Friday, January 11, 2013

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bird House & Barn

...a Farm Report

Tasha Tudor Goat,
born February 25, 2012.
Brown coat, blue eyes.
Pisces, who likes Timothy hay, dried leaves, escaping, and climbing furniture.

Ada Lovelace Goat,
born February 28, 2012
Fawn coat, blue eyes.
Pisces, loves to talk, can do a barrel roll, devours pine needles and carrots.

Tasha is not as talkative as her friend, Ada. Ada has something to say most any time of the day, and if Tasha joins her, then we know something is wrong. Maybe a tiny, fluffy bunny has scampered into their yard... that will send them into bleating hysterics!

No! No fluffy bunnies, no rain, no sprinklers. These are distressing matters for our dear goats. And one more thing... no bucks.

Last week, when Tasha heartily joined a really rousing chat session of Ada's, we went out to investigate. We gave them an extra handful of fodder, we brushed them, we chased them, we said "Shoo! Shoo!" to all the fluffy bunnies. But nothing, and I mean nothing would console our sad, sad goats. On and on they bleated. Through the night, they sang their plaintive song. But what could they possible be asking for? We did not know.

The next day, in desperation, and none too hopeful, I Googled:
"Goats Crying A Lot"

And I hit a Bull's Eye! Goats in heat.

Thank you Goat Berries,
for your timely, sympathetic, and spot on diagnostic post. What we have are two young lady goats seeking love. Now we know that besides bunnies and water, when it's their time of the year, "no bucks" will have them bleating whole heartedly, too.

They've finally settled down, just like the post said they would. Thank goodness! But for next year, when the goats are in heat, we may be posting this to the singles section of our local paper:

"Lovely, young, adventuresome, frisky, blue-eyed does seeking rendezvous with healthy, handsome bucks. Good humor, quiet nature, must like spontaneously leaping, and fine dining on Timothy hay."

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Park & Party

Happy Birthday, Nick!

Nick celebrated his thirteenth birthday this week, with an all sports and outdoors themed party. And for the first time in many years all of us were able to attend. I still remember Nick's first birthday, the luau in Hawaii... we were all there, too! That was a treat!

Besides basketball, football, and an elaborate game of wilderness tag, there were other fun outdoor activities... like climbing, swinging, sliding, and a milder, more traditional game of playground tag with Izzy and Maria.

Holly measured Nick at six feet tall, in November. I think he's grown, noticeably, since then. Max has the tall genes, too! Even when he's not standing on top of the bars.

Izzy and Maria loved not only their time in the park, but they were also loving the anticipation of a sleepover at their Tutu's house. Izzy had already enjoyed a successful trial run, and that night Maria got to join her. Maria's suitcase was packed at 9 a.m.... the day before!

They have so much fun ahead of them!

Thanks for the party, Nick! We hope you scored some cool gifts, and enjoyed all the hoopla!

3 Blood Oranges

Three winters ago, we planted fruit trees... nectarine, apples, plum, fig, a lime, and a blood orange. We have enjoyed some quantity of fruit from every tree, but two. The poor lime is in the wrong spot... I see that now. And the blood orange battled one infestation and another, and I was always happy enough simply to see that it had not died. This last summer I thought it was finally even flourishing, a bit.

The other morning I paid an overdue visit to the garden beds in the side yard. Now that the chickens are at the other end of the garden, and because of cold and wet days, I admit to neglecting our winter crops. Wouldn't you know? They are thriving under my uncare! One sunflower seed helped herself, and has grown three feet tall and bloomed, without me ever noticing her in the first place. The peppers are more green and abundant of fruit than ever before. Lush heads of lettuce are salad ready. We have chives, parsley, and a vigorous strawberry bed.

As I walked around the beds, in admiration and happy awe, I saw something very happy indeed. Three healthy oranges in the little blood orange tree. I left one to ripen, picked one a bit too soon, and the third was perfection. We made a big to-do about our bountiful harvest. Honestly, as though you have not noticed: I do love to make a big to-do! The slightly tart orange was very much appreciated, as was the sweet one. And we are keeping loving eyes on the one still in the tree.

Quilter Steph asked about Art of Simple Food, Alice Water's cookbook, and the cooking club I joined. I am still in the club, and other members are actively, diligently following along. I got sidetracked in November (a sort of lost month for me) and then there was a bread section, and that was foiled by the saga of the Thermafail 2000. I have not quit or surrendered, but I am keeping my participation stress-free! I promise to post to Chickenblog any new recipes I prepare... good, great, or disastrous! So, Steph, have you picked up Alice Water's book? As few things as I have prepared from the book, her message about using the basics, fresh and in season, has made a nice impression on me.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Last Sweet of the Holidays

Wonderful weekend. Lingering, dappled light, rainfall, comforts, even some luxuries. It brought me renewal and joy. So I was inspired to finish our last night of the holidays with something delicate, a little sweet, new. I dreamed up puffed and flaky layers of baked goodness, topped with sweet and tart fruit. I thought maybe play it safe and bake an apple pie, but then I considered a charming plate of turnovers could be fun. Too much work? Rolling pin, and all? Both of those desserts threatened to undermine the revived, yet relaxed, mood I had won, and that seemed a reckless thing to do. Then I thought of something simple, but hopefully light, pretty, too.

From Trader Joe's I brought home organic Granny Smith apples, the small ones, and a box of frozen puff pastry. While dinner cooked, the pastry thawed.

I washed the little apples, about six or seven, then brought out a favorite tool, so Maria and I could peel and core our fruit. I sliced the apples into bite sized bits, dusted them in cinnamon, patted them with a dab of butter, sprinkled about two tablespoons of flour, and gave them some Trader Joe's organic sugar... this concoction was good enough, in Maria's humble opinion and she nibbled on a teeny serving.

While the oven pre-heated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, I opened the package of puff pastry, unrolled each square onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, and brushed them with an egg wash. I pinched the squares' perimeters to create shallow ledges, then topped the pastries with single layers of our apple mix. Nothing fussy, but I did think how beautiful it could be to line alternating facing rows of neatly sliced apples... a passing, silly notion. Into the oven went our rustic delicacy.

They stayed in the oven long enough to smell delicious, to become golden, crisp, tempting. And while they cooled I rummaged in the fridge... and yes! found some heavy cream! Adding about a tablespoon of powered sugar and whipping away, with eager determination, we soon had a rich and creamy topping. I used a pizza cutter to slice our creation on the diagonal. I cannot recommend this enough, just as with PB&J sandwiches, foods cut on an angle are 42% more flavorful, and highly appealing.

And this... well this is all I have to share. There are no more pictures. There aren't even any crumbs. As quick, and sweet, as our holidays, so went our dessert.


Monday, January 07, 2013

Show and Tell

Happy Monday. Happy new year. Happy... oh, who am I kidding!?!

I would be happier if it were last year, the first day of winter break! Truly, I don't see how it's possible that those days are behind us, already. I still have lots to show and tell from our wonderful two week break, but this morning I need to remind myself of all the good, happy, and worthwhile things that Maria will enjoy about today, and all the school days up to June.

Ah, June. Sweet, sweet June.

Too soon for a summer break countdown?

Maria will be happy researching, and writing reports. She likes her teachers, and the subjects taught.

Happy in the school garden, and kitchen. Maria loves her school's gardening, and cooking classes, which fit quite nicely into her life plans.

I love hearing about her life plans.

Happy for art time, and class parties, for soccer playing, Karate, yoga, science, Spanish, reading, and friends.

Especially friends.

So, Happy Monday!

Oh... hold on... what the ******!?!

Thermafail 2000, why?

Great. My SuperMom plans to bake a marvelous treat for the Monday-back-to-school-good-grief-it's-cold-and-dark-early breakfast are foiled. No oven. Again.

Hey, Thermafail 2000, I'm not wild about a cold, wet, dark Monday, after a lovely holiday, but you don't see me shutting down, do you!?!