Bird in Hand Farm

Bird in Hand Farm is an imaginary place.

Monday, May 30, 2011

I have startitis

I even made a gauge swatch!
A bad case.  I should be telling you about finally getting the garden in or the soap I made.  But no. 
Pretty dragon soap - Calling Maggie!
The boxes are are out there...
I cast on for a sock on Saturday morning.  Saturday afternoon I cast on a cotton, lace sweater for Sweat Pea.  I've knit 6 inches up the body, but the cast on bug bit me again.  This time for a cotton, lacy curtain.   Why? I don't know.   There are also some ideas for a bathmat bubbling away.  What I do know is that when I try to ignore the call to create something new, it gets louder.  Worse, my motivation to work on whatever is in progress wanes and I get mired and stuck.  
So long as I am working out of my stash and making progress, I think it is okay.  Maybe in the next day or so I will talk about the garden or the soap.  Maybe I'll tell you about a bathmat.  Who knows?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Morning Knitting

I love Saturday mornings.    A group of us meet every Saturday at a wonderful local coffee shop.  We range in age, ability, and background and it is a lot of fun.  
Someone was working on a hat.  She tried it on for us, but would not let me take her picture.  Isn't it pretty?
Someone is always spinning.  Some spin on travel wheels like this Majacraft and some on spindles.
"D" is working on a beautiful alpaca lace scarf.  She was brave enough to let me show her face.  She recently taught us a really cool braided yarn join that is pretty much  much invisible.
Check out this lace blanket!
This will be a market bag.  The yarn is a combination of wool and nettles.  It is really soft. Notice the photo is blurry just where her fingers move to make the stitch.
I love Paton's Kroy sock yarn.
I made 2 squares on my blanket.  I cannot work on detailed stuff at knitting because I make mistakes and end up having to rip back when I get home.  The blanket is a wonderful simple project for Saturday morning.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Failure averted.

Remember the dried apples?  No one liked them.  I tried them in granola but even that was not a hit.  So they have sat on the pantry shelf waiting for me to come up with something creative.

Remember the blueberries?  We finally ran out towards the end of April.  It was a sad day, but maybe a good thing.   By the time July arrives we will be missing them. 

But, no blueberries created a breakfast dilemma.  I want fruit with my breakfast, but nothing is in season here.  So, I got desperate and tried the dried apples.  You know what happens when you add plain yogurt and dried apples together?  The apples absorb all of the liquid that leaks out of the yogurt.  By the time I am ready to eat breakfast at work, they are the perfect consistency and I don't have runny yogurt.  Add some sliced almonds and a sprinkle of sugar and you have a great breakfast.

Failure averted.  I'm going to try this with dried cherries too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pat's Lemon Cake

Once a month I facilitate a support group for folks with ALS.  It is both incredibly hard and really rewarding.  I hate ALS.  It is a cruel, relentless disease.  Anyway, I bring food to group.  This usually involves baking.

Tomorrow night is group, so I made Pat's Lemon cake.  "Aunt" Pat was a family friend when I was growing up.  She is truly one of the nicest people I have ever met.  The farmer bought me lemons to use with the sage tea and then it rained for 6 days straight and I was too lazy to go outside and get wet picking sage leaves.  This is a better use for them.

As usual, I am missing at least one ingredient.  No bread crumbs?  No problem.  Substitute ground Cheerios.  Not enough sugar?  Substitute confectioners.  And so it goes.

I have no idea where Pat got the recipe but it is a good one and worth sharing.
Pat's Lemon Cake

Preheat oven to 325

Spray bundt pan with Pam and coat with dry bread crumbs (or ground cereal)

Step 1. Sift together:
3 cups flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

Step 2: Cream till fluffy
1/2 lb butter
2 cups sugar.  My Mom's note says "don't cheat"

Step 3: Add one at a time
4 eggs

Step 4: fold in alternating
1 cup milk
flour mixture

Step 5: Stir in
2 T freshly grated lemon zest

Batter should be fluffy.  Spread in the bundt pan and smooth the top.Bake at 325 for 75 minutes.  Edges should just pull away form the edges of the pan.  Immediately invert onto a cake rack and coat with glaze till all is absorbed.

Glaze: 1/3 cup of lemon juice and 3/4 cup sugar.  Warm together on the back of the stove by the vent while the cake bakes.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Sage Tea

When I was looking up information on growing and drying mint for tea, I read about sage tea.  As you may recall, I have a whole bush of sage growing outside my back door.   I did a little bit more research and found the site: Herb Wisdom that has a whole mess of information and claims about the benefits of sage.  If even a tiny bit of it is true, then it is worth trying.  

This morning, I steeped 5-6 fresh picked leaves in 2 cups of boiling water.  I let it cool during the day and in the afternoon, I added a lot of ice and enough water to fill my water bottle.  It was a nice, cold refreshing drink.  I would not have guessed that I would like sage tea, but I could see myself drinking this.

Tonight I decided to try it hot.  Big cup of boiling-hot water, 5-6 sage leaves, 2 drops of honey, and a splash of lemon juice.  Wow.  I am amazed by how good it is and that it is made from 3 ingredients just hanging about the house.  Guess I will also be drying sage for the winter.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I love that kid.

We went to the garden center twice today.  Two bags of cow manure and 14 bags of garden soil later and we still have a loooooong way to go to fill up the raised beds.  My original plan was to fill them about halfway with compost and then use dirt for the rest.  The farmer managed to make one trip to the city's free compost heap last week.   He scored 3 bins.  Yesterday when he went back, the entire enormous pile was gone.   I have emptied the entire contents of our compost heap into the bins but that did not go very far.  On to plan B.

More on that later, for now, let me introduce you to the first two plantings of the season.   On the left is Lemon Balm.  On the right is Sweet Mint.  I love mint tea in the winter.  My plan is for these plants to grow and grow in their contained pots.  During the summer, I can take cuttings and dry them for teas next winter.   They are in pots because I did not want them to take over the flower beds or the garden.  Hopefully, they will be hardy and I will remember to water them.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Every year since we bought this house, spring arrives in late April or early May and the ants arrive shortly thereafter. Big black ones.  We tried lots of ways to encourage them to relocate.  I don't like using pesticides.  Ant stuff is expensive.  That bugs me.  

Ha Ha.  I made a pun.  

But, as usual, Google is my friend.  Ants do not like borax.  I have lots of borax.  It is cheap.  Here is the deal: mix 1 teaspoon of borax with 3-4 tablespoons of honey or corn syrup.  That's it.  Put it where the pets cannot get at it.  

No more ants.  Seriously.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Farm Update

Time for a farm update!  The raised garden beds came weeks ago but it finally stopped raining for long enough for us to go build them this weekend.  The backs of my legs are sore today from squatting and lifting.  I promise to show you picks of them when they are all done.  This is a teaser.
We made strawberry cupcakes for the kid's birthday,  She decorated them with unwrapped chocolate Easter eggs. 
There is a ham hock in the crock pot.  Say that 10x fast.  The Farmer says that ham hocks are actually the pigs feet, but I don't think so.  I think its the section of leg that is a traditional ham. I'm not looking it up.
How long should a washing machine last?  6.5 years does not seem long enough.  The part to repair it should be here on Tuesday or Wednesday.   Laundry mats suck.  At least it was finally warm enough to use the clothes line so we did not need to use the dryers.
I made Duckies!  They are fun and fast.  Somehow a pattern called Duckies had to be made with orange yarn.  The yarn is Yarn Bee Snowflake Wool Blend Creamsickle.  I'm not in love with the yarn, but I like the socks.
 Oreo likes them too.