Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Every day when I feed and water my sheep (I have three; Amelia, Ramona and Beatrix), I open the pen so they can get out and stretch their legs. All winter long, though, they have been confined to the barn because it has been to icy for them to walk around outside. This morning was particularity nice because it had a damp, early spring feel to it, so I decided to take my sheep for a short walk so that they could "pronk" as my friends like to call it. If you have never seen pronking, it is when the sheep jumps as high in the air as she can and kicks her hind legs out. Or she starts running, then jumps up straight legged and lands as hard as she can. It is quite fun to watch and I can't help but laugh out loud. I brought the grain pail out to the front yard and they followed like good sheep until they realized that they were out in the open, it didn't take them long to start running around like little lambs.
I have had my sheep for about 9 months now, and I have to say that they are the sweetest animals I have ever dealt with. Tending the sheep in the morning is the only farm chore that requires me to slow down and talk softly. Sheep are very skittish and like routine and familiarity. My girls are a family (a mother and 2 lambs) and stay together. They are Corriedales, a wool and meat breed, but I don't intend to eat their babies. I didn't have them bred this past fall because only the mother, Ramona, was old enough. This fall I am going to have them all bred, and that will probably be as big as my flock will get for a few years (no lamb chops for you!). I really think that animals want babies, it's just the way nature works. This spring I am going to have to learn to shear them. I can wash, card, spin and knit the wool. Now I just need to learn how to dye it! Maybe you'll see some of the finished product at the Farmers Market this year!
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
If you live in the Farmington area please take this Farmers Market Survey. If you have already taken the survey, please ignore it.
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Last night we moved the chickens from the "old" greenhouse (now called the East Greenhouse) to the "new" greenhouse (now called the West Greenhouse to avoid further confusion on our part!). The ladies did a great job of picking the greenhouse clean, and leaving a lot of fertilizer! Here is the greenhouse after 25 chickens have cleaned it up for us!
And here are the chickens at home in the East Greenhouse now! We have a lot of carbon in the soil, so the high amount of nitrogen in the chicken manure should help break it down. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants will be in this greenhouse later in the spring.
So today we are rototilling and planting a 90 foot row of Beets, a 90 foot row of Spinach, 20 feet of kale, 20 feet of Swiss Chard, and 90 feet of salad greens! We are hoping that in 70 days we will have something to harvest! I can't wait for vegetables. Okay, the carrots and potatoes that we have in storage are wonderful, but you can only cook them so many ways before they get old! I need fresh, crisp greens!
Usually we have greens all year long, but this year we decided that the East greenhouse needed fertilizer in a big way, and that we wanted the addition on the West greenhouse. So we decided to take the winter off. We also wanted to get away for a while and this gave us the opportunity. It was really great to take a break from farming for a little while. We came back to it with the enthusiasm that we needed to regain. Now we are ready for a new growing season, and I know that I will never go without having at least a small plot of winter greens again!!
Here is my favorite soup recipe (although I did have homemade Minestrone soup that was even better! You can find the recipe at 4boysonly!) I thought I should post something to do with all of those storage vegetables! I always chop up potatoes and throw them in with the tomatoes. Also, a great addition is to chop up greens (spinach, swiss chard or kale) and throw them in as soon as you turn the heat off at the end... Delicious!!
Tomato-Lentil Soup with Brown Rice
The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen
2 Tbl. EV Olive Oil
½ Cup Onion, Chopped
2 Small Carrots, Chopped
1 Celery Stalk, Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
4 Cup Vegetable Broth
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Lentils, rinsed and picked over
¼ Cup Brown Rice
14 oz. Canned Whole Tomatoes, drained and chopped
½ tsp. Thyme
1 Bay leaf
Salt and Pepper to taste
~In a medium stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic; cook, stirring often until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the broth, water, lentils, rice, tomatoes and their juices, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, partially covered, until the lentils and rice are tender, stirring occasionally, 50 to 60 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Serve hot.
Per serving: Calories 378, Protein 28g, Total Fat 8g, Saturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrate 52g, Dietary Fiber 22g, Sodium 763mg.