Welcome! The alpacas and farm life have become my constant teachers, and I have begun shifting my blog focus to reflect the lessons I am learning. I plan to share more thoughts and stories related to farm life in Grays Harbor County and carve out a space in the ethernet where one can stop, breathe, and think.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My 'Paca Pancake Recipe

Our Sunday morning menu generally includes pancakes. There's nothing specifically 'alpaca' about these pancakes, except for the fact that I get to watch the alpacas from the kitchen while the pancakes are sizzling on the griddle. However, if you get an alpaca or llama cookie cutter, you could probably pour the batter into it to make alpaca-shaped pancakes.

1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup quick oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk (plus or minus, depending if you like your batter thinner or thicker)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp canola oil, plus extra for greasing the griddle

Combine the dry ingredients (first 7 listed) in a large mixing bowl. In a glass measuring cup, measure the milk, add the lemon juice, and let this mixture sit for 3-5 minutes to sour the milk a bit. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg, vanilla, and canola oil, then add this mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir in the soured milk (you could substitute buttermilk for the milk/lemon juice mixture, but I like the taste that the lemon juice adds to these pancakes). Gently mix the batter until just blended. Lumps are OK. Over mixing will make tough pancakes, but give the batter a stir before pouring because the oats have a tendency to settle to the bottom.

I cook my pancakes in a preheated electric skillet with the dial around 370 degrees. I also coat the skillet with canola oil before pouring each batch of the batter because these pancakes have more of a tendency to stick compared to other recipes. Cook the pancakes until bubbles stop forming and the edges are dry (about 2 minutes). Before you flip them, gently go around the entire pancake with a spatula to unstick them from the pan, then flip. Cook an additional 2 minutes or so. Serve topped with warmed fruit or maple syrup. This recipe makes about ten 4-inch pancakes. Bon appetite!

Chow for now,

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kalajoki Sock Update

I have finished knitting my first sock ever. Yea! I underestimated the length a bit, but it still fits fine. Since I chose 100% alpaca yarn, I only plan to wear these to keep my feet toasty while sitting and knitting.

Now for the big challenge: make another one just like it (except for the left foot). We'll see...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

11 Hours...23 Alpacas. Shearing Day, 2011.

Our grey Suri girls wait patiently for their new 'dos.
Our first shearing day at our ranch has now come and gone. Phew! Volunteering at other ranches certainly helped with preparing for the big event, but you never really quite understand all of the work involved until you do it yourself.

Let me begin with a HUGE THANK YOU to our family and friends who came to help with the animals, take pictures, set up food, babysit, and support our endeavors. When a job needed doing, someone was there to jump in and get it done. It definitely takes a village, and we are grateful for ours. And an extra shout out to Karen and Ellen, the die-hard ladies who stayed for the entire 11 hours. Yikes! We promise to offer smaller shifts next year.

Another thank you to Franc and "Bear" of First Cut Shearing. We never would have gotten through the day without their calm professionalism and willingness to teach.

Now, enjoy the show...

First up...Pearl, Jasmine, Anna, and Carmella.
Is it hot in here, or is it just me?
Jasmine on deck.
Pearl's first hair cut.
Shearing the blanket fiber.
A quick fleece lesson.
"Noodling" the blanket fiber for skirting later.
Just a little off the top (and a lot off the bottom).
Those sure are funny looking deer!