Archive for January, 2011

Mmmmmmmm Sauerkraut………

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Remember the cabbage we put in the Harsch Crock just over six weeks ago? We opened the crock and tasted it today.


It is absolutely delicious.

We chopped three large heads of cabbage for it, and ended up with about a gallon and a half of awesome, tangy sauerkraut.


The missing half gallon is in a pot simmering with some pork chops right now.

I plan to keep that Harsch Crock cooking all summer with goodies from the garden.

But right now, I’m looking forward to supper!

Mmmmmmmm sauerkraut…….

Socializing at the Office

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

I was sitting at my office desk working, when I heard a “tap, tap, tap”. I looked up to see this sweet little face peeking in my window.


It didn’t take long before another little visitor joined her on the left.


And in no time I had a small crowd at my office window.


It’s nice to take a break and socialize a little while at the office.

Buttermilk Sourdough Bread and Individual Pizzas

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Remember that buttermilk sourdough starter I got started a few weeks ago? Well my buddy, Bob, started a Sourdough Exchange group on Facebook and he’s been posting some really delicious looking bread recipes over there. One that really caught my eye is this Rustic Sourdough Bread that he made from a recipe on the King Arthur website. Bob’s loaves were just gorgeous, and this morning I decided I could not deny the temptation any longer. It uses a little yeast so that it’s a quick recipe. I took my starter out of the refrigerator this morning and fed it about a cup and a half of buttermilk and a cup of flour. By 2PM, it was ready to mix up for the first rise.

I followed the recipe exactly, with the exception of adding 5/8 teaspoon of citric acid to make it a little more “tangy”. This is something the KA website recommends, so I thought I’d give it a try. The dough comes out a bit wet, so if you make it, don’t be alarmed by that.

After it’s first rise, I divided the dough in half, and put half of it in a bread pan for the final rise. Bernie is not usually a big bread eater, so rather than make two loaves, I decided to use the second half to make individual pizza crusts to freeze for quick meals. I got this idea from Nick over at Macheesmo. He put together the entire pizza to freeze, but I just wanted to freeze the dough.

Before I get into the individual pizza crusts, let me just say, if you like a tangy sour dough bread, feeding the starter with buttermilk and adding 1/8 teaspoon of citric acid for each cup of flour is the ticket. I can not describe to you the heavenly sour flavor that bread has. Even though Bernie is not crazy about bread in general, he really loved this buttermilk sourdough bread.

Anyway, with the other half of the dough, I divided it into four somewhat equal pieces and rolled them out into four pizza doughs.

sour dough,individual pizza crust

I know that looks like only three, but there is a fourth one on the peel in the back.

I preheated the oven to 450, and then baked them one at a time for five minutes each, putting them in and taking them out of the oven with the peel. Nick recommended putting a little sauce on each of them to keep them from bubbling up while cooking. I should have heeded his advice. This is the first one I made that had no sauce:

sour dough,individual pizza crust

Um, yea. That’s chicken food. But here is the next one that I put sauce on before baking:

sour dough,individual pizza crust

Much better. It baked up firm, but not completely done. Perfect. I let them cool, stacked them with parchment paper between them, put them in a large freezer bag, and froze them. Now we have three individual pizza crusts in the freezer that are ready to be topped and baked at a moment’s notice. I think this is a pretty good use of sourdough when the recipe is enough for two loaves of bread, and you only want one loaf.

I know this is a sourdough post, but I really want you to see some pictures of our outside residents. Look at how pretty Jake is getting:

jake turkey

The turkeys really love hanging out with the chickens.

turkeys and chickens

They also like following us around the yard, and really don’t like sharing camera time with anyone else.

turkeys and goats

Tanya tried her best to keep me from getting any goat pictures today.

turkeys and goats

And she was very serious about it.

turkeys and goats

I did sneak in one or two though.


Even if the turkeys insisted on being in every picture they could possible get into.

turkeys and goats

Jake was late for the photo shoot and not very pleased that he wasn’t informed about it.

turkeys and goats

These animals keep me smiling.

What’s Up?

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

This morning the pups heard something on the roof. Bernie went out to investigate.


Jake and Tanya were not impressed.


But Sarah seemed quite pleased with herself.


Bernie swears he saw Jake roll his eyes.


Sprouting and Strutting

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

This is the time of year I spend hours and hours thumbing through the seed catalogs that come with regular frequency to my mail box. I love those seed catalogs. They allow me to escape this cold weather and bask in the sunlight of my garden, even if only in my mind.

In several of these catalogs I saw all sort of beans to grow bean sprouts, and several rather expensive contraptions to grow them in. I remembered that many years ago I raised Finches, and I used to sprout their bird seed as a special treat for them. And that got me thinking that I could sprout some of the beans from the bags of dried beans in my kitchen. My first thought was to use the same method I used for the bird seed – soaking the beans, and then spreading them on a damp paper towel, keeping it damp until the bean sprouted. I decided to google it and found that the single most popular way to sprout beans is also the most simple. I found several videos demonstrating the procedure, but Mountain Rose Herbs did a great job.

So Friday morning I put a few lentils in a mason jar, covered them with water, and let them soak for the day on the counter. Bernie made a cover for the jar out of a piece of window screen.

sprouting beans

Friday night I turned the jar upside down and drained all the water through the screen. Then I filled it with water, swished it around, and emptied it – repeating this about three or four times. Then I drained it one last time, and set it in a bowl, screen side down.

sprouting beans

Saturday morning and evening, I rinsed and drained them a few times. And this morning, just two days after I started, I have sprouts!

sprouting beans

Within a few days the jar should be mostly filled with sprouts and I’ll be adding them to my daily salads. I can’t wait!

The turkeys started free ranging this week. They’ve decided they like to hang out with the chickens. It was a little touch and go at first – the roosters weren’t very happy with the new visitors at first. But now everyone seems to be getting along, and the turkeys seem happy to spend the day with their chicken friends, and retire to the comfort of their quiet coop at night.

The turkeys are getting so big. Especially Jake.


I love his eyes.


And I love the bronze sheen on his feathers when the sun hits them.


He really loves strutting his stuff.


Sprouting and strutting. That’s what we’re doing here on the homestead.

52 Years Ago

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

She was 19 years old. Barely married a year. Her husband looked so handsome in his uniform. She hoped he was safe and warm in Iceland, serving his country, so far away. She looked out the window, rubbed her belly, swollen with child, and wished he could be with her. Of all times, she needed him this night. She knew it wouldn’t be much longer. And she knew he wouldn’t, couldn’t be with her to welcome their first born into this world. She missed him. And she managed to smile between the pain.

Pain? She felt pain! “Mama, Daddy! It’s time! It’s time!”

The rush to the hospital was a blur. Before she knew it she was pushing. And pushing. And just when she thought she could do this no longer, the doctor presented her with her firstborn child. A little girl. A smiling, happy little girl. The women embraced her little bundle of joy, and she knew her husband would be proud. He would be happy. And he would love this little girl beyond measure. And she would dedicate her life to her child. Protect her, love her, laugh with her, and cry with her. She knew this child was the consummation of the love shared with her man.

And she was right. She marked the day. January 9th, 1959. The day her life was forever changed. The day she gave life to a little girl that would bring her happiness and sadness, and everything in between.

And on this night she sits with her man, and remembers. Has it really been 52 years?