Happy Easter!

My daughter was sweet enough to take photos of Easter brunch from our basket for me to share.

She even used a couple of the Lavender Rose China we inherited from my late MIL as part of the display. She made it all look so pretty!

Unfortunately, my husband had an unusually bad pain day and was not able to join the girls. In fact, I don’t think he even ate at all until shortly before I got home. 😦

As for myself, I left early for my mom’s to make sure I had time to fill her gas tank first (gas prices have gone down a few pennies to 169.9 cents per litre). We had a short visit before walking across the street with her walker to her church. Having the church so close is one of the main reasons she chose to move to where she is! 😀 It was an excellent service, and I quite appreciated the homily. After church, we headed out to my brother’s place.

There are two routes that I’m familiar with to get to their place. Normally, I’d take a more straightforward route on the highways, bypassing the city, to get to the town my brother lives in. My mother, however, insists on a route that takes us through a smaller city, where we have to cross an insanely narrow bridge over a major river. Which isn’t too much of a problem in my mother’s little car, but every time I take that bridge with our van, I feel like I’m either going to hit oncoming traffic, or scrape the guardrails! My mother is so insistent on taking the “right” route (which she thinks is a short cut), that when I got distracted and turned towards the city (my usual route) instead of the other direction to take a cross road to another highway, she actually got furious and started shouting at me for going the wrong way.

It took half a minute to circle around, and I was able to calm her down, but even for her it was a bit much to get so angry, so fast.

There turned out to be an irony about this.

Things were more pleasant as the drive continued. We got to the smaller city and drove through it to the bridge and…

It was closed.

Which… of course it would be. With the snow we’ve recently had, and the bridge being so narrow, now that I think about it, yeah, it would be. In fact, I would not be surprised to learn it was closed through most of the winter.

So we bypassed the bridge and got onto another highway towards the bigger city. However, in taking this route, we were passing through a more populated area, so the speed limits were all much lower. Which means that we probably ended up taking at least half an hour longer to get there than if we’d gone the route I almost took out of habit that she yelled at me for!

The irony was not lost on her!

When we realized the bridge was closed, I pulled over long enough to message my brother to let him know about the bridge, and that we would be a bit longer. As I was getting back on the road, I noticed it was just starting to snow.

The weather forecast for today was for either isolated flurries, or up to 6cm/2in of snow, depending on which app I looked at. Until then, the day had been completely clear. Within minutes, we were driving into ever heavier snowfall. Thankfully, it was warm enough that it melted as soon as it hit pavement, but visibility got quite poor in places.

When we finally got to the last leg of the journey, approaching a road I could have taken for a shorter route to my brother’s, we kept on going because it was blocked by a train! It was quite a while before we finally passed the end of the train, and I was actually starting to wonder if it would be clear of our next possible turn off when we got there. Thankfully, it was, so there were no more delays in getting to my brother’s.

The visit was absolutely fantastic. We had a fantastic time seeing each other, a wonderful dinner and, best of all, I got lots of baby snuggles!

So many baby snuggles.

Unfortunately, the snow did not lessen any and we left far earlier than we wanted to. It’s a good thing we did. While the roads were still good, they were very wet, and would have soon started to freeze. As it was, the further north we got, the snow was less, but I could see it starting to freeze over in places.

After dropping my mother off and continuing home, the highway was actually much better and almost dry, until I got about 5 or 10 minutes from home, when I drove into snow again, but it was just snowy enough to impact visibility a bit, not road conditions.

One thing we did see a lot of was deer! Not often. Just lost of them. On our way out, we passed a field that had maybe 20 deer scattered around it. On my way back, just as I was slowing down to turn off the highway, I saw what had to be at least 30 deer in a field. A group of at least 10 were just lying in the snow! I’ve seen some fairly large herds of deer in the area over the years, but this group was easily the most I’ve ever seen of white tail deer, all at once.

The girls were sweet enough to set aside portions from our basket for me, which was much appreciated by the time I got home.

I did notice that, by the time I got home, the kibble was all gone, so I topped that up before going in.

I saw very few outside cats this morning. As I was leaving, I startled a skunk, and it ran under the cat’s house. As I walked by, I could see it’s adorable, pointy little nose poking out, as it watched me leave. When I got back, there was another skunk – or maybe the same one – poking around the kibble house trays, trying to find something to eat.

Potato Beetle, meanwhile, remains in the sun room, and has his very own bowl of food that he doesn’t have to share with any other cats. Or skunks… birds… deer… When I got home, he actually made a “dash” for the door to get outside. He can’t dash very quickly right now, with his injured leg, so that wasn’t much of a problem.

What is more of a problem is the fact that the litter box remains completely unused. Which means he’s found a corner in the sun room somewhere that he’s using, instead. *sigh* It’s a good thing the sun room has a concrete floor!

Rolando Moon was following me around while I was doing my morning rounds, and enjoys running ahead, then rolling on the ground. I couldn’t resist sharing this picture, when I realized her tongue is sticking out!

What a silly kitty!

As I write this, we’re now heading towards 10pm. It’s still snowing a bit, and gotten cold enough for it to finally start accumulating. It’s not the first time we’ve had snow for Easter, of course, but usually that’s been when Easter was earlier in the month! Last night, we hit lows of -17C/1F, that I know of, and the sun room thermometer actually dipped below 0C/32F. Potato Beetle made use of the warming lamp and was just fine. Tonight, the low is supposed to be only -7C/19F, though the wind chill is supposed to be -14C/7F. Starting tomorrow, however, we’re supposed to reach highs above freezing, and stay there from now on, with lows barely dipping below freezing over the next few days. In a couple of days, we’re supposed to get a mix of rain and snow, but today’s snow should be our last blast of winter.

But then, we thought we were getting the last blasts of winter a couple of times now, only to have the forecast change, quite a lot, over and over! However, looking at our 30 year average, and record, highs and lows, I think we’ll be leveling off and warming up from now on.

Even with the snow, however, today was a fantastic Easter!

I hope you and yours also had an excellent day, filled with food, family and fun!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 Easter basket

Today, we assembled our traditional Polish Easter basked and blessed it. If you wish to learn more about the symbolism of its contents, you may wish to visit this site. (link will open a new tab)

Over the years, we modified, dropped or added items with complementary symbolism. In the tiny jars, we have salt (traditional) red wine vinegar, mustard and olive oil (non-traditional). Normally, we’d have horseradish root, but ours is buried under snow, and we don’t use it enough to warrant a jar, however the mustard we chose this year has horseradish in it. The olives are non-traditional, and while eggs are traditional, this year we have pickled eggs, which is not. The bright yellow and white ones are the turmeric eggs we tried this year; the white spots are from being a tight fit in the jar! 😀 The cheese, ham, sausage and bread are all traditional, as is the butter in a small glass. Usually, I put that in a small bowl with a cross made of cloves pressed into it, but it gets hard to fit the containers, so I melted some butter and poured it into a glass, instead. The one concession to a typical North American basket are the little chocolate eggs. The whole thing gets covered with a pretty cloth. I’ve got several hand embroidered, some antique, clothes I like to use. The one chosen for this year is actually under the basket as I took the picture. We skipped the sprigs of greenery because we usually just don’t have any fresh greenery around Easter.

Over the years, we’ve included prosciutto roses (in place of the traditional bacon), marzipan shaped into a lamb and flowers, a bottle of wine, a white candle, and fruit. An apple, grapes or figs would all by symbolically appropriate.

Normally, after the basket has been blessed, we’d put things away in the fridge until tomorrow, when it will be the basis of our Easter brunch. This year, however, it’s cold enough that we can put it all into the old kitchen, which is easily as cold as a fridge!

As I will be out for much of the day, I don’t know when I will have a chance to write a post. So I will take this moment to wish you all a happy and blessed Easter, from the Re-Farmer family to yours!

More digging, an injured cat and Easter preparations

There weren’t a lot of cats out and about when I did my morning rounds, which was a bit of a surprise.

I only spotted seven at first! Then Potato Beetle showed up, wanting into the sun room, so I let him.

With a bit of concern. He seemed to be limping a bit.

With the new snow on the ground, I can’t get to some of the areas that I normally check as part of my rounds, so the necessities were finished quickly. I decided to take the time to dig out the burn barrel, since we’ll need to fire it up before things start melting away.

This area had been almost completely clear of snow before the storm. This is all new snow.

After digging out enough space to move around the barrel without getting too close while it’s lit, I also dug a path to the spare fire ring, and took the snow off the dry wood and kindling we have on the grate we use as a spark shield in the summer.

After a quick check of the roof, I dug out (almost literally) the roof snow shovel and used that to take as much snow off the sun room roof as I could. Hopefully, there won’t be too many leaks into the sun room when the rest of it melts.

While in the sun room, Potato Beetle came out of his warm spot on the bottom shelf, which is when I could see that yes, he was limping. A lot. He was avoiding putting weight on his front left leg at much as he could.

Damn.

I’ve called the vet and we now have an appointment for him for Wednesday at 7pm. They are now open 7 days a week, for extended hours. They are even open over Easter weekend, but are so booked, that was the earliest she could fit us in. She did put us on the cancellation list, just in case.

*sigh*

Hopefully, the funds set aside for my new glasses (which apparently won’t happen, since I’m not allowed to get an eye exam) will be enough cover it.

So that is set for Wednesday evening, then on Thursday, I have to go to court to deal with our vandal’s vexatious litigation against me that he filed, after I applied for the restraining order against him.

Hopefully, the judge will throw it out for the ridiculousness it is.

*sigh*

Well, until then, we will continue our Easter traditions. Today, we are assembling our basket. We’ve decided not to take it to the church for blessing, and will just bless it ourselves again. When my mother told me her church was doing it and what time, I talked about possibly bringing our basket in. She then launched into a long diatribe about how she hoped I wouldn’t bring that big, big basket I had the last time we were able to get our basket blessed. Apparently, in her mind, only small baskets are acceptable. No one has big baskets, so bringing a big basket is somehow uncivilized. Clearly, she forgets some of the big baskets people would bring to the church we used to go to when I was a kid. Ours could be considered small in comparison. Not to mention the ones with all the decorations hanging off the handles, and the bottles of win, etc. What she’s completely forgetting is why we do basket blessings in the first place. Instead, it’s become yet another thing to show off to other people, and judge other people for if they do it “wrong”. I don’t want her attitude to ruin one of our most symbolic and deeply meaningful traditions. When I called her last night and updated her on things (my nephew and his family were on the road at the time; they have since arrived safely!), she brought up getting her own basket ready, then asked if I’d be bringing ours. Phrased in such a way that she clearly thought I would not, and that the restrictions (there are none) were the reason.

Since I am driving my mother to my brother’s on Easter, the girls are staying home to celebrate it with my husband, with our traditional brunch, using foods from the basket.

I hope they remember to take pictures for me! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Storm Status, and Easter baking

Well, it’s certainly snowing and blowing enthusiastically, out there!

That hasn’t stopped the birds from enjoying the suet feeder.

The driveway is so white right now, it’s messing with the camera’s ability to “see” it, making for some interesting rings of colours on there.

I took this screencap of the weather app on my desktop, just minutes ago. According to this, the worst is still yet to come. It is still conflicting with what’s showing on the weather radar.

Well, it will be what it will be. My main concern is with the high winds, of course. When this is over, we’ll have to do a walk-about to see if any more dead trees have come down, or what branches have fallen.

From the looks of the weather radar, the most severe conditions are hitting the US, as the system sweeps across the Eastern states. I hope those of you living in those states are keeping safe!

While it’s snowing and blowing, we got some bread baking done.

A two-loaf recipe was divided into four small loaves. The prettiest one will be for our Easter basket.

Since I was baking bread anyhow, I made a batch of oatmeal bread, also divided into four small loaves instead of two regular loaves. That way, we get a loaf each. 😀

I’m looking forward to having one of them with a big bowl of chili, once it cools down enough. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Watching the radar

Things are still looking pretty good out there, though the daytime temperatures are definitely on the colder side. The storm alerts remain, with snow predicted to start in the wee hours, tonight. The local “looking ahead” notification on my phone’s app now reads, “A snowstorm from late tonight into Friday afternoon with blizzard conditions tomorrow and accumulations of 40-60 cm.”

That’s 16-24 inches. Yesterday, the high end of the local prediction was up to 45cm/18in.

The main alert has changed a bit. I no longer see the warning for up to 80cm/31in in some areas.


Winter Storm Warning

Issued at 04:27 Tuesday 12 April 2022

Hazardous winter conditions are expected.

Major spring storm poised to wallop southern Manitoba beginning overnight Tuesday into Wednesday morning and lasting until Friday morning. Widespread snowfall accumulations of 30-50 cm accompanied by northerly winds gusting 60-70 km/h giving zero visibility at times in snow and blowing snow.

A Colorado low will move towards Minnesota Tuesday night bringing a heavy swath of snow through most of southern Manitoba. The snow will start early Tuesday evening near the International border then push northward throughout the night. By Wednesday morning heavy snow will be falling in much of the area as the storm continues to push northward. Strong northerly winds will develop with this system and persist into Friday morning as the low slowly pivots through Minnesota on it’s way into northwestern Ontario.

For the City of Winnipeg and points southeastward, a break in the snow may occur on Wednesday afternoon or evening before snow re-intensifies overnight into Thursday. 15 to 20 cm is likely by Wednesday afternoon, with a further 15 to 20 cm likely with the second area of snow overnight Wednesday through Thursday and Thursday night.

By Friday morning, widespread snowfall accumulations of 30 to 40 cm are likely.

Travel will become increasingly difficult as the day progresses Wednesday, with widespread highway closures a near-certainty. By Wednesday evening even travel within communities may become impossible as the heavy snow and strong winds continue… and more of the same is expected on Thursday.

Do not plan to travel – this storm has the potential to be the worst blizzard in decades. Stock up on needed supplies and medications now. Power outages are likely, rural areas in particular should be prepared for extended outages.

Conditions should begin to improve on Friday as the winds taper off and the heaviest snow moves into northern Ontario…although the clean-up after this storm will likely last well into next week.

###

Rapidly accumulating snow will make travel difficult. There may be a significant impact on rush hour traffic in urban areas. Heavy snowfall accumulation combined with strong winds may cause damage to trees or other structures. Poor weather conditions may contribute to transportation delays.

Winter storm warnings are issued when multiple types of severe winter weather are expected to occur together.


As I write this, the main body of the system is over North Dakota as mostly snow, shifting to mostly rain across Minnesota. Though the system is being pushed almost straight North, it’s going East enough that it looks like the most severe weather will pass over the southern border where Manitoba and Ontario meet, with the rain in Minnesota turning to snow quickly, as it heads into Ontario. The system is very wide, from East to West, but it’s now looking like Saskatchewan is going to be spared the worst of it. My nephew and his family are still thinking of making the drive out, but a day later than originally planned.

We’ll see how things actually turn out.

Until then, things continue as usual.

Ghost Baby has been coming out every morning, of late, and not being a ghost at all. My guess is that it’s because she’s pregnant and very hungry.

Just look at those silly kitties, crowding around the one tray on the ground, when there are four other trays inside the kibble house! Altogether, I saw 14 kitties this morning.

While switching out the memory card on the sign cam, I was finally able to find something – it just had to wait for more snow to melt, and the leaf litter to dry before I could see it.

This is one of the closures from the trail cam. I’d been able to find the wire latch, but the black plastic leaver with the hinge were too dark to see on dark wet ground.

Of course, it’s the top latch that broke. The bottom latch is still intact and should be enough to keep the camera closed enough for the weather seal to keep working, but with this latch broken, there is more of a possibility that moisture will get in.

There are a lot of things I like about this camera, but it has one major failing. I cannot handle our cold. When the temperatures drop, the LED screen stops working, and I have to warm it up with my hands to be able to see the settings while changing the micro disc card. Any colder, and it simply stops recording and the batteries freeze. At least it does start working again on its own, when the batteries warm up again. And now I find the plastic becomes more brittle due to the cold, too. At least I hope it’s due to the cold. Otherwise, it’s just cheap plastic.

Ah, well. Live and learn.

I would still recommend this camera is you live somewhere with warmer winters than what we get. For most of Canada, however, I’d say don’t bother. There are other brands with the features this one has that I like. They cost a lot more, but you get what you pay for!

Meanwhile…

We are still working on our Easter preparations. I don’t know if I’ll be able to go to the blessing of the baskets on Saturday, but we’re still making it. This year, we’re doing the eggs differently. Instead of dying them in the shell, we’re doing different types and colours of pickled eggs. Right now, we’ve got pink pickled eggs in the fridge, using the brine from our out pickled beets. We’re also going to do a soy sauce brine for brown, and turmeric brine for yellow. I boiled up a whole bunch of eggs already, and finished peeling the last of them this morning. We have just enough mostly-undamaged eggs to do 6 of each type of pickle… and a bunch of ugly ones for egg salad. 😀 After that, the only thing we have left to do is bake our fancy Easter bread. 🙂

Easter has always been my favourite Holy Day, and our basket tradition the one I’ve always looked forward to the most!

The Re-Farmer

Happy Easter!

I hope that your day was full of joy and blessings.

Our favourite tradition is our Easter basket.

The traditional items include bread (I made a challah this year), eggs (half were pickled, half were coloured with beet juice), ham, sausage, cheese (goat cheese with herbs this year), horseradish (we purchased a spread this year, as our ground it still too frozen to dig up fresh roots), butter and salt. In place of the traditional bacon, we twisted prosciutto rosettes. Among the non-traditional items, we have mustard, olive oil, wine vinegar and olives (almond stuffed, this year). Other items that some people like to include are wine, grapes or an apple, a bottle of wine, or a single white candle. Every item has symbolic meaning. It’s not in the photo, but the basket was covered with a hand embroidered linen cloth; a small table cloth, stitched and gifted to me by my godmother, many years ago. I have a small collection of hand embroidered linens that I like to use to cover our baskets. Lots of people cover their baskets with crocheted lace doilies.

Typically, the basket would be taken to church for blessing on Holy Saturday (as my mother was able to do), but we blessed it ourselves again, this year. I’ve seen people with very elaborate baskets, with added decorations on the basket itself, along with sprigs of flowers, greenery or pussy willow branches. I’ve also seen baskets as simple and elegant as a loaf of rye bread in a small basket covered with a cloth napkin.

The basket contents make up our Easter brunch.

It was wonderful.

Happy Easter!

The Re-Farmer

Wishing you a happy and blessed Easter!

I hope you all had a wonderful day today, even if you had to celebrate it in a different way than usual.

This morning, the basket was assembled, and I found an English translation of the traditional Polish blessings of the contents (my Polish is not good enough anymore!).

Then it was time to lay out our Easter brunch, using the contents of the basket.

I included the beet and onion pieces that were with the pink pickled eggs, just because. 🙂 The olive oil from the marinated goat cheese was strained of the herbs and spices, to be used with the vinegar as a dip for the bread. The braided loaf makes it easy to tear into chunks.

We had a lovely and delicious meal together!

We were not the only ones to enjoy the basket.

DahBoy decided it would make an excellent bed!

While the turkey was in the oven for our evening meal, I had a chance to have a video chat with some of my family.

Technology is awesome. 🙂

Though today was very busy with lots to do for our special times together, I still tried to keep today as a Sunday day of rest. I notice others are taking advantage of the weather and conditions, though. As I sit here typing, I can see the live feed from our security camera. A burn is being done on my brother’s rented out field, across the road. Work never stops for farmers, even on Easter!

I am quite grateful for all those who work to produce our food and the other goods we need! We have much to be thankful for.

The Re-Farmer

Easter preparations and difficulty typing

I know I should be in bed right now, but I had a few setbacks. Problems with the van being the most obvious one, but also, I had difficulties typing.

My husband got evidence as to why.

Susan decided she absolutely HAD to drape herself across me as I tried to type. She particularly felt the need to roll around, and use my hands as pillows.

For such a tiny cat, she takes up a lot of space. 😀

Meanwhile, I did manage to finish the last things for the basket before I had to head into town.

These are easily the darkest onion skin dyed eggs we’ve ever made! I didn’t leave them in the pot longer than usual, either. This is just from the sheer volume of onion skins they were immersed in. Also, every single one of them are fine. One of the nice things about colouring eggs this way is the high success rate. At most, sometimes an egg will crack in the boiling water.

The tea dyed eggs, however, are typically much more difficult.

Of the dozen I did this way, I lost three eggs completely (they were delicious, though), and I think only one or two peeled without damaging the egg white. Cracking the shells and cooking them again in the dye seems to make it more difficult to peel them. It also leaves them too fragile to use the shaking method of loosening the peel. I did try it, and the egg just split open in the jar.

We’ll just have to made to with slightly torn up eggs this year! 😀

As for the horseradish, usually I just peel a chunk of root and put it in the basket whole. We would then shred it for use during our Easter breakfast made up entirely of basket contents. This time, I decided to grate it, first.

I left it to dry on a paper towel for a while before putting it into a teeny tiny jar.

I almost forgot I had one last thing to prepare before heading to bed. Brining the turkey! We’ve never done a turkey dinner for Easter before, but I had one in the freezer, so we’re using it now. I use a giant stock pot to brine the turkey in. It’s a big bird, and the brine needed almost 3 gallons of water to be able to cover it completely. It makes for a very full stock pot. I have to get one of my daughters to help me carry it to the old kitchen, so it doesn’t slosh all over. This time of year, the old kitchen is about refrigerator cold during the day, and will probably drop a degree or two below freezing overnight, which makes it quite safe to leave the turkey in overnight.

For now, though, I’d better get my butt into bed. There will be lots to do tomorrow! 🙂 I’m looking forward to it. 🙂

Have a Happy and Blessed Easter!

The Re-Farmer

Easter preparations and successful finds

I’m happy to say that I was able to deliver a little care package to my mother for her Easter. I called right after dropping off my daughter to see if she needed anything at the grocery store, but she was able to order everything she needed from the grocery store and have it delivered. Which means they were able to accommodate her in regards to her not being able to pay over the phone. I thought that might be the case, as the grocery store near her caters to a lot of seniors in similar situations.

When I got there, she met me at the door, since her building is on lockdown. Technically, I could have visited her and it would have been okay, but the less people from outside come in, the better.

After the drop off, I went to the grocery store near her place and scored big time!

Not only did they have big bags of cat kibble, but they were well stocked in pretty much everything! They even had a big display of large pack toilet paper, though they were selling for over $30. We are fine for that, so I didn’t get any. Their yeast section was completely full, and I was able to get a nice big jar of the traditional (slower acting) yeast. Between this, what we’ve already got left at home (even after baking day, yesterday) and our sourdough starter, we’re set for a good long time. 🙂

Finding a candy thermometer was just bonus! I won’t have to make to with a meat thermometer, when I try a new cheese recipe after Easter.

Once home, I got a couple of pots doing with more eggs; one with the tea dying mixture, and the other with onion skins. We’ve been collecting onion skins all year, and there was so much, I couldn’t even use it all. (click here for how we do our three different types of eggs)

Once the eggs were at the stage where they could be left unattended, I got the dining table all pretty.

Which has fascinated the cats.

Cheddar, at least, was polite about his curiosity. He just sat on a chair and rested his chin on the table cloth. I’ve already found Two Face, just sitting on the table, like a bread loaf.

Once the table was cleared of cats… again… I worked on preparing other basket ingredients.

Each of the items has symbolic significance, some of which are old traditions for our Polish family, while others are traditions we added ourselves. Along with the bread, which symbolizes Jesus (the “bread of life”), and the eggs, which symbolize the Resurrection and new life, we have:

  • ham; to represent joy and abundance, marked with a cross made of cloves
  • sausage; representing the favor and generosity of God
  • butter; to remind us of the goodwill we should have towards all things. We like to make different flavored butters. This year, I’ve added parsley, garlic granules and paprika. Like the ham, it’s marked with a cross of cloves, and the fish shaped bowl it’s in is a reminder for us to be “fishers of men”.
  • salt; in one of the tiny jars, it symbolizes prosperity and justice, and is a reminder to be the “salt of the earth”.
  • cheese; this year, marinated goat cheese, but we’ve used many different kinds of cheese over the years, as a symbol of moderation
  • vinegar; the other tiny jar has red wine vinegar, as a reminder of the wine vinegar mixed with hyssop that Jesus was given to drink, just before he spoke his last words. This is one of our own, added traditions.
  • olives and olive oil (in with the marinated goat cheese): this is another of our added traditions, symbolizing wisdom, peace, and hope.
  • Not pictured is the horseradish, which symbolizes the pain of crucifixion. Traditionally, it can be made into a paste with beet juice, with the sweet juice representing the joy of resurrection. We’ve included the beet juice with our pink pickled eggs.

Other items that would be appropriate to add are a candle, a bottle of wine, and sprigs of greenery.

By the time we’re done, there’s enough food in the basket to feed us for a couple of days! Typically, we eat the blessed food as a brunch on Easter morning.

Gosh, I love making these baskets so much!

Now it’s time to check on the eggs, and prep the horseradish! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Easter preparations: baking day and frozen ground

Today, while the girls continued to work on the basement (I have yet to go down to see their progress!), I worked on baking our Easter bread.

Then, since I was baking anyway, I made some sourdough soda bread, and another double batch of what has become my usual standby, a basic bread recipe modified by the addition of rolls oats and various seeds. This recipe, plus chia seeds and minus the rye flour. Lately, I’ve also included hemp hearts as well, which adds a really nice flavour and texture. Thanks to my dear friend, I even had yeast to use for the non-sourdough recipes. 🙂

In this photo, the braided loaf is for our Easter basket, and I made 4 mini loaves with the other half of the recipe. In the back, left, are the loaves of sourdough soda bread. Which did NOT want to rise today. The house was a bit too chilly today, even though it has been warming up again, outside.

In between batches and rising times, I also made a soup using one of my meals in a jar mixes with sausage. The mix had brown lentils, red lentils, orzo pasta, turmeric cous cous, dehydrated vegetables, dehydrated onions, mushroom ketchup powder, 1 cube of vegetable bouillon and 1 cube of chicken bouillon.

The seedy bread was shaped into mini-loaves that made excellent bread bowls.

This was soooo good to break my Good Friday fast (for health reasons, I do not do a total fast).

While doing my rounds this morning, I checked the ground near the power pole in the old garden, where there is horseradish planted. It was rock hard, but I hoped that things would have warmed enough to dig some up by this evening.

After scraping aside last year’s leaves, I found the horseradish has already been trying to grow.

The ground was certainly starting to thaw out by this time, but the soil here is so full of rocks, it didn’t make that much of a difference. I can’t understand why my mother planted these here. For a plant that is grown for its roots, rocky ground would have been something to avoid. The area has always been much rockier than the rest of the garden; so much so, my parents eventually stopped using it completely. The base of the power pole, however, has rocks and gravel packed around it, so it’s even worse than anywhere else.

I did manage to break off a couple of pieces, then decided to see what I could find in the other spot my mother had planted horseradish; at the base of a spruce tree near our feeding station. I had hoped that, between the wood chip mulch and possibly a bit more sunlight, the ground would be thawed out more.

The horseradish here isn’t as big or prolific, but I could see where it was starting to grow.

I did scrape away the wood chips, but it’s still pretty hard to see.

There isn’t as much growing here, and they’re much smaller, but the ground was indeed a bit softer, so I got a couple of decent chunks out. The ground isn’t rocky here, but of course, there’s plenty of tree roots. Again, I don’t understand why my mother chose this location.

After much washing, then scrubbing with an old tooth brush to get into the crevices, I now have several chunks to use.

That big piece with three sprouts? I could potentially plant each of those, and have three fresh plants.

I think the two little ones will be enough for my mother. If all goes to plan, I hope to swing by her place tomorrow with a care package for her. I’ll leave these as is, so she can prepare them as she wishes – or plant them in her own little garden plot outside her window. 🙂

We only need a bit for our own basket. I have been thinking of planting horseradish in softer ground; perhaps in a raised bed or planter. Something that will allow a straighter root to develop. If I can think of a good spot for that, I might do that with the big piece. My mother always kept a piece of horseradish, with the green parts still attached, in the basket to be blessed with the rest of the food, specifically to share with friends to transplant, or to transplant herself. I’ve tried it myself a few times, but the only one that succeeded (and didn’t get dug up by squirrels) was the one I’d included with our Easter basket the last time we were able to visit with my father, 5 years ago. I took it back with us to plant when we got home, and it actually survived. It got left behind when we moved, of course.

Normally, we would finished putting all our basket contents together tonight, in preparation for taking it to church for the blessing tomorrow morning, but since there is no church blessing, we’ll finish arranging the basket tomorrow and do our own blessing whenever we’re ready. I still want to do onion skin dyed and tea dyed eggs, which will be the last things that require any cooking.

For now, I think I’ll head down into the basement and see how things are looking after all my daughters’ hard work! 🙂

The Re-Farmer