Fat Ponies on a Green Background
We’ve been working on getting our place greened up. It’s been a long process of replacing our pump and 400 feet of pipe from the aquifer to the surface. My dad drilled the well himself 45 years ago. My older brother and I have replaced/repaired the pump probably 4 times now. The pumps are supposed to have a life of about 7 years, but we milked about 20 out of the first one. Ah, the good ol’ days…
Anyway, that was step one — getting sufficient capacity to water pasture grass. The rest has been a matter of planting, watering, and rotating the horses so the grass has time to establish. We have done it in thirds, a bit tough on a small acreage with a herd of horse, it’s hard to sacrifice that third of our place for a year to establish the grass.
But the rewards… First and foremost is the health benefit to the horses of grazing and getting that variety in their diet. Our pasture is a mix of drought-tolerant legumes and grasses.
Second is seeing healthy, happy horses grazing in vibrant, lush, green pasture. Seeing how excited they are to go from their dry lot to the pastures is fun, too.
Third is that monetarily it helps offset our hay costs a bit. This is pretty nominal, but I do think that the health benefit of grazing saves us money as well, though hard to calculate. Horses actually have small stomachs and are made to graze for up to 18 hours a day. We’ve experienced dramatic changes in horse health and behavior by switching to a free-feed program — either constant access to grass hay or pasture, or both. And happy horses is really what it’s all about, isn’t it?
It’s harvest time and so I made Apple Cake with Streusel topping. I don’t know, does that make it a coffee cake? It makes it good, ’nuff said. So good that I took some to our neighbors and while my BFF Eve took a nap, her husband ate it all.
Jeff and I are trying a more conservative pace of consumption, though as long as it’s still in the house I’ll sleep with one eye open to avoid the tragedy that befell Eve.
Here’s what I made:
- 2 eggs (I used fresh duck eggs, chicken eggs are of course great!)
- 1 c oil
- 2 c sugar
- 2 t ground cinnamon
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 t vanilla
- 2 c flour
- 1 t baking soda
- 6 c peeled, cored, and thinly sliced granny smith apples
- 3/4 c brown sugar
- 3/4 c flour
- 1 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1 T water
- 1/4 c walnuts (I've used halves and the processor chops them up nicely)
- 1/4 c cold butter, diced
- 1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan or 4 small loaf pans. (I like to use the small foil ones.)
- 2. Prepare the apples. I like to use a corer/peeler tool and it takes about 3 large apples. Just core, peel and spiral slice them. Then I slice the apples lengthwise to get nice slices of apple.
- 3. Beat oil and eggs until creamy. Stir in the sugar and vanilla.
- 4. Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and ground cinnamon together. Slowly add this mixture to the egg mixture and mix until combined. This makes a dense batter.
- 5. Fold in the apples by hand using a wooden spoon. It will seem like there are way too many apples, and that's perfect! You basically are coating the apple slices with the batter.
- 6. Pour the batter into the large pan or the small loaf pans.
- 7. Sprinkle the topping (below) over the batter.
- 8. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, or until the cakes test done.
- 1. Combine dry ingredients in a food processor.
- 2. Slowly drizzle the water into the mixture, with the food processor running.
- 3. Slowly add the diced butter, a little at a time, while pulsing the food processor.
- 4. Once the mixture is combined, process for another 15 seconds.
We are open all winter long! Yup, don’t hesitate to contact us if we get one of our characteristically warm, mild, sunny winter days and you want to go for a wagon or trail ride. It’s wonderful out here!