Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Smells Of Christmas

This morning of the smells of Cathy's freshly baked gingersnaps filled the air of Applejack Lane.  Christmas is almost here!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Doggie Advent Tree

At Applejack Lane, we have granddogs...
Timmy and Burt
and Kahlo
Each year, I make them  Doggie Advent trees...
 This is T and B's tree with 48 small Meaty Bones tied with red curl ribbon...
I have 24 Meaty Bones for Kahlo's tree...
Now, they will just have to wait until December 1 to start their countdowns to Christmas!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stone Mill 50 Mile Race Is History!

Here at Applejack Lane,  we have been recovering from a weekend trip to Gaithersburg, Maryland.  Cathy ran her first ultra trail race there of 50 miles, and I was the pit crew and water girl.  We left on Friday and returned about 11:30 P.M. Saturday night after the race.  Needless, to say we are tired, but at much different levels.  I couldn't believe how she stuck in there and ended up running  51 miles in a day!

Crossing the Potomac River at White's Ferry sure beat traveling on the Capital Beltway...

 It takes four minutes to load, the ferry, five minutes to go across the Potomac, and another four minutes to unload a full ferry...
The race started at 6:00 A.M.with 300 participants.  Runners had to use headlamps to see to get started. They ran  through all kinds of terrain-wooded areas, fields, streams as well as the sidewalks in the city.  Aid stations were a welcome site...
 As the day warmed, hats and gloves started coming off...
 Part of the race went through the Seneca Creek Greenway Trail...
 About 3:00 P.M. it started to get a little chilly again...
This is the house at Stone Mill in the Seneca Creek Greenway Trail for which the race was named.  The area had historic locks and canals next to the Potomac River...
 This is Cathy about nine hours into the race...
A few miles later with an extra layer for warmth...
THIRTEEN hours later and in the pitch of darkness, she finished running 51 miles!  Many runners had to use headlamps again to finish going through the wooded trails and make it to the finish line.  Way to go Cathy!  
Today, she has had a tough time walking around.  I guess she won't be going to the gym tomorrow morning at 5:30 as she usually does!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm Ready For Halloween!

Halloween is pretty simple here at Applejack Lane.  I did my decorating in four easy steps since I only have about four Halloween decorations!
Here is my new light bulb...
my little handcrafted ghost...
my favorite fall kitty cat...
and my new handcrafted pumpkin from my friend  Valerie at Snap Peas...
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Planting 240 in the "Back Forty"!

The farmers next door to Applejack Lane were plowing the fields in mass this morning because the weatherman called for a lot of rain the next few days.  That meant we needed to get on the stick and do our own farming on our "back forty".  So, we got to it and completed a new garlic bed just in time before  frost comes to the Valley.  This has been somewhat of an undertaking.  Cathy has wanted a garlic bed since she met a garlic grower at the local Farmers' Market this summer.   After some research and reading Paula's blog at Sweet Pea, we made a plan.  First, Cathy brought home a load of leaf mulch that was pure black gold to put over our soil on the existing garden.  We added some chopped leaves, and hubby tilled that under.  After tilling, more turning, and raking,  we were ready to plant this morning.
This summer, Cathy picked up eight different garlic varieties from the Farmers' Market for planting. All garlic is not equal.  Garlic varies in taste, color, and size.
 Red Tosh-one of Cathy's favorites
 Oregon Blue
 Kettle River
 Musik-very large cloves-can't wait for this one!
Next we peeled and separated each bulb into individual cloves and picked the largest 30 of that variety to plant.  The outer cloves were usually the best. Yes, with eight varieties and 30 plants each, we are going to have a lot of garlic if each one matures properly.
 I labeled a a baggy to keep each variety separate.  Some varieties had more cloves than others, and the cloves in varied in size.
 I had to improvise garden labels by using plastic spoons for the time being.
I made a cardboard template to dig the holes.  I wanted relatively even rows that had plants every 5 inches apart.
Ten the digging and planting began.  A clove has a definite top and bottom so you want to make sure you put the right side down. 

I lightly raked the top soil to cover the holes. The next time hubby mows, we will put a layer of leaf mulch on the top.  Voila!  We are done!  Now, we wait through the winter until June to see if the majority of our 240 garlic plants grow!
Does anyone know if squirrels like garlic?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Morning Breakfast

Blueberries were on sale this week at the local Martin's.  This Sunday morning was the perfect time to try a Paula Deen recipe for Blueberry Gems.
Blueberry Gems

2 cups of self rising flour (I had regular flour so I added 3 teaspoons of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt to the mixture.)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup whole milk ( I used 2%.)
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 18 muffin tin cups with paper liners.
2.  Combine flour and sugar in a large bowl.  In a smaller bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla, oil, and milk.  Whisk together until well combined.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.  Pour in the liquid.  Mix with a spoon until flour is moistened.  Gently fold in the blueberries.
3.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling about half to two-thirds full.
4.  Bake for 23-25 minutes until browned and puffed.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

End of the Garden Soup

The garden at Applejack Lane has come to a screeching halt.  With cabbage heads, peppers, and tomatoes finally gathered, I had a dilemma as to what to do with all the remaining bounty.  The cool, damp weather helped to decide the answer to this problem.  I concocted  an End of the Garden Soup this afternoon.
End of the Garden Soup
1 head of red cabbage, chopped
1 large onion, diced
16-28 ounces of tomatoes, chopped (I used a variety of ripened tomatoes that I had on hand.)
2 green peppers, diced
4 carrots, sliced
1 package of dry onion soup
1 14 ounce can of chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
various herbs-rosemary, thyme, oregano, chives, parsley to taste
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
4 cups of water

Combine all ingredient and bring to a rolling boil.  Let simmer for about an hour until all vegetables are tender.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Yes, I Can!

It's been a while since I have posted from Applejack Lane.  I've been a little busy.  Our little garden (12' by 12') has been rendering a lot of produce for us. I have been spending some time doing a little canning so as to save our bounty as best as possible.  I have not canned in years.  In fact, I had given away most of my good canning jars to the church yard sale. but I hung on to a few basic implements.  So far, the pantry  now contains 13 quarts of tomatoes, 4 pints of salsa, 4 pints of peach halves, and this morning I made 5 pints peach salsa.  I just had to take a picture of my beautiful peach salsa!  And it is g-o-o-d!
Peach Salsa
2/3 cup cider vinegar
6 cups of peaches, diced*
1 cup red onions, diced
4 jalapeno peppers, finely diced
1 1/3 cup other peppers, diced
6 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cloves of  garlic, minced
4 t. lime juice
1 1/2-2 t. cumin
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
4 t. honey (or less)
Combine all ingredients in a large pot and simmer for 15 minutes.  Cool for 15minutes.  Pour into pint jars and seal.  Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.  Makes about 5 pints.

*When preparing the peaches, dip peaches in boiling water; then submerge in cold water to peel the skin and seed.  Place peaches in absorbic acid to prevent browning until ready to use.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Seasonal Sunday

Welcome to Applejack Lane.   With cherries in season during the month of July, Cathy made a special dessert that she saw in the New York Times-Cherry Clafouti.

 Cherry Clafouti
1 1/2 pounds (about 5 cups) fresh ripe cherries, stemmed and pitted if desired
2 tablespoons kirsch (she did not use this)
6 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
1 vanilla bean, scraped
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar (optional)
1. Toss the cherries with the kirsch and 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and let sit for 30 minutes. Drain over a bowl.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10- or 10 1/2-inch ceramic tart pan or clafouti dish. Fill the dish with the drained cherries.
3. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the remaining sugar and the seeds from the vanilla bean. Add the salt and the liquid from the cherries, and combine well. Slowly beat in the flour, and whisk until smooth. Add the yogurt and milk, and combine well. Pour over the cherries, scraping out all of the batter with a rubber spatula.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the clafouti is firm and puffed. Press gently on the top in the middle to see if it’s firm. If not, return to the oven for five minutes.
5. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. When the clafouti is warm or cool, sift on the powdered sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: Serves eight.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

From The Garden

Good morning from Applejack Lane.  Last night when I perused the garden, I found our first tomato along with a few cucumbers and peppers! 
So, this is what I have on my kitchen countertop for today.  I'll join Marty  at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Grilled Corn

Good evening from Applejack Lane.  My hairdresser, Norman, persuaded me to grill corn this evening for dinner.  It was great!  Since there was only two of us, I just fixed three ears.
First of all, the corn must be young and fresh-an absolute must.  Corn that is too old is just hard and tasteless!  I always sneak a peak in the market to see if it meets the standards that my dad and mom taught me to look for.  And this time of the year, country markets get the best if you don't have your own garden!
Here is what I did.
1.  Peel back the husk, but don't tear away..
2.  Remove the silk.
3.  For 3 ears, I used about 1/4 stick of BUTTER! ( Does this sound like Paula Deen?)
4.  Sprinkle with parsley.  I have my own supply dried from my herb garden.
5.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and a little salt.
6.  Rewrap the green husk over the corn.
7.  Tie with a string to keep husk around the ear.
8.  Soak corn in a deep pan of water for about 20 minutes.
9.  Grill corn for about 20-25 minutes, turning several times.  The husks will get dry but should not catch on fire.  I put the ears on a second grilling ledge so it does not get too close to the flame.
10.  Remove ears from the grill and discard the husks.  The corn is buttered and seasoned, ready to eat.
11.  Enjoy!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy July 4th!

Happy July 4th from Applejack Lane!

Thanks to Willie Ferguson and Jim Chestnut for constructing these metal sculptures for us Stauntonians and visitors to enjoy this holiday and every day!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Spicey Grilled Shrimp

 What's cooking on Applejack Lane?  This week we had Spicey Grilled Shrimp along with wild rice and fresh cucumbers out of the garden.  This is a simple and tasty way to fix shrimp on a hot summer day.
1 clove garlic finely minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 pounds of peeled and deveined cooked shrimp
Combine all the ingredients to form a marinade.  Pour over shrimp and stir until shrimp is well covered.  Let sit in the refrigerator for several hours.  Place shrimp on skewers.  Grill on each side for 2 minutes.  Enjoy!

I am joining  Foodie Friday with Designs By Gollum.

Monday, June 27, 2011

An Eagle Has Landed!

An eagle has landed here at Applejack Lane just in time for July 4th decorating!  My friend Valerie from Snap Peas  brought  me a get-well gift today, and I just have to share him. Here he is- Baldwin, the Eagle! I love his rusty accents and his prominent beak. I am glad he arrived to celebrate the 4th with us!  Now, I need to find the perfect perch for him to rest-some place up high, I imagine.
Our friend  Brenda from The Rusty Thimble crafted him, and here is some good news to share.  Brenda has a has a new giveaway-a dear witch!  Check out her blog at The Rusty Thimble to sign up by July 14!
Happy July 4th!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Easy Summer Salsa

Along with gardening comes the choices of what to do with the produce. Here is an easy, peasy basic salsa recipe.  You can double or triple the recipe as needed.

5 large tomatoes diced or two 15 oz cans of petite diced tomatoes
1 finely chopped onion
2-3 hot peppers finely chopped
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Mix all ingredients together.  Let sit several hours or overnight.
Serve with your favorite chips.  We like the Mission strips.  You can put a lot of salsa on just one!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fresh From the Garden

Cathy's  gardening efforts  are starting to reap delicious benefits!

Thus far, we have had six perfect cucumbers
two messes of sugar snap peas!
The sugar snap peas are great with a little olive oil as a coating and a couple of clove garlics minced with a dash of thyme.  Bake at 450 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. 

Happy gardening!