Happy New Year from The Farm
Here we are again looking to a new number in the ones place... 2022 is in sight! If you're reading this blog, you're like me wondering where in the world last YEAR went. Time flies when you're having fun and getting older. Zoom, zoom!
Please take note: The farm store is CLOSED for these cold months as heating our little building isn't the easiest, however, we will host a VALENTINE'S POP-UP the weekend of February 12-13. If you joined us last year, you will remember it was -11 degrees, but we bundled up and visited around the bonfire. I hope this year won't be quite so cold, but we'll have a fire, some hot farm tea to share and lots of new goodies in the store.
"Sarah, What have you been up to these days?" You might be asking. Well, I've been in the test kitchen learning how to be better at LAZY, then getting out for some adventure walks when I feel guilty about being lazy!
I grew up making bread with my mom. She taught me to make a whole wheat dough with flour, yeast, honey and oil. We'd grind the flour, mix and knead the dough, let it rise for hours, punch it down, shape it, then let it have a final rise in bread pans before baking it. This style of bread baking is fairly time-consuming and hands on as it involves a good amount of turn and push kneading. Ouch, my wrists!
I figured it was time for this lazy farmtress learn the fine art of NO KNEAD bread baking. I've been tinkering with flours, temperatures, and baking times for the last couple of weeks. The first four loaves went to the chickens as I didn't get the rise I wanted, but the last many have been gobbled up by the humans! In learning the art of no knead bread, I've read dozens of recipes, but it was this one that finally got me to the loaf I was looking for. Water temperature, ferment time and bake time all factored into the perfect loaf of crusty artisan bread with a gorgeous rise and soft insides.
With all this lazy bread making and eating, a good dose of guilt has pushed me outdoors for a walk each day. I've found all sorts of interesting new things on my walks around the farm neighborhood. We had a couple of warm days last week that melted all the snow and brought the moss creatures out of the woods. This guy was crawling down his coulee as I strode past him on the road! It's crazy what you can see when the leaves are down and the view through the woods open.
I've walked and driven past this old retaining wall (or is it a door to a cave?) many times over the years and never noticed it. From the road, I saw the structure and galvanized metal, but couldn't make out the words. I climbed up to it and saw that the signs read, "Caution School Zone." Below is a gorgeous textured patch of snake grass (or do we call it horsetails?), something I hadn't seen growing since I was a kid - I don't have any on my property.
Right before Thanksgiving, a neighbor's house burned. On another of my adventure walks I explored the remains of this tragedy. It was sad to remember the lovely old farm house and to imagine the generations of families who once lived here.
Max is home from college for a couple of weeks, and he joined me for a trek through the Maiden Rock Bluff trails and preserved oak savannah. We watched trains zoom by below, marveled at the ice formations on Lake Pepin and tried to imagine this area 150 years ago before the lumberjacks and European immigrants cut down the oaks and plowed the savannahs into fields. All was not lost to serious discussions - Max helped me shake off the discomfort of the selfie!
Neither of us thought to take a picture of this, but up on the bluff is a cement cast baby head sitting alongside the trail. Perhaps Celeste Nelms, one of our quirky local photographers was using it as a prop and left it behind?
Happy New Year to you all!
Sending love and a goofy grin from the farm,