Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In celebration of summer!

In celebration of summer between now and July 4th I'm offering a buy three get one free sale on soap while supplies last and limited to stock on hand. Contact me at fromthecountryfarm@gmail.com for more information!

ingredients vs. ingredients

The kids and I were grocery shopping the other day and we were in the isle with all the coffees, teas, and milk additives when Andrew picked up a container of the product below and asked if I could buy this to have on hand for an occasional treat. After just having seen Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution episode with the cookie dough ice cream containing human hair, duck feathers and beetle secretions (which incidentally you need to see! And yes, that's really what was in there!) we were totally grossed out but came away with a valuable lesson which left a huge impact on the kids. The lesson being if you don't know what the ingredients are do not put them in your body! One I've been trying to teach and with success, but this made a lasting impression! I smiled and said "Sure! Why don't you flip over the container and see what the ingredients are." He did and promptly put it back on the shelf. I said, "Let's look and see what they are, sugar - shocking, artificial flavors -yum, (likely from corn) citric acid, (again likely from corn) red #40 (coal tar) more yumminess! salt and blue #1. Then they list the added vitamins and minerals. ::sigh:: Where are these 'vitamins and minerals manufactured and/or from what?! I'll be honest, he was disappointed, grossed out but disappointed. So I seized the moment to reinforce good and healthy eating habits albeit with flavored milk. In the 2 1/2 years we've been milking our goat and drinking it (gasp) raw, we've had strawberry milk once (the other day) and chocolate maybe 3 times? Other than that it's milk, whole and raw, the way it was intended to be consumed. So anyway, I told him I was proud of his choice and that we could still have strawberry milk but with actual strawberries. I took them to the frozen food isle and grabbed a package of strawberries; the ones I had frozen last year were gone, had him check the ingredients: strawberries, placed them in the cart and went on about the rest of the shopping.
Here are our ingredients: whole, raw, cold, goat's milk, frozen strawberries, (slightly frosty, it was humid that day and I had to blog about this so I needed a picture... ;-) ) and organic agave, and oh a blender it whip it together.
I placed the milk in the blender, tossed in the berries and sweetened slightly with the agave and blended for 30 seconds maybe? The kids loved it and said it was better than the other "junk," Ron really enjoyed it as well, tasted great and took about the same amount if time (or less) it would have taken to make the 'other' stuff. So I say this as a challenge to you, think outside the box, take baby steps, make it from scratch with ingredients you know and can pronounce and and maybe we can create national health care reform! If it to be it is up to us! Will you join me?

Friday, June 24, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thank you SouleMama for this wonderful idea!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

if you're so inclined...

...would you please pray for Ron and the kids. Ron's got some serious health issues right now and Faith especially is having a difficult time dealing with it, so if you're so inclined to pray for my family I'd especially be thankful.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ramsey gets a haircut - finally!

With everything happening here recently and all the crap we're dealing with it has not been at the top of the priority list to buy a set of clippers to clip the alpacas, a new washing machine was however. Especially when on the spin cycle you hear a loud BANG BANG BANG - on a front loader. Turns out the blah blah blah bearing went and it would have cost more for the replacement part not including labor and a house call than it would have cost for a new machine, with a warranty - guess what I opted for. So anyway, I had to ask the neighbor if I could borrow theirs again to get it done. I detest asking for help, but it was necessary, so I managed. My neighbor brought the clippers over tonight and after the barn chores were finished I decided that since it was cool now and would be hot tomorrow and we'll be busy that 9pm at night seemed like the perfect time to start shearing. So I did! I got most of the fiber off and will finish up just here and there spots tomorrow, well I guess technically today. And I think Ramsey will be less likely to attempt to climb into the water bucket. Between the time I get the rest of the boys shorn and next spring I've got to set aside a couple dollars here and there to be able to purchase my own clippers or maybe just maybe Santa will bring me a pair if I don't end up on the naughty list - again. :-)

Friday, June 17, 2011

And oh! The turkey poults arrived too!

6 weeks in and round two shows up

Thought you'd like to see the size comparison - what a difference 6 weeks makes in the world of a broiler. For the past two picture updates the broilers have been out in the sprinkling rain and dusting, scratching and eating... well, whatever they find that strikes their fancy. That's why they look so dirty, maybe next time it'll be sunny and they'll be clean-ish.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Almost done!

It occurred to me today that if I resist a trip to the greenhouse to buy a couple seedlings that everything in my garden will have been planted by us - from seed! Tomato, leek, onion, peppers, eggplant, potato, flowers, etc. That's really exciting and possibly just too neat to mess around with. Though the thought of going an entire without fresh Lemon Boy tomatoes is over-ruling right now. But we'll see. Right this minute I've just got about 30 more tomato plants to get in the ground and we'll be done! Now for a good soaking rain...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My horses

Bridger doesn't know he's not a horse...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Introducing my truckactor

*photo credit Andrew
When you're desperate - you punt! I was desperate! I'm about a month behind on planting and I've moved the garden to a much bigger location. The old location was very small for what I want to do and didn't really get enough sunlight because of the huge old oak tree to the west of it. I'm not about to cut that down beside it's the best place for hanging the tire swing.

This is the area that was really overgrown last year, so we ran the pigs in there, and what a wonderful job they did eating the grass, weeds and rototilling by rooting it all up. Nature doesn't like bare open ground so by being a month behind schedule there was lots of bare ground that was fair game as far as weeds and grass were concerned. So I borrowed my brother-in-law's spring tooth harrow (that "old fashioned" as Andrew calls it - piece of equipment behind the truck) having used one with great success before I knew it would work. Only problem was that the wallows or nests that the pigs had made were too deep for me to drive the tractor over with the mowing deck on. I nearly burst into tears out of frustration. I walked into the house defeated and told Ron my woes. He brilliantly suggested I use my truck in 4WD! I never pass up the chance to drive my truck, I LOVE driving it. So I grabbed the keys, a chain that I'd used to haul out some logs (with my truck) a couple years back and went to work. It worked great, I cranked the harrow way down so it would really dig it up and was even able to smooth out all the wallows from the pigs! Once that was done I knew from past experience that I'd be able to pull it with the tractor. Yea!

Now that that was done, (I am forever thankful for the harrow), we could plant! I've got big plans, but have to first see how things go and grow here this year. Andrew has big plans too, he wants to have a vegetable stand. Great idea, right? well we only have 5 people on out entire road and we're so far off the beaten path that he'll likely have to tweak it just a bit. I'm sure he'll figure out a way to work it. Ha! He'll soon have Buckley harness broke and driving and plans to build his own goat cart, he'll likely be driving his cart to all the neighbors veggies in tow - how will they be able to say no to that?! Watch out world, Andrew's coming!

Clearly we did a bit of planting before I was able to get it all harrowed, I'm not the most patient person you know!

And of course they had to be inspected by Bridger, Mr. Potato Inspector.
After the rest of the potatoes were planted; and just for the record was about 10-12 pounds of seed potato, which should produce about 100-120 pounds of potatoes. I don't know who figured that out, but that what I read somewhere so I'm going with it. Anyway, after they were planted Andrew wanted to plant his corn, he loves sweet corn and Indian corn or ornamental corn and had tried desperately to grow it for years in his square foot garden with minimal success. He'd have an unannounced competition with the local dairy farmer as to who's corn would be up first and who's corn was taller and get so excited when he won. This year since we've got a much larger garden he's planted several types and rows of it. I sincerely hope he's successful! And now that I could use the tractor, I did! And Bridger; my faithful sidekick, followed along dutifully. Since this was in fact Andrew's corn I thought I'd let him have ago of harrowing and making a row to plant his corn in. (I was going to let Faith have a go at it too but the rain forced us to get as much in the ground as quickly as possible, I'll let her have a turn next time.)
You want to talk about an excited little boy?! Over the MOON happy!
I think this grin is permanent! He said to me today, "I love being a farmer!" Me too; son, me too.

Faith is such a trooper! It spit rain on an off for most of the afternoon, which incidently is when we were trying to get it planted. I'm not complaining, I'd much rather plant in the rain or spitting rain than the stifling heat we had last week.

Beautiful hands. Just like the young lady they belong to. We were forced to stop planting because the rain got heavier, but tomorrow's weather looks like ti might work. Honestly though if it doesn't too bad for me, I'll have to suck it up and deal with it, I've got to get it planted! We had a wonderful day today; being silly, slightly hucklebuck, working like crazy, making memories and
capturing smiles!

5 weeks old

Monday, June 13, 2011

heard of cancer? - PLEASE watch this movie!

If you have been effected by, know somebody who been, lost a loved one to or even heard of CANCER, or if you haven't PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take the time to watch this movie!

Burzynski: Cancer Is Serious Business from BurzynskiMovie on Vimeo.

Cannot wait to see this!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

So happy!

I talked briefly with the mother of the Fresh Air child we're hosting this summer today! So we're even more excited about hosting now!

So inspired...

..by Jamie Oliver. Crack on breva!

Last night I decided to open the cabinets and fridge and see what I could come up with that would be different and fresh instead of....well the usual. I came up with these crazy delicious wraps. I used a whole wheat wrap and spread some tangy goat cheese down the middle then laid on some sweet red onions on that. Good start, right? In the cabinet I had a jar of smoked and marinated roasted red peppers, hmm, ok let's julienne some of those and throw them in there. Beside the peppers was a jar of artichoke heart, I opened them and diced up a few and put them in too. And combined all of this with some fresh crisp mixed baby lettuce and for a little wet drizzled a bit of green goddess dressing down the center then rolled it up and popped it into my mouth. Delish! I made some for the kids and they were both in agreement that it tasted really good and that I'd certainly have to make them again.

Friday, June 10, 2011

My boy

The first attempt!

Andrew and Buckley started harness training last night in the ridiculous heat, humidity and mosquitoes last night. It went fairly well, all things considered.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A day to remember!

Or a bad day to be a mackerel depending on if your are glass half full kind of person I guess. My sister is all about the fun, kind, generous and fun-loving. She works hard and she plays hard; she's a good person to show my kids that one can do both, as it's very difficult for me to not be doing anything, (vacations stress me out) and yesterday she invited us to play hard with her.

Her son loves to fish, and she loves the ocean, so she combined the two and thought we'd like to tag along too. She's taking a vacation on the beach, and invited us to go along as a birthday gift to my children on the 2 hour chartered fishing trip she'd planned for her son. Knowing that was something Faith and Andrew would love I took her up on it. We arrived at the dock at about 10:30, which meant we had to get up extra early, get the barn chores done and drive for an hour and a half in order to not miss the boat. When I walked into the goat's stall to vet Venus for milking she yawned, blinked and looked at me like 'Seriously?! Do you know I have no milk right now - because I was sleeping!?' And Garlic nickered then stomped his foot like 'You're late! I'm starving!' So we hop on the boat, life jackets handed out and we set sail. Well, we didn't actually sail out, it just read better, go along with it! Part of this excursion included pulling lobster traps and checking out what was in them, when the first on was pulled - bupkas! It's baited and plopped back into the water. Then we are taken to an island to see seals!

These guys were just lounging on the rocks in the sun and looking like 'Well it's about time you showed up! We we're wondering where our daily dose of admirers was. Besides do you have any idea how hard it is to pose so perfectly like this on these sharp rocks?!'
This one decided to see us more up close and personal than I found comfortable. Kind if rattled my nerves and my sister said to me, "You're such a girl!" On land is one thing, in the ocean is another. It was cute to look at but I prefer the up close and personal to be through the lens of my camera.
Looking at this guy all shiny and sunning himself on the rocks made me think, "Do these guys ever get skin cancer?" Weird huh? Welcome to my brain.
After we ogled the seals long enough we pulled another trap, jackpot! This one had a lobster, a crab, a couple hermit crabs and some "squirt guns" which I think are......oh heck, I'm drawing a blank, sorry.
Faith and the "squirt gun." Can you tell what it is?
Measuring the lobster and talking about what makes it a male and all about those crazy huge claws.

Faith liked the hermit crab - until it started coming out of it's shell...

Then he took us to see a real working lighthouse, it's fully automated, which means no lightkeeper, but it's so beautiful to look at. And at some point along the way while we were bouncing over the waves and the kids in the front were getting splashed my nephew says to the captain in a slightly alarmed but trying to be casual manner "Uh, we're taking on water!" I nearly fell out of the boat laughing! I was totally him! And fyi, we we're not taking on water, the water was just splashing over the side of the vessel, no worries, no danger. He comes (as does Faith) from a long line of worriers and panic-ers, so he comes by it honestly. In fact I don't even worry anymore about much of anything, because I know that Faith's got it covered! But when I do worry or panic it's huge! (The heat/humidity we had here today has melted my brain, so I cannot remember the name of this lighthouse either, I'll ask the kids tomorrow, they'll likely remember.) I read somewhere that the lighthouses in America are like the castles in England. I love that because I love lighthouses and to compare them with something I'll likely never get a chance to see struck a chord with me and it has stayed with me and I think of it whenever I see a lighthouse. It's too bad they are closed, what a thrill it would be to be able to rent it for a night or two, like a hotel room. Can you imagine having an entire lighthouse; and island to boot, all to yourself for a day or two?
Once we got to the fishing spot we dropped the anchor and were handed poles and given instructions on how to jig the line. I proceeded to dance a little jig and laughed - that was not what he was talking about. I was the first one to catch anything and let me tell you it's hard to fish with one hand and shoot pictures of all three kids because we've 'got a man down!' My sister started looking a little green around the gills whenever we stopped and just bobbed up and down in the ocean, I thought for sure she'd be tossing her cookies over the side of the boat but she just focused on the horizon and did as well as she could for the time we were out there. But hey, we managed I got some great pictures, caught fish - three at once even! (I'm amazing...) and she didn't vomit, so it was all good!
Her son thoroughly enjoying his time on the water despite being concerned his mother was so ill.
Then the excitement really starts! Faith is next with a string if 4 fish on her line! She's counting because she cannot believe it. It was a fancy schmantzy line with 4-5 hooks on it, I had one too - until I got it all tangled after I'd caught 3 fish on it. Ok, so I'm not that amazing...
And finally Andrew's line gets a hit - actually he ended up catching the most, 13 I think. I'm so thankful that my sister though that this would be something they'd like and that we were able to get away from the farm for a day and go.
There's the whole motley crew, Faith and Andrew grinning from ear to ear, my nephew suddenly being camera shy, me thankful to be back safely, and my sister just thankful not to be on a bobbing boat out at sea. A very wonderul time was had by all and if you ever get a chance to come to Maine, you should check it out! The memories (and pictures) will last a lifetime!
And just a favorite parting shot for the day, we we're poking around in some of the shops and eating sweet potato fries down at the pier when we looked up and saw this little gem so of course I shot a few pictures as it was setting and I'm thrilled with the way they came out. Andrew thought it quite looked like Jupiter with the clouds in front of it, I'd have to say I agree.

Nope! No spoiled animals here...

The heat and humidity were stifling here today - not ideal for dark colored alpacas still wearing their winter coats, and my guys needed some cooling down, so we borrowed the pig's pools, filled them up and well, you can see the result. They loved it!

It'll be a very long couple days..

....because I just found out that we've been matched with a kid and should find out who in just a couple days!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Will in his new digs!

Finally the pigs are big enough for me to feel comfortable moving them outside, instead of having them in the barn, I was able to get that done today and boy do I have some happy pigs here on the farm tonight! Round one and two went to the pigs, and I almost gave up for the day, but round three went to me and with any luck it'll stay that way. I don't have time to go into details, but suffice it to say that pigs hopped up on adrenaline don't seem to feel the pain of an electric fence....and calm pigs learn quickly.
No Will, I cannot see you behind that great pig tree....you're completely hidden.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

4 weeks old - 4 weeks left...

I cannot believe we're half way through the first round of broilers! WOW when you measure things in 8 week increments it goes WAY to fast!