Signs of Life

We are major planting long term crops this year.  This is the first year we are looking further into the future than tomatoes and peppers.   100 asparagus plants ( 100 more each of the next 2 years). Raspberries. Planning replacement pear trees.

When we planted the strawberries 3 weeks ago, I gave the slimy little things a 40% chance. Well today the first bloom appeared. They’re still small but they are going to produce well, starting next year.  Meanwhile we are researching the great shortcake controversy:  Angelfood or Biscuit.  This is an important  thing and we want to get it right.  Reputations are at stake.

The sawdust blocks that Karen spread under the straw didn’t impress me. But fungushood is powerful. Dunno how big the little boogers need to get but they ARE getting!

We are now waiting for beets, turnips, garlic scallions, onions, kale, brussels sprouts and shallots to show signs of life.  We still haven’t planted the tomatoes, peppers and beans…

Tomorrow I gotta break up the sawdust blocks a little more – the chunks are too big.  And bury some more asparagusses.

Blue Plate Special

Asparagus SpearsSo I didn’t obliterate the old asparagus plant that came with the property.  There they were 2 days ago – 5 proud stalks, waiting to be turned into a meal.  By the time I cut them this morning, they were a little long in the tooth, so to speak but still quite edible.

Since the hens have been very obliging, I knew there was an omelette in my future as I hilled up the new asparagus bed.

This is very simple:

  1. Chop asparagus spears into 1-2″ pieces, making about 1/2 cup.  Sautee in a little olive oil or butter, splash a couple of Tb of water on them to aid in cooking, put aside. Dice or make sticks of about 1x1x3″ of Jarlsberg, Gruyère or Cheddar.
  2. Gently whisk together 3 eggs, 1/2 tsp paprika, a dash of cayenne and a little salt.  Mix.  Do not whip.  I am serious about this.  Omelettes are not supposed to be that fluffy.Omelette Cooking
  3. Get pan medium hot (you should hear the eggs when you pour in).  Pour in eggs.
  4. Immediately put cheese and asparagus in center of  egg mixture.  Lower heat.
  5. Watch, until the edge starts to dry out and the surface looks like it might solidify.  Unless you have training, in which case you do not need my tutelage, use a spatula to fold one third of the edge over the middle.  Wait a little and fold over the other edge.
  6. Cook on low heat until the eggs are set.  If you don’t have eggs from a chicken you interviewed, set them harder and promise me you are going to go find good eggs.  The hens appreciate the attention and you will appreciate eating real food.

Localness Evaluation(how far did it travel to the kitchen):

  • Eggs – about 300 feet
  • Asparagus – about 200 feet
  • Butter – New England but not local local
  • Jarlsberg – Norway
  • Paprika – I know Penzey’s buys around the world
  • Cayenne – Ditto Penzey’s
  • Salt – I need to ask the coop where the salt comes from.

Clearly the volume bulk passes muster but we could do better on all the addings.  All it takes is money for higher quality (and higher priced) local food.

We could have replaced the spices with our own diced peppers.

Pork and Beef are here!

We have chops, fresh hams, shoulders, Country Style ribs, Spare Ribs, Plain, Italian and Breakfast Ground, and kabobs.

In beef, all the good steaks, stew, ground, short ribs and more!

Of course, no sub-clinical drugs, hormones, garbage or other nonsense.

Until June 15th, we are running a ground special – Plain/Italian/Breakfast ground pork $5/pound, $22.50/5 pounds.  Ground beef $5.50/pound, $25/5 pounds.

We do have T-Bones, Porterhouse and lots of ground beef as well as chickens.

Raspberries

New Raspberry PlantWe planted raspberries a week ago.  Many of the canes were sprouting leaves already.

They take patience – the fruit grows on canes that grew last year so we won’t see any until next year, provided the fence is strong enough to keep out the bear.New Raspberry Plant

I figure they should do well – the area was covered with wild ones until the goats moved in.  So on-purpose ones should thrive.

My master gardener conspires to cover the landscape with specialty crops – Asparagus, Strawberries, Raspberries.  Every week a new surprise.

My Father-In-Law was a bramble grower – had 12 varieties early, late, everbearing, red, black, yellow –  strung out on wires.  Bought cloned stock from a fancy place near home.  Mary’s dog used to pick them when he wasn’t looking.  Sometimes when he was…

What is Pastured Poultry?

I finally got my first batch of broilers on the field.  They’ve been in the hen-house, protected from the cold spring and the wind and rain.  But it was time for them to get some space.Red Feathered Broiler

The hangup was getting the new hi-tec shelter done.  Well, I am here to say that  $16 worth of electrical conduit,  2 10′ 1×6 hemlock boards and a 10×12 tarp later is all it took.  It weighs about 30 pounds and is better than any chicken tractor I ever used.

Chicken Hoop House

Chicken tractors are the best way to raise small numbers of chickens.

They are safe, secure and durable.  Great as long as your field is level and you don’t have more than like 2 of them to haul around.  Also – you cannot make a free-range claim.  They’re technically not free-range.

I fence mine in with poultry-net, shelter them in this new shelter I made with the above materials and a tubing bender from Johnny’s and there you go!

So, what is Pastured Poultry?  For me it is free-range, eating the grass and bugs and good drug and hormone-free food and running around plating “I’m bigger than you are!” all day long.

We use this particular breed because they are more humanly bred – no leg problems, good strong hearts and generally great health.   And they really taste better than Great White Lumps

Thistles

Rhymes with ‘pistols’.Horse Thistle Plant

Unless you are a donkey, in which case it rhymes with ‘breakfast’.

Some folks think they are a nuisance.  The goats and donkey eat them up.  The sheep not so much.

Some of them get really big, especially when they are outside the fence-line (there loose lips cannot reach).

In springtime all the interesting plants come out to play.  Tender and tasty.  The Poison Ivy is gone from our fields – all eaten by the goats.  Wild Brambles?  Gone too.   And a strong fence around the cultivated ones.

If you have scrub to clear, there is nothing than goats, donkeys and some time.

Gotta go move the fence out…

Some of the Boys

The Bigger White Rooster

We have too many roosters.  This poor guy(you’d never know it to look at him now) ran into a buzz saw called Mr. Big a few weeks ago.  Usually the foxes and raccoons limit the population but this year all 6 roosters survived.  We are currently researching Coq Au Vin solutions.

We tried placing him for adoption but all the interested party wanted to know what was wrong with him.  He’s a rooster.  What else do you need to know?