Category Archives: farm recipes

Holiday Weekend

It was a beautiful holiday weekend here in Wisconsin. We couldn’t have asked for better weather.

The Golden Laced Wyandotte chicks were moved out to their netted pasture. They are about a month old now. They’re loving the fresh air, sunlight, grass, and insects. Our broody Wyandotte hen hatched out nine adopted babies, so that little family was also put in the electric netting for “safekeeping”.

In addition to moving the chickens around, Jeff and our Farmhand Extraordinaire, Dakota, got us caught up on goat vaccinations and hoof trimming, fencing, yardwork, hay moving, and a billion other tasks. Thanks for all the hard work, guys!

We had a great time at the Altoona fireworks with our friends, Dakota’s family. Dakota’s brother, Tanner, gave us a private fireworks show in his backyard afterwards. This is his stash. It was quite an impressive display!

We watched Tanner’s fireworks from the comfort of our friends’ new screen porch, which is the ultimate in summer comfort. What a great area to relax with friends! These guys are great hosts and it’s always great to spend time with them.

That’s Dakota there in the center of the photograph. We are going to miss him when he goes off to college this fall. Jeff says that Tanner will have a job here on the farm as soon as he is old enough. Two finer young men can’t be found!

Knowing of our love for fishing, our friends generously invited us to access the Eau Claire River from their property. Chef Jeff and I had a lovely afternoon there yesterday. Though we didn’t catch anything, we enjoyed being out in the woods and seeing the gorgeous scenery.

Afterwards, the Chef prepared the catfish he’d caught last week according to a recipe from this beautiful book, which also included recipes for homemade refried black beans and great guacamole. It was an outstanding meal, though we somehow got our hands on a jalapeño that must have been grown near a nuclear reactor because that thing was HOT – and this judgment from people who use habañero sauce on a regular basis!

We are so glad that Otter is acclimating to her new home. The other dogs love her… well, Molly tolerates Otter, but Molly’s coming along (that’s just her way – growl first, make friends later.)

Otter has Lyme disease so she’s on antibiotics for a little while. She doesn’t seem to have had toys or chews before; she’s finally understanding that baked cow ears are a good thing:

When Otter was found she was suffering from heat exhaustion. We are so grateful to our wonderful vet for taking her in for us for treatment and boarding, despite her history being unknown. We intend to go to a town meeting to see how we may be able to change the policies and procedures of our township in order that stray animals may receive temporary housing and care in a more efficient manner; we are not served by the County shelter due to the lack of a financial agreement between them and our township. There has to be a better way, and we shudder to think what could happen if one of our own beloved dogs went missing.

So yes, now we are a five-dog family. I would think we were certifiably nuts, except that the entire vet staff said they hoped we’d keep Otter because they knew we’d be good parents. And Valentine is getting up there in years and has Cushing’s, so, after all, we may be back to a four-dog family in the not-too-distant future anyway.

But if I had my wish, there would be a loving home for every dog… until there is, we will take in whomever the Creator sends us, sharing our blessings.

In crafting news, I am this close to finishing up my Drops blue alpaca lace shawl… just on the final rows. I started a Koigu “mindless” sock for traveling-to-fishing-holes knitting, and I hope to do some sewing this week before Saturday’s MaryJane’s Farmgirls meeting, where everyone will ask me if I’ve made any progress on my current stitching project (not yet, and it’s already been three weeks since our last meeting!)

I’ve seen a cute sewing pattern made up on this blog, and I purchased a copy here. The construction looks super easy, and I think it will be a neat use for some of my Tanya Whelan/Free Spirit or 3 Sisters/Moda girly-girl, flower fabrics.

Have a wonderful day!



Filed under animal of the day, animals, farm chickens, farm chores, farm fence, farm knit, farm recipes, fiberarts, fishing, flowers, food, gratitude, holiday, knit, nature, pets, summer, weather

Holiday Spirit

Chef Jeff found out the day after the election that his company was laying off 1800 people. I have heard of doctors actually quitting their practices due to the impending health care changes; they know they won’t be able to provide the standard of care they would wish to while limited by government time and cost mandates.

I’m afraid that people who desire “health care for everyone” might not realize that they’ll be paying for it with their taxes, and that it will mean substandard, government-“coordinated” (ahem) care for them and their families – those without care may get it, but those with health care will lose much of what they’ve come to expect. Physicians and health care companies already know that. Socialized medicine is an interesting idea – but “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” and the government hasn’t exactly been great at administrating “helpful” programs thus far (Google “Indian reservation”).

I’m afraid I don’t subscribe to a Sesame Street-ish, feel-good attitude that, if we just believe what politicians tell us, we’ll live in a Utopia of free, top-quality medical care. Words are cheap… good medical treatment, and good medicines, are not. *

A few days ago, Chef Jeff found out that he would be retained – yes, we have been on eggshells this entire time, which did not make for a very joyful Thanksgiving, but did make for vastly increased wine consumption during that particular holiday. Good thing Festival Foods had a by-the-case sale.

Chef Jeff, relieved and thankful, therefore decided that this holiday was one of celebration and deserved a real tree.

Tree shopping in Eau Claire is vastly different than in Milwaukee. Here, they use the honor system:

And our huge Fraser fir tree was a bargain at $35; in Milwaukee, this would be about $100! What are trees going for in your neck of the woods? Just curious!

Chef Jeff got some new, efficient LED lights and decorated the tree perfectly.

Molly and Emma are all aglow with Yule colors as well:

I made the best ever mac and cheese the other night, and thought you might like the recipe, as it earned an “Excellent!” from Chef Jeff – something I’ve never received before. Just don’t tell him how easy this is!

Homemade Mac and Cheese
Adapted from The Farmer’s Wife Comfort Food Cookbook

2 T butter
2 T flour
2 c milk
1 tsp. salt

3 c pasta
salt for cooking water
1 c. grated cheese
2 c. buttered breadcrumbs (allow 1/8 as much butter as crumbs; melt butter, add crumbs, stir until coated)

Preheat oven to 350° and lightly oil a baking dish (mine was about 10×10).

Cook pasta in salted water until just al dente. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to baking dish.

Meanwhile, melt butter in skillet; add flour and salt and stir to blend. Cook a little while on low until “floury” flavor is gone, but do not burn! Add milk a little at a time, blending, and stir until thickened (it will still be a bit runny). Turn off heat. Add grated cheese and blend.

Pour sauce over pasta and top with breadcrumbs. Don’t worry if it looks “liquid-y” – the pasta will absorb the liquid as the dish bakes. Cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until brown and bubbly. Major yum!

Chef Jeff is home for two weeks for re-training. He needs my computer and Internet connection for web conferences. He has already taken over my knitting room for studying.

I was going to post a pic of the new DROPS Inka seed stitch scarf I’m knitting, but I am being kicked out – no time to even make a link for you.

It’s going to be a very loooooong holiday…

* I respect that you may not share my opinion. It is, however, founded on the following: the fact that I have many relatives living in two countries with socialized health care (it sucks for them); the fact that I have a dear friend who lives in a third country with socialized health care (it sucks for her); and the fact that many of our family members and friends are physicians, pharmacists, nurses, health care workers, or involved in pharmaceutical education. Therefore, I do feel justified in sharing my opinion on this subject on my personal blog.


Filed under farm recipes, food, holiday, pets, winter

A Few Of My Favorite Things Part Four, Which Does Not Include The Cats

Heritage turkey, hand-harvested and wood-parched wild rice, and winter squash were greatly enjoyed last evening.

All that business being through, today is the day to avoid car crashes near mall entrances, and instead stay home and work on the holiday plum pudding (a/k/a “famous flaming booze cake”). I am now soaking dried organic raisins and cherries in sherry in the fridge, and making some candied peel (since we didn’t have the called-for citron).

Candied peel is easy to do, and you might enjoy having some around to snack on (or to give) this month, so give it a try!

I had homemade ginger syrup left over from this fantastic cocktail recipe, (danger, Will Robinson!) so I’m using that on the lemon and orange peels. I think it will add great flavor.

I also found that old recipe we used for liqueur for gifts. It’s from a very old issue of Victoria magazine. This might be nice to make now and have on hand for Valentine’s Day.

I would suggest you consider using organic fruit for anything calling for peel…

I made some caramels the other day, and they were delicious. Definitely a new favorite recipe. It’s from the latest issue of MaryJane’s Farm Magazine; it’s a nice publication about organic living, “making do,” crafting, cooking, and farmgirl attitude in the oughts. You may be able to find it at your local bookstore (Borders carries it here) or you can subscribe (or give a gift subscription!) online. If you’d like this holiday issue, you’d better give them a call before they’re out of it.

All this cooking, and no time for fiberarts? I was determined to spend some time in my little hideaway today, as Miss Emma Dobermint encouraged me to do.

Some lovely new yarns arrived today, and I’ve swatching to do.

The pic below is Dream In Colors “Starry” from The Loopy Ewe. They sent a gift of a Loopy stitchmarker with my small order – how nice!

I saw an ad for this Sunday Knits scarf on Ravelry, and learned that it was made from “leftovers” from a mitten pattern Carol Sunday has in the current (Winter ’08) Interweave Knits magazine. She offers the mitten yarns kitted up, with the scarf pattern included for a small extra charge. I love the colors and both designs, and have read good reviews of her yarns, so I made a little splurge. The kit arrived very quickly, beautifully wrapped, and was inside a free tote bag – cool!

I am this far on the February Lady Sweater:

Just trying to work the bodice long enough before I begin the lace pattern of the body. It’s going well; the KnitPicks Swish worsted is splitty, though.

I was going to start my Drops shawl today, at Dixie‘s prompting, but just as I went to photograph it for you, I discovered that one of the five ungrateful wretches of our feline freeloaders had absconded with the silver Garnstudio Glitter which I’d wanted to strand along through this project. Blast!

Chef Jeff and I have hunted high and low for it, to no avail. It’s probably been dropped through one of the air returns, or is buried in lint behind a piece of furniture. Oh well, good excuse to go in to town to Yellow Dog Knitting and pick up another spool… not that I need an excuse to visit and see what new goodies have recently arrived!

Miss Emma has grown tired of waiting for me to stop looking for that spool and just sit down to knit or spin.

Chef Jeff took Nellie (tractor) and Smelly (manure spreader) over to the neighbor’s to help them clean out their sheep shed this afternoon.

I have to say, after just two years of farming (if you can call our inept attempts at keeping pet livestock “farming”), it is kind of nice to be called upon to assist with birthing a goat or a tractor task. We don’t feel like such neophytes now. Of course, we’re not so naive as to tell other farmers that our tractor actually has a name…

One very nice thing about this community is that when there is someone in need of assistance, there are always folks available to help out. Our neighbors helped us with the first goat birth here at Tuppinz Farm (when we couldn’t even tell a buckling from a doeling yet!), and we’ll forever be in their debt for helping us to keep alive those little kids born in the middle of a very cold January (Tulip’s Samson and Delilah).

The neighbors are very different from us, and we don’t see each other that often, but it’s really nice to look across the fields on a dark night and see their safety light on; we know they’re just a phone call away if there’s any trouble. I hope they know they can count on us as well.

I’m Listening To…

…my favorite favorite winter music – consider downloading “The Holly and the Ivy” – especially if you have visions of Dickens and plum pudding floating around in your head at this time of year. It is my personal favorite rendition of a holiday carol!

Please remember to enter my CD drawing from yesterday’s post – I’ll pick a winner Sunday night! You can comment on either post.


Filed under farm goats, farm recipes, fiberarts, food, knit, pets, positivity, stasia's faves, yarn shop

A Few Of My Favorite Things Part Three

Happy Thanksgiving! May all who are celebrating this holiday have a relaxing, enjoyable weekend!

It seems the apple does not fall far from the tree. Falling under the “do as I say, not as I do,” category, we started defrosting our turkey a little too late. Granted, it only weighs in at seven pounds, but we should have taken it out of the bag and removed the giblets yesterday, as our bird is still a bit frosty today.

No matter. Chef Jeff has just ditched me. Having seen several deer out in the pasture, he donned his blaze orange and is currently doing the hunter-gatherer-manly-man thing. The turkey will probably have ample time to defrost before he returns at dusk.

I have wanted to make the recipe in the pic below, from Spirit Of The Harvest, for years, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m thinking I’ll adapt the ingredients for a side-dish for our turkey dinner supper midnight after-hunting snack. Doesn’t this just look awesome? Wish I had an extra pumpkin sitting around…

So, finding myself abandoned, and having exercised and fed the dogs (who are now napping by the fire), I have a moment to share some more favorites with you!

Michelle and I went to the cupcake shop yesterday only to find it closed. How disappointed we were. But I’ve found the solution – check out Bake It Pretty for fun cupcake kits! Michelle, now we can make them ourselves (or have your lovely daughter, the baker, do it!)

Here is an easy project that would make a nice gift, full of my favorite scents: a holiday potpourri made of dried oranges or lemons, star anise, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and juniper berries.

I think it looks so nice on our Thanksgiving table.

Molly is not supposed to be gnawing on the firewood… See what happens when I’m distracted for even an instant?

Something that will appear on that table later is my favorite salad: romaine lettuce, Castle Rock blue cheese (you won’t be able to find that as it’s from the organic dairy down the road from us, so try Maytag instead), toasted pecans or walnuts, and Stonewall Kitchen‘s fabulous Balsamic Fig Dressing. It is amazing. So is their Orange Cranberry Marmalade (better than their Holiday Jam for sure).

Stonewall Kitchen usually sends extra samples of other goodies when we do a stock-up order; you can save 20% Friday through Sunday using the code Q01516R8 at checkout. Sometimes their site gets bogged down during a sale – try again if you get an error message.

I can tell you from experience that they box things very well, and even wrap gifts beautifully for a small fee. A package from Stonewall Kitchen is one that will go over well (even with your in-laws!)

Here is another place with gift baskets. We are having their wonderful wood-parched wild rice with our Turkey tonight – definitely one of my favorites. It is so different from any grocery store wild rice I’ve ever eaten, and a thousand times more flavorful. It also cooks up much faster, which I assume is from the parching.

I’m thankful for…

This view of the goats’ barn and winter paddock, from my bedroom window:

This thoughtful gift that I received – sock yarn that is dyed with intention, in the colors of the Tibetan flag, and which includes the maker’s mindfulness and compassion for all sentient beings. It’s made by PippiKneeSocks, whose shop/blog I am unable to find – maybe you will have more luck. I’m thinking we’ve gotta keep this gal in business.

Or maybe this yarn will inspire you to create a mindful gift yourself. Check out Tara Jon Manning’s Mindful Knitting for more on that subject.

I’m listening to…

Because I am thankful for you visiting me here, I have an extra copy of this CD to give away to someone who can tell me, “What’s wrong with this picture?” in my comments:

Well, there’s cooking to be done, and I’m wearing the chef’s hat today. As the saying goes, I love to cook with wine; sometimes I even put it in the food!

Have a great weekend!


Filed under fall, farm, farm animals, farm goats, farm recipes, food, nature, pets, stasia's faves

A Few Of My Favorite Things Part Two

My fellow Americans – is your turkey defrosting by now? My favorite, no-fail way to cook a turkey is thus:

Take your bird out of the fridge a few hours ahead of time, and bring it to room temperature. Rub it all over with butter. Stick a tiny amount of chopped onion, celery, and carrots in the cavity, along with salt and pepper and any other seasonings, and put a cheesecloth soaked in melted butter over the breast. Put the turkey a rack in a pan large enough so that air can circulate around it. Place more celery, carrots, and onions (diced – you can eventually grind them up for the gravy) around the turkey in the pan, with more butter.

I preheat my oven to 425° and then turn it down to 325-350° immediately after putting in the bird. I baste the turkey every 20 minutes (including the cheesecloth). I allow 20 minutes per pound but it usually is done sooner. Cooking this way, the bird comes out perfectly brown, every time.

Make sure you cover the bird with foil after taking it out of the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before cutting off even one piece! This makes it really juicy.

I make my stuffing separately, using purchased organic chicken stock (not broth) for the liquid. I put in fire-roasted chestnuts… preparing them keeps Chef Jeff busy with something and out of the kitchen while I get the bird going.

My mother never could cook a turkey in the allotted time frame, and Thanksgiving dinner invariably got pushed back from noon to about 4 p.m., by which time the side dishes were spoiled, and we were all crabby from starvation and not being allowed to “spoil our appetites” with a snack. The reasons for her turkey ineptitude were that she a) stuffed the turkey with dressing until it was fit to burst (and no air could circulate inside), and b) she cooked it right after taking it out of the fridge. I also think she may not have started thawing it until the day before Thanksgiving, so it was still partially frozen.

This year, we are having a heritage, rare breed turkey from Coon Creek Family Farm. We purchased two and I’m not sure what Chef Jeff has defrosting – it is either a Narragansett or a Bourbon Red. We had one of their birds last year and it was awesome! It had so much more flavor than a plain “homogenized” turkey – just like our own heritage breed Golden-Laced Wyandotte chickens taste better than “plain vanilla” birds from the store. It is amazing what was sacrificed when people decided to breed “improved” livestock for consumption – namely, flavor! Not to mention the fact that the “improved” breeds can’t even reproduce naturally. Heritage breed poultry are so much more healthy, and able to forage on their own, and really thrive without human management. Give me a natural bird every time.

There are instructions for brining a turkey at the Coon Creek site, also, if you’d like to try that method.

I know our turkey spent the summer sunbathing in a low-stress, natural environment; ate healthy, organic food and grazed on a beautiful pasture; was treated respectfully and allowed to have a full life; did not have to receive antibiotics and chemicals to keep it healthy (as it wasn’t raised in a compressed, confined area full of filth); and – most importantly to me – was processed humanely (the same butcher processes our own chickens for us), and purchasing it supports a small, organic, family-run farm. I know it is safe to bring this meat to room temperature before cooking because of how it lived and how it was processed. In short, if I was a turkey destined to be a Thanksgiving meal, I would want to live my life on the Coon Creek Family Farm!

Julie at Coon Creek sells some of my favorite goatsmilk soap – and she boxes it beautifully for gift-giving. Ask her about the soap with the skein of yarn imprinted on the top for your YarnArtist friends! Pop her an e-mail – she’ll be glad to help you out.

One thing I am particularly grateful for this Thanksgiving is receiving an invitation to a family’s holiday meal. For people to open their hearts and home to us, to think of including us, is something I will definitely be giving thanks for on Thursday.

In the past, Chef Jeff and I have made homemade liqueur to give at the holidays. It went over very well. Jayne has a recipe for Van der Hum tangerine liqueur on her blog and I think we may try it this year – perhaps with clementines?

If you see clementines in your grocery store, you must try them. Don’t buy them after December, though – they will have lost much of their flavor. They are so easy to peel, and so sweet – the perfect winter afternoon snack! Another favorite at this time of year.

I will try to post another recipe for giving tomorrow, but must dash now – the farrier is on his way to attend to one of Tikki’s toes.

Have a great day!

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Filed under animals, fall, farm animals, farm ethics, farm recipes, stasia's faves