The horse's pasture to the East...

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I love the little room I have set up here as my 'office'. There's a set of double sliding glass doors looking out to the west right next to my desk, so I never feel closed in or claustrophobic. I have two walls that my desk snugs in to in an L shape with cork board that I've attached to the walls (but not without some very funny accidents with things falling down, since I cheaped out on the system to get them up there. )up above the desk. I use those to hang whatever Patterns chart I'm working on filling with Lucky and Apache, things that inspire me to paint or write, old photos, and usually a piece of work that I've finished...I think. Sometimes I have to stare at something for a while to be able to let it go later.

It's my Comfort Zone. My dream is to have the fencing changed so the side of the house is included in that pasture. My herd could come right up to the door and step in for a visit, if they wanted to. We live in an old converted barn, so it's not like horses, goats, cattle, chickens, swallows, barn cats and dogs haven't been in here in years past! I like the idea of retro fitting it to take it back a bit to what it was before.

One of my favorite design projects several years back was for a local Veterinarian and her family. They'd rebuilt the inside of their barn, putting in these amazing cedar lined stalls and an apartment that was also lined with cedar, a lot of it harvested from their property. The only changes I made to it were some windows where old loft doors used to be, up above in the old hay loft, now their apartment, and nice big run-outs for the horses. And then I put in some of the fancy, shmancy stuff like furniture, light fixtures and tile work in the bath and kitchen. It was hard to leave that project. I was in love with the place and in love with the horses too (you knew I was going to say that, didn't you?). It was their Comfort Zone. Later it was their daughter's apartment when she came home from college in the Summers. It was my idea of heaven!

Do you remember the old Level Two packs with the book, "MOVE CLOSER, STAY LONGER" by Dr. Stephanie Burns, included in it? In both the Level One pack and the Level Two pack from that series they talk about the COMFORT ZONE. The idea is that you're not really learning until you push yourself, just a bit, outside your Comfort Zone. It's one of those things I use on myself all the time. I do my own Approach and Retreat when I move in to new territory. John, my lovely patient husband, is my simulation partner. He becomes my 'horse' or I become his 'horse' when I need to learn a new Pattern or how to use a new piece of equipment. Right now we're learning a WHOLE lot about how to get tangled up in a 45 foot line! Sooner or later that will translate in to actually working with Lucky, but not until I've got things as tattooed as possible to the back of my eyelids. (At this point I could say something funny about getting tangled with John, but this is not supposed to be a kinky BLOG, so I'll skip over that part. *big grin here* )

I get being outside the Comfort Zone. I've spent most of my adult life like that. It's part of my work ethic as an artist and designer. I learn new techniques, practice them, then I let it go and experiment. The rules go out the window and I turn off the 'thinker' side of myself and make mistakes, trip around, get tangled and untangled. That's when I find the flow. (See why I say I was 'Parelli' before I was Parelli?) I do the same thing with Lucky and when it works, time moves differently, and so do Lucky and I. We dance! It's not always that perfect, but now I laugh even when it isn't. And, at the risk of sounding like I'm anthropomorphizing here, so does he! 7 KEYS TO SUCCESS, # 1. ATTITUDE and # 6. IMAGINATION Funny how that happens.

With that in mind, I'm going to give you one of my favorite biscuit recipes. It's taken a lot of experimenting and hockey puck like biscuits to get this one down, so it's your chance to go outside the Comfort Zone when you try them too. Don't worry if they don't work the first time you use this recipe. Your dog will absolutely love them too! And if I get the instructions written clearly enough for you, they'll come out light and flaky. What does Pat Parelli say? You'll amaze your friends and blow the socks off your relatives? I think I need to go look that one up again. I love learning good quotes.


1. Heat your oven to 450 degrees...really hot!

2. Mix the dry stuff together with a spoon or fork. Use your favorite ceramic bowl, the one your Grandma used to use.
DRY STUFF: 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup whole oat flour (Here's where you can experiment. You can also use 1 cup unbleached OR make it 2 cups of whole wheat instead OR use 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut flour in place of some of the whole oat or unbleached OR add in 1/4 to 1/2 cup soy flour, same as get the idea! All it has to do is to equal two cups.), 3 tsp's baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt I should mention here that, if you can, use all organic ingredients. It really does make a difference in the flavor and it never hurts to keep the chemicals out of your diet.

3. Cut in 1/2 cup REAL butter until it's pea sized pieces. The butter can be not quite room temperature...a little cold is OK. You can use it straight from the fridge, but it's a bit more work if you do. Use a pastry cutter or two knives or rub it gently between your hands. When I'm feeling particularly are-tees-tic and flamboyant, I use my hands, but make sure you take off your rings...another funny, family story. 1/2 cup butter is one stick. (Forgot to tell you, these are really rich!)

4. Make a well in the center of your buttered flours and crack open two rich, organic, country eggs and add 1/2 cup whole milk. Carefully, GENTLY, break and mix that mixture INSIDE the well and then CAREFULLY, GENTLY mix it in to the flour and butter just until it's moistened. This is the tricky part because you're working all with whole grains. If you mix to much, it turns in to hockey pucks when you cook it. (And, whatever you do, don't brag about these biscuits when your Mother in Law is visiting. That's a sure road to failure, but it also makes for a very funny family story years later.)

5. Gently, carefully, roll or pat with your hands, the sticky dough out onto a floured surface and knead it, folding it over BUT NOT PUNCHING it, just five to ten times. Then roll or spread it out with your hands, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, and cut it with a biscuit cutter. You'll get between 8 and 12 biscuits. You can take the last wee bit of dough and shape it into a biscuit with your hands, but be gentle. Make believe you're running your hands down your horses neck. Put your heart in to your hands!

6. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, depending on your stove. They should come out between an inch and an inch and a half high, light and flaky.

7. Serve them HOT...right away. I promise you, there will be no left overs when you serve these at breakfast. They're excellent with sausage gravy or jelly and butter.

Variations on a theme. Add some sugar (I use Demera or Turbinado , organic), about 1/4 to 1/2 cup in to the dry stuff. It makes wonderful short cake for Strawberries and Shortcake. You'll have to experiment with this. Just remember to be gentle, easy, when working with whole grain flours. If you "put your heart into your hands", you'll get it right!

I am ever yours, Nancy, outside the Comfort Zone, laughing!

PS. I'm buying a new photo program today, so photos will be posted as soon as I get how to use it...tattooed to the back of my eyelids!

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