Day before market, busy as usual on the farm. Ben's mom with be grading storage crops with me, then we are cleaning the cooler out to get ready for 'seeding'! Yup, we will germinate in that insulated room, which is much warmer this time of year. Ben's busy doing maintenance on the outter wall of one greenhouse; and I've also decided it's time to tackle cleaning out the middle greenhouse - sorting trays, sweeping up. Every once in a while I know I'll jump out of my skin, as a huge sheet of snow will slide off the glass roof - THIS is a nice sound! Ben's also decided to seed later this afternoon. Should be a great day, nice to see the sun. Nothing happens until all the animals are taken care of. This morn was weird, as our horse is extremely vocal in the morning. She was silent and I didn't notice her around outside as usual when I fed the cats. We soon discovered why! Ben said: "It's usually the child that leaves the gate open, this time it was me!" Ben brought her a big bail of straw for fresh bedding and left the gate wide open!!! Our horse got into the tack area of our barn where we keep all the saddles and her hay and she made a huge mess! She had been trapped in there all night, tore apart three bails of straw, ate the rest of her oats, and crapped it up nicely! My stepdaughter is VERY lucky her good saddle is in her bedroom, as Bug peed all over the stand where it usually is!! We just laughed, and I couldn't help but her hug her, as she's just soooo fuzzy this time of year! Anyhow, clean up took quite a while, the afternoon is going to be busy, so Chicken Soup is going to taste GREAT tonight!
For a nice stock, in a big pot boil 4lbs of chicken pieces (bone in, skin on) with 10 C. water for about 5-10 minutes. Skim off any foam. Then add a couple stocks of celery with leaves, one large onion chopped in big pieces, big carrot chopped in big pieces, some parsley, a couple bay leaves, couple cloves of garlic and 10 or so black whole peppercorns. Stir everything, bring to a boil and then let this stock simmer for 3 hours or so. Then remove the chicken, strain the rest to get some nice stock broth. Now, heat a bit of oil in a soup pot, add 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped carrot, 1/2 cup chopped celery. Cook till soft. Add stock, bring to a boil. (I then add perogie dough in tiny pieces! This is very good and kids love it!! You can throw in broken spaghetti pieces!) Then, you add your reserved chicken (that you should have de-boned and chopped into desired pieces!), more parsley and as much salt and pepper to your liking! This is great on a cold winter day! I've been known to also throw in some bok choy chopped with my chicken and before I eat my bowl of soup, I splash a good helping of hot pepper sauce in too! Ok, by the way, if you are whinning "But I don't HAVE 3 + hours to cook supper!!!" THEN do what I do: Cook the stock the evening before 'Chicken Soup' night!!! I let the stock cook during the evening while I sat at my computer and did seed exemption!! Next day it is simple prep for this wonderful family meal! Double or triple the stock and FREEZE it for another few FAST homemade soups!! No excuses, leave the microwave, oven ready crap at the store and EAT