Wednesday, September 29, 2010
So to celebrate the glory that is Fall, I'm baking a Jack Apple cake. This is a wonderful recipe that was given to me when we lived in Appalachia way back when. The kids love it. So here's the recipe. It makes two loaves when baked in a bread pan and I already have a couple in the oven as I write this. The house smells amazingly-wonderful. Just the thing for All-Falls-Eve.
Jack Apple Cake
3 large eggs
2 ¾ cup flour
3 large apples
2 cups sugar
¼ cup honey, heated
1 stick butter, melted
a dash cinnamon or more if you like cinnamon
1 ¾ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon baking powder
Peel and dice apples and place in a large bowl with 1 ½ cups sugar (set aside other half cup for topping), sprinkle the cinnamon over the apples then drizzle the warmed honey and mix into a nice gooey concoction . Allow to cool in the 'fridge for 2 hours. Do not skip this step. After 2 hours, add all wet ingredients (half melted stick of butter, eggs, oil, vanilla) and mix with a gentle hand. Add in tablespoon baking powder. Add flour and gently stir the batter. It will be wet. Pour into greased bread loaf pan. Now melt other half stick of butter, add to it the held back sugar and some cinnamon and mix them into a paste. Use a spoon to drip it over the batter. This step makes a kind of crust that bakes into the cake. Bake at 350 degrees 30-40 minutes. Watch the cake. Sometimes it seems to bake fast and you REALLY don't want to burn this baby. When knife comes out clean it’s done. Serve warm with homemade whipped cream.
Then sit back and smile as your eaters will think they have the most magnificent mother who ever lived.
And they will be right.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
That's it. That's all you do.
Friday, September 24, 2010
When the corn bit the dust 3 weeks ago. I cried. I don't really like the taste of corn (bleck), but everyone I know, especially my family, LOVES corn. Plus, farmers grow corn. It's part of the "farmers oath" I signed when I began a garden 15 years ago (just kidding, in case you weren't sure). Farmers grow corn. So when my corn stalks froze, I cried. When the green beans froze, I sobbed out loud (I like green beans). When the pumpkins froze, I thought I was going to commit Harry Carry (I don't think that's how you spell "Harry Carry", but the spell check said it was OK). I really like pumpkins. (Big squash just says "fall" to me.) Though I have no control over the weather, I feel like a farmer failure.
So as these big, beautiful flowers continue to thrive even in the freezing cold, well, it just makes me smile. (These sun flowers are way taller than me and I'm pretty tall as far as girls go.)
So I think that I'm going to petition the "farmers oath" people. I think I'm going to propose that farming success should include sunflowers. Maybe the very definition of success should include "sunflowers". Hmmmm. I think I'll write the Websters Dictionary people, too.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
It's too late to go to bed "early" but too early for temperatures to be in the upper 30's (and dropping fast). It seemed awfully chilly when I let the red puppy out for one last time around the yard before retiring to her kennel cave for the night. But I was surprised to note that it is 38 degrees.... already. The moon is completely full and so clear it surely sings. I can hear the coyotes voicing their mournful songs way off in the distance and my breath shows itself in little puffs around my face when I sigh. It's going to be a cold one and I once again wish that my mountain boy were home to keep me warm on the first real night of fall.
Because anything left outside will certainly freeze, I quickly shift six pots of important plants that-I-just-couldn't-bear-to-loose, one at a time, into the warm kitchen. If we lived in the city, I'd have to explain my actions to the neighbors the next time I bumped into them. I'd have to tell them how I had several important plants that-I-just-couldn't-bear-to-loose on the porch that wouldn't make the night and they all had to come into the house at almost midnight. Because I didn't know it was going to freeze, again. So soon in the fall.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Well, this morning as the kids and I made our daily break-neck, crazy-mad-dash out the door for school, I happened to notice a sight that made me stop so fast my coffee sloshed out of my mug.
WHO DID THIS TO MY PUMPKIN?
MY SWEET, ADORABLE PUMPKIN THAT SOMEONE ELSE HAD TO GIVE ME BECAUSE MY OWN PUMPKINS FROZE ON A STINKING COLD MONTANA MORNING....... IN AUGUST!!!!!
Grumble. Snort. Grouch.
Well, guess what! They don't call this season HARVEST SEASON for nothin'! I'm goin'a track down the culprit and hog tie 'em! Or better yet, EAT 'EM!!!
Dang pumpkin eating varmint!
All you squash eaters out there better look out!
I'll be watching...... waiting......
Monday, September 20, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I was waiting in the usual after school pick up spot and the whole truck load just drove by! The sight made the entire neighborhood of walking kids stop in their tracks to gawk as the truck rolled down the street. The mounded up squash looked like a pile of giant orange marbles. Cat eyes rolling around in a blue bed. The sight kind of changed the mood for me.
Suddenly, it is Fall! (Though some would argue that we never actually had a summer.)
I love Autumn. When the mountain boy and I were first married and living in Texas, we came up with a tradition of having a big, elaborate thanksgiving type meal complete with turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, green beans.....the works...... when the day time high temperatures dropped below 80 degrees. We almost always enjoyed the festivities by ourselves because the temps sometimes didn't cool into the 80's until late fall so we had 2 full thanksgiving meals just a few weeks apart. Most of our loved friends and family thought we were crazy. What they didn't know is how my mountain boy suffered in the Texas heat. And the cooling temperatures were a true reason to celebrate. I can vividly remember sitting in a comfortable room chatting with family only to glance at my beloved and notice that he was beet red in the face and was intensely damp around the collar and forehead. He was sweating like a pig. Being from the North West, he just never got used to the humid heat of Texas. He didn't complain about his uncomfortable-ness too much. But his beacon red and perspiration slick face pretty much gave him away. So we thankfully ate turkey in the coolness that was late October/ November (I even think I remember eating our "thanksgiving-summer-is-over" meal in December one year)..... very happy indeed.
Anywhoo, it is fall.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Our animal count will be adjusted down by at least 2/3 in a couple of weeks. The turkeys are all pre-sold, the meat rabbits are bartered to a friend for the use of her chicken/ turkey plucker and all of the young roosters are going into the freezer. I'm scouring the local fruit stands for give-away soft fruit and veggies to feed the birds to finish out their plump-ness before harvest. Every thing seems to be so hungry right now. It's good to be able to let the turkeys and chickens into the all-but-dead garden so they can clean up the leavings.
Tomorrow I might be able to actually, maybe, possibly............... go huckleberry picking with friends! Shhhh. If the words gets out it'll rain or the car will break or it will snow or my friends won't be able to go......
Saturday, September 11, 2010
This is how the tomatoes started out: two boxes of red, globes of juice.
And this is what they became: 1 1/2 dozen jars of canned tomatoes that will keep in the down stairs pantry until they are required for chili, or soup, or pizza sauce.
(This is the way my kitchen looks right now- 12 loaves of discount bread that needs to go into the chest freezer, dehydrating Swiss chard, a bowl of yet unused tomatoes- 6 of which will be turned into tomorrow nights supper: stuffed peppers.)
Friday, September 10, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
It's the height of harvest season, there are TONS of things going on here at the farm, and I can't seem to get to the computer to chatter about any of it!
Plus I recently hurt my back.
The hurt back is nothing new. Being a tall person (5'11" on a good day) and a long time ER nurse (who preaches more on back safety than she has practiced) has put my lower back at risk for muscle injury. And so it goes.....when I really need to be at my peak so I can pick mountains of green beans (that my good friend has offered from her garden since mine froze out a couple of weeks ago) or grate leg-long zucchini (which another good friend has offered since mine froze out a couple of weeks ago) or begin canning 3 sinks full of juice-running-down-your-arm-ripe tomatoes, I have to "take it easy" and "don't stress until your back feels better". Plus the kids went back to school and I have no one to boss around, I mean to help me get the harvest in.
Hopefully I'll only have to "rest" until the week end. I have too much to do!
So I've resigned myself to just post pictures of the farm "goings-on" (is that a word?) with small amounts of commentary as I can get to them. Then as Fall comes full on, and the rabid food preservation for the winter has slowed, and my back it completely better (this time) I'll be able to actually share what has been happening. It'll be mostly retro but maybe nobody will notice?
Gotta go for now.....
Gotta lay on that dang hot pad. My back hurts.....