Friday, January 26, 2018

A new Cooking Venture and other daily Trivia

Good morning from the Ozarks.

Supposed to be another nice day here before rain moves in again.  We are not fussing about the rain since we started winter very dry.

The carpenter is working....he has the wood beadboard paneling up but not  trimmed yet.

Also I may have solved my bird feeder issue.  We used to have an old Elm tree that we used for bird feeders but our many storms ruined it and made it dangerous to leave so we had it removed.

I found this on Amazon and we set it up yesterday evening, also the new feeder at the kitchen sink window.  I wanted something there that I could see all around.  I hope this isn't to wide for that.

So far,  the birds aren't  flocking to the feed.  Max thinks it is too old and mice have been at it in the garage.  I think we will toss it to the chickens and get fresh seeds on our next town run.


Well, I have done it.   Three days ago I began a sourdough starter.  I am using King Arthur's directions.  Kris, I am shut out of your blog so couldn't read back on your technique.  This is looking good and growing nicely.  I may try a couple of KA's recipes using the discarded portion of  the starter.  It all sounds interesting. I do hate tossing out that not quite ready starter.  Of course, there is always the chicken flock.  They love scraps of  all kinds.

I have already made a mistake for  day 3.  I was not discarding all but the l/2 cup.  I just took out the 1/2 cup (thankfully didn't toss it yet) and fed the remaining which was maybe two cups......I fed my 1/2 cup and now have the correct thing going.  I am still letting the larger amount grow.  Who knows what I will end up doing with it.....this is a fascinating new venture.

The first picture is the new correct mix of fed 1/2 cup 3-day old starter; second is showing from the top,  first is new batch (no bubbles yet); second is older fed batch already with bubbles.

All for today.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Bread Day Again and Carpenter worked Again!

We got a wonderful 2 inch rain overnight.  We may get caught up before spring comes.  No storms, just a gentle steady rain.  It is very warm, unseasonably so, but we will enjoy it while it lasts.

Yesterday was break-making day.  I decided to do the Hodgson Mills white bread.  I always use unbleached while flour, King Arthur preferred brand. This bread calls for three rises and I normally do them.  This time it took a lot longer that the hour rise of each.  I didn't set the timer and got involved (with the computer).  The dough had risen over the sides of the bowl and was hanging down almost to the counter!  It had a bit of a  yeasty, sour-dough smell but I made up the three loaves, baked and it  was great.  I could still detect a bit of sour-dough flavor but we  enjoyed our sample piece and it toasted beautifully this morning.

Wish I had taken a picture of it hanging over the bowl....but panicked and didn't.

They are my usual lop-sided shape.  I keep meaning to make the loaves smaller so they don't pop open on one side.......

The new chickens are still laying nicely for us.  I now have 2 dozen colorful ones in the fridge.

Miscellaneous Pictures

She is (it think it is a she) one of the barn kittens a passing Mama Cat had in our barn.  As soon as they were weaning age, she took off leaving the babies behind.  She seems to be special friends with  our Tommie (bottle raised) which is a little worrisome.   Time  will tell.

Cookies and Pictures of the Remodel Project

Above freezing at last!  Ice has gone except for the little patio area outside the back porch.  The sun doesn't hit it long enough that it stays covered for a long time.  I got out the hose this morning and tried to flush it off and then realized I was making a muddy mess for the carpenter (should he show up!) so stopped.

That brings to mind my warm weather project that I hope will be next.  I want a trellis type wood cover over this area.  I think to roof it with fiberglass greenhouse panels.  I have already talked to the carpenter and he seems to understand what I want and says he can do it. This will keep us dry bringing in groceries and give a sheltered spot for pots of plants out of direct sun.  I am getting distracted  here...........

Several days ago I made a new recipe of cookies I got from Allrecipes posted by julie.  It was for White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.
 Here is my picture:

This is the front porch/aka my office:

This faces the south.  I have painted the house up to standing on the ground height.  No more ladders for me!  The carpenter, a man  of many skills, can pressure wash and paint whole house which we will probably do this spring.  It is steel siding but the finish is coming off, as you can see, after probably 40 years or so.

Sure hope my new shrubs survive the carpenter and the extreme cold!  You can barely see one in the snow on the far left foundation.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

News From the Kitchen

Our warm up has been slow to arrive:  10° here this morning,  but up to 38° this afternoon.
I am ordering a heated pet warmer this morning....maybe that will bring on a heat wave.  Poor DH has been having to clean and refill the myriad cats water twice daily.  This should save him some time and steps.


I have always wondered about making mayonnaise but read a lot of  things about it being very tricky and  many reported disasters or talked about having to re-do it.  What really got me interested is our Son who has been very serious about eating only 'real' foods and zero processed food has tried it with sorry results.

I found an extremely simple and fast recipe by Martha Stewart  that, for a change, didn't call for any exotic ingredients.

I tried my larger processor but the blade didn't touch the small  amount of egg yolks so I switched to my mini one and used  the two tiny holes in the top to add the oil.  It worked beautifully and  I was delighted with the end result.  We don't normally even  like mayo, but this has a tartness to it and DH and I both liked it a lot.  We had some on a sandwich yesterday.

I  suspect the larger processor  would work if I just started drizzling the oil raising the  level of the ingredients.

 It only keeps a week in the fridge so I will probably be forced into making a  cake!

It can be the base of many salad dressings and other toppings so maybe no cake.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

UpDate on Life on the Farm

Well, first let me tell you, it is cold!  -4° this morning.  This is unusual for us but we are surviving.  We got 3-4 inches of snow yesterday which isn't that unusual and actually helps insulate foundations and plants form the horrible cold.

Sun is shining but it is still just 4 °.

We are both perking along.  Max is still doing his cow chores and I am pretty much staying inside do my inside chores.  I am still making bread.  This is the last baking.  I am  doing English Muffins next.

This is KA's recipe for Oatmeal Toasting and Sandwich bread.  I  doubled the recipe to get two loaves.  It makes such nice,large loaves we cut one slice in half for a serving.

Did anyone spot my new mixer in the background?  I wore out another Kitchen Aid,this time their pro 600 watt model.  This new style takes some getting used to but I think  it makes a better loaf of bread.  Supposedly it cuts out one rising so that when you finish kneading it in the machine it is ready to make into rolls,loaves or what you want  and let rise and the bake.  I did that one time  and it worked beautifully.  Some bread purists think you should do the second rise just for flavor....I may not be able to taste the difference  but I am still doing the extra rise. It is a Bosch Universal Plus.  I see now they have a smaller version; I maybe should have got it for just the two of us.......too late!  It was cheaper than the Kitchen Aid.

I am happy to report the new chickens have begun laying and we are delighted.  I thought we would have to wait until  much longer day lengths for eggs.
This isn't one day's production. We are getting between 5 and 7 almost  daily.  My favorite is the dark brown one.  The yolk is the same color but I still favor the dark ones.  Not sure which hen but I am thinking  the one with the pretty brown  speckled wing, a Blue Laced Red Wyandotte. 

Not much else to report.  Max is now eating almost normal foods, but still is very careful with chewing hard things or even  steak. 

One new thing that I am happy about is we have hired a local man (who turns out to be the same one who did the screened porch) to enclose our never used porch off the living room (south and west facing) to make a small office area for me.  I will  finally be able to get the desk and computer out of the dining room.
He is moving very slowly due to other jobs and also because of the weather.  We anticipated this and since it does not disturb our living space at all, we are OK with the slow pace.

This is the work so far on the front enclosure.

More later.

I hope this belated post finds everyone well and  happy.  Best wishes from the cold Ozarks!