Sunday, February 28, 2010

Eggs and Soap

Our egg total for February is 112 eggs. For those of you who like BumbleChick Farm, almost organic (except for what they get of household tablescraps and compost), non-certified eggs, we are back in the egg sharing business! Let us know if you would like us to save you a dozen or so. We're asking for a $2.50 donation to the farm for each dozen eggs we share. And thanks for supporting the Chicken College Fund...one day one of these chickens might go on to earn an education...we're still waiting for the day one of the girls makes us proud that way!

We made a batch of soap today. Goat milk and honey, herbal infused with Rosemary and Mint. I was told to be careful when adding botanicals...but I don't like to listen to advice, I prefer to learn the hard way...it's much more fun and interesting. The soap is a very interesting deep, strange, almost caramel color...but we'll just have to wait and see how it actually turns out in the end. I'd like to be able to add herbal infusions to the soaps to individualize them for special skin needs...but we'll see if it works.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Someone likes all this snow

Kids in the Snow





Thursday, February 25, 2010

Recipes

Last night for dinner, we tried homemade polenta. It was really delicious, much better than any polenta I've tried from the store.

POLENTA
1 cup ground corn (usually says for polenta)
4 cups water
bring the water to a boil and add the corn, stirring until the corn no longer settles on the bottom of the pot. Cook on very low for an hour, stirring occasionally. Be careful, the polenta is very hot.

the polenta can be eaten soft, we ate half of the batch with about 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese and a tablespoon of olive oil.

the rest we put in a 9x9 glass baking dish and let sit overnight in the fridge to set. the next night, we cut it into six pieces and fried it in olive oil. we plated the hot polenta and topped it with a red sauce that had simmered for a few hours with a LOT of garlic, nutmeg, and some ginger...as well as the usual spices. then we finished it with fresh grated parmesan cheese on top.

Delicious. I would like to try to slice the hard polenta and freeze it with parchment between the slices to use for a last minute dish and see how that works.

Another Recipe...this one from WindyFields Farm.

CELERIAC AU GRATIN
2 celeriac
3/4 cup butter
2-4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup onion
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup cheese
salt, pepper, parsley
2 tablespoons flour

layer slice celeriac with salt, pepper and parsley in a baking dish
in a pan cook butter, flour, garlic, and onion
add milk slowly
stir in cheese and pour mix over celeriac

bake 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours

celeriac can be used anywhere potato is used...or mixed with potato for a different flavor. it has a definite celery taste!

This might make it to the Easter dinner table...if I can get my hands on some celeriac before then.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Winter Wonderland

In between answering work calls...I managed to plant the peppers. Three peter peppers (hee hee he), three sweet peppers, six mixed hot peppers, and three paprika peppers.

Some of the garlic is beginning to get soft and some of the cloves is thinking about growing. It's time to turn it into garlic powder...or dried garlic chunks, in our case. I peel and cut the cloves into smaller pieces and spread them out on a sheet pan. I keep them in a warm (170 degrees) oven, stirring every 15 minutes, until the chunks are dry all the way through. Then I chop them up into smaller chunks with a chopper and put them into a spice jar. Voila, garlic 'powder'--enough to tide us over until the garlic is ready to pick! Or at least until the garlic scapes are ready to cut.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Artichokes, Bees, and Eggs

So, we still have one artichoke up. It's growing and it's a pretty white. And I just learned that of your artichokes a percentage of them will come up white. And these white artichokes are unable to photosynthesize and so will not live. So, let's hope some of the others come up...and come up green.

Six eggs today. Spring is coming...despite the threat of FEET of snow coming our way--say it isn't true.

Bees are still there. I found one live bee crawling around on the snow today and I tried to help her back home. No matter how many times I try to help and seem to make things worse, I still just can't help but try to help, instead of just letting Mother Nature do her job. I didn't kill her, but she didn't make it back home...I know she would not have anyway, but it makes it worse when I try to help and I can't. And you can't even see the tell tale signs of dysentery outside of Bree in the snow anymore...time will tell.

Interesting lately, the number of people questioning their reasons for blogging. I was talking to a friend about it and how she was afraid it seemed like bragging. Then, she saw a blog and the blogger said the same thing about herself. I guess it makes you think about your reasons for blogging...and really, for me, it's all about the bragging. You know, how I 'zen' farm...and can't get anything to grow in the garden but the pumpkins I didn't plant, and am defeated by a goat when it comes to milking, and the fox is smarter than me...and the dog...even the chickens...but I just love what we're doing. And I love to share it...and if people want to share in the craziness that goes on here...enjoy...if not, find another bragger...I mean, blogger!

I guess it doesn't matter why we do it. In the end, we do it for ourselves and to share of ourselves and what we've learned and haven't learned...and if someone enjoys reading about what we're doing...awesome. If not, it's a record for ourselves about how far, or how little, we're coming along.

Happy blogging, fellow bloggers.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dysentery


Bree has dysentery...and it's bad. There is not a clear spot in the snow in about a five foot radius in front of the hive. There is poop on the sides and on top. And there were still bees at the upper entrance to the hive at about 6 p.m.--in the dark and the 36 degree cold.

She needs good, warmish weather for the next few days...and lots of happy thoughts sent her way.

(And the photo looks better than things did last night...)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Bees' Knees

There is life in both hives.

Avalon took some serious winter potty breaks today in the warmth and I saw bees at the entrance of Bree. One even took off for a warm winter flight into the sun.

Ahhh....every day that goes by is one day closer to the dandelions blooming! Whoo hoo!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lost in the Snow


and not happy...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dinner

Last night we had a Yummy, local-ish dinner. We tried to think of it in terms of what could have been local...what should have been local...and what was local. We had meatloaf and the beef was from a local farm...the onions should have been local as well as the breadcrumbs. The eggs were from our backyard. The ketchup could have been local, and I plan to can ketchup again this year.

The french fries were local...I bought them at the farmer's market in Greenfield and then cut them up, cooked them, and froze them for later. I was testing a recipe a friend pointed out to me. I was very happy with the results and will be making home made french fries to freeze for next winter.

The blue corn bread was the most local. The blue corn was grown and ground at WindyFields Farm (which is where the recipe came from). The whole wheat flour was local. The eggs were very local. The milk and butter could have/should have been local (there is no reason why I can't freeze milk for baking with when there is a surplus in the summer). The sugar was not...but maybe that could be substituted with honey or some other local sweetener.

And then we thought about our 'luxury items'--non local items that it would be very hard to give up: olive oil, wine (though there are local wineries that we could and should be purchasing from), coffee (though we drink only Dean's Beans and he does such great things that it doesn't seem like a concession at all), tea (I am going to buy more and more from the Charleston Tea Plantation--though it is not local it is local to family...isn't that close enough?--and it's great tea!!)...and some of those tropical foods that are hard to let go...bananas, avocados (though I am growing a tree in the living room, I don't think it will ever produce for us)...oranges...yum!!!

Oh, the brownies...very NOT local....but yummy and soft...just the way I like them...Thanks Laura!

Salad Bar


We tried to grow lettuce, but it wasn't happy in the house and grew to about an inch or so and then bolted...but the chickens were happy for fresh greens for Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

FRESH the Movie

We will be showing FRESH the movie at our house on Friday, March 12th at 6:30! Before the showing we will have snacks and a chance to sit down together and chat.

Fresh is a documentary that raise awareness about where our food comes from and the steps we can make to change our current food system into something sustainable...and healthy!

Check it out at freshthemovie.com

We hope to see you March 12th...please let us know in advance if you plan to attend.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Artichokes



The artichokes are started. We have nine little seeds in there!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Coyotes

We're heading into that time of year when the coyotes get hungry and bold.

We woke up last night to Troy's barking and then the coyotes started a-yowling! Of course, the goats are all hanging out in the barn yard scared to death, but these little targets, saying, 'Pick me, Coyote, pick me!'

But this time, the coyotes seemed to be warned off by our presence. Sometimes, I wonder if it's time to put doors on the outside barn stalls--just for this time of year. But Troy would not be happy locked inside the barn at night...and he does do a good job. He really isn't afraid of protecting his world when he has to. We couldn't have found a better pooch to watch over us and the barn! Thanks, Troy!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Garden Seeds

So we decided to keep the garden small this year. I just inventoried the seeds and we have: bachelor's buttons (to go onto the labyrinth), eggplant, okra, sweet pepper, hot pepper mix, heirloom tomato mix, st john's wort, sunflower sampler, watermelon, muskmelon, shell peas, yellow sweet corn, spinach, mesclun mix, brussels sprouts, artichoke (this should be entertaining), peter peppers (hee hee he), swiss chard, turnip, radish, beets, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, carnival squash, yellow squash, zucchini, cukes, soy beans, pole beans....and coming are potatoes and wheat....and I will buy the herbs as plants in the spring...

It looks like everything will fit in the garden...but only because we are doing a separate garden for corn and winter squash and wheat.

And I have some leftover seeds from last year I am going to plant...somewhere. Guerilla Gardening maybe?

So what happened to that small and manageable garden? Well, it got lost somewhere in the optimism of January...and February...you know, when the garden looks GREAT and you're sure there will be more hours in the days of summer than there usual are.

Pretty soon...we'll be starting those pepper seeds...and then it begins....

And for those of you wondering about the bees...we have signs of life (and death) at the hives...it's a good thing. Pretty soon, we'll be warm enough to get a look inside and get some feeding going...keep your fingers crossed and happy thoughts coming...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Winter Fare

I drove to Greenfield this morning to go to their Winter Fare Farmer's Market. It was like a breath of summer inside there: spinach, mesclun mix, corn, apples, cider, saur kraut, pears, fresh yoghurt, fresh eggs ($6.00 a dozen!!!), grains, cheese, meat...and of course all those root vegetables: potatoes, carrots, parsnip, beets, weird things I've never seen before...

I stocked up on some meat and vegetables. And I am so happy for fresh greens!!! It'll be like having a real summer salad. And I am going to try to freeze some spinach just to see how it comes out later. If it freezes and comes out actually tasting good, or good enough to use in soups and recipes, I am going to grow lots this summer to freeze for the winter. And I am going to try to bake up and freeze french fries and see how they come out for the same reason (thanks for finding that recipe so I could steal it from you, Laura).

This summer, I'd like to get a better handle on the garden and the farmer's market and be able to store enough food to get us through the winter and only supplement with 'luxury items' from the grocery store. And I am getting closer and closer to swearing off any non farm fresh, grass fed meat! It just gets creepier and creepier that grocery store meat...

I will say that we managed to plant enough garlic last year that it is going to last us into the new harvest! Whoo hoo! Success. And we planted even MORE this past fall!

Friday, February 5, 2010

FRESH the Movie

BumbleChick Farm will be hosting a showing of the movie FRESH sometime this month! Come back to this page to find out more details!!!!!

In the meantime, check out:

www.freshthemovie.com

for more information.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

view book here!

Monday, February 1, 2010

BumbleBlog2009 book is out

The bound copy of the BumbleChick Blog 2009 is out and ready for purchase! You can find it at Lulu.com.

$29.70 a copy. (it's the color pictures)

Low Tech Monday went out the window!

We bought bees today. We're trying a nuc of bees this year.

We got a green egg for the first time since the fall, so spring must be on the way!