Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Winter Arrives

The calendar may say that the first day of winter is December 21st but for us winter arrived last Thursday night. Snow started falling during the night and continued on and off until Sunday. When it was over we had more than 24" on the ground and everything else for that matter.

I know we parked the car around here somewhere.

It took a bit of work with our old tractor, shovels and our neighbor's plow but we eventually had paths between the buildings and the driveway cleared enough to drive out.

Our flock of wild turkeys found themselves trapped here until the driveway and county road was opened up allowing them to head to less snowy locations. We kept them well fed in the five days they were stuck here and they re-paid us with lots of ongoing turkey chatter and a significant amount of turkey poop so the whole area around the house and old cabin smells like a poultry farm. The turkeys even roosted in the surrounding big cottonwood trees at night so they were ready for an early breakfast.

When the sun finally reappeared Tuesday morning the scenes were spectacular. It's been quite awhile since we have had this much snow from one storm system and it is sure welcome. We can only hope this is the start of a good snowy winter.

 Snow on South Brush Creek

You can followup on our winter from this local webcams - KWMV Westcliffe Radio

And on this day before Thanksgiving, we are reminded about how thankful we are for family, friends, and neighbors. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Watercolors: the Mystical Medium

In a departure from my normal blogging, I wanted to use this issue to highlight a very special upcoming event. If you are in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Saturday, December 14th, be sure to take in the art show, Watercolors: The Mystical Medium.

Santa Fe is internationally known for its art community, but this isn't just any art show. My mom now in her 93rd year is having her first art show in a gallery on Canyon Road, the most famous of the Santa Fe art locations.

The show opening will be held at the Canyon Road Art Brokerage and Gallery at 618 Canyon Road from 1 to 3 in the afternoon. The show runs through December 28th. My mom is donating 10% of the sales proceeds to the Heart and Soul Animal Sanctuary.

Check out her website for more of the artwork that will be at the show - . She's an amazing lady and I am so proud of her!

From Fleur Creek Farm

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sourdough Pancakes

Monday through Friday our mornings start with a nice bowl of hot oatmeal. It’s the best oatmeal ever invented but it is still oatmeal. Come Saturday morning we treat ourselves to sourdough pancakes. In the summer I cook them on a cast iron griddle heated on the grill but this time of year it’s on the wood cookstove. 

The pancake recipe is started the day before by mixing together ¾ cup of whole wheat flour, 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed, 1 cup of sourdough starter, 4 ounces of almond milk and 2 ounces of water. This concoction sits on the counter to “fester” until Saturday morning when I add a mixture of 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and a pinch of salt. The interaction of the sourdough acidity and the baking soda causes the whole thing to grow a couple of inches which is my signal to start cooking on the hot griddle. Then we drown the cakes in real maple syrup and enjoy a great breakfast.

Our sourdough starter has been with us for nearly 20 years so it is more of a family member than just a crock living in the back of the refrigerator. To start your own batch is easy. Soak a ½ cup of organic raisins in 1 cup of warm water for 15 minutes at room temperature. The yeast on the outside of the raisins is the basis of the sourdough.  Strain the water off the raisins and follow these instructions:

Day 1 – Add the cup of raisin water to 1 cup of whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon of malt (Bob’s Red Mill malted barley flour), 1 teaspoon of honey. Stir well and keep at room temperature.
Day 2 – Add to the mixture 1 cup of whole wheat flour, ½ teaspoon of malt, 1 teaspoon of honey, ¾ cup of water. Stir well and keep at room temperature.
Day 3 – Add to the mixture 2 cups of whole wheat flour, ½ teaspoon of malt, 1.5 cups of water. Stir well and keep at room temperature.
Day 4 – Add 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 1.5 cups of water to the mix. Stir well and keep at room temperature.
Day 5 – Add 4 cups of flour and 3 cups of water to the mixture. Stir well and keep at room temperature for 4 hours then refrigerate covered. I use plastic wrap secured by a rubber band. 

You may want to keep your crock of sourdough starter in a pan (I use a round cake pan) because it occasionally gets carried away and grows out of the crock.

As you use the starter, you will need to re-feed it. Start by adding 4 parts of flour to 3 parts of water. You’ll get used to using the starter and learn when to feed it and how to adjust the amounts depending on the condition of the starter. Too runny – add more flour; too stiff – add more water.

Of course there are lots more ways to use your starter – biscuits, cakes……… Enjoy!

From Fleur Creek Farm (check out the new website!)