Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Shoveling Out

Bob has been home the past two days digging us out , I am sure he is very ready to return to his job. As a rule(due to Bobs long hours, and crazy commute) I do the majority of the weekday farm chores myself. The daily tasks are a challenge but for the most part I have them down to a very manageable system, however I could not manage this blizzard by my self.
 The winds are still from the North and dragging the temperatures down quite a bit. I was very much looking forward to an afternoon horseback ride in the snow yesterday, I chickened out.
The white blanket of fresh snow looks wonderful out the window but the winds are painful cold. I have switched my focus to inside pleasures including barn time and some inside challenges.
I am very determined to learn to make good homemade pasta, and have been doing some research. Years ago I asked my parents for a pasta machine, and have a nice one. I tried making pasta and failed, but I want to try try again."Good" homemade pasta is very much like farm fresh eggs, once you have had them little compares.My Grandma (Va voe) was a pasta making Queen,and I have very fond memories of Sunday Pasta making parties. Although I was too young to partake in the pasta process I can see the picture in my memory and remember the wonderful tasty results. vavoe would grind fresh pork for the filling and prepare the pasta dough before we arrived on Sundays, then my Dear Grandma , My Aunt  and My Mom would roll slice and fold pasta for hours, while of course the children played and the men alternated napping and watching sports. It is funny what takes you back, pasta takes me back. In the next week I am going to try this recipe   http://roadtothefarm.blogspot.com/2010/12/homemade-pasta.html and then work my way up to this http://roadtothefarm.blogspot.com/2009/11/savor-each-bite.html and this http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/05/ryans-bolognese-sauce/
My Pasta machine looks just like this one, my Mom found it new at a small locally owned hardware store in  Plymouth , Ma.
Ok so you are probably thinking "what the heck, go purchase a .99cent box" but seriously it's not the same.Maybe by the time I have Grandchildren I will master this, and make them some fond memories. My children assure me I have years to practice, with zero risk of any children going hungry.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Visit From Mother Nature

“Wow, it really snowed last night! Isn’t it wonderful?Everything familiar has disappeared! The world looks brand new!
A new year…a fresh clean start !It’s like having a big white sheet of paper to draw on! A day full of possibilities! It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy…let’s go exploring!”
–Bill Watterson: It’s a Magical World: A Calvin and Hobbes Collection
It has snowed for about 24 hours now, the Blizzard of 2010.
Bob has had hours and hours on the tractor.
The winds are whipping around the outside of the barn.
The inside of the barn is full of happy critters.
 The Big Boys are just now eating their dinner and taking the chill off their bones.
Blankets are off for now, they will go back on later.
Christmas is officially over now, it was different this year.It is difficult when what you love (the farm) takes you away from those you love. Starting to focus on goals for 2011, thinking we will need part time barn help or  perhaps an intern, minimally a good pet sitter for occasional days off.
Have many other goals most related to growing the farm, adding a web sight, promoting the sales of my prints and perhaps some classes lots to think of.
 A good way to start the new year, open to change and growth.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Week End Menu

Friday Christmas Eve Light Tour
Saturday : Roasterd Tenderloin of Beef topped with Crab
Stuffed Potato
Sunday Apple Puffed Pancake
Lobster Mac n Cheese
Monday: Crockpot Burrito
Tuesday  French Dip

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

check this out, I LOVE IT


Three Days and Counting

Sorry no pictures card reader is again not working.Things are starting to look, smell and feel more like Christmas around the farm. I was not planning to have a Christmas tree this year,it seemed unnecessary with no little ones. Our tree is big and heavy and takes lots of space. Having no tree in the house was not sitting well with Bob, so last night I put a small tree in the kitchen/ living area and an even smaller one in the guest room. With the Christmas music on and the twinkling holiday lights, it was nice (Bob was right,but don't tell him). Today I cut some evergreens and made swags for the doors with simple ribbon.I am very happy with the addition of my simple swags. I spent $4.00 on ribon, while swags at the store were $10.00 each and up.The temperatures have been mild the past two days, compared to recent weeks, kitty was out on the hunt. The mild temperatures have made it possible to clean up the back paddock some, a relief. In the winter months manure management is a challenge, and we prefer the paddocks clean.The weather reports say we might have a white Christmas with the addition of 1-3 inches of fresh snow tonight.It started to snow at noon, and it started to stick about 5:00. In preparation of the snow, I have feed buckets, extra water bottles and blankets all lined up for distribution in the am.Tonight I'll do a bit more housekeeping, so that I can have time to bake some more tomorrow.
The plan for tomorrow is Biscotti, for gift giving. http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/biscotti/Detail.aspx
and a Chicken Soup made with a whole chicken, to gift to an ailing friend.
Tomorrow I will post the Holiday Menu, Bobby and Keri and Remington will arrive Saturday and Jessica and Joe Sunday. The very best part of Christmas is having children at home , regardless of their age.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Official Start

Last night I officially started my Christmas baking.
Bob was going down to Massachusetts today to check in on his parents, I wanted to send some baked goods along so I fixed up a basket for them and then one for my Mom.
I've been feeling kinda" home sick", not for an address but for tradition and baking helped.
When my Dad was alive Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday, and it seemed as my Mom baked November - January.
I purchased a Spritz press and made some Spritz cookies, like my Mom always made.Fixing up my Mom's basket was lots of fun , I gather "stuff" throughout the year for her. Some things my Mom will find in her basket are: Suit for the birds, and a hand felted bird ornament, a couple candles one of bees wax one of soy, flowering seeds and garden markers.Candy and reusable snack bags. Cranberry and Blueberry bread, both baked with local berries and Spritz Cookies.


Spritz Cookies -

2 cups butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
I put my cookie sheets on the porch as I get everything ready for this recipe. Pressing the dough out onto cool, ungreased baking sheets makes it possible for each application to stick on contact.
In a large bowl, mix butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar; cream until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well; stir in vanilla extract. Gradually add flour to mixture, beating well after each addition. Some Spritz recipes call for almond , I used vanilla and real butter.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Great Gray Owl

At least that's what I think he was.
Throughout the week the temperatures have not changed much,it has been and continues to be cold.

We started the day with a trip to the vet's and a booster for Lager. When we returned home we had a hearty breakfast to warm us up. After last nights home made Chinese food (fried crab ragoo and egg rolls) I opted out of the funnel cakes for bacon ,sausage, eggs and bagels. After breakfast Bob and Lager trekked to the dump and "Andys Agway", I cleaned house. In the afternoon Bob and I did farm chores. We took a trip down the end of the Lane to collect the mail, and spotted an owl. After looking in the book Bobby and Keri bought me, I think it may be a Great Gray, what do you think?
I had only a min. to snap a couple pictures before he flew away.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Photo's


Here's a glimpse at a couple holiday photo's, I enjoyed .

Definition of Barnheart

If you get a moment, check out this article:
It is  Writen by ,Jenna Woginrich, Farm Writer. Jenna Designed the grafic above as well.
This article perfactly describes the "illness" that brought me to live on my farm.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Baby it's cold outside

OK don't know if you have noticed, but I have not blogged in a few days.
 It has been a crazy week with some family stuff , and extra meetings at work most of all it's been cold.
The cold we have experienced this week has been some what debilitating .
Usually our farm runs like a well oiled machine, we have a system and a schedule and it works, for the most part.
 However we have had temperatures in the single numbers and teens, Bob and I start and end our day in the dark, as do all who own farms in New England
 I have added blankets to the boys, overnight and blankets to the Bloodhounds days, the kitty has not left the barn in three days(can you blame him).For me time spent in the barn at sunset is the best time of day.
The Belgians are always warm to the touch, and their grand presence heats the space. Grooming them at the end of their day before night blankets go on is such a pleasure.You might wonder how our Draft friends stay warm through this harsh weather.They have access to shelter both inside and out if they want it, but they have made their preference clear= outside.Being minis and draft horses gives them the advantage of being able to grow long, thick coats for the winter.Besides wearing a warm coat,and occasionally an extra blanket,

our Belgians  have access to lots of hay (average two bales a day),plus grain and cracked corn.
In the winter, their bellies become a furnace of sorts.As long as they have hay to munch,they stay toasty warm, and happy . I bring the Minni's in to keep them safe from predators, although we have seen very few intruders an occasional fox . The deer and owls are welcome guests.I can hardly believe how close Christmas is, I plan to start and finish decorating the barn over the week end.I have done a bit more decorating for the holidays in the house.The company I work for has gifted me a large ham and the fixings for a holiday meal.Traditionally our family eats beef on Christmas day, so I will cook up the ham this week end.With only Bob and I eating a full Ham dinner I have been looking at creative idea's for left overs.
This weeks Menu :
Kitty in the Tack room

I LOVE his old lips

And his young lips

Friday:Home made Chinese Food and Polar Express on DVR
Saturday AM Funnel Cakes (test run for the holiday)
Saturday: Fried Chicken with Milk Gravy
Sunday am Cinnamon Raisin French Toast
Sunday: Baked Ham Dinner with all the fixings Sunday night Maine is expecting a foot of snow.
Monday: Slow Cooked Ham and Broccoli
Tuesday: Corn Chowder in Bread Bowls
Wednesday: Ham and Sun dried Tomatoes Alfredo
Thursday: Stir Fried Beef (we will be tired of Ham by then;)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Try this at home

This morning Bob and I had "Apple Puffed Pancake" from "Full Bellies Happie Kids" .OMG it was sooo good and looked fancy,yet it was easy. http://fullbellies.blogspot.com/2009/04/apple-puff-pancake.html the food on this ladies blog is wonderful.
If you are having holiday quests try this. I added caramel sauce and whip cream to fancy it up,it looked pretty, it made the house smell good and we ate the entire thing! After we fueled up Bob went to see our hay man,and picked up 53 more bails (about 25 days worth) for the big boys.I put the two chickens and veggies in the oven then we were off, we took Lager to see Santa  (rumor is his brother did the same) .Petsmart was doing a fundraiser for our local animal shelter.We paid 10$ for a sitting, but 5 went to the shelter.
 Lager was a BIG hit, the store had lots of traffic, and dogs he was very well behaved.After photo's we were off to Andy's Agway, one of Lagers favorite local shops. At Andy's we got some necessary supplies, and I purchased some Maple Syrup, made by the Cole family and some Maine made jam these will make nice gifts.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Just Chillin

Friday: Crab meat Quiche http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/crabmeat-quiche/Detail.aspx/
Saturday:Two Roast Chicken and Lots of Roasted Veg.
Sunday am Apple Puffed Pancake Bacon and Home fries made from left oven roasted potatoes
Sunday :Homemade Onion Soup Pork Chops Homemade apple sauce

(I have apples to use up)
Gingerbread Whoopee Pies
Monday:Cheesy Hash brown Chicken (left over chicken)
(you can see a step by step photo tutorial on her blog)
1 bag of Potatoes O'Brien
4 slices bacon
2 packages of grilled pre-cooked chicken
salt and pepper, to taste
Shredded Cheese
Cook bacon in the skillet over medium heat until bacon is crunchy. Remove bacon from skillet and place on a paper towel. When the bacon is cool, break into pieces. Don't drain the bacon fat.
Add the potatoes o' brien and cook until tender, remember to keep an eye on it and stir frequently so it won't stick
Tuesday: Mushroom Ravioli
Wednesday: Grilled Ham and Cheese and soup
Thursday: Hot Dogs Baked Beans

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What is tradition?

the colder it gets,thequicker the birds empty the feeder

This look with ears forward and eyes focused, Nick spotted Deer at sun set (4:30)

Too Sexy For My Barn
Jake now knows his way in to the dinner bowl
afternoon chores

 Seam's like over night Friday Winter arrived in Southern Maine.
I have had to add break the ice, in the water buckets to the morning and evening chore lists.
The Big Boys are getting quite furry, with their winter coats.
Mini Sparks is looking like a chia pet.
It is time to start thinking about moving the Pig and the chickens into the barn.
Don't fear the chickens and the pig have adequate shelters to stay out, I just tier of trucking through the snow to deliver the daily  meals and fresh water.
Last night I realized Christmas is only a couple weeks away and I instantly felt stressed.
 Today I feel better, nothing like cool air and farm chores to clear your head.
Moving to Maine and starting this farm has been a eye opening experience.
Everyday farm life,the changing seasons, and the creatures I am surrounded with teach me more. 
Embracing what I love (and in the process discovering what I hate), daydreaming, questioning, digging in 
I have been struggling in my head with what to do about Christmas.
Christmas can be one of those times of year when you either follow traditions you grew up with and carry them on, or you decide new traditions will define you.
Going to the mall and spending money that should go into the success(and survival) of this farm on things, goes against every thing I have learned and am trying to live.
That being said being bombarded with catalogues and commercials had me second guessing my plans for a holiday of  mainly home made and local gifts.
 What I love most about Christmas is the time spent with family and friends I am going to let theses moments, be my holiday tradition and define me.
I am planning to purchase a couple of gifts, I'm really not a cheap scrooge. The gifts I plan to purchase I have given much thought to, and I hope will make others life's a little better.
With the simplest of plans you can create a new rhythm, purpose and meaning for the holidays.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Survey Says

If you were to take a survey, I am sure of what the responses would say. The Boys favorite time of day is feed time.My favorite time of day is grooming time.What is the best part of your day?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Painful Cold

It is very,very cold in Maine, painful cold. You breath in and the moisture of your breath turns to ice cycles,this is supposed to go on for days.Lagers pillow cover just came out of the dryer,so he can rest on a toasty bed. The Big Boys have had double the barn time,so their batteries are charged.Bob and I have busted butt for the comfort of the animals, I would have it no other way.

Friday, December 3, 2010

TGIF and this Weeks Menu

Can I just tell you I am glad it's Friday.
I have had a long week, with a ache in my back, and I am very much looking forward to a cozy week end.
I am going to enjoy home time,on my farm with all my men (that would include the four legged ones).
My very,very muddy Belgians are going to get groomed from head to toe, and the oven is going to work OT. I have plans to make candy gifts and do a bit more decorating, as well as lots of home cooking, and some farm chores.
Once I have finish the groceries shopping today I do not plan to step foot in another store till Monday !

food . com photo

Betty Crocker Photo

Photo from Betty Crocker Websight

Tonight on the Menu Fish Fry
Saturday: Oven Roast Chicken
Sunday: Boeuf Bourguignon
without the mushrooms in our house
Monday:Meat Loaf
Tuesday: Ravioli
Wednesday Teriyaki Beef
Thursday : Chowder in Bread Bowl

"The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit and freedom." --Sharon Ralls Lemon

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Take warning

Have you herd the saying "red sky's at night, sailors delight, red sky in the morning sailors take warning"?

Yesterday I looked at the morning sky, and my first thought was, oh how pretty and my second thought was WARNING. Well Mother Nature does not lie.Yesterday started with red skies followed by warm temps and happy Belgians. Then last night the skies opened up the paddocks flooded. Tonight I pumped paddocks and had dinner fireside with Belgian  friends.It is supposed to get very, very cold tonight.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Good Night

It's 7:20 pm, I am ready to say Good Night. I am not sure what pushed me over the edge, however I am ready for bed. Not real sure if it was the regular chores, the addition of the Christmas decorating , (I only started) or the food. I made oatmeal raisin cookies for the lunch boxes, and baked Lobster Mac for dinner. What ever the reason, I am ready for bed. Do have a Good Night