Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Unwelcome But Lovely

Wasn't thrilled to wake up to this but it does look lovely...
 
 
 




someone doesn't mind the snow

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Making Pasta

I love homemade pasta. I have to admit I don't make it very often. I convinced Mike if I had a Pasta Maker Attachment for the Kitchen Aid that I would make it more often.  Truth be told I have only used it a couple of times.

Today I had dinner planned, went to get the Egg Noodles and to my surprise I didn't have any.  I could change what I was making for dinner or I could make some noodles.

It is very simple to make and it taste so much better than the egg noodles from the store.
An added bonus is the girls love to help and the pasta maker adds to the fun.

 
 


I use the recipe that came in the Kitchen Aid Book.

4 eggs
1 Tablespoon Water
3 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Place eggs, water, flour, and salt in mixing bowl. Mix 30 seconds. Knead for 2 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 1-2 minutes.
Let dough rest for 20 minutes.
Divide dough into 4 pieces before processing.

I use some whole wheat flour so I always have to add more water. You add a very little bit at a time, you don't want a wet dough.
At this point you can use a Pasta Attachment or roll out the dough to desired thickness and cut your noodles.

I usually end up making multiple batches and put the extra in the freezer but tonight we just made one batch.

I love that you can just cook the pasta right after it is made. Takes about 2-3 minutes. One way to tell if it is done is the noodles start to float to the top.



I add 1 Tablespoon Oil and 1 Teaspoon salt to water.





If you want to save the Pasta after it is cut  you can air dry the noodles in a single layer on a towel or drying rack for an hour. You can store the pasta in a container in the refrigerator. If you want to freeze the pasta, air dry for no more than an hour. Dust the pasta with flour and form into "nest" and place in container and freeze.

 Dry pasta takes about 7 minutes to cook.

With or without a pasta maker making homemade noodles is fun and a good way to get the kids in the kitchen.

Keeping Busy




The weather today is miserable. Raining, and it is cold so ice is starting to form.

I knew when I seen ice forming on the windows that the animals would need moved. I was telling the twins that I needed to get outside and take care of everyone.  They immediately volunteered to go out in the cold rain. They said the Tunis love to follow them around and they could easily get them into the barn and then open the pasture gate and get everyone else in the barnyard.

I told them if they really wanted to I would let them take care of it for me.... (I was so happy to let them do it! The last place I wanted to be was outside in the cold, wet, rain)

Mike called from work and asked how everything was going. I told him the girls were outside taking care of the animals for me. He asked me what I was going to do when they grew up and moved out.
I will miss them terribly! They are great girls and it is definitely a great help that they love farming. Not all of my girls would have been so anxious to volunteer.

According to the countdown widget there are only three more weeks until Spring.
I have been working off  the list to keep myself from being sucked into the Winter Blahs!

I have planted some herbs in some little pots (lemon balm, cilantro, basil, parsley)

Organizing my kitchen cupboards so I don't have pots falling out every time I open the door.

I bought some bright colored cotton yarn so I can knit some dishcloths and bring some spring color into the kitchen.

I have been doing some homework on hand spinning, growing and using herbs, and raised bed gardening.

Planning summer vacation.

Would love to hear what you are doing!







Monday, February 25, 2013

Spinning Help for the Novice



Spinning help for the novice, the novice being ME!


Mike went to New York  a short while back for work. He got the chance to stop by the Fingerlakes Woolen Mill and was able to get a Mill tour with a very nice gentleman who runs the place.
Being the nice guy he is, he  picked me up a grab bag of wool that they had on hand, some dark Jacob.


I have been wanting  to spin it. Right now I can't sit due to the fall  but I have had time to do some spinning homework.  The last time I pulled out the wheel I had some difficulties. When your a novice and you are doing something wrong, it can be difficult to figure out what that is.  That is when I get frustrated and the wheel gets pushed back in the corner and collects dust.
I haven't been able to find a guild close by so I went to the Internet for help.

I did find a great website that has all kinds of tutorials including several on spinning. They have been very helpful.
http://www.knitpicks.com/tutorials/Spinning__L100717.html

I am renewed and ready to dust it off and spin! Now, if I could just sit.....

Friday, February 22, 2013

Snowy Ewe

Checked on the ewes this morning.
 
 


It looks like they hunkered down in the same spot for the night- still  covered in snow blending in with the landscape.





The Tunis were up and around but didn't manage to rid themselves of all the snow.





Mike likes to comment on how tough they are.  You go out after a wintry night, find them covered in snow. You get a little worried expecting them to be half frozen-you poke at them to make sure they really are okay- they look up at you annoyed...

We have had people ask why we don't bring them in. We could leave the barn doors open and they would choose to stay outside. When we know that it is going to be really bad weather we bring them in the barnyard so they at least have some wind break.
Last night wasn't that bad just a little snow and wind.

I have to agree they are some tough ladies.
You just have to love that wool in the winter.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Wool Sweater-Repurposing

I have to be honest, I am ready for Spring. As I am writing this the snow is blowing and the wind is howling. The wood stove has been giving us trouble this week so the house isn't the warmest. Today is definitely a sweater day. We have plenty to choose from.



Most of the sweaters around here are wool sweaters that have been picked up at thrift stores for the idea of repurposing.  Mike and the girls always end up claiming them as soon as I bring them in the house. Truth be told, I am just as guilty, I have two that I claimed this winter. Nothing is as warm as a wool sweater when you have a chill and there's no sense in leaving them sitting  in a craft tote.

The first project I attempted was a wool bag. It is a fun, easy, project. There are a lot of tutorials for making wool bags.  The one I used is very simple!

Felted Bag

I use it as a library bag.




Mittens, stockings, blankets....the list goes on and on.

I have a blanket that I would love to do if I can only gather up enough sweaters to do it...





(inspiration)
Found on Pinterest



What projects are you working on?



Sunday, February 17, 2013

Blessed Stillness

"A kind of hush came to the farm at twilight, and those who had spent their day close to the earth and its animals, unconsciously relaxed and became part of that blessed stillness..."

By Ethel Ohlin Bradford (The Sunset of the Farmer)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Boys

Scout, Flynn and Tag(the gentleman who has been around the block)


I am still not sure how Delaney managed to get a picture with all three of them together or better yet a picture where they were not in motion. I am thinking this was taken after a long session of playing ball.

The "puppies" are growing up so fast. They will be a year in a couple of months.  They both have some herding instinct, Flynn (in the middle) shows the most promise. I am hoping to be able to have him trained.

Right now they are in basic obedience through a local 4-H Dog Club. Tuesday was their first dog practice.  I reminded the girls not to expect much the first week at practice. New surroundings, new dogs, new people. The surroundings, they didn't mind much, well except Scout who didn't like the large, loud, heater vent (there's  a bear hiding in it, didn't you know?)  The people, no problem, they love meeting people. The dogs, well that is where it gets interesting.

By the end of the practice we "almost" convinced Scout that there was nothing hiding in the heater vent.
We "almost" convinced Flynn that the other dogs wanted to be his friends (the other dogs weren't on board with that one either). "Almost" convinced the girls that the next practice would go a lot better.

Cassandra and Tag got to sit back and reminisce of their first obedience practices and laugh at all of the newbies trying to to get a handle on the situation.

The first two practices are always a challenge for the new kids and the new dogs. We had one boy at practice asking if  he could just come to practice and maybe show NEXT year.  I think he is in for a nice surprise. Most of the  dogs really start making some progress after just a couple of practices.

2013 4-H Dog Show, here we come....Ready or Not!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
All of my "little" girls  are grown up so instead of having a Valentines Party with all of their "little" friends me and the twins are going to make Heart Sachets from some wool  sweaters I found at the Thrift Store. The pink sweater is felted the red one getting ready to be thrown in the wash. Should be a fun craft.
 
Happy Valentines Day!
 
 
 
 
 


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sheep Shots

Today is a beautiful Spring like day.

I  went out this morning and let the Tunis out of the barn and into the barnyard. Still separate from everyone but able to browse around and see the daylight. I wondered how they would do with the electric fence, thankfully they have stayed put and didn't challenge it. Even when they had visitors coming up on the other side to find out who the intruders were. That is a good thing. I am hoping to keep them in the barnyard area until we shear.

They stay very huddled together. They walk in a very tight knit little group. I keep waiting for them to trip over each other. It is hilarious. Border Leicesters are a more loose knit group, I guess.



I am curious what their temperaments will be. I know on the Tunis Association website they are said to have a calm and docile disposition.

I am hoping that with grain they will come back in the barn stall at night. Over the next two weeks we will worm, check hooves, and keep an eye on them.

While I was out there the sheep and goats had come up to get hay so I took advantage and got some pics of them as well.






Not the greatest picture of Mabel-the ewe standing next to her is granddaughter

 
Soapapilla

 
Recital
The sheep are not anxious to get their pictures taken, especially the Tunis who are keeping  their distance from the sheep lady.  Thank goodness for Zoom. The goats. on the other hand. have no problem getting up close and personal!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Its a Red Thing

Getting Loaded up in the trailer for the trip to their new farm
I am so excited! We finally found some Tunis Sheep to add to our flock. We have been looking for quite some time. A friend of ours found some ewe lambs that were  just 25 miles away from our place.


In their new home

They are about nine months old. The pictures aren't the greatest it was dark when we picked them up and got them home and both barns were a little dark.
 
They are a little jumpy but seem very curious of their surroundings. We will keep them in the barn for 2 weeks to make sure they don't have any problems before we put them with our flock. Always better to be on the safe side.
 

They have a finer wool than the Border Leicester,  cream/oatmeal in color. I love their red heads and legs.  Look forward to raising the new additions!

 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hot and Ready: Pizza and Crazy Bread


This is a  recipe I have used for years, it came with the Kitchen Aid.
One change that I make is adding some wheat flour in place of white. .

To make the crazy bread, I use the pizza dough recipe.  I used to make individual bread sticks but this is a lot easier.

Crusty Pizza Dough

1 package active dry yeast
1 Cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
2 1/2 -3 1/2 Cups Flour
1 Tablespoon Cornmeal

Dissolve yeast in warm water in mixer bowl. Add salt, olive oil, and 2 1/2 cups flour. Attach dough hook,  speed one- mix for one minute.
Turn to speed 2 and mix one minute. Start adding remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time and mix

until dough cleans side of bowl. Knead about 2 minutes longer.

Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover. Let rise in warm place about 1 hour.
or until doubled. Punch dough down.


Brush oil on pizza pan (14 inch). Sprinkle with cornmeal. Press dough down across bottom of pan forming a collar around edge to hold toppings.
Add desired toppings.
Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes.

*I triple the recipe and use 2 Tablespoons of yeast. This recipe freezes well.
 *I don't use the cornmeal,  I just spray with oil.




Crazy Bread
Roll out the pizza dough on oiled pizza stone or cookie sheet.
Brush on melted butter.
Sprinkle on garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, or other favorites
With pizza cutter, cut the dough into strips. I cut across the middle, to make smaller sticks.
Let rise (I wait about 15 minutes)
Bake at 375 for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Serve with dipping sauce (marinara, pizza, alfredo or ranch)



Pizza is a favorite, so it appears on the menu a few times a month.  We change it up with different toppings,. The favorites being taco and pepperoni.






Friday, February 8, 2013

Easy Artisan Bread

Is tomorrow the 9th already?

How did that happen. I have a Bread Class and Make a Mix class to teach tomorrow and I am not feeling fully prepared. I spent part of the week under the weather. Yesterday and this morning busy working on taxes. (I am not going to spend anytime whining about that)

I will be spending the remainder of the day printing handouts and baking bread.

I am going to get to the Artisan Bread today. I love a recipe I found online at Mother Earth News.
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/Artisan-Bread-In-Five-Minutes-A-Day.aspx#axzz2KEZuN7o2

This bread recipe requires no kneading so it is great if you don't have a mixer that can handle bread dough.

I am making the simple 'French Boule' Bread' which is the basic recipe.  It basically has 4 ingredients.
Water
Flour
Salt
Yeast

I am not going to type all the information here. There are 9 pages in the article on how to make this bread from start to finish along with other recipes.

There is also the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I was able to find it at the library.


The authors also have a website with information and recipes.
http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/

It is the simplest recipe I have found for making bread.




Monday, February 4, 2013

Ewe Expecting

Today was one of those beautiful winter wonderland kind of days. Everything is covered in  white. I went out to check on the ladies and noticed they are starting to look a little  round.  We should start seeing lambs in about 7-8 weeks


Mabel


This  aged ewe is one of our first Border Leicesters and  happens to be one of my favorites.
She decided to pose for me while I was taking a few snapshots.

My girls are so anxious for the babies to come. They have been looking at all of the lamb pictures on the blogs that I have been following.  A girlfriend of theirs has some lambs at their place.  I keep telling them we have a while to go yet. 

Patience....

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Added to the Bookshelf

I love books so I am always adding new ones to my bookshelf.


The first one is a book on farming as a business. Great ideas if you are trying to start a Farm Related Business. There are a lot of examples of people who have made it a reality.

Starting and Running Your Own Small Farm Business by Sarah Beth Aubrey



The next book is a guide for spinners who want to get the best out of their craft. Sections on Wool Analysis and section on projects. It is not really a beginners book. I will probably continue to get more out of it as I learn more about working with Fibers.

Spinning Wool Beyond the Basics Revised Edition by Anne Field

 


I  was given a gift card for a local bookstore. I came out with this Ball Canning Book.

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

 
I have found some great new recipes. A lot of salsa recipes and a pretty large section on pickling as well as basic canning advice. Lots of recipes. 438 pages of practical advice.



I also got a Kindle Last Christmas. I have found a lot of books on Amazon.
Soapmaking, Pressure Cooking, Weekend Homesteader, Gardening Books and Recipe Books.   The great thing about these books is that they were all Free.  I try to go through every week and see what they are offering. I have found a lot of great books with a lot of useful information.




Saturday, February 2, 2013

Glass Half Full Day




I had to drive into town today for an appointment. It was really snowing and there were several people shoveling sidewalks and driveways. I can't remember the last time that I had to do that.

One advantage of living in the country in the  winter.
No shoveling sidewalks.

Mike will shovel a path to the cars from the house but we haven't even plowed the driveway this year. Advantage of having 4 wheel drive vehicles.  We just drive through it.

That got me thinking of other advantages. Advantage number 2- Country roads, we get snowed in and can't go anywhere! I love that.   Life is busy and sometimes it is nice to just be able to say...sorry, can't do that, have to stay home.

Advantage number 3, Great Views. The snow can make a very pretty landscape especially when your surrounded with trees and fields. 

Today was a glass half full day. If it was a glass half empty day my outlook may have been:

We got a lot of snow and can't get the cars out of the drive, so Mike has to plow it and its a big drive and it will take him hours.

Traveling on the country roads are NOT pleasant in the snow, they are the last to be plowed, if they ever get plowed.

The open landscape  brings  blowing winds and snow.


Its funny how your attitude can change your perspective. I wish I could remember that and spend more days being positive.




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