Being an avid vegetable gardener, I was very interested in a program that the local school district is doing to help children learn about food production and preparation. It looks like it was a great success. Go to https://whidbeyschoolgardens.wordpress.com/ to see the results.
We did have a wonderful year for the vegetables. We have been giving lots to the local foodbank and friends. The tomatoes were especially productive and we have definitely eaten our fill. We also have several dozen bottles of various tomato products sitting in the root cellar shelves. The Brussels Sprouts are just ready now as we have just had our first frost (a very late one this year) and now they will be sweeter to eat. The leeks are wonderful too. We will have those fresh all winter.
The gold nugget squashes are sitting safe from mice and rats and we can eat those for the entire winter. They will probably be gone by spring and we must have had about fifty of them. Gave quite a few away too. We like these in particular as they are just the right size for two people. Though I like baked squash, hubbards and their kind are just too big. I have tried baking them and putting them in the freezer, but it is just too much, so we have settled on the gold nugget. They are sweet, very yellow and are also suitable for making pies. I cut them in half and fill with sausage or sausage and cornbread dressing, or just with butter and brown sugar. Yum.
Well the dark days of winter are here and some days I am not sure the sun has even come up. Today we will have sunrise at 7:48 a.m. and sunset at 4:15 p.m. Not a very long day, especially when you almost need flashlights during the day. All the lights are on in the house just to help us stay awake.
I am on my way out to chop firewood again. With this cold snowy weather, we have burned quite a bit of wood to keep warm. Now it is time to warm myself working outdoors splitting it. It is something I have written about previously in this blog and something I do enjoy.
Happy Holidays and keep warm!
Just came in from feeding the animals. It is cold again this morning. It was colder yesterday morning at 22 degrees, which for Western Washington, is cold. Since we have rather high humidity, the cold is more penetrating. For those who live in the mid-west, they probably would consider these temps a heat wave. Ha!
Everything is frozen outside, so the first thing I had to do when getting suited up to meet the weather challenges was to fill a large bucket with very hot water. The doves, the baby chicks and the molting old hens all need to have their waterers unfrozen. I also filled the birdbaths with warm water as the poor wild birds have no place to drink.
We have one baby dove who is just now fending for himself and I was worried that he might not make it through this cold. This morning he is huddled in a corner trying to keep warm as his mother has now abandoned him since he can feed himself. He was fine and jumped right in when the feed was provided.
The ten chicks, which are now two months old, are very hardy, but today I gave them their first cracked corn, which helps warm the chickens from the inside out. The also got fresh bread, which they chased all over their pen. The cold doesn’t seem to faze them.
The old hens, however, felt the cold. Why do they choose to molt just when the weather turns cold. Molting, as I have mentioned in earlier pieces, is the process of losing all their feathers and growing a new set, which means they are not laying any eggs. So we are between eggs with old ones molting and new ones too young yet. I hate buying store eggs.
The plantings in the yard look sad, especially the rhododendrons that lower their leaves as though dead or dying. This is the way they look in the heat of summer when they are in dire need of water. I always hate the look of them in this cold.
I know when things thaw that there will be lots of mud because the frost has pushed up around the stones in all the pathways making crunching noises as I walk out to do the chores.
The advantage to all the trouble above is THE SUN IS SHINING. It is a trade off. If we have sunshine, we have cold weather. If it is in the 40s then it will rain and be grey. Yesterday and this morning, we can bask in its warmth and enjoy the vitamins it gives to us, though begrudgingly in winter. Makes me feel perkier already. Amazing what a little sunshine can do for your mental health.
Guess I will go for a walk and enjoy it. Never know how long it will last.
When we go camping and even at home, I have a batch of homemade biscuit mix in a container in the cupboard. We have waffles, pancakes, muffins, or biscuits at least a couple of times a week and I found having a mix on hand makes the morning’s chores go more quickly. My general mix is for the buttermilk variety. If you want to make the recipe with sweet milk, then leave out the baking soda.
For the batch I make for the RV, I use powdered buttermilk in the mix so all I have to add is water, oil, and for all but the biscuits, eggs. If you want to make scones, add a little sugar. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use a cup of milk with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice added and let it set for a few minutes before adding.
6 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
Shake all these together in an air-tight container and you are ready to go.
If you are camping you can add 1 cup powdered buttermilk to the mix, in which case, you just add water for the liquid. Remember buttermilk needs the soda. Regular sweet milk only needs the baking powder, not the baking soda.
When you are ready to make biscuits, take 2 cups of the mix. Add 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 to 3/4 cup buttermilk (if you are using the camping mix, just add waterand oil). Variations: You can add grated cheese, herbs, red pepper flakes, bacon bits or whatever inspires. If you want to make scones, increase the oil to 1/3 c or substitute butter and add 3 tablespoons of sugar. I like to add white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Any nuts are good, try hazelnuts and when you are ready to eat spread with Nutella. Yum!
For waffles or pancakes, use the same proportions as above, but add a little more liquid (about a cup)to achieve the correct consistency. We like to add nuts to the waffles or bacon bits. Pancakes can have sliced bananas added (if served with peanut butter, Elvis would be happy). Ricotta cheese added to pancakes with a goodly amount of lemon zest shavings makes a great pancake, but plain is good too.
For muffins, line the tins with greased muffin papers or just grease the pan. Mix 2 cups of mix with 1/3 C white or brown sugar, 1/4C vegetable oil, and 1 cup buttermilk mixed with one egg. I like to add dates, cranberries, craisins, nuts, bacon bits, pieces of dried fruit, blueberries, orange zest, lemon zest, vanilla or almond extract, just about anything. I sprinkle them with coarse raw sugar and bake at 400 degrees about 15 minutes. Any of the additions make for great muffins. Serve with lots of butter and jam.
Hopefully you will find this is a great mix to keep for camping or just making your mornings easier. You can make almost any recipe you find on a biscuit mix box, but you need to add oil as the commercial stuff has shortening added. If you add it to your homemade mix, then it needs to be refrigerated. I usually skip that and add it when I am making breakfast.