Friday, August 27, 2010

Everybody has a Secret.......

...........Hiding place that is. A few evenings a week I often retreat into my secret spot for a quite moment. Sometimes even accompanied by a cold one ;) for a moment of sanity. This is my view from the hay loft. I never tell when I am going and rarely does anyone come looking for me. I think for fear of being assigned a chore or two, lol!

It was difficult to get a good shot of her but she's always in the door sill working her magic night after night. I tell the kids our barn is Charlotte's paradise. I can remember in my younger years visiting farms and as we toured the barns I would always think to myself, "If I had this place I'd clean it up, dust out all these cob webs and wash the windows a bit." Only now I know why they aren't all shiny clean. If you have a barn that is truly being used for it's sole purpose you probably don't have time. Funny how those webs don't seem to bother me anymore :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Making Cream Style Corn & Shepard's Pie

Last Christmas Maine Man bought me this wooden corn cutter & creamer.
This week he put it to use as we currently have an abundance of corn.
You can do the same work with a knife but I have a slight obsession with kitchen gadgets. Among other things.......magazines, books, bags, to name a few ;)
Cream Style Corn
  • 12 ears of corn with kernels and juice removed. (If you do not have a cutter use a knife to cut and run the back part of the knife down the cobs to get some of the juice out)
  • melt 1/3 cup of butter in a pan
  • add corn & enough water to make a gravy consistency
  • add 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • bring to boil and cook for 5 minutes
  • simmer for 20 minutes = THE BEST CREAM-STYLE CORN YOU HAVE EVER joke!

I even had enough to freeze a couple containers.....we will be loving this in the dead of winter!

The next night I cooked it up and added it to what MM said it truly was the "best Shepard's Pie ever." That meant a lot because he as you know is my biggest critic!

Not sure how you all cook Shepard's Pie but this is how I do it. The bottom layer I usually use a combination of cream style corn & whole kernel but in this case I made my own. For the next layer I sauteed some onions and cooked up some deer hamburg. The final layer is mashed potatoes (fresh red potatoes dug from the garden). On top a dab of butter with a handful of shredded cheese. Bake @ 400 for 30minutes.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Random Tid Bits of Our Life

No real agenda for this posts just some random photos from the last time I downloaded my camera.

Ate the first spaghetti squash of the season.

Split it, remove seeds, cut in half lengthwise, cook until tender (approx 350 degrees for 45 min)
Remove from oven, stir up with fork, add butter, s & p, and shredded cheese
Heat a little longer then serve.....DELISH!

Would LOVE to hear how others cook theirs up!!

Canning is a whole lot of work but well worth the effort!

Kids have been working on a cabin... gotta love their paint job

Damn tomato hornworms! I joked about hatching one on facebook and my gardening
friends were less then

BEST tomato harvest yet! I have made a couple different batches of spaghetti sauce, cream of tomato soup and Maine Man made some tasty salsa.

BEST pepper season as well.

Confessions: I did not know until about 1 years ago that red peppers are just green peppers that are on the plant longer.

I didn't know you could grow Bay leaves in Maine either....until I saw a plant at the farmer's market last summer. I bought the last one. I kept it inside throughout the winter and this summer it has been thriving in the hoop house.

We've been eating lots of corn on the cob.

Hubbard squash

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Life

Yesterday morning I went out to the barn to discover one of our Muscovy Mommas had hatched out 26 ducklings.
I couldn't believe my eyes! We have 3 adult females & 1 drake. This is our 4th hatching this season. The first one hatched 2, then 5, then, 4. 26 has to be a record ;) They are adorable. We never bore of new life on the farm.

Her way of letting me know I am getting a bit to close for her likings.

With a little time and effort she manages to cover them over quite well.
Have you ever heard of a duck hatching out so many babies?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Chicken Stock

We eat chicken on average of once or twice a week. Since we have been raising our own chickens (the last 2-3 year) we've always froze most of them whole limiting our chicken variations to baked, rotisserie, or in the crock pot. After we eat and I pick whatever remaining chicken off I always place the remains (bones) in a ziploc in the freezer to eventually make up a chicken stock in my my crock pot. I fill my crock with a couple chicken carcasses, carrots, celery, onions, bay leaves, peppercorns & fresh or dried herbs and let it simmer over night. I'd keep some in the fridge for immediate use and freeze the remaining broth. The last batch of chickens Maine Man processed I asked that he would part them out. I had been really craving some boneless BBQ chicken. He parted out all but 3-4 of 20. I was left with lots of bones so I made up a humongous batch and canned chicken stock for the FIRST time ever. Woooo hoooo. The things that excite me!

Last year was my first year with a pressure canner. Before I had only processed food that only required open water bath such as pickles & relish. Confessions......I did not even dare eat the first batch of beets that I processed via pressure canner. The pigs have enjoyed them and nobody has contracted botulism ;) I think I am ok this year ;) I have also used the pressure canner to put up green beans for a first. Looking forward to doing a taste test with some of the green beans I've frozen.

This week I am on vacation so I hope to get a few posts in as I have been a little slack lately. We have absolutely NO plans so the week will be spent putting up harvest, planting fall crops, getting the kids ready for school (haircuts, etc..)

Off to pick tomatoes in the hoop house and make some spaghetti sauce. Enjoy your week!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Special Visitor

A couple posts back I mentioned that we were getting a visitor from inner city New York. We were united through the Fresh Air Fund. We were fortunate to get such a LOVELY young lady! She was a PERFECT fit with our family!

She helped in the gardens even cooked us breakfast two mornings in a row.

Obsessively picked eggs ;)

She even got to drive the tractor.

Play with Jesse

Catch her FIRST fish and MANY more thereafter.

Have the time of her life tubing

Swim for hours

Go out in the boat

Eat lobster

Join us in a very special event

in search of seashells & crabs

Our hope is to stay in touch and have her back again next year !