Sunday, August 29, 2010

hot & humid again

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Today it's warm and sunny outside. Kevin cut the grass yesterday, and the fruit trees by the pond are doing amazing. All the ponds are low right now.

The deer have been really showing up in the yard and the apple tree field. Two of our does have fawns this year, one has twins. We are a little surprised to see them around so early this year. We hope it's not a sign of a bad winter approaching. At least for now, we can just enjoy the warm, still green weather and not know what is to come.

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My cherry tomatoes are going crazy we can hardly keep up with eating them. I haven't been able to pick the green ones to make pickles because they are red before I know it. This past week we have been out every single day, so being away from home so much makes it hard to keep up with everything here. I've got some beautiful red peppers too.

I caught Douglas sneaking a cherry tomato on me, he's terrible at that.

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Today was a catch up, and, clean up, since we've been gone so much. This week won't prove to be any slower, or the coming weekend.

Ferd is really growing and soon will be able to start getting weaned...
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Dale, the last remaining of our first Prairie dogs we got in 2008, is now living with the four we adopted last December. She is getting a long with them pretty well, nothing like Chip & Snuggles whom she was very bonded to. But everyone seems content enough and they are all sharing the same nest which is a very good sign.

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It's suppose to continue to be warm, a little too warm for me and the animals, but it will cool off soon enough.

Back to work.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Who doesn't love watermelon?

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Miss Izzie, the Jersey calf, is growing like a weed. She has healed famously from having her horns removed, which only took a day really to heal up. She's still very sweet, very calm, and she's also very shy. She doesn't do well around any strangers or newcomers, but she is fine with us. She's the one of the quietest animals we have here. With Douglas the Pug taking the lead at the moment as the most active, and ah... into trouble.

It's been cloudy, overcast, and raining on and off for the past few days in a row. Yesterday we were in New York State for some doctors appointments for Kevin, which is a 300 mile round trip for us, but we got to stop at Cracker Barrel which we don't have here, and get some chicken and dumplings, and strawberry lemonade, so that makes it better.

The day before that we went into the city to pick up a few things from the Auto supply store. Kevin got me the best thing ever there....

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YES! A PINK toolbelt! Now not only do I have a place for all my tools.... It's pink leather to boot! I couldn't be more thrilled with it.

Today we have more errands to run, now it's my turn for doctor's appointments and tomorrow we have to go all the way to Ottawa. So it's a crockpot day today, a nice roast with gravy, which we'll have sweet potatoes with and asparagus.

The goats had another watermelon feed today, have to get as many of those in as you can this time of year. I'm not sure who enjoys it more, them, or me. I love watching them chomping away, juice spraying everywhere, pink lips on all. It's really adorable.

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Even Kiwi loves it!

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I sexed Ferd the bunny today, and it looks like Ferd is a girl. Which may explain why Noel, our house rabbit is so annoyed. But she's super jealous of all other rabbits, so it's hard to say with her. Ferd is still young to be sexed, but it looks very likely, Ferd, is a she.

I read a really fantastic book yesterday. I got it for a dollar at a used book store (my favorite place) and since we were at the hospital for a while I read most of it yesterday while waiting and during our drive. The rest I read in the dark with my book light in bed, and the last few pages I could not fit in last night before I finally fell asleep, I read this morning as soon as I opened my eyes. It is called "Round trip from Poptun" by Albert Lisi. As soon as I read it I thought to myself "I must write this man and thank him for such a wonderful book about such an adventure!" This morning I read that he passed away this past December of 2009.

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I was a little sad to read that, because I wish I could have written him to thank him for his book. The book is a wonderful story. Albert Lisi was an artist from New York city who in 1965 went to Guatemala (drove!) and went out to look for the ancient Maya site of Machaquila, along the Machaquila rio (river) which had never been traveled by anyone who lived. Such an adventure they had and his story telling is very good, I felt like I was traveling the jungles with him and his companion. To anyone who enjoy's such books, my absolute favorite kind, I would absolutely recommend it. He wrote two more, which I am trying to find now since they are terribly difficult to locate. I am also almost finished Peter Matthiessen's book about his travel's in Nepal climbing the mountains in winter to watch the Blue Sheep rut. But it has taken me longer than one day to get through. I devoured Albert's book and adventure.

I made three batches of blueberry Jam, Tuesday night. A messy ordeal, but so worth it.

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Our kitchen is finally almost finished, just the window trim and some touch up painting to do now. I'm really proud of all we've accomplished so far.

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considering where we came from!

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I hope our friends from Germany are having nicer weather on the rest of their trip through Ontario and Quebec. The trees are starting to turn color already and the wind and rain has been fairly steady. I think August and summer are coming to a close.

The dogs are napping now and I need to get ready to go into town, so that's all for now folks.... the sun is peeking out! That's a great sign!

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rainy Sunday

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It's a rainy, cloudy, Sunday, and I'm so grateful for it. It's given me an excuse to rest and not feel guilty about it. A good day to snuggle up with the dogs and a hot cup of tea and watch cooking shows and do, pretty much nothing, other than take care of the kids and dishes.

Our wonderful friends from Germany came to visit the farm yesterday. We had a lot of fun and were so glad they came. We hope they had fun too. It was great to see them and get to share the animals and our place with them for a little while. It was a very fun day! We went for a ride in the ATV's, even though it was a little rainy, there was no bugs out and it was actually good driving weather.
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We saw this little guy out and about

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The creek is getting ready to change and the soft Maples are turning red already!

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Soon the creek will be at it's most beautiful, it's at it's worst in late summer, looks wise, it's brown, and sleepy.

The salmon Pastrami was good! It's so strange how the salmon cures. It's sweet, salty, and suprisingly tasty. It's almost the texture of salmon candy. It really works well and I will make it again. I think I am also going to try my hand at making some real salmon candy. I'll have to pull out the smoker for that, so it will have to wait until it cools off outside.

Anyway for the salmon, simply rinse off most of the brine, and then either thinly slice it or just pull it apart into small pieces and that's it, then you eat it! However you'd like to. It's good on it's own, or with onions and sour cream, or anyway you can think to eat it.

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I love these pickled red onions, they are great in almost everything, tuna salad, with meat, in a chopped salad. And with salmon.

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I make a couple jars at a time to have on hand. They keep in the fridge for over a month, but if you use your water bath canner and process them you could keep them much longer.

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Ferd the baby bunny is getting huge! and he's started eating pellets. He is still on milk replacer but also managing pellets on his own. He's showing some interest in hay but doesn't seem to quite know what it is yet. He's growing like a weed, and doing very well.

The dogs are having fun fooling around and playing today.

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it's time for a refill on my tea.... ah the luxuries of a lazy day!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day one...

Day one of... .Salmon Pastrami. That's right. I'm stepping outside the box for a while. Taking a risk, trying something new, and all that jazz.

Are you reading this Bud? :)

The road grill guy from T.V. does a lot of things with grilling, and he gets pretty excited about most of it. Which is a good thing. I got excited when I found this recipe because I have the perfect ingredients and the perfect reason to try it out. The salmon we brought home with us from Tok, from Buddy and Pam, is about as fresh as it gets, unless you eat it as soon as you catch it. It looks beautiful, and smells beautiful. This recipe does not call for cooking the salmon, so this is why it's a little out of the box, you are simply curing it. But it looks so darned good.

It needs to cure for two days, that's why today is day 1. We'll eat it on Saturday if it turns out well (which I really, really hope it does.) I plan on having it with some dark rye, sour cream, and pickled red onions which I'll make up tomorrow. I'll share the rest of this adventure on the weekend when I finish it and... we eat it.

For now, here's how you start it.....

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Take your salmon and remove the bones, we don't want any of those nasty things...
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Then make your cure. You'll need:

1 whole side of salmon, 2.5 lb, skin on, scaled and bones removed
1/2 cup coarse salt
1/2 cup raw brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 bunch fresh coriander
2 teaspoons chili flakes
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

mix it all together and pack it onto both sides of the salmon. Coat it good. Then cover it and put it in the fridge. On day 2 turn it over. Leave it until you are ready to eat. The rest will come on the weekend!

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I got my chicken coop door fixed today, it was all ripped apart and badly needing repair. I took the door off, and the old wire and then replaced it with new wire... and then hung it back up.

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Meanwhile, the girls looked on proudly, or shocked, one or the other. They really are a gossipy bunch.

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and the fixed door...

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Kevin has almost got the bathroom finished. It's been a big job and it's a small space. We'll be glad to see it done. Another project almost ready to bite the dust! We really need to stop and pat ourselves on our sore, bruised, scratched, and aching backs! Maybe in a couple months we'll realize we did a pretty good job with all this finish work... hey it all adds up to a finished product... eventually. We've been working on finishing the inside of the house at little at a time for years, and there is still all kinds of things to do. We need to run to Home Depot and get some more trim and odds and ends.

It looks like a storm is moving in, so it's time to go put everyone in the barn......

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Work, work, work

Ah the busy days of summer... between farm work and appointments off the farm, we haven't had much time to just enjoy being home... yet. And now next week is filled up too.

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We went to the city on Tuesday, to get supplies, but also because it was my Birthday, we went to dinner and a movie as a treat. We bought more blueberries to make into jam, so I can save my wild ones for eating on hot cereal and in muffins over the winter. For my Birthday treat I made blueberry crumb bars. It was almost 11 PM at night when I decided I needed them, and even though it was late, you just can't fight such a craving. They turned out really good - and they are pretty painless to make too... I used this recipe: http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/07/blueberry-crumb-bars/

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Yesterday we got the hallway painted and I finally got to put up some of my switchplates I've had for four years!

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Today Kevin is working on the bathroom, getting it started. Bless his heart. I suppose it's not so bad once you get started, it's just getting there that is terrible! I had to pickle my peppers ;) Since they have been waiting on me for a couple days. I just use a basic vinegar/water/salt/garlic recipe for them since I don't want much added flavor but want to be able to use them on pizza and in recipes throughout the winter. I've had an abundance of Banana peppers this year.

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The goats had a watermelon feast today which made them, and me, really happy. It's hysterical watching the juice fly everywhere. They love watermelon more than anything. They had some corn on the cob the other day and that gets them pretty excited too, as do carrots, lettuce, and other veg. Apples go over OK. But nothing gets them as excited as watermelon. They were happy yesterday because it was pretty windy outside and some of the leaves were falling from the trees, which is like candy to them. So they fanned out and picked up the leaves like a vaccum cleaner going over a rug.

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Bucket says "I'm coming!"
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More??? More???

Oh and in other news, we got our little red truck fixed, to beat around the farm in. Joe (Kevin's son) brought it up years and years, and years, ago to see if we could fix it to use. It actually didn't turn out to be quite as bad as we thought. It will be great for hauling stuff around in, especially firewood.

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Dinner tonight was a recipe I've been wanting to try: curry chicken with grapes. Yes grapes. I saw this recipe on the food network. It's Sunny Anderson's recipe from cooking for real... and it sounded really good, but it's not a pretty recipe. All the reviews I read for it said the same thing, it looks terrible and there really isn't any way to make it look any better. But getting past that, it doesn't taste anything like it looks, it's actually quite good. We are not big curry eaters but Kevin ate his portion too. I used a teaspoon of curry instead of a tablespoon, but if I make it again, I would use less. I also couldn't use the Brandy it calls for which I'm sure would add to the flavor. There are sulfties in Brandy which Kevin can't have, so I used stock instead. But if you like curry this really is worth a try. The grapes taste really good in it and not like you think they will.

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Brandied curry chicken with grapes
Ingredients

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 skinless chicken legs and 2 skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1/2
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced shallot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 rounded tablespoon curry powder
3 tablespoons brandy
3 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups seedless green grapes
5 ounces egg noodles
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill leaves
Directions

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and sear on both sides until golden. Remove from pan. In the same pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, if needed, and saute shallots, garlic and curry. Deglaze with brandy, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add chicken back to pan and stir in heavy cream. Cover and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Add the grapes and noodles, return to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken juices run clear when poked with a fork. Stir in mustard and dill. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

It's a beautiful cool late summer evening out. Even though we are in the middle of a mess of work, cleaning, painting, putting up trim... I think Kevin and I should take a break and go for a ride to the creek. Even if just for a few minutes. The work will wait for us to come back.
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