Hippy Abuela

For most middle-aged white guys, acquiring all of the skills and nuances of an Abuela does not make the short list, bucket list, radar, register, or score card. For me, it is the under current of my entire existence. This is a slow-paced game of patience and messes with many foes, battles, levels, and easter eggs. It is best played on a Sunday with your favorite, cheap and grapey intoxicant. Winecraft. Today, I am twelve tortillas closer to leveling up.

Some of y’all know that I also dabble in the arts of hippy and have been perfecting an oat milk recipe over the past few months though I have never quite mastered a use for the super-healthy lump of oat grout that is left over.

I had limited success with making crackers that were good, not great. Actually, they were fine. They were alright. They were fine.

I also had limited disasters going for Abuela gold, the home-made tortilla. The first attempt yielded eight oily communion pancakes. Dad body of Christ.

Today was different. I studied several different traditional recipes and took my time.

All of you that have attempted a soft, chewy, light, home-made, flour wedding veil know the sheer delight that washes over you when you get it right. Multiply that by diez, when you get it right with non-traditional ingredients.

So here is the goods. These were made with the leftovers of oat milk that required one cup of oats to start. My oat milk recipe also includes 1 tsp powdered vanilla, 1/4 cup pecans, and 3 dates, but I’m quite certain this tortilla recipe will work with any oat milk leftovers.

  • Oat Milk Leftovers
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup hot water

In a large bowl, stir the flour, salt, and baking powder into the oat milk leftovers. I used a fork to mix until I had a soft, granular consistency. Keep stirring while adding in the oil and then the water. You should have a dough that is a little on the dry side.

Transfer dough to a floured surface. Divide into 12 happy, little balls. Make sure each ball gets a light coat of flour before slightly flattening it on a cutting board or baking sheet with your hand. Cover the balls with a towel and let them rest for at least half an hour, longer if possible.

After the dough nap, medium heat a cast iron pan. If you don’t have a cast iron pan, stop reading, you have failed and are dead to me. Roll out each piece into ameboa shapes while thinking about circles. Dust the entire kitchen with flour, as needed, to keep everything from sticking. These things need to be FLAT. Like, “see through” flat.

Cook each one for about 1 minute and then flip with tongs to cook for another 20-30 seconds.

Eat them all and don’t share.

Wait


Every September I wait. I wait for the wild sunflowers to turn brown so the lesser goldfinches can have their fill. I wait for the horsemint and gallardia to drop all of their seeds for next year. I wait for the last mexican hat to tip. and I almost always forget to wait for the false foxglove.

We haven’t had rain in so long that I forget to wait for the patches of purple that play host to the buckeye butterflies. What kind of sadist flower waits until the end of summer in Travis County to bloom?

I forgot to wait again this year, but luckily I was too lazy hitch up the shredder in this oppressive heat. 

I will wait a little more.

Texas Tea Garden

We were especially lucky with the rain this Spring at the ol’ Sparkle Farm. Perhaps so lucky that it left us a little overconfident in our abilities to nurture pretty. Either way, I was delighted to come across this article by Jessie Kissinger in Popular Mechanics (of all places) that details the process we use on parts of the property to better harmonize with our surroundings.

We call the area pictured above our “Texas Tea Garden”. It is about 1/3 of acre, all of the plants are volunteers, and it’s located just off the back of our house. We spent some time last year making sure any non-natives and unsavory natives (stinging nettle and poison ivy) were removed from the area. We also planted a cover crop of Crimson Clover for our wedding (and to fix nitrogen). The results were stunning. Insects and wildlife moved in to take advantage of the food and habitat and we enjoy the spectacle of it every day. We even mowed a maze of paths throughout. You can be 15 feet in and it feels like a whole other world. These videos were taken a little late in the season for showing the abundance of wildflowers we saw this year.

Some of the birds we see on the daily are Lesser Goldfinches, House Finches, Eastern Phoebes, the occasional Summer Tanager, and Cardinals.

 
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The “Texas Tea” refers to more than just the gallons of sun tea we enjoy in the grapevine arbor for most of the year. “Texas Tea” is oil, or in our case, honey. We were so incredibly lucky to move next door to Richard and Brenda Travis and their wonderful apiary at Sprinkle Springs Farm. They have quite the head start when it comes to farm life and usually “keeping up with the Travis'” is a far fetched aspiration. They have been so generous with their knowledge and the fruits of their labor that we are always looking for ways to give back. This year it was in the form of White Sweetclover, or as some people call it, Honey Clover.

A Mud Dauber is having a taste.
One acre in the upper left

The clover appeared as a volunteer, out of nowhere, on a acre that is usually reserved for our dewberry patch. It was an off season for the berries and the Texas Leaf Cutters made sure any pickings would be light. I noticed the clover trying to take hold so we just let it ride. Combined with the generous rainfall, the acre turned into a sickly sweet fairy forest that intoxicated your nose like a candle in your Grandma’s powder room. The Travis’ bees went nuts, as did every other insect looking for a sugar fix, like the mud dauber in the picture above.

I wouldn’t say our little experiment back-fired. It front-fired. The Travis’ are overwhelmed with honey at the moment. So much so that they have temporarily lowered their prices. This honey is good y’all, real real good.

Come on by and get some “Sparkle Farm Sweetclover Reserve”. At these prices, you can sweeten your sun tea with it.

Seasoned Greetings from Sparkle Farm

After all the family and house guests have been tucked snugly in their north bound cars, the laundry has been started, the leftovers have been left over, and the floors have been broom cleaned, Chris likes to sage the house and front pasture while I re-season the cast iron. We are not even in our fifties, y’all.