Sunday, October 20, 2013

October at Merry Mount

Ohio farmland. Yeah, it's flat. But there's a beauty in that flatness. The broad vistas of farm fields that change color with every season. The big sky. Wide open spaces. Gorgeous sunsets. And misty mornings.

Rio and I headed down to Merry Mount last weekend after far too long! Things have changed at our little farm-destination. Merry Mount now has a beautiful fence. . . and a "name-tag." The sun porch has been remodeled (and made a perfect bedroom for Rio and me; with her older-doggie hips she can't handle the wooden stairs that go to the bedroom wing). But we were comfy on the porch all night.

 Pat and Rett have planted an orchard -- spindly apple trees, plum, chestnut, cherry and peach saplings are standing ready for future fruit-picking. The transplanted perennials are taking root. And the potted herbs are hanging in there for the end of the season. 

The soybean fields out back have already been harvested. Now you can see miles and miles across the empty, plowed expanses. It kind of looked like a painting, with the orangey woods in the distance. Meanwhile the farmer next door (with his giant combines and agricultural semi-trucks) was bringing in the corn. He has, like, 900 acres. All day the enormous vehicles were noisily rumbling and trudging back and forth to meet their goals of transferring the golden corn from field to silo. The grain is not used for people-corn or even animal feed. This corn is destined to morph into ethanol.

Pat and Rett struck a little "American Gothic" pose for me. . . but they couldn't stay serious for long.

We ambled around the property, and relaxed on the front porch with a sip of wine and a bite of smoky cheese, in awe of yet another perfect sunset.

Feeling fall-ish, I brought the ingredients for an experiment -- pumpkin/parmesan pasta sauce. It was pretty good (we ate it at least) but I felt like there was something missing. The sage was a nice touch, the bacon was delish, but it needed a little kick. Maybe some hot pepper flakes? Here's the recipe:

Pasta with pumpkin parmesan sauce

1 lb small pasta or linguini
Cook pasta until al dente, drain

1-2 slices bacon
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
6-8 mushrooms, diced
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 T tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons fresh sage, minced

Cook bacon til crisp; remove. Save 1 T bacon fat; saute onion, garlic & mushroom until tender, add  pepper.  Add pumpkin, tomato paste & chicken stock & wine, bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, add parmesan cheese and cream and stir to melt.  Serve over pasta, garnish with parmesan and minced sage

Rett and Pat are planning a bonfire for later in the month. Oh yeah, Rio and I will be there. Maybe I'll bring the fixin's for s'mores! And the farm dogs? Jackpot and Sweetie look a little too cozy to be roughing it out on the back forty, don't you think?