Friday, July 22, 2011

We have Moved!

Thank you for dropping by.

Today's post by the Farm Chicks can be found at Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Homemaking Week

This week I've found some time for fun in the kitchen. Blackberries have come in full swing in our county and we've all been busy picking and baking and freezing our fruits. I like to store fruit in the freezers for making smoothies, pies or cobblers. To freeze fruit, lay it on a paper-towel lined baking sheet and freeze in a single layer. When the berries are completely frozen, bag into quart freezer bags. :) So fun!

I've also been experimenting with making apple butter in the slow cooker. I put 3 lbs. of peeled and cored apples with 1/2 cup water and let it cook down for at least 12 hours on low. The apples will reduce down quite a bit. Add your favorite spices, like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and at least 1/4 cup sugar and let that cook together a few more hours on low. I loved how easy and delicious apple butter was to make!

This weekend I plan on making butter, and my herbed mayo, too.

What are you creating in your home kitchen?

What fun preserves or canning recipes would you like to share?

Comments welcome! :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Berry harvest

Tomatoes galore
Turkeys hunting grasshoppers

The Turkeys are growing so fast!

Whenever I sit down to write this blog so many topics come to mind that I could share. So much discovery everyday, in the garden, with the animals, in our relationships with the community, the physical stamina we've developed with this job, (not the aches and pains) the joys, the sorrows of our first season.

What do I choose?

Well, this week let's start with black raspberries. They are all over Buxton Farm and we are carving out time everyday to hunt them down and gobble them up. They are divine! Michael and I are freezing them for our afternoon smoothies, eating them fresh on homemade granola in the early morning, topping them off with our homemade yogurt at the end of a long day. Later this week we hope to harvest enough to make jam!
Growing up in Ohio my sisters and I spent every July harvesting black raspberries. My grandma and my mom loved when we came home with tupperware filled to the brim. It wasn't an easy job and still isn't. Blood, sweat, and tears getting through the thorns to pick them but so worth it, the memories this harvest has brought back has been so sweet. My grandma enjoyed the berries in milk topped with white sugar! I know where I got my sweet tooth.

Tara Miller, from "Farm To You", stopped by this week to pick up eggs for Chef Randy at "Garth Newell Music Center" in Warm Springs. Tara has a really creative job. She comes to the country to gather food from all sorts of diverse farms and then takes selected items to her retail store in Lexington or in some cases delivers the "goods" to the consumer. I have great appreciation for her commitment and support for local food.

Last week I made homemade ketchup from our tomatoes in our hoop house. I'm headed to the kitchen to make tomato sauce today, the hottest day of the summer in the blazing kitchen! Looks like I will be seeing the cool river today as well!

We have an over- abundance of tomatoes, about 30 tomato plants coming in all at once. We've been trading for all sorts of things with our neighbors and eating up as many as we can ourselves everyday. My favorite are "Sungolds" from Johnny's Seeds in Maine. They are a small golden delicious sweet tomato. It's the tomato I prefer. I planted all these tomatoes and I'm not big into eating "night shades"! I look forward to spreading the harvest to the community and to our hens for any left overs. The girls appreciate them too. Stay cool!

Pretty Pickles

'Tis the season for canning and pickling! Ever wonder what to do with left over chard stalks, once you've cut off the leaves for sauteing? How about making some quick pickles? They sure are pretty, and taste good too.

Basic Pickling Liquid, taken from the Ad Hoc At Home cookbook by Thomas Keller:

1 cup champagne vinegar (we use white wine vinegar here, too)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
Group chard stalks into similar sizes, and pack them into a clean jar. Heat vinegar, sugar and water in a saucepan until dissolved, then pour over the chard stalks. At this point, we add hot sauce, maybe some celery seed too. It's really fun to be creative and throw in whatever spices suit your fancy. Once the liquid has reached room temperature, put on a tight-fitting lid and store in the fridge for up to one week.

Anybody else out there have some fun quick pickle ideas? Let's share them with each other in the comments section!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Knights of Old, er...Today!

With as many things that have been going on here lately, I'm way behind on everything. Last Saturday was our field day for the farm. We had almost 1,800 folks in attendance and I'm still trying to recover from the day.

Today, I wanted to share some pictures from the Renaissance Fair that came to the area. We have never been to one of these and since the boys are so into knights and swords, we thought it would be fun to take them.

We were a little disappointed with the lack of educational exhibitors they had there, but the kids still had lots of fun. We were hoping to see some jousting, however we found out once we got there that the jousting was held the weekend before. Maybe next year...
Travis trying his hand at the bow.

Andrew's turn!
A sword bigger than them all.

I can't imagine doing battle with this thing.  I'm sure I couldn't even lift it, let alone swing it!

A cute skit with a couple on horseback.
For only a dollar you can smash each other to smithereens. Huzzah!
This was held at Natural Chimneys and I think the kids liked the cave and big rocks best of all.
Fun day with fun memories.
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