Monday, December 29, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
One of the best things to happen in the last few days was a hike my husband and I took on Christmas afternoon. We decided to hike down to the creek that runs from the back of our farm and it was such a reminder of all the good things about where we live and how lucky we are to live here. We can walk out our back door and in 5 minutes be in a totally different world. Why we don't take the time to do it more often is beyond me. One of the things about living on a farm is that the list of chores never ends. There is always some task we could be working on and the challenge is to take time to enjoy our life, without becoming completely worn out by it. I'll confess that I had to be persuaded to go along yesterday because I thought I had too much to do to get ready for the family get-together today. Once we were down in the creek, all the to-do lists just floated out of my head. It was a wonderful little stretch of breathing space.
I'm confused about what day of the week it will be in the morning, but I really don't think it matters. My plan for tomorrow is to feed my animals and knit---period!
I hope you all had just the Christmas you were wishing for this year!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
My husband stayed home today because our farm road is treacherous in this kind of weather. It is one quarter of a mile long, down a hill, across the creek and up a hill on the other side. If you happen to slide off the road, it could be a while before you came to a stop. When I walked out this afternoon to get the paper and the mail, I could see lots of little rabbit prints and a few deer tracks, but otherwise, not much had been stirring.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp honey
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cut into 1 inch cubes
6-8 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream (they say optional, I say required!)
salt & pepper to taste
1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over med. heat. Add the onion and cook until it starts to turn golden, about 5-10 minutes
2. Add the honey and cook until it bubbles
3. Add the squash and 6 cups of the stock to saucepan. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Cook until the squash is very tender, about 30 minutes, adding more liquid as needed. Remove pan from heat and cool for 15 minutes
4. In blender, puree a few cups of soup at a time. Strain for a smooth soup. **I use my stick blender for this and do it right in the pan**
5. Return soup to the pan. Add cream, salt & pepper. Heat until very hot, but not boiling
In a way, I needed this day to ratchet down some of the pressure I'm starting to feel about not being ready for Christmas. On the other hand, you could say it's been another excuse for procrastinating a little longer. In any case, my "snow day" is coming to an end and tomorrow means back to the real world.
ps-I had the name of the magazine wrong. It is Organic Style and not Organic Life and in a strange sort of coincidence, Susie Quick, the woman I've been sharing some Saturday Market time in Midway with, was the food editor of that magazine. I never cease to be amazed at how small the world really is!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday I spent the day in Midway, which is a wonderful village here in Woodford county. It was the day of their Christmas Open House and all the shops were decked out for Christmas. I set up my little display in the Honest Farm Market and was pleasantly surprised to sell quite a few of my hand knitted mittens, hats and Christmas ornaments. If I can manage to get a few more knitted this week, I may go back next Saturday. Susie, who owns the Honest Farm Market, had wonderful baked goods and beautiful arrangements of greenery and holly. It was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon and I managed to get in some knitting time, too. My impression was that people were looking for smaller and more personal gifts this year. I know the economy is in a worrisome state, but I think it would be a good thing if we could all think smaller and more personal, not just this year, but always.
We have a winter storm warning on for this afternoon and tonight and I am so happy about it. I'm off to the grocery right now to get cookie making supplies. The annual Christmas baking marathon is about to commence!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
One small success story is this purse. I knitted and felted it many, many months ago. Finally got the handles and closure flap sewn on a while back and will hopefully finish the lining this week. The pattern for the purse is from the Pursenalities book. The fabulous leather handles were purchased two summers ago in Napa Valley at a knit store in St. Helena, Muse. (I have seen them advertised in some knitting magazines.) I bought two pair even though at the time I had no idea what I'd use them on. The yarn I used is some of my own handspun, hand dyed, plus some handspun natural colored charcoal gray for the bottom and trim around the closure flap. I'm not sure about the button at this point. It's not really necessary because there will be a magnetic closure under the flap. I'm pleased with the way this turned out and think I will actually use it a lot.
The Christmas knitting is not going so well this week. Revisions are under way.
Monday, December 8, 2008
If you have a few hours and are feeling creative, give these little houses a try. One of the best parts is taking a walk outside and trying to think of ways to use all the supplies nature is providing at this time of year. I'm thinking I want to make a village now and my husband has suggested a "model" of our own farmhouse. Not so sure I'm ready to tackle that one yet, but I do think I see a barn taking shape.
ps-sorry about the weird layout. Blogger and I cannot agree on picture placement this morning and, so far, Blogger is winning!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Speaking of patients, here's one waiting his turn (though he doesn't know it yet). Buddy is wondering where all the girls have gone! His work is finished in that department. I separated him from the ewes last weekend and he is not very happy about it. He's in the pasture with Strawberry, Pippi and Big Boy for the moment. They are pretty much ignoring him and he is busy pacing the fence, gazing longingly at the ewes. Our plan is to make a wether out of him (same as gelding a horse) and after a few weeks and the testosterone has gotten out of his system, he can go back in with the big girls or the little girls. He has bred the adult ewes and is related to all the ewe lambs, so that is the end of his career as a ram. He's such a nice boy and has a gorgeous fleece, so he's getting to stay (even if it is in an "altered" state).
Be sure to check out Kristin Nicholas' blog post today. She has a great Christmas craft tutorial for making really cute little birch bark houses. I'm inspired to round up the supplies tomorrow and try this with two of my grandsons, who will be here for the weekend. They love this kind of thing and since it is going to be cold (in the 20's) the whole time they are here, it will be fun to have this project on the to-do list. We might even fit some Christmas baking in there, too.
Have a great weekend, everyone.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Sorry, I just couldn't help messing with you a little bit. That's just one of our uninvited guests grazing beneath the bird feeders. I feed black oiler sunflower seeds to the birds and I guess the skunks really like it too. There are at least two of them that have been showing up and staying for an hour or more nearly every evening. This is not a good thing. It is a miracle that I haven't accidentally walked too close to them. I often go to the barn after dark and sometimes don't remember to fill the bird feeders until late. Needless to say, this is a delicate situation and I'm afraid the eventual outcome is not going to be favorable to the skunks. They are kinda cute, but not cute enough to risk my being rendered unfit for the company of others through the holidays.
Thanksgiving was great. Way too much food, a house full of relatives and then the usual collapse on the couch in front of the fire. Now, Christmas is coming at a gallop. Thanksgiving was later than usual this year and now it is just a little over 3 weeks until Christmas day. The Christmas knitting list may undergo some revision if I don't get really busy this week. Which seems to me a perfectly good reason to build a fire and settle on the couch to watch "A Christmas Story" (for about the 50th time, but I never get tired of it) and put in some quality knitting time.