Monthly archives "May 2010"

the end of may

ummmm........these are beer battered feta curds. the batter was made with duck eggs. DEEP FRIED in organic shortening.

ummmm........these are beer battered feta curds. the batter was made with duck eggs. DEEP FRIED in organic shortening.

so good, we had to have them again!

so good, we had to have them again!

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baby turkeys, called poults, arrived this week, these are the thanksgiving birds who'll be gigantic by November.

baby turkeys, called poults, arrived this week, these are the thanksgiving birds who'll be gigantic by November.

turkeys are so loveable, and who knew, so snuggly!

turkeys are so loveable, and who knew, so snuggly!

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Thuja is the youngest baby, but one of the largest, thanks to her Mom Catalpa's RICH milk!

Thuja is the youngest baby, but one of the largest, thanks to her Mom Catalpa's RICH milk!

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metallika got into the living room, this is why you hook them up on the milk stand!
metallika got into the living room, this is why you hook them up on the milk stand!
there he is with Renee, of Eener's Farm, a Vegetable CSA and diversified farm.

Metallika's son, Two Tone, with Renee, of Eener's Farm, a Vegetable CSA and diversified farm. He's gonna be a big time stud boy for them this fall!

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i butchered my first goat on my own, and it went very well. She was a goat with CAE, which gave her arthritic symptoms, meaning she walked on her knees. This virus is devastating for goats, but some have it and aren't afflicted. Some are, and vanessa let me know she was ready to go. It is an intense thing to listen and be open to hear these kinds of messages from an animal. I thought about burying her body, but decided that the best way to respect her was to utilize as much as I could. Thank you Vanessa.

i butchered my first goat on my own, and it went very well. She was a goat with CAE, which gave her arthritic symptoms, meaning she walked on her knees. This virus is devastating for goats, but some have it and aren't afflicted. Some are, and vanessa let me know she was ready to go. It is an intense thing to listen and be open to hear these kinds of messages from an animal. I thought about burying her body, but decided that the best way to respect her was to utilize as much as I could. Thank you Vanessa.

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a couple days later I was ready for some amazing goat ribs, seared over a HOT fire, then smoked with hay and oak bark chunks!

a couple days later I was ready for some amazing goat ribs, seared over a HOT fire, then smoked with hay and oak bark chunks!

From Rumi: Only the soul knows what love is. This moment in time and space is an eggshell with an embryo crumpled inside, soaked in spirit yolk, under the wing of grace, until it breaks free of mind to become the song of birds and their breathing.

Mary’s story about Thanksgiving

Mary is one of my fantastic customers, and she shared this story with me, which she wrote about last fall. It really describes the day perfectly. Thanks Mary!

Homage to a Turkey

It was a crisp fall day just before Thanksgiving, 2009. Charley and I were on our way to our friend Khaiti’s farm, a tiny 2 acre plot on the outskirts of a housing development near Osceola, to pick up our holiday bird. Earlier in the summer I asked Khaiti if I could be in on the butchering. As the day approached I became more apprehensive. Did I really want to be the cause of the death of this animal? As we drove the country road I remember thinking that if it had turned out we couldn’t butcher that day it would have been fine with me. But the sky didn’t fall, it wasn’t pouring rain and we didn’t get a flat tire on the way. Nor did we get lost and even pulled into the farm 15 minutes early. We got out of the car to the squawking of ducks and turkeys and saw the faces of the curious goats peering out from the shed.

Khaiti’s land is completely dedicated to her desire to live sustainably. She has a plastic hoop house full of Khaki Campbell ducks, a breed that was born to lay eggs and what yuumy eggs they are. Her turkeys were in a huge penned area close to the small pasture and little barn that houses her milk goats. Khaiti absolutely adores her animals yet has no problem eating them when the time comes. How I admire that girl. When she is talking with her animals or interacting with them the sense of peace and compassion that flows from the universe through her and to the animals is palpable. She was a vegan eater for over a decade not because she was opposed to meat eating but because of the way the animals were raised.

Khaiti was just setting up her temporary outdoor abattoir. When I first saw the turkeys running around in the pen I had another moment of trepidation. These turkeys were lovely, strutting around making their strange gobbles and pecking at unseen things in the dirt. Our turkey, a Bronze Broad-breasted breed, had lived a healthy natural 6 months instead of the 3 months it takes for a commercial turkey.

We waited for the word to start. Khaiti was understandably nervous. She had butchered some turkeys previously so was no stranger to what had to be done but this was the first time she was in command. Charley and I, certainly, had no experience in killing another living thing on purpose although we had had our share of run-ins with deer. We were timidly trying to catch the turkeys chasing them back and forth, I am sure we looked like something out of the Marx Brothers. Turkeys are very strong creatures. You have to contain the wings, not that they will fly away but it is hard to get close to them if the wings are a-flappin. After chasing them around for a couple of minutes we had them contained. Charley held the turkey and when Khaiti made the slit, the death was gentle and peaceful. Khaiti thanked the bird, said she was grateful for it’s life. It seemed somehow sacred. I couldn’t look at the first turkey as it was dying. I turned away and when I looked back, the neck was cut and the head off at an awkward angle. Blood pulsed out and then slowed. All this took less than two minutes. The bird was still glorious with colored feathers but not moving except for a random twitch to remind us that it had been alive a minute ago. I did look at the next slitting. And there was that one split second when I wanted to give this bird a stay of execution. Because I did not think I was worth its death. But I eat meat and accept the fact that this has to be done. I knew this bird was loved. That it had a good turkey life.

Our turkey was hoisted up by the feet to hang upside down at the end of the clothes line. The blood continued to drip out as we started to pluck. How weird that the body was still warm but it did make the plucking of feathers very easy, with a simple tug in the opposite direction the feathers lay they came off in great tufts and bunches. First the long feathers of the back and wing, tough and stiff with quills leaving a mark whence they had joined with the skin. Feathers began to pile up on the ground covering up the fallen leaves and where, just 5 minutes ago, we had watched the blood seep slowly away. The softer feathers of the neck and breast were a little harder to grasp and pull but the bird was still warm when we finally finished.

Khaiti asked if we wanted to gut the birds but I declined and I watched her. It was amazing to watch her. She talked about what she was doing and why and almost reverently pulled out the guts. I know the words make it sound a lot grosser than what it was. It just seemed natural. With the body cavity cleaned and feathers off, the only decision left for us was whether we wanted our birds with head and feet on or off. I chose head off, feet on. The turkey went into a huge vat with icy water straight out of Khaiti’s well to finish off the job of cooling down the bird. We packed our 20 pound dressed turkey in ice in our large cooler. As we drove away all I could think about was how good that turkey was going to be. There were no thoughts of the fear that I would want to become vegan that I had when I was driving out to her farm.

We had a most delicious turkey. The turkey was baked without stuffing and with out its feet. For some reason I did not want to sully the flavor with anything. I roasted it for 2 hours breast down and then 2 hours breast up sprinkled with herbs de Provence and salt. There was at least 2 cups of fat that dripped off the bird. Our guests were my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. We gorged on that turkey, the four of us. The dark meat was rich with flavor and required teeth. Not that it was tough but the texture was certainly not mushy. And the breast meat, was firm and juicy. Because of our amateur attempts at de-feathering there wasn’t as much crisp, mahogany brown skin as charley and his sister would have liked due to recalcitrant tufts of down and pieces of feathers. To go with the turkey I made the Loretta’s famous recipe for dressing and everyone’s favorite, green bean casserole as well as my fathers favorite, red cabbage. Mostly, I believe we ate turkey and gravy.

I used the carcass for broth along with any uneaten skin, gnarly bits and the whacked off feet with just a bit off salt in the water to encourage the marvelous flavor of the bird to seep into the broth. Four hours later, with the house smelling again of turkey I strained off the bones, skimmed off the fat (to save for frying potatoes) and was left with a gallon of golden broth that as it cooled turned gelatinous and yummy. I froze a quart of broth along with a generous portion of breast meat for hot turkey sandwiches to share with the kids at Christmas time. We ate turkey leftovers and soup and sandwiches and dumplings and gravy, 2 meals a day for a week. And I never got sick of it.

Butchering an animal was a seminal experience for me. In short order I truly understood that the meat we eat comes from a living creature. It isn’t produced with out effort. It is so easy to forget that when you see nice neat packages in the store. It was a privilege to be there, to connect with life and death that way. I have since watched the documentary “Food, Inc” and vow I will never ever buy meat from someone who doesn’t love their animals. I want Khaiti or other farmers like her to be raising my food because peace and compassion is imbued in it. And oh, sweet Martha, how absolutely delicious it is.

Famous eggs – available at Seward Co-op and Mississippi Market Co-op locations

My lady ducks’ eggs have made the Top 50 Tastes of 2010 in the Star Tribune Newspaper! Way to go gals, love ya!

48. Quacking good eggs

Khaiti Kahleck’s business started with a taste. “I had my first duck egg and I flipped out,” said this former self-described “angry vegan.” “They have so much substance and richness, it just blew me away.” We have that same feeling about her duck eggs, produced by 160 happy, milk-chocolate-colored Khaki Campbells, who roam outdoors and eat very well on Kahleck’s small Osceola, Wis., farm. The eggs’ shells have a stunning opalescence, and their nutrient-packed yolks translate into some incredible baking. A former Seward Co-op staffer, Kahleck christened her farm “LTD,” for Living the Dream, and in just three years she’s carved out a swath of devoted customers. “I have some pretty hard-core fans,” she said.”

 

harvest preparation

Spending time with the crazy, joyful turkeys this morning. They’ve been put into a new paddock alongside my driveway- have to use all the space out here that I can! I am preparing myself for their harvest coming up at the end of June. However, everyday I have with them is enjoyed so much.100_3460

This poem is very special to me, an excerpt from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet:

When you kill a beast say to him in your heart,

“By the same power that slays you, I too too am slain; and I too shall be consumed.

For the law that delivered you into my hand shall deliver me into a mightier hand.

Your blood and my blood is naught but the sap that feeds the tree of heaven.”

meat and food with an acknowledged spirit

I am feeling like I need to explain something, as a former vegan. Well, actually I am still vegan when i leave my farm, if I don’t know the animals the products came from. Anyhow- I am not here trying to convert ANYONE to anything. Vegans rule!

the garden as of may 11th

the garden as of may 11th

I really appreciate what they choose, cuz I am still on board with not partaking in miserable factory-farmed animals’ products.

this is not vegan at all, but entirely from my farm. A fritatta made by the amazing Andrew, with duck eggs, feta, shredded roasted turkey (from last thanksgiving, was in the freezer!) spinach from the garden, garlic from last years' crop.....amazing farm food, thanks to my animals!

this is not vegan at all, but entirely from my farm. A fritatta made by the amazing Andrew, with duck eggs, feta, shredded roasted turkey (from last thanksgiving, was in the freezer!) spinach from the garden, garlic from last years' crop.....amazing farm food, thanks to my animals!

 

 

 

We all get to draw our own lines, but what worries me about some of the vegans I have encountered, is the non-acceptance of others’ choices. It is actually reminiscent of some religious organizations I have encountered in my past. My sister  (a vegan) who won’t even talk to me anymore because she is so angry I am eating my own animals. It is either I go her way, or nothing, no relationship at all.

 

andrew with the massive Matilda!

andrew with the massive Matilda!

my duckling brooder in the bathroom, holding the young hatched from my own heritage ducks!

my duckling brooder in the bathroom, holding the young hatched from my own heritage ducks!

 

babies! tiny tiny...

babies! tiny tiny...

settling in the bathroom brooder, enlarged version, for a few days. They have to stay very warm the first couple days.

settling in the bathroom brooder, enlarged version, for a few days. They have to stay very warm the first couple days.

 

 

look how the first group has GROWN! Now they are out and about in the hoophouse, within a border, so they don't get at the young greens. They'll be moving outside as soon as they are feathered more and can handle getting wet and chilly, maybe a week or so?

look how the first group has GROWN! Now they are out and about in the hoophouse, within a border, so they don't get at the young greens. They'll be moving outside as soon as they are feathered more and can handle getting wet and chilly, maybe a week or so?

I am choosing to raise animals for their bountious giving back, and I really enjoy caring for them. My animals living great, happy lives, makes me SO glad! This is one less factory farmed turkey, pig or duck. I also raise animals to eat them, because I really love to eat meat, but everything that leads up to their (the average meat animal) death, and their death itself, was why i WAS vegan. But that is EXACTLY what i can change on my farm. I can make sure they live the BEST life possible before they are eaten, and I can make sure they have a serene, respectful death at my hands. I CAN DO THAT. And that is why i am doing it! I hope this makes sense to you, as a reader. I don’t expect everyone to agree with or respect what I do, but for me, I feel proud of, and honored by the animals who lives I get to care for and enjoy with them.

spinach and garlic, both planted last fall!

spinach and garlic, both planted last fall!

 

the baby ducks moved out into the hoophouse brooder today, transported in my arms, inside a box

the baby ducks moved out into the hoophouse brooder today, transported in my arms, inside a box

noble matilda

noble matilda

 

andrew can make the PERFFECT overeasy egg, trapped in a pillow, somehow. He has magic skills.

andrew can make the PERFFECT overeasy duck egg, trapped in a pillow, somehow. He has magic skills.

 

greens are coming on STRONG!

greens are coming on STRONG!

ps I am loading some awesome videos onto facebook….find me there under L.T.D. Farm LLC    —–pigs galloping around with me, pigs in love with the cat, the new ducklings just out of the incubator…..