Friday, October 23, 2009

Lamb for Sale!

This was one lamb born last March.  They are now ready to go to be processed.  They are going to the butcher on November 9.  Whole and 1/2 lamb available.  An entire lamb is about 35-40 lbs.  $6/lb and this means it is vacuum/freezer packed and ready for you to put right into the freezer.   Grass fed and grown slowly over 8 months.

So Annette:  what cuts do you get from a whole lamb?
I'm glad you asked, basically there are 5 main parts:  the leg, loin, rack, shoulder and breast/shank.   

Now if this is all too confusing for you-- just let us ask you a few questions and we'll figure out the first round for you and pick the cuts for your first order and then when you order your NEXT lamb then you'll be more picky and you'll be better educated as to what you like.

The main questions are:  do you want lots of roasts or chops or a little of both?  
Do you want a whole rack of lamb or crown roast?
Do you want some lamb kabob pieces or lamb sausage?

Someday-- I'll be able to rattle off these cuts like an expert.  For now I look at my chart...this was the only one small enough that would copy well.  Lots more detail out there if you need to find a different chart.

And here is a good link for LOTS of detail


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall is Really Here

Pigs are still adding enjoyment to our lives and farm experience.  Yesterday Mike was out by the pigs and 3 of them escaped.  he-he   Try catching pigs.  It's fun!  They'll go anywhere for food though.  That's really the trick.

Fall Harvest is over -- maybe a few more carrots and some baby choi-- but the frost last week got all the rest.  Anyone who wants their own zinnias next year can feel free to go dead head the zinnia patch.  I've got about 9 puffy gallons of seeds already.  I'm going to pick the rest this weekend.  My plan is to see how large of an area I can grow next year as I already have 20 times the seeds I started out with.  I also saved the sunflower seeds and so I should get a good section for sunflowers as well.  I was hoping someday to store enough seeds from the flowers to line the entire drive to our house with flowers.  That would be cool.  

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Local Honey- Local to Westminster Maryland that is

Since I was into drinking hot liquids this week, I decided I'd become more familiar with local honey.  We have quite a few in the house and added another this week.

If you suffer allergies then honey is supposed to help you if you eat local honey.  Also good for colds and when you are sick... and it's good wholesome sweetness.....  how could you go wrong with ANY honey.  What we have right now in our cupboard.

From left to right:  Keep in mind these comments are from someone who loves honey but doesn't have the finest taste buds- I tried my best to describe them.  I had fun tasting all the honey 4-5 times.... :)

#1Really Raw Honey says it's made in Baltimore.  It's cool because it is unstrained and unfiltered honey.  I'm not sure if that makes it better for you but its good honey.  It's usually a dense thick honey paste and has a fresh honey taste and powerful.  You can get a taste of clover, of flowers, of trees as they mix honey from lots of areas together.  

#2New jar of Country Harvest Honey from Manchester (our old home town) and says is wildflower honey.  I think it has a soft feel to it and it is a light honey with a strong lavender flavor to it.  Delightful!

#3and #4 are from the same place - Buck Naked Farm.  One jar has a comb piece in it and the other is your typical bear shaped container.   This honey is from Woodbine and I can't peg the flavor but its rich and full bodied.  I also love chewing bees wax.

#5 Hillside Apiary is in Westminster.  The honey has flower tones and clover and is medium bodied.  Its a sweet, sweet honey.  I need to try cookies with this honey.

#6Beever Lodge Honey is from Eldersburg, Maryland.  We know that this has a strong locust tree flavor as we helped process this honey.  It's our favorite of all of them probably because of this.  But it's also great honey.  It's light to medium bodied and not too sweet.  

I'll be buying more and more local honey.  I'm thinking that maybe honey would be better for us than sugar as we are a family that likes our sweets.  Can you make chocolate chip cookies with honey instead of sugar?  
I'll be looking into it.  

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dottie is hooked on sheep...

Bordie collies are fun dogs.  The downside is that if you have big windows and you put the sheep near your house... you get dogs that stare out windows for hours and hours.  I've been told that they are imagining how they'd get the sheep and they'll stare for hours.

The kids took advantage of this and created Dottie the firedog.

Here is a better angle of the sheep she was watching out the window.  She needs to be trained because later that night she broke into their area and they got out of the 2 wired temporary fence.  So Frank did his job and had to round up the 50+ sheep in the dark.  We couldn't find them so Mike was driving around and found deer, fox, cattle, our goats but no sheep-- Annette took the van and hit the back roads.  How can you lose 50 sheep I kept thinking.  They don't scatter as they stick together so they wouldn't go in the dense woods so they really could go only one way.

The sheep were evidently hiding in the enchanted forest which is our name for our patch of crazy exotic trees that the last owner planted to sell but then never sold.   (if you need a Japanese fir tree or weeping trees or anything that is normally a $800+ tree of which I know nothing about but which others who visit our property ooh and ahh about-- let us know-- we'll give you a deal and we've also got a friend who can move it for you).
So, Frank rounded them up and brought them to the front door.  Good dog.  Now if he would just stop rolling in poop....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


The turkeys are in the area where the tomatoes were.  They are cleaning up every last dried up tomato and all the bugs around them!  Yum, yum say the turkeys.

They are pretty funny birds.  Last weekend they gobbled at me.  I laughed and said to them-- do it again.  So I gobbled and they gobbled back!  although that only worked twice.  I think they got tired of gobbling for me.  
Still- very cool.  We keep picking them up judging the weight.  We have some folks that would like smaller 16 lb birds and others that would like a 24 lb bird.  I'm hoping we get that kind of spread- either that or some of them will just get processed a week or so before the others.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Where did the summer go?  This is the last official week of the CSA.
What's left in the garden?
More lettuce-- black seeded simson lettuce to the left, greens (spicy) to the right.

Bok Choi-- 
Carrots... I just scattered the seeds as I didn't want rows because I didn't want to weed.  It worked!  Although somehow there are broccoli raab that somehow found their way into the carrots. We didn't realize what it was and it flowered already.  Though the carrots are still a little small.  We may have 1 more pickup next week for carrots and more Bak Choi for those who want to come get what is left in the garden.  Last year we had greens until mid November so we'll see how this year goes.  It's starting to get cold here.

A different asian green/ bak choi combination green.  Very, very green!

Also, the last of the garlic.  The rest got planted this weekend for next year.  Yes, it was planting time this weekend.  I am now up to 8 different varieties of garlic for next year.  I think you all have enough garlic to last you the winter.  In one CSA members house this weekend I saw a whole drawer full of shallots and garlic....  she'll be fine for the winter.

Veggies are done......  now onto winter foods.  Homemade pasta with farm fresh eggs, roasts and more meat dishes.  Speaking of meat....  

Pork will be available in December/January.  If you haven't tried whole-hog sausage, try out a pound or 2.  You will be pleasantly suprised and you'll be a trend setter...  whole-hog sausage is going to get really popular-- so be the first and help spread the trend!!!  Your friends will suddenly start inviting you over to their house for potluck dinners and you can also say that you are a cool member of the slow grow, local, sustainable food movement.

We got an email this weekend from one CSA member who helped fix our walk-in fridge and so he got some whole hog sausage to take home.  His email had some language not suitable for this blog-- but it started H__y  S__T.  And something about fantastic sausage and then using the leftovers for breakfast with eggs.  I understand.  It's darn good.

Beef available in November as well as lamb.  Turkeys are sold out.
Now because these are our first 4 cattle and our first lambs-- we're gonna give the first buyers a good deal.  We find it's better to sell your product after you've tasted it.  We had some Belted Galloway meat from the farm in Vermont where they came from and it was great-- but now they are here on our farm.  We know the ground beef will be great and the lamb kabobs will be great and likely nice and lean.  It's the specialty cuts that we're not sure about.  Likely they'll be great.  But until we cut them and eat them, we won't know how the steer and lamb have done on our pasture and you want the right fat and marbling in the meat.  So for this first round--- you'll get a great deal.  And we can't butcher and then bring it home and sell it-- we don't have the freezer space.  4 steers take up a lot of room.  So we'll need to split them up and you'll need to pick what you want up from the butcher.  So talk to Mike and he'll give you the deal of the year.  The meat will be fresh and processed at our favorite butcher so you'll have great meat for the winter.  

All the animals are looking great -- the lambs are looking hearty as are the 4 steers... yes, it's terrible, Mike and I go outside to check out the animals and we think.....hmmm... rack of lamb.... or ribeye....  3-4 more weeks and we'll be fully stocked in our own freezers.... chicken, turkey, venison, beef, pork, lamb--- all we need is rabbit..... coming soon.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Darn Good Meal

I had the pleasure of eating at the Sheppard's Mansion last night.
The Chef has a blog that I enjoy reading.  If you want great local food and great cuisine in our area-- I'm giving it the thumbs up.

It was a Wednesday night dinner and our table might have been the only one in the place (though I think we saw one other couple earlier in the evening).

I shared an appetizer so I was able to try the Mac and Cheese with Lobster as well as a homemade ravioli.  The Mac and Cheese gets rave reviews.  The Mac and Cheese with Lobster was darn good-- but the homemade ravioli with braised beef was better.  I tried a taste of the scallops and those were also great.

I then had for the 'salad plate' ham hocks that were baked in hay on top of pumpernickel bread.  Really great.  On the side were arugula and pea shoots.  Who knew you could eat the shoots of peas?  Those have been growing randomly in my garden and I've been picking them out as weeds.  

The 3rd course was rabbit... hassenpfeffer.  It was also so tender and the homemade noodles it was served on top of were to die for.  Our rabbits are almost old enough to have offspring-- so in 3-4 months we'll be making our own hassenpfeffer... I can't wait!
I actually think the noodles and these marinated onions that were served with the rabbit were the highlight of the meal for me.  I could have eaten a plate of those noodles. 
I've yet to make homemade noodles with our pastured eggs-- shame on me-- that will be a winter project.  If we invite you over for pasta dinner this winter-- don't pass it up....   :)

Lastly was desert and I was fortunate enough to try 3 of the desserts.  I had a peanut butter tart topped with a concord grape sorbet.  It was great....   I also tried out the chocolate desert plate-- yum plus pumpkin cheesecake-- double yum.

All in all-- it was a great meal.  The only thing slightly disappointing was that we didn't see anything of the kitchen or chefs and only our servers.   Being the only table at the place I guess I expected that someone from the kitchen would come out and say hello to our group.  

I'll definitely be going back for another dinner and this time I'll take Mike and we'll make it a night out.  We'll try a Friday or Saturday night when the place is a little more lively.  

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Beautiful Sight

Mike and I were remembering when we first got the chickens and we got 1-2 eggs a day. He-he.
Now look at the bounty! The October and 3 year old hens are tapering off production for the winter but the February flock that started laying in July will go thru the winter and go especially strong if we give them a little extra light in the mobile. We just have to figure out how to do that.....

But for those buying eggs, don't worry, we'll have enough eggs to sell you thru the winter. I totally understand what the world is like without pastured eggs-- and it's a depressing world. Suddenly all your baked goods are not as fluffy, you get no joy as you crack open an egg and you are stuck with more cholesterol as the other eggs just don't have the nutritional value of pastured eggs.

My favorite breakfast (that I just finished eating 15 minutes ago and have about 3 times a week at least) is a pork (bacon, ham, sausage-varied to change it up), egg and cheese sandwich. My goal this winter is to make the bread part of the sandwich from scratch as well as the cheese and butter that I use to fry my egg. mmmmm..... what a great way to start the day.