Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Ribbon of Coincidences or Are the Planets Aligned?

(Painting of East Hill by Richard Kathmann)

The Book of Job
Who laid the cornerstone thereof when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Job 39:7

We saw the movie, Tree of Life starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. Stunning visuals. Minimal Dialogue. We loved it but one reviewer said if he could get one person NOT to see the movie, he would have accomplished something. The film is peppered with passages from the Book of Job. Poetry. I wanted to reread the passages, but we don’t own a bible. The next morning I was having breakfast with my elderly neighbor who is an avid bible reader. I mentioned the passage and she turned to it immediately in her bible. We read the Book of Job and marveled at the descriptions of nature and beauty. While I was cleaning the bed & breakfast that afternoon, I pried open a dresser drawer that had been stuck for years. Tucked in the corner was a bible.

Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? Or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail? Job 38:22
Moonrise over Winter Pasture

The Trick is the Water
I bought a pasta maker last year and have since abandoned it because I can't get the dough the right consistency to pass through the press. The dough sticks and clogs the machine. Every Saturday we sell our meats and Fable's Kitchen goods at the Mamaroneck Indoor Farmers Market. Three of the 20 vendors are pasta makers. During the slow moments, I asked them how to make the dough. The trick is the water. You have to use warm water although they offered no scientific explanation for it. I unstowed the pasta maker and made ribbons of wheat pasta mixed with the Sarah Palin (our turkey sausage). Last week I helped a fellow timebanker to write a business plan for heirloom masa harina that they grow, harvest and grind. She gave me two packages of masa. I spent three hours trying to make tortillas without a tortilla press. I have memories of walking through the markets in Mexico and hearing the rhythmic pat pat pat of the tortilla makers. My pat pat pat was not working and the result was disaster. The masa stuck to the plastic sheets. We hosted a time bank orientation and pot luck last Sunday. Over 35 people showed up to learn how they can use a time bank instead of money for services they need – house cleaning, babysitting, editing, automechanics, etc. ( Trevor Wilson, the creator of Hard Pan Masa, offered to show me how to make tortillas without a tortilla press. We used two cutting boards, two pieces of plastic. The trick is guess what? Water. Warm water. I am now the tortilla queen. Made stacks of heirloom blue corn tortillas. There is no stopping me now. Now I need to learn how to make a killer Margarita? Anyone volunteering to teach me? Perhaps we can timebank it?

Corn Tortillas 


A friend from Normany sent me a recipe for Calvados Cake. The recipe requires duck eggs. Two chicken eggs does not equal one duck egg. I tried. The cake was too dense. I gave up on my search for duck eggs and abandoned the recipe. This week a friend asked us to give his two female ducks a home. This morning there were two duck eggs in the nest.  Calvados Cake is back on the menu.

Mallard Cross Duck Lays Blue Green Eggs

Grand Jury Duty
I am a grand juror. The job of the 23 member jury is to determine whether the evidence presented by the prosecuting attorney is sufficient enough for the accused to be indicted. A recent case involved illegal possession of marijuana. Did you know that possession of over 16 ounces of marijuana is illegal? And if your marijuana plants are seized they are brought to headquarters and hung upside down in a drying room and months later gleaned. Yes, there is a person who has the job title of marijuana gleaner. The gleaned and dried marijuana is weighed and bagged. If the plants yield more than 16 ounces then you are in big trouble. This week I was listening to radio interview on NPR with Heather Donahue. She wrote Growgirl - How my life after The Blair Witch Project went to Pot. It is a book about the profession of growing medical marijuana. I learned a lot about growing marijuana. As a result of the broadcast, I offered a wealth of knowledge about growing, harvesting, male versus female plants, seeds, etc., during deliberations. My attempts to explain my in-depth knowledge of marijuana farming was shrugged off. When I show up next week, they will just think of me as the pot head in the corner.  At least I have all my teeth. 

The ribbon continues to unfurl with coincidences related to cardoon, green eggs, bundt cake, Delaware Valley College, black pigs, yarn and zippers.  The planets are on a roll. I think it's the right time to buy a lottery ticket.

Wrap Up
The next three months present the biggest challenge of beating that cold and winning the farming in the winter game. Lambing (although only 20 ewes) and kidding begins in a couple of weeks. We are ready this year with lambing jugs and watching for ewes bagging up. The dairy does are in good health and with any luck they will freshen with ease. We hope and pray that we do not lose any does this year from difficult freshenings.

The last belts of cold insured safe skating on the pond. Without sufficient snow for snow shoeing, cross country skiing, our Friday night ski, eat and sauna may have to be a bonfire and skating under the stars. Not a bad way to spend January and February.

Come on out! The store is open and the freezers are packed with cuts of pork, chicken, smoked meats and specialty sausage. The Sarah Palin (turkey, cherries and spices) is on the shelf again and we brought back the George Clooney (goat, pork, spices). Ground beef will be available by mid February or earlier.

Wrap up.  Stay warm.