Monthly Archives: September 2011

Brrrrrrrr! Time to bake!

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It was in the 50’s today in Northwest Arkansas.  It forced me to stay in my pajamas and drink coffee staring out at the grey sky.  It also made me wish I had some coffee cake to enjoy with my coffee, along with the baked good smell that would fill the house.  So I thought I’d pass this recipe on to you to make your own coffee cake to enjoy on one of your lazy days!

Pecan Coffee Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a 9×13 inch pan with aluminum foil, and lightly grease with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sour cream, then beat in sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. By hand, fold in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  3. To make the Pecan Topping: In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over cake batter in pan.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, and remove foil.

 

Texas June

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Dear readers, within the past few days another reader mentioned crying because she had to sell her cattle herd because she could no longer afford to feed her mammas and babies anymore.  Well, readers let’s give this a look-see.  I listen to NPR in the morning sometimes, and throughout this summer, Texas has been in the headlines.  Here in Arkansas, we were included in the high-pressure system that sat directly on top of the Lone Star State.  Now what does this mean?  Why should we care?  We’re talking about ways of lives, lost due to the worst drought in Texas history.  Texas has kept weather record for the last 150 years and this was the hottest, dryest year on record.  I haven’t seen it first hand, but the more I’ve read from news sources it speaks of the burnt landscape, all over Texas, land scorched from the blistering heat, or from one of many wildfires.  Now,I don’t know if you know this, but Texas is big cattle country.  And?  Well, Ranchers, who have built up their herds for the past 40-50 years are having to sell them at auction because they can no longer afford feed costs, bales of hay at record prices $65-$85 a bale.

So what does this mean for you?  Nationally you’re going to see meat prices rise.  The economic impact of this drought so far is 5.2 billion, with a B, and counting.  It’s not only the cattle industry that’s affected, but the cotton industry, and also winter wheat production.  Please continue reading more about this.  It’s something to consider, and our friend Texas June.  I’d like to type out that all will be okay and the universe will right itself, but this is one weather related incident that may have a lasting impact.  Everyone do your rain dance for Texas.

The WWOOF-Pack

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I feel like I won an award and am giving a speech, so just hang with me everybody, I only have a few moments before they usher me off stage.  Ahem.  Dearest WWOOF-pack, you have been so very generous donating your time, for time is what all of you had to give.  I along with the rest that is Ozark Alternatives thanks each and every one of you…HOPEFULLY I have not forgotten anyone…so here it goes:

To Francky, the first WWOOF’er ever, you said you’d come back, we’re still here, thanks for calling.  Thanks for your help.

Christy and Conner, thank you, hope all is well.

E-Town (Eric), hope to see you soon, thanks for all the help you have given.

Jason, hope you found what you were looking for in the south, thanks for your help.

Shiori, you were awesome!  Thanks for your help.

Keyohei, I hope all is going well in Toronto!  Thanks for coming!

Hailey, where are you these days?  Thanks for keeping it real!

BROOKLYN!  Thanks for coming out you two, this is Will and Nora by the way.

David and Marine, you two were troopers.  It was so hot when you were here!  Hope all is well, thanks for your help.

McKenna, we didn’t say goodbye because we thought you were coming back, but glad to hear all is well in California!  Your picture is still on the fridge.  Thanks for coming.

Alex and Shannon, they stayed one day while traveling through, thanks you two!

Sam and Sally, we didn’t even get to meet, but I heard so many great things about you two.  Thanks for helping out!

Half-Time Zack.  Thanks for helping out when you could!

Alyssa Marie!  Hope all is well, thanks for coming when you did!

Annie G.  Hope school is treating you well, thankyou so much for coming out and helping!

Laura!  You swung a hammer like a champ!  Thanks for coming for the week!  You are forever on the wall at the CO-OP.

Pat and Jake, welcome back…again!  Thanks for the help!

Paul, thank you so much for all of the help, we miss you already!

To this guy on the right, a local Fayettevillian to whom I owe thanks, yet can’t remember your name, you too were a great help and thanks.

Beth Andrea!  Former intern, you were in there also, thanks so much.

Rose, volunteer extraordinaire!  Thanks for hanging out.

Jason B., also an awesome volunteer.  Thanks for your help and you need to come out again soon.

Emily, miss you already!  What a tremendous help you were.  And you’ll never know how much it meant to me that you were on time to breakfast!  Way to go champ!

Karen, thank you so much for coming to the farm to help!

Greg, he came for a day and helped out a bunch.  Thank you so much Greg!  Safe journeys.

Kyle, thankyou for coming to the farm.  Your help is much appreciated!

Now, I bet these girls were thinking as they were scrolling “Where’s our picture!”  Well, I put you at the end, because you know what they say.  Thankyou Courtney and Grace for coming to the farm to help out when you did.  Your help was very much appreciated!

Okay, okay, I think I thanked everyone I could in my alloted time, I’m getting the signal, the stage beauty is grabbing my arm.  If there’s anyone I skipped, please know I thank you too!

 

All in a day’s work, and it’s not even over yet

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This morning the boys got involved in a little work, filling in the trenches that contain the water lines.

It was pretty darn cute to witness. Oliver said “I’m going to work until lunch”.  Just like the big dudes!

Get it Isaac!

These are just a few cute pictures of Isaac climbing a tree.  That’s Sushi, the evil Tom.  I’m speaking about the cat.

Even though his face is a filthy mess, I can’t resist his smile!

 

MORE BABIES!!!

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We got our new chicks yesterday.  I’m interested to see how this will play out.  Paul didn’t want new chickens six months ago when I said the hens were broody, now we have mucho.  I think the tally is a whopping 75 head of fluff.  I’m still in the dark as to what the variety of chickens these are, this being addressed to Tabby who is just dying to know…aren’t you.  Tabby, and every one else, they are being kept in the green house at present to keep them warm and such.  Here are some pictures of them arriving.

Everyone was excited.

Doesn’t Karen look happy to be holding a baby chick?!

I told you I’d get a better picture of you Emily!

Did you know chickens were born in a box?

A temporary home.

In other news, Emily, Kyle and I made cultured vegetables for the first time.  We were winging it.  I watched a few YouTube videos and we went for it, but dear reader, it seems to be working.  There are so few directions, so it seems to easy to be true.  I’ll let you know in a few days how they taste.

Here is a picture of them this morning doing their thing.  There is beet, cabbage, kale and collard greens in here.  We also added salt, ground coriander and cayenne pepper.  What a terrible picture!  Too much coffee.

The week in a nutshell

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So, I know I mentioned that Kyle and Karen came, well, Emily also came to join us.  She’s from Iowa, on her way to do an internship on the Heifer Ranch down in Perryville Arkansas, so naturally she came here first.  I think I might have a picture of her, sorry Emily, it may not be the best one, but I promise to get a better one of you before you leave.

Emily and Kyle prepping and planting carrots.

You need to watch out for this one!  She is as fierce as that side eye she’s giving us.  Try playing a strategy game with her, she’s got it on lock!

PAKI!  The Pak-man, who at 26 found out that he’s not Greek.  It’s a funny story, and if you come and volunteer I’ll tell it to you, unless Paul is still here…then he can tell you himself.

Carrot planting.

Here’s Karen.  She’s been hiding, but someone found her and snapped this picture.  The water drops look neat at the bottom of this shot.

Teamwork.  Look at them all bending at the hip.  Don’t they know they should bend from the knee!

Few of us have seen this.  Before this picture was taken, only Marine and I had seen this operation in action.  This is the law of nature at its finest, a hornet grasping a cicada, before it drags it into its hole in the ground.  It’s quite an amazing sight to behold.  Now you all know, you can share in the wonders and joys, heartbreaks and…I don’t know, MOTHER NATURE PEOPLE!

Hmm?  What’s going on here?  This is what I like to call Amish paradise!  Kyle here is running a trencher, digging a trench to my house for a water line.  It’s not going into my house…yet, but there is now a spigot in my yard!  When I saw the spigot finished, I wanted to cry.  That’s what love is.  Water.  In your yard.  All day long.

Paul P. is running the trencher through the garden for a grey water something or other.

The Missouri Angels are looking at these pictures, biting their lips because they missed it.  You’ll be back.  And here’s another tidbit fellas.  I beat Paul P. at Settlers of Catan.  I stole the red pieces.  I think that’s his weakness.

Chicken coop for the orchard in its beginning phase.

Aha!  I make an appearance.  Yes, I guess I’ll help for a minute, but not a second more!

Moving whatever piece that is into the chicken yard area.

Amanda, why are you wearing an apron?  Well dear reader, because I’m a domestic, it’s my uniform of sorts.  Also, Emily and I had just finished making 29 jars of wild plum jam for the CSA.  Go ahead.  I dare you to say something.

Bear Trouble, or Kung-Fu Deer

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I talked about the bear that ripped through the chicken fence, that more than likely was a karate-kicking deer.  Well, here are the pictures to back up my story.  Sorry Missouri Angels, but the silver lining is, there’s something to do when you get back.

This was what surprised me the most, this pole bent all the way to the ground!  Maybe it was a bear.

Waking up to this image over our morning cup of coffee was not fun.