A Belated Happy St. Patty’s Day

We didn’t have corned beef and cabbage at our home…. we had corned beef and roasted potatoes, and other veggies.  This year I got a Nathan’s brand corned beef from our local market and it turned out great! 

We also had the best Irish soda bread.  I got the recipe from a dear friend several years ago and make it every year. 

Here’s the recipe:

4 cups                    flour

1 cup                      sugar

1 tsp                       baking soda

3 tsp                       baking powder

1 tsp                       salt

2 cups                    buttermilk or regular milk

1 cup                      raisins (rinsed so they don’t stick together)

1                              egg  (beaten)

Mix all ingredients together.  Pour in a cast iron skillet (grease and flour well).  Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar on top.  Bake at 350° for 1 hour.  Let cool 1 hour in pan.  Remove and cool completely.

The Shepherd’s Lament

Someone shared this on one of my Yahoo groups.  It’s cute and I thought I’d share it, too.

by Dr. Darrell Salsbury, DVM

Now I lay me down to sleep
Exhausted by those doggone sheep;

My only wish is that I might
Cause them not to lamb at night;

I wouldn’t mind the occasional ewe,
But lately it’s more than just a few:

Back into bed, then up again,
At two o’clock and four a.m.

They grunt and groan with noses high,
And in between a mournful sigh,

We stand there watching nature work,
Hoping there won’t be a quirk:

A leg turned back, or even worse,
A lamb that’s coming in reverse.

But once they’ve lambed we’re glad to see
That their efforts didn’t end in in tragedy.

There’s no emotion so sublime
As a ewe and lamb that’s doing fine.

I’m often asked why I raise sheep,
With all the work and loss of sleep;

The gratification gained at three a.m.
From the birth of another baby lamb–

How can you explain, or even show?
‘Cause only a shepherd will ever know!

Happy Fastnacht Day!!

Today is more commonly called Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday, but here in Berks county, PA we are in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country!  Fastnacht (also spelled fasnacht or faschnacht) are a doughy potato pastry, similar to a doughnut, and fried in lard.  In the past people spread honey on them but, today, you most commonly find them glazed or coated in confectioners’ sugar.Mardi Gras has been a traditional day of feasting since the Middle Ages.  All the feasting would use up extra food in the home pantry that would be a temptation during the  40 days of Lenten fasting.  Lent is the period of 40 days prior to Easter and fasting during this time began as a Catholic custom, but is also celebrated by many Protestants.

Historically, fastnacht dough was set out to rise on the Monday before Ash Wednesday.  It was then cut into squares and fried in lard for Tuesday morning breakfast.  Everyone would eat all the fastnachts they wanted with their coffee or other morning  beverage.

fasnachts

Fastnachts & Coffee

I wish you all a happy Fastnacht Day!  If you can’t find fastnacht where you live, here’s a recipe I found at www.maplespringsfarm.com.  This farm is in Bradford County, PA and the family is of German and PA Dutch heritage.  (The recipe make 100 fastnachts – you might want to reduce it!)

Ingredients2 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup shortening and ½ cup butter
1 quart milk – scalded and cooled
5 cups flour
3 packages yeast in 1 cup warm water (dissolve yeast in water + 1 tea sugar)2 eggs
1 tea salt
Rest of 5 pound bag of flour  

DirectionsMix first six ingredients in order with electric mixer. Let rise until double, approx. four hours at room temperature.Stir remaining 3 ingredients into previous batter. Let rise till double (approx. 5 hours). Roll and cut. Let rise again till double (2 – 3 hours).Fry in lard at 425. Makes 100.

Happy Fastnacht Day!!

Her Name was Lola….

She was a bunny

With pointy ears upon her head and soft brown and white fur

She would binky and race around

And she knew she was a queen, even Beau was in her dreams

In cages side by side, they slept from 8 to 5

They were young and they had each other

Who could ask for more?

At the Day home, in the living room

The coolest spot west of Pottstown

At the Day home, in the living room

Grooming and sleeping were always their thing 

At the Day home … they fell in love.

They were happy, always together

Always lying next to her, Beau would always dote on her

And when she wanted, they would cuddle

One day Beau was too old, and it was time for him to go

He breathed his last breath, quietly in his sleep

His cage was packed away

Beau had left her side

At the Day home, in the living room

The coolest spot west of Pottstown

At the Day home, in the living room

Grooming and sleeping were always their thing

At the Day home … she lost her love.

Her name was Lola, she was a bunny 

They lived there happily for almost 6 years

Then she was sad, and oh, she missed him

Her health began to go downhill, and she became half-blind

She circles endlessly, please Lord let her rest

She lost her youth and she lost her Beau

Now she’s lost her health

At the Day home, in the living room

The coolest spot west of Pottstown

At the Day home, in the living room

Grooming and sleeping were always their thing

At the Day home …

Beau & Lola

__________________________________

I’ve always hummed Copacabana whenever I think of Lola so I thought writing this was fitting.  We lost her a couple weeks ago – I took her to be euthanized on February 21st.  She was the 1st pet I had to do this for and it was difficult.  My eyes welled up with tears while I filled out the necessary form, and I had trouble signing my name to it. 

Hannah was with me at the veterinary office but Noah was, thankfully, at school to make up a snow day.  I held Lola in my arms until it was time for the vet to give her “the” injection.  While we were waiting 2 teenage girls who were there with their mother (and their cat) played with Hannah.  Even this day, God showed that He was with us by sending those girls to keep Hannah happy and occupied.

Noah feeding Lola

Right Now?!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks everything always happens at once.  Does the phrase, “Never a dull moment” describe anyone elses’ life perfectly?

Today I had an appointment with the state veterinarian at 11 am to complete our annual inspection for the USDA Scrapie Eradication Program.  Hannah and I had been outside feeding the critters earlier and then came in for a break for a while.  We bundled up (it was 20 degrees colder today than it was yesterday!) and ventured back outside at 10:30.  While I brought fresh swimming water to the ducks I saw the vet’s SUV coming up the drive.  OK… I had wanted to get the ewes into the barn before he got here … luckily he had some paperwork to finish so I had time to persuade my girls to come to the barn.

I got as far as the gate when I heard it.  Little, tiny, adorable lambie baa’s.  I was expecting our ewes, Beatrice and Camille, to lamb at any time but I had let them out of the barn for some exercise and fresh grass.  Beatrice was on the other side of my garden with 2 still wet lambs!  One was standing; the other hadn’t been cleaned off yet.  I quickly fetched 2 towels, helped dry off the 2nd lamb and brought mama and babies into the barn.  Once I had them together in a lambing jug (or pen), I went to gather the other ewes into the barn.

Our inspection went well and once I had made Hannah lunch I went to check on Beatrice and her twins.  The ewe lamb weighed 9.5 lbs and the ram lamb weighed 8.75 lbs.  I made sure the both knew where to nurse and headed back to Hannah in the house.