Ramblings from the Ridge

Spring taste buds


The smell of spring is permeating the farmhouse these days. Around here, that is the smell of the manure pit being agitated with a hint of freshly mowed lawn. Between Don the milkman and Henry, no grass around here stands a chance. The wood violets are popping up everywhere, and dandelions are waving their brilliant yellow heads in the non-stop wind on the ridge. The green ramps are coloring the otherwise drab brown hillside as we head up to the farm.

The piglets have all been moved outside to their summer homes. The four we have raised since their birth have been named at last: Olive Oyl, Popeye, Swee’Pea and Bluto. They have spent as much time out of their pen as in it. I was enjoying the sunshine for a brief moment with my hands in the soap suds last week as they sped past the kitchen window. At long last, my opportunity to quote a line from “Charlotte’s Web,” “Lurvy! Pig’s out!”

Stella and Dane headed out to wrangle the happiest piglets in the world. One afternoon, the four hooved wanderers met me on the sidewalk when I pulled into the yard after a meeting. I can’t help but smile. They look so cheerful when they are skipping side to side and grunting.

I managed to sneak out of the barn before 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and had big plans of cooking and cleaning for the day. First on the list was granola. I got the recipe years ago from the head cook at the school, and it is a palate pleaser. I had been craving some with my yogurt as of late. As I threw a bag of it in the freezer, I was already anticipating making a big pan of yogurt parfait this week. This recipe comes from a dear friend’s family cookbook, and it never fails to delight. Can you really go wrong with cream cheese and pudding? Nope. Add fresh or frozen fruit and homemade granola for the top, and you have a winning springtime treat. We have to eat something while we wait for the rhubarb to be tall enough to pluck a few stalks.

Happy spring to you all. Don’t blow away.


1/2 cup (plus a splash or two more) vegetable oil

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla

8 cups oats

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix the oats, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Combine the first three ingredients in a saucepan, boil, stirring constantly. Then, add the vanilla. Pour hot liquid over the oat mixture; small clumps are OK. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake for 30 minutes. Gently stir the granola and switch pans from top to bottom in the oven. Bake 15 minutes more until golden brown. Cool, place in a large bowl and add two cups of raisins or dried cranberries, if desired. Some people also like walnuts. If that speaks to you, add 3 cups of chopped walnuts with the oat mixture.

Yogurt parfait

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

8 ounces Cool Whip, softened

2 cups vanilla yogurt

1 box instant white chocolate pudding mix

1 cup milk

Mix together and put in a 9-by-13 pan with a sealable lid. Put fresh or frozen fruit on top just before serving. Add granola as well, covering the fruit. This is a perfect spring or summer treat.

Jacqui Davison and her family milk 800 cows and farm 1,200 acres in northeastern Vernon County, Wisconsin. Her children, Ira, Dane, Henry and Cora, help on the farm while her husband, Keith, works on a grain farm. If she’s not in the barn, she’s probably in the kitchen, trailing after little ones or sharing her passion of reading with someone. Her life is best described as organized chaos, and if it wasn’t, she’d be bored.


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