Thursday, September 30, 2010

egg update

The hens turn 6 months old tomorrow, and it seems like every day another one begins to lay eggs.  They lay a variety, from light to darker brown, speckled, jumbo white and prettiest of all, light blue eggs from Owl, my Araucana hen.  I was worried the girls were laying their eggs everywhere except in the nesting boxes, but I found a couple of them up in them this morning.  The eggs have deep orange yolks and taste amazing.  Whitey, the smallest chicken in the flock, lays gigantic white eggs.  

best hot sauce

So what did I do with all those hot peppers?  Some of them got put into a tasty hot sauce.  It's a cooked sauce with onions, ginger, thyme, garlic, tomatoes - it's hot but not death-tongue hot.  Delicious!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shetler Dairy

I met with the nice folks at Shetler Dairy yesterday.  They are a local, family owned dairy and creamery who produce amazing, hormone-free milk in thick glass bottles, and small batch ice cream.  I will be buying my milk from them to make cheese.  They have a great farm and farm store, and some of the baby animals were hanging out enjoying the sunshine.  They treat their animals with the utmost care and respect, which was a vital prerequisite in my choosing a milk wholesaler.


Monday, September 27, 2010

free hot peppers

Friends, if any of you would like some hot peppers, please e-mail me and I will send you an envelope of organic jalapeno, super chili habanero and banana peppers, straight outta Kingsley.  Most of you who read this blog know me personally, so just e-mail me.  

mutant carrot #9 - the last of the MCs

I found this last mutant carrot in the compost pile, partially eaten by a deer.
One for the road!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday mexican feast

Power sister Megan came over today for some motorcycle riding and Mexican food

Potato cake, chile rellenos, mushroom empanadas and green rice 

Beautiful Megan with Goldie

Thursday, September 23, 2010

final tomatoes + peppers

such great colors

into a gigantic pot of marinara sauce

both so hot and spicy

Night shades

Night Ranger

eat small + grow your own

the big barn and pasture

I attended a lecture offered by the Michigan Land Use Institute last night on the topic of safe food handling procedures on farms.  It was a fascinating topic, and while I applied it to producing cheese here on my tiny farm, there was so much to learn about how all of us eat, handle food, and the farm to table journey that all  of our food makes.  We learned staggering facts about food poisoning, how bacteria make their way from the farm into our bodies, and what we can do about it.  A lot of the information pertained to produce growers or farms who have both livestock and crops, but here are some of the biggest impressions I came away with:

  • Buy and eat as locally as you can; grow what you can, keep the road from farm to table short
  • Be fastidiously clean:  wash your hands a lot, wash the food, keep it cold, clean the kitchen
  • Try to know where the food you are feeding your family came from as much as possible
There is so much in the media about this subject so you've heard all of these things before, but it's all really true.  The Federal Government is really turning the screws this year and next on food safety regulations, which is good news.  Most all food recalls in this country are from large-scale Ag producers, which is all the more reason to try to buy your produce and food locally, from small producers.  Eat small - eat locally - grow your own - cook at home - wash your hands!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

putting up green tomatoes

To 'put by' or 'put up' is an early nineteenth century way of saying to save something you don't have to use now, against the time when you'll need it.  You still hear it today from old-time country people, and applied to food, it is prudence and involvement and a return to the old simplicities. 

into 4 pints of green tomato relish 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

collards like pillow cases

One of my gigantic collard green plants.  I have been doing lots of end of season work in the garden this week, pulling spent plants, weeding, composting.  The collards, cabbage, brussel sprouts and cauliflower will be fine well past the frost and into the Fall - even improving with the colder weather.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Video by Dahlia Elsayed

My close friend Dahlia has been picked as a finalist in the highly competitive Guggenheim Museums open call for video art.  Here is a link to the article about it in the New York Times, as well as her video. 


Sunday, September 19, 2010

sky study #14

September 17, 2010

more tomatoes

Another load of tomatoes from the garden - this isn't even all of them.  I chopped them up and froze them.

Indian feast

Megan had an Indian food dinner party last night - we made (clockwise from top) basmati rice, coconut pumpkin curry, saag paneer, fresh chapati, and cauliflower pakora with tomato chutney.  After dinner she served some rose water and cardamon sweets with orange liqueur spiked chai -  yum!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

first eggs!

I found the first eggs this week!  Here they are, and they weren't even that small as I had heard they would be.  And who was the inaugural egg layer?  Whitey!  She is a Leghorn, the only white egg layer  in the flock.  She didn't lay them in the nesting boxes, rather in a feed trough down under this place where they like to sleep in their coop.  I saw the layers of the brown eggs, because they were sitting in the box beside each other laying them together - Goldie + Red.   It is pure magic to go out and pick up fresh farm eggs from your own hens.

Friday, September 17, 2010

funny signs near Kingsley

I pass this last sign when I drive to Traverse City.  People have defaced it several times, in humorous ways, and it's always cleaned up the next day.  Did Jesus take my punishment over there?  Am I suppose to go over there because Jesus took my punishment?  What was my punishment?  I'm confused.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

the weed wagon

Certain parts of the garden became overgrown with a pretty, white flowering weed this year.  It attracted butterflies and honey bees, smelled good and was easy to remove, but there was just so MUCH of it.  I've been doing lots of harvest + end of season gardening this week, and have cart-fulls of the stuff, which I dry in piles and burn.  It grows in my neighbors gardens too, but we don't see it growing naturally in the pastures, just inside the vegetable gardens.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

nice melons

Here is my entire crop of cantaloupe from the garden.  They are cute but inedible - not sure why they didn't grow any bigger.  The chickens will dine on mini melon tonight!

Monday, September 13, 2010

all I did on Sunday was cook

Marinara sauce and tomato chutney

marinated roasted peppers

Puffball mushroom and onion quiche

sky study #13

September 9, 2010

David took this one

Sunday, September 12, 2010

trick my coop

David + I put up a raised roosting branch for the chickens.  By nature, all birds sleep as high off the ground as possible, and the older my hens have gotten, they fly up to the very tops of the timbers in their coop, and all huddle together on the highest part of the roosts to sleep.  So we got a pine bough from the woods and hung it up high for them, and they slept on it last night.

Pretty picture of the girls in the sun

David's iPhone picture of Buffy, Siver, Silver + Whitey in the coop

more puff balls

We found more edible puff ball mushrooms in the grass by the small barn the other day.  David washed these and they look like rocks.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

never forget

From the subway station at World Trade Center - they put up an art exhibit of work by kids who had lost people in the attacks, and this one moved me a lot.  I walked by it twice daily when I worked at American Express in New York City, WFC3, 51st floor.  I couldn't even look at it for very long or I'd get too sad.

Please remember today.

the best farm sitter

kissin' farmers

beautiful alex

in the herb garden (look how big the hops have grown!)

Power friends David + Alex stayed at the farm while I was in L.A. and did a perfect job of looking after the animals, garden and grounds.  We did a bunch of work in the garden yesterday and picked this beautiful harvest, a pile of tomatoes, cabbage, squash, collards, peppers, cukes and the first cauliflower.  He is one of my oldest friends, and one of the funniest, best people I know.  Farm sitting is hard work and I couldn't have left it in better hands.  David can build a mean bonfire, too.

when rabbits attack

This isn't the best picture, but I am trying to show the neat double puncture wound on my pinkie, inflicted by Bunny Lee.  The chickens have been sticking their heads through her cage trying to eat her kibble, so I reached in to push the food dish out of their reach and she gave me a quick, clean, really painful bunny bite.  Bunny has no aggression in her at all, but I think she was scared and probably thought I was a pilfering chicken, so I don't blame her.

Bunny says I still love you

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The City of Angels

Just came back from visiting power friends Agnes + Jim in Los Angeles for the past 5 days.  We had a great time!

Some of the amazing food we ate

The gorgeous lunch at the Sonoma Wine Bar in Santa Monica

Green corn tamales at El Chollo in Los Angeles

Mmmm...pitcher of margueritas

Agnes and her spicy noodle soup in Japantown, Los Angeles.  You could order the spice level between 1-7 (we wimpily ordered 6) If you ordered a #1 (hottest) soup and could eat it in 30 minutes, they took your photo and put you in their "gallery of courage".  

Greek salad at Alexis in Northridge

Wine bottles hanging from the ceiling of Dan Tana's, West Hollywood.  We had a great, traditional Italian dinner here.  The place was pack jammed with film industry exec types and was great for people watching

We went hiking in beautiful Runyon Canyon, which has miles of trails and as many dogs as there are people enjoying the scene

Graffiti cactus

I love L.A.!