Sunday, January 17, 2016

goodbye Christmas kitchen

Since it is so cold this weekend it seemed like a good time to remove my Christmas decorations.  We had celebrated late at the farm--well into January--and I really didn't do a lot of decorating but I took a couple of pictures while it was still up.    The area that serves as a butler's pantry got a little tree with a wine theme.
 The west side of the kitchen had a bit of garland over the stove with red lights, candy canes, rolling pins, copper cookie cutters, mini spatulas, mini wooden spoons and red barn ornaments. 
 The east side of the kitchen had a little tree with red lights, gingerbread boys, rolling pins and candy canes.
The northeast corner is home to my new to me kitchen nutcrackers, found on a thrift store trip and a framed gift bag, a gift from my sister quite a few years ago. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

a frigid winter weekend

Tonight it is supposed to be very cold.  It was cold yesterday and last night and today it got up to about zero.  Tonight it is predicted to be -15 with possible wind chills of -35 to -45 during the night.  Tomorrow is expected to be -3 for a high.  It will start to warm up on Monday and beginning Tuesday we should have 12 days above zero and most of those with lows in the teens and highs in the 20s.  Still not a lot of sunny days. :(

There was a pretty pair of sun dogs today.  Always fun to see. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

our last Christmas has been celebrated

Two of my three children were with their other sides in other states over the Christmas holiday so our celebration at the farm was planned for this past weekend.  It was a pretty busy weekend.  On Saturday we had breakfast and presents at the farm, then scooted into the town to the east of the farm where my sister lives to watch my nephew play some high school basketball.  They didn't win but my nephew played well.

After the game we then scooted to the town to the west of the farm, where my parents live, to have supper and those that were missing on Christmas opened their presents  from Grandma and Grandpa.  On the way we stopped at the farm to pick up the 'visitor' dogs--the five that belong to my children--and they went with us to town.  My three stayed at the farm.

It was a bitterly cold weekend in Minnesota with below zero temperatures and way further below zero wind chills. The Vikings were playing at home in the Twin Cities in what I read somewhere was expected to be the third coldest football game in NFL history.  My older daughter and her group left in the evening to return home Saturday night.  My son and his group left after breakfast on Sunday morning.  My younger daughter will be heading home on Monday morning but she was not at the farm so it was a pretty quiet day.

On Sunday I took down the tree and as I was tossing it over the fence for the herd it occurred to me that I took no pictures this weekend and I decided to do what I could to take some post celebration pictures to at least capture some of the highlights.  As a note to how cold it is, usually our goats will clear my old Christmas tree of every single needle within an hour of getting this treat.  It is so cold that they have not ventured out of the barn to find it.  
 tree skirt with holly and berries

This is my new tree skirt. It is a gift from my sister and I love the design of it.  The new one is more suited to the farmhouse; very different from the fussy one that I have used previously.  For the last few years I have had a gold and red tree, gold skirt, ornament hangers, rope and bows and red balls.  It matches the garlands that go above my three windows. The last few years I have used a tabletop tree as the farm house is small and the majority of the dogs are big and sometimes a little rambunctious.  When the whole family is together and the room is full of dogs and people and presents it only makes sense that the tree is on a card table in the corner up out of reach and accidents.  This year, I knew that our real tree would be missing most of the needles by the time of our celebration if it was put up and decorated early so it went up late.  I was hoping to do a simple tree, and ended up just using cardstock holly and berry cutouts that I cut on the cricut and assembled and decorated in the countdown to our celebration.  Even having extra weeks I was still scrambling to be ready in time.
paper gift tag/ornament

Our holiday meal at the farm was a brunch.  We had crepes with a sweetened whipped cream cheese or nutella filling topped with fruit and sweetened whipped cream.  There are no pictures of a fancy table set with my Christmas china but we did use it.  The filled stockings served as place cards.  The tablecloth stayed but my table is narrow so the centerpiece box was relegated to the end of the table.

centerpiece box decorated for Christmas
My Christmas china has a tree in the center.  In my thrifting adventures I had picked up some table accessories and had given consideration to using them for this table but in the end it was just plates and silverware.  I even used plain glasses instead of the stems that match the dishes.  Next year I think that I will have on my to do list that I will set the table the night before...
my Christmas china

salt cellars

glass napkin rings

After brunch we opened presents.  This year I only made a couple of Christmas gifts and only one for this celebration.  My son had requested that his gift be a handcrafted bag for his Kubb blocks.  He had been using a variety of reusable grocery bags but they didn't hold up well and he was looking for something stronger.  As is my usual I finished sewing his gift the day before it needed to be wrapped.  I finished the wrapping of all of the gifts the day before they needed to be opened.  I am a procrastinator. 
Kubb bag

I received a lot of great gifts and all were food related or kitchen related except for one.  The gift that wasn't food related was the labor on a tractor repair.  It was really fun and I am so thankful.  I have generous children who are creative in their gift choices.  A bottle of amaretto peach dessert sauce and tractor labor from my youngest, a salad dressing mixing bottle and four deviled egg trays from my middle and a two layer wooden salt box and pink Himalayan gourmet salt from my oldest along with their other halves.  Fun stuff.  
great foodie gifts

Years ago I made stockings for my kids.  Then as they became couples I made a stocking for the new family member.  I was unable to find more of the same fabric so I used a fabric that coordinates.

our people stockings
Then a couple of years ago I made the stockings for the dogs.  At that time we had four dogs, two at the farm and two that visited.  Since then we have doubled our number of dogs and rather than make a whole bunch of new stockings I decided that there would be one stocking for each family.  I needed to get new tags for the stockings and move some of the tags and it didn't get done this year so I didn't hang the stockings.  I made homemade dog treats for my contribution to the pet stockings.  I made big batches of the three recipes on my other blog and packaged them up into cello bags.  the kids brought contributions to the pet stockings, toys and chew bones and cans of dog food with fun interesting names.  So far we have sampled the one called working dog stew and it looked and smelled like stew for humans.  My dogs loved it. Yet to try is one called brauts-n-tots and one called venison holiday stew. 

pet gifts and dog stockings
Part of the stocking gifts for the girls were Italian Prosperity Jars.  Kim at Exquisitely Unremarkable wrote about them here and she had read about them here.  Here is my version.
Italian Prosperity Jar

Since I was procrastinating I was assembling them the night before. I made one for me too.  It is sitting on the north facing window above my sink but it might have to move to a more sunny window. 
kitchen window
poor lighting for picture

After presents and the basketball game we headed over to my parents' house.  Mom had fixed most of the food.  My contribution was dessert and I brought pot de creme from the Pioneer Woman's website.  It was pretty easy and a make ahead so it was a good choice.  And it tasted good.  Coffee and chocolate.  All I had to do once we got there was whip the cream and top the little individual pots.      
pot de creme in lion handled pots

Monday, January 4, 2016

Mother nature does it again.

Another foggy evening, another beautiful morning

the front yard and the river birch tree

the orchard

The potager, east barn and greenhouse

The chicken coop

the wood barn

the granary

the greenhouse

The weeds on the compost pile

The grape arbor

The pampas grass

in front of the house

grape arbor and long fence

the gate
I am linking up with BNOTP for Met Monday here.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Springerle baked

This morning I baked the springerle that had been drying overnight and then dashed out the door to spend the day with my sister.  She had an appointment a couple of hours away and we did a little shopping on the way.  Included was a quick stop at Goodwill where we found several treasures including this milk glass plate so I thought I would take a quick picture with it while it was still at my house.  The plate is larger than it appears in this picture.  It is nearly 13 inches across.

The cookies were flat when I put them in the oven and while in the oven they raised up (unevenly) creating a little "foot" on the bottom which reminds me of the foot on a macaron.  Looking at pictures of the springerle that accompanied the recipes I was researching I noted that those ones were similarly uneven.  They have good flavor, kind of chewy with a hint of anise.  Fun to do something new.