Thursday, February 23, 2012

And Then There Were Seven

     For almost two years the count was always the same - one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.  A very nice number.

     Then about one and a half weeks ago the geese were not found safely locked in their house in the early morning.  How could this be?   Closer inspection revealed that the people door was not locked. Memory of checking for eggs quickly came to mind - the door was not secured when it was closed. Now sometimes the interaction of human and nature leads to something beneficial.  Not so this time.  Mother Nature did her part.  The brisk wind blew open the people door that allowed the geese to get out.

     A different night would have been a different outcome.  The wind would not have blown through the screened window and opening the door, or the door would have been secured tightly as it had always been before. A bad luck intersection of events. 

     Evidently, this was very advantageous to a local fox and bad luck for one of my geese.  It is hard to accept to the loss of one them even after all this time.  Getting used to the loss of the animals on the farm is just something that needs to be accepted, but not without deep regret.

     On the upnote, the weather was in the high 50s today.  The sound of the Canada geese brought eyes upward searching for the "v" shape line of travel on their way north.  Some were flying in the traditional shape, others had a single diagonal line, one was only four traveling in the familiar flight pattern.  Hopefully, they are correct and it's OK to give a serious look at spring activities.   Beautiful sign of the weather change to come - just don't stop here!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Frozen Side of Farm Life

Rhododendron leaves- curled up tightly-
bundle up.
     One look at the rhododendron leaves says it all without any words.  A true sign to be ready for cold - very, very, very cold - no thermometer or needed. 

     Buckets will be frozen, metal will sting, splashed water will freeze immediately on clothes.  The horse buckets will have progressively lower rings of ice as the horses had to break through the ice to drink.

So cold the buckets in the barn freeze.
 On with the chores.

First, a check on the kitties.  They have fallen in a partially frozen pond before and were rescued.  Hopefully, they don't have to make the same mistake over before they learn.

The magic of frozen water!

But, what could possibly be good about 6 AM on a dark, cold, 22 degree morning?  It makes 32 degrees feel downright balmy.

Today's recipe - company worthy, weeknight easy!

                                       Roasted Shrimp with Feta 5*
4 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups  medium-diced fennel
1 Tbs minced garlic ( 3 cloves)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 (14 1/2 oz ) can diced tomatoes
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbs Pernod
1  tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 lb(16 to 20 per pound) peeled shrimp with tails on
5 oz feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
3 Tbs minced fresh parsley
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 lemons
 400 Oven
1. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in 10- or12-inch heavy ovenproof skillet over
medium-low heat.  Add the fennel and saute for 8 to 10 minutes, until the
fennel is tender.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the wine and
bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes,
until the liquid is reduced by half.  Add the tomatoes with the liquid, tomato paste, oregano, Pernot, salt, and pepper to the skillet.  Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Arrange the shrimp, tails up, in one layer over the tomato mixture in the skillet.  Sprinkle feta over shrimp. Combine bread crumbs, parsley, and lemon zest with the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle over shrimp.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked and bread crumbs are golden brown.  Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the shrimp.
4. Serve with the remaining lemon cut into wedges.
 Adapted from (the always reliable) Ina Garten