Still a bit more Winter left…

While other people have tired of Winter, the cattle and I have not. It is the coziest time of year and gives me more time to focus on things inside the house. This includes some yearly attention to closet cleaning, clothing donations, basement organizing, tax preparations, and of course food preparation, and with Summer not that far off, it is time to reduce what’s in the freezer. This is always a hard thing to calculate, at the beginning of the Winter I am careful to not use our frozen fruit and veggies too fast, but at the end of the Winter I am trying to find ways to use it all and make room, it’s not a perfect science but the more years we do this, the more I learn about the rhythm of this cycle.

It’s been the craziest snowiest February we have had in a very long time. I visited family on the west coast, and returned in very early February. We had lost all our snow in my absence, due to a warm front and lots of rain. Upon my return the snow began and it’s been snowing on and off for the whole of February! The farm couldn’t look prettier. It has stalled our construction project, but to be expected in the Winter.

This particularly snowy day was one of our bigger snowstorms. The deer are doing more browsing now, as grazing is pretty much out of the question.

This is the pathway to the chicken’s coop and run. They don’t come out on these days. We open their door for ventilation, but they consider snow about as safe as hot lava, so when they come out and see the new layer of snow, they cluck a mouthful of complaining chatter and run straight back into the coop.

Despite the mountains of piled snow around the mini high tunnel, there is still spinach inside and it’s┬ádoing well too! When this plastic layer gets rolled back, it smells like Spring inside!

The green presents such a contrast to the brilliant white that is covering everything outside.

Crazy to think we are eating spinach salads while we are buried under snow. It is an amazing treat, there are even some surviving little dill volunteers amongst the spinach. It is all so appreciated!

I’ve been working down the freezers to make room for this Summer’s produce. This is cherry juice, (hubs enjoys mixing it with sparkling water), and next to it is chicken broth. Slowly but surely the freezer stock of veggies, fruits and soup bones is getting a bit lower.

I am really excited about being able to pressure can beans. We really didn’t used to eat that many beans, for a couple of reasons. I don’t prefer to buy food in cans, and because starting with dry beans takes a lot of planning ahead, since some have to soak as long as 8-12 hours! Now I can take these garbanzo beans off the shelf and put together a very quick batch of Hummus, and it is delicious!

Hummus and spicy refrigerator dill carrots, a great snack! The carrots are from our neighbor’s cold storage. He found himself with a broken tractor and no way to plow out his driveway to go on deliveries. Hubs went over and plowed him out and we got a big bag of carrots and some micro-greens as a trade. We have been using the carrots in salads, as well, and there are still plenty for fresh eating.

These pinto beans made perfect refried beans! Really happy to have convenient, “on the shelf” beans for adding to soups, stews, and the garbanzos, shown above, are great on a salad too!

Pickled hard boiled eggs (they are awesome) and onions, our neighbor’s micro-greens and carrots, some red pepper flakes I made last year from our Shishito peppers, and some local blue cheese.

People ask how we eat veggies this time of year if we are not buying them at the store. A visit to my freezer is all it took to make this veggie side dish. All of it is from last Summer, and it tasted fresh and delicious at dinner.

What would a post be without a picture of bread? This one was especially pretty!

The sides of the driveway are getting taller, if Spring doesn’t come soon, we may have our own luge run!