Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Packing in the High Uintas

I came across this photo the other day and thought I would share it.  Several years after we were married, my handsome man (in the plain brown shirt, black cowboy hat, and the big, broad shoulders) and I (the gal sitting behind and to the right in a straw cowboy hat)  guided horse pack trips into the High Uinta Mountains.  This particular trip we had a group of CEO's from a world wide steel company.  They were a great bunch!  Here we are looking into the State of Wyoming high up above the tree line.
This trip began with 13 horses to shoe in one day!  My amazing, strong, husband wasn't daunted by the task .  He finished just before dark and then we packed and loaded the mules, saddled up our horses, and headed for the mountains.  After reaching our destination in the middle of the night, we unloaded, slept for a few short hours, and then he was off back down the mountain at 4:00 a.m. to pick up our guests while I set up camp.  High in the mountains you can get snow in the middle of the summer and this trip we had it for several days.  It would melt off during the day, but the nights were awfully cold.  Each day as I worked over the campfire, I would put several big rocks in the fire to heat up.  Wrapping them in towels and placing them strategically in our sleeping bags, one at our feet, the other to cuddle close to our stomachs to keep our vital organs warm.  Our guests had a wood burning stove in their large canvas tent which they graciously let me warm my fingers by before preparing breakfast.  Meals were prepared over an open fire using cast iron dutch ovens.  My favorite meal to prepare was filleted trout, skin on with a herb seasoned cornmeal and flour coating, freshly caught in a high mountain lake just minutes before dinner.  This was a great opportunity and the few years we were able to spend several weeks at a time in the high country will always be one of my favorite memories. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Apples, Apples, Apples

Hopefully you were able to harvest apples this fall.  If you do not grow your own, seek out farmers in your area who grow organically.  The following recipe suggestions use unpeeled apples.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a cast iron skillet.  Add several unpeeled, apples  chopped into large pieces.  Add  1 tablespoon of water and 1/2 cup of raw or brown sugar.  Cook until apples are soft. This is a good recipe to use cellar apples that are going soft. 

Serve over home-made whole wheat pancakes add a drizzle of pure maple syrup.  YUMM!!!!
Here's a hint for making the store bought pancake batter taste like home-made.  For every cup of pancake mix add 1 cup of whole wheat flour.  Add an egg and buttermilk, you can use soured  milk , or try this, add 2 Tbs. vinegar per 1 cup milk, adding the vinegar will make it curdle.  Cook on a hot cast iron griddle for best results,


 I use smaller apples for bottling.  Simply cut unpeeled apples in quarters.  Remove the core and seeds.  Cook until heated in a large kettle adding just enough syrup (water/sugar ratio) to keep them from sticking to the bottom. When thoroughly heated through, place in quart jars and add your favorite heated syrup mix.  I  use a light syrup mixture.  Process in a hot water bath canner according to the time recommended for peaches.  These apples are great right out of the jar, or heat them with a splash of the bottled juice for a quick pancake topping, we also enjoy blending them lightly in a food processor to make a chunky applesauce.  Add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
Freeze the syrup from your bottled fruits in Popsicle molds or ice cube trays for a refreshing snack, try adding the cubes to smoothies.
When raising my family, over a 1000 quarts of produce would be bottled every year.  I found that leaving the peelings on Pears, Nectarines, and Apples saved so much time.  (purchase/use only organic, un-sprayed fruit)  My kids didn't know that bottled Pears were peeled before bottling until they went away to college!

This is the best apple pie you will ever eat!


Make your favorite pie crust recipe and place in a 9 inch pie pan.
 (I prefer ceramic or glass pans)
Core and slice apples, but do not peel! (use un-sprayed)
In a large bowl place apples, 4 heaping tbs. flour, about 1/2 cup brown sugar, a tsp. of cinnamon and 5 Tbs. butter cut into small pieces.  Stir well until apples are coated.  
 Now add a handful or two of  Walnut halves, crush slightly before adding.  I also add some raisins.  Pour apples into the pie pan,  I fill it high above the rim.  Place pie shell over top, crimp edges, and cut vent holes.  Wash the crust with an egg white mixed with a bit of water and sprinkle sugar over top.  Bake until crust is golden, about 40 mins. at 350.