Friday, November 27, 2009

Giving Thanks

I am thankful for...Maine Man of course! Without this man this farmhouse and land would be merely that. He is what makes this farm a FARM! What would we do without his know how to fix and do just about anything, his can do attitude, and his strong work ethic?
He truly is OUR HERO!
I am thankful for... Ms. Turkey who gave her life to nourish ours yesterday and for days to come.

I am thankful for....the bounty of our harvest!

I am thankful for....the kids next door who add great joy to my children's lives!

I am thankful for....these stinky little pigs. Barbie & Que. It is so nice to never have a scrap of food go to waste.

I am thankful for...our 20 little laying hens. By far one of the most efficient animals to have. Nothing like going out to feed them and returning to the house with a basket full of eggs for breakfast. Immediate gratification, I'm all about that!

I am thankful....that we are able to raise most of the meat we eat!

I am thankful for...these two munchkins!
For...helping Dad the other night get dinner ready and do dishes
For...being each others best friend (all though some days you may not admit)
For...being considerate & kind to others
For...doing so good in school gratitude to the animals you eat each night at the dinner table
For...helping your Dad process the animals, you know how spleeny mom is ;)
For...being the BEST kids a Mom & Dad could ever ask for.
For...being yourselves!
There is SO much more to be thankful for but it's getting late and I will end this post with a BIG
THANKS to all my family. I would not be where I am or the person I've become without your love, support, and guidance!
Lastly I am thankful for... ALL my friends, both live and virtual! I am fortunate to have such a great support network!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Great Pumpkin

This years pumpkin crop was not as big as we anticipated. Last year we had enough for the kids to set up a stand and make a few bucks. I really can't complain because we still had plenty for ourselves, some to give away, and the rest went to the pigs.

The kids made a few jack o' lanterns and I cooked some up and froze it.

We cooked up some seeds tossing them with a bit of olive oil and sea salt. Next year I'll be sure to try Don's recipe for pumpkin seeds. This post is also a great tutorial for making pumpkin puree for anyone that may be interested in learning more. Up until last year I had no idea that you could just cook up any old pumpkin. Regardless, next Spring I will try and grow some pumpkins specific for cooking in hopes of a richer flavor and smaller pumpkins for easier handling.

I put 20 bags in the freezer. I have cooked two dishes with it since. A tasty pumpkin custard that the whole family enjoyed and the other night I cooked up a delicious pumpkin soup that
I will make again for sure. Here is the link

and the recipe...

Simple Pumpkin Soup

1/2 cup onion

3T. butter

2 cups of mashed cooked pumpkin (or canned)

1 teas salt

1 T sugar

1/4 teas nutmeg

1/4 teas ground pepper

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup of half and half (can use fat free)

Those are not exactly the steps I took. I removed both the chicken stock & the pumpkin from the freezer and thawed them in my crock pot. Then I added spices & cooked onions. After a few hours I ran it all through my food processor to chop up the pumpkin a bit more. In addition to the above spices I added 3/4 tablespoon of cumin, meant to add curry but it still tasted good.
Perfect soup for the season!

Monday, November 16, 2009

2009 Tally

This past year I tried desperately to keep a tally of all the food we produced here on the farm and gathered from mother nature. Well I tell you, I failed miserably! I was able to keep track of most of the meat we put up but there was no way that I could track all the fruits & vegetables.

In addition to grocery shopping in the garden nightly this summer we picked lots of wild raspberries, domestic raspberries, and a few strawberries & blueberries. Next summer's fruit harvest should be more plentiful. The kids and I also went strawberry picking a couple times and froze all we could. For the second year in a row I bought 20lbs of Maine blueberries from a local. You can't beat the price or the taste!

I froze what I could from the garden including beets, cabbage, beet greens, swish chard, green beans, peas, pumpkin, and rhubarb. I canned dill pickles, zucchini pickles & relish, an beets. In cold storage we put up onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, yukon golds, hubbard and buttercup squash. The eggs tally lasted until mid July and the count left off at 3373 eggs. We eat lots, give plenty away and sell to a few locals.

Here is our meat tally. Keep in mind all of the chicken & turkey we put up are on the bone.

Rabbits - 10lbs (still have 7 full grown meat rabbits to put up or sell)

Ducks - 13 lbs (we have 8 Muscovies that we intended to eat but have become attached to and 3 Khaki Campbells) They will reside in the greenhouse this winter. I will be posting about that as soon as it is complete.

Fish - 6lbs (this is inaccurate, it is the only # I had written down, I did not do a good job tracking this....oops)

Pork - 270lbs

Turkey-82 lbs

Venison- 88lbs (thanks to Maine Man. I did get a shot at one for a first this year but I missed :(.... couple weeks left in the season.

Chicken - 423lbs (we have 15 Cornish Rocks roosters left in the barn that probably weigh at least 8lbs dressed) Seeing how we have no more freezer space or the need for any more meat MM will do the deed this week and we will give to family. Early Merry Christmas ;)

Partridge/ Woodcock - I forgot to track....

Total Tally - 892 lbs (after MM takes care of the broilers and the rabbits we should be up over 1000lbs. I will update the tally when all is complete)

We gave some meat to family& friends. Some we bartered for homemade wine & cider. The rest will nourish our family right through a good portion of 2010.

Not only did we raise all these animals but Maine Man processed 100% of the meat. He really lives up to his name!

Interestingly, we tried to sell the last of the rabbits and cornish rocks and nobody was interested.(I didn't even mention prices) I also offerred one of our grown pigs to a family member for free and they declined. The basic reason is because nobody wants to do the deed. I can't say I blame them because I am have never been interested in that either. Give me the meat, I'll package but I'm quite all set with the rest. Although the more I get into this lifestyle the more I think... well maybe. Funny how you acclimate to your surroundings. A couple years back I would not even considered it. Heck, I go hunting. Not sure how I'd feel if I shot one but hopefully someday I'll find out. It is kind of sad how much we have distanced ourselves from killing animals for food. Some can barely even recognize meat as living animals that were killed for their consumption. :(

P.S. We also put up 4 quarts and 1 pint of maple syrup. Can't wait to tap more trees next year!
Not sure if I'll keep a running tally next year but I am glad I (somewhat) I did this year.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Homemade Earring Hanger

I'll start to by giving credits to my friend Mary for the original idea. She made me an earring rack several years back. I've used it every day since! So I decided to experiment and make a couple of my own. Since they came out ok I plan to make a few for Christmas presents.
My daughter & I put the above two together. We went to a thrift store to pick up the frames then over to the hardware store to buy black fiberglass screening. (84ft for $6)
Then we stapled the screening onto the back. Easy, inexpensive, useful project.
The above rack now holds my earrings (picture is a little sideways...oops!)
If you click on the picture it will enlarge. Most of the earrings were also made by Mary.
Crafty lady, isn't she?
This is Flower Girl's. Pretty funky earrings for a 7 year old. Trust me, she is not allowed to wear some of them in public.

I will end this post with a couple random links I'd like to refer back to and for you to explore if you desire.
Making liquid soap - I'd love to give a try at this sometime. I am going to attempt making bar soap soon, I've done it once before.
Blueberry Gateau - made this recipe the other day..... yummy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

To a Child Love is spelled T-I-M-E

After dropping the kids of at school this morning I was suddenly overcome with emotion. There is just no love like the love you have for your children! Today I came across this brief video, within moments I was in tears. For those of you who like myself always strive to be a better parent please take a moment to watch, it is inspiring!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Making Cider

I was recently invited to a friends to make some apple cider. Don't think I'd pass up that offer, do you?

I was a great experience! Can you guess what I've added to my "I want list"?
Maine Man says he can make me one. Do any of you have a homemade press?


The kids joined us after school.

Left to Right
Kim (me) , Diane, Kim, Kim, & Gail
GRAND TOTAL= 22 gallons
We figured it cost approximately $1.00 a gallon to make.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stocking Up

We chuckled as our friend backed in our yard to return our chicken plucker and this is what filled his pick-up. 50 cases of canning jars. Hannaford was selling 1 quart cases for $2.50 and 1 pint cases for $2.00. The best part is he sold me some! I bought $28 worth (12 cases). BARGAIN!!!!
Speaking of the chicken plucker that was the 4 or 5th time we have lent it out and MM has used it several times. We have made our money back+++ . The kids and MM just did up 70 Cornish rocks.
For anyone new to reading this blog MM built a chicken plucker a while back, the post is here.
According to my traffic feed that I occasionally peak at this is the #1 post visited. The second most is another of MM's post is how to skin a pig. Funny how the only 2 posts he has ever done are the most popular. Well he has been talking about building a wind turbine so if and when that ever happens I am sure he'll post about. So lucky to have such a handy man!