Easy Orange Marmalade

Even though it is officially summer and the strawberries are in season, I had oranges on my counter thatorange marmalade we weren’t eating and it was a rainy Saturday. Thus, orange marmalade seemed like a good idea. I’m not sure why orange marmalade seems to have such a bad rap. You say marmalade and people always seem to wrinkle up their noses. Personally, I love the tangy, chewy and sweet sticky goodness that makes up a marmalade. Orange isn’t everyone’s favorite flavor, but I find it to be the perfect thing on toast and even to pair with peanut butter on a sandwich.

A friend of mine that also makes her own jellies and jams said she never tried making marmalades because they seem like too much work and they seem fussy. I feel the same way about jellies – all that cooking, stirring and straining! Marmalades may take time in slicing the fruit, but they are quicker to me than Read More…

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May News From the Farm

Once again, life has been so busy that I’ve neglected to write to you all. Spring has officially sprung here in Vermont, lilacs arelilacs in full bloom and the irises have started to open. I love all of the spring flowers and have enjoyed bringing a few to work each week. Looking at flowers on my desk always makes me smile!

I felt at first like I had jumped the gun on planting some things in the garden two weeks ago. May has always been a tricky month here in Vermont as you could easily have a frost. Not this year! I could have planted several things in late April as our days and nights have been rather warm. Not complaining though as we have enjoyed keeping our windows open both night and day. Last weekend we planted bean, swiss chard, lettuce, and cucumber seeds. We also put in some healthy looking, locally grown, tomato, summer squash, pepper and herb plants. We are lucky enough to be in an area that hosts quite a few spring plant sales and have picked up some great perennials as well as the veggie plants. They are all doing quite well and I’m looking forward to some early summer veggies.

Pollen is everywhere, thus the frequent use of tissues and allergy meds in our house! My eyes have been so itchy I’ve wanted to scratch them out. Don’t even get me started on the sneezing! A great friend produces local honey so we’ve been diligent in having a spoonful a day to help build up a tolerance in local pollen….something we’ve read about and feel like it does help. Read More…

Chocolate Mug Cake

I’ve never been one for fads or crazes. There is something about everyone going gaga over something that puts me off. I don’t know if it’s because I tend to not follow the crowd or I get sick of hearing  about it or having people tell me I’ll love it and I just “have to” try it. Take Harry Potter for example.  It took me ages to finally pick up the book and read the first one. It was everywhere and I think I just got turned off because of the intense hype. I’m pretty sure it took a few years before I read it, as in the third or even fourth book was out. Of course then I was completely hooked and couldn’t get enough of that series, and joined the pinning fans as we waited for the rest of the books, and then movies,  to be released.

And so it seems I had the same reaction to mug cakes. They have been a big deal for a while now. I’ve just seen that Betty Read More…

Maple Week in Vermont

I don’t know about you, but I have multiple signs of spring. We wait to hear the sound of geese flying back north. I love Mapleland Farmswatching the different song birds at our feeder. Recently we saw an Evening Grosbeak! Mud season is of course a dead ringer for spring. And, a big one, maple week. Maple week means the trees are sensing something deep in their roots all the way to the tips of their branches. Spring is coming and the days are warmer. The nights might still be dipping down into the freezing temperatures, but at least the days are making us feel like we are on our way to spring.

This unfortunately doesn’t mean we are in the clear. We’ve recently had proof of that with a big storm that blew through New England and from what the weather folks are saying, we have another potential Nor’easter on the way. BUT, maple week is officially here in Vermont and that means we are all doing a small victory dance that we made it this far through winter!

Driving around the area, one finds sap buckets nailed to trees, bigger totes or collection tanks along the roads with blue, white and black tubing snaking it’s way through the trees, and steam billowing out from the tops of sugar houses. Sometimes, driving along the back roads, you can just about smell Read More…

Rosemary for Remembrance

I have always struggled to keep my rosemary plants alive over the winter months. Basically it seems a Rosemary plantlost cause to continue to try to winter over that particular plant in the house. I can’t tell if I over-water or they just don’t get the sunlight they need. In the past I’m pretty sure they died due to over-watering. All my other plants seem to enjoy moist soil. Most herbs don’t like to keep their feet wet, but they survive with some even thriving. Rosemary, however, is a very unhappy winter visitor to my home. This year, I kept the water to the minimum. Maybe keeping them a bit too dry?

The plant dried up looking like I left it in the desert. I had been doing so well with it too! This year was “the year” I thought. I usually don’t get this far, with my rosemary plants dying before Christmas. This time, we made it to February. Everything looked okay. Then, the other day I glanced at the plant Read More…

Valentine’s Day Treats

I know, I know, Valentine’s Day is just another “Hallmark” holiday, one that is just there for commercial purposes instead of having any real

Heart-hand pies

Heart-hand pies

significance. In fact, it seems the legend behind the whole Valentine’s Day is murky and filled with speculation of it originating from Catholic saints to pagan fertility festivals. Interestingly, the idea of a “Valentine’s card” goes all the way back to the middle ages.  Even with all this shadowed past and profitable present, I still love Valentine’s Day simply because that means making so many cute crafts and yummy food creations!

We are a household that doesn’t save saying “I love you” for just the one day a year. We do however get a little cute and creative for this holiday because, why not? Why not make a funny card or bake a fabulous cake to celebrate?

One of my all-time favorite Valentine’s Day recipes is our cute-as-a-button heart-hand pies! These are so fun to make as a family and are a delicious way to celebrate!

Another over-the-top Valentine’s Day recipe that we have baked for the past three years is our cranberry pound cake – a great treat with it’s sweet yet sour component. The tart cranberries in the super moist, super buttery pound cake is a huge hit and I am always asked for the Read More…

Talking About the Weather

What a difference a day makes! A great New England saying is “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” Lately it certainly is true. ForCold Chickens almost ten days in a row we had below zero temperatures, like -20 which is far too cold in my opinion. We were chipping ice off just about everything and had to drag water out to the chickens as even the running stream froze solid. I had to rub some Vaseline on a few chicken combs to protect them from frostbite. Our little “Midge” chicken refused to come out of the coop and I swear she was glaring at me!

The weather started to gradually warm up and then today I opened the door and was smacked in the face by humid 54 degree weather! WHAT?! I broke into a sweat just walking to my car this Read More…

2017 Year-End-Review

Well the ball has been dropped again…in more ways than one. It is a new year already and I realized that my last farm post was back in November. Where does the time go?

2017 sure had some roller-coaster rides but I am happy to say everyone stayed healthy, happy and positive. Something I look to do everyday of every year. The up’s and down’s in life are all part of the ride. Some things this year made us stronger and more wise while other events were a blip on the horizon. Moving, new jobs, putting the farm back together, family events and situations. All good things! The year ended with a funny note on which I’ll end this short year-in-review.

My 6-year-old niece has had a loose tooth for a few weeks now. Something that she has talked non-stop about. Closing in on New Year’s eve, right around 10 p.m. we got a call from her. Thinking it was a “happy New Year” call we laughed to find out she had no care about that at all. Her loose tooth had fallen out while she was brushing her teeth. Her pure joy and excitement is something I hope we can all bring into our everyday lives in this new year of 2018.

May you all experience the joy of the little things in this year! Happy 2018!

Vermontfarmheart

Cranberry Sugar Cookie Bars – Perfect for Thanksgiving

I love the combination of sweet and tart. This is the PERFECT holiday dessert, especially after a big mealCranberry Sugar Cookie Bars that is heavy. A little sweet but a punch of tart doesn’t weigh you down after a meal, so what a great thing to make for Thanksgiving, or just a night in.

Sugar Cookie Crust:

1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup salted butter, softened

2 egg yolks

2 cups flour

Dash of salt

Cranberry Apple Filling:

2 cups fresh or frozen whole cranberries

1 large tart apple, diced

2 tbsp. orange juice

Read More…

A Warm November

I had joked that towards the beginning of October that it was so warm that in typical fashion, the

Halloween 2017

Halloween 2017

weather would turn just in time for all the kids to have to wear their parkas on Halloween. Sure enough, the day before you could have walked around in shorts but the night of trick-or-treating, a cold wind swept through that meant bundling up in layers underneath costumes. We still had a blast with my two nieces that night and the youngest one “got” Halloween for the first time and was excited to knock on doors and say “trick-or-treat!” She had originally planned to be a unicorn but was too shy as we had all exclaimed how adorable she was in that costume. Instead she rocked the “old movie star” look, complete with pearls and a fake fur coat. Not sure where she got that style but she sure looked adorable (but we didn’t mention it for fear she would ditch that costume too!).

We threw an impromptu Halloween party for some friends and family that same weekend and had a good time catching up with people we hadn’t seen since before we moved to Maine. The highlight of the party was my homemade pumpkin puke platter…..all I did was carve a cute little pumpkin and place on a tray with dip and pretzels. Super cute, super easy!

Pumpkin Puke Platter

A few days after Halloween, we were back to the mid-60’s and I used it to my advantage on the first weekend to clean up the garden. The only thing left is the kale and brussel sprouts but I don’t think I’ll Read More…

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