Thursday, December 29, 2011

Then and now




Just for fun, the same locations in August and then in December. The top two were taken from a different angle, but you get the idea! As much as I love winter, looking at these pictures makes me long for summer. Those borders bursting with flowers make my wintertime attempts at bouquets (rosemary, rose hips, and winter berry sprigs) seem feeble indeed!

Friday, December 16, 2011

From the kitchen

It may be cold and grey outside, but the kitchen is warm and sweet smelling!
Apple Blackberry pie, sliced up and ready for market.
Peppermint Ball cookies
Brandied dried fruit tart, also headed for market
And, farm children making gingerbread cookies for neighbors!
This time of year, baking for the market is a real pleasure! The certified kitchen is a quarter of a mile from our house, and this afternoon was so foggy I could not see the building from the house. While the farmer was busily baking treats for the Salem Public market tomorrow, the farm children and I were busy baking goodies of our own. Gingerbread, Russian tea cakes, peppermint balls, and hazelnut toffee. It was so pleasant to spend the afternoon in the kitchen with a candle lit and the lights shining out warmly against the fog of the afternoon!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

some winter time occupations

 Even though winter is our down time, there is still quite a lot of activity around the farm. There are blueberry bushes to be pruned, equipment to be maintained, and paper work to catch up on. One of the more pleasurable of the winter time tasks is sampling the farmer's experimental baking. Since we have a booth selling baked goods at the Salem Indoor Market every Saturday, as well as doing custom baking for Christmas and other occasions, the farmer stays quite busy in the kitchen. Today's experiments were a white chocolate cranberry tart (with almonds in the crust) and a chocolate tart topped with candied walnuts. Pictured above is the cranberry tart. It was so, so delicious! Fresh cranberries, spices, and orange juice make a wonderful topping, especially good paired with the creaminess of the white chocolate.
 As good as the cranberry tart was, the chocolate tart was, dare I say, even better! The chocolate flavor was so intense, and the sweet crunch of the walnuts provided a wonderful contrast. Paired with a cup of hot, strong coffee, it was the perfect mid-afternoon snack!
My only complaint is that with baked goods this delicious coming my way so often, those pesky twenty pounds I need to loose are going to be so much harder to shed! I went for an after dinner walk this evening, which was great, but ever since watching a scary movie at Halloween, I spook myself out very easily. I usually only walk for ten minutes or so before imagining footsteps behind me and running back to the house.

Monday, December 5, 2011

garden in winter

This morning I braved the cold, frosty weather to take a few pictures in the garden. I typically, in winter, mourn the passing of the summer garden. I see it from my kitchen window, brown branches laden with rain silhouetted against an iron gray sky. I don't often venture out and try to find beauty in this shell of a garden. This year, I have been making a point to see the loveliness that inhabits the garden, even in winter time. The frost on leaves, turning then into diamond dusted jewels. The bare branches, their lovely forms usually obscured by leaves. Fallen leaves, in wonderful golden shades, carpet the walkway. In spite of the beauty to be found, the farm kitty and I are happy to return to the warmth of the house! One of the farm girls wraps the cat in a blanket and sits with him by the fire. I can hear his contented purr as I make myself a mug of hot tea, and then join kitty and farm children for a happy hour spent around the fire with a good book!