Thursday, September 17, 2009

For Thayer's birthday yesterday, we made english muffins and black bean chili. Both recipes turned out absolutely delicious, and left us with quite a bit of food in the freezer. The black bean chili was made using Thayer's recipe, which is pretty straight-forward but really tasty. Maybe, if you're lucky, he'll share it with you at some point. [T- I dunno about that...] The muffin making was quite an effort. I used the yeast-leavened recipe from Oppeneer's 'The Bread Book'. They had two risings and were then cooked on a 'griddle' (i.e. on unevenly-heated skillets on our electric stove). In honor of Thayer's love of cheese, half of them had cheddar cheese kneaded into the dough [T - they didn't really taste obviously of cheese, but the cheesy ones were savory in a way that was really different from the regular ones. Both the cheesed and the plain english muffins really popped with some butter]. Since we didn't have any cornmeal to dust them with to prevent sticking (and couldn't very well run off to the store) we used ground-up oatmeal, which gave them an interesting and yummy flavor. They turned out very similar to good store-bought muffins.
Here are some of the muffins cooking on the stove:
A finished muffin (on its side) [T-they aren't actually egg-shaped. I dunno what's up with the perspective in this picture]
The entire batch of muffins (most of them ended up in our freezer): [T- actually, there were more than this. Probably close to a dozen of them had been eaten already, because I know I had quite a few, and Jessica had a couple, too]
And finally, putting butter on a muffin fresh off the griddle:
Just as we were finishing up with the muffins and preparing for our chili, I looked out our window and saw this: [T- I spotted them first, and told Jessica she should probably look out the window, because...]
That, dear reader, is one of the 10 cows that had gotten onto RMBL property. Since RMBL is surrounded with public land (lots of National Forest), cattle regularly make there way along the road through Gothic on their way to grazing. There are sturdy fences lining the road for the very purpose of keeping out the cows. Unfortunately, fences work much more poorly when gates are left open. We had been told earlier this month that part of our job was to chase out the cattle if they were to make their way into Gothic. So, quickly turning off ovens and burners, Thayer and I laced up our shoes and headed out our door to chase the cattle back through the gate and off the property. As you probably know, neither Thayer nor I has extensive cattle-chasing experience, and this event was correspondingly interesting and frustrating for us. We learned that cows are big and can move much much faster than a human over heterogeneous terrain (and probably homogeneous terrain as well, but we didn't get to experience that). The cows led us on a merry chase, lasting for at least an hour and a half- all over the RMBL property. They seemed to purposefully choose the paths that were more of a pain-in-the-butt for us. But, it felt pretty good when we finally got them out the gate! [T- three gates had been left open somehow, so no wonder the cows found a way in. The cows actually headed up the hills to the north of Gothic until they hit the fence up there, and then we had to herd them along all the way down to the west fence, and then not much longer after that there was a gate we could put them out of. It had also just rained, so everything was slick and muddy]

Yesterday I finished a pair of mittens for Thayer, just in time for his birthday and with plenty of time before the cold weather sets in. I'm still planning to add a liner to keep them extra warm, but here they are (next to some pretty fall-colored aspens):
As we mentioned in a previous post, we've been slowly stacking our wood in preparation for winter. Today, we finished! This is what's left of the old pile on our front 'lawn'. [T-the voles living in the wood pile thought I was just about the most terrifying thing that had ever happened to them, as I kept slowly making their house smaller and smaller as they were stranded in the middle of a big dirt patch with bright sunlight. Leaving the woodpile was too terrifying, but staying in was too terrifying as well. Then again, voles must spend most of their lives in abject terror if you think about it. Eventually, they got up the gumption to run into the grass, except for one that stayed until the very last load of firewood. As I dropped off the last pieces, he shot out from under the bits of bark he was hiding under. He's just lucky I didn't happen to accidentally step on him - voles have pretty terrible eyesight]
And to end this post, a cute golden-mantled ground squirrel! [T- I don't know why he was so interested in the camera, but it made for some good pictures]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Jessica and Thayer! Happy belated Birthday Thayer! Those muffins look delicious, and it looks like you two are having quite the adventures! When you have a free minute, inbetween cooking and looking at hairy marmonts, you should definitly email you baby sister! Love Kate