Farm Calendars and Cards

I have found that there are some old-fashioned things I still like.  One of them is paper wall calendars.  I like to write all of my important appointments in one secure spot (I have had my Apple calendar fail me).  Plus I enjoy seeing photos that make me smile.  So today I received my 2023 calendars in the mail.  The most striking for me is the 2023 Schoonover Animal Calendar.  You can click here to see the photos that are inside.  The photo is of our Shetland ewe Vanessa.

The 2023 Schoonover Farm Calendar somehow is missing its cover title.  But still has nice farm photos inside you can check out here.

And then there’s the 2023 Schoonover Family Calendar.  I love the cover photo as it encompasses much of what I love, plus the lighting is cool.  The inside photos are here.

The other old-fashioned thing I still like is Christmas cards.  I did go a little more basic this year with less photos and no story.  But I think the photos I chose summarize the year fairly well.  It has the some photo as above as I love it so much, but also has what I think is a great photo of the grandkids on the Naches River (a very special place for me), as well as Tom meeting Coach Karl and me with Hodor.  There were other highlights of course, but this is a nice collage.

What old-fashioned things do you still like?




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Medieval and Tudor Winter Holiday Cooking, Part 1

I have been participating in Paul Couchman’s The history of Christmas customs, feasting and food from the Middles Ages to 20th-century wartime. I just love his courses.  So I started out with the Medieval and Tudor winter holiday cooking recipes yesterday. First there was the Syrian Chicken.  It involved steaming a chicken with some flavors and then combining it with a sauce made of the chicken stock and ground almonds with some spices.

Then there was Plum Pottage which invoked making beef stock and combining it with dried fruits and seasonings.

Then I made their gingerbread which was boiled honey with breadcrumbs and spices.  Unfortunately this did not turn out.  I must have used the wrong breadcrumbs as it never set up.

Then there was a Shakespeare Warden Pie  I used puff pastry underneath and added the honey and saffron soaked pears with some soaked currants and golden raisins on top.

More puff pastry with egg yolk and Demerara sugar on the top and baked.

Here is our dinmer last night, the Syrian Chicken with Pomegranate seed and the Plum Pottage  The chicken was fairly boring other than the pomegranate seeds were fun.  I loved the pottage though. It was spice, warm and wonderful.  Tom was not a huge fan though.

Here was the dessert.  The pie was not well cooked, and the pears were raw.  The gingerbread was basically a syrup.  So pretty much a failure.

But this morning I had the bright idea of using the “ginger bread” as a coffee additive as it is mostly honey and spices, and it is really good.   So it will be my coffee seasoning until it runs out.  The pigs liked the Warden pie.  And I will eat the Syrian Chicken and Plum Pottage the next time I work  Now I am working on procuring pheasant, venison and mutton (or lamb) for the remaining recipes of this era before moving on to the next one.  Wish me luck!

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Wintertime Woes

And it is not even winter yet. The first event occurred on Monday when I was at work.  Apparently the heat tape for our pump-house faucet failed and tried to catch fire.  If it had succeeded it would have burnt down our  pump-house and perhaps the garage as well. We didn’t even realize that they could catch fire.  We have three faucets with that tape on them.  It is totally necessary that we continue this, but we need to figure out how to do it safely.

But the other issue is that it tripped the GFI plug in the pump house, and the heater wasn’t working.  If it had been a little colder, this could the meant the water for the entire farm could have frozen.  It could have broken pipes and/or damaged our pump.  This is so scary.

This is the blizzard that came on Tuesday.  We didn’t get much snow, but the wind did a lot of damage.  The sheep even went into the barn to get out of it. This is highly unusual.  But the geese stay outside.

One thing though, the water container cover I had bought survived.  I was wondering if it would do well in a windstorm, but it did.  So now we can get a second one and hopefully have algae free stored rainwater in the future.

On Wednesday Tom found that a tree had fallen over our backyard fence, taking it down.  So he had to chainsaw the tree off and repair the fence before the beagle figured out she could escape.

It is well past when we were expecting calves from our two cows.  The vet wouldn’t commit whether he thought they were pregnant or not.  What do you think?  Is Sonja pregnant?

What about Marji?  Is Rory shooting blanks?

I took down all over the barbed wired around their pasture.  So now there is less protection for predators going over the back fence into the pasture  And there is less protection for the cows taking down the fences as well. Here is a section that Rory has knocked down by rubbing on it that didn’t have any wire on it.  Now he can do this to the rest of the fencing too.

The other event is that the wood stove that Tom uses to heat the garage had a separation between the cover and the back.  This meant sparks were coming out of it.  This is a soapstone stove that came with the house when we bought it.  We believe the stove was from the 1970s when the Fox’s bought the farm.  It is a really cool stove.  Tom was able to purchase some high temperature fireplace mortar putty to try to repair it and so far it is working.  Hopefully this will work, and we will not have a garage fire.  That would be completely devastating.

Here are some frosty sunny sheep this morning.

One really sad issue is that my Jon-E hand warmer has somehow lost its burner.  I discovered this yesterday.  They apparently do not make these hand-warmers anymore nor their parts.  I googled around quite a while last evening trying to find one, unsuccessfully.  So I am without my wonderful hand warmer for now and have to use disposable, landfill-filling ones.  I have damage to my right hand from two different injuries (the snowmobile trailer episode and the Steve/fence issue) so this hand is really susceptible to cold now.

The next issue is trying to keep the hummingbird food thawed.  I have been taking the feeders in every night and putting them out early every morning.  But I believe Tom forgot to do this Monday when I was at work because when I got home Tuesday morning there was a partially thawed feeder on the pellet stove.  So it was imperative that I get the Christmas lights up as not only are they decorative and festive, they also keep the feeders thawed.  Here is the front porch feeder with its lights.

And the back porch feeder with its light.  Hopefully this will be enough to keep the hummingbirds fed.

And today the barnyard hose was frozen.  I was the one who tried to empty it yesterday, but I was in a hurry trying to get to a historic cooking zoom.  So my bad, but it took a while to get it unthawed to water the critters today.  Lesson learned.

These are out wintertime woes.  And it still isn’t even winter yet.  We have a ways to go.

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