Planning for Winter?

asparagus

We have been enjoying a lot of Asparagus this season. In fact I will be freezing and pickling some of them today. The pickled Asparagus were one of our favorite pickled foods last year. What I won’t be pickling? Rhubarb! Although it yielded many, “oooh interesting” comments when it was tasted, it definitely was not as interesting after that second bite. Oh well, live and learn! I may have gotten a bit overexcited about canning last year! I will be doing a lot more freezing this year, but there are still things I will want to can for sure.

morels

The Morels were great this year. The season started out iffy, but improved as things warmed up. We have some in the freezer, not a lot but just enough for treats sprinkled throughout the year for occasions.

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We have also enjoyed so much tastiness this Spring. Unfortunately the photo isn’t great but the meal was!

I am still involved in the Local Bite Challenge, although, I’ve not been much of a participant with the group lately, because it is a very busy time for my Granola business, really granola but I have still been participating in the challenge! The challenge has made me think about things I hadn’t and has made me even more aware of local eating than I already was.

One of the ways we eat locally throughout the produce drought months of November to May, is through our Winter Storage Shares that we set up with our wonderful friend and neighbor who is an Organic farmer. He has a lot more garden space than we do. We have quite possibly the most awesome arrangement ever! Today we worked out our winter shares.We are set up for potatoes at 100 pounds, carrots at 50 pounds, onions at 40 pounds, 8 heads of cabbage, and he will also store our wild apples (I will pick him a matching amount to cover for the cold storage he is providing for us – he has a walk in cooler for his vegetable business.) This past winter our shares lasted like this…Potatoes lasted through May, Carrots through January – although our kind neighbor shared some of his share with us through about March, and our Onions sadly only lasted though December – there were not that many available). Today we set it all up and with these bumped up quantities it may provide us coverage for the year until these items are available fresh again. All the cost of this food will be traded to our neighbor in beef this summer when we take our first steer in and pork in the fall when the hogs go in to the butcher. It is a perfect arrangement and it is one of the ways we maintain our local eating and it feels very good and right for us.

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Now, after this yummy cherry drink (water, tart cherry juice from our frozen cherries and a bit of Black Walnut Syrup for sweetener) I will head outside for more planting!

…around the farm news

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Mama Fox lays in our driveway and watches her babies play in our old barn structure. They are sooooo cute!

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Our neighbor gives us his microgreen trays after he cuts them for customers, this is making for some very happy hens and definitely something to cluck about!

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A little bit of Spring and a lot of last Fall yet! The carrots and potatoes are the very last of my bartered winter share with my amazing neighbor. The Asparagus? A green gift of Spring. Soon it will be time to do more pickled asparagus it was a big favorite here!

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Just when I was ready to give up on wild onions, Hubby found them down in the camping area! Yay!

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Well this day’s search turned up no morel mushrooms, but we know they are out there… definitely more hunting ahead of us!

Chicken News: Bratty, Broody, and Peeps

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Bratty

So unfortunately this very pretty girl was pretty mean, and I could not seem to stop the coop wars, so the best resolution was to make dinner. After catching her in the act over and over, and seeing the one poor hen run every time she approached, it was time. I decided this time to skin the bird and not have to deal with the hot water and de-feathering but it turns out I would not do it again, too hard to find landmarks for cutting with all the feathers all over! Her new name is… Coq Au Vin.

 

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Interestingly, she had all these developing eggs inside her. We added them to a couple of regular eggs and had a delicious breakfast!

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Broody

Broody is the chicken that Bratty was picking on, you can see she is missing some feathers from her head. We started putting her into sick bay at night because that is when the Bratty was being mean, unfortunately, the change of light and location put her in a broody mode and each time we brought her back to the run in the morning, she would run into the nest box, in theory to keep her chick eggs warm (of course there were not any eggs) she would refuse to move, refused to eat and stayed there all day. She wouldn’t even roost at night. So I read on how to “break” a broody hen, I pushed her out of the box, which was not easy at all, because she’d glued herself in and wasn’t budging. After I finally pushed her out I put upside down buckets in the nesting boxes so she couldn’t get back in, and after 2 days she gave it up! Yay! Another victory for the greenhorns!

 

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Peeps

I might have bitten off a bit more than I should have with these 18 cockerels and 8 hens! They will be in the garage in this old watering tank for about 4-6 weeks then out on pasture in the new chicken tractor, for the next 6-8 and then they head straight to the freezer. The new hens will replace our remaining laying hens in the fall, and the current hens will become stewing hens. I forgot over the year what messy little chicks these are, so so so much poop, I will be glad when they get out on pasture!