Snowfall

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Across shallows and brooks

the snow falls driftlessly down

laying thickly over pines and rooftops in town.

Winter softens into spring

but today her cold gaze

diligently waters the ground, a frozen blanket lays.

A perk for bulbs who will hobble forth

quench the thirst of trees and the new growth

the bitter cold will not wane

Oh, why couldn’t Mother Earth just send rain?

A January Weekend

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Saturday shone bright and warm, full of tall snow capped mountains and warm, piercing sun that filled us with light.  We headed to Woodland Park for a winter market.  We haven’t been there since Nancy passed away and since we were the 5 Farmgirls.  I was surprised by the outpouring of support and joy in seeing us again.  We went as Pumpkin Hollow Farm and Garden Fairy Apothecary.  Each market worker hugged me as I came in.  Folks stopped by the table and recognized me.

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“You’re the goat lady!” one gal said.

I wasn’t sure if she was remembering me or Nancy.

She said, “You used to come with your sister!”  Sister, yes, just not biological.

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It was me that she meant because her son came over to the table and when she asked if he remembered me he replied enthusiastically, “Yes, she’s the goat lady!”  He remembered when I would bring the baby goats on a leash and let kids bottle feed them.  It left an impression and he was excited for this year’s goats to come to the market.

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It was good to be back and we look forward to the remaining winter markets and this summer Emily and Maryjane will be joining me once again at the Woodland Park farmer’s market.

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Sunday was a lovely day as well.  We taught a soap making class and friends came to visit.  Our Broncos did not win their game but Maryjane filled the disappointment with laughter.  She is full of fun and hugs and surprises.  Dressed in her Bronco best, she makes the most darling cheerleader.  She sat on the couch hooping and hollering next to Papa with a kitten on her lap.

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The snow began to fall thick and blanketing as we came home last night from dropping Maryjane off with her mother.  This morning a foot of snow lay glittering and peaceful across the expanse of space.  Doug was insistent that we could make it to Elizabeth for him to work at the coffee shop so we did our best to get out of the driveway only to get stuck in a snowdrift a mile down the road.  Our neighbor’s son came along and helped us out and we toddled back to the house ready to embrace the snow day at hand (which means housework and taxes but maybe a bit of reading and relaxing will take place too!).

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I am warmly humbled by old friends and acquaintances, reliable, friendly neighbors, and wintery weekends mixed with sun and snow.  Back in my snow globe away from the world I am warm and comforted by winter’s encompassing embrace.  Back to the garden books with a cup of hot chocolate I go.

 

Crazy about Cast Iron

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There are several inches of beautiful laden snow already and the large flakes are still coming down.  I would like to put the Christmas tree back up, but Doug said no.  It is ethereal outdoors.  Here is a quick breakfast for you to throw together and put in the oven.  Then come back and finish reading my blog.
Crack 6 farm fresh eggs into a mixing bowl and add a splash of goat’s milk.

Then add any vegetables, cheeses, leftover anythings that would seem great in a fritatta and lots of herbs. 

Whisk together with 3 T of flour. 

Pour into a cast iron skillet and bake at 375 degrees until the top is lightly browned and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

Delicious with hot coffee and a jar of peaches you put up last summer.

Alright, it’s in the oven?  Sit, I must tell you the story of how a cheap housewife became an iron junkie.  I used to purchase pans in pretty colors.  I found a whole set of pans that were pink and I just adored them.  The problem is that they were teflon.  Controversies on health aside, flakes of teflon in my eggs isn’t my favorite addition.  I desired a cast iron skillet but we thought they were too pricey as a young couple with three small, very hungry mouths to feed.  Then we discovered, it’s where you look!  Doug bought me a set of cast iron pans for Christmas one year.  They were twenty dollars at JC Penny’s.  The nice thing is, I will still be cooking in them when I have great-grandchildren!  They just get better and better and the environmental aspect of it needs not even be spoken of as I never have to purchase a pan again!

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There is a gentleman around these parts called Wild BIll who peddles items.  (I need to get in touch with him because he is also a part of a bee keeping guild.)  He brings items that he thinks would be nice in my shop, or now that he knows my vice, cast iron.  I have purchased a fabulous large casserole pan (one I have never seen before) and a corn bread pan like my mother had.  The cornbread comes out looking like petite ears of corn.  I found my Dutch oven at an antique store.  I am still in the market for a larger one and a soup pan.  I presently use the enamel pans from Doug’s grandma’s old kitchen.

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The most peculiar cast iron item I have was given to me this Christmas.  Doug could barely contain his enthusiasm for the gift he had bought me.  It was from a local artisan, he said.  It was too large to wrap, he says.  I am thinking up all sorts of great gifts….carved wooden statues particularly.  So imagine my surprise as I sleepily stepped out on to the porch Christmas morning and saw…a giant cast iron cauldron.  Witch and dry ice not included.  Not being fully awake, I first thought, “What is he trying to tell me?!” (am I the witch?)  I had no idea what I was going to do with it.  Doug’s face fell as he saw my confusion at the missing wooden bear that I was sure would be there.  It was just certainly a surprise!  It has holes in the bottom and was used as a fire pit.  So, any large soap, laundry, or candle making ventures are out.  It is completely rusted but can be cleaned up.  Walk by’s at my store already worry about my religious denomination being an herbalist so a cauldron will just further frighten them (which might be fun).  It weighs two tons, or so, so wherever it goes, it stays.  I am between two things….making it into an herb planter for the porch or keeping it as a fire pit for starry, sweet nights.  I do love it.  It is a fun and creative gift sold to him by none other than Wild Bill.

Enough with my soap box on cast iron skillets.  I hope you have one.  Every farmgirl ought to.  I feel like I am in Little House on the Prairie with mine.  Your eggs are done.  Have a warm and cozy snow day!

 

Snow Days and Chocolate

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The children are most definitely confused.  When the word went out that school was cancelled for today, it was yesterday and the scene looked like my first picture.  Not a lick of snow, even in the middle of the night when I had to let the Greyhound out.  Everywhere in the city people’s phones have been alerting them of an upcoming blizzard and schools are shut down.  Possible highway closures loom.  Yet, as we speak, at 8:00 in the morning, it looks like my second picture!  But, this is Colorado.

Many people think that Denver is a part of the mountains, but it is actually not.  The other misconception, fueled by Coors commercials and scenes of Colorado during Bronco games is that we are covered in snow all winter through.  A veritable dream land of snow, twinkling under clear blue skies.  Everyone skiing to work!  Actually, we are in a bit of a drought most years.  Our majestic peaks, some hour and a half from where I live, are tipped with snow and the highest mountains are covered.  We have a few flurries during the winter and at least one wallop.  Which we did not have last year sadly.  The wallop is two or three feet of heavenly snow that allows us to sit in our pajamas and drink hot chocolate all day from the comfort of home.  No one really worries because tomorrow the streets will be clear and by the next day you’ll never know it snowed.  This makes for amazing Colorado weather, unless you are a gardener.  Water would be most welcome!  (It is illegal in Colorado to have rain barrels.  Weird.)

So, even though there isn’t much right now, we could get seven inches (which means a foot out here!) and lots of wind so we can’t find our way.  We must decide whether to go open the shop.  If the schools are closed, the shops will most likely be closed too and we risk not being able to get back if they close the highway.  I am going to plead the case to Doug that we must have a day of pajamas, hot chocolate, and wicked rounds of Rummy and other fun games.

Note to self though; next homestead must, I tell you, must have a well (with water rights) and a wood stove.  In the meantime, the coffee is ready, the heater on, the Christmas tree lights are shining, and I have a super secret recipe to share with you.  Enjoy it my friends, and wherever you are, take a snow day!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Thingies That Are So Addictive

1 package of graham crackers, crushed to smithereens with a rolling pin

1 stick of butter, melted

1 cup of peanut butter

1 cup of powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients well and press into a cookie sheet.

Melt ½ a package of chocolate chips and pour over graham cracker mix spreading with a spatula or spoon.

Place in refrigerator to set.