Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Moon over Merry Mount

Ahh, 'twas the perfect weekend to escape to Merry Mount for a much-needed "farm fix"! It's been a trying summer, and Rett and Pat welcomed me down to the farm for an unbelievably beautiful weekend, where I got to see all the progress, changes and additions at the little farm in Madison County! Best of all, that night there was a "super moon" that was so bright (see pic above, though you can't take a photo of a moon that does it justice) that we blew out the torches after dinner and turned out all of the lights and it seemed almost like daylight. Moon shadows were everywhere!

But back to the beautiful daytime.

The boy goats were enjoying their time in their new pasture. 


The colorful flock of chickens, when not giving me the evil eye, were starting to lay their eggs! Hooray for Eloise!

The adorable barn kittens were stalking prey (bugs?) in the soybean field.

And I met the new members of the "herd" -- Clara and Ella!
They are absolutely adorable and are hanging around in their barn stall before getting comfy enough to head out to the pasture (separated by a double fence from the dudes). A little skittish in their new digs, Rett was pleased to see that Clara let me pet her for a little while.

I also got a chance to check out the beautiful flowers Rett has been tending.

 Have a cocktail on a country afternoon.
 And take a mosey through the garden for gobs of luscious produce.

 We watched a glorious sunset over the soybean field.
And their brand-new patio was the perfect spot for a lovely dinner of summer pasta, home-made ice cream, and Ohio blueberry sauce (dessert recipes below).
I always feel super welcome at Merry Mount!
 Slept in the "girlfriend" room full of photos of our gal pals from the past, oh,
16 years or so.
All in all, a perfect summer weekend at Merry Mount, just past Rett and Pat's one-year anniversary at the farm!

Check out the easy recipes for home-made ice cream and Ohio blueberry sauce.
Easy Vanilla Ice Cream

2 cups whipping cream, chilled
1 cup milk (may be low fat)
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with a hand mixer. Pour into the freezer bowl of an electric ice cream maker, turn on the machine and let it mix until thickened, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a container. Place in freezer until firm.

Ohio Blueberry Sauce

One pint basket of fresh, Ohio blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all in a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Simmer until reduced and slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Store in fridge; warm up to serve over the ice cream.

Always miss my Rio when I go to Merry Mount; she loved the farm as much as I do. But next time I go, I will have a new travelin' pal to bring along -- my just-rescued collie, 3 year old Piper:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Chickens, and Kittens, and Goats...Oh, My!

A week or so ago, I visited lovely Merry Mount to see the summer transformation of the little farm. . . and to meet the new residents! Rett and I had a lovely weekend visit (Pat was in Tennessee), and saw a breathtaking sunset (above) over the rustling fields of tall, tall corn.
I got a tour of her beautiful garden, and we made my favorite, summer pasta for dinner (recipe on one of the first posts of this blog).

But best of all, I got to meet the new additions to the farm!

Walt and Wilmer are adorable, little Nigerian Dwarf goats.

We had our cocktails in the goat barn with them, and that's the first time Walt was comfortable enough to let Rett pet him -- guess he just needed to relax around a glass of wine. (He actually was curious about what was in the glass but we guided him to the goat-molasses-lick instead.)

They are pretty happy at Merry Mount and will be allowed to go out into their "pasture" soon (they had to adjust to their new surroundings first). Next up, Rett will add two doe goats to the herd!

The chickens are doing great, though Rett is waiting for them to start laying eggs. They should be old enough now but they haven't gotten down to business. Rett even bought a few fake eggs to place in the laying boxes to help the ladies get the idea! Soon, soon!

I won't pretend to know who is whom, but the colorful chickens include Bertha and Buelah (Buff Orphingtons), Edith and Eloise (Plymouth Barred Rock Hens), Wanda and Wilma (Silver Laced Wyandots), and Gertie and Gilda (Golden Comets).

 Two kittens -- Maude and Rowdy -- and their mom Moocher, along with Jack Russell terrier Jackpot round out the animals. Oh wait, I forgot about the canaries -- who have laid three more eggs!

Here is a summer appetizer recipe, in case you have the delightful chance for a cocktail party in a goat barn or simply on your patio:

Roasted Beet Hummus

1 small red beet
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
4 garlic cloves, halved
1 teaspoon grated lemon rine
1/4 cup water
2 T lemon juice
2 T walnut oil (I think you could substitute olive oil)
3/4 teasoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 450. Leave root and 1-inch stem on beet; scrub with a brush. Wrap beet in foil. Place on rimmed baking sheet and bake for 35 min. Add walnuts and garlic to pan, bake 7 min longer or until nuts are toasted. Cool 10  min. Trim off beet root; rub off skin. Cut beet into quarters.

Place garlic and beet in food processor and process until finely chopped. Add walnuts, lemon rind, and remaining ingredients. Process until smooth. Enjoy with raw vegetable sticks or crackers.

RIP my sweet, sweet Rio: You loved Merry Mount too!