Results for tag "seedlings"

Delicious things to make with Duck Eggs, & all the latest

Today I made custard for lunch with our ducks’ eggs. So fresh, so vibrant and lovely-the custard turned out not only a gorgeous color, but had a satin smooth texture. Yum! This dessert, made with eggs from happy happy ducks is actually good for you! Loaded with protein, calcium, B vitamins, healthy mono-unsaturated fats and some mineral rich maple syrup to boot.

duck eggs so fresh they nearly bring tears with their beauty!

i forgot to whisk the eggs before i added the the milk-

stirring over the low/medium heat

oh yeah- hot custard poured over frozen raspberries from a neighbor's farm

The basic recipe is as follows: Whisk 3 whole eggs in your pot, off the heat. Stir in 2 cups milk (we used fresh goats’ milk) and a 1/4 cup maple syrup, a 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, and  apinch of salt. Then start to heat on low/medium, stirring for about 5 minutes until the mixture is thickened. Eat right away with fresh local berries, or pour into serving bowls and refrigerate until firm. You can also cool the custard and then freeze it in your ice cream maker for an out-of-control summer luscious treat. Absoutely divine. The richness of the duck eggs is what makes this very simple custard a knockout.

duck eggs also make the BEST homemade pasta!

The extra protein in our girls’ eggs make homemade pasta even more robust and rich. Give it a try. One thing we learned is that whole mixing on the counter top is not a good idea- just use a bowl to avoid making a giant mess. The ratio is so easy (this is for about two servings)- 2 eggs to 1 cup flour, a pinch of salt. Stir, knead add more flour if needed, then roll out vigorously with a rolling pin, flouring your board as needed. Cut into strips that are about the same size, and drop all at once into a pot of boiling water. Boil maybe 5 minutes, depending on how thin you got your pasta sheet. Just boil until the texture is to your liking. Dress with fresh greens, sauteed in a little olive oil, some garlic. So simple, yet fancy and delicious!

rhubarb from a friend, we've established our own giant patch now, for next year and beyond

some of our broiler chickens that we're raising for our chicken share customers

Life has been good out here. Our first CSA boxes in May did not have any of our own veggies, as April was snowy and nearly sunless, so nothing grew! Radishes sat in the soil, not growing like they would have. We found wild ramps to share, and padded the boxes with extra eggs, soaps and other farm made goods. The June boxes begin next week, and we are so excited for all the good stuff we get to share now! Fresh, tender Kale (soo good with duck eggs for breakfast! Just sautee for a few seconds in olive oil, crack an egg on top and flip after a minute. Greens enriched eggs the easy way!), sorrel, cauliflower and broccoli, fresh peppermint, lettuces, china choy, baby salad mix, radishes….it’s so exciting. The first tomatoes are being formed on the plants, and the summer squash are about to bloom and start producing mountains of zucchini and patty pan squash. Kohlrabi is doing well, parsley and beets are taking their time, carrots are beginning to be visible. Brussel sprouts are starting to reach for the sky, and cabbages thinking about starting heads. Some of our cauliflowers are forming tiny heads. The heat wave we all experienced of over 100 degrees really pulled a fast one on the brassicas, who thought, that’s it, time to make seed. So we have some tiny heads, and some of the plants burst into bloom when it suddenly was 45 at night. They thought winter was coming, so time to make seeds for the next generation!

The Green Beans and other beans are coming along nicely, but that’s another month away before we see beans to pick. We’re growing some for fresh pods, and some for the dried beans we’ll shell in the late fall, after the pods dry. For those of you who got to have some of our fabulous winter squash last year, and know the special method we have for seeding them (using the pigs), you’ll be happy to know the pigs did it again, and we have squash plants everywhere!! Even though the growing season is so short in this climate, the bounty is insane, when it all works out. So funny to be salivating over winter squash at the start of summer.

Trixie is a Bancha goat -half boer, half la mancha- my own creation! She's milking not too heavily this year, her first, but her milk is really really creamy. Excellent for cheesemaking. Note her tongue!

It’s also been challenging this spring. First we lost Metallika’s son, Prince, to something we don’t know what. We took his body to the WI State Veterinary lab for an autopsy, but haven’t heard anything. he died completely suddenly, no warning signs or anything. Being from a set of triplets, and being the smallest one, he may have had some kind of defect that prevented him from living a full life. It was heartwrenching to lose such a robust, handsome and friendly little guy, and not be able to do anything about it. So far, we’ve had no problems with his sisters or any of the other goats, so it must have just been a fluke.

Then we had a predator come. We’ve not had much trouble ever before, due to Little Blue and Javi’s protection of the farm. But this jerk-hole snuck into the side shed where the little fat broiler chicks were brooding for a week or two before we could move them outside. This predator came two nights in a row, we think it is a weasel based on what we found. We lost 12 chicks at about 2 weeks of age. So we moved them outside a bit too early, but we needed them out of the den of the beast. We camped in our tent next to them that first night, having nightmares of weasels chasing baby chicks. We had two nights of peace. Andrew built a weasel trap which we baited, but caught nothing yet. And then it got cold one night, and all the chicks piled together in one end of a box, and ended up suffocating 6 of their chick buddies. Man oh man. We really are trying, but this has been a frustrating struggle.

Gardens are always a challenge, something is always hard. We’re starting with freshly tilled sod, and so despite cover cropping to hold back the weeds, we have had to go back and double dig some beds that got out of hand. Luckily the stream of baby plants needing transplanting never ends, so there is always something to put in the new beds. We’ve been totally on top of succession planting (yeah!), and now that the weather is kind of normal, we’re looking forward to lots of  veggies cascading into our lives and sharing that bounty with our CSA.

Rosie and her boyfriend Lance!

What else is going on out here? We decided we want to raise our own piglets instead of having to buy them from outside farms. And Rosie is such a magnificent pig were sure she’s gonna be an awesome mom. So we got her a suitor. Lance is a Tamworth boar, a heritage hog breed. He’s been hanging out next to her for 2 weeks, we’re all waiting for when she goes into heat in a couple days, and then hopefully piglets will be in the works. A huge thank you to Harvey from Carlena Farm, for raising such a nice boar and bringing him to us. Lance is so mellow and such a stunning guy, and he’s been singing Rosie sweet nothings pretty much all day long.

Rosie enjoying the sprinkler spa on the 100 degree day

spring’s tragedies and triumpths

It’s April 4th, and we still have snow all over the farm. In fact, the past two days it has been snowing! Not that it is accumulating, but how very disheartening to have more snow coming down to LTD Farm. We thought by now we’d have our field prepared and ready for sowing and planting. We pictured carrots sprouting, lettuces and cold hardy greens planted in the ground on April 1st. Alas, all our little seedlings still sit in planting flats in our grow room and hoophouse….waiting. There is a huge variety sprouting up already- curled green endive, cabbages of all sorts, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet peppers, hot peppers, many kinds of tomatoes, peanuts, cucumbers, basil, parsley, lettuces, arugula, spinach, creeping thyme, mesclun salad mix, kale, collards, chard, mache, pea shoots, brussel sprouts, chinese cabbage, celeriac.

March brings us baby goats. Metallika’s sweet triplets, born mid- March, are thriving under her excellent care. Prince knows what is most important- food, so he constantly runs to Mom for nourishment. Nobella and Segway are more vivacious with spritely curiousity over everything. They clamour at our legs hoping for a chance to jump up on our backs, if we’d just kneel down for them! How fun, and what a great way to spend some breaktime between all the hard labor we are doing in preparation for gardening time. Sometimes that last wheelbarrow-full of duck bedding to the compost pile takes you to the limit of exhaustion, so babies are a lovely distraction while resting one’s muscles for a few minutes.

baby goat cuddlin'

the adorable triplets!

But we have to honest, it isn’t all fun and sweet times- Goats are bullies and brutual to the underlings in the herd. There is always a bully in the group, the boss goat. All winter long, that was Cedar. Cedar actually was butchered a week ago, as we didn’t need to keep his excellent genetics on our farm anymore, with his daughters around. Inbreeding is not a good thing. After trying for over a year to find another goat breeder interested in giving him a new job, we decided to butcher Cedar. One too many times he was way too rough on the pregnant goats, demanding prime placement in front of the hay, and keeping the underlings away. When a goat is growing little ones, she needs to be able to eat as much as she needs. So off went Cedar, to goat heaven, in a very respectful and peaceful harvest. They say buck goats are no good to eat, but we have to tell you that his meat actually tastes delicious!

Cedar in all his glory.

butchering Cedar's meat, just part of it.....

So, bully removed, and a new one steps in: May.We had a tragic incident with Metallika’s daughter who was born last spring, our little girl Trixie. She’s a robust, vigorous little bombshell of a goat, and we were so excited for her kids due in two weeks. Trixie has the best genetics, as her Mom is our best lady milker, and her Dad, Cedar, like Metallika, has been so ridiculously healthy his whole life without any chemical inputs that are the norm for goat farmers. But May hates Trixie, and cornered her while she was munching hay, her head in the hay panel. I saw this happen- May dive bombed Trixie’s belly with her massive horns, and an hour later I found two TINY kids in the straw in the barn. The tiny beautiful boy kid was dead, unreviveable despite CPR attempts. The other baby was crying out, but they were both soooo premature that the little girl did not live long. We even tube fed her colostrum, a blow dryer pointed near her belly to warm her. Their eyes weren’t even open yet, they were so premature, and probably their organs were not quite ready to handle life on earth yet either. A terribly sad and horrible loss for Trixie and us. Because of the trauma that induced this early birth, her normal placenta delivery did not happen. We watched and watched for two days, hoping she would be able to overcome this situation, but finally we had to intervene with some uterine contraction inducing drugs, to help her expel the remaining afterbirth. Then there is the worry of infection, and after much debate, we put her on the antibiotics our vet gave us. What happened to Trixie was not her fault, and she should not be put to the test of how strong she is, just so we can keep to our non-medicating philosophy. However, this really has been a hard blow for her. She’s still rather lethargic, but seems to still have that spirit we know and love and everyday is getting more active. I crawl in next to her at night, giving scratches, handfuls of grapes (her favorite snack) and lots of love. Poor girl.

Trixie riding in the back seat last fall!

Still we wait on two more girls to have their kids. Desti has been due since March 29th, and looks bigger and bigger each day. The afore-mentioned May, our bully, is also HUGELY pregnant and due any day. To feel these girls’ big bellies, and the kids swirling around inside, is purely astounding. We will announce their births as soon as they happen! May may have triplets, she’s so huge.

she's huger every day, that May...

What else… our 10 turkey babies are still in the bathroom brooder, but they are growing so fast, it is time to upgrade to the hoophouse. We’ll put them out there in a larger brooder-type container (they still are fluffy, not feathered, so need extra heat and protection from drafts) once it stops snowing and being so windy! One thing turkey babies do well is jump up and out of their box- we’ve had many mornings where there is a turkey baby or two running around in the bathroom, or hiding and pooping in the bathtub. Oh boy. That’s when they get the nickname “turd-keys.”  Never a dull day!

Our three pigs, now about 250 lbs each, are out of the hoophouse now, tilling up new gardens for us. When we moved them out last week, the ground was still all covered with snow. We’ve moved them two more times since, as they are making quick work of the the sod and turf as they discovered it under the snow.

the pig-a-riffic Penny!

Even though it doesn’t feel like spring, we see it’s evidence: MUD PATHS. Any trail we take frequently has turned to pure slushy, slippery mud. This is pretty different from a week or so ago when we could run out in our slippers over the frozen crust to check on the goats. Of course this would also be the time of year when your muck boots develop cracks.

We’re so grateful for all the wonderful people who have signed up to be CSA customers this season! We’re totally committed to providing as much goodness as we can from this little chunk of the earth. XOXO to our LTD Farm!