Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Hey ladies check out the very cook website shelfari. We can use it to track the progress of reading around the world!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A chill in the air, finally!

There is finally a chill in the air and I for one am so relieved. I thought for sure we were going to spend the autumn in tank tops and shorts. I didn't realize how seasonally dependent I really am. I felt almost panicked when it was the middle of October and not a frost in sight. On the way to school this morning, R asked me "Why do the leaves fall off the trees?" My response was that the leaves fall off the trees to make a blanket for them for the upcoming winter. "Why?" she asks. Hmmm. "So that we can have springtime after winter," I respond. "Why do we have to have spring ... and winter?" she counters. This made me think about resting, and how very important sleep is for us. I explained that although we get to rest every night, so that we are refreshed each morning, that trees and flowers and grass do not get to rest. The fall is preparation for Nature's rest, and winter is the big sleep. After the trees etc. wake up in the spring, there will be new grass and flowers and buds on the trees. "Hmmmm" she says.

That reminds me, has anyone planted bulbs yet this year?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Goodbye chickens - hello coq au vin !

Even though I'm trying to be matter of fact about the demise of the chickens, I obviously wasn't as cool and calm as I thought - look how shaky the last chicken picture is.

They are being "processed" as I write and will be ready for the table in just a few hours.Thank goodness we don't have to do it ourselves ; in the nick of time we found a farm which will kill, pluck, eviscerate and bag the chickens,i.e. " process"them. Chicken barbeque anyone ?
Maybe the chickens should have engaged this artist to escape their fate ?

Monday, October 22, 2007


We belong to the Backyard Fruit Growers, a wonderful organization which promotes fruit growing by sharing information, know-how and an exciting annual apple tasting. There were about 80 different varieties of apples to sample, most of them old varieties which cannot be bought in a store any more. The members and their guests munched and sampled and made notes, so they could vote for their three favorite varieties at the end of the day.

There was even a table with exotic fruit - jujubes, kiwis, cactus pears, paw paws, persimmons, pears, both Asian and domestic, and some nuts - all grown by the members of the group. I had my first taste of wild persimmons and loved the flavor until my mouth puckered horrendously. Apparently that's the typical aftertaste of a persimmon and can be quickly remedied by a slice of cheese, which had been thoughtfully provided.

There was homemade cider as well and apple butter made entirely without sugar according to an Amish recipe. Cider is boiled down and reduced by half, thus concentratin g the sugar in the fruit and then the peeled apples are added and boiled until they make applebutter. At this point it can be left as is ,or some spices can be added , such as cinnamon, cloves and allspice. I was told that the Amish make this in a big copper kettle and as soon as one batch is finished , the kettle is passed on to the next farm - it is passed on so fast, that the kettle never even gets rinsed out! I'll definitely have to try to make some of this yummy applebutter here at home .

And which apples were Number One in my taste test ? Tioga, Ashmead's Kernel and Swarr - did you ever have a taste of any of them ?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Local ? yes Inexpensive ? No !!

Well, here is the breakdown for T's fish dinner.

Fish, caught by son-in-law $0
Fine for parking in a Handicapped Parking Spot $ 202.00
Towing car to impoundment lot $ 204.00
Fee charged for using a credit card to get car out of hock ( what the...? ) $ 24.50

Total $ 431.00

R' s new hairdo and sad expression - priceless !

And yes, the car is ok and back home in the garage - phew !!!

Raw juice

Well, I didn't have raw meat yesterday, but I had a big glass of raw juice - just pressed apple cider, that is. And it was amazing and yummy, too, BUT it had consequences !! Terrible stomach aches and the feeling that I had just swallowed TNT which was rapidly expanding in my stomach. Not good. This went on all afternoon and evening. Who knew !?!!!Hope your raw meat experience didn't have the same consequences.
And to top it all off, T called that night to tell me that my car had been stolen ! He had gone to the city for dinner, parked my car in a wonderfully safe spot and when he came back 4 hours, later it was gone. Called the police, who did not show up until 5 hours after the first call, by which time everyone had gone to bed exhausted. This morning T and son-in-law are combing the impoundment lots, hoping that the car was towed instead of stolen. Why aren't they calling the impoundment lots on the phone ? Because they have been busy for hours and don't answer. Maybe they're talking to the police and that's why they can't show up at the scene of a crime in a timely fashion ?

Where are you, little red car ???????

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Raw Meat Specialists

Today R and I ate at a delightful local Korean restaurant for lunch and had raw meat mixed with egg. Amazing! Was it local? Not sure...But it was fantastic!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

We're making cider...sort of

Here's the newly built cider press. It has a 1.5 ton jack which pushes down on a plate inside the tube to squash the apples and squeeze out the juice.

Here we go - cutting up apples and grinding them in the food processor. The ground apples are then placed in a cloth and made into a sort of bag, which is put into the hole in the tube. The jack then descends and exerts pressure.

Hurray, we have juice and it tastes pretty good !

Uh oh !!!! Too much pressure is bowing the metal grate under the tube ! There are ominous cracklings and poppings. Stop the press !

The mechanical crew ( composed of T ) has gone to the barn to figure out how to fix our problem. Here is the cider we have made so far.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Weekend Update

The chickens are definitely progressing from cute to dinner !

In a week to 10 days, the only survivor will be the little black chicken - our " free, exotic chick "which is included in every order of chicks from Murray McMurray, our favorite chicken seller.

Fall at last !

It's a gray, rainy day here at the farm. After 90 degree plus temperatures, it's finally beginning to feel like fall !

Time to cook something warm and yummy for dessert. How about an old fashioned French apple pudding from Normandy ?

Marmelade de Pommes

4 T unsalted butter

2 pounds apples, peeled and thinly sliced

2 T lemon juice

2 T Calvados ( apple brandy from Normandy, don't substitute, leave it out if you don't have it )

1/2 c plus 2T sugar

2 large eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 4 cup terrine mold.

In a heavy pot, melt the butter and add the apple slices, lemon juice, Calvados and sugar. If your apples are very sweet, you may want to adjust the amount of sugar.. Cover and cook the apples slowly, stirring once in a while, until they are soft and falling apart. If they are very juicy, uncover and boil away the liquid. Mash any large lumps with a fork and adjust the seasoning, adding lemon juice, Calvados or sugar , if needed. Basically, you have just made fancy apple sauce. Now it gets interesting :

Take the pot from the heat and cool just a bit. Stir the eggs a little to break up the yolks and add to the apple mixture. Beat to combine. Spoon the pudding into the prepared mold and smooth the top. Set the mold into a roasting pan and fill it halfway with boiling water.

Transfer this bain marie plus pudding to the oven and bake until the pudding is firm to the touch, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature, in slices. Pass the vanilla custard sauce separately. How about replacing the vanilla with Calvados in the sauce ? Sounds good to me.

Speaking of apples - this weekend there will be some crazy cider making going on here at the farm. T and friends have made a cider press and we are all curious whether the thing will work. Our trees are loaded down with apples and I am envisioning gallons of cider and possibly making some of our very own Calvados. Hope that's not illegal....

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Oceans Alive

Maybe you've all been as confused as I am about eating fish: Which fish are safe to eat? Wild caught vs. farmed? Mercury, PCB's, Omega Threes, Oh My! Well, wonder no more Friends of the Briny Deep. There is now a website that can help us sort it all out. It is called Oceans Alive and is sponsored by the Environmental Defense Network.
If the link doesn't work, then just copy this address into your web browser:
Happy Fishing!!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Why I haven't been blogging

More house guests

That's why !

Friday, October 5, 2007

Leave it to Emlyn

The Eat Local challenge was, unfortunately, a total bust for me. Due to unusual circumstances and poor planning, I think I actually ate less local than I usually do!! Thank God for the CSA share and the Mother Garden and eggs or we would have been total failures. Basically, I found myself in that typical working (OTH: Outside the Home) parent dilemma: You come home from work - everyone (incuding you) is starving. You've got no plan, few groceries and little time to pull it together before the collective blood sugar drops to a dangerous level. Not to mention the husband is who is a) usually gone or b) asking me what's for dinner. ARG! I think I need a crock pot. Anyone know anything about crock pots? Can recommend a good one? That makes me think of this useless bit of trivia: 50 years ago yesterday, the pilot for "Leave it to Beaver" was launched.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

It's October !

It's time to think about getting a pumpkin - or two, or three, or....

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Chicken Update

Several of you have been wondering how the baby chickens are doing. I have managed to persuade a few to take time out from their busy schedule for a few photographs.
Here's a head shot
Full profile

Did you say you wanted to see some feathers ?

And now we really have to get back to our regularly scheduled program : eating and drinking, interspersed by short naps.

Monday, October 1, 2007

How did we do ?

The month-long Eat Local Challenge is over and I, for one, intend to continue eating locally as much as possible. What surprised me about the month long challenge ? How easy it was for me to stick to the rules - I was already eating mostly locally produced foods and the few things which came from far away , for example citrus fruits, bananas, or avocados, were easy to do without.

Food which was out of season, such as lettuce, was easily replaced with seasonal vegetables and was not missed. It will be interesting to see if this applies to fall and winter eating as well; right now we are replacing lettuce with arugula, which has volunteered in the garden and has come up in a thick stand, producing more than we can eat. I must admit I was sad when I harvested the last cucumbers, it's going to be a long time until next July when we will taste cucumbers again !The most difficult thing about the challenge was finding locally produced flour and oil, we never did manage to find either one.

And just in case anyone was wondering whether our effort at eating locally produced food made any difference : my neighbor, who sells my eggs at her farmstand at a weekly farmer's market told me that her sales have increased so much this summer that she is going to expand her business and sell at another farmer's market. Last year she was so discouraged by lack of sales, that she almost decided to quit, but this year she can hardly keep up with the demand. Her customers are lined up three deep before she even opens and " everyone is talking about the Kingsolver book."

So pat yourselves on the back, all you Local Eaters, you are making a real difference to the local farmers , thereby keeping a little bit of the country from turning into a housing development . Hurray for us and keep up the good work !