Archives for June 2011

Turbo Rocket Boosters

Remember those rocket boosters I though the goats had in their feet the other day? I think Grace had the turbo upgrade installed. She actually managed to jump onto the kitchen counter today. It was bottle time and they were so hungry I let them in while I made them. She’s come close to getting up there over the past few days, but all of a sudden, there she was.

Grace jumped onto my 36" high kitchen counter today trying to get her bottle!

And my little Kiki wanted to take Jim’s scooter out for a spin, but Melina was scolding her for not wearing a helmet.

The live-edge siding has been installed all around the goat house and chicken coop now and it looks terrific.

Maia took these barn photos for me since I had to run out and the light was fading. She forgot to take the front of the chicken coop, which looks so great with the siding, the nesting boxes and the chicken ramp all together. I think the decking will be installed next.

And look at the old chicken coop! It got a facelift today. Jim was grumbling about me getting rid of it, but it’s a perfectly good building that just is looking a little tired. I was hoping to keep it as my new “brooder” coop for young chicks and get rid of that lousy red one I got a few years back. I decided that if we just fixed it up so that it looked more like the new structures, it would all look like some big farm ‘compound’. The windows boxes that used to be under the front windows have, over the years, rotted the siding underneath the windows pretty badly. I also tore off the front porch railings that had had so many tree branches fall on them over the years they were a complete ugly mess. They’ll also replace the old decking boards with the same decking material to match the other barns.

The old chicken coop got a facelift!

Just another day on the farm.

Old Windmill

This old windmill doesn't seem to have all of it's spokes anymore (is that what you call them?), but it looked beautiful in the light of the setting sun.

Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

I’ve recently discovered Pinterest. Lordy, as if I wasn’t getting too little sleep already, add something terrific like a website where you can create idea boards for all of the things you come across on the internet or on Pinterest directly. Dangerous. Time consuming. Fun.

I came across these cupcakes the other day on Pinterest. Amanda begged me not to make them since they looked too delicious and she has been able to show little self-restraint when it comes to eating since she’s been home from college, but I made them anyway.

*Now the pictures on both sites showed big swirls of icing on each cupcake. My experience with icing, both for cakes and cupcakes, is that there is never enough. Knowing this, I did 1-1/2 times the recipe published in the Culinary Chronicles, and I still was short for 9 cupcakes. Granted, I could have used less icing on each cupcake to be sure, but if I had only made the recipe as originally printed and been less generous on the icing there is no way I would have had enough for all of then. My suggestion is to use the recipe as I’ve altered it below, be slightly less generous than I was in your piping and you should have enough for all of your cupcakes.

“Chocolate Malt” Cupcakes

Recipe found on Pinterest on That Winsome Girl. Original blog posting from The Culinary Chronicles.
Cupcakes adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes
Buttercream adapted from Oh My! Sugar High

Altered by Crafty Farm Girl, 2011

Makes approximately 28 Cupcakes (I got 32*)


2¼ Cups All-Purpose Flour
¾ Cup Unsweetened Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder
½ Cup Granulated Sugar
¾ Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1½ Teaspoons Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Milk
1½ Cups Malted Milk Powder
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
3 Large Eggs, at room temperature
1 Cup Sour Cream, at room temperature
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
½ Cup Chocolate Covered Malt Balls, chopped

Chocolate Malt Buttercream:
1-1/2 Cups Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 Cups Vegetable Shortening, at room temperature
3/4 Cup Malted Milk Powder
5 Tablespoons Unsweetened Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder
1 Teablespoon Instant Espresso Powder
5 Tablespoons Milk
6 Cups Confectioner Sugar, sifted
*Chocolate Covered Malt Balls and Straws to garnish (Optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, cocoa, both sugars, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together milk and malted milk powder until powder is dissolved.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat flour mixture, milk mixture and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add sour cream and vanilla, and beat just until combined. Fold in crushed chocolate covered malt balls.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each halfway. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

While cupcakes are cooling, prepare frosting. In a large mixer bowl, whip the butter and shorting for several minutes until very light and fluffy. Sprinkle in malted milk powder, espresso powder and cocoa powder. Whip for 1 minute. Slowly add the powdered sugar a few spoonful at a time, letting it incorporate until the frosting becomes thicker and stiff. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time and whip until combined.

Fill bag with the frosting and pipe large swirls on top of cupcakes. Top with candies and straw garnish.

Linoleum Print Cards – the Series?

On the flights home from Jackson I worked on some linoleum cuttings I had drawn out before I left. I bet the airline loved me – little pieces of pink rubber strewn around the seat. I did bring an empty baggie with me and cleaned up as best I could! In the two flights I was able to complete 3 cuttings. What I ended up with once they were printed were these:

The Nest

Mountain Goat

Bird on a berry branch

Then since I’ve been home I’ve made a few more.

Bee Skep Dripping Honey

Guinea Hens


Combining some of the earlier cuttings I had done in my ‘art classes’ with the kids, I would like to come up with a couple of different sets of cards; maybe ‘Wyoming Wildlife’, ‘Bees’, ‘Birds’, and ‘Chickens’. While I don’t have any complete sets yet, they would look something like this.

The beginning of the grouping called ‘Bees’.

This is the beginning of the ‘Wyoming Wildlife’ set. I’ve got a bear I’m going to do next. Perhaps I should include Evan in the series?

Maybe a grouping of these could be called ‘Birds’?

And of course I’d need to come up with a chicken and goat series, but so far I’ve only got one for each category.

Does anybody like the idea?

We’ve Got Siding – Finally!

Kiki and Grace got SO big while I was gone. Six days is a long time when you're a goat baby.

Everybody missed me while I was away. They, in their own animal way, all seemed excited to have me home.

Both of the babies seem to have rocket boosters built into their little hooves! I have never seen such small things jump so high. Grace was almost jumping on to the kitchen counter this afternoon trying to get to her bottle! And she can easily jump onto the counter of the lemonade stand. Jumping into my lap from any seat is a piece of cake for both of them. It’s still almost impossible to get a good photo of baby goats though, as they are in constant motion.

I was very disappointed to come home and discover that virtually nothing had been done to the goat house and chicken coop while I was gone. Why is getting a job done by contractor’s always such a struggle? After a stern email to them last night, they did arrive today and worked a surprisingly full day. I now have the live-edge siding up all around the goat house and around half of the chicken coop. I love the way it looks.

Front and entry side of goat house with live-edge siding.

Rear of goat house with the live-edge siding

Far side of goat house with live-edge siding

The chicken coop's live-edge siding

Of course the goats are already happily eating the bark off of the siding. I’ll have to get some bitter spray for it that you use with puppy’s and see if that keeps them from eating it.

One of these days the buildings will be finished. The chickens are quite anxious to get into their new coop. The higher ceiling height and the solar exhaust fan in the cupola should help to keep it much cooler than the current coop. They’ll like that.

The chickens can't wait for the grand opening of the new coop.

Clouds Over Rendezvous Mountain Peak

The clouds in Wyoming seem to achieve colors that don't appear here in Connecticut. This awesome cloud show was at the top of Rendezvous Mountain, which is the highest point at Jackson Hole ski mountain. You can see the tram towers climbing the mountain on the right side.

Rusty Car & Geodesic Dome

Kelly is this funky little speck of a town just outside of Jackson, WY. Half of the houses there are yurts and it must be quite the lonely place in the winter. This rusty car parked in front of this house with the geodesic dome addition fit right in there.

Fresh & Easy Cherry Turnovers

I am not used to being in Wyoming so early in June. I’m more used to early July, when cherry season has started over in Idaho. I can usually drive over Teton Pass and find several farmers selling their fresh-picked cherries from the back of their trucks along the road. Given the weather they’ve had this winter and spring, I’m not sure when the cherries will be ripe this year — August?

However, I quickly copied this recipe from my Breakfast Comforts cookbook by Williams-Sonoma (which is a lovely breakfast/brunch cookbook) and stuffed it in my folder before I left, hoping to find some fresh cherries to make them with. Alas there were no Idaho cherries to be found, but there were some lovely ones at the grocers, so I decided to give them a try. They were light and delicious and the filling was perfect. Not too sweet, and the cherries still had some firmness to them as they are only cooked briefly. They were really easy to put together and I froze the leftovers for our next trip out there.

Please excuse the photo quality here. I am not quite as well set-up for  food photography in Wyoming as I am in Connecticut.

Flaky Cherry Turnovers

Original recipe from Breakfast Comforts by Williams-Sonoma

Yield: 9 turnovers.  Note: The original recipe called for the books’ Quick Puff Pastry. I decided to use ready-made puff pastry, which yielded 8 turnovers.

  • 1 box prepared frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
  • 2 1/2 cups Bing cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • flour for rolling out the dough
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Have ready a stainless steel bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water. In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the cherries, sugar, and lemon juice.

Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the cherries give off their juices and are tender, about 5 minutes. Taste and add more sugar, if desired (I added another tablespoon to mine).

In a small bowl, sprinkle the cornstarch over 1 tablespoon of cold water and stir to dissolve. Stir in to the simmering cherry mixture and cook until thickened, about 30 seconds.

Transfer to the stanless steel bowl set in the bowl of ice water and let stand until chilled, about 20 minutes.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the puff pastry, one sheet at a time, to approximately 10″ x 10″ square. Cut this into 4 equal 5″ squares, evening edges if necessary. Using a pastry brush, brush water lightly around the edge of the square. Place about 2 tablespoons of the chilled filling just off the center of a pastry square.

Fold the square in half diagonally so two points meet and enclose the filling. Using a fork, press and seal the edges closed.

Place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pastry squares and filling. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 15-30 minutes. Repeat with remaining puff pastry sheet.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the tops of the pastries with some of the beaten egg. Sprinkle the tops with the turbinado sugar.

Bake until the turnovers are puffed and golden brown with no signs of uncooked dough, 20-25 minutes. Let cook on the baking sheet for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Path in the Aspen Grove

This grove of aspens with the path running between them was at Mormon Row outside of Kelly, Wyoming. What Lorraine and I were wondering though was is the path made by bison or humans, as there is usually more bison traffic than human at Mormon Row.

Jackson Part 2

I’m home now. Re-entry into the ‘atmosphere’ of Connecticut is always difficult for me. It’s late at night. We had a long day of travel. It’s hot, humid and raining here. It was warm, sunny and dry in Wyoming today. The first few days there we had some pretty funky weather; it was cool to cold, drizzling one minute and sunny the next, often windy and quite cloudy. However, the last two days have been the summer weather that I am used to. You awaken to crystal blue skies and bright sunshine. The kind of weather that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.

I had a lovely time there. In total we had 4 full days and 2 partial days. One of those full days was spent getting the boys off to camp. It was nice spending the time with Lorraine, who was a friend, but we hadn’t spent too much time together before. We certainly know each other a whole lot better, and I thought we co-habitated pretty well. It didn’t bother her when I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. most nights puttering around with q project or baking something, and it didn’t bother me a bit when she headed off to bed to read around 10:00 most nights. I did put her to work one night pitting cherries and shredding a roast for pulled BBQ, but other than that I pretty much left her alone. Without a family to feed, I got to cook whatever I felt like. I made a delicious nectarine frangipane tart, a roast that was wrapped in tightly in heavy butcher paper and cooked at a very low temperature for 12 hours that came out perfect. I had lorraine shred that up and poured barbecue sauce over it. We had BBQ beef sandwiches on the plane today, and the rest I froze for our next trip out there in July. I also made some really easy fresh cherry turnovers that were crazy delicious. I threw together some hummus for the plane last night as well, and Lorraine said I should start selling that at Free Range Friday’s it was so good.

I had fun showing her the sights in and around Jackson, and she was patient with me running errands and visiting friends and horses. I did, finally, go riding on Tuesday. Although we’d visited her several times before then, it great to get Jive saddled up and see how her leg was after the terrible injury she’d sustained this winter. I didn’t work her hard, but there wasn’t any lameness much to my relief.

The wildlife cooperated for the most part, with several moose sightings, a few elk, lots of bison, trumpeter swans and lots of beautiful birds. No bear though.

As we were heading out to visit Kelly and Mormon Row there was a crowd of people just past the visitors center and elk refuge on the highway. I pulled over and right there on the side of the road was a pretty good sized adolescent bull moose. What was great about it was he was behind a fence, and there was a viewing deck that allowed us to get so close you could practically reach out and touch him.

As part-time tour guide I took Lorraine to see the town of Kelly. While we were there I showed her the old Teton Valley Ranch Camp property. There was a terrific herd of longhorn cows in Kelly and a lot of them had young calfs. We spent a lot of time there admiring and photographing them. She loved mormon Row and it’s spectacular scenery. We hiked up to Phelp’s Lake yesterday after I went riding. It was a lovely time of day to hike there, with the evening light sparkling off of the rushing river.

The old Teton Valley Ranch Camp property in Kelly

Have you ever seen a cow with such an attitude in her expression? She's practically swaggering she's got to much attitude. Of course if I had horns like that I guess I'd swagger too.

The river on our hike to Phelp's Lake

And we ate at places like Nora’s Fish Creek Inn in Wilson and The Sweetwater Cafe in Jackson. Mandatory eating spots for any visitor.

As always, I feel the tug like a Push-Me-Pull-You in a Dr. Doolittle book; it’s wonderful to see the horses and ride and it always makes me realize how much I miss it when I can’t be there, but my animals at home miss me and are never cared for quite as well as when I am there.

It was a great trip and a very much needed break after the crazy hectic time the end-of-school-year always seems to be. I feel like I’ve re-charged my battery a bit now and am ready to tackle summer. And I come home feeling like I’ve made a new good friend, which is always a nice feeling.