Chronicles of the Long Shot Farm

Signs that Spring is Near

Temperatures “soared” to the upper 50’s today – a great day to prune grapes:

Also a good time to take some cuttings from lilac and forsythia bushes to force them into an early bloom indoors:

Winter Vines

Pruned vines 
Not yet pruned vines

Anja’s Italian Sausage Vegetable Soup

This recipe came with the following preface: “Leif and Freyja both loved it”.  Leif is three and a half and Freyja just turned one.  If they both like the same dish, it must be amazing.  And it is! Really delicious – plus it is fast and easy to make:


  • olive oil
  • wine
  • 1 lb loose Italian sausage (I used mild)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3- 4 carrots, chopped
  • 3 – 4 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 14.5oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 2 cans of condensed chicken broth, one can of water (may use 2 cans if you want)
  • 1 cup rotini pasta, uncooked
  • 1.5 cups baby spinach, cleaned
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated 

Heat some olive oil and cook sausage in skillet, until done.  Transfer cooked sausage into stock pot.  Add the onions to the empty skillet, add a little more olive oil if necessary, and cook until they are “glassy”. Add the minced garlic to the onion and mix well, cook for another minute or so. Add the chopped carrots and celery, and stir in the skillet, together with the onions for about 5 minutes. (At this point, I add freshly ground pepper)

Deglaze skillet with about 1/2 a cup of (red) wine, then add all the vegetables to the stock pot with the meat. Add the tomatoes, beans, and the 2 cans of chicken broth plus 1 can of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes. (Test your carrots to see how done they are).  Add the pasta and cook for at least another 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and add the spinach. Let soup stand for another 5 minutes. Top with grated cheese in bowls.


Hallway and Bedroom Makeover

We took advantage of the vacation time between Christmas and New Year to finally paint our hallway and give our bedroom a makeover.  Both areas still had the original paint from when we bought the house: the bedroom was orangy/mustard kind of shade, and the hallway was an off white. All the rooms had a flat finish, which was impossible to keep clean, and the and window frames were a bright white.

The new hallway is now painted in a shade called “spiced vinegar”, which is from the natural color palette  by Olympic paints.  Pretty neutral, but welcoming.  The trim in the hallway is a warm, off-white shade that matches the trim in the rest of the house.  We chose a semi-gloss finish and are really happy with the end result.

Our bedroom was the biggest improvement.  We used a green shade, called “Sweet Annie” (namesake  of the herb),  for the walls.  All the moldings and window frames are painted in “Toasted Almond”.    (We had already used the “Toasted Almond” for the walls in the master bathroom a few years ago).   Both of those colors are also from Olympic paints – from their traditional color palette.


Posted in DIY

Dried Apples

We made absolutely delicious dried apples in our dehydrator today – and it was the easiest thing to do.  We used the apple peeler to peel and slice the apples – this way the slices were of a very consistent thickness.  We placed the slices on the trays and sprinkled them – lightly –  with a sugar/cinnamon mixture.  It took about four hours until they were dried…and delicious.  We ate half of them this evening already.  What a treat!!