Full moons and sunshine
Two nights ago, while I was doing my evening chores, the full moon was out. I watched it rise up above the marsh and trees behind the barn as I was hauling the wheel barrow out to the manure pile. It was one of those perfect winter evenings when it feels warm, and the moon is shining and reminding you that each season has it's highlights... It was also reminding me that the days of winter are getting shorter. Soon the slower days I find myself starting to tire of, will be gone. We'll be organizing for a very big trip this coming spring, there will be kids being born, and many trees to tap and much sap to boil.
Living in the bush is not for the faint of heart. By living in the bush I mean living away from everything, everyone, and being isolated. It's a different life, one I love... I've always felt called to this kind of life, and have always felt even before I was here, that this is where my place in the world is meant to be and should be. But that doesn't mean sometimes, a girl doesn't just want some company, or some entertainment, or to just stuff herself with a meal that is being served to you at one of your favorite places. I think to the pioneer women who didn't have the option of getting away for a couple of days, talking to friends far away on the telephone or over email. I like to think I'm pretty tough, but I've got nothing on women who've dealt with real wilderness and isolation.
I know however that in summer and more so into the fall, my heart will once again start longing for the quiet days of winter when the chores are less, and when the silence in the forest actually makes your heart skip a beat when you stop and realize how complete it is - and how you find yourself straining to hear a branch snapping under the weight of the snow or ice, or to hear if there is anything walking and breaking the frozen crust on the snow in the forest around you. You listen for things like footsteps... for any sound to let you know the forest is still breathing, however gently.
Soon the birds will return and they will be singing their songs... the Great Blue Heron will croak in the pond in front of the house and song and noise will return to the forest. But for now, the silence remains, and even though sometimes I don't realize it, I am grateful for the times of silence, just as I am the times of song.
I was fortunate enough to get a large burst of energy (don't you love when that happens?) during the full moon and I used it to clean in the barn - things were not frozen and I was able to get pens and rabbit areas cleaned out really good. I'm glad I took advantage of the extra energy because yesterday and today, everything is back to being frozen. It felt good to work in the evening, in the dark with the full moon lighting up the world so that you didn't even need any lights on in order to work outside. Evening is my favorite time of day, year round.... it's the time I enjoy working the most.
We tried to haul some logs in yesterday but it was windy out - an unpredictable wind that randomly gusted through the forest. That's a good sign you shouldn't bother trying to cut trees down, of any size. There is no reason ever to temp fate more than you have to. So we just took the time to go for a walk to get some fresh air... it felt good to be back out in the forest after a small break from it because of the ice.
soon we'll be tapping these maples!
our ears field
Today, Kevin and his cousin Greg, cut up the Hickory logs we had in the wood yard, which still need to dry, and then they went out to cut down a few of the ash trees we had marked to take.
cutting the hickory logs into rounds
It was a gorgeous day but not unlike the past few days there was a cold wind blowing. Without the wind it would feel like mid- March outside, but with it, it feels pretty much like it should being February. The sunshine has been out however and I am grateful for it. I can feel the warmth of it coming back and have been thankful for the moments I'm able to spend basking in it's light and
warmth. So are the animals.
Flavious waking up from a nap
Izzie looking at me without having to get up - she looked like a dog the way she turned her head to look at me and lied it down like that.
a little too close, Biscuit
Mini is looking pretty round these days...
Izzie basking in the sunlight
a couple of the local bachelors
Gobble, gobble... I find it hilarious people go out trying so hard to call turkeys during hunting time and here these goof balls are, following me around the farm like they are tame.
Yesterday morning our Kawasaki Mule (ATV)) got taken away for the dreaded repair. It's a loss to me whenever it's gone because I use it for hauling hay and water (I have water in the barn but haul water to the horses still) and we use it to haul firewood rounds and our split wood as well. We feel kind of handicapped without that machine, especially this time of year when we use it daily for working. It doesn't help that because our plow is on the tractor, the bucket is off, so we can't just use that instead. Because they took our Mule, the salesman at our tractor dealer (who also repair our Mule) decided now would be a good time to give us one of their New Holland "Rustlers" to try out. We'd had our eye on one the last time we were in the city because this machine has better ground clearance than our six year old Mule.
I tried it out last night and was impressed with the ground clearance, the new tires, and also the power steering which our Mule doesn't have... it's like a dream to steer compared to our mule and how difficult it can be to steer. With the new tires on the Rustler I didn't slide at all on our icy hills or roads. This model is a basic one, it's got pretty much nothing on it, so it was difficult to get a feel for it, but after driving it today, I still like the Mule better. We appreciate certain things about it, but as far as a working machine goes the Mule in our eyes still has it beat. The new Mules are comparable with their ground clearance now and you can get power steering, so the two things that really excited me about this machine, I can also get in a newer Mule. You can also buy lift kits for older Mule models, which we've thought about doing for ours.
We got the call this afternoon, letting us know what was wrong with our Mule and what the bill was looking like. The torque converter is completely shot. Of course the parts and labor is about double what we'd expected - which is what you should always expect when repairing any kind of vehicle, especially farm equipment. We are mulling over the idea of buying a new Mule, because sometimes with machinery, just like a truck, you need to decide what's best for your money... we were not planning on buying a new one for a few more years and have other things looming, so we'll probably swallow this and move forward... once fixed, the machine will be back in working order.
I devoted much of my afternoon to cooking. I baked fresh multi grain rolls to have with our BBQ pulled pork and homemade baked beans for dinner, and then I made cinnamon buns... I just had one of those cravings... sometimes you just get a craving that cannot be ignored.
Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting
From Bon Appetite magazine
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast (from 2 envelopes yeast)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 3/4 cup golden brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Dough:Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add 21/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into ball.
Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
For Filling:Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.
Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15×11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at 1 long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide).
Spray two 9-inch square glass baking dishes with nonstick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.
Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The dogs have pretty much called it a night.
Tomorrow we have to finish hauling the logs the guys cut today in from the bush and split up enough wood to fill our wood box up. Hopefully we'll wake up to more sunshine, and maybe a little less wind.