Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

friendship fountain weekend

Had a friendship fountain weekend at the farm!

Betsey in the pool


Buffy + the chicks are doing great

I ♡ Raquel

dried peppers

Boss Baise

Sunset Saturday, August 27

Friday, August 26, 2011


this week's garden harvest - purple bell pepper, a million colors of tomatoes, red cabbage

Yellow tomato chutney

Thursday, August 25, 2011

all that Wisconsin cheese

These are the cheeses I brought home from my trip to Wisconsin:

  • a Wisconsin version of Caerphilly, which is traditionally made in Wales, and I've only ever seen in NYC cheese shops.  It's like super creamy Cheddar
  • Dry jack - an aged, smokey Monterray jack cheese made in California - it's one of my faves and hard to find outside mail order
  • Green County is the dairy county of Wisconsin, and they make a sweet Swiss that tastes a lot like Boss Mouse sweet Swiss
  • the red labeled blocks are 2 pounds of Limburger, that fabled, delicious stinky cheese - you will be surprised that you like it and it's not as weird as you think
  • the black wrapped one is a super strong, award winning 4 year old Cheddar
  • a package of the end pieces of smoked Swiss -the best part!
  • bandaged Cheddar - strong, dry and perfect - the cheese is first greased then wrapped in cheesecloth for aging

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

one less chick

Pucci killed one of the chicks last night - I was burning scrap wood in the burn barrel, so I cremated the little peep.  They are still small enough to squeeze through the fence, and she got to it - in a week or two they'll be too big to go through, and safer for it.  Pucci was just being a dog.

the wisdom of the 70s

I bought this 1973 book at a thrift shop this week - check out the graphics, especially the mini people perched atop gigantic fruits and vegetables

Author and apparent health food "guru" Lynn Skreczko has a lot to say, and looks an awful lot like how I picture Sammy Hagar looking in his high school senior picture.  The book is actually great - lots of raw food wisdom and quotes like this:

"Food is life; life is food.  As you become more sensitive to food and your relationship to everything that's around you, something wonderful happens.  You become a very special person.  Your peace shows; you love shows."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

what I did with all those blackberries

2 quarts of home made blackberry ice cream: I swirled in the last of the jar of 2010 blackberry jam for extra fruit-streaked goodness.

best green beans

This is my favorite way  to cook green beans.  It's super easy:
  • Saute a few chopped cloves of garlic in a few glugs of olive oil
  • Add a small can of anchovies with their oil (trust me on this.)  Cook all together until the anchovies break up and become a paste
  • Add 3 or 4 cups of canned crushed tomatoes, chopped fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce, whatever you have
  • Add 1-1½ lbs of green beans and cook with the lid on medium-low heat.  If they get a little dry, add some water.  They are absolutely delicious and don't worry, the anchovies become a salty, rich flavor that isn't fishy whatsoever - I served mine with some cod fish on top.

Monday, August 22, 2011

chick check in

The babies and their happy Mama at one week.

Sunday foraging

Our berry picking belts full of fruit - the woods are full of blackberries right now

It was a beautiful day!  Here is the West pasture in the daytime.

My scratched up legs from berry picking in shorts - what was I thinking?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

a blaze of tomato glory

bowl of heirloom, cherry and paste tomatoes from the garden

The damaged tomatoes go to the hens, who love them

Saturday, August 20, 2011

sky study #46

Sunset over the West pasture Friday, August 19 - it looked like the sky was on fire.

goodnight little one

Came home and found the little chick dead yesterday - she passed away safe and warm.  I wrapped her in a big sunflower and buried her in the woods.  

Friday, August 19, 2011

yummy venison

Pucci found a deer leg in the woods and brought it back to the farm where she lays down and gnaws on it every time she goes outside.  Delicious.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

chicken little

So the little peep that I helped hatch last night was alive this morning, cheeping and alert so I left for work, only to come home and find her close to death.  Her siblings were out in the hen yard with Buffy, but she was inside, alone, face down in the bedding.  I picked her up, warmed her up and got her to drink some water, which seemed to revive her.  I brought her in the house and will nurse her myself, under the heat lamp, with hand feeding.  I've been checking her body temperature with my digital cheese thermometer.  Poor little thing - send some good healing thoughts her way.

and then there were 9

Today the chick count is at 9!  They are a variety of breeds and colors - they remind me of my own hens when they were babies.  They follow Buffy around the hen house and yard and are insanely cute.

I found a partially hatched chick in the trough where Buffy had moved the chicks for a few days.  She was half hatched but all alone in the trough, so I pulled the rest of the shell off of her and she was alive, breathing and moving, so I put her underneath Buffy with the others - if she makes it through the night I think she'll be alright.

Buffy is like an umbrella - all the chicks crawl underneath her and you can't see them at all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Vinsetta lives on

My Hungarian immigrant Grandfather Mike Kurta Sr. built Vinsetta Garage in 1919.  My Dad and his siblings were raised in an apartment in the back of the building, and many members of my family and I worked there throughout the years.  My Dad ran it until selling the business in the 1990s.  Our family is delighted at this good news!

"The vintage Vinsetta Garage on Woodward Avenue in Berkley will be reborn next spring as a restaurant serving "great, big, comfort food," says Clarkston restaurateur and co-owner Curt Catallo.  But admirers of the old garage, built in 1919, should have no fear that its historic look will be lost. The outside won't be changed, other than possibly stripping the paint off the bricks, and the "raw industrial vibe" of the interior will be scrupulously preserved, says Catallo, whose wife, Ann Stevenson, is designing the project."
Full article here

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

baby announcement

The chicks are hatching! 

There are three so far…in the center of this photo is a very new chick who is only half out of the shell - it's so exciting!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wisconsin weekend

I spent this past weekend in Wisconsin!

I traveled on The SS Badger, the historic coal burning ferry that connects Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin.  The ship was built in 1953 and is an enormous, vintage beauty.  It's a 4 hour, 60 mile trip across the lake.

People sleeping on loungers - there is a lot ot do on board:  they have bars, a movie theater, gift shop, lots of food and Badger Bingo.

This is the largest crane in the world - built in Manitowoc

I visited the Maritime Muesum and toured the World War II submarine 
SS Cobia (on the right)  It was so fascinating - if you ever have a chance to tour a WW2 sub, I recommend it.

Dinner at Baumgartners in Monroe - limburger cheese sandwiches!

I came home with lots of cheese from one of my favorite cheese shops - Brennan's in Monroe.

Friday, August 12, 2011

the blackberries

My Dad made me a berry picking belt, fashioned from an ice cream container and adjustable belt fastened with screws.  He said my Grandpa, master farmer Mike Kurta Sr., used to use one like this to pick berries, so that both your hands can be free to work.  

I used it this afternoon to gather these - the blackberries in the woods are just starting to ripen

And who wants gummy bears when you can have Haribo gummy berries - they look so authentic

Thursday, August 11, 2011

rainbow tomatoes from the garden

yellow cherries 

first purple Cherokees

steady swinging

My Dad, master of fix-it, made the barn swing even better by replacing the seat with a wider, sturdier board, and steadied it with metal supports so it doesn't tip backwards when you sit on it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Scottish honey

Vintage beach photo of my Mom, on the left, and Aunt Betty, Michigan, 1960.

greens + beans

Everybody knows they should be eating more leafy greens vegetables, but how do you cook them into anything delicious to eat?  Here's how.

White Beans with Greens

2 bunches greens (kale, chard, collard greens, spinach - any combo)
1 can white beans (cannelini, great northern, any white bean)
a few cloves garlic, chopped up
olive oil
broth or stock - any kind

Saute the garlic in a few glugs of olive oil - add coarsely chopped greens, some broth, put the lid on and steam the greens until tender.  Add the beans and season with salt + pepper.  Serve with red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese, like pasta.  Have a glass of red wine - so easy, good for you and delicious.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

return of the killer

I was out in the garden this morning and saw the fox at the edge of the woods - Pucci chased her off.  I hadn't seen the fox for months, but will not be putting the chickens or Bunny Lee outdoors for a while.