Death to No See Ums, Fresh Country Air, Rescue Farm, Jamie Oliver's Milk Chicken & Raw Honey

The Dalek is because I have been dealing with some no see ums (biting black gnats or biting midges) and I may have been screeching, Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate! They were accidentally brought in on my yoga pants a few weeks back when I lay down in the grass early one morning, while on my walk. It was because I had some sciatic pain and needed to lie down immediately to stretch the pain away, so I could walk again. I am allergic to grass and thought nothing of it when I felt a bit itchy, until the biting began. Aaaaah! Help me!!! I jumped off that grass so fast and ran all the way home like one of the little piggies, and I cried wolf to my beloved.
 Poppa Bear informed me that they were most likely chiggers. Whaaaaaa? Never heard of this before. And so our sordid tale of gnat mischief begins, you see I thought I was going a bit bonkers for the last 3 weeks or so because I could swear something was biting my ankles, my feet, my legs, especially at night and in the later part of the day around 5pm. I also woke up with bites on my neck, ears, breast,(poppa bear was not happy, something about not sharing- teehee) and my head was super itchy. Problem was I could never find or see a dang thing. Lo and behold, I finally come across the culprit this past week when I felt a bite, I had a flashlight in hand by chance and scoped out the situation. Little creep flew off when I shone the light but I finally saw the minuscule wanker. I went crazy cleaning, researching, getting bug products, keeping the a/c on as cold as possible, washing all bedding every day, and mothball bagging all clothes, yarn, and anything else that had soft egg layable home material. Plus we have been keeping bleach poured down sinks before bed to kill eggs, it's helping but I just want them to go away now. I must say that we are very lucky because I caught it pretty early, I have read some awful stories. So, needless to say, when I got an invite to escape out to the country, I seized it. Exchange my no see ums bugs for mosquitoes, flies, and all the glories of nature. It was beautiful and exactly what the doctor ordered. See for yourself:

The cow saw me, she totally caught me taking pics of  the geese and the pasture.
I happened to get away on a beautiful long weekend, seriously hot but when you are out in the country, the nights cool down and it's perfect for sleeping; and because you are so busy during the day, the heat does not bother as much.
   Because of my allergies, I am the kind of guest that brings food. Often I prefer to make a whole meal for a small set of people and breakfast too. It makes it easier on the hosts, it's safer for my health, let's me put my Chef talents to proper use, and nobody has to cook after traveling. It's  winner winner and yup, I made chicken dinner! I tested Jamie Oliver's milk chicken recipe with dairy-free variations and an Asian spice twist. I forgot to take pic of the finished product but man was it yum scrum! 

Here's the link to the original and after the link, are my variations to it because I can not do any dairy except a bit of butter.

Coconut Milk Chicken with Asian Spice Mix Variation Information:
Follow Jamie Oliver's Directions but substitute 4 C of coconut milk for his milk, a spice bag with 2 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 4 whole allspice, 2 sprigs fresh time, 1 bay leaf, 3 whole black cardamom, 2 sticks licorice, and 1 kefir lime leaf. I also only used 1 lemon, black fresh cracked pepper, 4 cloves garlic with skin, 1 clove garlic crushed and added to milk, and kosher salt for my recipe. I also used 3 chicken legs with thigh on and a pack of 8 chicken thighs only because I wanted more pieces as I was feeding more people and wanted left overs. I did not use any sage in the variation.
Most importantly for me though, was how I left the lid on our Le Creuset dutch oven for 30 minutes and then removed the lid for the last 60 minutes. The reason for doing it this way is because I like a good amount of sauce and I wanted to keep more of it to pour over the sides I made. I served this with basmati rice for the others, mashed sweet potatoes for me and umeboshi cabbage. I will give that recipe a wiz another day on this blog. As I stated earlier, it was a last minute invite and I had to prepare, cook, and pack, in a few hours so pictures were not priority.
Here is Jamie Oliver's finished recipe pic and honestly? WOWZA!:
                                            Chicken in Milk
Next morning we had Crêpes with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote, my friends mother loved that compote, I like that it's made with no refined sugars and that it's chunky. I thought I might be alone in my preference for these things but it turns out I was delightfully mistaken. The compote will be sold on Etsy as one of Bien Confit! Gluten free Paleo offerings.
When brekkie was done we headed out to my friend Lady T's brothers farm. It's actually a horse/cat rescue farm, that is home to 11 Arabian beauties, kitties, and other assorted furry friends. I had such a blast, I love love love the country. I pray that God gives Poppa Bear and I the opportunity to live out there because this city mouse thrives in that kind of environment. It's so much better than city life, harder yes, and a lot of work but the pace and people are just delightful. 
Here's some pics I took, I blocked out lady T's face because I didn't ask her if she was OK with her pic being shown here.The first is looking out from the barn to where we needed to walk to reach the horses that were loose and making trails in the wooded areas.

This guy was so enamored with Lady T, he was a total rub love suck, check out the next pic after this one below. His eyes were all googoo. 

What you don't get to see is that the family dog, which is still a playful pup, does not get along with this guy so he barks incessantly to annoy him. Seconds later he'd had enough and bucked his head on the wood slats to warn the dog off. Dog shut up and scampered off ASAP. Hilarious!

I touched a horse up close for the first time! I was a bit nervous because it's a big animal and I wasn't sure what they liked or didn't like. Dogs are more my speed for behavioral understanding but it was just lovely, the horses were so gorgeous and calm. 

Apologies for the blur but there was a lot of hoof movement and we were warned to not get under foot. I was so excited, I had a hard time staying calm. Big kid in a candy store, seriously, how could someone want to hurt these animals or put them on a plate to eat?

That big guy was a Clydsdale mix and he ran the show. He was all like, "Rub me first as I am too sexy to be ignored." Naaah, he was a perfect gentleman and the horses waited their turns with one or two being a bit more insistent for attention than the others. They were all trying to cope with the heat and keep flies away, horses don't like bugs much either. I wish the camera could convey the intensity of their gorgeous coats better.

This guy was so sweet, look at that cute punim, he put his face super close because he wanted me to rub him in between munching breaks. I keep giggling when I see that picture because he was so up in my face but adorable too.

Nat and Mat with their son Ben are doing a wonderful thing at this horse rescue, these animals would have ended up on a dinner plate if she had not been there to intervene; give them this wonderful place to rest, roam, and have a chance at a great life. It's so much hard work, Lady T and I want to help them, we're going to get a site up for them with loads of sponsorship & Patreon info, vids, come meet the horses opportunities, so people like you reading this blog can help them and save these magnificent beauties. There are 2 sponsors for the horses as I write this and a new sponsor arrived yesterday for one of the horses as we were leaving, which is such a great help. This family is totally committed to giving these horses love and a high quality of life, it's just an expensive and demanding undertaking, which they handle with such kindness and grace. God bless them. 
What I love most about this farm is that they raise bee's, and they collect the honey themselves, which they sell to support the care and needs of these animals they shelter. The honey is all organic, wildflower, raw, and pure liquid gold; how God intended it to be. I have had organic honey before but not raw honey, and as a Chef I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of this product. It tasted like it was right off the comb, that luscious, clean, sweet, floral, bee's wax deliciousness all mingled into super duper awesomness! Check it out:

These below are going to be the more fancy bottles that will be great for gift giving, I will link info and do a special blog post for them if anyone reading is interested in helping to support their cause.

Lastly, we went to Petch Orchards and got these fresh Zatar apples. O-M-G!!!! Such a delicious apple, it's a bit early in the season to go apple picking but that's on my fall to do list which I will blog post when the chill starts to gently come in and nip my nose. For now you can enjoy the sexy red and yellow streaks of this luscious, slightly tart, crisp, not too dense, and brown sugar, juicy sweet apple. You gotta support your local farmers and try to get some apples. Leave your comments down below and if you are interested in sponsoring a horse now or want to buy some honey, let me know. I would really love to hear from you!
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