As we draw near to the end of yet another year, I find myself curious as to how it is I fell behind in my duties at the Funny Farm. Not that there’s much left I can do but, it feels like I left so much undone.
Then I remember, June and July were spent watering and watering to make something, anything happen in my garden. August and September were spent floundering to get things to flourish in the time we had left. The month of October was spent under a cloud, literally. Only 4 days of sun in the whole month. As a person seriously affected by lack of sunshine, this made it incredibly difficult to feel motivated.
November brought snow. Making things brighter and colder and reminding me that I still had 30 meat birds in the barn to be butchered! Aaaahhhh!! An impromptu butchering day with my aunt found 7 large roosters in my freezer, only 23 to go!
But, I must also consider…
We did manage to get a 2nd coop built in the barn for the newest batch of laying hens. Larry will oversee this bunch of young hens, while Gray continues to take care of the older ladies. A combination of a extremely, dry summer and a wet, dark fall has taken it’s toll on the older ladies. At least 5-6 birds molted this year, which I’ve never experienced. And there has been a great decline in egg production. The remaining meat birds will survive a little longer in order to provide plenty of fresh eggs for Oliebollen season.
2 new garden beds were added this year. We successfully grew loads of beans and broccoli in one of the new beds. Next year, I’ll remember to harvest the beans sooner. We managed to get some potatoes and a few carrots. But the overly, dry summer made growing anything in abundance, or of any great size, very difficult. Arie’s sunflowers grew large and beautiful though. Bringing with them happiness and light. They also fed the bluejays for a couple of weeks. Arie and I are excited to plant more next year. The snow came before we could properly put the gardens to bed, so we’ll try again next year.
So, now as we prepare for Christmas, I tell myself we’ll try to get it right next year. Like so many things at Innisfree, there are a lot of trials and plenty of errors but, we just smile and carry on. Next year, I aim to be more organized. I now know there are a few things that will definitely work and other things that we’ll have to do differently. But that’s the joy of having a funny farm!
May you find joy and peace this Christmas season! And if you’re like me and didn’t get it right this year, let’s look forward with hope to the new year and all the opportunities we have to try again!! God bless!
“Oliebollen” is a Dutch favourite, traditionally served on New Year’s Day.
2 packages (.25 ounce) active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (110° F to 115° F)
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (and more for decoration) white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups apples, chopped or 1 cup raisins
1 quart (for frying) vegetable oil
- Warm oven on lowest possible temperature setting.
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a small mixing bowl. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add the eggs, yeast mixture, and milk; beat with an electric mixer until blended.
- Turn off the oven. Cover the prepared dough with a greased piece of plastic wrap, and place the bowl of dough on the lowest rack of the warmed oven. Allow to rest and rise for 1 hour.
- Heat the oil for frying to 350° F in a heavy bottomed, deep skillet. (My grandfather used to stand in the garage making these in a deep fryer. And now my family take orders to fundraise for mission trips so, they use a large, custom built deep fryer.)
- Mix the apples or raisins into the dough. Then, carefully slide the dough by heaping teaspoons into the preheated oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the Oliebollen until they are golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. They should turn over on their own when they are ready to brown on the other side, but keep an eye on them and flip them as necessary.
- Remove the Oliebollen to a paper towel lined plate and repeat with the remaining dough. Dust with sugar while warm.