Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Beer Bread

It was cold today. I came home and built a fire. Tonight's dinner just called for something warm and homey. Actually, it started at school. Tomorrow is the last day before school gets out for Spring/Easter break, so we cleaned out the frig and made a big lunch with all the goodies we had on hand. Aside from working with Severely Handicapped kids on a daily basis, that's one of the greatest things we've got going in our class. We have a full kitchen, and we often have yummy things to eat for the staff and kids. Well, anyway, I brought home leftovers for dinner, made a quick salad, and threw together this bread. Voila! Dinner! I just love quickie things like this. Especially when I have other, more pressing things to be doing. Like warming my chair (next to the wood stove) while knitting. This beer bread recipe is probably the easiest, most awesomest recipe I have. Here it is. Let me know if you try it!

Beer Bread

3 cups self rising flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 12 oz. can beer

Stir everything together in a bowl. Grease a 9"x5" loaf pan. Pour bread dough into pan. Place in a cold oven, turn oven on to 350, bake for 40-45 minutes. Take out of the pan and let cool for a few minutes before slicing. I have an electric knife, and I'm able to cut it while it's still hot without tearing it up. Either way, it's really good!

Where Did Spring Go?

I was getting settled in my computer chair, thinking of all the things I have been doing, getting my thoughts together to post about them, and my hands were freezing! Not that freezing hands are anything new for me, actually, they are pretty much constantly cold. But this afternoon, they were freezing! So I built a fire.

And now, while I'm waiting to get warm, would you like to know what I did this weekend? I took Hubby's commute car (even though it was a little dirty) and headed out of town for the day. My plan was to go to the Farmer's Market, my very favorite knitting/yarn shop, and next maybe next find a pair of jeans, and then grocery shopping. Farmer's Market.....too many people, no parking, so I ditched that one. I decided that with my garden producing, I didn't really need anything all that bad. Besides, that made more time I could spend at the yarn shop! I bought two very pretty, very girly, very purple, very "socky" yarns. They're way cool, and I am excited to get my first pair of socks done so I can start on these. I just hope they fit! Uhhh, anyway, then I was headed to Target, and guess what I saw?????

Oh, my! Who doesn't love firefighters? AND.....I had a dirty car! AND......they were having it in the Target parking lot! It was meant to be! So I pulled in, and dropped my car off, and off I went! Of course, I came back to a very clean car, but they were pretty busy, so I just waited a bit, you know, so I wouldn't interupt anything. Like this.......

Or this.......

That got me to thinking. What is it about firefighters? And do they know how cute they are???

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Little Of This, A Little Of That

Spring has sprung, at least for now, and I've been spending boatloads of time in the garden. I was excited to see my peas had popped up about a week ago.

They got a few days on them, and then started looking quite unlike peas. I decided it must have been some of my kitchen scraps I had put in the garden bed. This weekend they looked more like potatoes, and so I transplanted them to a better spot. I'm happy to report, though, that my peas have come up nicely, and are awaiting the trellis system to climb on. I made two of these last summer from some of the many tree branches we have on our property. I need to cut some more to make at least two additional supports for my peas, and later some little shorties for the cucumbers. I won't need any extra for the beans, I will be planting them where the peas are now and they can use the same trellis. To make these, all I do is cut a bunch of straight branches about one inch in diameter and six feet long. I use baling twine to tie the uprights to the bottom branch, and then weave the horizontals in, starting at the bottom. It's easy, free, and they hold together great over the winter for the next season.

My niece Patricia is home on spring break. I went to a quilt show with her and my sister over the weekend, and then she helped me with some knitting. I used to be the one to help her with knitting, (back in the day) but she is much better than me now. Anyway, on our way home, we stopped by the stable where she rides, and I was fortunate enough to score some free horse manure. Yeah. I know. I'm still excited. And even better than a load of manure? It's composted, and I can get as many loads as I want! And it's not even my birthday!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

New Raised Beds and a Coldframe

Whew! Were we ever busy this weekend! It started bright and early Saturday morning, when David and I went to the Farmer's Market. We took our hippy basket and reusable bags, and filled them up with all manner of home grown stuff. We got kale, a bag of different lettuces, fennel (!), and pok choy, and gosh, tons more. We were back home by 9, when shortly after that hubby came driving in with a load of wood and other stuff for the newest beds. After a quick breakfast, we were out in the garden. For starters, I wanted to replace my chard bed. It was so overgrown with bermuda, there was no possible way to save it with any other method. I dug up the chard and iris at the ends, and put them in the shade on feed sacks. We built the bed, and hubby hammered it in the ground. I layed down cardboard on the bottom to keep the bermuda roots from growing up to the surface, and then we proceeded to fill them up with the mix I had gotten last week. This picture is what's left of 1 1/2 yards I bought Saturday before the dirt place closed for the weekend. I think it's the third load I've bought this spring. Good thing we have a teenager in the house, bless his heart! I'd hate to unload this!

Anyway, after the bed was made and filled, I put the chard and iris back in. Oh, they were so much happier, not having to share their home with all those weeds!
Here they are, in their new digs!

But, don't you know, they didn't all fit! So, I put the extra iris at each end of the first bed we made a few weeks ago, and I just heeled in the extra chard until I can find someone willing to give them a good home. Anybody have room in their garden for some really good chard? Anybody? Hello?

And, because that wasn't enough for one day, hubby started working on my coldframe/raised bed. Pretty cool, huh? We've never used a coldframe before, so this is a learning process, but I'm excited at the thought of getting my starts out of the kitchen and living room. Right now, we are keeping the wood stove going for my little seeds that haven't come up yet. It's too cold for them outside, and very soon, after they start popping up through the soil, there will not be enough light for them inside. Hopefully, this will do the trick.

Here's the cold frame after one lid is on. This afternoon, after leaving the lid down for about an hour or so, it was 117 degrees inside, and 103 outside, just on the soil in the sun. I was a little surprised to find it so hot outside on the soil, because it's chilly enough in the shade for a light jacket. Each morning, I will need to be faithful about going to the garden, because on a day like today, if I forget to prop the lid open, by the time I get home from work, the starts will be fried for sure!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Getting My Hands Dirty!

It was rainy and cold today. I got off work a little early, and wanted to spend a little extra time in the garden, since it had stopped raining. By the time I had finished feeding and watering the chickens and rabbits, I was cold. I don't like working in the garden when I'm cold. But I still wanted to work outside. Fickle, huh?? Anyway, I've been meaning to plant some of the seeds I got in the mail, and hadn't done it. So, I got a tub of potting mix, a bunch of my leftover six packs, and went inside where it was warm. Look what I ended up with!! Anybody going to be needing peppers or tomatoes? I might have one or two extra!