Sunday, May 21, 2017

My basil!

I *love* basil. I have a window box in my living room window full of basil. Between Margherita pizza and Bruschetta and Caprese salad and pesto not to mention sandwiches...I just *love* basil. I grow basil in pots all year long but it's especially prolific in the summertime. So...I have this window box in my living room window and my basil just isn't doing well. I don't know why. It's all laying down flat, wilted and dying. I mean really, basil is easy...it's like a weed. Grows like crazy.

There's no evidence of the (stupid) cat messing with it and ...well...I got it. I glance over the other day and...

The little bastard

That's why my basil hasn't been doing well! So I booby trapped it! I stuck a bunch of bamboo skewers in the window box and hardly a day later? My basil looks a *lot* better!

Basil marinara:

I got this recipe off the web a few years ago.  It's supposedly a genuine Tuscan recipe.

Sauté a yellow onion in olive oil.  Add a 28 oz. can of ground peeled tomatoes.  Simmer that for 15 minutes.  Resist all temptation to add garlic or anchovies.  Take it off the heat and mix in like a cup of whole basil leaves. And a splash of extra virgin olive oil.  Serve that with some pasta.  I like thin spaghetti.  The idea is to have a nice whole wilted basil leaf in every bit of pasta.

*Insanely* good.  Light and bright and refreshing.  Of course Chianti or Toscana is the *perfect* pairing.

Edited to add:  I also include a pinch of red pepper flakes in my marinara.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The best of 2016?

Really? No way! This...is tempeh. It's a dried, pressed tofu product from Indonesia.


Here's what it looks like when you open the package:


When finely chopped up it has a texture a lot like ground beef. And like any tofu product it's..almost completely flavorless. You can Google tempeh recipes. There are a lot of them out there. Many are Middle Eastern and of course Indonesian. Think peanut sauce. I often run it over the coarse face of a box grater and make a vegetarian chili with it. Or mix it up with taco seasoning for a taco. Or even use it for American Chop Suey (which I'm told is a uniquely New England dish).

But I think I came up with this one myself. Inspired by a taco one night. I cut the tempeh on its face at an angle to form planks. I mix them with barbecue sauce. I make a really nice barbecue sauce. Basically it's a dry rub with some ketchup, cider vinegar, molasses, some mustard and whatever hot sauce I'm in the mood for. I let that sit in the refrigerator overnight.


Put the barbecue sauce marinated tempeh in a baking dish and heat it for 10 minutes in a 350° (F) oven. Serve it on a whole wheat hamburger bun, on some lettuce with a little more barbecue sauce. And some thinly sliced onions.

And I swear. It was the very *best* thing I ate in 2016. Much to my surprise.


Here. Take a closer look. Try one sometime!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

This is a little more like it!


29 April 2017

Finally. Winter really wasn't all that bad. Of course, winter and horses is hard here anyway but March and most of April have been pretty miserable this year. Just when you're looking for relief. It's been cold and it's been wet. But here with the end of April came a few nice days. It still doesn't smell like spring. But it looks more and more like spring. So nice to see the leaves coming out and things starting to turn green.
And it just doesn't get much better than....this:

Just resting in the sun

Ya I know. She's a little...oh, chubby. She's a Canadian! They practically live on air you know.

I saw the very first lilacs of the season yesterday and was so moved by the nice day I started decorating the barn for spring. That's a pinwheel. And some kind of colorful little thing that whirls in the wind I got at the dollar store.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Celebrating spring!

Er.  Not so fast!

Friday 24 March

Winter wasn't that bad.  Wasn't that good.  But wasn't bad.  My best indicator of what kind of winter we had is my hat.  I have a sheepskin hat.


It's a very nice warm hat.  And...I only use it when it gets ...and stays...very very cold.  I never even took it out of its bag this season.  When I don't use my hat all season?  It wasn't a bad winter!  We even had a week in February where it was in the 60s.  We had windows open for two or three days straight.  Caught up on a lot of barn work.  It looked very promising!

March came around and relief was in sight.  You see, it almost never gets bitter cold in March and if it does?  It doesn't last long.  Well.  I should know better.  The first weekend in March it was 4 degrees.  It got cold.  And it stayed cold.  This *never* happens in March!  We can have blizzards in April but it never gets cold like this.

We had a full on blizzard 10 days ago and the snow still hasn't melted.  I never minded the snow much.  It's the cold I really hate.  But make no mistake.  Barn work sucks in the cold and it's a long trip to the manure pile and back in the snow!

So.  Where have I been?!  Hiatus?  No.  Just busy.  Crazy busy.  Between employment and barn work and trips to the gym I just haven't had time to blog.  I want to try and get back on board.  I started blogging for me.  Keeping track of things over time and after so many years I enjoy going to back through it all and recalling where I was and the things I was doing.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Finding our way around

There's woods all around the property. Much of the property is wooded and it's adjacent to some conservation land.

First ride! 20 December

But most of the neighborhood is residential. Rural. But still residential.

25 December - Christmas Day ride!

Our second trip out we explored some of the neighborhood. L was a rock star! She had never ever seen anything like this before! Houses. Driveways. Mail boxes. Basketball hoops. Sidewalks. Signs. Fire hydrants. Christmas decorations! She was all kinds of "up" but she was on her most perfect behavior. Bright and attentive. All the training delivers huge dividends. She wasn't all kinds of willing - she had more of a "weellll ok if you say so" kind of attitude.

Turns out barn work takes up a lot of time. After getting acquainted with the neighborhood I don't think rode again until...oh had to be the end of March anyway. I didn't really plan on not having time to ride and I'm a little disappointed with that.

Monday, May 30, 2016

We moved!

7 February

Winter wasn't without its challenges! Our barn closed last November. And we were all told to ...get out, get out now. There's never a good time for something like that to happen. But it *is* a risk you take when you rent space. Not only is the weather going to be a problem - here in greater Boston, usually by the middle or the end of October, people who otherwise keep their animals outdoors the rest of the year, they've reserved most (all) of the available space for the winter. Especially any place with an indoor arena.

I have some resources and I could manage. But..the situation ..well, some animals had no place to go. Five horses were homeless. I thought it over. I leased a farm. And took in the homeless animals.

Our Barn. 27 November 2015

What a huge adjustment! For everyone. Of course we had tons of work to do. Putting up sheds and fencing, getting stalls ready and of course moving. I've had horses for many years but I've never run my own farm before. Oh yes I have help. But still scary as all get out.

And this property is very different than where we've been for the past 21 years. Where we'd been in a huge (24 horse) barn surrounded by 1800 acres out in farm country, this is 12 acres in a (rural) residential neighborhood.

Our barn is just off to the left past the flagpole

Settling in just fine

13 December - Still getting organized

All tucked in 13 December

We made it through the winter with only one crisis. Everyone is still in one piece and we've experienced *many* new things. It's been good for the horses. Neighbors. Houses. Lights at night. Traffic. Lawn mowers...leaf blowers. Snow plows. Kids playing basketball. They'd never seen any of this before.


The barn is much smaller than we're used to, but it's cozy and has a certain charm. We're cleaning stalls with muck buckets because there's just so little room to maneuver. It's not permanent and we're making it work for now. And my core strength is pretty good these days!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Winter is here!

And somebody was happy to get out in the snow!

6 February 2016
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