Monday, September 21, 2015

Blue Skies and Bagels

Not a cloud in the sky!  and it is very cool.  The grass is very wet.

Overnight these popped up:

We have had a new development in the varmint issue.  Yesterday morning vultures were landing just in front of the trailer right outside the back door.

DH found a very dead armadillo in front of the trailer  next to the garden.  No idea then what killed it.  Later on he saw a large groundhog near the carcass!  He shot several times but it got away.  We now think he is the guilty party.  I saw it again this morning in the garden but by the time we got the gun, it was gone.  We don't know now who dug the huge hole under the propane tank, the armadillo or the ground hog.  Either one is not welcome here!


While the grass is  drying, I think I will make bagels.  I have been out for some time and tried the store  version and was not happy with them.  The only negative is they are very messy to make and the kitchen will be a disaster area when finished.
Just finished and was pleasantly surprised at the lack of  mess......maybe I am getting more  organized????

This recipe is from Thibault's Table blog.  Every recipe of hers that I have done has turned out well......except I cannot make the French bread.  I have given up on that one.  I do a version but it is not the authentic very coarse holey one.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Pictures from Baking Day

I will post this in the Morning, Sunday, 9/20.

The baking turned out well.  I like to test internal temperature on bread, but since last time I used it, I have lost my thermometer!  Blast.

I doubled the recipe for Honey and Wheat Bread.  I got this from the Cooking Forum from "Annie" and it is definitely a keeper.  Sometimes, I replace an equal amount of flour with oatmeal and make oatmeal bread.  Doubled it takes 12 cups of flour.  My mixer (so far) handles it well.

It makes 4 loaves of bread or 3 (as  I did) and one of buns:

That is the pull apart pumpkin bread on the left.  It is delicious.  I made a brandy glaze for the top.

The dough has 3/4 cup of pumpkin and you can taste it.  It is very moist.  Next I think I will make up a loaf of cinnamon bread using this same dough.

I need to refine the way my Sis typed up recipe before posting least I didn't follow it too well.

Here we go:

Pull-apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread with Buttered Rum Glaze(adapted from Willow Bird Baking)


2 Tbls butter
½ cup milk
2-1/4 teaspoons (l envelope) yeast
¾ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup white sugar
1 teasp. Salt
2-1/2 cups bread flour

Directions for Bread:

In a saucepan over medium heat, brown 2 Tbls. Butter until light brown. Once browned, remove pan from heat and add milk. Return to stove if needed and heat through. (Mine was hot enough that I didn't have to reheat). Add to mixer bowl. Be sure it is not above ll0° before adding the 1 pkg. Yeast. Allow to proof, will take up to 8 minutes.( I skip this step since I always use SAF instant yeast and it dissolves instantly). Add: pumpkin, salt and l cup of flour to liquids; stir until well combied. Add rest of flour ½ cup at a time. Mix well, knead for 6 minutes. If dough is too sticky, add flour l Tbls. At a time. It will be a soft dough. I then kneaded it a few times on a well-floured board to be sure it was a good consistency. Add to a greased bowl and cover with cloth. Let raise for 60-90 minutes until doubled. Mine just took 60 minutes.

While dough is rising, brown another 2 tablespoons of butter. You use this to brush the strips you will be stacking later............or you can mix it with the sugar mix like I did and that works too.

Sugar Mix for Bread:

2 Tablespoons of browned butter (see above) meant to brush dough strips but I mixed it with the sugar.
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Nutmeg
Mix in small bowl

When dough has doubled in size, punch it down and flip out onto a floured surface and knead a couple of minutes. Roll out into a 20 x 12 rectangle (you may have to let dough rest first if it is difficult to roll out). Brush with browned 2 tablespoons of butter. Spread sugar mix over rectangle and press gently into dough. Cut into 6 strips. Lay strips on top of each other and these into 6 even squares. Cut in half and cut each half in thirds. Stack strips vertically into well buttered loaf pan. This will make two rows down the length of the loaf  pan. Cover pan and let rise for 30-45 minutes (mine took 30 minutes).

While rising, preheat oven to 350°. Bake when risen for approximately 35-40 minutes.

Top will be a dark golden brown. Mine took 37 minutes. You might put a sheet of foil under because the sugar melted over the sides into the oven bottom.

Buttered Rum Glaze

Note: I didn't have rum so used brandy and it worked well.

2 Tablespoons butter
1/8 cup (2 T.) brown sugar
1-1/2 Tablespoons milk
¾ cup powdered sugar.
1 Tablespoon rum or brandy or whatever you like.

Combine butter, milk and brown sugar in pan. Bring to boil; remove from heat and stir in the rum and powdered sugar

Spread over warm loaf.

Note: Unless you have an attractive pan you have baked the loaf in, let rest a bit, gently remove from pan using a thin spatula and transfer to serving dish. Note: I didn't let it rest and it pretty much came apart on me but I was able to put it back together nicely. Didn't hurt the flavor!

I think I will buy a glass baking pan for this one.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Farm Pictures

DH did his picture tour before brush hogging yesterday morning.  He wanted  me to see the pastures since I no longer do walks on the farm.

I was amazed; he  kept telling me  we could do a second cutting of hay.  I still think it is more economical to just let the cows harvest it.  We shouldn't have to feed hay unless it is covered  with ice or snow.

The girls are looking for shade:


This was pasta making morning,  I made the entire batch  into fettucini and froze three bags.

Today is bread-making day.  I have a recipe from my Sis for a pull-apart pumpkin bread loaf that I want to make also.

Outside work

I had an inside day yesterday so plan to do an hour of trimming while the bread is rising this morning.  We were hoping for rain to settle the dust and wash the pollen off things but got nary a drop!   Slight possibility today.

Speaking of pollen,

See that yellow on the tractor hood?

No wonder DH has been coughing so much lately.  He wears a mask but it isn't foolproof. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mission Accomplished

Time has passed pretty quickly....I have been diligent about working  outside  each morning and am happy to report the garden is cleared!!!

This is the cleared east end:

 This end is where the  pepper patch lurked; now exposed and I harvested more this morning.

I have red, green, and yellow cheese peppers, giant jalapenos, red Maule, and Anchos.  I was supposed to have hot Hungarian Wax, but they are missing.    Don't know what happened unless Baker Creek got confused!

I want to string some on fishing line and try drying them.  But that may not happen......sounds good though.

Also on this end is the row of sweet potatoes.  The vines are very lush but I also found a tuber in a hill so I have hopes for a good crop.  I will wait until frost time to dig.

The west end had a row of 20 foot elm saplings all along the asparagus  row.  This row began at the blackberry bush and ran west  to the pear tree.  The men did not paint the stumps as promised last year so they regrew like crazy.  I cut them using the chain saw like a hedge clipper yesterday morning and it went very rapidly.  I have just stacked them in the garden; the help- meet  will later load and haul them off for me.

(see the peach tree stump?  I couldn't resist leaving it for maybe a clematis to climb next year......I can always cut it down if that doesn't  work)

I also did some lopping along the garden fence and am near to having it ready to mulch again.  My heirloom rose is blooming again and looking very lovely.  No pepper scent on this one; just a strong rose fragrance. I have  done some research and believe it  to be Reines des Violette.  I know I had one.  It is nearly thornless, very fragrant and is a hybrid perpetual rose.  I need to feed  it again.  It does well in some shade and this one is.

This view is looking east along the fence.  I have just laid the lopped plants along the fence, later  to be removed (remember  when the helpmeet gets around to his part).

See that tree behind the smokehouse?  I think it needs to go!  maybe tomorrow.

Remember the three pumpkins I discovered???  Well, the possum found them too!

We have now eliminated three but there seems to be no end to them.

Oh, BTW, I did paint the stumps this morning using diesel.  That works for me often.  I didn't get spray mixed to hit the jungle behind the shop but that will be next.

I have been letting the girls come into the garden and dig and scratch.  They do love to toss that mulch around.  We are consistently getting 5 eggs from 5 hens.  Very pleased with that.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Slower Sunday Morning

DH talked me into a much slower, relaxing day today......he can't understand why I can't just sit and do nothing....after all these years (54).

So, I just trimmed  the path by the garden fence where I removed the peach trees and saw the sorry little cucumber vine was still trying to grow and needed watering.....did that and then watered the two roses left in the driveway bed that is no more.

And I know I shouldn't because it is rampant enough, but watered that gigantic squash plant for an hour.  I am pinching tips hoping that several of the squashes will ripen before frost.

Then I trimmed  some on the cellar bed and saw some young saplings  I had bud and elm (of course).

All total time not over an hour.


I found some overly ripe bananas in the fridge yesterday evening and made cupcakes.  I used the banana cake recipe in my 1960 era Better Homes and Garden cookbook.  It is an excellent recipe.  I had to sub sour cream for the buttermilk but it didn't hurt it at all.  If you can find an old  copy of this book, not the updated version, grab it up.  It is still the 'go to' cookbook for both my Sis and me.

From Food

Banana Cake BH&G Page 80 (old issue )
2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup mashed ripe banana (usually two)
½ cup buttermilk or sour milk
½ cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all dry ingredients and ½ teaspoons salt. Add bananas, buttermilk, shortening, eggs and vanilla
Beat on low until mixed then on medium for three minutes.

Pour into 2 greased and floured 8 or 9 inch cake pans. Bake 350°for 30 to 35 minutes. Test with toothpick .Cool for l0 minutes before removing from pan.

Note: I ice with cream cheese icing and freeze some in pan for later.

Flowers in the Yard

The clematis paniculata on the barn lot fence is doing what I wanted it to:  Screening that ugly lot!
I have let a few Grandpa Otts morning glories stay.  I love that color!

From Flowers September blog

The cosmos are finally in full bloom
From Flowers September blog

My old standby self-seeding annual salvia farinacea, mixed colors now!

From Flowers September blog


I have  a Kieffer pear tree back by the barn lot.  It has lots of fruit this year but, it is not the ordinary pear tree.  It is hard as a brick and you have to pick it when it is ready (my problem is when is that?) and let it ripen in a cool place for some  time.  It is used mostly for pear honey and  cooking.  It was supposed to be resistant to isn't!  I am bothered with fireblight in all pear trees every single year.  I can see where the possum has been eating a few on the ground.  Does anyone have any experience with the particular pear tree?  I have pulled a few and have them inside now but I can't see that they are ripening at all.
From Fruit Trees 2015

From Fruit Trees 2015

Have a wonderful Sunday.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

More Clean up in the Yard

We had a productive morning.  I am trying desperately to get the yard in good shape so my BIL won't talk about me when they visit this month!

I loaded the trailer with all the saplings I cut from the east yard a few days ago then headed to the garden with the chainsaw.
I had let several peach seedlings grow up from the compost pile inside the garden proper and they had to go!  The last storm broke several limbs. 

I had a new blade on the small electric saw and it worked beautifully.

Here is the view toward the garden before work  began:

Note the pile of limbs I lopped off out of my way first.  They were hanging over the fence.  The trees are that group in the middle of the picture.

There were about five trees growing close together.
And now they are gone:

I still have a large split tree mid-garden that will go next.

I am happy to see that the east end of the garden now gets full sun!  I topped a few pepper plants with the peach limbs but have enough peppers not to care.

This shot is a bit closer.  I wanted to show the clear end of the gas tank that was a tangle of tree-size perilla, lambs quarter and elm saplings.  I eliminated all that mess and found three treasures that the possum has missed.

This half dead evergreen on the smoke house will go next.....I will have to rig up something because a rampant clematis climbs all over it each spring.

This rose of sharon (a seedling) is looking very good now that the Japanese Beetles have gone below ground.

I am in for the day.  Lunch will be a soup of leftovers.....

Chickens are laying well.  6 girls/6 eggs some days.  They are still small pullet eggs but will soon increase in size.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Late Summer on the Farm

 View from the porch early this morning just before complete sunrise:

Well, thanks to herbicides and prednisone, I am  slowly catching up on the yard and garden work and am feeling like I might be able to handle it once again.  Let me tell you, it is a great feeling!

This morning I did some  more  trimming:  This won't be appreciated by anyone but me!

This is the used to be driveway border.....slowly getting rid of maintenance but will leave the shrubs, pear tree and the rugosa rose,  Blanc doublet de coubert  which so far has resisted rose rosette disease and it very fragrant.

The area around the well house where the mower won't go:

and this is the Well  House Bed:

I can mow most of this one now.  I am leaving  my oldest rose, a China rose 'Old Blush' which has persisted for many, many years, and a scraggly Mme. Plantier that I hope returns much better next year and a couple clumps of peonies.

Old Blush:

P.S.  Negative of prednisone is I no longer need to sleep........................