Friday, April 29, 2011

And So I Traded A Goat...

Yep. I traded a goat for lessons in harvesting wild mushrooms. After the next rain I will be guided through the woods in search of chanterelles, porcini, and chicken of the wood. Late summer will be hen of the wood and cauliflower fungus! Though I have missed the morel season this year, he is convinced there is my own personal patch around here some where. I only want to learn the most easily identifiable ones. Until then I have been gifted with a mushroom book to study to learn how to pick and cook these delicious morsels. And today I will cook the chicken of the wood he brought me. Yum.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Harvesting Herbs

I cut my chives today. They will continue to produce all summer if I am faithful and harvest. I rinsed them and let them drain a bit. I have found that I like to air dry my herbs, so after they dry, I will snip and lay them on my dehydrator sheets inside the dehydrator, but not turn it on. Dust stays off the herbs and the color is retained.
The parsley and cilantro are ready as well and I hope to get to them tomorrow.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Dinner Recipes

We had the most amazing meats for Easter dinner. I had to share! Of course there was the usual beef roast but in addition we fixed lamb and goat roasts. My husband is an excellent cook and he was in charge of the meats. This is what he did:
He rubbed the roasts with olive oil, coarse salt and pepper. He layered a heavy roasting pan with garlic cloves and fresh rosemary. Placed the roasts (both in the same pan) on top and layered once again with garlic cloves and rosemary. On top of the roasts he layed several slices of bacon. Covered it tightly and baked at 325* for about 3 hours. Once done, he drained the fat and made a gravy with the pan drippings, flour, vegetable stock and mint. The gravy was very salty because of the coarse salt so just a little was needed. The garlic cloves were spread on rolls and the meal was fantastic! Enjoy!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Planting Tomatoes

Today I planted tomatoes- 54 to be exact. Several heirlooms, some romas and the rest were Better Boys. They are by far my favorite for canning and freezing and since I used my last jar this past week I need to do a lot of that this year. I still have several to go in the ground that I started from seed and that will put our first planting at about 70 plants. Next month I plant to start more seeds for a July planting. I also planted several pepper plants and weeded, always weeding to be done! Things are really starting to take off with the rain and warmer weather. The kale has completely gone to seed but the honey bees are really enjoying it, so until we need the row, I am going to let it stay -plus it is still quite tasty!

Friday, April 22, 2011


I was devastated to learn that the nucs we had ordered had been canceled due to wet and cold conditions. My hives were finished, stenciled and waiting. The birdbath for extra water was bought and set up beside the stand. I was really sad. However, I guess it is true that when one door closes another opens, because a few short days later we had a swarm build in the siding on on barn. It was strange because I had been catching and turning honey bees loose from the milking parlor for the last few days and suddenly while doing morning chores they appeared.It was truly a fascinating event to watch. AND a wonderful beekeeper I know has secured us a nuc for May delivery.

Blessing abound here on the homestead!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


The turkeys arrived today. Seven bronze broad breasted are now in the brooder. Our Narragansett is still laying and I am still collecting her eggs. I have someone that is going to hatch them off for me. If all goes as planned we will have a freezer full of turkey and some to sell as well. We actually like turkey more than chicken but have had two failed hatches in the last couple of years so created a back up plan this year.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

And The Days Fly By

My how time does fly when it is spring time on the farm. The garden is growing quit nicely and we are still able to harvest lots of greens. Our sno peas look like they should be blooming soon and the potatoes are up and thriving. I have added a few more herbs the the kitchen garden along with an Italian tomato tree that is supposed to grow to be 15 feet tall! We'll see how that goes. The asparagus bed has been weeded and they are poking their little heads out of the ground. I finally moved the fruit trees out of the kitchen and though they are not very happy looking, a few are beginning to set fruit. With all the spring rains it looks as though we may have a bumper crop of grapes, apples, pears and plums.

The meat birds have been relocated to the chicken tractor in the orchard. They will stay in the tractor until they are a little bigger and then will be allowed to range on their own. Turkeys are set to arrive in a few days and 50 more meat birds on May 1. Busy days for sure.

Lambs, Lambs, Lambs

Monday, April 11, 2011

It All Started Out So Simple

Yesterday started out to be a wonderful morning.. My hubby had to work for a couple of hours and I was able to kind of ooze into the day. ( Not many of those around!) I actually had a second mug of coffee. I was able to plan my day and week in peace and solitude. Nice.

When he arrived home, I had a large breakfast prepared and my day planned. After the morning chores were done, we headed to our most favorite place, Lowe's Home Improvement, to pick up a few things and then off to visit the in laws. Back home, I started the Sunday rituals. A quick trip to pick up a few groceries and I was back home to make cereal and prepare for the week. I tried a new recipe for granola bars that was wonderful. Easy, quick and one more thing I can scratch from the grocery store list. In and amongst all of that I was keeping a close eye on the ewes that were due. Around 4, one went into labor. She was known to single and have huge lambs. Last year she lost a lovely spotted ram while I was at work and so I was trying to keep a close eye out this go round. At 5:15 she passed her water bag. At 6, I decided to check her. No baby in the birth canal and I brought her to the barn. She was in no distress and eating. After supper I headed to the barn to milk and she was still just hanging out. No visible signs of labor and quiet. I milked and fed kids. Time for another check. This time the baby was in the birth canal. I closed my eyes and felt for recognizable parts. I recognized them all right. They were back legs. I realized I was dealing with a breech birth. The one thing I did know was that the lamb was alive.. After what seemed like an eternity I was able to deliver a huge lamb. He was not doing well. I tried blowing in his mouth and swinging him around. he took a few gasps and died. I rocked back on my heels and cried. I felt it was because of my inexperience and the time it took for me to get him out was the reason he died. And so it goes, life on the homestead is not always so easy.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Weekend of Gardening

The garden had dried enough for us to get in and do some cultivating. We also wanted to get a few more things in the ground. So yesterday,we spent a good bit of time working on that. I planted a short row of french filet green beans. (It may still be a bit early, so only small amounts of heat loving crops when in.) I also planted a few zucchini seeds and two rows of early corn.
Beets were planted as well. My son planted a few tomato plants he had started from seed. We are going to cover them at night and see how early we can harvest that first summer 'mater. I harvested out first radishes and lots of kale, lettuce and spring onions.

From there I headed to the herb beds to do some weeding. The sage was falling across the walkway so I cut it back and that will go in the dehydrator. Cilantro has self seeded and is growing nicely. The parsley and chives need to be harvested soon. I will have to replace several herbs this year. I lost my old rosemary and several thymes due to the cold I am guessing. A trip to the local plant store in in order this next week.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Deliveries, Sale Barn

I felt today we made a trip around the world! Morning chores done it was time to take a load of animals to the sale barn. Being that I have been slack and had not tagged any thing as of yet, that had to be done. We loaded all of the animals that were to leave. Also loaded were a couple of goats being sold to a new home and a goat that had been here to be bred and was returning home. Once all the animals were on the trailer we started tagging. I hate that job! My husband held, I tagged and 20 minutes later we emerged from the trailer slightly battered and bruised but done. GPS programed we headed out around noon. The first stop was delivering a milking doe and buck kid. I died laughing when we arrived, the gps said "arriving at goat delivery".That was my son's doing ;o) Goats settled with new owners we were off again, this time to the sale barn. Unloaded there and headed for our last stop. The last doe was unloaded and we headed home to drop the trailer and go to check a horn on a little doe I sold last year. It seems the scur was curling into her head. I decided I would snip the tip that was curling and band the horn at the base. I held, my son started to snip and the whole outer shell of the horn popped off. LOTS of blood. Yuk. She never flinched from pain only shook her head and covered us with blood. A small bloody nub was left that I will later band if need be after it heals. It seems the little boys that own her were scrapping over who got the horn when it fell off, so I left it in their paper box and once again headed home!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Morel Mushrooms

My favorite mushroom man paid a visit today. This time I was gifted with 4 pounds of morel mushrooms. Huge lovely morels gathered by the river banks! With our supper tonight I served them stuffed with goat cheese and grilled. I mixed my plain fromage made earlier this week, with Italian herbs and cream. I piped the creamed mixture into the mushrooms and drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper. We grilled them along side of some local pork chops we had purchased.

I so want to go and hunt with him but have been aptly warned by my family, they will eat no mushrooms I bring home.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Milking Parlor

Today was the day to get ready for milking full time! I am extremely excited to be able to have milk without feeling that I am stealing from the babies. They have been cut to once a day and I am still able to get almost 3 gallons from the morning milking and a bit less than that from the evening round. My first priority though, was to get the milking parlor clean and ready for the daily milking chores. The winter junk was hauled off and the floors swept and cleaned. We pressured washed the milking stand and sanitized the area. Today's milk was turned into a large pot of feta. Soon there will be buttermilk, yogurt and more soft cheeses. And this WILL be the year I master hard cheeses. Sure, sure, sure...... And so the season begins. I plan to keep a count of gallons milked each day to add to our homestead production tally.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

New Kids and Lambs Too!!

Two of the last three dairy does kidded this past week. (only one to go!) Two more bucks and a doe. So that makes out of 36 kids, 13 does. At this point I was finding it just plain funny. Until this morning -- the first two lambs were born and, yep, you guessed it, rams. Of course one would be a spotted badger and absolutely gorgeous.

At the mid day lamb check I discovered one of the ewes in labor. I waited for her to give birth. She was starting to struggle a bit so I assisted just slightly. I was glad I was there as she delivered one huge RAM lamb.

And so it starts. Another lambing season has begun! If I had planned it a little better I would have had kidding season over with a week or two break. Ah well.. maybe next year?