Day 88 on the Farm: Where are my half-nekkid line-dancing men!?

Growing up I always knew I wanted to live on a farm. Always. The country life just called to me every time our catalogs and magazines arrived in the mail. All those happy, beautiful people enjoying the rural life. That’s what I wanted. I already wore the clothes, now I just needed the setting to complete my look.

Eddie Bauer: purveyor of well-made classic clothing and lies.

I wanted everything that came with farm life. Everything.

Strangely, this actually happens. Sometimes. Ok, mostly on weekends. And never in matching Adirondack furniture… and instead of being on a lawn it is on a trashy Astro Turf back patio. And we don’t have an outside table just yet so the coffee has to stay in our hands or get spilled in our laps as we swat away bugs…And the view isn’t so much a view as it is an attempt to avert our eyes from what the goats are doing…But it happens. Sometimes. On weekends.

I wanted those crisp mornings with chores like feeding baby animals and gathering eggs at dawn, followed by warm drinks on the lawn in matching robin’s egg blue Adirondack patio furniture. What I got was  dew-soaked pants and shoes from walking to the barn and pasture while it is still dark, occasionally twisting my ankle because not only can I not see a darn thing, the ground is uneven. And slippery when wet.

I wanted a horse, Not Exhibitionist Midget Goats.

I wanted horses. Y’know, to frolic with and look pretty. Instead? Instead I got two male pygmy goats who posses the unfortunate talent (or fetish?) of being able to actually suck on their own, uh, parts. Oh, and they hump each other. And everything else. All. The. Time. …Exhibitionist Midget Goats. That’s what I got.

Perverts.

They may look cute…until he starts sucking on his own wanker. These are the eyes of a true, wild pervert, my friends.

Turns out this isn’t such a great way to catch fish.

I wanted to go boating. Without water. In the woods. But there is no boating in the woods; there are no woods. And the only boat is a broken down motorboat the landlord left behind the garage to get fixed “in a couple days” a month ago.

I wanted to take advantage of unexpected resting spots. Instead I got bug bites. Also? Turns out the husband is afraid of bales of hay because “there might be spiders in there”. True story.

I was fascinated by the juxtaposition of expensive clothing and dilapidated buildings.Surely I would look beautiful in a designer ensemble with kicky accessories while returning from feeding the animals in the barn, skirt flowing in the breeze. Instead I got dilapidated buildings alright, and dilapidated clothing from all the tripping in the pasture in the dark before dawn.

I wanted the jaunty skirts with matching cardigan sweaters to feed the chickens in…instead my ankle was pecked to the point of bleeding the one time I tried to wear a skirt to the barn.

oh Madonna, you make it look so nice. And painless.

I wanted the unmowed pasture with a dozen attractive men in various stages of undress, all line-dancing for my personal amusement. Instead I got a 6-year-old screaming that there was a bug on his arm. Seriously. A bug. In a pasture. No. Kidding.

Where are my line-dancing men?!

Where. Are. They.?!

Don’t even get me started on the allergies. Turns out I’m allergic TO GRASS. You know what pastures are made out of? GRASS. I’m living in the epicenter of my own, personal, Chernobyl with bodily fluids leaking uncontrollably from every facial orifice. My eyes are so red and swollen I’m unrecognizable. Pretty, it is not. Sexy, it really is not. Anything like I was lead to believe it would be like from J.Crew, L.L. Bean, Eddie Bauer, Anthropologie or MTV? No. Not even sorta, kinda, a little bit.

…Except for the warm drinks outside after doing morning chores. That happens. Sometimes. On Weekends. Sorta.

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Recipe: Zucchini Bread

If you like your zucchini bread moist and
slightly green, you'll want to increase the amount of
grated zucchini to at least 3 cups.

I. Love.
Zucchini Bread. Love. Love. Love. So I’m excited to make a few
loaves of it today, pop some in the deep freeze, and enjoy a little
bit of summer for a few more weeks. This recipe originates from
A certain cook who remain namelessPaula
Deen
, but has been slightly modified to include
ingredients and tips from Mom’s Zucchini Bread at allrecipes.com.
INGREDIENTS:

  • 3
    1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon
    ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons
    baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon
    ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 cups sugar (try going half
    brown, half white; or reduce sugar by half and add other half as
    applesauce: 1/2c brown sugar, 1/2c white sugar 1 c apple
    sauce)
  • 1 cup vegetable
    oil
  • 4 eggs,
    beaten
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2
    cups grated zucchini (or up to 4cups…yum) DO NOT
    DRAIN.
  • 1 teaspoon lemon
    juice
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
    or pecans (optional)
  • 3tsp vanilla
    (optional)

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350
degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking
soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs,
water, zucchini and lemon juice. Mix wet ingredients into dry, add
nuts and fold in. Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with
nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean.
Alternately, bake in 5 mini loaf pans for about 45
minutes.

Day 68 on the Farm: Dawn

The sky is the color of fresh-cut grapefruit and just-poured orange juice for only a few moments in the morning before it fades to pastels and then blue; fleeting seconds most people spend in bed, the shower, emailing or making breakfast, washing dishes or watching TV, totally oblivious to the passing beauty and wonder outside, totally consumed by their lives, responsibilities and rush to get to the next thing, do the next thing, be the next thing.

But not me.

I get to see the sun rise over the pasture, behind the trees and creek, every morning after putting Logan on the school bus and letting the chickens out of the barn. I get to listen to the birds sing their morning songs, the neighbor’s roosters crow  “hello” to the day. And every day it takes my breath away, distracts me from the rest of the stress in my life, and forces me to be present and thankful for another day.

I am lucky.

Recipe: Homemade egg noodles


When we went to the farmers market this weekend I noticed one of the Amish booths was selling homemade egg noodles.

egg noodles can be cut in to any shape–letters, stars, dinosaurs, pumpkins, hearts, etc. Consider personalizing it to a holiday or season.

Now that sounds like a good idea. Generally egg noodles are awfully bland, weak, and not exactly my favorite thing in the world. But homemade egg noodles? Those would have to be an improvement.

Since we’re approaching autumn at warp speed and have already begun Stew Season in this house (in the last week or two we’ve had Chicken Cacciatore, THE BEST Clam Chowder and Moroccan Spice Chickpea Stew…next up is Baked Potato Soup) I’m planning to make some chicken noodle soup from scratch--and that means I’ll need egg noodles. Also, Logan’s been asking for his favorite Tuna Noodle Casserole–which also calls for egg noodles.

So egg noodles it is.

This recipe apparently comes from everyone’s great-grandmother…but fortunately, it is also posted on allrecipes.com

INGREDIENTS

2.5 cups flour

1 pinch salt

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup milk

1 Tablespoon butter

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, stir together flour and salt. Add beaten egg, milk, butter. Knead dough until smooth, about five minutes. Let rest in a covered bowl for 10 minutes.

On floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 or 1/4 inch thickness, then cut in to desired lengths and shapes.

Allow to air dry before cooking. To air dry, hang noodles on string or hangers.

Cooking fresh pasta is quicker than cooking store bought pasta. To cook, boil salted water in a large pot until al dente.

Recipe: Homemade Egg Rolls (spring rolls)

Now that I know how to make wonton wrappers, I’m on an unstoppable journey to make every recipe that could possibly use them. Tonight’s voyage? Egg rolls.

Pot stickers use a lot of the same ingredients as egg rolls–wonton wrappers, cabbage, ginger root, ground pork, soy sauce–so when I have one on the menu, I make sure and have the other close behind.

This recipe is modified from one at allrecipes.com

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb ground pork

1.5 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp 5-spice (optional)

1 qt Vegetable oil for frying (peanut oil if you’ve got it)

2 TBSP flour

2 TBSP water

3-4 cups  Cole Slaw salad mix (Shredded cabbage and carrots)

2TBSP Soy Sauce

8 (7 inch square) egg roll wrappers

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Season pork with ginger, 5-spice and garlic powder and mix thoroughly. Heat mixture in a medium skillet, stirring, until pork is cooked through and no longer pink. Set aside.
  2. Marinate the carrots/cabbage in soy sauce. Set aside.
  3. In another large skillet heat oil to about 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) or medium high heat. While oil is heating, combine flour and water in a bowl until they form a paste. In a separate bowl combine the cabbage, carrots and reserved pork mixture. Mix all together.
  4. Lay out one egg roll skin with a corner pointed toward you. Place about a 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the cabbage, carrot and pork mixture on egg roll paper and fold corner up over the mixture. Fold left and right corners toward the center and continue to roll. Brush a bit of the flour paste on the final corner to help seal the egg roll.
  5. Place egg rolls into heated oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels or rack. Put on serving plate and top with sesame seeds if desired.

Recipe: Rootbeer Pulled Pork

It dawned on me, after spending $10 for a pound of pulled pork at the farmers market, that I could make a lot more of it for a lot less.

Matt loves pulled pork. I love it when I can make dinner first thing in the morning and then forget about it until Matt gets home. Everybody wins. Except, maybe, for the booth at the farmers market…but that’s OK. With their long lines, something tells me they’re going to be just fine.

This recipe is modified from one at allrecipes.com

INGREDIENTS:

2lbs of a cheap pork cut: Boston Butt, Shoulder, whatever is on sale.

12 fluid ounces of Root Beer. Canned or bottled is fine. Generic is even fine.

18 ounces of your favorite BBQ sauce

Salt, pepper, garlic salt, dried onion for a rub…adjust amounts to taste. (you can skip this part entirely if you want)

buns/bread whatever if you want to make sandwiches…personally, I just eat it plain.

DIRECTIONS:

Rub the pork in the dry ingredients. Cut holes deep in to the pork to allow the fluids and flavors to soak in to the meat. Place the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker; pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily, 6 to 7 hours. Remove MOST (but not all) of the liquid, shred the pork, add BBQ sauce, cook for another hour.