Life on Regal-Hill: Feb. 4, 2009

So far here at Regal-Hill the most recent snowstorm hasn’t been that bad. I didn’t have to go out in the snow anyway, but we certainly didn’t get as much so far as predicted. It didn’t snow that hard and stopped for an hour, then it rained. I believe it is snowing a little again.
I was afraid that after it rained it would be slippery to get to the barn. Thankfully, it wasn’t; it was just sloppy. The animals must be cared for no matter the weather, so it is a concern even if I don’t have to go out to care for them. I knew that George had gone out to go to the barn so I looked to see if there were lights in the barn; I couldn’t see any so I tried to look out to see if he had fallen. Thankfully, when I called our daughter, who lives across the road, she said that he was over there.
On those really cold days we wondered if the water bowls in the barn would be frozen so the heifers wouldn’t be able to get water, but so far it really hasn’t been too bad. It makes such a difference if the wind is blowing or not when it comes to how much the water freezes in the barn. George also puts up plastic between the old and new part of the barn that helps to keep the barn warmer for the heifers. That doesn’t help Thunder’s water since his stall is in the new part of the barn. Sometimes I think that if an animal takes a drink occasionally the water isn’t as apt to freeze or at least get very hard. Since heifers drink more water than a horse, it is usually only Thunder’s water that freezes and so far it didn’t get very hard.
We may have gotten five inches of snow and by it raining there was less snow.
Even though it usually warms up when it storms, this time of year it gets cold again pretty fast. Our coldest so far this winter was minus 15. My nephew, who lives not far from here, said it was minus 22 at his farm. It took him two hours to thaw pipes out before he could milk his cows. That is when it is miserable and you are also wondering if a tractor will start to clean stables, plow the driveway or feed the animals. Then there is also the question of whether the power will stay on whether or not you have cows to milk.
Bananas are one fruit that is available all year. They are also very good for us. If you are looking for recipes that include bananas as a key ingredient try the following. They can be easily doubled for more servings or halved for fewer servings.

Creamy Banana Lettuce Salad
1 large firm banana, sliced
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 cups torn mixed salad greens
5 fresh strawberries, sliced
1 tablespoon salted peanuts, chopped
Lightly toss banana slices with the lemon juice. Place 1/4 cup in a small bowl; mash. Stir in the mayonnaise and sugar.
In a salad bowl, combine the salad greens, strawberries and remaining banana slices; toss. Top with dressing; sprinkle with peanuts.
Yield: 2 servings
2006 Taste of Home Annual Recipes

Banana Cream Éclairs
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs
Filling:
2-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 medium firm bananas
Glaze:
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
In a large saucepan bring the water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil. Add flour all at once and stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until dough is smooth and shiny.
Insert a 1-inch round tip into a pastry bag; add dough. Pipe 3-in. strips about 3-in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Immediately split puffs open; remove tops and set aside. Discard soft dough from inside. Cool puffs.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, mash bananas; gently fold in whipped cream. Pipe or spoon into éclairs.
In a small bowl, combine the confect- ioners’ sugar, cocoa, butter and vanilla. Add enough water to make a thin glaze. Spread over éclairs. Sprinkle with pecans. Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers.
Yield: 16 servings
2006 Taste of Home Annual Recipes