Rainstorms Add Texture To Fields

We have been worried about our dry spring weather. We could see the stress on the new seedlings in the forest, the dusty lane around the fields that would normally be swamp messes this time of year, and in the growing hay fields. The grass didn’t look as green as it should and had practically stopped growing. We had concerns that we would have to start mowing a month early to keep from losing the nutrients as the grass dries out. Continue reading

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Five More Ear Tagged

Cows in barnOur main herd of cows across the river have been giving us clues that it is time to move them to new grazing areas. Some of the more mature, senior cows stand at the fence line longingly looking toward greener pastures. But before we moved the herd there was a little housekeeping in the veterinary sense that needed to be taken care of. The older calves have ear tags already and now there are five more that are old enough to get their own number. Continue reading

Rhubarb Pies

I have no idea how or why people use strawberries in with their rhubarb to make jams, spreads and pies. I just can’t fathom the reasoning to cook a delicious fresh strawberry into a pulpy mess. But that is me, I like my rhubarb as rhubarb. With that, let’s commence onto one my spring favorites, Rhubarb Pie.

I always use my Oil Pie Crust recipe for rhubarb either as pie, cobbler or my cross between pie and cake, Pake. You can use your own pie crust recipe if you so wish.

rhubarb cut into chunksI begin with harvesting the rhubarb, cutting off the leaves and the bottom section that attaches to the plant. Wash the stems and pat dry. I like to cut the rhubarb into small pieces, sprinkle with a smidgen of sugar, seal container and let set in fridge overnight. You may ask why, I think that it makes the pieces more tender without falling apart during the baking process. Others have told me that is pure nonsense, but I still believe. Continue reading

Oil Pie Crust

(For those who have been asking for recipes to follow along with the stories that I post, I created a special category. I will try my best to get the recipes into that area so that they will be easily found when you are looking for that special one that you remember even it has been days, months or years from the time you first see the article. (For those who follow along with the daily stories, you will also see the stories as they break!)

My go-to pie crust recipe is one that I have used for over 40 years. It was passed down to me from my future mother-in-law and she had used it for many years before that. This recipe has never failed, it is always light, tender and it rolls out smooth. I use it for all the pies, quiches and my own concoction that is half pie/half cake called a Pake but that will be a different recipe for another day. Continue reading

Vanilla Leaf Tea

I harvested a bunch of leaves from the vanilla leaf plants growing wild in the forest. My ultimate goal is to enjoy a cup of tea with the dried leaves since I had come across the usage in my research of the Oregon native plant.

I was curious about the name because I know that vanilla that is used for flavoring comes from a variety of orchid from around the equator and does not grow around the Pacific Northwest. The vanilla leaf plants in the forest are neither the climbing plants or pod producers of the tropics.

Officially the plant is called Achlys triphylla, but it also goes by vanillaleaf, vanilla-leaf, deer’s foot and sweet after death. That last scary name came to it by way of the vanilla scent it gives off as it dries. The plant is considered to be non-toxic and even has some minimal health benefits but is more common to used as an insect repellent. Hikers in the Washington and Oregon Coast/Cascade Mountain Ranges use the leaves in both the fresh and dried form to keep mosquitoes at bay.

I nibbled a fresh leaf in the forest and found no vanilla taste at all, just a really green taste. Continue reading

Ready Rhubarb

rhubarbI noticed the commercial rhubarb fields in the valley are being harvested. Acres and acres of rows are cut off the plant with machetes, the leaves are removed leaving the stem of the rhubarb to be tossed into large totes throughout the field.

The stems are shipped all over the United States. Much of the fruit is made into desserts, jams and syrups. Most of the time it is mixed with strawberries to calm the tart flavor of the rhubarb. My family happen to be rhubarb purists and don’t like mixing other fruits with the rhubarb (other than a little lemon or orange juice crystals added to make the flavor pop). Continue reading

Bulls In Barn

Bulls in barnOur group of six yearling bulls that have been spending most of their time, lounging and growing in the bull pen pastures were rounded up and moved into the show barn to be sorted.

#26, Mud Dauber, now sixteen months old had been picked to be sold and we needed to sort him from all of his cousins so the new owner could pick him up. This crop of bulls are pretty docile and it was no problem to open the bull pen gate and let them into the green pasture that is usually held for the critters from the show barn. Continue reading