This time of year, our lands should be blanketed with snow. But as we complete our chores in the morning and afternoon, we are met with solid brown ground. After a week and half of brutal temperatures, we will now see the month end with Spring type temperatures. This is worrying coming off of a drought year for our region. Only one cutting was taken off our hay fields and the sheep were constantly on the rotation to try to keep them on grass. This fall, the USDA released an updated hardiness map for growing regions. Let us hope that we will not progress into warmer temperatures. We need the cold winters to help kill unwanted pests in that over winter in the ground. We need cycles to rest so it can prepare for another year of growing. Let us hope.
January has been known as the Wolf Moon in many Northern cultures. When viewing the name the mind jumps to high predation during this time of the year. Yes that is true. The smaller prey animals are harder for the predators to locate and soon they turn their attention on easier animals to consume, such as domesticated livestock. But this name has a much deeper meaning to it. Winter is a time to consume foods that you have grown, foraged and butchered throughout the growing season. If the stores of your food were not met, then hunger and famine would set in. In our modern day societies, we forget the need for these skills. The convenience of mass produced readily available foods draws our attention and allows us to become reliant on the large box stores. Perhaps this will be the year that you take a step towards supporting a local farmer, growing a vegetable that your family loves to consume, or learning a new skill. You do not have to set resolutions at the beginning of the New Year. Every month you can have a small skill that you would like to obtain or perhaps a new friendship to nurture. Thank you to Rebecca Hoverson for the beautiful artwork this month with the metallic touches.
The fiber this month is a Targhee/Rambouillet blend. It is 50/50 blend. The Targhee is a beautiful grey brown and the Rambouillet is a stark white. The Rambouillet was sent to me from Get Bentz Farm from her shearer. The Targhee has made the trip from Montana. It is from Jack and Charlotte Murnions Farm. I grew up with their youngest daughter. It was great to talk to Jack and Charlotte while I was visiting my family in November. Their white fleeces are sold to the Montana Wool Pool after shearing, but the dark fleeces are set to the side as undesirable. The fiber is short but a beautiful blend. Two braids of 2 oz each will be in each box.
A fun small notion bag will be included in this month. It features sheep on the outside and beautiful blue fabric on the inside. A magnetic snap for the flap and would fit your scissors or dpn.
I am still reading through the Nancy Warren series as well as the Jennifer Chiaverini. I have also read The Librarian of Crooked Lane by C.J. Archer. It was a great filler in between my other series as I waited for one of them to become available through the Libby App.
Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup (5 ounces) wild rice
2 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium broth
2 cups water
4 cups roasted chicken or turkey, bite-size pieces
1 cup heavy cream
In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables just start to soften, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, until evenly coated and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
Add the wild rice to the saucepan and gradually stir in the stock and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
Add the chicken and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the wild rice is tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer.
Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.