Friday, June 19, 2009

The Simple Life

I've been on a blogging kick lately, but fear not! After a bit I won't feel like blogging and you won't hear from me for weeks, and just when you think I've died, I'll post three entries an hour for a week straight! :P

Anyways, so I found another blog, worthy of mention in this lovely jabber-fest that is my blog LOL. It's called "The Simple Life" and it is written by a lady named ~Tonia (ever wonder why all the blogs I read are written by women? I actually don't know if it's a man or a woman who posts on ehagart, but that doesn't count).

When I read blogs, I generally start from Entry #1, and then read my way forward, a month at a time. When I first start reading The Simple Life, they were living on a farm they managed. Now, though, they're moving to a place of their own that (acreage-wise) is a bit smaller. In the family there's Tonia, her hubby, her three daughters (the younger two are twins). They mainly have goats and chickens.

My favorite thing about the blog are all the pictures she posts.

NAIS Petition

I dug up a petition on the web that's against NAIS. If you want to sign it, you can find it here.

I'm number 3,022.

Leave your signature number in the comment section below, if you like.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thusday Thirteen: Things I Like

1. Dark Green. Like forest, alive green.

2. Stormy weather. There's just something about overcast days that are just magical.

3. Animals. Fuzzballs and featherballs alike. They're so adorable...and amusing.

4. Plants. They're so alive and comforting and nourishing...and extremely good company.

5. Cooking. I like to cook. I don't know why. I mean, we all need to eat, but I don't cook to eat, I cook to cook.

6. Ever After. It's a movie starring Drew Barrymore. I've watched it over and over and over dozens of times. I like that she's not a helpless Damsel-In-Distress like other Cinderellas. I like that she can stand on her own two feet. And I like best the scenes of her doing different farm chores at the Manor: slopping the pigs, getting honey from the bee skeps, gathering apples, truffle-hunting, etc...and the scene where she goes swimming in the lake.

7. Holidays. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, the Solstices and Equinoxes, my birthday. Christmas is so magical. I love Christmas lights.

8. The seasons. I love the flower sprouting and the new life of spring, the green and business of summer, the leaves changing and the harvest of fall, and I love the snow and the magic of winter.

9. New Age Music. The haunting melodies of Enya and Loreena McKennit in particular. (I also really like Blackmore's Night and Josh Groban, but I don't think they're considered New Age at all.)

10. Woodstoves and Fireplaces. There is something about heating with wood and building fires that mesmerizes me.

11. Clothing from the Past. Specifically dresses like those Candice Night wears when performing and these (which are costumes, I know):

12. Books. You can read about any subject, learn anything, visit any world.

13. Mountains. Specifically the wild ones. Trees everywhere, wildlife on your doorstep, miles without a single human soul -- this is my idea of paradise.

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American Way Farm

I found yet another blog. I have found a bunch of blogs that are only a few months older than mine. Because of that, I have under a year's worth of blog entries and I can catch up in a day. Of course if I wanted, I could just read the ones on the front page, but I think that you miss so much that way.

This new one is called American Way Farm. It's written by Sandy, who lives in New Hampshire with her husband and grandson and a menagerie of animals. The main reason I started reading was because they use LGDs (Livestock Guardian Dogs) and the other blogs I read don't have any of that. But that's not the only reason I read it. It's also very interesting.

Mexican Sugar Cookies

So way back in January-ish February, I discovered a recipe for "Mexican Sugar Cookies." They were very good so I made a batch and carefully took pictures. Then there was a huge mess with the camera and I didn't want to post the recipe until I could get the pictures. Well, I finally have the pictures. Yay!

Mexican Sugar Cookies

  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl combine oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat together until well blended:
Add 1 cup sugar. Beat until smooth:
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix it all together (In this batch I used half whole wheat flour and half white flour. You can make the cookies with all white or all wheat. If it's all white, then you don't cook them as long and they get bigger than if there's wheat flour in it or if it's all wheat):
Add flour mixture to oil mixture. Stir until a soft dough forms:
In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon:
Take teaspoonfuls of dough and roll into balls. Roll balls in cinnamon mixture:
Grease a cookie sheet. Place balls on cookie sheet.
Flatten cookies with the bottom of a glass dipped in cinnamon mixture. Bake until bottoms are lightly browned (4-6 min if all white flour. Longer if you use any whole wheat flour).
Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Store in a cookie tin. It's supposed to make about 4 1/2 dozen cookies.

Enjoy with hot chocolate and a good book!

Sucking Eggs

I found the strangest thing in my garden yesterday afternoon. It's a tiny little egg, not much bigger than a quarter. There's a tiny little crack thing in it and it appears that the insides have been sucked out. I found it near this hole in my garden that I think is from some sort of animal. I'm just not sure what kind of animal it is. I wonder if the animal is an egg-sucker of some sort? What kind of animals suck eggs anyways?

This is a picture. It's kind of fuzzy because the camera doesn't do close-ups very well ever since the flash broke, but it's okay. The round, flat, gray object is a quarter to show the size. And fuzz or no fuzz, the little dent where the egg got sucked out is a little bit visible. It's on the right half of the egg; kind of at the top.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rant. No Need to Read.

Warning: Rant follows

There is really very little that pisses me off, but those things that do are big. I have always heard that we don't own the world, we borrow it from our children. I'm down with that. It makes a lot of sense. I try to live my life so as to leave an inheritance to my children and grandchildren that includes a clean world, a government in its proper role, and every other good thing that I can leave them.....well, at least the things that matter.

What bothers me are those who forget about the future and live their lives in such a way that there will be nothing left for future generations. The worst is, I'm not sure there will be anything left when I come of age. How am I supposed to use my lifetime to improve the world if I have to fix it because of the terrible things my parents' and grandparents' generations have done to it? I'm not trying to blame anyone, it just makes me so mad that people are tearing the world apart without a second thought to their children and grandchildren who will have to lie in the bed their forefathers made?

Lets take this issue a bit at a time. First there is the environment in general. Where I live, people dump their garbage, not at the landfill (which is bad enough), but on BLM and privately owned land that has been kept wild. The roads are littered with garbage, mainly beer cans and plastic...although I once found poker chips. Some of us try to clean the roads near our homes, but as long as others continue to throw trash out their windows, there will be no solutions.

We, as a nation, continue to live narrow-minded consumer life with consumer tunnel vision. I can rant all day about this, but I have found other places that say it better. The first is The Story of Stuff. It's a documentary about where our stuff comes and where it goes when we have finished with it. It's a bit on the long side (around twenty minutes, if I remember correctly), but worth every minute. You can click on the link in the sidebar, or you can find it here. The other source is an article by Sherri Dixon called "Drawing a Circle in the Sand." You can find it here.

The next item on the agenda for this rant is NAIS. I have been reading blogs on her for awhile, and I have heard it mentioned on many of the different blogger communities I frequent. On one such blog, I found this article. It just makes me mad all over again. The worst is, I won't be old enough to vote until January because I'm only seventeen. I can raise awareness by talking about it and I can sign petitions, but should a law ever come around in the next few months needing voting on, I can't and it makes me feel helpless. At the very least, the article did cheer me up a little when it mentioned that Arizona, Missouri, Nebraska and Kentucky have already made some laws to hinder/outlaw it on a state level. That leaves only forty-six states that need to follow suit. :\ Here are some helpful sites on the subject:
And then there's government. We are a republic. The purpose of a republic is to guarantee the basic rights. We seem to have forgotten the proper role of government. Couldn't we have learned anything from Rome? This video explains everything better than I can:

And this video kinda sums up the political rant:

The thing that bothers me most, I guess, is that on one side we have the people who want to live better, preserve freedom, take care of the earth, etc, and on the other side we have the people who don't know or care what happens to those left behind after they die.

That's all I have to say for the moment

Snowbound Farms

I have found another wonderful blog. It hasn't been up for long, but I'm definitely hooked. It's called "Snowbound Farms Blog" and it's written by Christina. She lives in Northern Maine with her two boys, baby girl, and husband. They're just starting out with the homesteading project (they bought their 165 acre farm in March of last year). So far they have chickens, and they have a garden. Due to the chillycoldness of their climate, it's a constant battle to keep their plants alive and kicking. But they manage quite well.

They also have a website, Snowbound Farms. It tells about who they are, what they're doing, etc. My favorite part is the Photo Gallery page. Especially the chicken album (and quite possibly all the others, too lol).

I Made Bread

I haven't been on in ages. But maybe that's a good thing. It means I have more to tell.

My garden this year has turned out to be kind of small. I have 2 Calendulas, 1 Parsley, 8 (0r was it 9?) onions, a plant that is either a melon of some kind or Armenian Cucumber, and a huge patch of beans. Yesterday I also planted nine mint starts. They're not exactly edible mint (they're eau de parfum kinda thing), but my reasons for planting them were a) mint is invasive so it should crowd out the other, prickly, thorny, sticker-y weeds; b) to till under at the end of the growing season to compost during winter and improve the soil; c) to add more green to my patch of ground.

We haven't had a full day of sun since March/April -ish. The temperature never hits above the late seventies. I'm not complaining. It's more pleasant to weed with rain sprinkling on your head than the sun beating down on your back and making you sweat for it.

It's very strange, though. We usually never have temperatures under 90-95 -ish.

I made bread for the first time on my own the other day. As usually occurs with my cooking, my family loved it and gobbled it down, but I was more picky. It had a nice taste, but it was too heavy and I'm pretty sure yeast hates me. I nearly never get it to rise right. The only time I ever got it to work like it should was with a Swedish sweetbread I made one Christmas season; Swedish Kardemummakrans (the main problem with the Swedish bread is how fast it get stale. It has to be eaten within a day or two of baking).

I think the main problem with my bread I just made was in the rising. It calls for letting it rise once and then putting it into the loaf pans to let it rise one more time before baking. I was thinking I would try either letting it rise longer or else having it rise twice before I put it into the pans to rise. The other thing is, it called for hot water to mix with the flour before adding the yeast, and I use boiling water. So maybe cooler water, as well. I also plan on using that trick where you put a wet dishtowel over the bowl of dough while it rises.

This is the recipe I used:

Whole-Wheat Bread

  • 3 Tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 5 cups hot water
  • 7 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup creamed honey
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 6 cups whole wheat flour
  1. In small bowl dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine hot water and 7 cups whole wheat flour. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon (or mixer) until smooth. Add 4 cups whole-wheat flour. Mix well. Let stand for 15 minutes; then turn dough out onto a floured board and knead in 1 to 2 cups wheat flour--enough to form a smiith, elastic dough.
  2. Put dough into a greased bowl; cover. Let stand in a warm place for at least 30 minutes or until double in bulk. Turn onto a greased board and divide into 4 equal portions. FOrm loaves and place in greased loaf pans. Let rise until double in bulk. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Bake 15 minutes longer if you like your bread crusty.
I have also found the camera cord for the better (read: twice as many megapixels) camera. Now I can start posting pictures! :)

ETA: The texture and flavor (aside from the heaviness) is quite good. The bread is soft just like the store bought stuff and I have had no such problems with it being too crumbly. If I can get the rising part right, this recipe's a keeper.