Cider Press Hill

Happy Leap Day

Friday, 10:23 pm

By Kate

Feb

29

2008

overcast

I couldn’t go without posting a little something on Leap Day.  ;)

So…

If you go visit Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, you’ll find gorgeous pictures of hunky cowboys, wild mustangs, cattle, prairies, cute kids, puppy dogs, elegant and decadent foods (with recipes), and good writing all in one package. She’s addictive. And funny. And her blog is really pretty. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. This week she provided some photos for download. I have one of some wild mustangs on the snow covered prairie at sunrise as wallpaper on my laptop. It makes me sigh every time I look at it. Beautiful.

And…

The local news broadcasts tonight are all about snow. It’s about an hour out—nothing here yet. However, they upped the amounts a little bit. They’re calling for something around 6-8 inches now. Not too bad, I guess. There’s another storm brewing, apparently, which may turn out to be The Really Big One for the year. That’s anticipated in 8 days or so. Ah, why not. Go for it snow gods. Knock yourselves out. 



 

Let it snow, let it snow....

Thursday, 7:58 pm

By Kate

Feb

28

2008

partly cloudy

The more I talk about spring....

the more it snows.

I think I’ll be quiet now.



 

Potato Soup

Wednesday, 7:38 pm

By Kate

Feb

27

2008

overcast

When the north winds blow....or not. It’s still tasty. This was an experimental recipe incorporating ideas from three separate recipes. Turned out really well. It’s one of the lad’s favorite dishes now. Mine, too, for that matter. It is most likely not heart friendly, but once in a while, y’know. I’ve been meaning to post this since Christmas....

Ingredients:
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups potato water
1/4 cup bacon fat
2 stalks of celery, quartered
3 large leeks, sliced
handful of small white boiling onions, peeled and left whole
8 slices of bacon, crumbled
8 small potatoes, quartered
6 medium potatoes, cubed
3 tablespoons of butter
shredded cheddar cheese
parsley
cracked pepper to taste

Peel your potatoes and cut up per instructions above. In a stock pot, cover the 8 quartered potatoes with water and boil until crisp tender. Pour off potato water and reserve 1 1/2 cups. Mash potatoes lightly.

In a pan, cook bacon until easily crumbled. Remove bacon and stir fry sliced leeks in bacon fat until translucent. Along with 1/4 cup of the bacon fat, toss the leeks into the stock pot containing the lightly mashed potatoes.

Pour in 3 cups of chicken stock, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, and 1 1/2 cups of potato water. Stir and bring to a simmer. Add 3 tablespoons of butter, the remaining cubed potatoes, peeled boiling onions, and quartered stalks of celery. Add celery leaves if you have any. Add cracked pepper according to taste (I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons).

Let simmer *gently* until the cubed potatoes are tender. The soup will thicken as it cooks. Stir occasionally and don’t let it boil.

Serve in deep bowls and sprinkle top with crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar cheese. Add chopped parsley, if desired.
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I cook mine on top of the wood stove and it takes about 3 hours to gently cook. It would probably cook a little faster on top of the kitchen stove. Just make sure it doesn’t more than gently simmer (barely bubbling). The longer it takes to cook, the more flavorful it is. In fact, this soup actually tastes even better the second day.



 

Yo-yo weather

Wednesday, 2:39 pm

By Kate

Feb

27

2008

overcast

We had a snow storm yesterday. The one we weren’t supposed to get. It snowed all day long. Pretty big fluffy flakes. The accumulation didn’t amount to that much, maybe 4 inches. It was heavy wet snow and all the trees were coated. It was pretty. Then the snow turned to drizzle in the early evening and everything turned to slush. Then the temps dropped and everything froze solid. Par for the course.

This morning the temps rose into the mid 40s. And all of yesterday’s snow and ice melted. At the moment, you’d never know that it snowed all day yesterday. The roads are clear and dry and my deck floor boards are clear and dry, too. At least they are where I shoveled a path previously. The rest of the deck is still piled high with snow.

Tonight the temps drop again. Tomorrow they drop some more and tomorrow night we’ll be back in the single digits for a brief period. But back up into the mid 40s by Saturday.

Which all goes to show that spring is trying. It’s currently losing the battle, but still valiantly trying. While spring and winter duke it out over the next few weeks, our temps will resemble a yo-yo. It’s not the most pleasant part of the year. It’s hard to acclimate when the temps jump around like that. One day is sweatshirt and vest weather and the next is long underwear and down coat weather. I just wish spring would make a break for it and arrive already. Yes, it’s too early, but I don’t care.



 

Occupying my thoughts/time today

Tuesday, 1:56 pm

By Kate

Feb

26

2008

overcast

1. Making more butter. I’m out and refuse to buy that tasteless grocery store stuff.

2. Mailing the lad’s care package. He’s been eagerly checking his mail and wishing I’d hurry the heck up.

3. Collecting paint chip cards for at least half of Martha Stewart’s 350 new paint colors. Exclusively at Lowe’s, her website says. As if I needed any more excuses to visit Lowe’s.

3. Resubscribing to freecycle. I guess if you’re inactive for a period of time, they dump you. I have more stuff to get rid of.

4. Staring at the ceilings, wondering if I really want to paint them myself or hire someone to do it for me. I hate painting ceilings. Well, I’m not all that fond of painting walls, either, but at least I don’t make a mess of that.

5. Wondering whether to recycle my immense pile of newspapers or save them for weed control in the garden this spring. They’re taking up valuable space. I think I should probably keep them. But they’re taking up valuable space....



 

90 Percent Project - Week 38

Tuesday, 11:57 am

By Kate

Feb

26

2008

overcast

And here are my weekly values for resources consumed during Week 38 (February 15-21) of the 90 Percent Project....

Electricity
Week 38: 13 kWh

This appears to be my new plateau barring any household disasters or atypical needs.

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Gasoline purchased
Week 38: 0 gallons

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Water
Week 38: 141.65 gallons

1 large load of laundry and 1 small load.

_________________

Natural Gas
Week 38: 2 CCF

I left the hot water heater on continuously for 3.5 days out of 7.

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Trash
Week 38: 7.4 lbs

A little bit of spring cleaning in progress.

_________________

Consumer Goods
Week 38: $80.84

Shower head, teflon tape, adjustable wrench, pliers, CLR, quilt.

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Food
Nothing particularly new to report here. Eating locally as much as possible and looking forward to spring variety. One thing I have noticed—the local foods have not gone up in price as much as the imported foods.  No small wonder with the costs of fuel and transportation.



 

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