Wednesday, October 1, 2014

CC Post: Autumn in the Coop

Take a photo tour of our farm and coop in early Autumn with my latest Community Chickens post Autumn in the Coop.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

CC Post: The Amazing Feather

Check out my new Community Chickens post all about chicken feathers. (Just in time for moulting season!) The Amazing Feather.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Early Autumn Brings a Change of Pace

The freezer is quickly filling with the last treasures that the garden will produce. I think it's going to be an early end to tomato season. The plants produced a ton of fruit all at once, and are already dying back. The zucchini are slowing down as are the cucumbers. I still have two cabbages that I'd like to turn into sauerkraut, Brussel spouts that we'll probably eat out right and another picking of beans.

Our pumpkin patch is so disappointing. We focused this spring on getting the hay equipment fixed and ready to go and unfortunately we didn't get our pumpkins planted in the quantity I wanted. We only have a handful for decorating, eating and carving. Next year...things will be different! I'm really missing those beautiful orange globes.

As the garden duties wane, and the days are getting cooler, I've been craving time at my spinning wheel. Something about the fall makes me want to get my hand on our beautiful Mohair wool from the goats.

I've been adding roving and yarn to our Etsy shop each day.

Zach has been taking advantage of the cooler temperatures as well to spend some time in the heat of the forge.

He's been creating some new items like this pair of rustic candle holders. He also hopes to have some new scarf pin designs available for fall.

The Autumnal decorations are slowly making their way around the house. When my mom came over last week to make zucchini bread she also helped me arrange this sunflower wreath,

inspired by the beautiful sunflower fields we've been visiting this year.

I'm also working on a new Autumn-themed coloring book that I hope to have printed by the end of September.

I enjoy sitting with my sketch pad in the evenings creating Fall images that I hope your children will enjoy coloring. As the coloring book comes along, I will post some free pages that you can print out at home.

Lots of new things happening on the farm. Is Autumn coming where you live? If yes, what changes does the new season bring to your home and family?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Freezing Blueberries

Last weekend we had a wonderful time picking blueberries with my mother-in-law. We visited a local orchard and took the hay wagon out to the blue berry patch. The berries were small but delicious! Between the three of us we picked 7-8 pounds of berries, though Mom picked as much as Zach and I put together.

The orchard also had some beautiful grapes
I love blueberries in all sorts of baked goods, in fact I've already made a batch of scones. They were devoured...didn't have a prayer.

But mostly I wanted these berries for smoothies. I enjoy frozen berry smoothies in the morning mixed with almond or raw goat milk, honey, raw goji berries, cacao powder and spinach.

I wanted to have the option of pulling out a handful of frozen berries without having to thaw out the whole bag. So here's what I did.

I washed the blueberries three times in a colander submerged in a bowl of water. I'd dunk and drain the berries, swishing around with my hands. 

Then laid them out on a clean towel to dry.

Then I placed them in a single layer on several cake pans to freeze for about 2-3 hours. When frozen I bagged them up and placed them back in the freezer. This method keeps the berries from freezing together in a solid clump.

For more on our harvest this year check out my video.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Zucchini Bread

My family has been making this recipe for as long as I can remember, and many generations before that. The recipe comes from an old pea-green cookbook with the cover tore off. It has typewriter print and many many years of stains and finger prints. My mom has the cookbook now, but before I moved into my own home I copies all of my favorite family recipes and I now have a binder full of them.

One of my favorite recipes is this Zucchini Bread. It's nothing special as far as uniqueness, just a good, hearty, moist loaf that bakes consistently every time. Every year, around zucchini time my mom and I pick a day and knock out as many loaves as we can. They freeze wonderfully! If I know company is coming over, I pull out a loaf the night before and let it thaw on the counter overnight. It's always as delicious as the day we baked them.

Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 cup cooking oil (vegetable etc.)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

2 heaping cups peeled, cored (scrape out the seeds) and grated zucchini

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease loaf pans. Whisk together wet ingredients. Stir in zucchini. Add dry ingredients, raisins and walnuts. Mix until well incorporated. Divide dough between two loaf pans. Bake 60 minutes.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Learn the Art of Spinning Yarn

I'd like to welcome all of you that have an interest in spinning to participate in a new class that I'm offering here at our farm. Introduction to the Art of Spinning.

When I first started spinning it was a gamble. I thought I would like spinning, I hoped I would like spinning, but there was no real opportunity for me to try it out, to see if it was for me before I made the leap and purchased an expensive spinning wheel.

Luckily I now love spinning and the wheel was well worth the investment, but there were times in the beginning when I thought I would never get the hang of things. I had no one I could pose questions to, I literally didn't know a soul who spun yarn.

After years of practice, gathering tid-bits of information and many, many skeins of yarn later I now know that spinning is something I was made to do and I love it!

I love the whole process; from raising our fiber goats who give us mohair, shearing them each spring and fall, to washing, carding, dyeing and spinning their wool,... it's an incredible, satisfying process.

It's my hope that through offering this spinning class that I can do my part to help spread the Art of Spinning to others, and give this interesting, yet dying skill a chance at a come back.

For more information on the specifics of the class please click the link Learn the Art of Spinning or visit the "Art of Spinning" tab at the top of the blog.