Friday, October 21, 2016

Crusty Bread

This is the first Friday in a long time that the smell of baking bread hasn't filled the house with its wonderful aroma!

I usually have the oven going by 6 in the morning trying to get as many loaves baked as I can.

A week ago Saturday was the last Farmers Market for the season.

Time to take a break from bread baking!

I thought I would share this super simple recipe for my crusty bread.

I have been making  jalapeno/cheddar and asiago/garlic loaves.
There are so many different add ins you can use.
But these two have been great sellers for me.

You will never believe how simple they are to make!

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours.  Overnight works great.  Heat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.  Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool. 

How easy is that?

I have been stirring in 1/3 cup shredded cheese and a half of a jalapeno,
or 1/3 cup shredded asiago cheese and 1 clove of garlic minced to the mix before adding the water. 

My counters are full of bowls of dough the night before baking day.

This is the pot I use to bake my bread.

It is a Red Le Creuset pot I received as a Christmas present from my son years ago.

I love this pot for everything! 
It is  especially great for making this bread.

I ordered some of these cute little Le Creuset pots for making bread bowls.
Aren't they the cutest?

I think they will be a great seller for the few craft shows I signed up for during the winter.

I had one loaf of jalapeno/cheddar bread that didn't sell at the last market.
I brought it home, cut it into chunks, tossed it with olive oil then broiled it in the oven for a couple of minutes.

It made delicious croutons to top a bowl of chili with!

I hope you find this crusty bread recipe as easy and as tasty as we do!

(I am adding a link to the blog where I first discovered crusty bread.
She has some great instructional pictures)


Monday, October 17, 2016

Back in the Swing of Things

Wow, almost 3 months since I have even attempted to write an entry!

I do try to get online and at least read some of my favorites in blog land.

But this summer sure has been an exceptionally busy one around here.

I read other bloggers entries, 
they seem to be just as busy as myself.

I wonder how they do it all, 
then have time to blog about it?

Something I am trying to work on!

Most of my summer seemed to be consumed with my new business,
flower farming.

I did quite a few vases of flowers for others.

My main focus of getting the word about my flowers came through a couple of local farmers markets.

The bouquets went fast most mornings.
As well as flowers I sold my homemade noodles and crusty breads.

The flowers and bread also did well at our local county fair.

We got a new addition to the farm!

Lilly the goat!

She was a 50th birthday present from the pipeliner.
Another project I would like to take on is making my own goats milk products.
I am still doing more research before this project starts.

We also had a wedding!

The daughter was married on October 1st.

I did all of the flowers for her wedding.

The weekend after the wedding was one of the biggest festivals I have taken on yet.
The foot traffic can be as many as 10,000 people!

No fresh cut flowers, something I need to plan better for next year.

But I sold out of all my bouquets of broom corn and pumpkins on a stick.

As well as 20 loaves of crusty bread!
What a busy day!

This big guy sure has grown into such a great helper!

I can hardly believe that he has started pre-school this fall!

This week is the first week that I wont have to think about getting anything ready for the farmers market. We had the season ending market on Saturday.
Now is the time to sit back and look over all of my notes that I took over the summer.
Figure out what didn't work,
expand on the things that did work.

Begin writing my business plan for next year.

I think all of that can wait for a week or two.

For now I am just going to relax for a little bit

Enjoy the view around me
and recharge!


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My Summer Job

I have had the idea in the back of my head ever since we moved to this property.
Starting my own flower farm!

When we moved here the back 3 acres were so overgrown with brush, volunteer trees and weeds!

The pipeliner spent a weekend clearing everything out!

This spring we purchased this beauty!

The perfect size for me to operate.

The pipeliner started tilling rows for me to plant.

Now these rows are filled with flowers!

Let me tell you its not as easy as the pictures look!

After planting almost 35 rows of zinnias we had a hard rain!
The soil turned to concrete!
The farmer across the road had the same problem with his cornfield.
He had the use of a rotary hoe to take the crust off his soil.
I tried with my little make shift hoe, a weed edger.
It didn't work so well, and I ended up reseeding the whole thing!

I have been selling bouquets of zinnias and sunflowers at the local farmers market.

The sunflowers are always my favorite.

Along with the flowers I sell my homemade noodles.

I call them Lizzys oodles of noodles!

To this I have added some kind of snickerdoodles.
This past week was snickerdoodle cupcakes.

So we have oodles of noodles & snickerdoodles.
( it is now a running joke with the customers and a good draw to my booth)

The biggest seller of baked goods is this crusty bread.

Asiago & Garlic, Cheddar & Jalapeno

My weeks are pretty busy!
I try to make a batch of noodles everyday.
Friday are baking day, for Saturdays market.

Then there is the upkeep of the gardens.
With all of the rain we have had lately weeding has become an issue and tiresome!

I am not sure where I am taking the whole flower farm thing.
I would like to do a u-pick section next year.
Nothing better than people coming to the farm to pick their own bouquets.
Florist have become quite interested in buying from flower farms.
I may try to market to some of them.
Locally grown flowers are becoming the new trend.

Who wouldn't want a vase full of these beauties delivered to their door?

For now though the Farmers Market keeps me busy enough!

Lots of things to think about this upcoming winter.
I do know this is something I really want to do!

Look for more posts on my new adventure.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Things Don't Always Go As Planned

Sometimes the best of ideas don't always go as planned.
That would be true of the journey the pipeliner and I just came to the end of.

Last fall some late evening talks with our son-in-law to be led to the great idea of starting our own trucking business.

With absolutely no idea what we were even getting into we decided to look for a semi tractor.

It wasn't long before we found the one for us.

We signed the papers and brought it home.
Little did we know,
this was the easiest part of our journey!

The truck needed a good scrubbing to remove the old pin-striping.

We picked out our logo,
and off into the world of trucking we went.

Oh my gosh,
there were so many papers and forms to fill out!
Applications for one thing and then another.
Thankfully I was able to be-friend another local trucker who gave me a lot of important information I needed.
He hooked me up with some wonderful ladies at an insurance agency that took care of state and federal forms that I had no idea how to fill out.

We found a local company willing to hire us to haul loads for them.

But shortly after we got the truck on the road we had a falling out with our driver.
Actually he had helped himself to a cash advance from our credit card.
Now we had the jobs, but no driver.

Luckily we found another driver pretty quick. 

I was figuring out load numbers, where the load was going to, and how much the load would pay.

The book work was a whole other story.
I decided to take a class at our local college for that.
Once I started learning Quickbooks, I loved it!
My class was small and my teacher was great.

It took a lot of work trying to get our foot in the door of some existing companies.
Our main commodity we hauled was dried distillers grain.
A bi-product of ethanol.
That led us into hauling a new test product of enogen corn into the ethanol plant.

When you haul a load one way,
you want to find another load to haul back.
Nobody wants to come back with an empty trailer.
Somedays I spent hours on the computer trying to get backloads set up for the following week.

We were hauling out of state.
The paperwork that has to be done every week for this is insane!
Recording miles drove out of state, miles drove in state,
fuel used for tax purposes, and then there was billing for all of the loads.

No you know why my blogging came to an abrupt end!

Just when everything started clicking,
we had driver problems again.
It just amazes me how some people casually treat a good paying job.

Thankfully the pipeliners cousin came to the rescue.
He was laid off of his job for the winter.
That worked good until he got called back to his line of work.

The next driver wasn't  fond of having a woman as his dispatcher.
He wouldn't answer my calls.
He used J's cousin as a go between him and I.
That wasn't going to work at all!

At this point I was afraid the pipeliner would want me to go and take a driving class for my CDL license.

Then there were all of the little things that needed repaired on the truck and trailer.

A truck fully loaded with corn missing the driveway and getting stuck in the ditch.

That one was almost a $500.00 tow bill!
(the driver got it unstuck before the tow truck got dispatched, whew!)

When we received our insurance renewal
(almost fell over when I opened that bill!)
it was time for the pipeliner and I to sit down and have a serious talk about the business.
We were making just enough to pay all of the bills, 
but if something seriously went wrong with the truck
we going to have to pay out of pocket to have it fixed.
Was it worth it?

The decision was made,
time to put the truck up for sale!

Our days of trucking were over.

It took a month or so but both the truck and trailer are gone.

The pipeliner feels disappointed that we some how failed.
I think we did pretty good for walking into the whole adventure blindly.

You never know if you can succeed if you don't try.
 Somethings you try,
and you don't succeed.

But you always come away with a lesson learned,
and that is not a failure!