What do you mean you can’t read that! This is the recipe my mother wrote into my recipe book years ago, before she died. Well, obviously Before she died, I mean, if she had written it After she had died this would be a very different story!! Anyway, this was before cell phones and computers in homes and milk in cartons and granola bars in crinkly packages.
She devised this recipe to encourage us kids to eat raw foods. Hence the cornflakes (very tricky cover). And I am willing to bet that she never made it the same way twice. This is a stand out favourite for my kids. And you can stuff it full of good dried food!
Mum obviously used the first pen that came to hand. Faded green (sigh) So I shall interpret. She always wrote important stuff in capitals. So I shall too. Please excuse me if it sounds like I am shouting the recipe at you.
(In a pot)
BOIL HARD TOGETHER FOR 4 – 5 MINUTES
Mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl, I took out the sesame seeds and added walnut and flax seeds. Then boil the butter and sugar mixture until it begins to pull away from the sides. Be careful or you really will have toffee. We boiled and stirred for 4 minutes. The Matriarch made the mistake of stepping through the door at this very moment and very kindly took over the stirring as it needs to be continuously stirred, and I still had the floor covered in grocery bags.
Then quickly pour the hot mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well. Work fast as it is setting. While it is still hot pour into a pie dish (Mum used to make this in a roasting dish, as she did with most things, after all there were quite a few of us) and pat firmly into place, keep patting and pushing firmly as it hardens, flattening with a spoon and then pop into the fridge.
Cut into small slices when co;d. This lives in the fridge until it is all gone. Which will be very soon!
Now the rule is: (this is not a silly rule!) When the children are doing the cutting and dividing – one cuts and the others choose. So the cutter makes sure that all portions are exactly the same. Getting to have the last slice does that to a person!!
A shot of The Farmy last night as we walked away from the sunset. This weather is a gift. Lovely walks. We are getting so far ahead on our winter jobs. Stalker’s Garden has new raised beds. The calves have a new fence (they are not impressed). A new guttering spout has been installed for another rainwater barrel (every garden needs one). There has been Thinking done about the pig sty, maintenance on the barn (doors that open and shut, with new Daisy safe latches)and Our John has even begun to sow a few seeds for the vege garden. I know, I know, far too early, but there is no stopping the man, he does this every year!
You see we have had such lovely crunchy frosts the last few days and I decided last night, in all my wisdom, that this morning I would get out the macro and slither across the freezing ground and shoot through the frosted garden into the glow of a rising sun.
So instead I have posted a few of yesterdays research shots, as I try to track down a more relevant and more period shade of the Old Red Barn. It is an interesting study. So far it appears to me that the romantic notion of the Red Barn is not really historically correct. Density, materials, location – there are many mitigating factors. And at what period in the aging (though I would rather say progression) of this colour should we point and say -that one. That red is correct. But I am sure so far that The Red Barn should really be a much warmer colour. Though I do not know its name. Describing a colour is a little like describing the sound of a banana. We all use different visual references.
But definitely Not the heavy, blemishfree, built to last, break your eyes Red of the modern claddings. The Old Red barn was much more organic and restful I think. More of a wash that soaked the wood, rather than covering it. It had umber in it and iron and a sunburnt orange, I don’t know. More research needed.
“So.. TonTon I cannot play with your ball from in here! Think about what you are doing! Mia stop that, stop jumping! Wait.” I said to the little man. “Mia, Get OUT of the chook house. I have got to fix this door. Stop that, this is a phone not a toy. Listen” I said to the little man, as Moaning Mia and I finally get through the chook house door with the eggs intact and the phone back to my ear. “I have called to ask you why my internet is so murderously slow. And you tell me I am garroted. Mia get down! Go find your kitty.”
“Throttled back Ma’am. Is Mia your Dog?”
“No” I told him “she is a very BAD SHEEP!” Mia is finally quiet. Sullenly chewing on my jacket pocket. “Now, please explain to me in tiny words why the little man on the internet bicycle is pedalling so bloody slowly. ” I sit down on a big rock in the field, in the afternoon winter sun.
“Oh.” The little man on the other end of the phone rallies. “Well ma’am you have used up all your gigabytes. So you get slowed right down. Throttled.”
“More like nibbles then aren’t they. (silence) Well what do I tell my people? I can’t tell them anything can I. I can’t read their pages, or download their pictures. AAH! (girlie scream.) Hairy don’t sneak up on me like that!”
“I’m sorry? Are you OK?”
“My ram, Hairy Maclairy. Just tiptoed up beside me and stuck his nose in my face. No manners. Hairy back up, you are making me nervous. But My readers, my people, they are waiting to hear about my bees! And I can’t even load an image. Or answer my comments. Or comment on their pages. I write a blog about my little farmy. ”
“You have bees?”
“What is the name of your blog?”
“The Kitchens Garden.”
“Cool. Well, the good news is that your next round starts on the 8th. That’s in two days. So I will go and check out your blog on Sunday then?”
” Well that is good news. Thank you. Ok I have to move, I am being mobbed. See you Sunday then.”
I am pleased. All is not lost. The little man on the internet bicycle sighs with relief and forgets to try and sell me a better package. He thanks me very much for my time, wishes me luck with the animals and goes back to putting the brakes on me for two more days.
And so to the bees.
Two of the hives including the Blog hive seem to be doing OK.In the warm weather they have been tolling their bells and bringing out their dead. A certain amount of attrition is normal. Bees do not have very long lives. You can see in the centre of this shot a healthy housekeeper bee dragging out one of the dead ones and dumping it over the side.
Except for this hive who had so many dead that both their entrances were blocked with bee bodies. I cleared them with a stick. Not good. This was always the weak hive. It is still heavy with honey so I can only assume that they broke ranks on those warm days and were not fast enough at cuddling back together when that flash of very cold weather hit us. For bees there is safety in numbers as they wait out the winter. Big numbers are best.
I have put protein patties into the tops of all the hives. But this is an instance when I do wish that the weather would stay cold (but not too cold) and constant.
When farming we have to take the good with the bad. Sometimes everything you do is not enough. Mother nature is a big part of the equation. So I will order a new Queen and possibly another brood of bees as well and in the spring we will strengthen this hive with some newcomers.
Our John reckons that this beer looks like something they might drink in The Hobbit! But I have not been the mad scientist again. If you look closely you will see the tree hut!
It was so beautiful and warm yesterday evening that TonTon and the cats and I sat out on the verandah.
We had a cold beer and watched the sun go down.
I will be loading a few more of last summer’s garden pages onto the FACEBOOK Page every day or so. The Kitchen’s Garden Project FaceBook Page is all about gardens, sharing gardens, helping our neighbours build their gardens and the food and friendship that gardens grow. So if YOU have any vegetable garden pictures, old or new. Or posts you wrote that would interest us all, or books you have read, please feel free to put them up on the page as well. Let me know in the comments, or email, with the link or I will pop your name in as an administrator if you want to post ideas and tips frequently. This is a community page!
Don’t forget to press LIKE here and on the FB page. We need to get the word out that gardens are cool.
The sun is rising. It is going to be another beautiful warm day. But there are dangers for the bees in this fluctuating weather so I am going to work with them a bit today. I will update you on how the bees are tomorrow.
The whole farmy has turned camera shy all of a sudden. Yesterday afternoon TonTon and I took the camera on our rounds, but the sun fell in behind massive clouds, the light dropped and no-one would co-operate. TonTon hoped to see a decent Play Cat-Fight , but even Thing Two was totally lacking in interest.
Oh no. I touched Thing Two’s face. I didn’t mean it! I didn’t mean it ! I forgot The Rule! I’m just a little kitty. How am I supposed to – NO! Not the bottom! Don’t sit on me. Sitting on top of Kitty’s is mean…. aahh, I can’t breathe.
Help Me. Miss C. Help me. (gasp) He says he is going to sit on me until I learn to behave myself. What does that mean? Miss C. How do I do the behave thing!? Help me! I can’t breathe. Help! Ok I’ll be good. Get off. I’ll be good. I promise!”
Mary’s cat has promised to be good. From now on, when the Farmy is having a quiet day, he is going to be gentle and sweet. We’ll see.
Then this morning at dawn, as the cats, dogs and I went out to feed the cows, chooks and sheep we saw this: Through the window of the truck.
This is going to sound really weird but stay with me. We made a drink out of milk, vodka and oranges. It is a very old drink. Possibly Eastern European. Possibly made by a very desperate alcoholic who had nothing but vodka, milk and an old orange in the house. And time. But not a lot of time. Sound familiar. This may jog a memory from one of you and we can trace it a little further.
Our John found this recipe in Gizmodo/Gadget Guide/David Leite. It might be called Pieninis Krupnikas or something very close to that. Anyway even with its origins unknown we thought we would give this a try. John forbade me from blogging it then as he was convinced that is would be hideous and possibly life threatening even blinding but there you are. You gotta do what ya gotta do! (Who said that anyway? Was that Whatsisname the guy with the hat and the gun?)
OK. Pay attention. Trust the Milk!
Panicking yet? I have to say that as Our John read the recipe and I chopped and poured and stirred I had misgivings. Now the recipe said that this will go all kinds of nasty. But ours did not. Maybe because the milk was freshly milked. But it did not curdle.
On the tenth day, (above) it still looked and smelt fresh and good, we strained the fruit out through a colander. (I debated about giving the leftover fruit to the chooks, just for the entertainment, but they missed out, as I did not want drunk eggs!). Then I strained it through a cheesecloth that then dripped through a coffee filter. Then we bottled the clear liquid. Later we poured a little over ice. Clink. Hope you don’t go blind. Oh well. And wow. It is OK and I can still see.
I will give you the Scent Bar Codes: Thick (Big Hits): fresh oranges, cream. Thin (Slim Hints): lemon, the white of a boiled egg (well you asked), and something green, I cannot put my finger on it, maybe cucumber leaves or borage flowers. It is a little reminiscent of limoncello. Summery. Anyway it is really good. But a new taste. No blindness.( Always a bonus.)
Next time I am making it with honey, just to see if that will add a zing. Soon the fresh milk supply will be gone, as the cow down the road dries up for the winter. The next fresh milk we will get will be Daisy’s if all goes well. So I will make another batch then.
This morning is just below freezing, so it is not too bad outside at all. The dawn is almost here, time for me to get busy. Have a great day.
Maybe we will do a walkabout on the Farmy tomorrow. Have a catch up!
This morning is 9F (minus 12 C). Clear and cruely cold. All the animals are fed and watered and I have opened all the barn doors as the sun is shining. A juxtapostition of the senses that I could not hang in a gallery. It is a stunning, fiercely cold, bright and sunny day. But no wind – no wind is good.
I took my hammer with me today to break the ice and as we rushed about doing the chores my face burning with freeze, I kept saying to the animals ‘ The cold is only relative, after minus 10 it is just more cold not colder.’ They weren’t even cold. Just hungry.
No pausing to watch the golden sunrise filter through the cracks in the barn this morning.
Back inside and all is well now. Here is a tip to remember on these below freezing mornings. If your hand is wet from the dish cloth and you have to quickly pop outside to grab a piece of wood for the fire, DO NOT grab the metal door handle with your wet hand on the way back in. Your hand will stick to the metal door handle. I hate that and I NEVER LEARN!
OK. Yesterday we bottled appler cider vinegar. This is How to Make Raw Apple Cider whilst pretending that this is what you wanted to make all along.
Take the bottles of home made apple cider (before we switched to pear cider) and put them in the basement then forget about them for a year. Then take the top off one, cover with a cloth and forget about it again for another year.
Then rediscover it when searching for a bottle of apple cider in the basement. As you remember that the apple cider was so horrible that you left a jar open just in case it decided to turn itself into vinegar. It being half way there already.
If you want to know how to make really GOOD apple cider vinegar on purpose, go and visit Ms Misks. Hers looks sharp and delicate. Her vinegar is so educated it keeps a diary.
Now I am going to fry up a couple of those eggs I collected this morning. The chooks are laying again did I tell you? My old people are pleased. They miss their good eggs.
This morning, I have discovered that if you have a sneezing fit out in the barn in that kind of cold you get a really sore throat. TonTon and I feed out the hay to the sheep and cows. I have discovered this morning how very annoying it is when a big fat cow knocks the cord out of her outside heated water trough. I have to take both pairs of gloves off so I can get a grip, and climb up onto the frozen trough in icy gumboots with a mixture of snow and cow breathing down my neck, holding the cord, then reach back into the barn to plug it back in. After repeated and very satisfying bashing of the ice with a cement brick (first blunt instrument I could see) and then a couple of buckets of hot water lugged over from the house, poor old Daisy watching closely, she was able to get a drink. Good girl, Daisy.
Then I see that I have forgotten to even plug in the sheep’s water, Mama sighs with her mouth full. More bashing of ice and lugging of warm water but on a smaller scale. Then TonTon and I, carrying a bucket each, our eyes squinting against the snow flakes that look pretty from Inside the house, walk across the field fighting the icy snow laden wind to the Chook House. Hmm. We discover that the gale force winds last night broke their storm door. It is swinging and crashing on us as we struggle in. But maybe we will deal with that one later. I have a collection of old doors in the rat-house. We feed and water the chickens and collect the eggs before they freeze solid. On the way out, I smack the door a few times with a lump of firewood so that it at least closes over the interior screen door, kick a couple of cement bricks free from the frozen ground and lean them on the door to keep it closed. Good enough. I have been out here over an hour. I am very cold now.
I have discovered that the pain in your toes and fingers goes away after a while outside, but when you come back inside your face does not work very well, so it sounds like you have had a stroke. Which is kind of funny but not really.
I also discovered that with a little more light the camera can see the snowflakes too. Much more fun from the verandah on our way back inside. Though for the moment snowflakes have lost their charm. They are not as soft as they look. Flake is a misnomer. But now for a hot cup of coffee. Really Hot.
You know how only YESTERDAY Daisy promised not to head butt Hairy in 2012? Well it was still 2011 yesterday. We were working in the barn unearthing the 1953 Dodge. It will be my asparagus truck for the spring, I am going to park it at the end of the track and sell my fresh asparagus from it. As you can see it needs a wee clean up and well, getting it running would be useful too, so this is Winter Work for Our John. So off to the workshop it goes.
There was a muck around with pens, we had to open the big doors and get the truck out, this resulted in the calves (Queenie and Baby Bobby) being momentarily stored in the pen where Daisy and Hairy hang out. They got into a tussle, there was confusion and the next thing you know Hairy Maclairy had bright red blood pouring down his face.
So I went in with the broom (I must get myself a shepherds crook, sticks are so useful for directing animals around, a stick with a Hook would be fantastic) Queenie and Baby Bobby were shooed back into the back pen. I narrowed my eyes at Daisy who just looked innocent and with a flick of my yellow broom dispatched Hairy into the corridor pen. Then sent Daisy to her room to Think about What She had Done!
Within seconds we could see that the entire horn was gone. Broken off at skull level. Thank Goodness the bleeding had stopped as fast as it has started. We sprayed the site with iodine. He is such a good ram. He munched away on hay quietly for a few hours, seemed no worse for wear and then I put him back in with Mama. Where he proceeded to finish off her hay as well.
This horn, pictured below has always been a bother. He had his horns removed as a young animal but this one grew back. Though it grew as slowly as a glacier, at least twice a year John had to hold his head while I hacksawed it down a bit to keep it out of his eye. Never too much because we did not want it to bleed. It is dicey for a sheep to have the horn amputated when they are older, without using heat, as there are blood vessels in the actual horn. However very luckily he seems to have survived his surprise surgery without harm.
The other reason that we are taking the truck out is that it was stored where the two new pens are going to be built. The Winter Work list is rather long. In fact I am only revealing it to Our John in stages, so as not to risk a mutiny.
The Pig Pen will be built inside where it is dark and cool for sleeping and they will have a corridor to their outside yard where the paddling pool and their food and toilet will be. Then another larger pen for larger animals.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!