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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Easy Peasy Broccoli Cheese Soup for a Winter's Day

 I've almost written a blog post a dozen times....and now a couple months have gotten past me!  I'll not make excuses, I'll just dive right in!

Winter has hit the Pacific Northwest in a more, well, winter-like way than usual!  We've had snow & icy temperatures more often, which I'm enjoying to the fullest!

Well, except for today, since I've got a nasty cold bug and the trip to the barn for evening chores sounds exhausting at the moment!

Our Christmas Country Chicks event went
 fabulously, though I completely exhausted myself sewing and crafting endlessly beforehand.  My Ebay and Etsy stores are still going strong, so those long, slow Winter days of lazily quilting by the fire haven't happened yet!  More like frantic bursts of sewing, stuffing, painting and sanding.

Today I made a nice Broccoli Cheese Soup, since I have a cold and it sounded comforting.  It's really easy to make:  Boil a pot of broccoli florets until they're as done as you like them.  Drain them and set aside for a minute.
In a separate kettle, melt a cube of butter.  Remove it from the heat and whisk in a half cup of flour.  When it's totally smooth, whisk in a pint of chicken broth and a cup of milk.

 Now you can return it to the heat and stir until it's bubbly and thickened.  I added about a cup of grated cheddar and a cup of smokey swiss cheeses (you can choose your own favorite) and a handful of frozen bacon bits.
Next you can toss the cooked broccoli in and stir.  I like my soup a bit thinner, so I added another pint of chicken broth.  You can thin it with more milk, if you'd rather.  Either way, it's delicious and will put hair on your chest!  (wait...what?)
Feel free to season it with pepper & salt to taste.
Eat up, we're not making dinner tonight.  Can you say....toast and hot cocoa?  I told you I have a cold!
 This is a corner of the garden, taken about a month ago.  The grass in there is greener than the lawn!  It'll take a bit of rototilling to get it back in shape come Spring.

Ripley the cat races through the house and flings himself against the sliding glass door repeatedly when he sees Tippy, the ouside cat.  Eventually he settles down....wherever he wants to, often in my crafting room.
 We've had a couple of lovely snows a week or two ago, and I got outside to wander and look for tracks.  Bobcat, rabbit, raccoon and a solitary elk wandered the road down to the valley.  Rumor has it that a cougar has been spotted repeatedly about 3 or 4 miles from here.  We haven't seen it or any sign so far this season.
 We've got long strings of Christmas lights along the fences that will stay until they burn out!  That long walk to the barn is much friendlier at night when there's a light to guide you!  Unlike in the city, where there are street lights, it is very dark here in the back woods!

I think I shocked a visitor recently when I mentioned that, yes indeed, we do milk the goats twice a day, every day!

So far, two of our milkers have freshened (given birth to kid goats) and each had triplets!  That means I go to the barn at 8am and again at 6pm or so to milk Shiloh and Merrieanne,  and then bottle feed six hungy babies!
Thankfully, the girls help me!

Isn't this a beautiful picture of the snow on the trees?   I was thinking about the first snow of the season on the forested hills outside my kitchen window:  The snow illumines each tree, changing the forest from a green mass to hundred of unique individuals.  I imagine that God sees us that way - where I see a crowd, the masses;  God sees each unique individual illuminated.
 A young family man we know was part of a project to film a living nativity over the Christmas holidays.  Afterwards, I received a call from him, asking if we'd be interested in some farm animals:  free of cost AND delivered!

Meet Mortimer, the bull calf (heart on forehead) and Harriet the heifer!  They are sweet little babies and growing like weeds!
Also in the package deal were four sheep!  Hmmm, I can see some woolly projects in my crafting future!

A little black goat came along, too.  She had suffered from starvation at a previous home and arrived in very poor condition, nearly unable to stand and with very little interest in life.  I broke out my arsenal of goat remedies and I'm happy to say, she is very gradually improving!   In her emaciated state, she was not worth a nickel, so I named her Bad Penny!
Here are the first of the triplets born.  For some reason, I've been busy enough to not remember to take my camera down to the barn now that there are actually six of them!

Farm life changes continually, and at the same time it stays very much the same.  Animals and chores come & go and we tend to do the same kinds of things over and over through the years.

Well, I've caught up for now and it's about time for chores again, so I'll stuff my pockets with kleenex, and take my aching self down to the barn.  Imagine how good that woodstove is going to feel when I'm done with chores and can collapse in my recliner for the evening again!