First flowers!

It’s definitely a pick-me-up to see flowers at this dreary time of year. These are cloth of gold and vanguard crocuses. I think I need about 500 more. Can’t you just imagine the whole yard bathed in them in February? And they’re gone before it’s time to start mowing, so I could just stick them everywhere. The bees would like it, too.

French toast apples

I love French toast. I’d rather eat it than most breakfast foods. Than most dessert foods, too, for that matter. Even though bread gives me a belly ache most of the time, I’d have a hard time walking away from French toast, so making a big stack of it at home every time I crave that buttery maple goodness is probably a bad idea.

So I make an apple and some walnuts into buttery maple goodness.

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Fifty five degrees and a little warm sunshine

This weather makes me happy and antsy to start my garden. I got an email from Sow True Seed announcing that it was potato and rhubarb pre-ordering time, so I at least got to think about my garden. I picked out some Swedish Peanut Fingerling potatoes, Mary Washington asparagus, and Crimson Red rhubarb crowns.  It’s also time to inventory seeds and plan out what/when I’m going to start indoors on my new growing shelf. Planting time is coming around again. On days like this I believe it.

Even
after
all this time
the sun never says
to the earth,
“You owe me.”
Look

what happens
with a love like that–
it lights the
whole
sky.
– Hafiz

It’s going to be SEVEN degrees tonight.

Here were my rush preparations:

1) Add more straw to the onions/garlic. Here’s hoping this bale isn’t chock full of seed heads like the last one. Worst weed preventative ever. I wish I had 15 more bales to make a tower around the bees. But probably that’s a moisture issue. (See #2.)

2) Top off everyone’s bedding. I just feel better thinking there’s less moisture in the goat shelter/coop if I pull off some of the top layer and add new dry stuff. Moisture’s what I really obsess about in the way below freezing times, because frostbite can take off chicken feet, combs, and wattles. Also, respiratory issues are as big a concern as anything else, so freshening things up right before they spend a longer period indoors seems prudent.

3) Check the heat tape on the pvc/nipple waterer just to make sure everything’s in order.

4) Get everyone some warm water and give the chickens a big handful of scratch. (We currently only feed scratch in the coldest part of winter for quick energy. That’s really its only nutritional value.)

5) Make sure all the eggs have been collected so they don’t freeze and crack overnight.

6) Run inside and then in place until the tea makes. And unwittingly crack the egg in your pocket in the process. Luckily, very fresh eggs have a pretty strong inner membrane still, so when this happens you just get to eat an egg right away. If you’re me.

Stay warm!

Suet-Free Mincemeat

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The first time I ever ate mincemeatpie, I was sorely disappointed. All the literature and old English Christmas songs had steered me wrong, I thought. It tasted…a little like potpourri. Then I found this one from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess. It’s suet-free and tastes like everything I imagined it would before I tried it. And it has the added bonus of working without the suet, so you don’t have to source it and the resulting dishes can be vegetarian, which is helpful for a holiday dish.  Continue reading