Saturday, April 30, 2011

One Small Change: Broth and Beans

My One Small Change Goal for this summer is to learn how to make tasty beans and broth from scratch.

As I started this change there were zero cans of beans and a few boxes of chicken broth in my house.

We had roasted a turkey at the end of March so it was time to make my first "real" attempt at Turkey Broth.

I pulled down a couple of cook books.  Of course I started with Martha, but she disappointed me with a few complicated twists and an alternate recipe that started with canned broth.  :-/  So I found a simpler recipe in a book called Chicken.

The recipe called for boiling a whole chicken which I didn't do because I had just roasted a 25 pound turkey.  We cleaned most of the meat off the bones then boiled the bones in water for several hours.  We cleaned the meat off the bones again.  I tossed the bones and added the aromatics, wine and spices that the recipe called for.  Boiled and simmered for a few more hours, filtered out the add-ins, skimmed the fat and reserved the meat for later use.

I corrected the salt and pepper and turned the broth into one Kick-A$$ Matzo Ball Soup.

Ok, I admit it is not any where near as good as Ada's Deli in Chicago, but I made a very respectable Matzo Ball Soup.  It was flavorful but not as clear as I would like it to be.

I also made Baked Beans from Scratch.

These were started with three cups of dried pinto beans and turned into a huge pot of very yummy baked beans.

I soaked the beans overnight, rinsed them a few times and then cooked them on high in a crock pot for about four hours.  The recipe I followed is in Molly Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook.  Very tasty.  I am very pleased.

The One Small Change project has ended.  I've enjoyed being part of a regular focused attempt at improving my impact on this earth.

There are plenty of things for us to continue to work on, so I'm certain we will continue.  I'm just not sure at this point if/when/how I will post about them.

One Small Change

Friday, April 29, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday: Almost There

I had hoped to show you a finished quasi-commissioned project today but I can only show you a nearly-finished-quasi-commissioned project. :-/

I have been working with a thinner section from the first skein of Aspen. Gauge is working well and the color transition is not noticeable in this photo.

I hope you're having a great Friday and be sure to make it better by visiting the lovely Fiberistas over at Fiber Arts Friday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

LGD: Puppy Play Day 2011

Our Tibetan Mastiff Breeder hosted a Puppy Play Day last weekend.

This was the first time our dogs had been in the car for an extended period of time aside from the day they each came home with us.

Noodle was quite interested in what was going on outside.

Where Wonton was not entirely sure she wanted to be in the car and not on someone's lap.

But eventually they both relaxed and enjoyed the ride to their first home.

There were about 15 puppies representing four litters.  They played and they played and they played.

Then they napped.

Our girls found a big stick while everyone else was napping.

Then Wonton's momma joined the party and nap time was over.

It was a really fun day.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Garden: Planting Trees

While the tiny bit of snow we got on Holy Saturday was melted, it was still chilly and overcast on Easter Sunday.

Hubba picked up three small trees that friends had given us.  They actually offered the trees last fall, but with travelling and winter, the trade didn't happen until now.

I'm not entirely sure what variety these trees are, so until I learn better I am calling them a Maple, a Spruce and a Norfolk.

I dug big holes, layered alpaca manure and dirt, made sure the "neck" was above the soil and gave them a long, slow drink of water.

The pine trees had been in pots for quite some time.

I'm hoping I didn't do too much damage to the roots as I separated them from the pots.

I put a fence around each of the new trees in order to protect them from the enthusiastic, teething puppies and the lawn mower that may be used later this week.

The ground was easy to dig, so I am considering picking up a few fruit trees to plant next weekend.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Thoughts on Easter

Yesterday morning, the day before Easter, it was snowing at home in Colorado.

There were several commercials during the morning news advertising spring dresses.  It reminded me that as a child, growing up in the Rocky Mountains, I never understood those advertisements.

We would go to Easter Mass, dressed a little nicer than for normal Mass, but our outfit was always finished off with a pair of worn out snow boots and a heavy coat.  The Easter Egg Hunt always took place in the house and often there was a fire in the fireplace.  I could not understand that people were able to wear spring dresses, white shoes and Easter Bonnets or search for Easter Eggs in a park during this time of year.

Of course now I understand that in some places it is actually warm and spring-like on Easter, but my experience of Easter still includes worn out winter garments.

I hope you had a great weekend full of promise for the new season.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday: Caught Up

When I last wrote about my quasi-commissioned piece I had decided to frog it.  This week, about a month later, I am caught up to where I was when I thought I might start over.

2nd attempt on left, 1st attempt on right
Now, I only have a small number of rounds to go and have run out of yarn again.  :-/  So I finished unraveling the first attempt and am working with a thinner portion of that yarn.

I hope to give you a final view next week.  Don't hold your breath though, because I haven't met any goals related to time or duration on this project what so ever.

Today is Earth Day and Good Friday as well as Fiber Arts Friday.  That's a trifecta of awesome.  I hope you have a great day and I hope you spend some of your day checking in on the other Fiberistas.  :-)

Monday, April 18, 2011

LGD: Footprints

I found this in the pasture while building our new vegetable garden on Sunday...

I guess our girls are getting big. ;-)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Garden Plot

I have mentioned here more than once that I want a vegetable garden.  And finally today, we have a prepared garden space.  :-)

What it looked like this morning.

My awesome neighbor (of plumber sweater fame) broke the ground with his bobcat.

He dug the space to about 8 inches deep then spread the broken ground over the top.

He leveled the space.

Added our Alpaca Manure.

Then let me use his roto-tiller to incorporate the manure.

After about 5 hours of total work, we have a place to plant our veggies this spring.  :-)

It will be a few more weeks before we can plant.  Our official last freeze is Mother's Day.  In the meantime, I will daydream about all the wonderful veggies I might grow this summer.  :-D

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday: Carding Tibetan Mastiff

I finished carding the raw Tibetan Mastiff fur last weekend.

I unrolled and stacked the batts to run through the carder a second time.

The final batts are fewer and thicker than the initial and really soft and squooshy.  I'm looking forward to spinning them.  :-)

Quite a lot of dirt, sand and some vegetable matter fell out during carding.

The after carded weight is 6 5/8 ounces, so I lost 1/4 ounce during carding.

It's Fiber Arts Friday so go see what everyone else has been up to.  You're sure to be inspired.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

LGD: Mud Puppies

Every week or so, we wash out the alpacas' water troughs.  We have it set up where most of the water drains away from the corrals, but there's a little bit of water that needs to be dumped out.  I usually dump it into the corrals so the alpacas have a small puddle to splash around in.  They especially like to splash in water on warm days.

Over the last week or two we have been leaving the puppies in the girls' corral while we are doing chores.  This gives them the opportunity to be alone with the alpacas without actually being unsupervised.

The puppies have been wrestling nearly non-stop and we discovered last week that they love water.  So yesterday was the day that everything converged.

In addition to their first mud wrestling match, the puppies also had their first bath.  They were not pleased.

Of course they did forgive us.  :-)