Life on Regal-Hill: August 6, 2008

Thunder continues to enjoy being here at Regal-Hill. This morning he was at the door ready to come in after spending the night outdoors with the heifers and beefers. He does seem to prefer being inside when the flies are the worst. The other night, as soon as he was put outside he took right off walking fast, but as soon as he got to the laneway he began to trot wanting to get up in the pasture as soon as possible. It was enjoyable to see him flex his muscles and be so anxious to get to some green grass. I guess he really enjoys grass having been fed mostly hay for so long. Hopefully he will soon put on some weight and hide his ribs, since they can easily be seen now.
Last Wednesday, the day of the most recent flood, we were busy in the barn putting the finishing touches on Thunder’s stall. The rain was coming down hard and the wind was blowing so hard I was afraid I would ruin my brand new umbrella I was carrying as I went to the barn. I managed to get there without being soaked and getting the umbrella turned inside out by the wind. My mistake was that I didn’t put boots on to go to the barn.
We were working along when we noticed water running down the manger and coming out to the gutters and rapidly filling them. After inspection, we realized the water was coming from the silos and the drain under them apparently was plugged, so it couldn’t take the water from the eaves or from the shed.
I looked outside and could see water going out in the hayfield below the neighbor’s house where second cutting was growing. Actually, it was coming down off the hill on the other side of the road, through the sluice and into the ditch alongside the edge of the field but it wasn’t staying in the ditch. There were high white caps on the stream of water coming down the hill and across the meadow before crossing under the road. Soon after I noticed it, the rain stopped and thankfully, the water level soon receded, both inside and outside of the barn.
Perhaps an hour later, I went for a walk for a closer inspection of the field. Other than rocks deposited in the field where the water had been there didn’t seem to be any damage to the field.
Down the valley there were places where side streams which had been dry were running a full stream and crossing the road, making it difficult for people to get home from work that day. I am glad we were home and didn’t need to go anywhere when it rains so hard.
Zucchini is beginning to get ripe. I don’t know when ours will be ready since it didn’t come up when I planted it and then bought plants hoping to speed up the growing process. So far they are nowhere near ready to eat.
Zucchini is great by itself in a recipe or combined with other vegetables. Try these recipes and see if you don’t agree.

Rustic Roasted Vegetable Tart
1 small eggplant, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 sheet refrigerated pie pastry
1 tablespoon cornmeal
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
Minced fresh basil, optional
In a large bowl, combine the vegetables, 3 tablespoons oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Transfer to an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and moisture has evaporated, stirring every 10 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry into a 13-in. circle. Sprinkle cornmeal over a greased 14-in. pizza pan; place pastry on prepared pan. Spoon vegetable mixture over pastry to within 1-1/2-in. of edges. Fold up edges of pastry over filling, leaving center uncovered. Brush pastry with remaining oil.
Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cut into wedges. Garnish with basil if desired.
Yield: 8 servings
Taste of Home August & September 2008

Zucchini Lettuce Salad
2 cups shredded leaf lettuce
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup ripe olives
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
In a serving bowl, combine the lettuce, zucchini, olives and onion. Drizzle with dressing; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings
2008 Taste of Home Annual Recipes