Monday, June 25, 2012

Old Sol cooked my dinner tonight.

This is my new sun oven. I have wanted one for a while. There is nothing I like better than a new gadget or gizmo. I thought this would be good to have in case of an emergency, not to mention the fact that I don't heat the kitchen up on hot sunny days. You can do everything but fry in it. Around noon today I put together a chicken dish that had tomatoes, red wine, greek olvies and other good thing in my dutch oven. I had set the oven out about 30 minutes earlier. When I went to put the casserole in the interior had reached 350 degrees! Two hours later I had something delicious and piping hot. Next I put in garlic rolls and let them bake. Since I also made a jar of sun tea, with the exception of the pasta that I cooked on the stove, everything was cooked by passive solar energy. Isn't that just the coolest thing?You can even cook a turkey in it! And as long as the sun is shining, you can even cook in it in the winter. In fact, the Sun Oven has been used as base camp on Mt. Everest! I can't wait to try other things out now and with the temps we are supposed to have this week, I should have ample chances.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

She's Crowing!

This is Blanca. Well it was Blanca. Turns out she's a he. My neighbor, who is much more informed regarding poultry than I am informed me a few weeks ago that four of my ten birds were male. Never mind that they came out of the pullet brooder, I got me some boys. She/he started with his adolescent crowing a few days ago. It was definitly croaky and uncontrolled. But in just a few short days it has changed. Now my bird puffs out his chest, ruffles his neck feathers and bursts out with operatic finesse that any baritone couldn't help but envy. Guess I will re-name ny beautiful white chicken, Blanco. If my daughter is correct that is the masculine form for the word white in Spanish. Whatever, I just like it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

See what I got today?

It's my birthday gift from a very dear friend. No, it's not my birthday. That was in April. Months ago my friend was visiting us at the farm and spied this old chair in what used to be a blacksmith shop on our property. She asked if she could have it because she had an idea for a birthday gift for me. Of course I said yes. I knew anything she made would be  beautiful and was more than willing to wait as long as it would take.

I worked out in the sun today and being a total wimp when it comes to Summer I got a headache and had come home to cool off and crawl between my icy cold sheets with the fan blowing on me hoping to nap that ache away. The phone rang and it was my friend saying she was on her way with my present. I jumped up and combed my hair and had the iced tea waiting when she arrived. And my oh my! Isn't my gift beautiful? I am going to put a solar tea light in that sweet little lantern. I have a thousand places I want to put it and will probably move around several times before deciding on a home. I love belated birthday gifts.!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Brittainy came over this evening with Hilary and Hudson to pick blackberries. Our little farm is covered in wild blackberries and raspberries. It was hot and within minutes we were all drenched in sweat. Hudson went at it full throttle. He plunged right into the brambles saying, "Ow! Ow! Ow!" picking berries and cramming them in his mouth as fast as he could. Within minutes his face and hands were berry-stained. See the bit of raspberry on his nose? He thought it was a booger and he is trying to get it off. Hilary, on the other hand, was a tad more careful, donning leather gloves and mostly just holding the bag and pointing out the plumpest fruit to us pickers. She really didn't want to get into the fray. She was not nearly as sweaty or sticky as the rest of us at the end of our picking session. I think it is going to be a good season. We have already picked several quarts and just last week tucked into a delicous cobbler. In case anyone else would like to enjoy a fruit studded pastry, I thought I would share my recipe. It is super easy and super good!

Blackberry Cobbler
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c plus 2T sugar
1 c water
1 1/2c self-rising flour (I like White Lily)
1/2 c butter
1/3 c milk
2 c blackberries

Place melted butter in a 9x9 baking dish. In a saucepan, heat sugar and water until sugar dissolves, set aside. In a separate bowl, cut flour and butter together until coarse c rumbs forms. This is much easier in a food processor. Add milk and stir until dough leaves sides of bowl. Roll out into a rectangle. Spread dough with berries, and roll up jelly-roll style. Cut into 1-1/2 inch slices. Place in pan on top of melted butter. Pour the sugar water over all. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Return to oven for a few minutes. Serves 4 to 6.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's Dad's Day and so I thought I would share a favorite memory of my daddy. I don't think anyone loved life as much as he did and he was always trying to make life good for those around him. There was nothing he liked better than a road trip. As a child, I thought our road trips were just a spur of the moment event. Of course, that wasn't true. Daddy always had it planned. He just didn't tell us until it was time to get in the car.

I will never forget our first roadtrip to California. Talk about brave. One man, five females.No video games or personal DVD players then. Mama (who did not love roadtrips as much as Daddy) in the front seat with my youngest sister in the middle. My memory of her is all the way from Missouri to California, she wore a carcoat with the hood tied tight under her chin. In those days, if your car had air conditioning all the vents were in the front and in order to keep the occupants of the backseat cool. it was all vents full blast. She was a scrawny little thing and I guess that coat kept her from turning fifty shades of blue from the freon-laced air. In the backseat was my big sister and her best friend. Daddy was smart and he knew that if you wanted to keep a teenage girl happy, bring another teengirl. I sat between them. Being the days before seatbelts, I sometimes stretched out in the backglass watching the world from a backward point of view. But mostly I sat perched on the edge of my seat right behind Daddy and asked question after question after question. All the way from Missouri to California and back again. And every question I asked, Daddy answered. Mama wasn't too happy with me and when she could take no more, "Why? What? How?" would "slip me a micky" as they say. It was some sort of little green pill that made me conk out. On my sister's lap. Drool and all. Gosh! How did she do it? I guess she preferred the drool to all the chatter.

What memories we made! Every night Daddy would pull into a "tourist court" as he called them that had a swimming pool so that we could play in the water. I suspect he was hoping we would work off some energy after sitting in the car all day. We would have dinner in the attached restaurant, go to bed, eat breakfast in the same restaurant, and pile in the car for another day of seeing America. This had to be an extravagance for a man who made his living as a farmer and I guess Daddy had determined beforehand the way to save money was to provide our daily noon meal himself. Everyday at noon he would find a picnic area or a nice scenic pull-off, get out, pop the trunk and make our lunch. It was Vienna sausage and crackers. Everyday. Those little pink cylinders of who-knows-what made their appearance from Missouri to California and then back. He must of bought cases and cases of the things.  I think it is a testament to the fun we had that I really don't remember anyone fussing too much about the repetitious nature of our noon-time meal. But I don't think anyone in my family is overly fond of Vienna sausage. I admit to having a few cans in my emergency stash of canned goods, but who am I kidding? The only way I am gonna eat those wiggly little things is if I find myself trapped in a bunker and none of those little green pills to lull me to sleep.