Saturday, March 29

Growing Your Own Garlic

Growing, Harvesting and Storing Garlic
It’s the end of March and I have the worst case of cabin fever I have ever experienced. We've had an unusually hard long winter here in Ohio, and all across the Midwest, with temperatures remaining well below freezing and even well below zero for long extended periods of time, ugh.  Usually our snow melts after a few days, but not this year. 
Gardening and seed catalogs are arriving in my mailbox nearly every week.  But most days, it’s almost too cold to walk down the lane to the mail box!
I am already planning the lay out of the vegetable garden and what I need to plant, one of which is garlic. We love garlic and I use it in many recipes and dishes.

Thursday, March 20

St. Augustine, Florida

What To See And Do In St. Augustine, Florida

We have taken a few trips to this beautiful little city.  I hope this blog post might help if you were thinking about St. Augustine as a vacation destination.  There is something for everyone in St. Augustine including beaches, historical sites, dining, lighthouses, parks, fishing charters, beautiful sunsets, alligators and shopping to name a few. 

The best way to see the downtown area is on foot but the kids really enjoyed renting bikes for the day and exploring all the back alleys, narrow roads and waterfronts.

We’re from the north so the best time for us to visit is anytime from Christmas until Spring Break, when in Ohio there is snow on the ground and howling winds.  It makes the sunny 80 degree days in Florida seem like heaven.

Thursday, March 13

Irish Colcannon

My Twist On An Old Favorite

It’s March and nearly St. Patrick’s Day.  For our March book club we're reading Angela’s Ashes, which discusses food a lot, including cabbage and potatoes.  (Or more, the lack of them).

Although my family enjoys this dish throughout the year, its most commonly associated with St. Patrick’s Day.  Colcannon is a unique and simple potato dish and is unmistakably an Irish comfort food.
It traditionally includes green cabbage mixed with hot, floury mashed potatoes and butter. Let’s not forget the butter.  Potatoes came to Ireland from South America, and by 1688, they had become a staple of the Irish diet.

Tuesday, March 11

Goat Birthing

Our First Goat Birth At The Farm:
We have 2 Saanen does and one Alpine buck to use for personal small scale milk production.  One of my Saanens, Miss Claudia Milkmouth was pregnant and nearly due so I was keeping a closer eye on her than normal.
Her udder had swollen in the last few days and she appeared thinner as her flanks had become sunken. Just as in humans, this happens due to the relaxation of the pelvic muscles in order to facilitate birth.

This morning was typical, with me making the normal rounds, doing the farm chores.  Usually the goats rush the door in anticipation of feeding times but this morning Claudia held back.  She seemed a little lethargic and did not attempt to eat.

I continued with the chores, periodically checking on Claudia and noticed a little while later her standing under a pine tree in a slightly squatting position.  I have had children, and distinctly remember the pressure and urge to push, which seemed to be what she was doing.

Pretty sure she was in labor; I called my husband Bill down to the barn to help me get her into a prepared birthing stall.

Friday, March 7

Cherry Brandy (Visinata)

Bottled and ready to serve
Easy Homemade Cherry Brandy (Visinata)
Vişinată is a Romanian homemade alcoholic beverage made from sour cherries, and since it is homemade, there really is no "official" recipe for it.
This sipping drink is traditionally drank on Christmas morning.

This is a drink I share with friends and family during the fall and winter holidays.  It has a very smooth pleasant taste equally enjoyed by people who enjoy dry wine or people who enjoy sweet wine.

Just a word of caution:  This is a very smooth drink and sometimes is mistakenly thought to have a low alcohol content.  The women at our Crafting Circle Christmas Party got a “snoot full”, as my mother used to say.  There was much singing, gaiety and shenanigans needless to say.

Tuesday, March 4

St Patty's Day Cookies

Mint Sugar Cookies with Green Icing
March 17th, St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner.  
We celebrate by dressing in green for the day and going to The St. Patrick's Day parade in our area.
I always have a pot of Corned Beef and Cabbage waiting for us when we return home.  And even the desserts are decorated with green this time of year!

This cookie starts with a delicious sugar cookie recipe; add mint chips and a wee touch of mint extract.  Finish with a green glaze icing for St. Patrick’s Day treat.