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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I got the blah's

This winter has been kinda funky to say the least and I have the blahs. Not motivated enough to do much. Too early to start plants here, too wet to plow so here I am. All I do is putter in the house and care for the chickens and Luna and her cats. Gosh yesterday I thought I had lost my Luna. A cousin of mine stopped by to see me and was driving up the driveway. Luna hates strange vehicles pulling in the drive so she was biting at the tires and barking. Somehow she got under the front wheel of the jeep and my cousin ran over her muzzle. Scared the pee out of both of us as she ran off yelping. I called her back to me and she ran up and put her head between my knees as if to say "help me mom". I checked her jaw and head just sure something had to be broke but thankfully she was OK, just scuffed up a lil on her nose. She is a lil sore but otherwise fine. I have been feeding her soft bones that I had froze when I made chicken stock in the fall. I will keep that up for a week or so till she can chew better and is not sore. Sure hate to see my baby and body guard hurt. I was on the front porch when all this happened and she is very protective and probably the reason she was so aggressive with the vehicle.

I went to my ortho doc today and will be going in tomorrow for surgery on my left shoulder and elbow. I am sure it will be a long day. I have to take prophylactic antibiotics due to a suppressed immune system from my arthritis meds. After tomorrow I will be a one arm bandit for a couple weeks till I am able to move the arm. Not looking forward to the pain from surgery but in the long run the pain will be much diminished. But I will only have one hand and may not post for a couple weeks but will do my best to post something soon the let my lovely readers know I am alive.

Needless to say we did not get our peas planted on Valentines day as we usually try to do, just too wet to fix the ground. But soon I am sure that will get done. Not my me of course but Rodger and Jason will get that chore. Rodger is in the process of remodeling the master bathroom. We took out the huge garden tub in there and are gonna build another walk in closet. We need more storage more than we need that big tub. I bet it hasn't had water in it other than to clean and dust in 10 times since we have lived in this house. We were trying to think of a use for the tub and I hit on the idea of a gold fish pond in the herb bed. So we will dig a hole and bury the tub, add a pump to aerate the water and fill'er up. I have alas wanted a water feature in the yard somewhere so I think this is a good chance to have one. That project will get done after mid march after we get the plastic on the green house and get it going and seeds started. Not sure how much of that I will actually do. Most likely I will just supervise that event.
Not much else happening here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It winter and I dont like it

Our weather is finally more like winter time now but I can alas wish spring was closer. Not much happening around the farm right now. I have had several doctor appointments in the past few weeks. None of em bad tho. I did see an ortho doc last week about the intense pain I have had in my left arm for far too long. As it turns out I have a torn rotator cuff and will be having surgery next week to repair the shoulder and to have the tendinitis issue fix with the left elbow at the same time. I tole the doc I only want to pay one insurance co-pay and have one recovery, not 2 different ones. So I see him again on Wednesday next week and have surgery on Thursday. I will sure have to recoup fast as we leave to go see Rob on April 6th. I know by then I wont be 100% but will be better. Really looking forward to getting this over with and then seeing the kids.
I haven't done much the past week to amount to much. At least we did get one side of our bacon sliced and in the freezer. It turned out rather good. I really need to get some baby chicks ordered for meat birds. I am almost out of our homegrown chicken in the freezer at this point. But we do have  a beef coming in a few weeks. We have meat, just not chicken. I still got 4 lil baby ones with 3 mommas running around. They are so dang cute. The mommas have been taking them outside even in this cold weather. When their lil feet get cold they hop up on the hens back to warm up. The moms know when they are too cold an take em back to the building and sit with em.
Today when I talked to my friend Deb she wanted my recipe for rolls. This is for Deb and anyone else who likes good homemade rolls. Although I use this recipe in the bread machine I am sure it can be done with a stand mixer or even by hand. If using a stand mixer or by hand I do think I would add the sugar and powdered milk to the water and then mix in the yeast, then flour butter and salt. in that order as to not kill the yeast.

Yeast rolls

! cup hot tap water, about 110 degrees
2  tablespoons powdered milk
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons soft butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons yeast

In machine, add water, sugar, powdered milk, flour, put salt in one corner, add yeast to middle of flour out of the salt, then put the butter in the corners. Set machine to dough setting and turn it on. When machine stops remove dough and shape as desired , let rise till double, bake at 400 for 10 to 15 minutes till brown on top. Enjoy!!
 You can use the same order of ingredients in stand mixer. Mix for about 5 minutes, let rest for 10 minutes, then knead for about 10 minutes, let rise till double, knock down and shape as desired. Let rise to double and bake as above. 

Also if you use bread machine yeast you will only use 1 1/2 teaspoons of yeast in this recipe. And you will end up with 12 large rolls or 16 smaller ones.

Nothing else happening here on the farm, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Easy low effort meals

I like to cook, but dang once in a while ya just need a break from the stove. Ya really want something ya can stick in the oven and then go back later and take out a nice meal or at least main dish. So that is what I did tonight for supper. I make a dry rub that I like on pork ribs that is also great on chicken or beef. Its really good on any meat and can be varied with the type of braising liquid added. So below is the recipe for the dry rub.

Dry Rub

10 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon each of black pepper, cayenne pepper, old bay seasoning, thyme and onion powder

Mix all the dry ingredients together then rub thawed meat well with it. Put meat in oven bag or pan  Let meat stand for at least 1 hour. For chicken I add about 1 cup of coke cola to the bag or pan, cover tight and put in 300 degree oven for 2 hours. If it cooks longer in oven bag the meat will still be tender and moist.
For pork ribs use the following braising liquid in the pan after the meat has set for an hour.
(I make several batches of this rub at once and store in fridge and use as needed.)

Braising liquid:

1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoons garlic minced

Mix ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Pour over ribs in pan and cover tightly with foil. Put in 300 degree oven for at least 3 hours for meaty thick ribs. If ribs are thinner they may be done in 2 hours. Drain glaze from the pan and put in sauce pan and simmer till it thickens and brush ribs with glaze and run under the broiler till hot and well glazed. Serve hot. So dang good.
This recipe works for pork, beef ribs, pork chops and chicken.
Enjoy!! Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Nothing to see here

That's about the size of it here, absolutely nothing happening here. It is cold and wet out there and I don't do cold and wet. I let the chickens out today to forage and exercise. The momma hens took their lil babies out to scratch and teach them the ropes. Luna decided to charge thru the back yard barking and the hens detoured her real quick. It was funny to see her on the way back, she gave the hens a wide birth not wanting to get attacked again. Some of the lil ones were happy to follow their mom and eat all the treats. Some of em much preferred to stay in the building under their momma. They didn't stay out too long till they were cold and wanted to go back in.

I warned you, this was gonna be boring. But it don't take much to keep me occupied. I can watch lil chicks for hours and just relax.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Great weather to work outside

It was probably 60 degrees outside today and sunny.  Really a great day for working out in the yard. And that is exactly what I did. I managed to weed the strawberry bed that has not been touched since last fall. The plants are still green and growing. We really have not had winter so far to kill them back. I still need to find energy to clean up the onion and asparagus beds, but thas for later. I pulled the few weeds that were in the herbs in the old pyramid bed and pulled about half the weeds in the big herb bed in front of the house. My back cant do it all at once. I have a deer netting little fence around the herb bed to keep cats out and did some repair on the fence. It has been bumped into with car doors and had some tears in it. Its all fixed back and looks a lil better. Still got a good bit of work and cleaning to do in that bed tho. If we don't get rain tomorrow I may try to dig up a small space and sow some lettuce. It would be nice to have fresh lettuce to use along. Beats all to heck buying the stuff in the stores. If I grow my own at least I can choose varieties that have some nutritional value. Not long till it will be time to plant peas, carrots , onions, beets and those kind of cool weather crops.

After supper I made some cookie bars that were easy and quick to make for a snack. The fellows like them pretty well. So I will share the recipe with you.

Toffee Bars

 * 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
    * 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
    * 1 egg yolk
    * 2 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    * 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
    * 2/3 cup finely chopped nuts

Cream butter and brown sugar. Add egg yolk. Add flour and vanilla, and stir until well blended. Spread dough into a greased 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips on top of crust. Allow chocolate to soften, and spread evenly. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and press nuts lightly into chocolate, using the bottom of a glass. Cool, then cut into squares.

I usually line the pan with parchment paper for easy of removal. The crust will be somewhat soft when they are done. No worries. Just put the chips on top and let em melt and spread em. Once the nuts are on and pressed into the chocolate I drag the parchment out of the pan onto the cutting board and let the chocolate set. Then use a pizza cutter to cut the cookies into bars. Simple and tasty.
Not much else happening here so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.