Sunday, March 25, 2012

I think I may have saved everything I've ever owned. And now I have to pack it. 
When I moved here nearly nine years ago, I took a lot of ribbing for insisting on bringing a wheelbarrow full of rocks. 
I can't bring all the rocks this time - they line the flower beds - but none the less, I'm pretty worn out from boxing up 27 years of collecting.
The perfect treat after a long day?
Homemade Chai Latte. 

Chai Latte

Bring 4 cups of water to a simmer
1 tablespoon cardamom pods
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 3inch piece of ginger 
3 3inch sticks of cinnamon 
1 tablespoon cloves
6 teabags (orange pekoe is fine but darjeeling is really special )
Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes
Strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth
Stir in 1/4 cup sugar ( honey or any sweetener can be substituted )
Refrigerate till ready to use.
To serve combine equal parts tea and milk and heat through.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Surprises

We're having the most amazing weather for March. Record highs and light spring rain - even if there's rumbling and grumbling. I love how afternoon rain followed by blue skies makes everything sparkle like Mother Natures bling. Priceless.

 Here are a few shots of the view from our soon to be backyard. 
Our road used to be called the Potlake or Potleg Road - we can't be sure which; it depends on who you talk to. We like Potlake best and imagine that this natural spring pond is how it got it's name, so are referring to our new place as the Potlake farm. 
At just under 2 acres, it's not really a farm anymore but that's just another little liberty we're taking. 

On our drive out today, we passed a couple walking their dogs. Mike waved, and I asked " who was that?" Mike replied " I don't know, but they're walking down our road."

There are ducks in the pond. I can't wait to see little ducklings.

And there are grapevines!
Lots of them, so we imagine that the couple made their own wine back in the day. 
I love that they used Y branches as stakes.

And who doesn't appreciate a good curlicue?

Made even sweeter with shiny diamond drops of rain.

Hope you're enjoying spring surprises.

<3 Karen  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

An Update and a Recipe

Did Anybody have visions of me heading to the drug store this week? 
"No, warming KY is not what I need. Just the regular stuff. Oh, it's not for me - it's for Gladys - er - my really... she's egg bound... her egg is stuck...really...
That's almost as scary as having to perform the first aid. Oiy! 
Happy to report no issues this week. No trips to Shoppers required. Yay! 

I thought I'd let you all in on a little secret. Making yogurt is easy. And you can save money. And there's no preservative or gelatine or fancy equipment required. 

I like it with a little vanilla and honey.

Sometimes I eat it with some homemade granola sprinkled on top. Sometimes with fruit. Blueberries and freshly grated nutmeg with a drizzle of honey is a yummy combination. 

Greek style is my favourite. Its low in fat and high in protein. It's so thick and rich and creamy.
I usually do this on the weekend because although it's easy and doesn't require any attention at all, it does take a while. I start about an hour before I before I go to bed. 
Don't be scared - try it, you'll like it.

Greek Yogurt 
Makes at least 2 cups at about 1/3 the cost. 
Use a candy thermometer to gently heat 1 bag of milk ( just less that 4 1/4 cups ) in a heavy bottom pan to 180 degrees F. 
It will be steaming and foamy but don't let it boil. 
Let it cool, off the heat but in the pan, to 110 degrees F.
Stir in 1/4 cup all natural greek yogurt. I save some from my last batch each week. 
I wrap it in a tea towel and leave it in the oven with the light on overnight - between 6 and 8 hours.
It will look like slightly separated, watery jello.
Line a sieve or colander with a couple of layers of cheesecloth, set it over a bowl and pour in the yogurt.  
Put it back in the oven with the light on to drain the whey off. 
I like it thick so I leave it there for about 2 hours. If you don't like it thick don't drain off as much liquid.
If you're not making greek style, you don't have to drain it, just stir, add fruit and sweetener and enjoy.

This is what the whey looks like- I get about 3 1/2 cups!
I don't know what else its good for but the chickens like it...

OK - so in a nutshell -
heat the milk
cool the milk
add a little leftover yogurt
wait again

<3 Karen

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Avian Adventures

We rescued Gladys early last fall from the chicken auction. 
She was destined to become soup, I'm sure. She's "mature". 
Mike to the farmer: " Does she lay?" 
Farmer: "Well... she laid this morning" 
We left $5 lighter and with one little red hen.
Worth every penny - she lays about 5 extra large eggs a week. 
This week she laid  a whopper!  

The egg on the right is considered an extra large egg - about 73 grams. 
The egg on the left is 112 grams!!!
3 inches and wrinkly! 

Poor old girl! 
We think maybe she was egg bound  ( like egg-stipated? )  but being novices are not sure.
I didn't notice her being sluggish or looking uncomfortable. It's so cold and windy that I only go out long enough to bring thawed water, top up the feed and collect eggs.  
According to Back Yard Poultry , it can be deadly so avian first aid  is imperative. "Using KY Petroleum jelly or Vaseline insert your finger in the vent. With your other hand you can press gently on her abdomen moving the egg down the oviduct towards the cloaca."
Oh my!
I'm hoping it doesn't happen again.
Please keep your fingers crossed for me. 
and have a good week!

<3 Karen