Spring soup is a favourite around here. Every year it is a bit different, depending on what is growing. I pull some frozen chicken stock out of the freezer the night before. Then mid morning, I put on 1/2 a cup of red lentils and 1/2 a cup of pot barley on to cook for an hour or so. If I'm not in the mood for these, then I might throw in some left over rice or skip this part for a lighter soup. Then, in my medium sized sauce pan, I melt a tablespoon of butter and whisk into it a tablespoon of flour. You can add more butter and more flour for a thicker soup. I don't like them that thick so I just use a bit. I add the thawed stock (if I don't have stock, I just use water) and add the cooked barley and lentils. Then I go outside and pick every edible green thing - except mint. So it has dandelion greens, pig weed, lamb's quarters, garlic tops, leek tops, green onions, green onion flowers (delicious!), oregano, lovage, stinging nettle and the secret ingredient which makes any spring soup delicious: rhubarb. Yes, rhubarb. Usually 3 stalks in my medium saucepan - its the main ingredient. I just chop it up into 1/2 inch pieces with scissors. You have got to try it! Now, I usually would have chard and spinach to add to this mix but mine is not up yet this year so I have made do with lots of dandelion greens and lambs quarter. I made this for supper last night along with baking soda biscuits with cheese and dill and pumpkin scones for dessert with apple butter and some elderberry saft for refreshment. Ahhh, spring!
To post about Rhiannon. She has been very busy writing her own blog with her own little brand of humour... She is dying for an audience and some comments: http://rhiannonsworld2000.blogspot.com. (and in my own defence, she has assigned herself all those chores... I really don't mind, though! Its great to have the help)
Well, with a skein of white wool in my stash, lamb in my freezer and milk in my fridge, I'd have to say that I agree - Icelandic sheep are a triple threat.
Yes, you caught it, I have sheep milk in my fridge. So far I have made cream cheese (was more like ricotta), kefir (which I screwed up by looking at the centigrade side of my thermometer instead of the farenheit side... oh well, it is still good in smoothies) and yogurt. As well, Dean has used it in his coffee, Drew has had it on his cereal and my dad drank it by the glassfull.
Its a little precious to drink it that way. I get about a litre a day. Brida's huge udder contributes 3+ cups and Draga contributes 1 cup. Freya, whose lamb is a month old today, goes up onto the stanchion tonight for the first time. My next project is to make feta cheese. I'll have enough milk after tonight's milking.
Other than a little milk in his coffee when he was out of cream, Dean (and Rhiannon) refuse to partake. They say they are grossed out. Dean says it turns his stomach... So, as Drew and I sat down to a bowl of yogurt and raspberries yesterday, I said, "well, if we really did have to live off of our land, you and I would thrive and they would all starve!" Drew says it the best tasting milk he has ever had!
So, I don't go too far from home these days and my mornings start on the stanchion. It is beautiful in the morning. The apple trees are all in blossom, the birds are singing. In the evening, everything has to stop for a half hour again. There is something to these pastoral rhythms. I sing to the sheep (suppsed to help them relax and give more milk) and I think a little but mostly I just am in that moment with the sky, the flowers, the blossoms, the sounds of my farm and I'm loving it.
We are one less cat (pic of Erin's cat, Saetia, courtesy of Andrew) and one less person around here. Erin has been home since last November and just moved out last night into a cute little apartment with a friend. It has been such a pleasure to enjoy this next phase in our relationship. I must say, I think she is an amazing person and I feel so blessed to have her as a daughter.
What can I say? I knew when she came back that it wouldn't be for very long. I know how fleeting this is when your children live under your roof - over way too fast - so I was happy to take every minute I could squeeze with all 4 of my children in one place. I recognize it for the golden moment that it is.
It just feels a little quieter and little emptier around here.... At least she is still in Vernon. I have a feeling I will be seeing her when her laundry bag is full... or she's out of cat litter or canned tomatoes....
As others have pointed out, things can start backing up when you haven't posted in awhile. My time on the computer has been very limited - lots of things going on. And, I broke Rhiannon's camera so I have no pictures to show you. I poured water on it accidentally while carrying water in to Freya after Bjorn's birth. (yes, his name as been changed to Bjorn by Kaetlyn. Bjorn means Bear).
So, once lambs were all born, and sheep sorted, I was free to go and see the wee bean, otherwise known as Owen. I drove to Bethany and Ben's (do Ben's family call it Ben and Bethany's?) to fetch my mother to my place to celebrate Kaetlyn's 18th birthday. I was making very good time on my way to Horsefly - I would have been there at 5:30 - until I got to 70 Mile House and there was a wild fire burning and I got turned back. They were saying that we had to go all the way back to Kamloops and take Hwy 24. Luckily a nice Indian gas station owner in Clinton showed me a map of the logging roads and I made a 2 hour detour on rutted roads that took me out to Hwy 97 minutes from the Horsefly turn off (which is Likely Rd, not Horesfly, I might add, if anyone is listening). I was barely in time to put the T-Bone steaks I had brought with me into the oven to go along with the potatoes au gratin they had made. One more minute and they would have eaten without me.
Owen, as you all know by now is undeniably cute and very sweet. I got to hold him, of course, and I madly started crocheting a light blue baby hat out of a bernat soy yarn that I had purchased some months before just in case. After eating we played consequences and went to bed before too long. I went with them to church and got to see baby Owen be blessed. It was beautiful. And got to be embarrassed as Dave Shults told everyone about my former scripture chasing champion days. And I finished the hat just before we left.
Then I brought my mother to my house. We passed right through the fire area - little fires still burning by the side of the road.
She went right to work overhauling my kitchen. I now have paper down in all my drawers which are spotless. Funny because my brother Layne seems to do the same thing when he visits - he pulls out everything on the counters and cleans thoroughly. I once heard someone tell my kids that my family judged me by the cleanliness of my house and so they needed to help me clean. I didn't correct her but it amused me. I don't think they do judge me but if they do, it doesn't bother me. No, I clean because if I don't, they will be busy cleaning when they get here!
It was very nice having my mom here. Rhiannon says the house feels lonely without her and grandpa here. And it was nice for me to be mothered by my mother.
We celebrated Kaetlyn's 18th birthday on Thursday evening because my dad came up to get his wife on Thursday and they were planning on returning on Friday. I had purchased all the materials for him to make me a rabbit hutch which he started on immediately with only a few hitches while we cleaned and cooked for Kaetlyn's dinner. We had a few close friends for dinner and it was very nice. Kaetlyn was feted very well!
Really her birthday was Sunday but that now got to be all about me as it was also Mother's Day. My family spoiled me with my favourite things - an omlette full of green things growing, time with them and then dinner at Ellison by campfire. They know what I like!
And well, that is alot for one post. Good on you if you made it this far!