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Showing posts from 2011

Sausage Hash, Butternut Squash

No, not making them together, although, an afterthought, the sausage hash would make a great filling for half an Acorn squash. Then the other half Acorn could be devoted to brown sugar/applesauce filling!. We love corned beef hash with eggs. As you may have read on a recent post, we put up 110# of sausage from one of our hogs. One of the seasonings we used was for Chorizo sausage. Darrell commented, "I bet that would be good in hash". I agreed. So yesterday I cooked up a bunch of our redskin potatoes that are stored for the winter, and a pound of Chorizo, saut├ęd with some onion. Mixed the two together and stored the hash overnight.  This morning, in a skillet, I made Chorizo hash and eggs for breakfast. Pretty yummy! Then later, I brought up some pork chops to thaw for supper, and grabbed a butternut squash from storage, thinking I'd go ahead and get that roasted up and ready to go. When I cut the squash in half, the color was soooo gorgeous, I just had

Giving Thanks for Good Food!

Well, two full days of Thanksgiving celebrations are over and clean-up is pretty well done. We had family Thanksgiving 3 times - once at my mother-in-law's new digs in a retirement home where we could use a family dining room with full kitchen and dining table. Several of us brought food and we ate very well - turkey, wild rice/sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes w/kale (from our garden), butternut   squash (also from our garden) with a brown sugar, toasted walnut topping, cranberry chutney, corn pudding, pecan pie, pumpkin roll, apple-walnut-caramel cake. Then in the evening, went to my mom's  where her caregivers made turkey breast, mashed potatoes, the ubiquitous green bean casserole, and we brought a mincemeat pie and the pumpkin roll. Then Friday, our house was jumping, with daughter and her family, two grandmas, and two friends from out of town who spent the weekend - fresh turkey from the people who process  our chickens, sage and sausage (from our pigs) stuffing, more gar

Odd Pods and other garden adventures

Oh, my, I cannot believe it has been 3 months since I made time to update this blog! I've been posting items on our Facebook page and ignoring the blog, unfortunately. In the last week, I've made a major effort to get as much in from the garden as possible. Today, I dug the rest of the potatoes, picked kale and steamed it for the freezer, and canned beets. My back is telling me I spent too much time on my feet today! from this to this - love beets redskin potatoes love this beautiful kale - yummy, too! As I was going to pick the kale, I noticed (again) the seed pods on the French Breakfast Radishes that bolted - I never turned them under, so the radishes got huge and gnarly, and the plants grew these amazing seed pods!  Radish seed pods French Breakfast Radishes gone gnarly! Equally amazing to me was finding a secondary head of cabbage on one of the old stalks. It's actually nice and firm, so I cut it off and have it in the crisper. 

Garden Harvests are coming on strong!

It almost seems anti-climatic, because you spend so much time preparing the garden, planting, weeding, nurturing those tiny plants, that when suddenly there're many things to harvest, it's almost a shock! We got our garden in very late this year . . . seems odd, but we're actually getting sugar peas in July (and probably now, into August!), because they get morning sun and then are shaded from the very hot afternoon sun by the corn. A serendipitous pairing of neighbors in the garden, I think! Of course, the pumpkins and the squash on the other side of them are trying to overrun them, so it's a race to see how many peas we will get before the pumpkins win . . . beets are just starting, and have been harvesting kale, which makes a fabulous salad (wrote about that before), and, wilted in a little bacon fat is a wonderful green addition to an omelet. Potatoes are close to becoming usable - probably could get some, but I want to make sure the hills are fairly mature before I

Successful farrowing of 9 piglets!

When Darrell recently picked up a small number of feeder pigs, the guy had some gilts that he had gotten from another Berkshire farmer, which Darrell bought to round out our breeding herd. They were supposedly bred - one definitely was, the others we're not sure about. But, Tuesday evening, June 26, the one had 10 little piglets, nine of which survived birthing, which is quite amazing in terms of numbers for a first-time sow. Somehow, four of them got into the sows' mud wallow and Darrell didn't even see them at first - they were not doing well at all, becoming hypothermic, but we washed them in very warm water and dried them briskly to stimulate them, then got them positioned to suckle on their mama. They had not gotten so hypothermic that they had lost the instinct to suck, fortunately, so, amazingly, they survived the night and continue to do well. The photo below was taken a couple of hours after they were born. This morning, we clipped their little teeth (8 per pig) so

Summer Salads, Garden is finally in, and more piggies arriving

The cold, very wet spring kept us from getting our garden in until just last week. Our garden soil has a lot of clay, so it hangs on to water and you can't till it until it's dried out or nearly so. In previous years, we felt we were "late" with our garden if it didn't get finished up until Memorial Day weekend - this year, in spite of numerous "starts", we didn't get it in until the first weekend in June - yikes! Wonder how many of the tomatoes we'll lose to frost this year? Last year, I had the garden in by mid-May and still lost a bunch of tomatoes to an early frost - rats! Besides tomatoes, we've got corn, red and white potatoes, two types of peas (yes, it's late, but I bought the seeds back in early April!), carrots, beets, two types of hot peppers, broccoli, cabbages, acorn and butternut squash, pumpkins, lettuces, radishes, kale, and spinach. It's going to be awhile before we start harvesting anything, but at least everything

Exploring Edible Flowers, and our Memorial Day weekend food fest

Our friend Crystal spent the holiday weekend with us, and loves natural "whole" food as much as we do. On Friday, Darrell made his fabulous Stir-Fried Rice with chunks of ham from one of the Berkshires, carrots, peas, and substituted chives and chive blossoms for the normal white onion.  While obtaining the chive blossoms for the stir fry, we were observing and investigating other herbs. The thyme is blooming as well, and we discovered what look like flower bud stalks on the sage. Crystal is an inveterate Internet researcher, so when we got back into the house, she looked up sage blossoms and discovered a delightful site all about "edible flowers", which include chive blossoms, sage blossoms, thyme blossoms, dandelions and many others, including one of my favorite wild flowers, the beautiful little johnny-jump-up. Here's an interesting site to investigate should you be interested in  flowers  as part of cooking. You may be surprised about what's listed the

Piggies love the mud!

It's a good thing they do, because the rest of us are heartily sick of it. We opened up a new pasture area this weekend for the feeder pigs, as they had turned their previous area into nothing but mud because of all the rain and the fact that pigs root constantly. So yesterday, our friend Crystal, who is staying with us for the holiday weekend, took these photos of them turned out on new grass - note the area they'd already started turning up! One of the piggies came over to investigate her boot.

Once again, pickled asparagus!

Put up several jars of pickled asparagus tonight - we loved it so much, we hope to put up more this year than last . . . see post from last year for info and a link to the recipe. I cut the sugar in half this year, as we found the original recipe a little too sweet. Hopefully, I didn't cut too much out! I also remembered that the recipe did not provide quite enough pickling liquid for the jars, so I doubled it. I got three jars instead of two, but my liquid was nearly gone. So increase the recipe amounts on everything.

Spring has finally sprung - asparagus, strawberries, garden prep & dandelions

Here in West Michigan we are finally getting spring-like weather . . . everything seems to be running a few weeks behind the norm . . . the swallows came back later than usual, asparagus started coming in a week or two after the norm, garden was too wet to till until last week . . . However, we had asparagus, some pork loin, and then strawberry shortcake for supper last night. The berries were from 2010 . . . our strawberry patch had to be replanted this year, so we won't be harvesting our own. And the asparagus patch is in serious need of weeding - the aftermath of the tornado last summer totally interfered with available time to keep on top of that, and I think some of the crowns have been choked out and will need to be replaced. Oh, and spring has also brought the dandelions out in force - I don't believe I have ever seen such healthy, huge flowers - most of these measure at least 2.25" across, and a few are 3" in diameter! Yowza! Wish they stayed pretty like

Barn Swallows are back!

Early this past week, the first week of May, the barn swallows finally returned. They come back every year between mid-April and early May. This year, the cold probably kept them away, as there were no insects to feed on. They are busy swooping and capturing mosquitos and flies and whatever else they come across. They help us so much on insect control, it is unbelievable. We used to be swarmed with mosquitos whenever and wherever we went outside. Now, the swallows and the bats keep them under control. There are a number of pairs that come here every year, and they're busy exploring all the existing nests, refurbishing or building new ones. Soon, we'll have cute baby swallows like these peering over the edges of nests looking at us down below . . . love those little faces - like little alien beings, somehow!

Photos of spring on the farm!

Finally got some decent weather - not raining, sun out - so I took some photos of some of our new feeder pigs, the three piglets born to one of our sows, and our flock of ewes with their lambs enjoying grass and sunshine!

Making Mayonnaise and Custard with our own eggs

When we used to have laying hens years ago, we made our own mayo all the time. Once we had converted our single-room chicken coop over to the meat birds, we suffered over the loss of having our own eggs. Now that we're back into the egg business, this weekend we made mayo (the last store-bought jar was empty, having gone into egg salad last week!), and yesterday Darrell made a cooked custard to take as a dessert to my mom's house for Easter. Making Mayo This recipe comes from an old recipe book by Vincent and Mary Price (yes, the actor) called " A Treasury of Great Recipes ", published in 1965. It also, BTW, is the source for the basic recipe I have adapted for great guacamole. Anyhow, here's how easy it is to make mayonnaise, per the Vincent Price recipe. Homemade mayo has a shorter shelf life than store-bought because it's not full of preservatives, so make what you need, and try to use it up in a week and a half or so . . . 1. Measure 1 Cup salad oil

New feeder pigs for Easter!

Last Tuesday, between the rain showers, Darrell went to pick up 9 little feeder pigs. We also have 3 little ones that were born to a sow here, which means that toward end of summer and into fall, we will have pigs to sell - finally! We had issues getting feeders, tried farrowing a couple of sows this winter, which didn't work out well due to the cold. We are set up better for that, but now that spring may actually be upon us, things will be easier on that score. I wanted to take photos of the little pigs in the field pen, but it has been so wet and nasty since they came, they are penned inside the big shelter - we didn't want to risk them getting too cold and too wet and ending up dying of hypothermia. They have plenty of room inside the shelter, and are bedded in deep straw to keep warm. They sleep in a pile like puppies and kittens - so cute! When it dries out some, they'll get turned out into the larger pen - I'll get some photos of them at that time. Several of

Oxtail soup . . . hearty and good!

I picked up some oxtail at our favorite butcher shop (yes, we do buy some meats, especially beef!). I also bought a couple of nice chuck roasts. We did a pot roast for dinner one night, and I seared and braised the oxtail in another dutch oven at the same time. The left-over pot roast meat and juice and the meat and juices from the oxtails went into a soup pot yesterday, together with potatoes, carrots, corn from the garden from 2010, peas, barley, and some additional seasonings. Dinner last night was this thick, flavorful soup and French bread that Darrell made. Probably the last pot of veg/beef soup I'll make until next fall - but I do love it!

Spectacular Buttermilk Pie!

Darrell had an extra pie crust and was looking around online for an interesting one-crust pie recipe (we had brought a custard pie to someone's house the other night, and the pie crust recipe we love makes two crusts). He found this on AllRecipes.com . The submitter says it was an old recipe when she was born, in 1919! A couple of comments said that it was too sweet - the recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar. Someone pointed out that back in the early 1900s, people were using raw sugar, which was not nearly as sweet as our refined sugar. So, he cut the sugar down. He also added an extra Tbs. of flour and an extra egg for thickening. Note that the crust recipe is from the AllRecipes page and not ours. Old-Time Buttermilk Pie (Darrell's adaptation) Ingredients CRUST: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup shortening 1/4 cup cold milk 1 egg, beaten FILLING: 1/2 cup butter or margarine 1 1/2 cups sugar 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour 4 eggs 1 cup buttermil

Laying hens are getting with the program!

Our small flock of laying hens are finally producing regularly, and giving regular eggs, not pullet eggs. If you'd like to stop by to pick some up, give us a call or send an email to make sure we have eggs at that moment and that someone will be here to help you. We're selling them at $2.50/dozen. And, we're accepting clean egg cartons - let's keep the waste down!

Getting non-GMO/GE foods is getting tougher!

Some of our meat customers have asked if we raise our animals on non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) grain . . . the answer is, no, because getting such grain is virtually impossible, and if we got it, it would be so expensive no one would be able to buy our meat! One ongoing struggle for organic farmers has been GE crops and cross-pollination (read "contamination), by which a farmer using GE seeds can cross-pollinate a neighboring farmer's crop, even though that farmer is trying to raise organic, non-modified grain crops. Farmer A doesn't set out to cross-pollinate Farmer B's crop, nature just makes it happen, with wind, birds and insects - all the usual methods by which plants are pollinated. Here's a blog post from Whole Foods from late January this year, as they came under fire for supposedly supporting GMO foods. They are discussing a specific recent USDA decision about GE alfalfa here, but some statistics they cite for other GE crops are staggering:

Layer flock is beginning to lay eggs!

Our young flock of laying hens (gotten last fall as the cutest, fuzziest little chicks you could want to see!), have finally started laying eggs. They are not all laying yet, and the eggs are the smaller "pullet egg" size, but it won't be long and they will be up to full production. We have a mixed flock of Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, Silver-laced Wyandottes (beautiful birds!), and Black Australorps - all brown egg layers. It has been many years since we have had a laying flock, and we have really missed having those eggs! The color of the yolks is an amazing deep color and the shells are very hard, as we give the birds calcium supplement. A very far cry from the thin-shelled, watery-yolked eggs we've been buying in the store in the intervening years! I've posted a couple of photos that show these birds as they grew from cute little chicks to mature birds. those cute, fuzzy chicks! Young layers growing up Mature layer flock Yummy brown eggs!

Is the chicken local?

A CSF customer and fellow food blogger sent me this link to a rather hilarious video lampooning the sometimes over-the-top attitudes on the part of people trying to make sure they eat healthy food. I thought I'd share the link. Click here to see the YouTube video entitled "Is the chicken local?" . . .

Sauerkraut was NOT a resounding success . . .

Not sure what happened with the 'kraut I canned last fall - the first time I had done it, it worked out well. This time, even though I let it stand longer, to get more fermented (per some of the comments I had read online), it is not sour enough AND has too much salt. For me, that's saying something, as I'm a salt freak. The first time I did 'kraut, I had some sort of "recipe" of amount of cabbage to amount of salt, but I couldn't locate it, so I had found what seemed to be a similar process online. I don't think I overdid the salt the process called for, and I had about that amount of cabbage, so it's a mystery. If I do more 'kraut next summer, I'll have to spend some time researching better ways to ferment it, as this particular process didn't yield a product we're crazy about. I now have several jars of 'kraut that probably won't get used, unless I can figure out a creative way to salvage them. As is, I'm not willing

Relish Magazine - interesting resource!

r elish  Magazine is an insert into Sunday papers around the country. My mom passes it on to me frequently, and I've seen many interesting things in it. They tend to promote natural, healthy foods, although, ironically, most of their advertisers are of the prepared food variety - you know, the type of ads where you start with some prepared item and create a dish. Anyway, the January 2011 issue has, among other interesting things, an article called "The Pantry Project - New Year - 19 New Dishes" . They then list what they term "bold and basic" pantry items to "turn dinner into a new adventure". We are great proponents of having a well-stocked pantry of what we consider "basics", and I was pleased to see that many of their "essentials" have a home in our pantry already . . . they do list a few that we don't stock, but would not be afraid to use if required for a recipe. They then have 19 recipes in the printed magazine that

Harvest Yields for 2010

Well, the garden kept me very busy, in spite of everything else. I forfeited a minor amount of produce that I just couldn't get to, but the harvest included: white and red potatoes (bagged up in the cellar, possibly will can some), lots of corn in the freezer, canned tomatoes, salsa, ketchup and tomato juice, broccoli, cabbage (fresh slaw, canned pickled red cabbage, and sauerkraut with the white), beets, cucumbers for fresh and pickling (kosher dills and bread-and-butter varieties) acorn and butternut squash (some canned), pumpkins (fun for kids at Halloween, plus some canned), asparagus ( pickled some - fabulous!), strawberries (fresh, frozen, and jam), rhubarb. Radishes, spinach and lettuces, and herbs rounded out the goodies we were able to harvest. Then, from local growers, we acquired apples, peaches, cherries, pears, and blueberries, from which we made sauces, syrups, jams and jellies, and canned fruits. Christmas brought a gift from a friend of a big box full of grapefr

Resolution for 2011 - keep up with the blog!

So sorry for my long absence - no real excuses, it just always seemed like other things just "had" to get done before I could think about what to put on the blog! So, I'm going to do several posts to catch up, and vow to be more diligent from here on out! Some overall updates include the new chicken coop being in service (not quite finished, but functional); our house being done with outside contractor repairs from the tornado this summer - now we have some interior finishing to do; lots of food put up from the garden late summer and through the fall (I'll do a separate post about all those yummy things!); a new puppy on our farm (a beagle-bulldog cross); the bare bones in place of a Facebook page for Coach Stop Farm (not really sure how to maximize this whole social-networking thing, but I'll work on it!); and probably more, but the brain is not coughing them out right now. Here's a photo of the coop, which will get a coat of red paint in the spring, and a p