Dark Winter

We are now headed into a season that I love. Most people don’t love it. Dark Winter is not technically a season or even a term, (at least not one that I know of), but it’s just one that feels comfortable to me.

March is when seed starting begins, May is when chick raising begins, and June/July is when the hogs arrive on the farm. By the end of November the pigs are to the processor, and the chickens are all in the freezer, apart from our enthusiastic young layers who are laying eggs like crazy! This is when the quiet settles in and the short days, to me, are welcome. It is a time to restore, to do things slower, to cook hearty and warming foods, and to not think of Spring planning till the fire is roaring, the farm is covered in snow and the new year has passed. We are at 9 hours of light right now, and that will decrease a bit yet till it begins to slowly turn around as the new year approaches. There is a feel to these days, that is hard for me to explain, but suffice to say I appreciate it in it’s own right.

We have not had a lot of snow yet, oddly we did in late October, and that is when this snowy cow picture was taken.

Funny, the Highlands could care less about the snow. It piles on their backs and they still prefer to be out in it rather than duck into the the covered area for refuge.

I finished the Sumac project. In my last post I showed the Sumac clusters that my brother-in-law so kindly gathered for me. Here is the powdered Sumac and the remaining seed that was left after the powder was sieved out. The Za’atar seasoning I made with it turned out delicious. It was fun to make something from WI Sumac to give during Winter gift giving season.

I also made these Sumac pickled onions. They are delicious on sandwiches and in salads.

This photo collage was taken on a very cold day, one that was perfect for hiding out inside making “loaded baked potato soup”. I used Turkey broth from the Thanksgiving bird as the base. Then added some of our potatoes, bacon, dried red peppers, garlic, foraged ramps, sage, dried celery and garlic. The fire was going all day, and between that and the soup simmering we were toasty warm inside.

So much Thanksgiving broth!

This is such a good time to fill the shelves. The broth making process warms the kitchen so nicely! I am loving having, ready to eat foods on the shelves. Irish Beef Stew, Loaded Baked Potato Soup, Hearty Hamburger Stew, French Onion Soup, Pasta with Meat Sauce, all kinds of beans and more. The other day I mixed a quart of the Irish Beef Stew with a quart of French Onion Soup, then added a few carrots, some dried celery, some small potatoes and dried mushrooms. The flavor for this beef soup was so rich and good!

This was the very last of the Thanksgiving turkey. It turned out delicious!

Sourdough tear and share rolls. I think I am wearing out my favorite sourdough cookbook! Every recipe I try from it is great!

Nope these are not mini marshmallows. It was a first attempt at making noodles for throwing in soup, but due to technical difficulties on my first batch, I ended up making mini dumplings. They puffed up nicely in the soup.

Beautiful pheasant feathers! Hubs went pheasant hunting last month. He really enjoyed it. Our honey farmer took him with and they did well.

The cleaned pheasant.

Despite the cold the Fall/Winter Spinach is still doing well. Winter salads are a huge treat!

Our new hens are working overtime! In 7 years of raising birds, we have yet to have a double yolk, but in the last month we have had 2 double Yolkers!

Trying to make good use of the eggs while we are getting 40 a week is the name of the game. This week I was able to sell 4 dozen, hardboiled 2 dozen, pickled some of the hard boiled eggs, and then made a large quiche. I am now caught up with production!

Progress shot. The Fireplace is beautiful and the room is really coming along. I believe we actually may sit in there some day!

It is now that season, Winter festivities, holidays and so many delicious goodies. Yesterday was a fun baking day with my daughter. We are ahead of the game this year!