Archive for September, 2013

September 11, 2013

Chile Verde

Our pepper plants have been great producers this year. I completely forgot to start tomatillo seeds and for that I kick myself because I wanted them for verde sauce but this sauce, oh my goodness!!! It’s delicious!

chile verde1

6-8 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup white flour

1 large white onion

3 cloves garlic

kosher salt to taste

4 jalapenos (or other small hot pepper, optional)

2 lbs. Anaheim chiles

Olive oil

Roast peppers over open flame or in an iron skillet until well blistered, their color will lighten some, they’ll become charred. Put into paper bag and seal or into a stainless steel bowl that you have a lid or cover for. Allow to steam until cool enough to handle. Once cool, they’ll slough their skin fairly easily, remove seeds and as much skin as you choose (some do this under water, some do not, the choice is yours).

Dice one medium white or yellow onion and skin 3-4 cloves or garlic and smash, put into large pot with some olive oil (1/8 cup), over low/medium heat saute until tender, add roughly chopped peppers & flour. Stir to coat. Add chicken stock and let it all come to a slow simmer, the stock should thicken some due to the flour. – you could omit the flour completely and allow the blended peppers to be your only thickener-.

Let it simmer for 10 minutes or so and place in a blender or use a stick blender to blend it into an oblivion. Funnel into canning jars and preserve or freeze. Should keep for 4-5 days in the fridge.

This can be used for pork verde, for enchiladas or as a salsa! It’s delicious with chips and I am not a bit sad at all that there wasn’t any room left for this small pint jar in my pressure canner! Enjoy!

chile verde

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September 9, 2013

Farm update: September

What a busy summer it’s been! Each morning as I begin l livestock chores there is almost a smell of fall in the air. It’s not quite here yet but I expect it very soon.

Garden:

The garden has done very well for us this year and continues to. This morning I cut the dying sunflower blooms off of their stalks and will dry them to use the seeds next summer. We had very lovely sunflowers this year!

Some of the heirloom tomatoes are just starting to ripen while the cherries, romas and “standards” have been producing for a while. In fact, I have a pot of water on the stove as I type this getting ready to sterilize some jars as I made tomato sauce on Saturday that I need to can. A friend of mine gave me a gallon of homemade grape juice from her own grapes that I will be making in to grape jelly too.  I intend to start a verde sauce today with the Anaheim chilies. The pepper plants did extremely well this year and we’ve been eating jalapeno poppers quite often which is quite OK by us, we love them!

We’ve been enjoying melons for several weeks and green beans and eggplant. The potatoes are ready to dig. I dug some about 2 weeks ago and we had tasty fried taters with steak that night!

The bugs have been very bad this year though, no doubt due to the all the rain we got in August. I lost most of the broccoli and cabbage but I left the plants and they seem to be coming back so I think grasshopper season has passed. We put “Turkena” the turkey in the garden and she did a good job keeping the bugs down but there’s only so much one turkey can do! The carrots are just about ready to pull up and they look really good. I planted them in May and just put another hand full of seeds into the ground for carrots later on. I should get some cabbage and broccoli and all the cool weather crops started soon too.

Growing the cucumbers and melons vertically this year turned out to be a very great thing! I was super happy with the results and it’s something I plan to do again next year.

The greenhouse will need a little help before next season, I think we’ll go ahead and board up the “front” and “back”. The wind was quite unkind to the plastic in that area but over the hoop it held up beautifully and it did such an amazing job for us getting our seeds started early.

Animals:

2 of the does were bred last month for late January kids but after reading the Farmer’s Almanac Prediction for this winter I have to wonder if holding them to kid in July may not be better =). The first fresheners who kidded in June are producing beautifully. We weathered all the kids and I think I will try to see if I can keep them in milk over Christmas when we go to California so we have milk again when we come back. Though it does mean I won’t get a break except while we’re gone and I really enjoy that break! I guess we’ll play that by ear.

The piglets are growing so well, this weekend the boys who are not going to breeding homes will be castrated and next week they will head off to their new homes. I have really enjoyed them tremendously…so active and lively. Ann has been such a great mother and milk producer and it’s just been such a wonderful experience. I really look forward to another litter some time next year.

We have a fox back that has taken a few chickens. One morning about a month ago I was enjoying coffee at the kitchen table looking out onto the back yard around 6:30 in the morning and saw one jet across the yard with a chicken nearly in its jaws. I screamed bloody murder at it waking the entire house and it was either do that and have it run away or not scream at it and have it run away with my hen in its mouth…either way there was little chance we’d get a shot off. It stood there for a while and looked at me like ‘what did I do?’.

Jeremiah has been calling it in for several mornings now and saw it yesterday but it’s was just dark enough he couldn’t tell for 100% certainty that it was indeed a fox so he left it be and it’s not responded to the call since,  little bugger.

We’ve scheduled to butcher up this second batch of meat chickens for several weekends now but it’s just been so hot that it wouldn’t be at all fun but temps look like they’ll be in the 80’s this coming weekend and it’s now or never. They are small turkeys at this point and need to be processed. They all still look fantastic though and I was happier with this batch over the last and I was really quite happy with the last batch too! But I think with all the rain we had in August, the grass was so green and there were so many bugs these grew so very well. It’s definitely something we’ll do again next year and I even considered doing another batch this summer/fall because I had more customers than I had birds but I worry about volatile weather and the grass is starting to turn and I think it’s just best if we call it a summer on those.

Speaking of this weekend though, it’s the dairy goat show at the Kansas State Fair. We’re not going. I was worried I’d be sad that we weren’t but to be truthful, it’s a huge relief! We’ve just been busy and thinking about clipping everyone up again is just not on my top list of things I want to do. Everyone is milking well and I’d like to keep it that way. Not to mention the cost involved and the running back and forth and hugely early mornings and late nights, I’ll be happy to be the spectator and the helper, if it’s needed…if we even get down there for the show once all the chickens are done and there’s a lot of them…for us anyway, over 60 but we’ll have a butchering trailer this time with chicken plucker. I don’t mind plucking and it doesn’t take me very long but if I can save my hands and joints the work for as inexpensive as it is to rent, I’m all for that.

Rachel wanted specific chickens to raise for 4-H this year and after a few delays our local farm store finally got their chicks in this past Friday. I went down there and picked out 6 for her- 3 buff orpingtons and 3 barred rocks. I also have a batch in the incubator right now that will be ready to go on lock down tomorrow. I put in 16, one didn’t look to be fertile after a week and another just quit growing so of the 16, I have 14 left and they all look very good. Each new batch seems to better and better in the incubator and maybe this time we’ll be close to 75% hatch rate. I like raising chicks this time of year because it’s still warm enough most days not to need a heat lamp and by the time it turns cold they are ready to be outside with the other chickens.

General:

I’ve chosen a design for the new milk barn and we intend to start on that once the weather turns a bit cooler. I don’t know that we’ll get it done before winter but the mere fact the water and electric is in was one big step for us.

All this work around the farm means sometimes the house goes to the wayside and we’re always in a constant state of remodel. Several weekends ago I drug out the paint brush and paint and got to work putting high gloss white on baseboards and trim. We completely gutted and remodeled a 2 bedroom rental house in town and after painting nearly that entire thing alone, I seriously have a bad taste in my mouth for painting and have a hard time bringing myself to even think about putting a drop of pain on anything! But, I figure if I do a little at a time eventually it’ll all get done….maybe! Maybe though the stuff that was painted a long time ago will need to be RE-painted again! UGH!

We’ve been talking for the past couple of years of putting in one of those really large stand alone wood stoves  and piping it into the house via the existing duct work. This may be the fall to really do it instead of just talking about it.  As October approaches we start to think about wood cutting and splitting and that’s a chore that will be upon us soon. We had very little left last season. It seems we went through quite a bit and by all accounts I think it was a pretty mild winter…long, but mild. After taking a weekend in March and gathering rounds and logs from the woods and putting them in our wood cutting area, it’s all ready to go into the wood splitter.

The children went back to school just after Labor Day and I am back to being alone during the day, it’s a little lonely but I get a lot more sewing done. I am back to quilting on Rachel’s quilt and have just the smallest amount left to do. Then I can bind it and it’ll be ready! It should serve her well if it’s real cold this winter. The batting I used was bamboo fleece, it’s a heavy quilt! Several other project have been keeping me busy along with the cloth diapers.

Well, I promised the children I’d take them to the fair today and tonight is the demolition derby we intend to watch with friends. I don’t understand how people can visit the fair every day but it seem there are lots and lots of people who will go nearly everyday. It’s just too hot and crowded for me to do that more than once!

I suppose that’s about all for now. The pressure cooker is whistling at me so I need to start timing my ‘mater sauce and switch over the sprinkler for the garden. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week!

September 6, 2013

Green bag lunch

Not your Momma’s brown bag lunch!

Fun re-usable green bagged lunch bags in an array of prints!

Coming soon to OUR STORE!

Lunch bags

lunch bags1

Fully lined!

lunch bags 3

Folds flat! Space saving!

lunch bags 2

Quality construction with double stitched seams.

September 5, 2013

Egg tote!

EB 1

Scraps scraps scraps…

With my cloth diaper making, I end up with a lot of scraps! I generally try to use even the smaller scraps to add accents! I used to make quilts pretty often when Jer and I were first married and when the kids were little. I started a bed sized quilt for Rachel 2 Christmas’ ago. I finished Drew’s twin sized quilt last fall…

Drew's quilt 014

recently Rachel uncovered her half-quilted quilt underneath many of the other fabrics I use for cloth diapers. With fall and <shiver> winter around the corner, I figured it was about time to finally finish the quilting on it so it’ll be ready for use during -what the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting to be- a “piercingly cold” winter. These quilts and projects always bring to mind all the scraps…

I always save my scraps. Sometimes we use them as kindling (cotton, hemp & bamboo make AWESOME kindling/fire starters!), and sometimes I just wait for the perfect project! This egg tote is one such project!

EB3

We have a metal collapsible egg collecting basket, quite the fancy and space saving contraption. It’s wonderful…except at egg collecting time each evening the children get a little over-zealous sometimes and set the basket down a little too hard before running off to play. I was getting a little tired of broken or cracked eggs. I’ve been wanting to make a coiled basked for a while and after one cracked egg too many, there was no better time!

I’ve seen others that are shallower and the handles were just itty bitty things, more of a display basket really.  I wanted something deeper that would hold 18+ eggs (or a decent amount of stuff), with long enough handles that met in the middle.

EB4

It’s washable & padded & super sturdy too, everything you’d want in an egg basket, or a purse (I’m thinkin’ a button closure is in order!), or key basket or a display basket!! A little rustic, a little shabby-chic, a little scrappy, a little country, a little homespun with a lotta love put in!

Love this tote! Farm-fresh eggs, Easter eggs, hard boiled eggs or golden eggs -leave out the rotten eggs and goose eggs please =)! This is one basket you CAN “put all your eggs in”! Look for a them in OUR STORE soon!

EB5