31 October 2010

Happy Halloween!

Halloween has brought with it a return to autumn weather and fine breezes to rattle the leaves still clinging to our trees in the forest. Most of the color has passed now... just the odd tree here and there. (Though our snowball bushes are still green and lush.) We had our first frost two nights ago... a mere 31 degrees around 6 in the morning. The eggplants are due to meet the compost pile today. Two tomatoes, three rosemary plants, a pot of baby horehound, and eight pepper plants are rooming in the greenhouse over the winter. It always seems happier when there are plants living within, which is why it has a (permanent) resident spearmint plant, too.

28 October 2010

Autumn Greenhouse

Well, yesterday was another good day for gardening. A little rain in the morning followed by a warm and bright afternoon. I dug up eight pepper plants and two tomatoes and my friend Judy helped me lug them into the greenhouse where I potted them up for overwintering. This is a technique I read about on a wonderful foodie blog called Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. You can go straight to the pepper post here.

Still no killing frost. We're expecting one tomorrow or Saturday. Guess that means I need to get the door back on the greenhouse.

26 October 2010

Dear Anon.

One third to one half cup of oats. You aren't baking so it's not the least bit exact.

Life on the farm is slowing down nicely. We've been all over God's Green Earth of late so it's a true pleasure to be able to sleep until the roosters crow (7:30 AM) and watch the mist roll into our little holler. The banties and Sal are gifting us two or three little eggs a day. I can't tell if the big girls are laying yet. I might have to trim their wings and confine them to the run to force their bluff. Someone told me to confine them until late morning then let them out so they'll run to their nests. ... But I notice the banties prefer to lay in the late afternoon so that might not work. So much for what the experts say!

22 October 2010

What's Cookin? ... Oatmeal

I'm reviving my occasional series of recipes for my old friend JCL from another blog. So they are all here (all the ones worth eating, anyway) I'll occasionally cheat and import an old one... like my oatmeal recipe.

It's confession time. I hated all cooked cereals right up until I lived in Scotland. Even in summer, Scotland is cold and a bowl of hot, creamy oatmeal in the morning does more to keep a body warm than any volume of hot tea. Unfortunately, Americans can't buy truly fresh porridge oats. Our choices, even the imported varieties, need an extra whollop of help.

When buying oats for porridge, buy the brand that most looks like a 'meal.' It should look like coarsely ground grain, not flakes or hard little chunklets. (Those have other uses.) Our favorite variety is Bob's Red Mill Scottish Oatmeal which is the real deal; stone ground in a real water mill. I'm still trying to find out whose. (I have my suspicions!)

The following recipe is as good for dinner on a lazy evening as it is for breakfast on a cold morning. You will not feel snackey after even a small bowl!

1 cup oatmeal
3 cups water
pinch salt
flax seeds
dried cherries

Into a 1 1/2 quart sized pot, place your carefully measured oats and a three-fingered pinch of salt. Now take a big handful of walnuts and break them up a bit. Toss into the pot. Throw in the same volume of raisins but be sure they aren't just a big lump. Measure your flax by thinly covering the surface of the oats. Finally, add cold water. Turn the heat on under your ugly gruel. Medium-low is best. Never stop stirring... slowly... until your oatmeal is thickened. Oats are done when the bubbles are thick and leave a hole when they pop.

Do not believe the package when it says to add oats to boiling water. You will spend all your time breaking up lumps and think making good porridge is difficult. Good porridge is brain-dead work.

Now pour into bowls... this makes two large servings or three regular ones... and add sweetener to taste. I like brown sugar or mesquite honey while Mr. Fuzzy likes sorghum molasses. Next, add milk to bring the consistency back to smooth and a bit runny. Finally, top with a handful of dried cherries.

Eat and have a happy tummy!

Variations: Substitute pecans for the walnuts or dried cranberries for the cherries. Or go overboard and use all of the above. If you're able to plan ahead make the Rolls Royce of porridge and soak the oats overnight in 1 1/2 cups milk.

Final tip:
if you've added too much water don't worry. Porridge is one of those foods that was traditionally "kept on the fire." Just keep cooking, gently, until the correct consistency is reached. You almost can't add too much water at the start! If you make too much put it in the fridge, add more water, and cook slowly until it's porridge again.

18 October 2010

Was That a Vacation?

As some of you, dear readers, know the Fuzzys have been traveling again. Mrs Fuzzy attended a small conference in rural Kentucky after delivering Lady Mae to her new owner. From there she stayed with two sets of friends and met up with Mr Fuzzy at Wilderness Road State Park for their fall festival "reenactment." Much (too much?) good food and Much (never too much!) good companionship was had. From there we had two days to reorganize before driving to north Florida to the excruciatingly chi-chi Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island Resort Hotel for a conference Mr. Fuzzy was attending. For now, let us say that we have both come away with the feeling that the super wealthy have no clue about the world.

Now we are home. The chickens are still laying. Life bodes well except for some potty issues with one or more of the cats. I'll be up to my elbows cleaning for a few days with the big surprise we found in the basement. One of the pitfalls of having a big cat colony is they sometimes get upset with each other and it is we humans who pay the price.

I'm trying to keep a positive outlook..... but it's kinda stinky down there. Maybe you all can encourage Mr. Fuzzy to cook for me all week?

12 October 2010


The hens came "into lay" about 2 weeks ago and we're getting about three a day right now. They're cute little pullet eggs, X Small, but the yolks are bright orange like proper eggs ought to be. Yesterday, I stalked Salvadora, our mini hen, until she laid her egg in the coop and was surprised to discover that hers are the same size as the standard hens'! Sal's eggs are the very palest buff color while the rest are light brown so when someone goes broody I'll be able to select for more Seabrights! They're really neat birds.

05 October 2010

"Sustainable" One Horsepower Motor

These folks are from near London, KY and they've brought back the horse treadmill for powering everything from refrigerators to wood splitters. The horses were in the most incredible shape I've ever seen. Turns out their main clients are veterinary schools and racing stables. The work ratios are, apparently, ideal for even development and rehabilitation.

I'd give you a link but, well, ehm... yeah. Menonite, I think.

04 October 2010

No Place Like Home c. 1810

Blue Ridge Institute
Ferrum College, VA

So what's up with all these pictures by Mrs. Fuzzy instead of windy posts, eh? She's on the road for a bit but wanted to keep you all entertained. Don't you just love how this old cabin looks like a prototype for an emoticon?

Or maybe it's just all in Mrs. Fuzzy's head.

03 October 2010

"Chester? I'm bored."

'Show' horses. Southern Draft Animal Days Ferrum, VA

02 October 2010

Mooove over, I want to take a nap!

Ferrum College, VA

01 October 2010

"Be Polite"

Rufus hears that a lot around food. I don't remember what had been in this pie plate when I told Rufie to "hoover" it but he sure liked it. I think it may have been apple & raisin conserve. Few things rate above sugar, after all.