Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Early morning fog

Truth
is the torch that gleams

through the fog


without dispelling it.
Claude Adrien Helvetius


Monday, August 30, 2010

Missing my summer

I know you just read that title and are thinking that it is still summer. Technically speaking it is but, school started here a month ago and summer has really drawn to a close for me. I am missing my summer schedule.


Days where the only person to drive down our small country road would be our mail lady. Days full of blue skies and no schedule. Time to sleep late, hang out with the kids and not have a care.




So, I took some time this weekend to hang out with my #1 pool buddy, Toots.





Also my #2 pool buddy.





And, we can't have a hot, southern afternoon by the pool without Ski in a mason jar and maybe a little Zac Brown to round it all out.



Are any of you missing lazy summer days?




Saturday, August 28, 2010

Homemade vanilla extract

Yes, I decided to make my own vanilla extract.

My husband came into the kitchen and asked me what in the world was I doing with a full bottle of brandy out on the counter. When I told him I was making homemade vanilla extract he apparently thought I had lost it. Not to worry people, I still have it.

I am still lusting over this cookbook written by Chef John D. Folse. I have too many pages marked in the 800+ page book to mention. But, I do intend to get through at least a few of them a month. All of the good recipes/kitchen successes will be mentioned on here, such as this recipe for vanilla extract. All of the others will be buried forever.

Let's get started, shall we?

There are many thoughts on making your own vanilla. Some people think you should use a dark glass bottle and others prefer only using vodka, since it is a neutral flavor that won't mask the vanilla. You can also use brandy or bourbon, but understand that these liquids will impart a bit of their flavor to your extract.

Ingredients:

4 vanilla beans, split, scraped and chopped into 1-inch pieces.
1 pint bourbon, vodka, or brandy




Split and scrape the beans and get out all of that mushy goodness in the middle.



Pour your liquid into a bottle of your choice. I used an old bottle with a cork-based stopper. It is frosted glass, but will sit in a dark corner of my kitchen.




Place vanilla beans and scraping into your bottle of preferred liquid. Place cap on bottle and tighten. Allow to steep 1-6 months, depending on the strength you wish to achieve, longer is better. Shake bottle occasionally to disperse ingredients. It will keep indefinitely. You can continue to add alcohol to the bottle as extract is used. When your mixture has reached idea flavor for cooking, you may strain beans from the liquid using a coffee filter and return extract to the bottle. There is no need to refrigerate.




Mine will sit in this darkish spot, where I can still see it to remember to shake it from time to time. This project took mere minutes and will form an extract with a richer flavor than store bought.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A butterfly feast

We are very fortunate to have several fruit trees on our farm. But, as luck would have it, the most prolific fruit tree is our least favorite. Our pear trees flourish here and I promise we do nothing to encourage that growth. We don't spray our fruit trees and we still end up with a bumper crop. Much more than we can deal with.

Some are eaten, some are shared with friends, some are put on the food plots for the deer, and inevitably some end up on the ground. This year our never ending butterfly population has taken advantage of this.


I don't know where they all came from, but they are beautiful.



They were enjoying themselves.


They were also fairly oblivious to me and all four dogs hanging around.

This is much better than the hornet situation last year.



Saturday, August 21, 2010

Off to the state fair we go

This morning we loaded up the chiclets and headed to the big city. The Kentucky State Fair started a couple of days ago and we felt compelled to attend. You know it is important to expose the kids to all of the wonderful things that our state makes/creates and has to offer. Maybe it was the funnel cake and food-on-a-stick that was calling my name, but my intentions were still good.

I won't lie....the animals are the main attraction for us. Who doesn't love a cute goat-rabbit-chicken-cow? But, we still float through the awesome craft displays and this year I didn't miss the antiques. I am in love with this Hoosier Cabinet and wish that I had a few of these items to place inside mine.


Toots was loving the goats. She had herself turned into a, "Fairy Princess", by some incredibly talented ladies who were face painting.


This chick had just about had enough and was trying to chew her gate open. She could have easily come home with us.


We spent a bit of time checking out the photography. Many talented people submitted work in a variety of categories.

I have to say that the, "Inflatable Colon", was the most unusual thing that we saw during the day. Important to educate the public....yes, but an inflatable colon? Of course Toots had to reach out and touch a polyp.
Seriously.

A good time was had by all and the chiclets fell asleep on the way home.
PTL



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Let's be different

If you want things to be different, perhaps the answer is to become different yourself.
Norman Vincent Peale

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tobacco Time

The chiclets and I have now survived our first week of school. During the early morning drive we have been noticing all of the tobacco wagons on the road.


Several barns are already full of tobacco curing in this high heat.



Side vents on the barn are also open to let in air. Although not the cash crop it used to be for our state, a few farmers in the area are growing it once again.


More high temperatures are in store for us today and tomorrow. However, there is supposed to be a break in the heat next week. It can't come soon enough. Several of my flowers have not tolerated the heat so well, but we have a booming crop of cherry tomatoes.

Friday, August 13, 2010

All you ever wanted to know and a little bit more

I think that I share a lot of wacky things, on this blog, that happen in my life. But Kate, at Southern Belle Simple, gifted me with The Versatile Blogger Award and challenged me to share seven things about myself.

Really?

Seven things about myself that you might not already know/suspect?

Hmmmmmm......




1. I *puffy heart* cheese puffs and could eat an entire bag for a meal. But, I practice restraint.

2. Fall is my favorite season. I love colorful leaves, pumpkins, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.

3. I lived in England as a small child.

4. I have been aboard a submarine, checked out the entire place and used the periscope.

5. I spent a day in a prison and ate in the cafeteria. (Dad, it was part of a Sociology project in college. I was not there for committing a crime, nor was I visiting a boyfriend.)

6. I think rust = character.

7. For me, moving to this small town has contained some of the best/worst/wacky/strange/unbelievable/loving moments of my life and I still love living here.

Now, if any of my readers would like to participate in this then consider yourself TAGGED! Take this award and share seven things about yourself. I would love to read your posts. Let me know in the comments section if you choose to participate.

Also, to all those who read and/or comment on this blog. THANK YOU! I appreciate your comments and taking time out of your day for a visit.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hotter than a........

Seriously, how much longer can this heatwave continue? A 110 degree heat index is predicted for tomorrow. It's so hot I saw two trees fighting over a dog today.
It's hotter than two bears fighting a forest fire.


Hotter than a steel playground at noon.



Hotter here than a billy goat in a pepper patch, I tell you. But, we all know it's not the heat.....it's the humidity.



Saturday, August 7, 2010

The dog days of summer

Look at this handsome couple. The Jack Russell wants to pretend that she doesn't snuggle and love her Lab friend, but that would not be the case. Since Sir Charles, the Lab/Pointer mix, came to live with us over a year ago, he has added much joy and dog hair to our home. How could you not love that face?


I'll tell you how.




This past week the chiclets and myself were driving home from school. Almost home, we were surprised/horrified to see Sir Charles wandering on the small country highway right before our road. I slammed on the brakes and immediately exited the car to grab Charles and put him in the backseat of the caddy. Not that there was much room in the backseat as it was The Deerslayer's turn to ride back there, but we were determined to take him back to the house.

As I try to grab Charles he becomes a little nervous. Hence, he then flattened himself on the asphalt like a pancake. I, the loving dog owner, then bent my poor body into all kinds of positions trying to scrape the nervous dog off the pavement. Although skinny, he is not a lightweight.

As I am doing this my neighbor pulls up behind our car, but does not get too close. He then gets to watch as I finally pick up the dog and try to cram him in the car.....as the dog then does a little sprinkle all over the place.

Seriously.


Later that evening I happened to run into said neighbor at a small town function. He laughed while asking if I had fun wrestling the dog. I have no doubt that he would have put that spectacle on Youtube, if he could.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

We are melllting

We are in for another scorcher today.


In fact we are under a heat advisory for today and tomorrow.



Temps in the upper 90's with a heat index of 106 degrees.





Higher temps are predicted for tomorrow.



Hope everyone is staying cool out there. All dogs and people will be indoors today at the farmette.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Blackberry BBQ Sauce

Once again I am going to share a recipe from the cookbook, The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine, by Chef John D. Folse. I am still combing through all of the 800 + pages and I am sure I will share many more recipes before all is said and done.

The following recipe caught my eye because I love BBQ sauce and it uses ingredients that I readily keep on hand. It is recommended for pork tenderloins, chops, or ribs. I used it for chops and it was wonderful. So, let's get started, shall we?

Blackberry Barbecue Sauce

1/2 cup blackberry preserves
1 1/2 cup ketchup
1/8 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp cane syrup (I used molasses.)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp mustard powder
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh blackberries (I used berries from our farm that I had frozen and thawed.)


In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well.

It comes out a little spicy and I was expecting a little sweetness, but there isn't much. It is still very good.


*Optional Step*

If you would like a dry rub to apply to your pork before grilling use this recipe. I used the dry rub and then applied the Blackberry BBQ Sauce just before my chops were finished.


*Dry Rub*
1 tbsp granulated garlic
2 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp mustard powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tbsp ground paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle pork with mixture and rub in spices. Let rubbed meat sit at least 1 hour in refrigerator before grilling.


Grill pork and apply BBQ sauce just before it is finished.



Excellent!