Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Serious Dough at Geer Village

Last summer, Nancy Berry attended our "Rolling in the Dough," Bread Baking workshop with her daughter-in-law, Erin. Nancy found kneading bread dough to be so soothing, she wanted to make that experience possible for the residents at Geer Retirement Village in Canaan, CT. So, she spoke with Geer's recreational director, Scott Zbell and with Motherhouse's Debra Tyler and on February 22, 2012, our workshop traveled to the "Country Kitchen" of Geer Village...

In loving memory of Nancy's mother,
Mrs. Nancy Griggs

First we looked at seed-heads of dried wheat plants and the small kernels of grain called wheat berries. Then, we ground some into flour. Our mill has an extra long handle so two people can work together to turn the crank. Here are Elizabeth and Debra grinding flour together.
Scott took a turn too!
After mixing the ingredients, we all kneaded the dough. Tal and Abi Pease had also been at last summer's workshop and came along for a refresher and to help.
After the dough was well mixed and kneaded to a smooth consistency, we set it to rise in a bowl coated with sesame oil. Abi carried the bottle of oil around so all the residents could smell its delicious nutty aroma.
When the dough had risen to "double-in-bulk," we "punched it down," let it rise a second time, then formed it into loaves. Tal brought pecans, cinnamon, sugar, raisins, and chocolate chips to roll into our loaves if we wanted.
Then we set our loaves aside to rise a third time.
We also made individual bread "sculptures." While waiting for the bread to rise, we talked about the nutritional benefits of home-made whole-grain bread and how to make butter.
A peek in the oven at our sculptures.
As the bread baked, the smell wafted throughout the building and we found ourselves greeting more and more people who had followed their noses to the door.
Finally!!! The moment we'd been waiting for!!!
Scott served tea and coffee, we sliced up a couple loaves to sample, and all the participants went home with their own sculpted dinner roll.
Thank you, Nancy!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Family Cow Forum

Family cow enthusiasts gathered on Saturday morning at the UCC-Cornwall CT Parish House to share their triumphs, passions, experiences, and info. Hot drinks were provided by Naren Sonpal of Coffee, Tea, Etc., Goshen. His fair-trade, organically grown coffee, tea, cocoa, and spices along with Local Farm milk made an unbeatable delicious flavor combination.

Alton Earnhart of Lightning Tree Farm in Millbrook, NY, talked about forage analysis. Panelists; Catherine Evans, David and Donna Hersh, Emy Osborne, Joe Benette, and Wyatt Whiteman discussed their discoveries, trials, tribulations, and triumphs as backyard cow keepers. Gund Sonpal of Sonpal's Power Fence (860-491-2290), described the products she sells from her home in Goshen, CT and Kathy Johnson of the Natural Resources Conservation Service gave a non-electric power point presentation about rotational grazing. After a potluck lunch, some participants showed various styles milking machines; from an old fashioned Surge milker that hangs off a strap over the cow's back to hand held plastic contraptions looking not much different from a spray bottle.
Wyatt Whiteman shows us his non-electric E-Z Flow Milker...
A lifesaver for a person with big hands and a tiny cow!

The younger participants enjoyed playing in a watering tub filled with shelled corn and jumping rope.

Desiree Ball demonstrated Tips and Tools for home cheese-making.

... and there we have it, Folks: CURDtains on a lovely day!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Big Little Kids Dance

Led by Tom Hanford
75 children and adults

Music by an ad hoc bandRachel called a few

Curtain Call
Post-Dance Pot-Luck