Sunday, April 24, 2011

Barnhouse Farm Tour !

From our house to your house...blessings to you and yours. Today's post is about a little of what's been going on at the barnhouse this past weekend and this spring. We had a glorious long weekend with my husband home for an extra day, and we also celebrated the resurrection of our Savior! The weather couldn't have been more beautiful, and we really enjoyed making special memories together. Aren't weekends a great time for making memories? That special meal, extra time for reading books while sipping tea, morning coffee or tea and devotions on the front porch, productive projects that leave you with a good feeling at the end of the day when you look back and see the fruit of your labor....and shared experiences. I'm so thankful for the opportunities to make home the most special place on earth; a cozy nest where we all can be nurtured, accepted and spite of our blemishes:)
We had planned on having a family picture snapped this weekend, but it didn't happen:( One of our daughters did snap this picture just before we left for church Sunday morning. It's a picture of me and my sweetheart/hubby of thirty years.
The poor little muskrat in the picture above had a run-in with our dog, Tank. Tank won. The little ones will want to place him in their little animal cemetery. Funny thing happened while I was posting these pictures. I didn't intend to post this one...I was trying to retrieve the one of me and hubby, but I pulled the number from the wrong picture file. Imagine my surprise when the picture downloaded...I'm expecting a picture of the happy couple and instead I see the above little fella! I decided to leave it anyway.
The farrier came this weekend to trim the Percheron horses' hooves. They are very gentle and good dependable workers. This weekend was a good time for plowing. The earth was damp in some areas, but we got a good bit done. We have five garden areas this year, and the boys used the horses for plowing where the corn and beans will be planted.

One son found a store last week that sells Lodge cast iron cookware at a very good price, and we love cooking with cast iron. The pieces didn't pass inspection because of a little nick or some sort of imperfection, but they look GREAT to us. No holes or anything. He brought home all that you see on the table, the books you see there, and several others. One of the books he gave to me because I love eighteenth century history and such. I can't wait until I have little snippets of time for reading.
Weekends around here definitely include special treats. These were made recently by Bethany. I think she got the recipe from a MaryJanesFarm magazine?? They were yummy and beautiful. Emily made a delicious whole wheat Mandarin Orange cake for our Sunday dinner. It disappeared before I could get a picture:(
Our new bull calf was born this spring. He's growing very nicely, and we enjoy watching his playful antics in the pasture.
A gift from my little ones. They bring frequent *offerings* each least until the flowers are all gone. Speaking of flowers being all gone... I've had thirteen two year olds in my lifetime and they've all enjoyed bringing me flowers. I'd always ooh and ah and make a happy fuss over their gifts, so they'd bring me more...and more... and.....pretty soon I had NO flowers left. They weren't picking just the wildflowers but the ones I had bought and planted as well. I purchased several bouquets of silk flowers and made a special garden for whomever the two year old happened to be. They'd *pick* their flowers and bring them to me almost every hour. When they were napping I'd go out and *re-plant* their flowers to be picked again the next day!

Two daughters doing the dishes together and sharing a laugh. Children are SUCH a blessing!
Johnathon and Hannah Joy are painting the new window boxes. These are the ones made from the free pallets of wood we get from the mattress company. Our old ones were rotting, so they made new ones for all the windows! We have a cat who thinks one of the boxes is her home, and we've also had a hen lay eggs in the one on the right. I really enjoyed watching her through my kitchen window.
The strawberries are looking really good. I know we'll need a lot more boxes for our family, but we wanted to practice before planting to many! We'll have to mix up some of our raw milk and strawberries very soon and make homemade ice cream:)

Sorry for the fuzzy picture. We have new chicks and some others coming along in the incubator. They should be hatching in a few more days.
The cows and bull are very happy to have the new spring grass. Certainly helps with their milk production:)
Saturdays are big baking days around here. The bread above ended up strangely shaped, but that sometimes happens around here when the humidity is bad.
More bread rising.

Melanie has a seat with a view:)
Love the springtime beauty. God THE Artist!

Our chocolate peppermint tea is looking very nice. We'll be sipping some very soon.
Painting of the window boxes is done.
Parsley...we love making parsley pesto to be served with vegetable sticks, pasta, or pita chips. We mix 1 cup olive oil, 1 or 2 garlic cloves, 3 bunches of parsley, and 2 cups parmesan cheese together and blend until smooth. Very addictive.
Sage has flowered.
Lemon Balm.

The kiwi bushes are loaded this year!

We have some raised beds just outside the kitchen door for easy access. Most of our gardening is done using traditional rows and away from the house. We're trying to learn a little bit more each year, and we're so thankful to live in a community and among friends who are so encouraging and willing to share their knowledge.
More free wood just waiting to be taken apart and re-purposed!!
Jacob completing the last of the window boxes.
Jordan working at the bee hives.

Finished up some plowing on the hill. Emily is taking some tasty vegetable scraps to *The Chicken Concern*!
A good days work is done.



This post is linked to Barn Hop #10. Hosted by Amy at Homestead Revival, Jill at The Prairie Homestead, Kendra at New Life on a Homestead, and Megan at A Blossoming Homestead.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Bloomin' Parmesan Bread And Cheese Biscuits!

Today's post includes a recipe for one of our favorite ways of using up the bread we bake each week. You may use a round loaf of any bread of your choosing. We've used our whole wheat, sourdough....any kind is fine. We've even used a regular shaped loaf of bread, but the round loaf makes a beautiful presentation.

~Bloomin" Parmesan Bread~

1 round loaf of cooked bread which hasn't been sliced
1 cup shredded cheese of any kind
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup melted butter
spices~optional~we like Italian seasoning or dill
Chopped chives or green onions, optional

This is what it looks like when it comes out of the oven !
Cut a cross and then continue cutting lengthwise and widthwise until it looks like a blooming onion. Be careful not to cut all the way through the bread to the bottom.
This is how it looks as you're cutting each way:)

Now use your fingers to hold the bread apart and stuff it with the cheese of your choice.
Mix butter, parmesan, and spices and pour over all. Wrap in foil and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Enjoy !!!
This makes a wonderful presentation for company or Sunday dinner. You can bake or purchase your bread a day or two before, stuff the morning you intend to serve, and cook right before dinner or company arrives.
Here's another recipe for a favorite one of my daughters likes to make on her day to cook. She usually serves Cheese Biscuits with a pasta meal, but they are very good with breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

~Cheese Biscuits~

4 cups whole wheat flour or your choice of flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt or powder
1/2 teaspoon spice of your choice, optional (we like dill or Italian)
2 cups shredded sharp cheese or your preference
1/2 Parmesan
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2/3 cup olive or coconut oil

Combine all dry ingredients. Add buttermilk and oil. Drop by spoonfuls 2 inch apart onto greased baking sheet. Sometimes she shapes them like biscuits, and sometimes she just puts them on the pan like drop biscuits. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Yum!

I wanted to mention something about making a wheat purchase. I mentioned in a previous post that we purchase wheat with a group of friends directly from Wheat Montana. I've heard that some people in some states are finding wheat in Walmart and places like Costco. That would be wonderful to look into. I plan to ask my local Sam's and Costco about the possibility of them carrying wheat. Others have mentioned ordering from Walton's and Honeyville?? Not sure I got the name right. Anyway, there might be a number of possibilities. I'd love to hear from you if you have a source you've been pleased with. A commenter also asked whether or not we ever make sourdough bread. We do, and I hope to post other recipes soon. One of my daughters in particular takes care of a starter, and she almost always makes sourdough when it is her turn to cook. I tend to revert back to my original recipe 'cause I can almost make it in my sleep, and it's so hard to learn new ways:)

Thanks so much for stopping by. I'd love to hear about your tried and true favorite recipes. Blessings to all.:)


P.S. We most recently had the Bloomin' Parmesan Bread with Sugar Pie Farmhouse's recipe for Spaghetti Pie. It is cooked in a cast iron skillet, and we have one that is so large it will hardly allow for the oven door being shut. Her recipe is INCREDIBLE !! Gotta try it!
This post is being linked to, and Verde Farm.
Raising Homemakers