As February nears a close, I am reminded of being sure the bluebird houses are clean and ready for the March homesteaders. So much snow blanketing our backyard makes for a difficult hike up to the bluebird house on its cedar post beside the little meadow . I spotted my first bluebird down the road at Howard’s farm yesterday. A brilliant flash of bright blue wings caught my eye. Spring must be right around the corner…or in this case, right down the road. Continue Reading
When I asked for “Sour Rye with Seeds, please” at the bakery counter, the woman looked at me quizzically. “Sour…rye?”
“Oh, that’s an old term from my childhood on Long Island– sour rye bread came from our neighborhood bakery. It’s as if my grandmother had sent me up to Bell Blvd. for a loaf at the local bakery and those words came out,” I smiled. Continue Reading
Stacia Kelley, one of my oldest and dearest friends, developed this delicious pot roast recipe. Known throughout the town of Pine Bush, NY, Stacia’s cozy, little kitchen always smelled like “Something great’s cooking! Stacia’s Polish-American background and love flavored her wonderful recipes. She knew this was my favorite so she’d make it for me when I would visit.
5 lb. bottom round or rump
2 cans of beer and 2 cans of water
3 or 4 Tablespoons of barbecue sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 onion and 4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
Ginger snap cookies
Saute the chopped onion and garlic in oil. Brown the meat. Add the other ingredients (but not the cookies yet). Simmer on the stove for three to four hours until tender. Remove the pot roast to a warm platter. Make the gravy by whisking in 6 to 8 gingersnaps to thicken… and simmer. Strain if you wish for a smoother gravy. Enjoy! Nastrovia (sp?)!!!
Here is a delicious coffee cake with an old-time flavor. Back in the day when my girls were little, we would have “play groups” among our circle of friends. MaryEllen made this recipe and I’ve loved it ever since. What a tasty, comfort-food treat for mid-February…or anytime!
1/4 lb. butter (Cabots or Land o’ Lakes)
1 c. sugar
2 eggs (free-range from the farm, of course)
2 c. flour (King Arthur or Hecker’s)
1 teas. baking powder
1 teas. baking soda
1/4/ teas. salt
1 c. sour cream
1 teas. vanilla
1/2 c. or so of cinnamon sugar (to your taste)
All ingredients should be at room temperature. Grease and flour a tube pan; pre-heat the oven to 350. Cream the first three ingredients. Sift the flour, baking soda and powder, and the salt together. Add gradually to the creamed mixture, alternately with the sour cream and vanilla. Spoon about a third of the batter into the tube pan. Top with a layer of cinnamon sugar…then batter again, layer of cinnamon sugar, batter, and then cinnamon sugar on top. Bake at 350 for 45 min. to one hour, depending on your oven. Remove from pan, cool on a wire rank, invert so that the crispy cinnamon sugar top layer faces up. The aroma can only be beaten by the down home taste. Enjoy with a steaming cup of coffee, of course.
Funny, there is something in me that doesn’t want the winter to end despite yet another day of snow this mid-February day. Now dusk, it’s cozy here in our office with the lamps casting an amber hue, the space heater murmuring softly, Violet asleep and breathing deeply on the upholstered green chair beside me, Scott still working at his computer across the room. The brilliant red cardinal and his mate eat hungrily beneath the bird feeder, side by side, Scott said, because of the cold. In the adjoining kitchen homemade green pea soup bubbles on the stove. Continue Reading
Records for freezing cold temperatures have been broken all over the country this past week. Here in the hills of Northwest Connecticut, below zero temperatures greeted us every morning. Donning silk longjohns under my jeans, two undershirts beneath my wooly reindeer sweater, and cotton socks beneath my grey alpaca socks, I was warm as I left for the farm at 6:45 in the morning. I wear a hat (not usually in public) that is red plaid, has long earmuffs and a cozy sherpa lining. My old coat is long and hooded, my boots sturdy…and I keep blankets in the car thrown over the kids’ car seats “just in case”. Continue Reading
After our beloved Golden Retriever Bear’s death in June, we all felt an emptiness…sometimes it called out loudly and sometimes it was almost a memory, an ache, a whisper…
I have never been without a dog during my adult life. Teddy was our first Golden, the most patient and lovable of dogs…and there followed our other faithful and wonderful companions– Toby, and Brownie, and Jeannie, and Prinny, and then Bear..who together with Prinny eased the pain of Toby’s death… as well as the deaths of my irreplaceable parents. We cannot imagine life without our dear animals. They gave so much…and were there through both the happy and difficult times…as were Anne’s dogs dear Benny and Bullet and Brodie and Becca’s little Smokey. Each deserves his/her own story someday. Continue Reading
This past October weekend marked the last of the country fairs in our part of the State. Our tiny fair dates way back—and has a rich history. Generations of people from the surrounding area mark this weekend as a highlight to be looked forward to, talked about, and remembered for quite some time. Many bring home treasured blue and red ribbons on their wares, a reminder of the honor of winning, but for me, the participating– we winners and losers entertain the crowds with what we’ve produced (often giving folks the chance to praise our skills, but also to rue the fact that their even better produce would have certainly won had they entered.). (www.rivertonfair.org)
Sometimes I find myself walking through the shadows. Such it has been for me lately. Autumn is a bittersweet time–such exquisite beauty in the brightly colored leaves–so warmly orange and sunflower yellow and bright vibrant red. What a happy time when the afternoon sun filters through the leaves, and a little October breeze flutters the leaves and sets them dancing. What a treasure when the sky is true blue, almost cobalt with a hint of grey, without a single cloud marring its vastness. And what a contrast to the bright golds and burnt oranges and rusty reds edging the horizon below. Continue Reading
The still summer sounds drift through the open window on this warm August evening. Cicadas and katydids chirping and calling out. Still summer. Just a few hours ago, the afternoon sun felt so warm, the not-so–green grass crunched beneath my feet, and as I passed beside the still vibrant clumps of yellow Susans, I noticed neighboring purple phlox dropping their blossoms. Continue Reading