Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Blueberry Walnut Pancakes

When I find a recipe in a paper or magazine that I want to make, I cut or tear it out and add it to the pile.  I have a big pile.  When I can't decide what I want to fix for the next week, I dig through the pile.  I did that recently. 

What does it say about me that most of the recipes in my pile involve flour and sugar?  I am convinced it means I love spoiling those that I feed. 

I have been saving a recipe for pancakes that I found in Parade magazine that I get with the Sunday paper.  You shouldn't make pancakes for two people, so I waited until we had company and made them.

Blueberry Walnut Pancakes

2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Melt the butter first so that it will cool a bit and not curdle the eggs when added to the batter.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a large bowl.   Mix the egg and the buttermilk in a medium bowl and add to the dry ingredients, stir to combine.  Add in the melted (and slightly cooled) butter. 


Let the batter sit for about 15 minutes.  You can also make the batter and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator for a fast and easy breakfast.  In fact, I may add this to the B&B repertoire for the guests that need to get up and dash.  I used this time to set the table and heat up the griddle. I used oil on the griddle to prevent sticking.  You may also use butter.


Pour about 1/4 cup of batter on the griddle and then drop about 5 or 6 blueberries and 4 or 5 walnut pieces.  Actually, I filled the griddle with pancake circles and then added blueberries and walnut pieces to all of them  If you are using frozen berries, you should keep some wet paper towels nearby.  Your fingers will turn blue!  You will want to wipe them after each batch of pancakes are blueberried.  If that is not a word, it should be.  I can think of many recipes that will benefit from being blueberried.


Cook until lightly brown and the edges are set, then turn the pancakes.  Cook until they are lightly browned again, or about 4 minutes on each side. 


Serve with butter and syrup.  And coffee.  And OJ.  Maybe even bacon!  Accept adulation from all.  Post the recipe so someone will make them for you one day.

Next time I may double the berries and nuts.  It couldn't hurt.

Friday, June 24, 2016


The last few days have been full of dramatic weather.  There has been thunder, lightning and near constant rain.  This has resulted in some flooding in our small town of Buchanan. 

Buchanan's famous swinging bridge may soon be a floating bridge.


It is not the worst flooding Buchanan has ever seen.  We weren't here, but have heard 1985 was a bad year for that.  But the James River is coming up pretty high and worrying some of the people on Lowe Street.


This picture was taken five minutes later and the water is still rising.

The road in front of the Twin River Outfitters has flooded and they are moving their boats to higher ground.  Parts of the carnival grounds and the park are under water.


The James is swift and brown with lots of muddy water, trees and debris racing down river.  Not a good day for river travel or a leisurely boat ride.

I contacted a future B&B guest who is staying with us and then going out on the river, to make sure the Outfitters will be taking out boats next week and they assured her that things would be back to normal on Monday.


The Buchanan Carnival starts next week.  The water should have receded by then, but it may be quite muddy the first few days.


The closest tree line is normally at the edge of the embankment down to the James River. 


The gazebo in the park is partly underwater.



The north end of Pico Road is flooded.


The people of Buchanan have been through all this before.  Now that the rain has stopped the river will crest and start to recede.  And life will get back to normal!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


We recently went to visit our granddaughter in California.  We visited our son and daughter-in-law, too.  But Rachel was the focus of this particular visit.  Lee hadn't been to see her and was anxious to do so.


The cat was not anxious for us to leave.  If I ever visit you and all my clothes have cat hair on them, just know that I really did wash them before I left.

Naturally Rachel is the smartest, most beautiful baby.  You may think your granddaughter is, and we will allow you your small delusion. 


We had a great time and enjoyed every minute with them.  I wish they lived closer to us.  But I doubt we will move back to California, dry and crowded.  Virginia isn't dry and Botetourt County isn't crowded. 

We hope they will move closer to us, but that doesn't seem likely.

So we will visit often and hope they will visit here often.


But we will miss Rachel.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hay, there


We had a wet winter.  The hot summer took its time getting here.  Lately it has been hot and dry and now it is time to cut hay.  Other parts of the county were cutting hay last month, but the area we live in warms up later from winter and they always cut here long after we see other farms cutting their hay.


There is local farmer that has cows and has cut our hay for years.  We used to have horses and he would make some smaller round bales for them, keeping most of the hay for himself.  Now that we no longer keep horses, he keeps it all. 


Some people wonder why we don't have him pay us or why we don't sell our share of the harvest.  He has always been most accommodating of our needs.  He has helped to bring the hay into the barn.  He also cuts the hay on our steep hills that is mostly a pain for him, but is free mowing for us.  So, he can have as much as he can cut and is welcome to it. 


We love the look of our place after the hay has been cut.  I also love to see the giant round bales of hay waiting in the fields until they are picked up.  When people ask us what we farm here at Shenandoah Gateway Farm, we say hay!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Empty Barn

Our barn tenant has left and now we have an empty barn.  It is a shame to waste such a beautiful barn, but having a tenant did not turn out as I had hoped.  Plus, she needed access to the barn and we felt we couldn't leave during the winter when it might snow and she couldn't get in to feed her horses.  So we felt sort of trapped.


The barn now has a flashing red light.  We hope it will keep out the birds that are making a mess inside.


It is now a red light district!  Perhaps we should emphasize that on our B&B site!


 She also didn't like us driving past the barn, so we felt blocked off from a lot of our property.  So no more tenants.  And an empty barn.


But now we have more storage space.  It is hard to imagine two people have filled up a 2 car garage, a three car shop and a metal carport.  But we have.  So now our lovely barn is a storage unit.


At least I can once again offer the barn and pastures for our B&B guests.


Come on vacation and bring your best friend!