Monday, February 27

Sugaring or Tapping Maple Trees

Making Syrup From Maple Trees
I am so excited about having the baby chicks, that the other morning I decided to walk across the street and tell our neighbors. Rachel and Tad have 5 beautiful children they are home schooling, so I thought seeing and holding the chicks would be fun and educational for them.

After inviting Rachel and the kids over to see the chicks and then staying to talk for a few minutes, Rachel said” oh, I have something for you, homemade maple syrup.”
Rachel handed me a pint of golden brown syrup and she and the kids took me outside to see the maple tree taps and to watch the sap dripping into buckets.
I got really excited because I realized we have many maple trees in our own yard!

I hurried home and after scouting out which trees I was sure were maple trees, I started doing an internet search.
I goggled how to tap the trees, where to purchase the spiles (tree taps) and the whole process of making maple syrup.  I learned that Ohio is ranked in the top 5 states in maple syrup production.

Tuesday, February 21

Starting a Chicken Flock

Saturday February 18, 2012
The Day I Finally Got Chickens

The big day had arrived. Today was the day to go to a farm in Johnstown, Ohio to pick out chicks to start our flock!

I was up by 6am, but I had barely slept the night before. I woke up thinking I should use the old sink base cabinet left over from our bath remodel to keep the new baby chicks in, instead of the small cage my husband Bill and I worked on all evening, converting it into a brooder.
Brooders are used to confine chicks with their feed and water and keep them warm, until they are 6 - 8 weeks old and ready to go outside

I decided I would use the cabinet because it is larger, and I could use old storm windows to cover the top. The old storm windows would not only help keep heat in and keep the cat out, but would also allow me to have a clear view of my chicks.
Bill helped carry the cabinet into the mudroom where I planned to keep the chicks, then we set the storm windows in place and hung the heat lamp.

Saturday, February 11

Valentine's Day Craft Blocks

Easy Valentine Blocks

While looking around Pinterest (I love that site) I came across this idea for Valentine's Day Blocks.  The one pictured seem to be made from blocks cut from 4 x 4's.  I decided to try to make them myself, but I used scrap pieces of 2 x 4's. Click for more Valentine's Day Ideas

Here are the directions for making Valentine's Day blocks:

Needed Supplies: 
1 piece of  2 x 4 wood, (12 to 14 inches long should do it)
straight edge
measuring tape
Paint colors of pink, red, white, grey  and black

Growing Green Onions In Winter

Green Onions 

One of the things I miss most about my summer garden is picking fresh off the vine tomatoes and pulling a few leaves of lettuce to make a fresh salad for lunch or dinner.

Having a little mini garden in the winter appeals to me.

I read somewhere that if I planted the white bulb end part of a green onion (after chopping and adding the green part to whatever it is I'm cooking, of course) it would grow!

Saturday, February 4

Flaky Buttery Buttermilk Biscuits

My biscuits, fresh out of the oven
I found this recipe in a Fine Cooking magazine in 2007.

These are one of the best biscuits I have tasted and are easy to make. 
I love that the butter doesn't need to be chopped on crumbled into the flour. This is so much easier and creates a stronger butter flavored biscuit!

Tips and Suggestions:
I use a Buttermilk Powder from SACO and follow the directions on the container to make the buttermilk.   SACO Cultured Buttermilk Blend can be used in nearly any recipe that calls for liquid buttermilk or soured milk. 

I also use a smaller, round baking dish instead of a sheet, and have the sides of my biscuits touching. 

Cooking the biscuits in a dish lined with parchment paper just makes for a much easier clean-up.

I also use King Arthur Flour and Land of Lakes Butter.  The better the quality of ingredients the better the end product.