meal!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hail Storms

Amazing hail and sun showers are taking place all day! The sky is so dramatic, the hens are scratching and running, and the osprey have returned. Spring is very near!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

The day began with cinnamon rolls, coffee, and fresh snow in the mountains...also known as white gold at this time of year!

Corned beef is set to simmer and cook all day until it is tender and falls apart with a fork. It is seasoned with mustard seeds, bay leaf, whole black and red peppers, and basil.

Sunshine streamed through the windows all day. Canning shelves are more than half eaten and we feel so lucky that our garden produced enough to preserve to eat our farm food for a while longer.

Chives are loving the sunshine and are beginning to bulb at the tips for a lavender colored blossom. Leprechauns deposited golden chocolates on the counter top too!

A break in the mid afternoon for a toast and a blessing and prayers to our family and friends to live life in the ways of love, faith, hope, and charity.

Irish man, Tim, wit his traditional greeting of 'Happy St. Paddy's Day!'.

Irish soda bread with golden raisins is out of the oven and dinner is nearly ready to serve.

The sunshine continued into the afternoon and early evening as dinner was set on the table.

Corned beef, cabbage, boiled potatoes, carrots, bread and butter.

Late evening Irish coffees and a movie The Quiet Man, with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara finished off the evening of a perfectly green and lucky day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Green Day 6

The daffodils are ready to burst open for tomorrow's celebrations! There is so much promise and hope in these clusters of spring happiness.
We had a rare treat tonight, as Joel Salatin from Polyface Farms came to the Rogue Valley to speak to the JCLAC. Joel Salatin is a renowned farmer, author, and supporter of the local foods movement and small family farms. Tonight's talk was based partially on his latest book, "Folks, This Ain't Normal". He is a very entertaining and engaging speaker! He encourages everyone to rediscover the value of the home kitchen, patronize your local food market, and grown something yourself even if it is in one pot! His closing remarks were a blessing on the audience:

May all your carrots grow long and straight,
May the coyotes be struck blind by your chickens,
May your customers love cooking your food in their kitchens,
May the rains be gentle on your pastures,
May your fields grow richer with soil,
May your earthworms dance in celebration,
May the wind be always at your back,
May your children rise up and call you blessed,
And may we leave a better world than we found.

~ Slainte' ~

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Green Day 5

Today's green was brought to you by the O'Brien hens! Their lovely eggs were made into a great big quiche full of spinach, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. A little golden cheddar cheese was mixed in too!

Where would we be without a little more Irish cheer in the form of Shamrock Rye Toast, complete with butter and green sprinkles!

Finally, a rainbow of Jello was the dessert of the day. Six different colors of Jello were mixed with cottage cheese and layered into glasses. There is less sugar and still big smiles! It only takes a teaspoon or two of the Jello to make the pretty colors.

There were also some golden coins hiding between the layers that our lucky little leprechauns found, because at the end of every rainbow there must be a pot of gold!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Green Day 4

The snow melted as quickly as it came and we were left with warming winds, greener grass and moss, and life on the farm and grandkids together for an afternoon. Here is Anna and Marial enjoying some one on one time. x

Wintering over garden has just started to green up. The kids were out inspecting what was edible and available.

And before you know it, the magic of childhood imaginations took them off into knighthood and sword fights just by a few sticks that were found in the garden.

The sword fighting ended happily and the knights and their princess surveyed the kingdom for more fun and games.

Of course there is always the tire swing with Papa pushing for the best ride!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

White on Green Day 3

We were surprised to wake up to a snowy morning in mid March this week. The daffodils are blooming, but Old Man Winter isn't finished yet! We are thankful for this last of winter snowpack in the mountains to help us get through the dry months that will soon be upon us. There was only about an inch of snow here on the farm, but just a couple hundred feet higher in elevation and there was five inches, and at 2,000 feet elevation there was almost a foot of snowfall. All was calm...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Green Day 2

It all began with deep, dark, green kale...

It was sauteed with onions, garlic, mushrooms and added to shredded buffalo roast, and mashed potatoes with a bit of sauce...

The kale was transformed into a shepherd's pie that was warm and healthy and very much green!

Then there were plenty of Irish eyes twinkling at the dinner table of green goodness!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Week of Green!

Green eggs and shamrocks and chive starts in the kitchen! There is an Irish Gal in the background! Hi Mom ~ xo

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Comfort Food

The hens are really treating us to some brightly colored eggs now that the days are getting a little longer. These are simply creamy scrambled eggs cooked with a dab of butter, a splash of half and half, and chives. Cooked soft and left to finish cooking in the cast iron skillet off of the heat keeps them at their creamy best! We had three days of 60-70 degree days with 23-25 degree nights. Now the cold winds are blowing in again with rain and snow. March is presenting herself as both a lamb and a lion!

Here are some buttery orange-raisin scones. There are a few golden raisins left. These scones have a little orange oil added to them and cook up quickly when they are just free form dropped onto the cooking stone. Both the eggs and the scones are great comfort foods to end the wildly approaching change of seasons from winter to spring. How does the end of winter look in your neck of the woods?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Baby Chicks

The baby chicks have started to arrive. We have the Rhode Island Reds here first and they sure are hungry! Frequent refills, plenty to drink, warm red heat lamp, near the toasty woodstove... Isn't that what we all want this late in the winter?! Happy March ~

Happy Birthday, Karyn!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Karyn! We wish you were on the farm to celebrate, but just look at all of the white, Alaskan snow and remember how much we all love you! ~Happy Days!~ xo