Welcome to the Lazy Dog Ranch!

We hope you will find inspiration, information and most of all humor as we share our adventures in advancing a more sustainable lifestyle in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Passing of the Seasons- How do you celebrate Spring?

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. ~Charles Dickens

Today is the first day of Spring!  The Vernal Equinox

Translated literally, equinox means "equal night." Because the Sun is positioned above the equator, day and night are about equal in length all over the world during the equinoxes.

I was awakened from a deep slumber this morning by a sound not heard in months- that of Robin-song.  Robins are often called the "First Sign of Spring".  Anyone who is familiar with their song knows that when they return home for the warmer weather- they think EVERYONE should get up with them each morning.  This particular Robin was perched on our porch rail outside the bedroom singing to his heart's content.    Karl didn't crack an eyelid.  Wish I could sleep like that.

So here I am - cup of coffee, little Rupert (mom's puppy we are watching for her)  snuggling by my side thinking about our family's special Rite of Spring.

When one thinks of Spring Traditions-  cleaning, planting, starting seeds, the first Robin- all signs of rebirth and reawakening.  Routines and things that put a "spring in your step", efforts that will be worthwhile in the months to come with a lush garden, pretty flowers, a clean home.

Unfortunately our Spring Rite is not something we look forward to- 

It is time to take the cats-  Cletus and Roscoe - to the vet.  DOM DOM DOM DOOOOMM!

Anyone who has met our twin kitties knows- they are loving, curious and usually very laid back specimens of the feline persuasion.   They are transformed into little lions when crammed in a carrier and taken to our sainted vets Diane and David McCracken.  Each year brings the dread of yowling, drooling, copious amounts of white shedded hair and battle scars on ourselves and the vet from simply trying to worm the kitties with a Drontal pill.   

Our wish for your first day of spring is to enjoy the sunshine, reflect on your blessings and pray for our safe return from the vet.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ya'll asked for it- Mama Kathy's Cream Scones!

What a perfect way to spend a dreary afternoon- warm up the oven and fill your home with the scent of cream scones!  Then make yourself a cup of tea, cocoa or coffee and enjoy the rain.


(Simple, Delicious and Surprisingly Light)


400 Oven (make sure oven rack is centered)

Baking Pan (Lined w/parchment or greased)

2 T. Melted Butter (for brushing tops)

Measure and Whisk together in large bowl:

- 2 C Whole wheat PASTRY Flour (or All Purpose flour if you cant find pastry flour.)

- 2 1/2 t. Baking Powder

- 1/2 t. Salt

- 1/4 C Sugar

(whisk in dried currents, raisins, cranberries, etc., if desired)

Add 1 1/3 C Cream, stirring just until dough begins to come together and cream has absorbed - it will be sticky. DO NOT try and cut calories by using Half and Half or milk – the scones will be dry and hard

Turn onto lightly flowered surface and knead a few times being careful not to overwork dough.

Pat and Shape gently into 8" circle with even thickness and smooth edges.

Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Cut into 8 or 12 wedges and transfer to baking sheet. You may also cut with biscuit cutter or other shapes.

Bake for 17 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from pan and gently transfer to cooling rack.

You may add glaze if you wish after scones have cooled for a couple of minutes. I just make a glaze from juice of a lemon and confectioners sugar, adding sugar and whisking until I get a mixture that is thick but will still pour. I pour a dollop on each scone and spread with fingers. It will harden as scones finish cooling.

ENJOY and feel free to share any of your favorite recipes - email  haywoodhomestead@gmail.com

-  Shannon

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Our First Ceilidh- Fun Irish Style!

Bobby Beer Goggles

Thanks to all of you who ventured out in Irish Weather to celebrate St Pattys with us!

Karl and I wanted to shake off the blahs after a long winter and we could not have done it without our friends!   We hosted our first Ceilidh- (thats Gaelic for house party)- and while the music tended more towards Bluegrass- the spirit of fun and fellowship made for a great time.

The gang was treated by  Karl and Andy doing their renditions of Lord of the Dance.  Andy's performance was a spirited, uninhibited example of how flexible and energetic youth can be.   Karls dance- well it can best be described as a beer -induced -mockery of Irish Step Dancing.  Both performances were appreciated as well as lending artistic authenticity to the Irish theme of the evening.  We are also so lucky to have so many folks who love to play and who tolerated my 3 chord Mandolin playing. 

I am proud to say everyone was responsible and had fun-  no grabbing the electric fence while bending over to puke- (you know who you are).   The only real chaos encountered was when Daisy got out of the dog lot.  You might imagine the havoc her happily wagging Great Dane tail caused on all of the beverage bottles in the pickin' circle.  Her doggie brain does not register that the whip at the other end of her body is responsible for such destruction.  Good thing we had the pickin' in the garage where the floor can be hosed down!

I must also celebrate the creative way our guests took the Irish theme for the potluck.  Man- what a way to eat!  We had the expected and yummy traditionals- sausages, potato soup, corned beef.   Judy brought an amazing Baileys Irish Creme pudding.  Marty got very creative and brought a box of Lucky Charms Cereal.

In keeping with our efforts to support local business-  John and Michelle contributed local Ale from Heinzelmännchen Brewery in Sylva.  Walter and Wendy brought some AMAZING ice cream from Ultimate Ice Cream Co in Asheville- who used their berries from Imladris.  Blackberry Ice Cream and Fresh Beer are the perfect pairing to cure the winter blahs!  We also enjoyed other home brews but the donators will not be mentioned to shield their identity in hopes they will continue to contribute quart jars of shine to the cause.

Reflecting back on our evening it makes me think-  before TV, facebook and internet- friends and family kept up by face -to -face contact.  No matter how technology propels us forward (some may argue backwards), it cannot replace the gratification one has in sharing a meal, catching up with old friends and making new ones, and enjoying music. 

We are truly blessed for our friends and family and feel grateful that so many would travel out in dreary weather to spend some time with us.

STAY TUNED !  I hope to soon publish my moms much requested Lemon Iced Currant Cream Tea Scone Recipe.