Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I can remember when I was a child
Monday, November 22, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
I love this photograph I snapped of Kara in September. She is a little angel to be sure!
Here is Miss Chloe. She is making every attempt to get herself around the house, and one back leg appears to have more use than even a week ago.
Mom and I got the vegetable garden pretty well cleaned out, and we made some repairs to the fencing around the fields. There is still other work to be done in the fruit garden, but it could last til spring cleanup! And I have to clean out the barn, but that's not too pressing. I still have to build a new barn door and repair a window in the back of the barn before the cold and snow really settle in.
I want to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving filled with blessings of family and friends! Til next time... Laura of Wildenblue Farm
Saturday, October 30, 2010
The air is brisk this morning and hung with expectations of colder days to come. Most of the leaves have fallen from the branches, leaving a patchwork of crazy-quilted colors underfoot in autumn's palette of ochre, russet. crimson, and gold. Bittersweet berries and fox grapes dangle from their windswept tendrils, and a myriad of frost pictures etch windows and leaves. The sharp scent of woodsmoke fills the air, along with the dusky smell of fallen foilage. The air rings with mixed echoes of ax, chainsaw, geese and gunshot. It is time to refrain from walks deep in the woods.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Refrigerator Dill Pickle Chips
2 pounds small Cucumbers, sliced into rounds
3 Tablespoons Coarse Salt
Place the sliced cukes into a bowl and sprinkle with the salt. mix carefully and place in the refrigerator for an hour or two. Then rinse well and let drip dry. Meanwhile, bring to a boil
3 cups Water
2 cups Distilled Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dill Seed
4 cloves Garlic, slivered
Once this mixture has come to a full boil, reduce heat and let simmer about for 4 minutes. Then remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
In a half-gallon canning jar or suitable bowl, add the
cucumber slices and
2 bunches chopped Dill Weed and
a few Jalapeno slices, if desired
Pour the prepared, cooled brine over the cucumber mixture, cover and place in the refrigerator for one week, at which point you can feast on them! They will keep in the fridge for three additional weeks, if they last that long!
Because I have so many cucumbers, I’ve also made a batch of my old stand-by Hot Dill pickles. They take a bit more time to get to the end result, but they are not difficult to can.
Laura’s Hot Dill Pickles
Fill your canner with enough water to process your quart-size jars, and get it going to a full-rolling boil. Then begin your pickling.
In a large pot, prepare the following brine...
1 quart Vinegar to 3 quarts Water and ½ cup Canning Salt
Bring the brine to a good hot rolling boil, keeping the mixture covered. Continue this hard boil throughout the whole process, even as you ladle into jars.
Pack each of 8 quart canning jars with each of the following...
2 Tablespoons fresh Dill
3-4 cloves peeled, slivered Garlic
¼ teaspoon Mustard Seed
pinch of Alum (the approximate size of two peas)
2 or 3 ¼” rings of hot pepper slices
And enough sliced Cucumbers to pack jar full, leaving at least a good ½” headspace.
Ladle in your brine, wipe off jar mouth and seal with tops and rings. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. Let cure for at least a month or two before you open the jars.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
My dear dehydrator has been going almost non-stop this week as I dry zucchini, kale, basil, sage, tomatoes, green beans and carrots. I've had my old Excaliber dehydrator for over twenty years, yet I'd almost forgotten about it for many summer seasons until last year when I sought it out to dry mint for tea, and a surplus of zucchini. I do not can as much as I used to... with my four children grown now and not having to fix endless breakfasts, lunches and suppers for all of us every day, I much prefer to dehydrate garden produce than to freeze or can it. It just saves so much space, and time! (And, when the power goes out, I don't have to worry about losing all that food and hard work that's thawing down in the freezer!)
I was determined to get half of the carrots pulled up and dried this week, as some of them were as fat as parsnips! I have an old mandoline vegetable slicer that helps immensely with preperation time and I zip the carrots through it to get fairly uniform slices in short order... I'd be lost without that slicer! (I don't bother peeling the freshly pulled carrots, as a good scrub in the sink takes care of the dirt.) I then spread the pieces out on the dehydrator trays and let the carrots dry for 5 to 7 hours depending on the humidity outdoors. When completely dried, I remove the carrots from the dehydrator and store them in half-gallon GLASS canning jars. (Plastic is a no-no... it lets in moisture and retains odors) As you can see, a sinkful of carrots fits into a single half-gallon mason jar.
Come cold weather, it's a simple thing to open a jar and throw a few handfuls of dehydrated veggies into a pot of simmering soup! Corn, diced tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes, zucchini, peas, pole beans, mushrooms, and of course carrots are some of my favorites to dry and use in this manner. I keep each type of vegetable in seperate jars, but if you only want to dry a small amount of different vegetables, you can certainly store a blend of several kinds in one jar! My neighbors Gary and Alice have encouraged me to dry some of my garlic this year to grind into garlic powder as they have done! You could just as easily run dried tomatoes, kale, etc., through the blender to powder these to sneak into sauces, soups and stews too!
I love my dehydrator for drying herbs as well. I just finished harvesting the first cutting of Basil, and after making three batches of pesto to freeze, I put the remainder in the Excaliber. When it dries, I scrunch it down into a glass jar just til it fits. When it comes time to use it, I take a big pinch or two and really crumble the herb into more of a powder, then toss it in the pot. I feel if I crush it too much when first stored, the dried herbs lose some of their flavor. Crushing it more just when I use it in a recipe seems best. Mints, bee balm and lemon balm dried for tea, as well as chives, sage, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, green onion tops, basil, and so on, are easy to dehydrate and wonderful to use in winter recipes. Just be sure to store in glass jars with tight-fitting, screw-on lids.
I am waiting for my crop of fall raspberries to ripen, as I want to dehydrate some for use in homemade granola and baked goods. I froze the ones I picked in early summer, but want to have dried raspberries on hand too. I've also dried blueberries, currants, bananas and sour cherries this season, and will dry some apples when they ripen.
I'd like to share one of my favorite resources with you... perhaps you're already familiar with it; Lehman's Non-Electric Catalogue in Kidron, Ohio was founded in the 1950's to serve the local Amish families and others without electricity. (Find it here... https://www.lehmans.com/. I LOVE this catalogue, as it continues to be a wonderful source of not only extraordinary tools, utensils and growing wishlists for me, but is full of valuable tips and information as well. And the folks are just so darn friendly and helpful! I hope someday to visit their store in person!
Well, I must go now. I can hardly believe that August is coming to an end and that September is just around the corner. May you enjoy the remainder of summer! Warmest regards, Laura of Wildenblue Farm
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
It is hard for me to let it sink in that August is upon us here in the lower Adirondacks of New York State, yet the humidity and hot temperatures proves it is so. I have kept busy as the weather allows... trimming brush, revamping my garden shed, slowly rebuilding a stone wall near the barn, and trying to keep up with the weeds in each garden. (I am failing miserably at this) The vegetable garden has been overrun with a variety of gourd plants and Grandpa Ott morning glories; I have not planted these devilish beauties in over 5 years, but each spring they come back with a vengeance. I have tried learning to be heartless enough to rip out or hoe down the unwanted seedlings as soon as they emerge, but I save them to transplant all over the gardens, and wait til they have smothered most everything and then pull them out armful by tangled armful when I've had enough! Next year will be different... ahem!
Well, I will close for now, but before I go, I wish you all well and hope you too are enjoying the remainder of summer! Warmest regards from Wildenblue Farm!
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
3/4 cup Butter, 3/4 cup Light Brown Sugar, 3/4 cup Sugar and 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract. Add 2 Eggs.
In a seperate bowl, mix together
Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture. Fold in TONS of
Chocolate Chips. (I think that means at least 1 1/2 to 2 cups!) Bake for 10 or 12 minutes.
So, I've been baking since I was a teenager... which means well over 35 years ago! I've made pies, breads, cookies, cakes; all kinds of sweet treats. I used to be able to make great cookies... my friend would always head to the cookie jar when she'd bring her girls over. However... something has happened. My cookies turn out kind of flat and brown. They taste fine, but they're different. (Or maybe I'm getting too old!)
So Ashley and Travis send cookies home to us, and they are heavenly! And I admit defeat! She whips my butt(er) as far as making Chocolate Chip Cookies. And I hear my son makes a pretty mean Chocolate Chip Pancake, too!
So, I tried her recipe, and I still didn't do something right. And I tried again, mixing by hand, as she does, and adjusting my oven temperature... which was running 75 degrees too hot, according to the oven thermometer I used. Still no! I will try once more and use Light Brown Sugar, as she does, instead of the Dark Brown Molasses Sugar I always buy. I really don't think it will matter though. So I guess she'll just have to keep sending up those scrumptious cookies every now and then!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Kara watching the camera
Tristan keeping an eye on Leo
Honestly, I've spent quite a bit of time over the past few days trying to post a new entry on my Blog. It seems that since I've been away, they've changed something, and my computer was not accepting the changes. It finally dawned on me to go into "help" and I soon discovered I wasn't the only one experiencing this problem. And I FINALLY got it figured it out!
I wanted to post my daughter-in-law's Chocolate Chip cookie recipe tonight, but I left it out by my computer in my workshop, and it's POURING outside, so I will post it very soon... I promise!
Aside from babysitting my grandchildren, I've been trying to get things accomplished outdoors. I trimmed all the Guinea's wings to stop them from flying out of the pastures. I took apart the greenhouse mom and I built a few years back. It cost too much to keep it heated... what was spent on propane would have bought a lot of seeds or plants; it was just not feasible. I did save the cattle panels, and am trying something new. I bent each 16' panel into a length-wise half-hoop, covered them with clear plastic and placed them in the vegetable garden. I planted them with cold-weather crops... spinach, kale, chard, carrots, etc... and I will see how this experiment fares out.
Well, I'm headed to bed shortly, and I need a cup of tea. I shall be back in touch very soon! Hope all is well with all of you! I missed you! xox ~Laura