Goats, rabbits, chickens (pages)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

CLASSES


I've had so many folks asking about classes...here they are!! I did not have classes at the farm this fall...I just couldn't seem to fit it into our schedule. But, winter is here, it's time to get to studying!

My classes are being offered by the Excelsior Springs Adult and Community Education program. Address :614 Tiger Drive Excelsior Springs, MO 816-630-9240

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE CLASS CATALOG and enrollment form/information.

Classes are as follows: Herbal First Aid Tues January 14 6-8 pm $19

Herbal Antibiotics Wed January 15 6-8 pm $19

Maiden Mother Menopause Tue & Wed January 20 & 21 6-8 pm $39 (2 day class)







Organic Gardening Tues January 28 6-8 pm $19









Natural Goat & Chicken Husbandry Wed January 29 $19

I will have more classes at the farm later in the spring/summer.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Take Five…

Sometimes you just have to take 5 and hang out in the barn yard with Daisy.  When the weather’s been stinky and suddenly the temps go up it’s impossible not to go out and play…

20131218_145328…to touch noses and celebrate sunshine.

  IMG_0626 to try on scarves…

IMG_0631 and let them blow in the breeze.

IMG_0638 to tell secrets and laugh about them.

IMG_0647 Does this color bring out my eyes?

Beckys hat Remember last summer…

Eatinghat …when I ate my hat?

The weather turned around again today and headed back to sleet, wind and snow. It is fitting as today is Winter Solstice.    So, the girls are in their stalls in the barn dreaming of warmer days.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Dirt Farmer Fudge


Oh, even though the weather is BEAUTIFUL outside, I MUST make this fudge today. (Actually, it was yesterday--I couldn't get my pics to load until this morning!) I got this recipe from one of my gardening mentors. His advice on propagating is propelling me into the nursery side of my farm. CLICK HERE TO TAKE A PEEK

I started it last year; this year it's going to blossom. Pun intended. I envision scores--hundreds?--of plants for sale. Stay tuned on that score. But, now, HERE'S THE FUDGE!


First, a few tips: I don't use cocoa on a regular basis so I always sift before I use. Hate those lumps.















USE YOUR LARGEST PAN! It will boil high and higher. Regardless of how much you stir (and you need to stir) it will rise VERY HIGH in your pan. If you have selcected a pan that's too small YOU WILL HAVE A MESS TO CLEAN UP. Not fun.








You may or may not use a cooking thermometer. I used one here just to show you that it is often ready BEFORE the thermomenter registers soft-ball stage.
















The remedy is simple. Have a small bowl of water at the ready. To test the hot seething mass for fudgey readiness simply dribble a bit of chocolatey goodness into your bowl. If it congeals into a little ball of sweetness and you can pick it up with your fingers IT'S DONE. Turn off the heat!!!







Into your LARGEST PAN put cocoa, sugar, salt and milk. And can I just say how it pained me to have to use milk from the grocery store?!!! All my goats are dry right now in preparation for having babies.



Heat and stir and stir and stir--today mine took a half hour-- until you have arrived at soft-ball stage.


It's hard to see but the temp is still about 10 degrees below SB stage. But, as you can see by the photo above, the fudge in the bowl of water is holding together like a champ.









I turned off the heat and set the timer for 10 min. Then stir in the butter, p-nut butter, vanilla and nuts. Well, truthfully, I forgot to add the vanilla DRATS. But, once you start adding you HAVE TO BE QUICK as the fudge will begin to set up.

YIKES! You have to stir like the energizer bunny. Not even time for pics. I should have had FarmBoy Gary standing by with camera but he was busy putting in a wood stove!



Turn into a greased 9x12 pan and let cool for 24 hrs. I use coconut oil for greasing all my baking pans.








It will be crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Pure heaven. At leastFarmBoy Gary enjoyed licking the pan for his after lunch dessert!


DIRT FARMER FUDGE 6 cups sugar 1 1/3 c cocoa 1/4 t sea salt 3 c milk Put in LARGE pan, bring to boil and stir, stir, stir until comes to soft ball stage. QUICKLY add 2 t vanilla 1 1/2 c p-nut butter, smooth 1 stick butter 1/2 to 3/4 lb walnuts Chill 24 hrs. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Breakfast


Boy, would it have been nice to stay snuggled in bed this morning. Four degrees is cold regardless of how many layers of sweaters, coats and scarves one is wearing.

I operate by my grandpa's play book: animals eat before humans. So, I get up, fix my HOT herbal infusion in my handy-dandy-travel-everywhere cup, bundle up and head out to fire up ZUZU.


ZUZU is our handy-dandy little farm truck. It's like The Little Engine That Could.




The first order of business is breakfast for the critters and hauling wateris a major part of that. It's my least favorite thing to do on the farm. Behind, even, shoveling manure on a hot day. I keep the buckets in the back of ZUZU, drive around to the side of the cottage where the frost-free water spigots are. We have one for the well and one for county water.

I fill a bucket then hoist it into the truck. I consider it a good morning if I don't spill half the contents all over my coveralls. I add a glug of apple cider vinegar to each bucket.

The water splashes out as I drive so there's a layer of ice on everything in the truck. And, on a morning like today, the buckets freeze to the truck before I finish my rounds.














Briarpatch is the first stop.

It's our bunny village; population 6.





We don't have heated waterers for the rabbits (yet). At first I tried putting out their regular water bottles, but even though the water was unthawed, at this temperature the little metal ball froze half way down the spout the instant I tipped it bottoms up. So, I opt for a line of cat food cans. Heaven knows I have plenty. I put out several, fill them with water and go back twice more during the day to remove the frozen ones and replace with fresh water.

This procedure usually gets my gloves wet before it's all said and done.

Next are the goats.


Some of them always climb up and peek over their stalls; this is Daisy and Button with Betty in the background. Aren't they adorable?






On the morning run I don't worry too much about their individual buckets as there is water in a heated container in the common area.


Now it's on to the chicken coop which also has heated water containers. But, unlike the goat water, the chicken water ALWAYS has to be changed. When the weather is bad they hang out in their coop scratching the floor and singing their little chicken songs. This gets straw and other questionable things in the water.



Sometimes even if there is snow on the ground they will venture out, especially if the sun is shining.










Last stop is the rodent-patrol: our passel of cats. We have a barn cat, a cottage cat, two house cats and four farm cats. We keep the farm cats food, bed and heated water in a protected breezeway area between the cottage and the garage/workshop. The barn cat-Boots-hangs out with the goats. I keep his food up on top a cabinet and he drinks out of the goats heated water. This may sound like a lot of cats, but we have no mice and that's saying something for a working farm.

Sunny cuddled up with our dog, Cassie. All the cats just love her; she's their "doggie-mama". She nursed most of them when they were kittens. Really. She had milk and everything.






All done; now it's time for my breakfast. I think it's even warmed up a degree.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pumpkin Bread--From Pumpkins, Not Cans


Well, I promised this a couple days ago. You know how this time of year is: time is faster than the speed of light.

Retrieve that pumpkin from the front porch and wash it.




I like to use running water, then give it a good squirt of Basic H.








You'll need a fair sized baking dish; I use a deep stainless steel pan. Pour a little water in the bottom.













Remove the seeds; there's a couple of ways. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop them out with a large spoon. I like to cut the pumpkin into quarters then use a knife cutting between the seeds and the flesh. The seeds along with the stringy stuff will come right off.




Slice the pumpkin into smaller pieces and place face down in the pan, then cover with foil.




Bake at 325 degrees; start with one hour.













Check the pumpkin with a fork; it should be nice and tender. Careful when you pull back that foil, the steam will pour out.




Mine was a fairly good sized pumpkin so it needed more time. You will have to judge this yourself. I opted for another half hour.














That proved to be just right. Scoop out the pulp into a food processor. Or a mixer or a potato masher...whatever.






In the past I have made the mistake of immediately using the pumpkin. Well, let me tell ya, it totally messes up a recipe. IT'S TOO WET. So, I strain mine through a coffee filter. You will have to give it some time to drain the juice through.



Now, you're ready to bake, freeze or can your pumpkin. This bread is just too delicious. Of course, I can't eat it because of my alpha-gal allergies, but I got it on good authority that it was yummy.



PUMPKIN BREAD 350 degrees for 1 hr 15 min

3 1/2 c flour 2 c brown sugar 2/3 c sugar 2 c pumpkin 1 c vegetable oil

2/3 c coconut milk 2 t non-aluminum baking soda 1 t sea salt

1 t nutmeg 1 1/2 t cinnamon 1 c chopped almonds

OPTIONAL: 3/4 c coconut

Pour into 2 greased bread pans or 6 small ones. (I use coconut oil.) The small pans took a little longer to bake--10 or 15 minutes longer. Just test with a toothpick; poke it into the center, if it comes out clean it's done. If it is doughy, give it a little more oven time.

SECRET Place foil over the bread pans or in this case punkin' pans; tighten down the edges like your tucking into bed; set your timer for 10 minutes. Remove foil, remove bread from pans onto cooling rack. It will pop out like it was programed to leaving no bread behind in the pan!
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