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 Her First Calf

Her fate seizes her and brings her
down. She is heavy with it. It
wrings her. The great weight
is heaved out of her. It eases.
She moves into what she has become,
sure in her fate now
as a fish free in the current.
She turns to the calf who has broken
out of the womb’s water and its veil.
He breathes. She licks his wet hair.
He gathers his legs under him
and rises. He stands, and his legs
wobble. After the months
of his pursuit of her, now
they meet face to face.
From the beginnings of the world
his arrival and her welcome
have been prepared. They have always
known each other.

Wendell Berry

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The Sassy Nanny ranch has a few new faces (and feathers, and hooves) in the yard. Not only are there roughly 78 new young’uns, there is a very large (and sweet) horse named Cash and a trio of waddling, inquisitive geese. It’s starting to look like a scene from Dr Doolittle, except I’d re-name the scene to Dr Dooalot-allthetime-everyday. Between locating wayward babies under the hay manger, bottle feeding them when the real deal isn’t working and delivering each and every one of the newest Sassy Nanny crew members, Michael has had a very busy spring.

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The geese remind me of the heavy-set, stern nuns at Annunciation school, waddling around the playground keeping all the Catholic young’uns in line.  

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Babies captured and on their way back to Mama— turns out baby goats have a lot in common with a toddler…they both wander. 

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Cash is remarkably patient and cautious around the little ones. He placidly chews while they wander between his legs, sniff his muzzle and scamper around the manger. And most importantly, he made Michael a cowboy— now that’s a good addition to the Sassy Nanny menagerie. Yee-haw!

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It was the best trade we’ve made in a long time— the use of the Rover for a grocery bag of kick-ass beef and pork from a butcher in Hudson. What’s even more impressive is Eric handed over the bag of meat despite being stopped by our friendly Wisconsin State Patrol officer for going a little too fast, in a car that didn’t belong to him with expired tabs. It appears that attention to detail is important when a person, who shall remain nameless, buys and affixes tabs to a car. Evidently, it’s easy to get distracted and put them on the wrong car. Nothing like a little Dougherty chaos to make a person thankful for their orderly life full of clean laundry, peaceful dinners and current tabs (on the proper cars).

We ate the beef first, it was a fine-looking pile of beautifully marbled steaks, and saved the pork for another night— further proof that Dougherty’s are capable of restraint. Eric’s last words as he left that night were, ‘treat those chops well and don’t share them with the kids’. I succeeded on both counts— the marinade was perfect, lots of mustard and garlic, and the kids ate prime rib. Another successful Dougherty dinner.

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Grilled Dijon Pork Chops

2 thick-cut, bone-in pork chops
6 small or 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon herb salt (recipe here) or 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon minced rosemary/thyme/oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
2 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation
Combine all the ingredients (except the pork chops) in a bowl and mix to thoroughly combine. Place the pork chops in a plastic bag or small bowl, pour the marinade over them, cover and place in the refrigerator for 4 – 8 hours. One hour before you plan to grill them, take the chops out of the refrigerator (but leave them in the marinade). Prepare your grill ( I used a grill pan on my stove top) and sear each side, over high heat, for about 4 minutes per side (or until you have pronounced grill marks). Reduce the heat to medium-low or move to a cooler part of the grill and continue to grill, flipping once, for another  10 – 15 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature 140 – 145 degrees. Remove from the grill and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes.

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Fishing Tugs In Ice & Snow Irons

7 April 2014

It snowed on Friday, enough to close school and add one more day to the end of the school year. We’ve had quite a few snow storms this winter and even the kids are getting sick of snow days. As I stood at the window, watching it snow sideways, I tried to conjure up reasons […]

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Hard Cider & Calvados Cheese Fondue

6 April 2014

Cheese fondue. Those two words conjure up memories of being a Holly Hobby bell-bottomed wearing kid in the 70′s, scooping ‘fancy’ swiss cheese out of my Mom’s fondue pot and feeling pretty fancy myself. We didn’t eat it often, (imagine the chaos a bunch of kids with sharp forks, hot oil and a bubbling pot […]

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Houghton Falls Magic, Part Two

2 April 2014

 Allegiances It is time for all the heroes to go home if they have any; time for all of us common ones to locate ourselves by the real things we live by. Far to the North, or indeed in any direction, strange mountains and creatures have always lurked— elves, goblins, trolls and spiders — we […]

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Houghton Falls Magic

30 March 2014

Ten times a day something happens to me like this – some strengthening throb of amazement – some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness. Mary Oliver It was the perfect day for […]

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Asiago & Pear Ravioli

28 March 2014

I’m on a pasta bender. It just keeps snowing and snowing up here so I’m still in winter, carbo- loading mode. Plus, I love, and I mean absolutely love, working with pasta dough.There is something magical about the transformation from shaggy, floury mess to a pliant, silky dough; and it only gets better when I stuff […]

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Grapefruit & Juniper Gravlax

26 March 2014

Salmon cured in salt, sugar, citrus zest and spices— my idea of a very good idea. Maybe it was the name, gravlax, or the idea of safely eating raw fish but I assumed making gravlax was best left to the professionals and my job was to make a tangy sauce and slice the rye bread. […]

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Maple Meringue Cookies- A Spring Superfood

16 March 2014

Maple sugar— one of the many gifts of Spring and a good substitute for white sugar. Its subtle maple flavor is a great addition to quick breads and cookies (plus it’s loaded with antioxidants). I haven’t attempted to make my own batch yet but there are plenty of videos on the internet with step by […]

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A Grant’s Point Sunset & The Madeline Island Ice Road

14 March 2014

We’ve sprung forward and that means spring can’t be far behind, right? I know there’s one or two big, gnarly snow storms in my future but that’s okay— it’s only 50 days or 1,200 hours (depending on how you want to look at things) until May 1st. That’s nothing. So, in honor of our impending […]

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