Honey Carmels

Surprisingly, we still have honey from our August 2014 harvest. Just a tad under 1/4 gallon. It certainly is not enough to give everyone a jar of honey for Christmas, but it is enough to make carmel candies. I modified a friend’s recipe for making carmel topping into this recipe that makes more solid carmels using none other than– honey!

If you are livin’ the dream, but livin’ it in the poor house this holiday season, you have just enough time to make a batch of carmel candies to feed a small army (or deserving family and friends). Plus some “scraps” to shove into your mouth while you’re wrapping these beauties up.

   
   
Honey Carmel Candies

You need:

  • 2 cups honey
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Line a 9×13″ pan with parchment paper; the bottom and sides should be lined making a full paper insert.
  2. In a heavy sauce pan, lightly simmer the cream and salt together. Be sure not to boil!
  3. Stir in honey and bring to a boil. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
  4. Cook until the temperature has reached 250*F with a candy thermometer (or 20-30 minutes; when the carmel does not easily drip from the spoon… think sludge).
  5. When the carmel reaches 250* degrees remove from heat. Carefully pour carmel into parchment paper-lined pan.
  6. When carmel is nearly cool, feel free to sprinkle it with sea salt or nuts. Allow to cool completely in the pan.
  7. Remove whole parchment paper to the cutting board when cool to cut into pieces. It helps to lightly oil your knife between cuts so the carmel does not stick.
  8. Cut 4×2″ strips of parchment paper to roll the carmel candies into. Trust me, as cute as mini cupcake papers look, carmel sticks to them like crazy! Roll up and twist the ends.

Winter Is Coming

A good inch of snow fell late last week. Oh, you know, just in time for holiday travel. It’s alright though– the snow melted as just soon as the sun came up over the back hill. We were able to get a little crunch under our boots walking out to the goat pen and Cami built a small snowman. That’s about all you need.

  
  

Responsible Adult-ing

I think I’m starting to get this whole “responsible adult” thing down. Just yesterday I turned down a free donkey. The owner was even going to drop him off for us! Guys… It was free! Trevor said he talks to the donkey often and he is very friendly. Yes, I know how odd that may sound to people who don’t pass by donkeys on a regular basis. But in the land of larger farm animals, it’s important to talk to sweet donkeys.

Turning down this donkey was kind of big for me. I can’t tell you how much I would love a donkey. But, alas– I am being responsible. While I have a pen that would be okay, the goats are in there with nowhere else to go. So if this donkey did not get along with my goats, I’d be screwed. Or if this donkey was frightened by our incredibly forceful thunder and lightning, it could easily bust our fence and I’d be screwed.  

Feeding a donkey wouldn’t take much more than we are alrea,dy set up for, so that wasn’t a real issue. It’s taking in a large animal with no time to prepare that gave me pause. Like someone handing you a candy bar when your mouth is already full. “Uh.. I dwont tink I cawm hanmule tmat mright now..”

I would have said yes if we had our new fence up and if I had the cash to go down and buy a horse blanket. I guess this donkey had been out in our recent mega-hail/wind/rain storms with nothing and was fine, but it would give me piece of mind. I had neither, so I gave a reluctant “no thanks” to my candy bar.

Alas– no donkey this week. It would have been incredibly fun though! *Sigh*  Someday I will be adequately prepared and then I will have my donkey. 

Moving on to happy things.

It has been too long since I was last in the blog groove. So I’m going to show off our pumpkin harvest. Luckily, when we were evacuated, our pumpkins were mostly ripe. When we returned, the plants were long dead after the oppressing smoke and lack of water, but a dozen or so beautifully orange pumpkins and deep green squash were ready to pick.

We have since made a couple batches of pumpkin soup (recipe around the blog somewhere) and a pan of pumpkin bars. These beauties were seeds harvested from our climbing Amish Pie Pumpkins planted at our Sonora rental garden. Great tasting pumpkins, for certain.

  

We’re Alive and Well

Hello All!

I realize it has been awhile since we last spoke/typed/conversed. We were without phone service for over two months and it was just restored last week. Without phone service, as in: the phone lines, power lines, and phone/power poles were burned and melted for a 15 mile radius. It took PG&E a few weeks to replace enough of the 500 burned poles to restore power and it took AT&T much longer, obviously, to get new lines up.

For anyone just stumbling upon this blog, our town was recently devastated by the Butte Fire, a more than 70,000 acre wildfire in Calaveras county, California. Over 530 homes were lost. That may or may not sound like a huge number, but in a rural area like ours, that number affects every single person. 

   
 I’ve been thinking about what to say about the fire. I honestly don’t have words for the fear and loss that everyone has suffered. Luckily our whole street (and our house) was left unscathed, but that’s all it was– luck. We had damages and animal losses and yet we are so incredibly thankful we are one of the few who still have a house to come home to. Our tiny town of Mountian Ranch was able to save our only general store, miniature post office, and two-pump gas station (all on the same block).

   
   
Some quick facts:

Yes, we survived. Our house is fine. We are fine. The night we evacuated (Happy Birthday me!) was very last second because the fire moved so fast. Everything was left behind, including all the birds. A friend was able to help us get the goats and sheep out before the roads were closed. We were evacuated and living in my parents living room 52 miles away for two weeks. The goats and sheep had to co-habitate in their small, fenced garden. While we were evacuated, we kept getting conflicting information so we didn’t know if our house was still there until we were allowed back in.

 Our kitchen floor is a little wavy from the refrigerator defrosting and food leaking all over the floor. We lost half our turkeys and all of our newly hatched chickens to starvation, I’m sure. In an emergency situation like this, you don’t think about anything but your own life and how to escape. We only have three routes out of our neighborhood and two routes were on fire and moving fast. We could see flames coming over the hill as we left. I just can’t tell you how absolutely frightening it was.

But we are okay and are working to help our community members, neighbors, friends who lost everything. And we will probably be doing so for the foreseeable future. Rebuilding and recovering are hard work. If you want to help our area and Butte Fire victims, please do not donate to Red Cross. Email me and I can put you in touch with local non-profits so that your donation will go directly to our people.

Thank you all so much for your concern and prayers and thoughts and well wishes! It means so much to us that you care. Blessings to you all.