Welcome to The Pauley Principle!

The Pauli Principle, named for Wolfgang Pauli, deals with atoms and electron-sharing that results in new, stronger bonds. Think 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen, a shared delectable (!) electron and VOILA! Water!

Similarly, when you prepare whole food to share with family and friends, especially foods you've grown, something amazing happens. Meals become tastier and healthier. Your soul, not just your stomach, becomes fulfilled. You live life more abundantly as a result. During a shared meal, the bonds that people create grow stronger and become something new: GREATER than the sum of the parts! I give you The Pauley Principle.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

December to Remember Give-Aways

I love this time of the year! In the spirit of giving, for all my family, friends and faithful followers, I'm doing a weekly give-away between December 1st and Christmas Day!

(No, not the boots. There's a story behind those boots, but not now.)

It's the time of year for gift-giving, and that can put a real stretch on family budgets! To help with that and to help spread the joy of Christmas, each week this December I'll be sending one lucky winner a gift that you can actually use and enjoy!

How to enter:  First, you must be a follower of my blog, basically about country life. (Just click on FOLLOW at the top of the page. I will not be sharing your info.) Second, leave a comment. I'll be collecting names, one entry for each comment you leave, and throwing the names into a Santa hat. Yes, a Santa hat. Then I'll draw one lucky winner each week! Winners will be notified in a blog post right here on Sundays.

Get your entries in!!! My third give-away is coming up on Sunday, December 18th!!! The prize will be bacon, pancake mix, and our very own, open fire, iron kettle, slow-steamed maple syrup. 

Chris gathered the sap twice a day from our maple grove. And the maple syrup is so delicious with a hint of smoke!

I have bacon, pancake mix, and our delicious and smoky open fire cooked pure maple syrup!!!
The drum roll sounds as I draw for the final winning name in our 
Christmas to Remember holiday drawings....


Is that YOU, Marcia Eyre? Please get in touch with me! 




Monday, November 28, 2011

A Most Improved Pie!

Pumpkin-squash pie in a buttery shell. 100% Pure YUM!!!
On Thanksgiving at our house, the pumpkin pie flew off the plates before my husband and I got a piece, save the one remaining gluten-free pie to send home with my daughter.

So I made another one the next day, got a late start on it and had to serve it piping hot from the oven right before bedtime. The pie was so hot, the whipped cream melted and oozed over the sides. Chris said he had never eaten a pie that tasted so good! (I believe anticipation is a natural flavor enhancer!) This pie is an amended version of the recipe I gave in an earlier post.

What made the pumpkin pie better than ever? The fact that it was hot? I think not. Before I started, I looked up pumpkin pie in my vintage James Beard cookbook and found that, while some folks like pumpkin for pies, others preferred squash. Butternut squash.

If possible, start your pie with fresh produce. The result will be complex and sweeter.  Like a fine wine, the taste will reach more parts of your mouth, giving a more satisfying flavor.

Here is the beautiful blended pulp from pumpkin and butternut squash.
This year, we were blessed with a patch full of butternut squash. I asked my husband's English cousin if she'd ever heard of combining both pumpkin and squash for pie. She hadn't, but I decided to give it a try. Like its sister, the pumpkin, the butternut squash cooks nicely. After making a pulp of the butternut, I found it to be sweeter, orangier (yeah, I made it up), and thicker than pumpkin. Combining the two freshly-made pulps gave us an incredibly flavorful pie! Admittedly, I used a rasp and ground the nutmeg. Then, instead of using "pumpkin pie seasoning", I used my own blend of seasonings (cinnamon, nutmeg, a little clove) and added a pinch of salt, which acts as a flavor enhancer. (You don't really need the salt if you make your palate wait. The anticipation will do the trick!) Since I used fresh, naturally-sweet butternut squash, less refined sugar is required.
Some of our family members cannot eat ginger, so I avoid it. I make up for the absence of ginger by using additional cinnamon. 

After the blended pulps, seasonings, milk, and duck eggs have been thoroughly mixed, I poured the batter into homemade, buttery pie crusts. Yes, I used real butter. All of this takes time. Lots of time, compared to picking up a pie at the baker's. Allow for the time unless you also like the idea of piping hot pumpkin pie at midnight!

 TIP: If you can't raise your own veggies, buy locally-grown fresh produce whenever you can. It's good for the local economy, it's good for the environment, and it's better for you 
and those you serve!

Any pumpkin pie tricks you'd like to share?

Surprise Package: Hen and Chicks!

My cousin Stephanie, the one with the Sticky Buns, sent me a package that arrives just as my husband and I are having lunch. As people sometimes do, I sit there, munching my cheese, wondering out loud what the contents could possibly be. My husband, meantime, prods me to open it. Instead, I build the suspense by guessing as I contemplate.

After I'd had my last bite of lunch, I ritualistically use my napkin to wipe my hands and mouth and watch my husband's anticipation from my tilted head. Then, in a frenzied rush, I tear into the package.

Crocheted Potholders!
Stephanie had crocheted potholders for me! A hen and her chicks! Such an act of kindness always catches me off guard. The time, the effort, the perfection of each stitch! Blown away I was!!!
Memories of our childhood rush over me as I recall growing up on our family farms. As little girls, both of us loved the baby chicks, were in awe of the hens, but avoided the rascally roosters, screaming if they tried to approach. 

I will be proudly displaying these colorful crocheted creatures.  In return, of course, Stephanie can have a lifetime supply of eggs. (Not crocheted eggs. Stephanie got the artsy genes of our family.)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pullet Eggs!!! Months too soon!

If there's a time to every purpose under Heaven, then WHOA! The time has come to make nest boxes for the little ladies, the Speckled Sussex hens. This is months earlier than we expected!

Pictured is a basket of duck eggs. Beside the basket, you'll see two tiny brown eggs, gifts from a precocious Lady Sussex. 

Chris opened the brooder door on her recently and she looked shocked and dismayed that he would just blatantly walk in on her while she was doing her business. There she sat feeling indignant, in a tuft of bedding she had pulled together for a nest. Chris is pretty sure she shouted, "Uh, WHAT?! SHUT THE DOOR! I'M BUSY IN HERE!" (heavy sigh)

In her disgust, she may have laid her small brown chicken egg somewhere else that day. If so, we never found it. 

With winter fast approaching, this presents us with two immediate problems: 

(1) The hens don't yet see the chicken condo as home, just as a place to hang out during the day. They sleep in the tiny brooder house. 
(2)The chicken condo needs nest boxes that are yet to be built and some more winterization. 

Soon the little hens will make the permanent migration to the chicken condo with its greener pastures. It's right next door and they're used to it. They go to it through a wire tunnel every day, range around outside for awhile, then spend the rest of the day inside. Later, toward sundown, the pullets go back through a wire tunnel to their brooder house to sleep. They've become creatures of habit. You could set a clock by them. But now, with one laying eggs already, we are so unprepared!

Another first: Roosti-Roo, our one beautiful little Sussex rooster, has learned to crow!!! He's egg-cited , I think, so he's gearing up to serve the needs of 48 hens. Poor Roosti! 

Our  4 duck hens are already giving us three eggs a day, two in their nesting box and one in their pool. The ducks are also creatures of habit, we're discovering, but they provide enough eggs that I've been able to make noodles, chocolate mousse, Hollandaise sauce, have eggs for breakfast, and still share some with friends and family!

The fact that the ducks supply our egg needs brings up another problem, not so immediate, but one that needs a solution: What to do with all the chicken eggs once the hens are laying regularly? I had looked at designing a "Farm Fresh Eggs" sign for in front of the house or barn. Now I'm thinking more and more about joining the local Farmer's Market. The people who go with eggs sell out so early! But if I do, what else should I provide? I thought about making aprons but Chris says they're not a farm product. Really? So then what? I thought about little pies: Pauley's Petite Pastries. Maybe. What do you think?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Home and Hearth

A time for fun, reflection, prayer and feasting with family and friends!

This year's gathering was larger than ever at our home, and the more, the merrier!

As we reflect on the wonderful addition to the family, we realize how very precious each person is, and how the personal differences add to the richness of the family tapestry, the same way that each rock in the fireplace makes its contribution to the whole. Without each rock you see, what could the fireplace be?

We celebrate our successes this year (heirloom bean seeds, garden produce) and lament our failures (tree loss, poor grape and strawberry harvests). And we look forward to a new year to make improvements.

For awhile this year, my health seemed to be plummeting and Chris ended up carrying the load. For him, his work, for our friends and family to share our food with, and for the wonderful harvest we've laid by, I am so incredibly thankful! (There's a lot more that I'm thankful for, but there just isn't time or space to mention all the blessings right now and it's not like you need to hear it.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Razzle Dazzle with Real Noodles!

Like my mother would say, the secret to making good homemade noodles is having a rich broth to cook them in. That said, almost any attempt at homemade noodles will be tastier than prepackaged noodles. Don't be afraid to try. It's easier than you think! Your total preparation time will be about an hour and a half if you speed up the process by drying the noodles in an oven on low heat.

NOTE to the GF: I have made noodles with gluten-free all-purpose flour. I add another egg yolk to make up for the lack of gluten and I just add more GF flour as needed. The flavor and texture are right on target and the extra egg yolk makes a great color!   Gluten free recipes!!!

For a basic 4-serving batch, you need just the following:
     1 cup flour, plus extra for kneading
     2 eggs
     pinch of salt
     4 cups of a good, rich full-flavored broth, more if using meat

Place the flour into a small mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Add the pinch of salt. Add the fresh eggs and begin stirring briskly with a fork. Turn out onto a floured surface when the dough becomes stiff. Begin kneading a little more flour into the dough until you have a smooth ball, not too dry, not sticky wet. Put the dough back into the same bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel and set in a warm spot for about a half hour. This will help the dough to even out and be pliable for rolling smoothly without tearing.

The noodles are cut into thin even strips.
After a half hour, sprinkle flour onto a cutting board and roll out the noodles to about 1/8" thickness. Cut into strips that are about 2" to 2 1/'2" wide. Then stack the strips on top of each other with one of the longest center strips on the bottom and the next longest on top. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4" strips. When all the noodles have been cut, lay out in a single to dry. This can take a couple of hours or you can place in a warm oven for a half hour to speed the drying process.

Spreading out to dry, very important!

 Decide how  you like your noodles. The moister the noodle, the chewier it will be. Let this help determine how much to dry them. I like to dry them until they sound like little sticks.

Bring the broth to a boil. Check the seasoning, not too salty because the broth will reduce as the noodles cook. Stir noodles carefully into the boiling broth a few at a time. A little flour on the noodles will help thicken the broth, so no roux is needed. Turn the heat down, stirring frequently, to cook on medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes. It's that easy!!! Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

 The Mist and All

        by Dixie Willson

(To be read slowly and quietly. It's not mine, but it is a perenial favorite, like a dear friend you see only once a year but think of often.)

 I like the fall
The mist and all
I like the
night owl’s lonely call
And wailing sound
Of wind around

I like the gray
November day
And dead, bare boughs that coldly sway
Against my pane
I like the rain

I like to sit
And laugh at it
And tend my cozy fire a bit
I like the fall
mist and all

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Latest Bridge

You can see this bridge from Blain Hwy. in Ross County, Ohio.
With floods and heavy trucks in mind, Chris spent the fall of  '11 designing and building this residential bridge over Crooked Creek.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Use a 10"X15" jelly roll pan. Grease pan and line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper. Grease and flour the paper. In a small bowl, combine the following ingredients:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1    tsp. cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp. cloves, ground
1/4 tsp. salt

In a large mixing bowl, add the following and beat until thick and smooth:
     3 large eggs
     1 cup granulated sugar
Then add:
     2 tsp. butter
     3/4 cup pumpkin puree
Stir in the flour mixture from the small bowl. Then spread batter evenly into the jelly roll pan. Sprinkle with:
    3/4 cup finely chopped pecans.

Bake at 375 degrees F for about 12 to 15 minutes, checking for doneness in the center. Be careful not to overbake.

Prepare a clean thin kitchen towel by laying it on a flat surface and sprinkling evenly with:
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
Turn the cake, still warm, out onto the prepared towel. Then, starting with a narrow end, roll up the cake, towel and all.

Mix the following ingredients in a small bowl:
    1 pkg. cream cheese, 8 oz., at room temperature
    1 cup powdered sugar
    5 T. butter
    1 T. lard
    1 tsp. vanilla

Unroll the cooled cake. Frost the entire surface. Roll the cake back up (without the towel). Surround in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar at serving time.

How to Make Pumpkin Puree

The best things in life are messy. Making your own pumpkin puree is no exception. What makes it so worth it is the fresh full flavor you'll get when you bake with it!

Start with a perfectly good pumpkin. It doesn't have to be large. Even this small one to the right had 2 cups of pulp. Cut your pumpkin in half. Get ready to get messy if you do this or just use a large spoon. Either way, remove the seeds. Then, place your pumpkin cut-side-down in a large pan. Fill halfway up the pumpkin with water and bake at 400 degrees F for about 45 minutes. Allow to cool before scooping the pulp into a blender. Simply puree the pulp until smooth. Then you're ready to use the puree in your favorite pumpkin recipes!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pauley's Pampered Poultry: Speckled Sussex

Our young Speckled Sussex hens are coming out of their Chicken Condo that isn't finished yet but will be comfortable when winter winds come. We rushed their moving day because the hens needed more fresh range than their brooder pen allowed.  Also, one day they'll be ready to lay eggs. When that time comes, they will need access to nesting boxes and the  bigger roost that their condo will provide.

Roosti-Roo, our Speckled Sussex rooster. I haven't heard him crow yet but I know it's just a matter of time. He watches over the hens as if he's under contract.  Very protective, he inspects any food scraps before stepping back to let the hens enjoy them.
The Speckled Sussex are an heirloom chicken. Known for being gentle, hardy and consistent egg-layers, they appear to make excellent pets. They run and fly to me in a friendly way, not like they're trying to peck or flog me. Instead, they seem to greet me when I visit, much like a puppy would. They enjoy attention. And they just love vegetable scraps!

About 48 hens will be our egg-layers. Eventually we will put up a  
sign at home. I'm so excited!

Should I plan to take eggs to the Farmers' Market next year? 
Or should I do an egg delivery route to local customers?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pauley's Pampered Poultry: Pekin Ducks

Here are the ducks in their wading pool. Once they get into the water, the ducks seem to swim in unison, clockwise, for a couple of minutes before they start splashing.

Their favorite way to play in the water is to splash it out. Then, they waddle out of the water and drill down into the surrounding wet grass to get to the roots. Then back into the water. SPLASH! SPLASH! Eventually the water gets dirty.

Our ducks don't seem aware that they lay eggs. They just go SPLAT! and there's an egg. They give their eggs no more attention than they give their excrement and, like excrement, it can fall out anywhere--in the tall grass, by the feeder, and even in the murky water. Then,

Chris tried his best to accommodate their egg-laying needs by building a nesting box for the ducks. At first, they were afraid of it. So then he put golf balls in it, but since they wouldn't come near the box and they didn't associate golf balls with eggs, that was futile. Finally, he took an egg from their murky pool and put it in the nesting box. Although their brains are small, one of them must have caught on! Now, about 1 egg in 6 can be found in the nesting box! 

That's learning, one little duck waddle at a time, 
maybe smaller than a baby step, but that's progress!

The ducks are beginning to take notice and are getting over their fear.  See the nesting box in the corner?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

R & R on a Lazy Sunday

Chris is taking some time out to fish at a friend's pond.

Sometimes you get to thinking that life goes by so quickly and you realize the need to settle back, slow down and be profoundly grateful for the moment. 

On this particular Sunday, we took off at the invitation of a neighbor to do some fishing. The day was gorgeous with a high in the 50's and plenty of sunshine. This outing was especially fun for me, since one of the ponds we visited had been developed and stocked by my father when he owned that farm. I grew up fishing there and knew how good the fishing used to be so I was eager to make my first attempt at fishing this one particular pond a few decades later. 
And YES! I caught a fish!!! A bluegill! 
 (Surprising, given the rat-a-tat SOS of a nearby woodpecker who gave fair warning to the fish!)

"Nice bluegill," Chris said. "Big enough to make a fish sandwich." 

Luckily we were able to get two more pan fish to go with the first one. Then we stopped fishing for the day. Enough is as good as a feast. Besides, other forms of recreation called us and the time change had occurred, so darkness would fall earlier.

For Chris, the perfect way to cap off the day meant doing some hunting. So, with bow in hand, and after the fish were cleaned, he left for another adventure. For me, not a hunter, I had some wine to rack into a secondary fermenter, some potato salad to make to go with our fish sandwiches, and then dogs to run. 

By now, darkness has fallen. Soon, the great bow-hunter will come back and, over our fish sandwiches, he'll tell me all about the deer that was perfectly posed but too far away for an arrow to reach. Or maybe not! Either way, I'll let you know. 

In the meantime, are any of you hunting or fishing enthusiasts?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rest and Relaxation after the Harvest

Our vintage Airstream makes a comfortable retreat. In this photo, we're just pulling in, ready to set up camp.
One of the perennial pleasures that comes from growing and harvesting your own foods is the satisfaction that comes at the end of the growing season. Going to bed exhausted from the final canning and processing, knowing that a food supply is laid by for months to come, means a moment of respite. Those moments to refuel, relax and recharge are that much more pleasurable after hard work.  For me, recurring dreams often turn to camping.

A favorite hang-out of ours is Zaleski National Forest in southeastern Ohio. If you plan to go there, be advised of the hairpin curves of the Appalachian foothills and overlooks that show off breathtaking scenery. The silence of a latenight campfire can be punctuated by the sounds of coyote and screech owls. The sparks from the campfire go up and mingle with a myriad of stars so that it's difficult to tell the difference between an ember and a shooting star. Either way, I make a wish before the flame dies out, wanting these moments to return "again and again and more gains", as our daughter would say.

Camping is different for us now. Missing is the laughter of our now-grown children. Missing are their questions about what we're doing next, since they were always ready for the next adventure or discovery. Now there is more time to relax and enjoy the magic of each moment. Although we used to rough it more, we camp comfortably these days and enjoy a warm bed and breakfast in our circa-1974 Airstream. 

Zaleski in the fall also attracts the rugged outdoor enthusiasts who have managed to stretch their camping comfort zones.  It is not uncommon to find encampments of deer hunters who sleep on the ground and disturb a heavy frost when they get up for their morning hunt. Brrr!

Within a few days of starting out, we've chatted with all the locals, awed over the hunters' conquests, and explored the area for its wild boar and good fishing spots. Our thoughts turn to cold weather and we are ready to head back home knowing that there are preparations to be made for winter, things like splitting and stacking firewood, getting our birds settled into their cold-weather housing, and mulching the roses and perennial herbs in anticipation of coming snows.

There is always work to be done if you're growing and harvesting your own foods but, when we have a moment for the simple pleasures, the feeling is that much more elegant. Enjoying a cup of tea while I sit near the fireplace and contemplate next year's garden feels ever so indulgent!