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Posts Tagged ‘farm’

I know, I know! How many posts about snow can one person write!  I will do my best to put up something different soon but for now I have more snow! It is a beautiful day today. I’ll let these pictures just speak for themselves!

We completely cleaned this car off around 11 yesterday! Now look at it!

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In some parts of the country snow is old hat.  Winter comes to some places around October and hangs on until well into April.  Well here is Arkansas that is just unheard of…it isnt even that unusual to be in the 60’s on Christmas.  So when I went to bed last night and they were calling for a 30% chance of sleet I certainly didn’t expect to wake up to this!

I dont think the chickens will be coming out anytime soon!

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A second major storm of the year granted us a snow day on Friday. Beginning late on Thursday night with a wintery mix of rain and sleet it switched over to snow in the early morning and we were awoken by an automated call from the superintendent informing us that school would be cancelled.  We slept late, stayed in our pj’s and lounged around the house all day and watched the snowfall.  I have never seen snow fall in Arkansas like it did yesterday.  It was so beautiful! BIG, heavy snowflakes and it lasted ALL day! When it was all said and done we got about 6-8 inches.  It is a little difficult to measure because it is very powdery snow and it was windy so there are some spots where there are drifts over a foot deep!!!  But overall I would say the total is around 6-8 inches. 

We had hoped to get to Searcy today but the roads are impassable so we stayed home.  We slept in again and then made chicken fried rice which was super yummy.  We rode around in the four-wheeler and played in the snow.  We checked out the conditions of the highway and the roads which were awful and will likely be even worse tomorrow as the temps drop WAY below freezing and into the teens.  We tried to make a snowman but the snow was too powdery.

We know we wont be able to get out for church tomorrow and it remains to be seen if we will even go back to school monday.  There is going to have to be a MAJOR warmup before most of these back country roads are passable!

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I didn’t forget! I swear! Yesterday and Today have been bizarre days to say the least.  My project for yesterday was another food project but I didn’t get started on it until after 8:00 last night.

Richie and I decided to go to Little Rock yesterday to do some clothes shopping for the upcoming school year.  Monday was our first “teacher day” of the year.  We don’t have to go back again until next Tuesday but when we do we are in it for the long haul so Monday was a stark reminder of why we look forward to summer break and that it was once again coming to an end!

So after hitting the gym we hit a few highly-overpriced boutique stores and then the mall.  We grabbed lunch at BlueCoast Burrito where I DEVOURED a Veggie Burrito! YUM!  I had to pick up something at Micheal’s for my day 5 bit of creativity and then we stopped at Sam’s Club.  We also needed to stop by Walmart to pick up a tube for my bicycle tire and some canning jars.  We finally made it home around 5.

Did I mention that after a summer of unseasonably cold temperatures(80’s) and amounts of rain for Arkansas that we finally hit upper 90’s with typical high humidity? Well it was a scorcher and I was ready for the pool when we got home.  I spent about an hour floating around before it was time to get out and take care of my farm chores and fix my bike.

Well it turns out the problem with my bike is the actual tire and not the tube so that project is tabled until I can get to a bike shop!  It was just after 8 when I finally went inside to relax.  And then I remembered 30 Days of Creativity/Trying something new and realized I had yet to do anything for the day.

I wracked my brain and all I could come up with was Zucchini Bread.  I know, LAME!  But I have 4 HUGE Zucchini left over from the farmer’s market that I need to use.  So I perused the internet and found a suitable recipe for two loaves which called for TWO CUPS of grated Zucchini.  I thought “GREAT, this’ll get rid of my Zucchini!” HA! Think again!  My huge zucchini are so huge that ONE alone yielded 3CUPS OF SHREDS!!!! Yeah!  So now what?

Well I made the bread and threw in the extra cup of shreds which proved to be fine.  The bread is delicious.  I ate a piece last night and one for breakfast.  I froze the extra loaf.  But now the dilemma is what to do with the 3 remaining gigantic zucchini!

But my night didn’t end there.  I’m finally relaxing on the couch and there is NOTHING on TV!  Finally Richie puts it on the WE network which is airing some bizarro show about Mail Order Brides.  The show end and a new episode comes on this time about “Free Love”.  TOTALLY WACKO!  Had to be the weirdest thing I have ever watched!

Anyway, 12:00 rolled around and it seemed like going to sleep was the thing to do.  Only when I got in bed I couldn’t sleep.  The moon was full and right outside my window and even with the shade down it was seemingly light enough to read a book.  After tossing and turning for and hour I went into the living room to sleep on the couch.  I watched a rerun of Friends and two reruns of That 70’s Show only it was the dumb ones after Eric leaves.  Finally around 2:30 I got back into bed.

5 seconds after I fell asleep I was awoken by my dog Lily nudging at my feet.  Now here is the thing about Lily.  She HATES thunderstorms.  But as long as she is inside and not out in the storm she is content UNLESS there happens to be a Tornado Warning.  She is like our own personal Doppler radar unit!  Seriously, every time I wake up with her nudging my feet there is a warning. 

The satellite was already on the fritz from the torrential rain so I pulled up the Weather Channel App on Richies iPhone and discover that there where TWO Tornado Warnings piggybacking our area until 4 AM! SO, I am back out of bed, gathering pillows and blankets to put in the bathroom, consoling, the dogs and cats, looking for shoes and flashlights, and trying to convince my husband to get out of bed and come “cuddle/huddle” in the tiny bathroom with me.  He opts to stay in bed stating that he should have time to make it to the bathroom if he starts to hear the ROAR! MEN!  So I “cuddle/huddle” with the cat and play games on Richies iPhone until just after 4 when the storm finally slows down.  I crawl into bed now realizing that it is Farmers Market day and I have to get up at 5:50!

At 5 am I am awoken once again to torrential rains and thunder.  Lily isnt at the foot of the bed so I figure I am okay so I toss and turn until the alarm goes off at 5:50.  I shut it off and decide to lay in bed for two more minutes.  Well as you can imagine that didnt happen and I didnt wake up again until 10:54!

I’ve missed the market, I slept horrible and I cant breath.  I decide to go blog about day 4 when I come in to find that DSL is down due to widespread power outages in most of the state.  So instead I veg on the couch for a few hours.

And that brings me to now! I know I live such a sad pitiful life!  My camera battery is dead so I have no pictures yet of the Zucchini Bread (day 4) or of my wine glass charms which are the project for day 5. 

I knew all of you mysterious people out there in cyberland were just dying to know what happened to me.  I have reported and HOPEFULLY later I will be back with pictures!

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I have been volunteering at the new farmers market in Searcy.  I’ve had such a fun time and really enjoyed getting to meet people and getting some great seasonal products.  The Searcy Farmers Market is a Certified Arkansas Farmers Market.  That means that everything at the market is grown or raised in the state of Arkansas!  Vendors are not allowed to ship in produce and sell it under the presumption that it is local when its not, which is sadly what happens at many farm markets across the country.  Because each farmer undergoes an onsite inspection at least once a season I can be certain that what I am buying is local produce.

I got so many great things at the market Wednesday.  I came home with a bushel basket that was filled with new potatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, turnips, beets, spring mix salad greens, fresh pasta, butter, cheese, milk, eggs, peaches, red onions, bacon, summer sausage, shiitaki mushrooms, blueberries, green beans, pinto beans, and sunflowers!

I have been cooking up a storm with all my market finds.  Here are some of the recipes I made with what I have found!

Shiitaki Mushrooms and Brown Rice

10 Fresh Shiitaki Mushrooms
1 tbs. light olive oil
2 Tbs. White Wine (optional and only if you have on hand)
1 cup brown rice
1 Cup chicken broth
1 Cup Water
Salt to Taste
2 Tbs. Fresh Butter

Heat a medium saucepan over high heat.  Add olive oil.  Chop the shiitaki mushrooms into small pieces and add to the pot.  Cook mushrooms for about 5 minutes or so until they have become soft and darker in color.  Add white wine to “deglaze” the pan and cook 2-3 minutes until the liquid is evaporated.  Pour in one cup of brown rice.  I used a mixture of long and short grain.  Stir until rice is coated with remaining oil.  Add chicken stock and water and bring to a boil.  Cover with a lid and reduce heat to low.  Allow rice to simmer about 35-45 minutes or until done to your liking.  Remove lid and stir in two tablespoons of fresh butter and add salt to taste.  Enjoy!

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of that one before we ate it all.  The mushrooms and butter were from yesterdays market.  The brown rice was leftover from some I picked up at the market last fall.

 

Buckaroo Beans

1 lb. (about 2 1/2 c.) FRESH pinto beans
6 c. water
1/2 lb. smoked bacon
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 lg. onion, thickly sliced or chopped
1 lg. cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 sm. bay leaf
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
5 leaves of fresh oregano, chopped 
3 fresh roma tomatoes, chopped

Put beans into a crockpot and add six cups of water.  Turn crockpot to high heat setting.  Cut bacon into chunks and add to the beans.  Add remaining  ingredients. Cover and cook slowly for 6-8 hours, until liquid resembles a medium-thick gravy. Stir once or twice during cooking. Long, slow cooking helps make a nice, rich flavor.

This recipe used pinto beans, onion and bacon from the farmers market.  The oregano and tomatoes came from my garden.  The bay leaf came from my mom’s friend.

 

Peach Blueberry Cobbler

1/4 cup fresh butter
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh sliced and peeled peaches (I used 4 peaches)
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
Heat oven to 350° Melt butter in a rectangular baking dish. Set aside. In medium bowl, combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar and baking powder; add milk; and stir until blended(will be thick). Spoon batter over butter in baking dish; do not stir. Combine peaches, blueberries and 1/2 cup sugar; spoon over batter. Do not stir. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 55 minutes until dough is lightly brown. Serve warm with vanilla gelato, if desired(recipe below).
 
 
 The butter, milk, peaches and blueberries all came from the farmers market.

 

Vanilla Gelato

6 Large Egg Yolks
3/4 Cup Of Granulated Sugar
2 1/2 Cups Whole Milk
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Tbs. Real Vanilla
1 tsp. dried lavender
Pinch of Salt

In a large bowl, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until light and thick. Add the lavender to a mesh tea ball and place in a medium saucepan. Add the milk, cream, vanilla, and salt and heat over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around the edges. Remove the tea ball.  Remove from the heat. Take 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture, and slowly whisk it into the beaten eggs. Next whisk the egg mixture into the saucepan. Cook over low heat stirring continuously until the mixture thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a metal bowl and refrigerate until cold. Once the custard mixture is cold, transfer it into an ice cream maker and churn following the manufacturers instructions. Serve immediately, or freeze in an airtight container until you are ready to use.

 

 This recipe used eggs and milk from the farmers market and lavender from my own garden.

Pasta Primavera

1 Pound Fresh Pasta
Variety of seasonal veggies (I used zucchini and yellow squash, eggplant, cherry tomatoes and shiitaki mushrooms)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Fresh Herbs (I used thyme, basil, sage and oregano)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add about 1/4 cup or so of salt to the boiling water.  In a large skillet, add the olive oil and saute the chopped fresh vegetables until cooked to your desired level of doneness.  Remove the veggies to a separate bowl.  Add the pasta to the boiling water. (Fresh pasta cooks very quickly.  If using dried pasta you will likely want to add this earlier.)  In the pan in which you cooked the veggies, ladle about one cup of pasta cooking liquid. Stir in order to incorporate the bits of fond on the bottom of the saute pan.  Add ricotta cheese and continue to stir.  Add Parmesan cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Return the cooked veggies to the sauce you have created.  Add the cooked, drained pasta and stir until the sauce has coated the noodles.  You can add additional cooking liquid if the sauce is too thick.  Top pasta with freshly chopped herbs and additional Parmesan as desired.  Enjoy!

This recipe used veggies and pasta from the market and herbs from my own garden.

 

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I have finally worked up enough nerve to let two of my chickens free range.  Here are Claudia and Hazel enjoying the free life.  Olivia is busy raising a baby chick and Francine is sitting on eggs that should have hatched yesterday.  We got them from a friend who said she was certain they were fertile.  I’m gonna give her another day or two with them before I get rid of them.  I hate that she sat there for three weeks for nothing!

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The garden is in full swing!  If only the 1 million tomatoes out there would turn red!  I did get some dill pickles and pickled beets put up!  I am also drying basil, dill and lavender.  I am drying a few sunflowers so I can give the seeds to my chickens.

In real life the pickles are more green and the beets are more purple.  I wish so much my camera had captured the true colors!

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