Sunday, February 22, 2015

This could be the beginning of something big...

South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks are trying to introduce big horn sheep the the Deadwood area.  Back in 2002, Deadwood almost burned in the Grizzly Gulch Fire.  Thanks to hardworking firefighters only a few homes were lost.  From the bad comes something good. The good in this scenario is the fire created the perfect habitat for big horn sheep.  We have some herds of big horns in the southern hills, but haven't seen any here in the northern hills.  

My husband was lucky enough to see the 26 sheep released.  They were brought down from Canada in horse trailers.  After 38 hours in a trailer, they were ready to go.  When the gates were opened the sheep took off and never looked back.  It was a good thing he had the camera ready.

You can tell from the photo above that the burned area has provided plenty of grass.   A few days after being released one got a little confused and ended up in Deadwood.  Maybe she wanted to do some gambling.   Somebody thought it was a pet goat that had escaped.  

Before you know it we will get photos like this one a co-worker took.  They are a common sight at this gas station outside of Hill City.  Thus, the statue.  This big guy wasn't sure if it was real or not.   Pat, the photographer, said the ram looked like he was going to nail the statue with everything, then at the last minute he would just tap it.  They are great photos.  

I love living in the Black Hills.  There is always something to do or see.  I am excited to see if the project is a success.  I will keep you updated.  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

backyard bird count...

I always look forward to the backyard bird count in February.  It seems like the birds like to stand up and be counted.  My count included:
1 brown creeper
1 blue jay
10 house finches
7 chickadees
6 pine siskins
4 red breasted nut hatches
1 female downy wood pecker
1 male hairy woodpecker
3 mice
4 squirrels
1 chipmunk
4 deer
 Some handsome house finches.
 One chubby mouse.

All of that bird watching made me hungry.  To me bread is better than any dessert.  This is one of my favorite recipes.  It is a very hearty, flavorful, dark bread.

Steakhouse Bread
1/2 c. bread flour
1 envelope yeast
1/2 c. water
Stir and let set until mixture appears to have a spongy texture.
2 T. cocoa
1 1/2 c. bread flour
1 c. rye flour
1 1/2 c. wheat flour
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt
Add to the yeast mixture. Then add...
1/4 c. almond oil (can use vegetable oil)
1 c. black coffee
Knead 12 minutes and let rise 1 hour.  Shape into a loaf, put in buttered bread pan, and let rise 20 more minutes.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  

Enjoy with a glass of wine, while counting the birds.  Hope everyone else had a good weekend.  Did you participate in the bird count?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

New endeavors...

I am always up for a challenge.  Mushrooms are the newest endeavor.  Pinetree Seeds had mushroom plugs of all kinds.  I chose Maitake as it seemed suited for our climate.  Next weekend we will go out and find some oak logs.  The directions include drilling holes in the logs, gently tapping in the plugs, cover with beeswax, and then be patient.   That will probably be the hardest part.   

I promise to keep you updated on the progress.  Has anyone out there tried using mushroom plugs?  Any advice?  It is always good to try something different.  Mushroom farmer?  Maybe.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Autumn Amber Apple Wine...

Back in October of 2010, I bought a little wine making kit for about $35.  I was looking for something to do with berries besides jellies and jams.  Fifty five batches of wine later, I have to say I do enjoy this little hobby.  I am by no means an expert.  I'm in it for the fun of it.  

Yesterday, I made a wonderful discovery.  The hard apple cider has never been my favorite creation.  It is somewhat bitter, more beer like and I'm not a fan of beer.  I was getting ready to sweeten a batch for bottling, when I observed what a beautiful gold color it had become.  I thought to myself that adding brown sugar, not the usual white sugar, would enhance both the color and the flavor.  Once and a while I'm kind of brilliant.  It has gone from the bottom of my list to the top.  Both the color and the smooth cider flavor is exactly what I was looking for.  

I'm calling it my Autumn Amber Apple Wine.

 I make about a batch of wine a month.  It has to sit for 3 months or more.  As you can see, there are quite a few batches in the works.  There is an interesting batch coming up, Bonnie's Bumbleberry.  It is a combination of gooseberry, currant, thimbleberry, and raspberry.  I've never used gooseberries before.

Well, that is how I am keeping myself occupied when the temps are -7.  What are you doing to keep busy during the winter months?