Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Goings on

Yesterday I reported that there were "goings on" going on out there in the barnyard. Well. Its true.

These pictures just in. Miss Duck and OD the gander out there in the field. Its clearly a dangerous liaison.

You'll remember the scandal that ruined OD's career last year when he was romantically linked to Miss Dash. That barnyard bad boy just doesn't learn. He says that rehab is for chumps and the only drug he's on is called "OD." And he's a total rock star from Mars. And the only thing he's addicted to right now is winning.

In the meantime he's hired one of his drinking buddies to be his new PR guy and has been lining up dates for an upcoming tour. Its reported that he's going to take Miss Duck, who he calls his "goddess" on tour while he leaves his shocked mate, Penny the Goose at home to take care of the eggs. Sources close to his camp say that he's going to request full custody of the eggs. Penny and the other geese seem to be distancing themselves from this philandering gander but all "wish him well."

There's more to this story - stay tuned.

And don't forget Farm Friends Friday! Thanks to Verde Farms for this fun blog hop! Hop on over and check out new farm buddies.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Farm notes - planting, sitting ducks, and it's... Dead Nettle


Thanks for everyone who helped me identify this silly weed! Its Dead Nettle.

Also - I don't know about you but I'm shocked and saddened to hear about the storm damage in the South. I'm sure we all send our thoughts and prayers to the survivors and to the families who lost loved ones.
What the heck is this? Its something that I'm supposed to know - and our yard is lousy with it.. so can anybody identify it?

This purpley flowery stuff is everywhere!

I'm so glad our weather guy confirmed that I'm not crazy. We've had rain 13 of the last 14 days. Sigh. Between storms I've been out there trying to get a few things done.

Today's accomplishments included slogging around in the mud for most of the day and shoveling out the chicken house. And fighting with the goats to eat they hay they don't like. We are out of pure alfalfa and they have all turned up their noses at the "mix" hay. Everyone's milk production is down and they are all on my last nerve. I've been to 3 hay guys and still nothing suits those picky goats. The last guy allowed me to admire his lovely field of alfalfa - but of course he can't take it up until we get some dry days.

After the mid-day rain I got a few things potted up - some dahlias and some trays of seeds:

The three-row-tray has: Hungarian Sweet Peppers, Black Krim 'maters, and some seeds from a squash last fall, the 1/2 green and 1/2 yellow cushaw squash.

The two row tray has dwarf kale and Italian pole beans.

There may be some other news afoot - both Happy and Bianca/PigPen/Lady Gaga/Snowball seem to be setting nests! Happy was a singleton from last year and Bianca is the duck momma who hatched a clutch of chicken chicks a few weeks ago. She's also my best milking helper. Every night she peeps around the goat milking stand eagerly waiting for me to put some milk in her bucket. Its actually adorable. Since she didn't get the raise the babies she really wanted to set again. So I helped her out by putting more chicken eggs in her nest. She seems strong enough for another session on a nest - so we'll let her give it a try. And I'll keep her strength up with lots of milk.

Our momma goose, Penny, is still poorly but she's spending more time on her nest so hopefully she'll just sit down. OD the gander continues to chase Miss Duck around. I think there are "goings on" going on out there.

That's the news that's fit to print.

Happy Thursday everyone! Hope you are staying dry!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Two Goat Cheese-n-chive Scones - the best thing I've made lately

What a great use for what we've got....a TWO goat cheese-n-chive savory scone. They are the best thing I've made lately and you've got to try them. 

Feta and fresh goat cheese-n-chive scones - they are what's for breakfast!

Doesn't everyone love Farmgirl Fare? She has great recipes including these fantastic scones. The great thing about making these scones was that I used fresh goat cheese instead of butter (what you'd normally use) or cream cheese (as she suggested in her recipe). This really plays to our "use whatcha got" strategy. I think my cost of goods for this batch of scones was ....the price of the flour, spices, and baking powder so...not even $0.25? Everything else we had on hand or in the yard.

I altered the ingredients list from the original, this is what I used:

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled  - I used the feta cheese I made from our goat milk the other day
4 ounces fresh goat cheese - from what I started the other day and showed you here
A handful of fresh herbs - mostly chives and parsley
A big, fat grinding of black pepper

1 cup goat milk - actually it was about half a cup of cream and the rest whole goat milk
1 large duck egg (thanks Miss Duck!)

I almost didn't use the cream-n-egg glaze..but I was really glad I made the extra effort. They turned out beautifully.

You can see the cheesy goodness and how beautiful the fresh herbs look.

I thought What Katie Ate might be proud of my food styling! Ha! Did any of you farm friends chuckle a little at her interview - that she said sometimes she got up at 7 IN THE MORNING to start working on the recipes? Hee hee hee hee. That poor girl. I won't call her when the sun comes up before 5 and I'm out there working. (And to my pal L who does hair beautifully in Seattle - yes, that's five in the morning! Can you believe people get up that early! On purpose!)


We had these scones warm from the oven with more goat cheese but the best way to eat them is.... lightly toasted with chevre and a slice of ham as an open faced sandwich. Delicious!

And now a few cheese notes....

* I started another round of feta and its in the fridge now. I noticed that some of the chunks were a little mushy. So I added a bit of vinegar to one of the jars to see if the increased acidity will help it stay together better. Hopefully the cheese will age better this way. The first feta turned out great.
* The mold is growing on the blue cheese! Honestly, I'm a little afraid of it. I'll check it later.
* No tell tale white mold on the french neufchatel - yet. 
* Started another fresh chevre yesterday. Debbie milked about a gallon again - yay Debs!

And now if you will excuse me - I need to go and wax my cheese. The gouda that is - its done aging in the wine fridge (a weekish at 50*) and will be waxed and then will return to the wine fridge for a couple months.  I hope it will turn out like this again.

That's the news here - have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Whats bloomin' now!

What a bloomin' day!
 Lilacs - can't you just smell them? Wonderful!

For new folks and the curious, I use this blog as my record keeping and one of the things we track is when stuff blooms for our beez. So I took a stroll around today and this is what I saw...

 Blueberries - I can't wait to make a pie for my favorite blueberry kid!

Grapes, one day there will be wine.. oh yes...


Dog tails... in the high grass. Actually that's the winter rye I planted. If we ever get some dry days I'll mow it down and till it under. Then 2 to 3 weeks later it will be ready for planting in beans! I managed to get in a few packets of sunflowers but with as wet as it is....its kind of a chance. However I spied some volunteer sunflowers so I figure that nature knows what she is doing.

More apple blossoms.. these are from a Grimes Golden tree. Do you know it? Spectacular apples for cooking. They are yellow and can have a bit of a blush. We just love them.

...and some spices. I can't wait until the lavender blooms. This little cluster of spices is planted near one of the bee hives. We'll be all a-buzz later and I hope it will be a honey of a summer! Or a summer of honey!

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tree-lets and Apple Blooms

Happy Easter Candy Sale Day! Did everyone rush right out and scoop up the Easter candy that's half off? I sure did! If that doesn't make it a happy Monday I 'll tell you what does....

Apple blooms! This is one of the little trees in the front garden. I'll have to check later this afternoon but I'm pretty sure we have some dogwoods popping as well as the first of the lilacs.

Does everyone know that you can contact your county's Soil and Water Conservation folks for help with in managing your treed land, water drainage questions, and more? In our county they have a tree program - regular people can buy trees in bulk at a good price. This year I ordered 100 whites pines and a "nut tree" package.  I think it was about $60 for the whole thing.

We were so excited to run right down and get our trees! We wondered if we should bring the big truck with all those trees just waiting for us! So we nearly died laughing when they handed us all our trees... in a grocery sack.

What 25 trees looks like.

After we recovered from laughing ourselves sick we got to the business of planting them. Of course,  if you are over run with deer, goats, and dogs who ruin everything you'll need to put your "tree-lets" in a safe place. We decided to pot the nut trees up until they were weaned.. I mean, until they get a little bigger.  As for the bundles of White Pines, I "heeled in" three of them and in the next couple days I'll start digging them in along the property line.

Little nut trees potted up and waiting to be planted

The thing about trees is, don't put off getting them. Even if you don't know the best place to put them, or aren't sure if you'll need them - by the time you've figured it out its been five years and you could be enjoying some fresh fruit or the shade of a fine little tree. Remember my peach pit trees? They are huge now. So we'll get these little tree-lets started and we are one step forward.

Other places to find trees on sale are places like the local Big Lots or Dollar stores, end of season sales (we got some hot bargains last year) at your local nursery, and you'll be surprised what you can find if you check the clearance section at Lowes. The bargains you find might need some lovin'.... but we've overwintered trees here in pots without any problems.

So whatcha waiting for? Go and get some tree-lets and give them a good home!

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!

A peep from last spring - when we had spring and not mud mud mud and more mud

Here's hoping spring will actually get here.  Our weather guys are already warning about this upcoming week - so batten down the chickens and keep a weather eye on the sky!

And if anyone has extra Reese's peanut butter eggs in their Easter baskets? Send them my way.

Happy Easter! Happy Sunday!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Making Fresh Goat Cheese - Chevre

Ohmigosh I nearly forgot it was Farm Friends Friday!  Happy Friday everyone!

Step One of cheesemaking: Go and milk your goat! Like Vita here

I'm so proud of my pal, "J" - she got her first goats, survived the first kidding, and even saved a goat from a "here hold my beer and watch this" escapade. She's working on cheese now - after she got supplies from Leener's - but is still working on finding the "perfect" fresh goat cheese recipe. I thought I'd help her out with how I make our fresh goat cheese. Come on along and lets all get cheesey together!

This morning I got about a gallon of milk from Debbie and Nibbles. So I brought it in and strained it directly into my stainless steel pot.
The culture - its freeze dried and comes in this cute little container. Just 1/4 teaspoon is all you need.

Then, loosely using the recipe from FiascoFarms, I added 1/4 teaspoon of mesophilic culture. I let the culture sit on top of the milk to rehydrate for about five minutes.

Break up the tablet..you'll need a bit less than 1/4 of the tablet.

The recipe calls for an obscure amount of liquid rennet. But I don't care for the liquid rennet and use tablets. So I had to do some fancy improvising. Actually it wasn't very fancy improvising... with as exact as cheesemaking can be, its OK to fudge a little if you need to.

Mash it up and dissolve in a little water

If you don't use liquid rennet, the substitution for the tablets is:
1/2 tablet = 1/4 teaspoon of liquid rennet
1 tablet = 1/2 teaspoon of liquid rennet

But what if you only need "a drop"? For heavens sakes just fake it. I break up a tablet and use a little less than 1/4 tablet dissolved in a little water. Mash it up really well and then stir until its dissolved in maybe 1/8th of a cup of water.
Stir it up!

Now stir the culture into the milk with a stainless steel spoon - its been about five minutes. Then add the rennet and stir some more. Put a lid on the pot and let it sit somewhere over nite.

Whey on top (the liquidy stuff) and one big curd clump at the bottom.

You should have a "clean break" and some whey sitting on top of the curds in the morning. Now just line a colander with cheese cloth and carefully pour in the curds and whey. I always set the colander on top of a bucket to collect it for the hens or the compost pile. Cover the whole shootin' match with a lid and let it set until the next day. And that's it!

Drain the curds thru cheese cloth. Don't forget to save the whey!

You can salt the cheese and put it in a container in the fridge or use immedately.

Use it for what, you ask? Heck, anything. Add some spices and eat on crackers, spread on a bagel with a little honey on top for a morning treat, stir into a pasta dish, or use like ricotta for lasagna. We also make grilled sandwiches with it, bruschetta, use it on pizza...heck.. its so versatile the options are limitless. Another great use is for hot dips. I've been heating up fresh goat cheese and salsa...which is really delish.

The only thing I don't like it for is a subsitute for cream cheese in sweet baked goods. For savory baked goods like focaccia bread - its perfect, but for cream cheese-based pies.. its just not to may taste.

So what do you think? Are you ready for the cheese challenge? Now get out there and make some cheese!

Happy Farm Friends Friday everyone! Thanks Verde Farms for this fun blog hop!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Sam's Club Freak Out.

There is a principal in business you usually learn on the first day. It goes kinda like this - if a customer has a good experience they might tell a couple people... but if a customer has a BAD experience they will tell about 10 people. I'm guessing that more than 10 people will read this so I'm totally getting my money's worth.

We are done with Sams Club and will not renew our membership.

No, I don't care about their alleged human rights violations or how they wont give their part time employees health coverage. I just don't like them. I think their service is bad, I don't like their stores, and frankly, I never fell for the "better living thru walmart/sams club" marketing thing. And personally I think Sam Walton has done more to ruin small towns in this country than anything else ever has.

We have been teetering on the brink of do we/don't we renew the membership for a while now - its a long drive, the club renewal is about $40, and the prices arent even very good anymore. 

Right now the prices at Meijer are almost on par for what we buy at Sams...and if we just buy stuff at our local Giant Eagle grocery store not only do we get "gas perks" but the stores are closer and we have a better section.

The other day made the decision for us.

My husband, The Big Man, has had a business membership with them for over 10 years. I got added about a year ago (you can add one person for free - whoever you want) just in case we got separated and I ended up going without him (rarely happens).  I never carry the card tho because we are usually together. Sometimes I pay, sometimes he pays, we never even notice and normally its not a problem.

So just like normal, the other day we went and loaded up a cart and went to check out. He gave them his club card and I swiped my credit card. The checker asked to see my credit card. I gave it to her. She compared my personal credit card to the business Sam's Club card.

She: "It doesnt match"

"Well, my name is not "Mother's Cluckers Eggs-n-More Farm." I politely replied.

"But it has to match." She insisted.

Now I was insisting, "It does match, " I pointed to my husband, "It matches HIS name which is on the business account, same last name, same address, do you want my drivers license?"

Then she gave me that "You aren't a member you're just trying to get our cheap cat food" look.

And thats when it went down hill.

Honestly, I usually let things go. I don't terrorize servers at restaurants, I don't mind being in the trainee line at the bank, I'll sit quietly while it takes you 13 minutes to get in your car and get settled before you drive away from the only available gas pump...really there's not much that sets me off. I don't usually even care if you call me names. 

Call me childish and immature and I'll just mock you, call me fat/short/ugly/stinky and I'll probably just laugh, call me stupid and I'll probably just sneer while silently engineering a way to humiliate you in a room full of people.... but call me a thief and act like I'm trying to rip you off?

Them's fightin' words.

Now I might be short, have chicken poop on my shoes, and smell vaguely like goat pee... but I know more about credit card verification than most folks. So I know the issue wasn't about the credit card, or the processing, or that the club card needed to match the name on the credit card for it to work.

Since we used to go to Sam's club every couple of weeks and use his club card, my credit card I was sure it wasn't a Sam's Club system issue.

And my shiny platinum card with a fat credit limit wasn't anywhere near being maxed out.

So what we had here was Policy Polly - the Rules Nazi. That's right - "No soup for you!"

People like "Polly" and I rarely get along because usually its someone with a "big fish in a small pond" syndrome and for whatever reason - who knows why - I tend to get under the skin of people who think they are the boss of me.

And she just really got sideways with me with that crappy look.

So I got belligerent and loudly asked if I "really had to go all the way across the store and get a temporary card from customer service when I was trying to check out with MY husband when ALL THESE PEOPLE WERE STANDING HERE IN LINE?"

From somewhere a manager came running. I think she was about 12 years old.

She took one look at me (seething) and my husband (huge big redneck) turned and ran away.

Policy Polly said she'd go and get my membership verified.

We waited.

She came back and said it would be a few minutes because....

And that's when it happened.

The Big Man freaked out.

Not in the Steve Martin from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles in the car rental place freak out - but for him it was pretty bad. Without a doubt he is the most slow-to-wrath person I've ever met. For heavens sakes he puts up with me and I cant even bait him into a fight.

Poor Policy Polly chose the wrong time, the wrong day, and the wrong redneck to get all "no soup for you" on... especially when the checkout pad was flashing "Do you want to upgrade your membership?"

I think most of the store was holding their breath when he got to the part about making sure I had the amount credited back to my card.

Polly verily flew over that check stand to get the charge backed out of the system.

Our sad cart of cat food sat there forlorn and abandoned as he stormed out of the store with me trailing after him, running, trying to keep up.

We got to the truck and looked at each other.

And then we went to the Sam's Club gas station when we used HIS club card and MY credit card to fill up one last time before we drove away giving Sam Walton the finger.

Smell ya later, Sams...and no, we do not want to upgrade our membership.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Into Each Life A Little Rain...

I've heard it say that "into each life a little rain must fall" but this is ridiculous. We've had tremendous rains lately - a couple inches just this morning.

We've been battling water in our basement most of the day.... and the standing water in the yard looks like a swamp. Unfortunately there's not much we can do about it today without some heavy equipment. But I spent some of today digging a ditch to try and divert some of the water off the hill and away from the house.  Actually I used the truck in four wheel drive to make the ditch....and that worked.  Our next big project will be to rent a trencher and work on our drainage to keep it out of the house. The only upside will be that we'll be getting a huge truckload of gravel - which is one of my favorite things.

I'm posting at a little after 3:30 this morning - the storm pounded its way across Ohio and has left the area. The weather guys say that at least one tornado touched down and there were wind gusts at 102mph north of us. The odd thing about this storm was that the danger was right in the leading edge - usually the "hail core" (the scary part with rotation) is at the back of the storm. So it was upon us before we even knew it. Lucky is our weather dog - he lets us know when the first rumble of thunder or flash of lightening.

Thanks to our preparedness we just had to get up and watch the reports to see what happened.

Nicholas and his mad hunting skills

The only real event this early morning was that Nicholas caught a mouse in the kitchen. There was some screaming but that was about it. He was rewarded with some special treats for his hunting ability. And I'll never sleep in this house again. Good boy, Nicholas!

Happy Wednesday everyone and I hope it dry where you are!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Meat Peep Notes

Just an update on the meats we got two weeks ago ....and a few more peeps we got just last week.

Look how big the first ones are! That little grey one in the middle is one of the chicks that our duck hatched. The big creepy meats are doing great. We started with 10 in the first wave and had just one loss. We got 10 more creepy meats as the 2nd wave. And..... I also bought 2 Wyandottes.  They are hiding in the back but you can see the dark one along the back wall.

The first wave of creepy meats should be ready to um... come to dinner the first week of June. We bought two lots, two weeks apart on purpose - so that we don't have to dress them all at the same time.

A quick note on spring storms

I'm sure we are shocked at the damage in the southern states this past week. Looks like we are in for another round coming up in the next couple days. Lets all take a few minutes to review storm preparedness as we are moving into spring storm season. I'm going to spend some time making sure I have all the cat carriers are lined up downstairs and will be drilling the hard workin' farm dogs on getting the poultry rounded up.

Batten down the clucks if you're in the storm path! Happy Tuesday everyone!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Are you preping?

Whether its the aftermath of the disaster in Japan, rising food and fuel prices, or just plain prudence, I don't know about you but more and more of my city friends are calling and asking me about "food prepping." So let's talk about it. Mostly I've got some links but I'd love to hear about your favorite prepping sites.

 Flock of chickens? Like money in the bank....

What's prepping? Its a methodical (hopefully) way of storing up food and supplies for various reasons including food shortages, disasters, or financial hardship (loss of job, income, etc). Or zombies.  

To be sure this is not a new idea. Many rural folks are already prepared for natural disasters and the eventuality that the power may go out for awhile. Its pretty much second nature to be ready when you live in an area where an F5 tornado may come barreling across your county, or you're enduring another round of the snow-apocalypse, or because the electric might just go out because there is a squirrel out there jumping up and down on the power line. This also makes sense for folks who grow a lot of their own food. We tend to get a big harvest all at one time - so preserving it is part of the process and is just part of farm life.

I've said before that we are not making a political statement with our funny little farming life, and we aren't doing this because we think The End is near. But these days I am feeling a little better about our position... just in case it all goes to heck and them zombies show up or whatnot. Because we buy so little food from the grocery we aren't as concerned about food prices. But if you are sitting in a cube-farm and just paid $350 for a week's worth of groceries, you might want to consider a plan for what may or may not be coming.

What's coming? I dunno, depends on if you believe the news or the doom mongers. You know I am not a doom and gloomer. I don't think that End Times are coming, that we are facing the collapse of the world as we know it, and I'm not convinced the mutant zombie invasion is on the way. Rising food prices? Well I think we all know that's happening right now. And I know from practical experience that having provisions "put by" and preparing in advance for hard times makes sense and it works.

But for folks who aren't used to it "prepping" can be kind of overwhelming. It doesn't help that most of the preppers out there are weirdos, zealots, or Glenn Beck. So where to start?

Actually....with Glenn Beck. To be clear, I am not a fan. Mostly because I don't think that any man should act like that. But he is a Mormon and they have the corner on food storage and stocking up. Why? Mostly because those of the Mormon faith are urged to live wisely, have provisions, and be prepared for hard times by prepping. I think we can all agree those are good principals and we can all learn some lessons by folks who have been at this for a while.

That Beck fella actually did a show about rising food prices and used it as an argument for folks to stock up on food items you use before the prices get too outrageous. Altho he hopped around alot he had some good information. You can watch it on Youtube here.  Others are concerned about rising food prices and unrest in the world also. I really loved it when our dear Mr. H posted a presentation from Homestead Revival here. Even our man Gene Logsdon has something to say about rising corn prices. So do your research and decide for yourself if "prepping" is something that is right for you. (I think everyone should do something, but that's just me.)

We farm folks go about this at a slightly different angle than our city friends. For instance much of our food is stored "on the hoof" - out there running around in the yard. Why do we have so many chickens for just two people? Well, we consider them cheap insurance. We'll never go hungry with a big flock of free rangin', low maintenance, self replicating, beefy-style, egg layin' machines out there. Because we home-can our own food I wouldn't go and spend hundreds of dollars on industrialized canned goods there but are some things that make sense for us to buy in bulk. So whatever your circumstance, now is probably a good time to come up with a strategy and implement your plan.

All kidding aside, if you think your government is going to help you or that the store will always be open even after some kind of catastrophe, you might want to review some of the lessons learned by recent world events. One of the most compelling data points I learned from watching the floods in Australia and the disaster in Japan was that most grocery stores only have about 3 days (or maybe a week at best?) worth of food. After that, you're kind of on your own especially if roads are impassable and deliveries aren't happening, or if there is no fuel for those trucks, or if you're like us - too far out from a population center to be first on the list.  Its something to think about carefully. Also, do you really want to be a burden on rescue efforts knowing that you could have been better prepared by doing a few simple things?

So are you ready to run right out and load up? Don't know what to do first? Here are some resources:

As far as a basic "how to", I really like this site here - these gals are approachable, make it look easy, and provide a lot of information.

Another great site has a slightly ratcheted up "ohmigosh the end is near" tone, but has a great strategy for getting a huge amount of food stocked up - by spending just $5 a week. Be sure to check out the other articles on the site including his "getting started in food storage."

Specifically for urban dwellers, I got a kick out of this video on The SurvivalistBlog mostly because of his easy, no nonsense tips about how a quick trip to the local grocery store can help get you ready for a big or small emergency. But mostly because I loved how he went to a nice grocery store barefoot and showed how to cook a rat at the end of  the video. There is also a great "ohmigosh I'm panicking and need to do something NOW shopping list" which, if anything, is a great place to start if the only thing you have in your cupboard is a half a jar of peanut butter and some soy sauce from your last take out meal.

OK now that you've loaded up and brought all those supplies into the house, now what are you going to do?  You probably need somewhere to store all that stuff. And something to store it in. One of the best inventions I've seen in the "gamma seal lid" - its a way to make an airtight seal on a regular old five gallon bucket. And I loved that their products are made in the USA.

One of the best food storage tips I heard lately was that you can get food grade plastic buckets from WalMart for $1 each by asking at the bakery. We loaded up and laughed as we passed the regular buckets in their hardware section - for $3.98 and they were not food grade. Check your local grocery stores, fast food places, and donut shops. Its a great secret and now you know.

A few other things to consider:

* Don't forget your pets and livestock. Do you have extra food on hand? Have an alternative strategy for feeding them if bagged feed isn't available?

* Don't forget medical needs of your family members. You have a basic first aid kit, right? And extra prescriptions?

* In these days of technology don't forget to have a plan for when you can't just look something up online. Lost without your phone? Maybe you should spend a couple hours making a binder of useful information. Can't cook by memory? Now is the time to get a couple books. One of my most prized possessions is a 1942 version of The Joy of Cooking. Why? Because during the war there were food rations and this book shows folks how to economize and make do when things where tight and findings were few. The old wisdom might just help you thru the times you can't just use a microwave to heat up a meal from the freezer.

* Last, don't let your supplies go bad or go to waste. Make sure you have a plan to rotate your stores by using them and then get new supplies. If you aren't the kind of person to use 50 pounds of flour on a regular basis, then be sure to donate your soon-to-be-expired provisions to a local food bank before restocking. There are hungry people in your community and if The End doesn't happen at least you know that you've helped someone else.

Another thing we learned by watching the Japan situation is that there are just some things you can't outrun or can't prepare for... but why not be ready for the things you can?  So what do you think? Are you ready to take the plunge and do some prepping?

Now get out there and load up that cart -you don't want to eat a rat do you? Rice and beans, folks, stock up!

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Cheese notes, Bloom buzz, and Farm Friends!

Happy Friday everyone! Tons to take note of so lets launch right into it. New friends, this blog is also my record keeping so this is what's going on down on the farm. The biggest news... the asparagus is up.

That's right. Asparagus. Its here. You know who you are.... I got it. You don't. I'm having it for breakfast.

Cheese Notes:
Tuesday the 12th was an epic cheese making day! Unfortunately I sustained a CRI (Cheese Related Injury) so I'm delayed in getting this in the Cheese Notes. And, apologies, but due to the CRI I can't type enough to go into detail. I'll have another entry just about the events of that day because of its cheese-r-ificness. With pix!
* Started a Roquefort! I got to play with mold - the bacteria. It was amazing. Status: Needs to dry thru Friday then I remove them from the molds - the plastic containers. I'm not sure what happens next but I'm very excited about it.
* Started a Parmesan. It was weird and despite the ridiculous amount of milk - not a huge yield. Status: its brining away happily. Friday I remove it from the brine and start the drying process.
* Continued the fresh neufchatel. One of my fav cheeses for sure and inspired by my far-away-pal, Ken in France. Its sitting happily in a non-heart-shaped mold in the fridge and I'm waiting for it to grow a fuzzy rind. Isn't that cool? I can't wait. Rot, cheese rot! Grow that mold! Whooot!
* It was a feta fete! Wow what a great result! Started a feta and it totally worked. Despite my crass "mold" (coffee can with nail holes. I'm not kidding.) it turned out great. Currently brining on the counter for 3 days then it can age for a good long time in the fridge or be the star of my home made pizza. 
* Worked to right my goudas. They dried beautifully. And prompty started a mold - the gross kind. So I wiped them down with vinegar and cut off the gross part. I'm currently vexed at the 'drying mat' which is the culprit. It shall feel my wrath. And bleach. Mostly bleach. I've moved the gouda and they have to dry again before I can wax them.
* Ate a bunch of fresh chevre which I currently have laying around by the pound. I'm so happy about that!  And yes for breakfast I'm having a fresh egg scramble with asparagus and chevre. A friend who shall remain nameless will be crying over his lack of asparagus. Sorry pal, you cant win them all.

"Thrown away" peach pits become a lovely little tree

The Bloom Buzz
As part of my efforts to keep track of what is bloomin' for the beez I'll been noting what is blooming and when. Today a bunch of stuff popped open!
* First dandelion sighting
* Little apple trees along front garden
* Peach trees in hillside garden - accidentally started by throwing away peach pits!
* Big pear tree in upper garden
* Wild violets (or are they violas?)
* I think this is catmint (Walkers Low if this is what it is...)

 Is this catmint? I think it is... I love the soft little flowers. Hey cats! Get away from that!

And don't forget its Farm Friends Friday! Click along for this fun blog hop - Thanks Verde Farms!  But here is a great Farm Friend Note: We met a great family today and made some new friends. I randomly answered a "compost for sale" ad and was pleased as punch to find out a fine young man was behind this little enterprise. We met he and his dad at their lovely farm and were very glad to make their acquaintance. And it was great to meet more folks like us. They have beez, and clucks, horses, and.... cows. Of course I went gaga for their cows. And we scored a great load of poop expertly scooped. Thanks to our new friends and yay for Farm Friends Friday!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for Kai

I'm a little under the weather right now, so I'm borrowing a page from Grandpa and using his letter of the day to inspire today's post.

Today is brought to you by the Letter K for Kai. Isn't she a stunner?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Fresh" Peach Cobbler in Winter

I just gotta show you the smartest thing I never thought of....  Remember last summer (when everyone was happy) and I had all those peaches? Back then I made a ton of peach cobbler and then scooped it up and put it in plastic tubs for the freezer.

This is the pay off... you see I have this little ceramic dish that is just about the same size.

So I did a little flippin'....

And a little floppin'...

And into the oven....

And voila! "Fresh" peach cobbler even if its barely into spring! I didn't even plan this - it just worked out. Wow.. if only I had put some effort into thinking and planning this out...

Guess what is for breakfast?

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sunny Sunday - Pig Pile in the Hen Yard

Sunday was our first really sunny, really warm day - almost 80*!

Everyone was out and about. Especially the hens. Theses Buckeye gals were really going to town in the dirt.

For whatever reason they were all in a big heap in the hen yard - it was a pig pile in the dirt!

And they were all digging their way to China!

Dig, baby, dig!

They had a hoot and so did I - just watching them.

And you know.. I don't have a cow but apparently the dog thinks he's one...he's was out there grazing. That's my dog. Out standing in his field. Oh geez... This really is the funny farm.

Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Free to a BAD home - SOLD!

As Java and JeffJustJeff noticed... yeah that was me with the ad in our local craigslist this week. And as my new pal "C" let me know, I caused a sensation her in her office. So I figured I should share the joke with everyone else.

Remember that we took up the chicks that our little duck hatched last week? And then I ended up with more creepy meats? Well, we found out that one of our little hens attacked our duck momma - and she (not the duck or the barncats) killed two of the chicks. So that gal got her pink slip, OFG style.

Here is the ad as it ran titled, Free to a BAD Home

Come and get her.

One completely loco Golden Campine is available FREE in central Ohio. She is about 4 years old and she has to go - preferably to a bad home.

There has to be someone out there that likes this breed - I do not. The only reason she hasn't gone to glory in a pot of noodles is the crushing guilt that comes from knowing she is on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy list.  There's a reason this breed is dying out - they are the Worst Chickens Ever. See:

Her list of crimes including being flighty, loud, ridiculous, pooping on my husbands motorcycle, and most heinous of all - she picked a fight with my sweet little duck and killed two of the babies.

On the upside, she free ranges like a demon, managed to evade the fox all last summer, and is a good layer.

If you have to drive more than an hour I'll give you $5 in gas. Email me for more info.


I couldn't believe the response I got! Everyone "got the joke" and I received a bunch of fun emails from folks thanking me for the laugh. Honestly I was afraid I would get picketed by PETA or something. But it was all in good fun. And I received several offers for her. The little hen is going to a great farm this weekend and we are thrilled that someone will love having her around.

Once I confirmed the pick up/delivery schedule I edited the ad to say SOLD...and then someone got a bee in their bonnet and yanked the ad. So its not there anymore but I'm glad it worked.

Happy Saturday everyone! Craigslist has a great farm and garden section, is anyone else selling anything?

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Strawberry Concern & Farm & Cheese Notes

Today (Thursday) it was warm and sunny and the perfect day to start my venture.  Didn't you just love it in Edwardian Farm when they started their "strawberry concern?" Me too - so I thought I'd start one..and I can't wait until I have fresh jam for those cut rounds!

Our local feedstore had flats of strawberry starts for just $12.50! I got a variety called "Jewel." After I finished planting the flats I finished the rows in radishes and sugar snap peas.

Of course I got in a few purple onion sets as well.  Its a bit early but this bed is small enough to cover if I need to. I'll mulch the berry plants well. The onion and radishes should be able to take a little bit of a frost.

But that's not the big news. Wow was I excited to get a box from Leener's today! I'm so impressed with their service I just had to tell everyone. Leeners is my new "go to" place for cheese making supplies. I got some new cultures and also some bacteria to make blue cheese. Not only did they ship the order lickitysplit... but my order was really reasonable. Some of the other cheesemaking supply places had the blue cheese bacteria - but it was very expensive. I got some from Leeners for only $7.95!

Thanks Leeners - I can't wait to get my cheese on! In fact, I started another Gouda today.

Happy Friday everyone - don't forget its Farm Friends Friday!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Happy Snaps On A Spring Day

Some quick happy snaps from Wednesday. It was actually warm enough to be outside and enjoy the sunshine!

The puppy was adorable today...

The dogwoods are about to bloom...

The winter rye that I planted last fall is springing right up...

And there was a lot of cluckin' around.

Happy Thursday everyone!
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