Monthly archives "April 2013"

LTD Farm Greeting Card Set!

Awhile ago we received a lovely selection of custom cards from our friend Krista at Harvest Moon Backyard Farmers. The quality and feel of these cards impressed us and we decided to design and print our own LTD Farm Greeting Cards! They feature some of our all time favorite images from our daily life on the farm! Get an 8 pack for $20 plus tax (Shipping and handling included in price).   A Perfect Mother’s Day Gift!

There are 8 cards and envelopes in each pack. The cards are blank inside, making these adorable cards versatile for any occasion. You can easily purchase them online using our secure Paypal account. We’ll send them right out to you!



If we’d listened to our ducks instead of that darn groundhog, we’d have known this was going to be a LATE Spring. In a year with an early spring, they always begin laying eggs early. This year though, they waited until April to begin.               Thank you lady ducks for your delicious & nutritious eggs!

Quite the difference from last spring, when the trees were flowering and the ramps were coming up in the woods one month ahead of schedule. We have many things to be grateful for though, even if we are all suffering from spring fever. The drought conditions are dissipating and the apple trees are not going to bloom too early, which could cause an apple crop loss for all orchards. Here you can see an apple branch which has not yet bloomed, totally encased in ice!

Spring’s in full force @ LTD  regardless of the cold & snow. BABY GOATS! 

So far we’ve got 6 born from 3 moms, 5 boys and one girl. Their dad is an Alpine, and the does are an assortment of other breeds, so we have a very colorful kids! The mommas are nursing their kids this year, and we’ll be milking occasionally for milk to make soap with, and for our own use. We do not sell raw milk or goat cheese, as we are not a licensed dairy. The male goats, after a long and lovely summer and fall growing up on pasture with their moms, will be available as humanely raised & harvested meat in late fall. Contact us if you are interested. 

We’re excited to see the goatlings romping in the grass with their mommas, so ready to be seeding lettuce and radishes in the garden, to move our geese out of the hoophouse and out to graze in their pasture, the Bubsters bounding out of their chicken tractors each morning, devouring grass and bugs. It will come! Meanwhile we’re brooding baby chicks & ducklings in the kitchen, and incubating goose eggs in the bathroom. The livingroom is filling up with plant babies!  Normally we’d be able to move some of the cold hardy types of baby plants (like onions, kale, broccoli) out to the hoophouse this time of year, but it’s just too dang cold overnight still, so the living room gets fuller and fuller….

Over half of our 200 tomatoes are being grown from our own saved seeds from last year’s most unique and giant beauties. A massive purple tomato that was the most succulent and flavorful tomato we’ve ever eaten, a gorgeous & juicy Sunset toned monster, as well as seeds from a “volunteer” tomato plant that produced gigantic florescent orange tomatoes all by itself from a seed that fell in the path the season before!

Our friend Cris is working on creating a localized seed bank, and if our saved seeds grow true to type, we’re excited to contribute seeds from these amazing tomatoes and other veggie varieties we develop here on the farm.












This has been a difficult winter for us on our farm, and we think it is a good time to try to explain why- our whole county is right in the pathway of the frac sand mining explosion here in Wisconsin, and just a few months ago we found out about exploratory drilling going on right next door for a possible frac sand mine. Well, we found out by doing the chores one morning and hearing the worst awful racket you can imagine, which was pretty unusual; in all the days that we have lived here the mornings have been quiet and peaceful.  So we’ve been dealing with the potential of a frac sand mine right next door since Christmas (great Christmas gift, huh?), and we’ve been all over the map in terms of how we are trying to deal with this. There are so many issues with frac sand mining, and frack mining itself, that they are too numerous to go into right here at the moment, but suffice it to say that if a mine went in right next to our property, we would have to deal with hundreds of trucks pummeling our quiet country road mercilessly, day in and day out, , potential groundwater contamination, as well as incessant drilling noise, explosions that rock the landscape, and super fine silica dust that would present new and unexplored health hazards. Not the ideal picture for a small farmstead neighbor.

We sincerely hope our neighbor decides to pull the plug on this potential mine. Many people are swayed by the money, the mine companies are paying millions of dollars to buy up sites all around the county, and our surrounding townships are feeling the brunt force of mining might.

Our friend Lindsay Rebhan recently wrote about our situation for the MOSES (Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service) “Organic Broadcaster” Newsletter. She does a good job of explaining our situation. Here is an excerpt with a link to the full article at the end.

Our nation finds itself in the midst of a Wild West land grab–a fracking boom and therefore a frac-sand mining boom. The process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) uses sand, water and chemicals to open fissures in the earth to extract oil or natural gas. Wisconsin’s geological history as an ocean provides the perfect crystalline silica sand used for the hydraulic fracturing process. In the last three years, Wisconsin sand mining has grown exponentially, quickly changing the landscape.

“We didn’t completely understand how this issue could affect us so quickly. We were building our farm business; moving, harvesting/planting, learning the community, we thought we didn’t have time to keep up with the frac mining issue around us,” young Wisconsin farmer Andrew French explains. In the list of things new farmers need to keep tabs on–add frac sand mining. Andrew and Khaiti French own Living the Dream Farm, (L.T.D. Farm, Inc.) in Clayton, Wis., located in Barron County.

Andrew and Khaiti are two impassioned young farmers and compassionate carnivores, stewarding 39 acres of land in western Wisconsin. Barron County, like much of Wisconsin, is known for rolling hills, bucolic trout streams and good farmland. “Our land is one of the most important elements of our farm, of course, if the mine operation starts up here–all the smog, noise, and silica dust will cause health issues for us and our animals.” The L.T.D. farmers raise pastured ducks, chickens, turkeys, rabbits and goats, and produce vegetables for a CSA operation.

“The frac sand issue came to our attention this summer. Our neighbors five miles away started to fight a mine next to their property. Then, a week before Christmas, boring started on the property next to ours. We got up to do chores early morning in December and heard a loud noise. It was a big drill like the ones used to drill wells. A mineral company was drilling test holes for mineral extraction. We are now well aware that we have frac sand in this area. This obvious threat to our land and neighborhood concerned all of our neighbors and we almost immediately began to meet and talk about what we could do. We are now just understanding what actually happens in the frac sand mining process.”

Read the rest here:

When an industrial mine seems like it might become reality right  next to your farm, you don’t know what to do and it is impossible to get straight answers from anybody. We’ve learned a lot about our local government and the attitudes of different factions of the population in this rural area. It’s been discouraging at times. But we also found out about all the AMAZING people out here as well, those who treasure this region for a variety of reasons; those who love its peaceful agricultural vibe, those who have moved here to retire and relax for the last years of their lives, and others who have moved to this land to breathe the fresh air, and hike, hunt, and fish in the healthy wildlands. None of these folks want to see it become an industrial wasteland. For the last few months we have worked as a unified group, and even though it seems that we didn’t get our voices heard by our town board members, we bonded as a group of caring neighbors. Knowing your like-minded neighbors is so important in the country.

Take heart, we will always farm, and we love our jobs. But we would like to continue our journey on this lovely piece of heaven we call home.

The Farmstead Kitchen – Winter Squash


Winter Squash – you either love it, or you want to love it. 

Winter Squash is an ideal local food to work into your healthy eating menus, being rich in Vitamins A, C, B6, K, as well as a great source of Fiber & Potassium. You know you SHOULD love it. You love the idea of it. Squash is easy to grow and easy to store over the winter. However, coming up with an exciting and new Squash recipe can be a struggle, as we all get tired of the quintessential stuffed squash! Here are some ideas to inspire you out of the winter squash doldrums. 

Squash and Apple Soup—– delicious & nutritious, and super simple.

Ingredients: 1 medium winter squash, 3 or 4 apples, 1 quart + rich homemade veggie or bone stock, 6 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper to taste, sage, thyme, rice wine vinegar.

Peel the squash and chop into rough chunks, and place in a cast iron skillet. Add about 1/2 that amount of apple chunks, peeled if the skin is kind of tough (as is common with stored apples.) Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and pop in a 350 degree oven on the top shelf near the broiler.  In a separate pan on the stove top, sautee a large chopped up onion and 6 or more cloves of whole garlic. Bake the squash and apples until softened, and then sprinkle the dried herbs on top and broil for a few minutes. This browns the squash chunks a little, and toasts the dried herbs slightly. Remove from oven and let cool down. When cool, puree both the onion sautee and the roasted squash and apple chunks in the cuisinart or blender with some of the stock. Pour into a pot, add a drizzle of rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and the rest of the stock (or more if needed to thin) and then heat to a simmer back on the stove before serving.

Squash with Chard in a Spicy Coconut Harissa Sauce


Thanks to Gourmande in the Kitchen for creating this AMAZING recipe!

We have 2 different versions of homemade harissa paste to suggest, but you can also purchase it at gourmet and ethnic grocery stores.

This simple version is from our friend Lindsay: Roast hot peppers, toast ground spices; cumin, coriander, caraway, garlic, add into processor with salt and lemon , drizzle in olive oil to thin.

This harissa recipe is from our friend Kitty: 2oz dried red chillies, salt, 2 garlic cloves, 2 tsp coriander seed, 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp caraway seed, 1 tsp crumbled dried mint, Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Seed chillies and tear into pieces. Soak in warm water till soft (about 20mn). Drain and pound with mortar or process in food processor. Crush garlic with some salt. Blend dry ingredients into a paste. Stir in 2 tbsp Olive oil. Put in a jar and cover with olive oil to seal. Will last in fridge no problem as long as fully covered in oil.

Moroccan Style Squash Pilaf

This baked in the oven pilaf is absolutely perfect for a chilly spring evening! It’s our kind of recipe- not fussy and but very nourishing. Take 2 cups of basmati rice and 2 cups pureed tomatoes and put together into a casserole dish. Chop up a couple small peppers, an onion and a head of garlic, sprinkle on top. Layer on some cooked garbonzo beans (1 can/2 cups or so, ) and then an equal amount of diced raw squash. Then sprinkle on a bit of dried ginger, cinnamon, brown mustard seeds, cayenne if desired, salt and pepper. Pour another 2-3 cups of canned tomatoes on top, then drizzle the whole dish with olive oil. Bake uncovered at 350 for about an hour, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, but before it dries out on top.

For even more unique and beautiful Squash recipe ideas, check out our Fabulous Pinterest Board!

Belle attempting to “rollover” onto our last squashes!