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.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Cyber Monday! ....Farm Style 20 under $20!

Is everyone sick of turkey? Yeah me too. We are not having turkey, in any iteration, for dinner tonite. It's over. Luckily, tho, in all the holiday weekend fray we avoided Black Friday altogether. I ended up at one of those big stores on Saturday morning but it wasn't bad and there were not fights over sales. Cyber Monday is so much easier. Are you in your jammies and ready to shop? Here is a list of my favorite farm stuff.... reasonably priced and items that I actually use. I've got 20 under $20!

The best hoof trimmers ever. I hated trimming the goats hooves until I got these babies. They work like a dream and are worth every penny. And they are great when you need to give a quick snip to open a bale of straw. I keep them handy.

My favorite garden hat - and it's on sale! I think I paid over $20 for my favorite garden hat.... but this version is now on sale for just $13.82. I do not know how long that price is going to last.

We all need more water buckets. All of us. I don't know anyone who says, "Yeah, I have plenty of buckets for watering the troops. I just don't need any more." Nope. Never met that person.

Everyone needs one of these. My husband has about a dozen Leatherman multitools... here is a little one. Frankly I hate tripping over them but dang, they sure are useful.

Everybody needs twine. You know how you're always using baling twine and you either need a lot more of it or a lot less? Or have some that is not pooped on? Twine, baby, get all the twine you need online. With Prime. It's a lifesaver.

Once you have a good set of Fiskars then you can branch out into these fantastic clippers. I carry both sets around with me in a bucket with my twine. That is my go-to garden tools set. 

I can't live with out food quality buckets. I really can't. If you have to brine a big ham or turkey you'll need one of these. Or a dozen. Be sure to check out the "5 packs" of different sized buckets. But you need at least one of these. Check your local donut shops and bakeries also to get used buckets for a couple bucks. Be sure you get food quality buckets.

Why don't you have an immersion blender? Oh you do? Do you use yours all the time too? Yay! Actually I wanted to include this as a reminder to click around when they have different color choices. This turquoise one would not be my first choice - but it is just $19.99 (used) when the others are more expensive.

I use this little chopper more than you can imagine. I don't have a food processor but I use this little guy more than I ever thought possible.

I think I have about a dozen of these heavy duty baking sheets.  Don't even bother with the cheap ones from the grocery store. Either order the commercial quality ones here or get them at a restaurant supply store. I use these for everything - when we butcher chickens, when I'm grinding meat, when I'm cooking down pumpkins or drying tomatoes.... they are terrific and can really take a beating. Sometimes I find them outside. Ooops! Get a little one too because they are cute.

One of my new favorite things is this Maple French Rolling Pin.I was kind of surprised by how much I love working with it. But it's absolutely perfect and I don't think I'll ever use anything else.

Get a good paring knife. And not one from the grocery store. If you can go to a restaurant supply place and try a couple out. Most of my knives are Henckles and I'm pretty snooty about it. But knives are like shoes - they really are all about the fit. So everyone has a favorite because it's comfortable for them. This Victorinox Cimeter is my favorite knife ever. Mostly due to badassery. But it is NOT a starter knife. And it is not under $20. But if you know someone who can wield a blade and you give it to them for Christmas I promise you that they will love you forever. 

My best garden reference is How to Grow More Vegetables.... by John Jeavons. You pretty much don't need anything else. Terrific planning information and real-life how-to's that make it easy.

I wouldn't even know where to begin to know how to make bacon without Ruhlman's Charcuterie. Technically the hardcover book is a little over my $20 price limit but the Kindle version is under... so I'm sneaking it in. I'm swooining over this one - In The Charcuterie: The Fatted Calf's Guide..... but I don't have it in my hands yet. It's a little spendy but it looks beautiful. 

Anyone starting out needs the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Or even if you are not starting out - you need to make sure you have a trustworthy canning resource. Don't ever try to "wing it" with canning. Make sure you have an approved source for your canning recipes and don't make any changes. Do everything by the book.

My favorite reference for making cheese at home - 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes... Want to get started in making cheese? Or want to level up from the mozzarella book? I like this cheese making book so much better. Much more detail, more goat cheese recipes, and a lot more information.

Got a dog? Is he your best friend? I love these Monks and all of their training methods.They also teach you The Art of Raising a Puppy.

You can't get a real Julius-K9 working dog harness for under $20 like we have for my Bubby. But you can get a cute side bag.... for the working dog harness. We love this harness and my Bubby wears it well. Cute little Side-Bags to hold your phone or whatnot.

I would not be as cheery as I am if I didn't have my Bialetti Stovetop Espresso Maker - that is the $20 one.  But I like the stainless one here. Don't forget the milk frother!

Last but not least - everyone needs a Life is Good hat Do your part to spread optimism with a Life is Good hat. You can't be unhappy when you are wearing this fun hat. Plus when other people see the logo they always nod and smile and say, "hey I love those guys!" or point to their own Life is Good hat or shirt.

Happy Cyber Monday everyone! Do you need some good farm tools for under $20? Get 'em while they are hot!

Editors note: Some folks ask me why I'm selling stuff. Well. I have to make sure that I can keep the lights on here. I make a tiny portion of the sale whenever someone clicks on one of the links on this page and buys something. It doesn't have to be any of these things, but if you need something from Amazon anyway why not start here? Do you need anything Amazon? You can support this blog by just clicking one of these links. Or using the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. It doesn't cost you once cent more but helps me with the "cost" of this blog. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon from one of the links, my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. Thanks!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Amazon Fire TV on Sale!

How could I have missed this? Check it out - the Amazon Fire TV is on sale for just $74.99! Immediately stop what you are doing and give a give a click or just order it.If you've been waiting for Amazon Fire to be on sale this is it!
We love our Amazon Fire TV. We watch it more than regular TV. Why do we love it so much? You can read about it here in this post. Lots of folks ask me questions about it. Here are the short hand Q and A's:

1. Is it worth it? Yes. Every single penny.
2. How does it work? It's like having cable without paying a cable bill. You can watch stuff online... but on your TV.
3. But does it work? Yes. Like a dream.
4. But I have an older TV that doesn't have a USB port.... Friend, it's time for you to upgrade.

If you are still on the fence and then consider the then consider the Amazon Fire TV Stick. The sale price is just $24.99 and you seriously can't beat that with a... well, stick. We have both the Fire box and the Stick. The difference in performance is minimal but I notice it when I watch the downstairs TV with the Stick. It just takes an extra second to load but that is it.

We don't use the gaming functions but I guess people like that.

A new thing I did discovered is Amazon's Music. You can tune into tons of songs and genres using your Fire. It's fun and easy. I'm not really a 'listen to music' kind of person but I've started checking it out for background noise.

But mostly we just watch TV. But better TV. Regular TV is horrible - the ads, the selection, the quality of shows... ugh. With Amazon Fire TV we can watch what we want - on Amazon's Instant Video service, on Amazon Prime, and on the NetFlix.

We watch the NetFlix so much that Zander has his own channel. He loves the tiger and bear shows. When we are stuck inside we put on a nature show with tigers in it to keep him entertained and he just loves to watch. No really - he watches! He loves it so much we had to make his own channel with bear shows because instead of getting recommendations for gritty crime dramas... I was getting all Nature Channel shows. Now that Bubby has his own channel I'm back to getting crime shows in my recommendations.

But if you really want a reason to pull the trigger then you need to check out Amazon's award winning original content. I'm currently watching The Man In The High Castle.It's incredible. The production is good, the acting is good, the story is terrific - so much better then the crap on "regular" TV.

NetFlix also has it's own original programming and it's very very good. We can watch the NetFlix on the Amazon Fire TV - it's just another channel on the Fire TV. My other favorite channels are the CBSN Live (which is "mostly" life news) and Pluto.tv which has a ton of content.... my favorite is the "Slow TV" channel which usually has relaxing beach scenes or sometimes you are riding on a train or boat. It's just something nice to look up and see while I'm in the house working.

I have a feeling there are going to be some great online sales coming up in the next few days. Don't want to go out to shop? Just stay home... order the Amazon Fire TV and feel all your cares just melt away.....

Happy Friday everyone! I'd rather clean out the meat chickens coop and then order stuff online then go into town and shop today...  good luck if you are out there!

Editors note: It's Black Friday - how about some affiliate links in this post? You don't have to go out to shop - just shop online! Easy Peasy! And with these affiliate posts you just gotta give a click! Technically I'm supposed to tell you that I get a tiny portion of the sale when you click on one of the links, go to the Amazon page, and purchase something. It can be anything - this book, movies, or something you need from Amazon anyway.  Do you need anything Amazon? You can support this blog by just clicking one of these links. Or using the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. It doesn't cost you once cent more but helps me with the "cost" of this blog. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon from one of the links, my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Or there is always cake....

If you need an alternative to pies, pies pies for your Turkey Day you can always let them eat cake!

We salute you, TurkZilla! He is greatly missed...but you know, I kinda like being able to walk outside with out being chased by this big galoot.

I really love this pumpkin spice cake.

However, if today is the ONE day your husband took your car.... and you were getting ready for an entire day of baking..... and YOU DON'T HAVE ANY FLOUR... you might just freak out.

I'm freaking out.

I'm currently evaluating options... they are all bad. Including...
* no cake
* no dinner rolls
* no PIE
* walking into town
* hooking up the dogs and mushing into town
* calling Uber and asking them to go into town
* sitting around and saying, 'screw it' and binging on 'the Netflix'
* sitting around and watching, The Pilgrims from PBS.
* sitting around and watching the Best Christmas Movie ever. Thank you Bruce Willis. You never fail to inspire.

So yeah... should be an interesting day here.

Just in case you need a little help with timing, ingredients, or 'how-to's' then Thanksgiving 101 is the best Turkey Day reference- even for beginners. The Kindle version is only $1.99 and it's the only reference that I use. The dinner rolls, provided you have flour, are the best ones ever.  I like this version because it's entirely approachable. Sure, I love Martha as much as the next guy but sometimes she is too fancy for some folks.

Just in case you need some turkey hijinks.... here is an amusing tale about the legendary TurkZilla... may he rest in piece. He is gone but not forgotten.

Happy Turkey Prep Day, everyone! Whatcha making?

Editors note: Why do I have affiliate links on this post at a time like this? Because Amazon is the perfect place to find great movies and watch them online...or if you are in a pinch and need a good cookbook you can get it there too. The deal is that I get a tiny portion of the sale when you click on one of the links, go to the Amazon page, and purchase something. It can be anything - this book, movies, or something you need from Amazon anyway.  Do you need anything Amazon? You can support this blog by just clicking one of these links. Or using the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. It doesn't cost you once cent more but helps me with the "cost" of this blog. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon from one of the links, my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Turkey Day Preps and Pies

If you've been in the grocery stores recently then you are probably kicking yourself that you didn't grow out some turkeys yourself. I know we are.

Our local Meijer store had a promotion where you can get 50% off a turkey - so instead of ours being $38... it was about $19. For a 13lbs bird. That is insane. The high prices are the result of the bird flu epidemic earlier this year - but it's just about over. But with these prices, when people ask if it's "worth it" to grow our own? Yes, yes it is. We should have gotten some poults.

But onward and upward. Is everyone ready to gobble-till-you-wobble on The Big Day? If you are still waffling about what to do, how to get organized, or the most important question of all... what pie you'll have. Fear not! Here are some links to help you sort it all out.

If there are not a big bunch of you - or if you just want to try something easier than a traditionally roasted turk - you might just wanna spatchcock. It's my new favorite thing....and a fun word to say. Or scream. Randomly.  Also this link includes my favorite dinner roll recipe and some tools. There is also bourbon involved.

If you really don't know what you are doing - don't worry! Here are some references for you...and some additional tools. Also my favorite, "How to Do Thanksgiving" book.

But let's face it - the best thing about Thanksgiving is pie. Sure, the leftovers and a great turkey sandwich are the second and third best parts of it... but pie is really the reason for the season.

Hands down, this is the World's Best Pie. Pumpkin with a walnut crunch topping. And it's superduper easy.  This is what I'm making.

But don't forget apple... or better yet, Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie from my favorite chef and author, Tom Douglas. His book is entirely worth getting if you don't have it already.

Want some danger in the kitchen - we have that! "Danger Pie....aka... tarte tartin... there is danger involved. Don't burn your house down or spill the caramel on yourself.

And sure you need a chocolate pie...... we all need chocolate pie....

If you want to go old school you can always try Grandma Minnie's Graham Cracker Pie.... it is one of my favorites. I miss my Grandma very much and this one always makes me think of her.

Of course, maybe someone else is making pie and you need to bring a different dessert? Don't worry this pear upside down cake will knock their socks off. Really. This is one of my favorite things.

Turkey? Check!
Pie? Check!

OK you are ready!  Happy Turkey Day Prep everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

First snow

Today it snowed. Real flakes coming down out of the sky. Technically there were probably only about 12 flakes total... but they were there.

That is a snow flake. You might have to squint to see it...but it's there .... oh yes, it's there.

So starts the season of snow rage. I officially hate everything about this season. No, I don't think it's pretty. No, I don't like snuggling in. And while I do like sloth by the fire - but only in limited amounts -.....and I do love The Fire.... all I can think about is how I"ll be trapped inside until this inhuman season is over.

The dog remains unfazed. 

Carry on joyfully without me, winter lovers..... my big plan is to sit on the couch, eat carbs, and think about summertime.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

So I was attacked by a rabbit this morning.....

Despite all efforts to live a quiet and peaceful existence... the weirdest stuff happens to me. I could not make this up if I tried. This morning I was attacked by a rabbit. *Insert hilarious and obvious Holy Grail references here* I assure you it was not a harmless little bunny.

There is no appropriate picture for this story. But here is my beautiful Kai earlier this summer.

As typical for the morning, I let the Dog Horde out this morning. But for various reasons I walked Lucky out the basement door that goes directly into the little yard by the Turkey House. Lucky toddled out to see something... what was it? A squirrel? But then it hopped away.

To be honest, there is a reason that Lucky is the Master of the House. Not only has he had some health problems that have affected his mobility.... but he is just not a cold blooded killer. Frankly he is the dog with a firetruck... once he finds something that he could kill... he just doesn't. That's fine. He has other duties... just not hunting. So I kind of laughingly said, "Get it!"

Lucky toddled over and, I swear to you, he booped that rabbit on the nose.

He looked over to me. "Hur hur hur, hey Momma, can I keep it? I'm going to call him George and I'm going to love him and...." Coo'd Lucky.

"Kai!" We obviously needed a professional killer.

The rest of the Dog Horde thundered up to the scene, caught a whiff of fresh and delirious rabbit, and raced around to the other side of the fence which was the nearest spot to their prey. I couldn't figure out why they didn't come directly to me...but then I saw the gate to the little yard I was in was closed. I hurried up to the open the gate.

In the meantime the rabbit had entirely panicked. However, there was no means of escape. You'll remember that we reinforced this little yard with chain link fence so the meat chickens couldn't get into the Dog Yard. There was no way to get out of the yard. The rabbit went wild.

"Come here, George, so I can love you and hold you..." Lucky toddled after the rabbit who was now bouncing off the fence in a desperate attempt to get away. That rabbit was like a fart in a skillet verily flinging itself all over the yard.

By the time I got up to the gate the rabbit had smacked into the house several times and was basically running in circles... Lucky is slow and happy pursuit. It's only thought was escape and death. He was gunning for me. I was standing in the way of freedom- the gate.

"Dogs!" I ordered. "Kai over here! Come around!" They were still trying to get thru the other side of the fence. But the dogs wheeled and headed up and around the Turkey House to the gate.  I heard running feet.

I looked down.

There it was. A bloodthirsty attack rabbit. At my feet.

"OPEN THE GATE!" The rabbit pretty much screamed at me.

I shrieked like a little girl. But opened the gate.

By this time, My Most Excellent Good Dog had rounded the Turkey House, saw that I was in mortal danger and crouched to strike.... but the rabbit took off running between the gardens and toward the wood pile. Titan was at it's very heels with Kai now closing in.

Bubby was still trying to figure out how to get around the fence. We'll be working on "go around" with Zander later but he gets points for being adorable.

In the distance I saw Ti and Kai chase the rabbit across the drive, up in to the knot of trees by the gate, and thrash around in the bramble for a while. A few minutes later they trotted out empty handed.

"Momma, I really wanted to keep George." Said Lucky woefully.

"I know, honey, it's OK." I said patting him.

Kai and Ti...and now Zander tracked the rabbits footie prints in the yard looking for additional intruders and trying to find out if it was still there.

I walked back in to the house, stunned.

"Honey!" I declared.

My husband looked up with that "what now?" look.... I tried to tell him what happened but frankly I'm not sure he believed me. At this point anything could happen and he'd just kind of look at me with that sideways, 'have you been drinking?' look. I gave up explaining and went back outside with the dogs.

We looked around but we couldn't find George. But I have a feeling that the dogs will be extra alert. We might get him yet.

It's queuing up to be a weird day, people.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Consumer Reports and the Rise of Superbugs

I was going to say something entirely different this morning but I thought this report from Consumer Reports on the CBS This Morning news show was really important. 

Not creepy meats. Normal chickens raised naturally.

You can also read more here from their website. The data point that really hit me was that, "... MRSA and other resistant bacteria infect at least 2 million people in the U.S. annually, killing at least 23,000."

That's a lot of folks.

We've been talking a lot about why raising your own chickens is a fun, easy, and satisfying project. If you are on the fence about raising meat chickens... you might just want to take a run at it.

That's all I have to say today. I think we can all admit it has been a very difficult week or so in world events. So let's all concentrate on farming, keep calm, and carry on.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Roo mission accomplished!

Over the weekend we were able to complete our meat rooster objectives. We now are down to all meat hens...and somehow couple of meat roos that ended up in the "all hen batch." I"m not sure how that happened but I'll take it. And we have one that doens't know what he is yet. Dinner. He or she will be dinner for sure.

Sorry for the potato quality. Nicholas is trying to help me part up the chickens. 
His paws are on the counter. He grabbed some chicken when I wasn't looking. I got it back.

After chilling in the fridge for a day or so I part up the chickens, put them in freezer bags, and then put them in one of three chest freezers. Hopefully our fancy new freezer alarm will keep us safe from disaster. We think the freezer alarm is probably our best spent $25. We keep the base on the side of the fridge upstairs so we can keep an eye on the temperatures. So far so good.

Parting up the chickens doesn't take long at all. Why don't we just freeze them whole? Because there is only two of us, we normally aren't interested in a roasted chicken, and we skin them anyway. Right sized portions are easy to defrost and perfect for making quick dinner. So it works for us.

I should note that our first round of meat chickens yielded about a 5 pound bird - but that is dressed and skinned. The benefit to a rolling harvest is that we can immediately have a nice sized bird...but then doing another round in a week will get us a larger bird, then a week later an even larger bird. It's kind of like dollar cost averaging in the stock market. Pound value averaging in the livestock market? Something like that.

Unlike store chickens our farm raised chickens are a terrific food value. Not only do we get the meat, but we can make stock, get "extra" meat from the carcasses, and then still end up with a huge bowl of leavin's for the cats. At this moment Little Mo is meat drunk from having chicken leavin's for breakfast. He is so full he can't even get his little Mickey Mouse paws up on the computer to help me type.

I'm trying not to be a chicken elitist... but dang. I really hate store meat. Aside from our totally-gross-find in the pack of store meat I just don't think the quality is any good. The other nite I defrosted the last pack of chicken from A House Warehouse Store... and it was just gross. It defrosted weird, it cooked weird.... I dunno. Plus when I've tried to make stock from store chickens I just end up with barely colored water - not the rich and delicious stock I get from our birds.

We tried to buy meat and ended up with bland tasting disappointment. So we are glad for our creepy meats and will just continue this course of action.

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Are you parting up your creepy meats? How is your harvest going?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Rooster problem 50% resolved.....

*OFG walks out holding a bowl of extremely fresh livers*   Yeah so, that whole loud rooster problem has been 50% resolved. It's much quieter around here.

Bitty. Completely adorable. Not a loud meat rooster.

This morning we tackled half of our loud roosters and they are now resting comfortable in the downstairs beer fridge. Some people make the mistake of immediately putting the processed chickens into the freezer. Nope. Don't do that - let them rest for about a day. That way they can go thru the rigor process and be tender and delicious. This is an interesting poultry industry article that explains it.

Tomorrow I'll part up the chilled birds and then we'll go out and get rid of the rest of our rooster problem. Then there will but nothing but chicken dinner for everyone!

If you are keeping track these are the rooster from the first batch of fall meat chix we got back in September. They were about 10 weeks old. These dressed out to be a good size. I'll see if I can get a weight on them tomorrow when I'm parting them up.

Don't we have to butcher at 7 or 8 weeks? Friend, you don't have to do anything. Even tho we rushed these they are still "young" for us. If we had not outsmarted ourselves we might have waited another week.... but I have been hearing those roosters since we moved them over to the Turkey House.

And as we say around here, "When you start to crow - you got to go!" Directly into the pot that is.

Since we always process the largest and most aggressive birds first we think that it will be much quieter around here. And hopefully we'll have our entire rooster population sent to the freezer in the next couple of days.

Happy Friday everyone! Guess what is for dinner? (Tomorrow that is... let your birds chill!)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

An amazing example of farm charcuterie

I saw this amazing series of pix on the Imgur the other day. Someone created an amazing example of farm charcuterie for a party and posted the pictures. Incredible!

If you go to the comments in 'the Reddit' he talks about some of the processes and what he is working on. The detail in the comments of the album of pix in 'the Imgur" provides a lot of information on each of the dishes. I absolutely want to be this guy's friend (if you are out there, ellipses1, I'll be pals with you!). What a terrific spread!

One of the things he said was that he started off with using Ruhlman's Charcuterie but then he found some other books to help him process his home grown meat. I just had to get his book list out there - just in case, you know, someone *looks at husband* wants to get me some birthday presents or something.

First up In The Charcuterie: The Fatted Calf's Guide to Making Sausage, Salumi, Pates, Roasts, Confits, and Other Meaty Goods.  which as been on my wishlist for a while. What a beautiful book! 


 If you click on the "look inside" link you can see some of the pages. I'm especially interested in making lardo... which is cured pork fat.

I'm already a huge fan of Hank Shaw so his book, Duck, Duck, Goose: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Waterfowl, Both Farmed and Wild is also on my list. If you on my 'the facebook' feed you know that I follow Hank's group, Hunter Angeler Gardener Cook which focuses on wild game and foraged food. You also know that he did a crowd funding for his next book, Buck Buck Moose... which is a hilarious title..and will focus on venison.  I'm very excited about this.

One of the best things about growing your own meat is that you really really want to use every bit of it - from "nose to tail' as they say. So these kinds of references are really important to really getting the full food value from your meat. Even if you don't have your own livestock you can usually find these meat bits - just ask your local butcher if they can order a pork belly or whatnot for you. Or look around for a "custom butcher" in your area.... or for your local farmer.

Happy Thursday everyone! Do you have some other book recommendations for all that meat?

Editors note: Check it out - there are affiliate links on this page. What does that mean? That if you buy something from Amazon then I get a tiny portion of the sale. It can be anything - one of these books, movies, or something you need from Amazon anyway.  Do you need anything Amazon? You can support this blog by just clicking one of these links. Or using the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. It doesn't cost you once cent more but helps me with the "cost" of this blog. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon from one of the links, my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. Thanks!
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