Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

The kids came up with some really cute Halloween costumes for trick or treating tonight

Daniel Boone



Lady Guinevere


Amish guy


Pocohontas


My Jack O Lantern


The beautiful variety of pumpkins and squash from the garden

Thursday, October 30, 2008

the hay loft

The first thing I do at the beginning of chores is climb up into the hay loft above the paddocks and pitch hay down the chute. It smells amazing up there, sweet and grassy, and it's some of the hardest physical work I do here, like shoveling snow. It takes about 15 minutes to pitch down enough to fill the 9 mangers that feed our 19 goats.

Spain in Maine

Manchego rubbed with smoked paprika

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

High View Farm

I spent this morning with Darcy + Bill Winslow at their beautiful High View Farm up the road in Harrison, Maine. Darcey + Bill raise Belgian draft horses that are used for field work as well as winter sleigh rides, and also have a small herd of Guernsey dairy cows. They produce and sell their own raw milk and butter, which is the richest, most delicious milk ever. The color of the butter is naturally that yellow. I showed them how to make feta cheese, here is Darcy stirring the curd. Bill has helped me out more than once with livestock advice since I've been here - they are the most charming, happy people you'll ever meet.




Tuesday, October 28, 2008

mummy cheese

I made a "bandaged" Cheddar, which resembles a mummy, for Halloween. Instead of air-drying, you grease and wrap the cheese in muslin, producing a drier, flakier Cheddar. The "larding" technique is a traditional English method of storing cheese for long periods of time.

the sky this morning

Monday, October 27, 2008

chicken army

They do this every time you come out of the house.

video

the pigs

Youth is the true Saturnian reign
the golden age on Earth again
when figs are grown on thistles
and pigs betailed with whistles and

wearing silken bristles
live ever in clover, and crows fly over
delivering milk at every door
and justice never is heard to snore

and every assassin is made a ghost
and howling, is cast into Baltimost!

-Polydore Smith

Sunday, October 26, 2008

mighty oats

Except for the goats, organically grown oats are the staple food for all the animals at the farm. John + Mary buy them in 1500 pound containers (see photo below - I placed a pumpkin in front for scale). We soak them and sprout them, the chickens and turkeys get the sprouted oats, and the pigs get the soaked oats. They are sprouted for increased nutritional value, just like the sprouted grain bread that we eat.




Saturday, October 25, 2008

grainy

There is a grain grinder in the kitchen here, so when you need some flour, you load up the hopper with whole wheat berries or oats and grind it fresh. I made this apple pie, and little by little am eating it all by myself.


bend it like Finn

Finn is the farm manager here at Little Falls. I had seen sheep dog trials on TV and knew border collies were smart and obsessive-compulsive, but I never really got to know one. He is a very intelligent dog, and he truly does herd anything he can, from obvious things like the chickens and goats, to inanimate objects like the turkey pen. He and Pucci are Autumn lovers, and I walk them a mile up to the main road every afternoon to collect the mail. Along the way, there are a series of Finns toys: basketballs, soccer balls, kick balls, which he wants you to kick to him along the way. It's fun and funny - hunting season opened today so the dogs are sporting handsome bright orange collars.



Friday, October 24, 2008

Baked beans, really really from scratch

Harvested cranberry beans from the garden, soaked them, made them into New England baked beans, ate with cornbread!









the birth of feta cheese




Thursday, October 23, 2008

the root cellar

John + Mary have a huge root cellar in the basement, as well as a pantry of their canned and preserved food, all of which has been grown here. Onions, leeks and garlic, fluorescent magenta and orange carrots, cabbage, rutabaga, and several varieties of potatoes, including some that are bright ruby purple in color. John brews his own mead, shown here in huge 5 gallon glass fermentation carboys that line a hallway, and the worm compost bin, recyclers of all kitchen food waste.



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

crusty


The first wheels of goat cheese I've made here at the farm, one crusted in za'atar, the other in pink peppercorn. Also two wheels of Emmantaler I brought from home to age up here in the Little Falls cave.

Good morning

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

my chores


- Let Finn (the dog) out
- get milking equipment
- get oats for pigs and whey and go to barn
- pitchfork hay from hayloft to first floor
- prepare milkers grain cups (6 w/one cup bagged grain + 1 cup oats) put in milking room
- prepare 10 feed bowls: 1/3 cup barley, 2/3 cup oats, and minerals in all except male goat Norman, who only gets kelp added
- put 8 grain dishes in milking room
- give Norman + Bucko (the males) theirs
- move goats out of exit pens
- close big gate, and inner door
- give hay to kids
- let in first goats, grain, milk
- hook up goats #10 + #7 (the bullies) after they're done and open inner door after they're hooked
- finish goats through milking room
- feed out hay
- unhook #10 + #7
- check automatic waterer
- refill bucks and kids water buckets
- check all gate locks
- clean up milking room, give kitty milk and rinse bowl
- add one quart pig grain to pig oats and minerals. Feed + water pigs.
- turn out lights, carry milk to house
- get poultry sprouted oats. Feed most to chickens plus quart chicken feed and minerals inside feeder. Change poultry water.
- bring one quart turkey feed, rotate position of pen on lawn and change water
ALWAYS ASK THESE QUESTIONS
- does everyone have water?
- does everyone have hay?
- are all the goats released?
- are all gates locked and 2 doors hooked open?
- are chickens in and gate locked?
- let Finn in to bed

Sunday morning

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

the cast

In fair Bolster's Mills, Maine, where we lay our scene...

Goat Sprite


This is Abbey, one of the kids at the farm, who is named after John & Mary's grand daughter. Here she is at the Crooked River which borders the farm. You can walk Abbey like you walk a dog - she runs along side you, jumping off anything she can climb.