Monday, July 30, 2012

Simple Recipes: Red Potatoes

I am a busy person with a multitude of homesteading projects that I am constantly working on, as well as working 40 hours a week outside of the home, and parenting a 12 year old that needs her own event coordinator!  I don't always have time to plan and cook a meal.  This week I am bring you two very simple recipes that you can prepare easily with most ingredients coming directly from your garden or local farmer's market.  

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Bay

2 lbs. of red potatoes
1 head of garlic, cloves separated
6 sprigs of rosemary, each 3 inches long
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Put the potatoes in a large shallow baking dish.  Arrange them in a single layer.  Add the garlic, rosemary, bay leaf, and olive oil.  Season with salt and then toss well.  Add just a 1/3 cup of water.

Cover your baking dish with foil and bake until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife.  (This should take about 45 minutes.)  Enjoy!

Roasted Potatoes with Herbs

1/4 olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 lbs. of unpeeled red potatoes

In a roasting pan, stir together all ingredients except the potatoes.  After the ingredients are well mixed, toss in the potatoes.  Roast in a preheated 425 degree oven, turning often, until golden brown.  (Again this should take about 45 minutes.)  Garnish this dish with 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil and 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives from your garden, and enjoy!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Ultimate Sacrifice

PFC Jeffrey Rice

On July 19, 2012, a local serviceman from our hometown was killed in Afghanistan while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom.  His name was PFC Jeffrey Rice and he was 24 years old.  I have such a huge respect for our military personnel, but like a lot of people I am guilty of taking my freedom for granted and going about my day to day life.  I know that there is a war going on but it isn't in the forefront of my mind on a daily basis.  This morning was different for me.

Today Jeffrey's body was being brought back home to Troy, Ohio after arriving at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.  We got up early this morning because we wanted to show our respect for him and let his family know that we appreciated the sacrifice he made for our country and our freedom.  It was a very emotional military procession with hundreds of people lining the streets, waving flags as the hearse carrying Jeffrey passed by us.  The entire procession last only a little over a minute, but I must say it was a minute that will forever change my life and I will never forget this morning.

I personally want to thank all of our military personnel, past and present.  The gift of freedom, that I enjoy everyday, comes with a price.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for sacrificing your life and time with your loved ones so I can live free in this amazing country.  Thank you for all of the families of these military personnel.  You sacrifice too, and it doesn't go unnoticed.  I want to thank Jeffrey's mother for raising such a wonderful young man.  As I stood there this morning with my own child next to me, many of the tears I shed were for you.  From one mother to another, I can not fathom what you must be going through right now.  Lastly, I want to again thank you Jeffrey for the ultimate sacrifice.  Land of the free, and home of the brave?  Only because of men and women like YOU! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

1 Egg, 2 Egg, Brown egg, BLUE egg!

This morning I sent Katzya out to feed the chickens while I stayed inside and fed the dogs.  I was about knee deep in dog feeding when she came running in and said with great excitement, "Boy, do I have a surprise for you!"  She knows I get excited by egg collecting every morning and I just assumed that maybe we add more eggs than normal.  I turned around and Katzya had our usual 3 eggs, but instead of three brown eggs we had 2 brown eggs and 1 blue egg!  A little gift from our Americauna hen, Bluebelle!

On a side note:  Look at the size of that egg in the top right corner!  Our Red Stars lay  duck-sized eggs!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Making memories

Tonight we did something that I haven't done in MANY years.  We went to a drive-in movie theater!  Katzya is always driving us (no pun intended...) crazy about having "family movie" night, and normally we rent a movie from the Red Box.  However, tonight we decided to surprise her and instead of renting a movie we loaded up all of our pillows and blankets, slipped into our PJ's and went to the drive-in for a double feature!  It was a brilliant night to watch movies due to a storm that blew in and left right before the first movie started to play.  It dropped the temperature several degrees and made movie watching that much more enjoyable.  I love doing things together as a family, with the two most important people in my world.  Hopefully the memories that we create will last us a lifetime...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

the salsa dance....

For the last 2 nights our family has gone over to the Remy Homestead to can salsa.  At first the Reluctant Farmer and I were going to do this at our house on Monday night because we had an abundance of tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and jalapeno peppers from the garden.  When we mentioned this to Christie she said she really wanted to try her hand at canning, so we packed up all of our stuff and moved over to her house.  This was actually a win-win situation.  They have a bigger kitchen than we do thus easier to move 3 bodies around comfortably and a swimming pool so the kids are not under your feet in the kitchen.  

I have torrid love affair with canning and much like a marriage, it is time consuming and demands most of your attention but in the end it is deeply satisfying.  Canning is sort of like a dance that the Reluctant Farmer and I have perfected as a team.  Each one knows what the other one does and by now there is little explanation needed on either person's part.  We just do what we do and it runs fairly smooth.  Christie fit into our dance easily and it was wonderful having a third person because it went much faster!  

With all of this being said we were able to produce 41 jars of salsa in 2 nights.  That left us with 20 jars each and 1 jar to taste test.  It was good and I think it will be even better this fall/winter when I am craving fresh vegetables from my garden.  

Garden Vegetable Salsa:

7 c. peeled, cored, coarsely chopped tomatoes
2 c. coarsely chopped onions
1 c. chopped green peppers
8 chopped jalapeno peppers
4 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 c. white vinegar
5.5 oz tomato paste

Mix all of this in a large saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring constantly.  Then reduce heat to low/medium bring to a boil again and stir for 30 minutes while mixture thickens.  Fill jars leaving 1/2 inch head space and process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Visit to Cold Antler Farm


On the weekend of Father's Day the Reluctant Farmer and I drove to upstate New York to attend the Meat Bird Workshop that took place at Cold Antler Farm.  For those of you who don't know, Cold Antler Farm is owned by writer/farmer Jenna Woginrich.  She has a fabulous blog ( and you can follow all of her farm going-on's there.  For those of you who do know of Jenna and her work this trip was amazing!  

This workshop promised to teach us all about chicken care, from birth to butcher and where I knew about the care of chickens and had recently raised my own meat birds I was not sure if I could butcher my own chickens.  That was the reason I wanted to attend this workshop.  I know I have a butcher that does all of my butchering for me, but I feel like if you raise an animal for meat you should know how to dress one for the table also.  Knowing how to butcher a chicken and prepare it for the table completed the cycle of chicken raising for me.  

I was immediately intrigued when I got to Jenna's farm.  There were rabbits, chickens and geese free ranging about her yard and the entire atmosphere was one of  content happiness.  This is a place that you can just feel the animals are well cared for and the type of place that invites you to sit down, relax and get closer to your food.  I knew as soon as I arrived I would not feel guilty about witnessing the butchering of a chicken from this farm.  There was grass under their feet and warm sunshine on their backs.  This was how food should be raised!

Gibson keeping a close eye on his rabbit friend.

Baby chicks with their Mama.  Two of them were actually meat chickens that got out of the brooder and  joined her clutch.
These are Freedom Ranger meat birds enjoying the sunshine and grass.

Trying my hand at archery.  I wasn't very good, but  I was able to hit the broadside of the barn!

Learning how prepare a chicken for dinner.

Brett taught us how to make a chicken tractor so we could supply our meat birds with fresh grass every few days.

When we were finished building the tractor, Jasper pulled it up the mountain to it's new resting spot.

In the end this trip was worth every mile in the car and dollar I spent.  I learned how to butcher and prepare a chicken for my table, however I can safely say I will continue to pay my butcher to do this for me.  Who can beat $1.65 per bird?!  I do rest easy though knowing that in the event of emergency, I can put fresh meat on the table for me and my family from birds that I have grown in my own backyard.  Added bonus: I got to meet Bonita!

I love her!

Monday, July 9, 2012

It finally happened!

Several weeks ago I posted about helping my friends start their own flock of chickens. 

I mentioned in my post that I could not wait for that phone call saying they got their first egg.  Well, it finally happened last night!  Ethan went into their coop to lock up and do a head count when he noticed an egg in the nest box, and I got a text message with picture right after!  I am so excited for them, because this is when the fun begins!

One of my favorite things in life is collecting eggs from my chickens.  It never gets old for me, and every morning there is a sense of excitement.  I can't wait for my group of girls to start laying so I can experience this daily wonder again.  I have such an appreciation and am in awe that a beast can make such a perfect, smooth, nutrient packed, ovoid shaped object.  An object that is so simple, yet so complex and something that nourishes me on a daily basis.  

Congratulations Remy family, this is the best part about sharing your life with chickens.  This is the part where you are rewarded for all of your hard work, and store bought eggs are now a part of your past!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Vegetarian Homesteaders?!

 Last night we were invited over to the Remy Homestead for dinner, swimming, and a bit o'chicken slaughter.  (A great way to spend a sultry Saturday night if you ask me!)  We were unsuccessful in finding homes for the two roosters that I wrote about a few days ago and due to the fact that the roosters are causing a fair amount of havoc and unhappiness Christie and I decided we would butcher them.  I took that meat bird workshop at Jenna Woginrich's farm and felt like I had a pretty hard grasp on the concept.  After spending a fair amount of money and time on these boys, putting them on the table was an excellent idea so it seemed.


I was hoping for a little bit of back up from the Reluctant Farmers, however neither one of them was really excited about this adventure.  This was evident by the smug smirks and "I told you so" faces that I was given in this picture.  You see the look they are giving the camera?!  That is the look that only those two can give and it is usually in response to a hair-brained idea that Christie and I have such as: "Let's butcher chickens at a family dinner party!"  

After dinner, which was amazing, we had a few beers (Stewart's that is!) and it was time to get down to business.  The ax was secured and checked for sharpness.  The water was boiled.  A log was brought over from the burn pile.  The butcher site was set up!  We were ready.  

Dianna and Grandma Nancy were at the helm and ready to go.  Katzya went in to the coop and caught the first rooster.  Grandma Nancy and Katzya secured his feet and he was hanging upside down ready to go.  It was then that I noticed the huge crocodile tears streamed down Katzya's face.  I asked her if she was going to be okay and she said she would but I could see in her eyes that this was not a decision that she was happy about.  

She made the remark that this was making her sad because these were birds that were raised in our home, where they were loved and played with as chicks.  These were birds that she had named, and she really did not feel comfortable killing them.  She explained that she is okay with eating chickens that we raise for meat and because that is their sole purpose for being at our homestead, she looks at them differently. 

She at the last minute asked us to pardon the chicken and we did.  We don't have an answer as of yet, for what we will be doing with these roosters but we do know that we will not be eating them on our homesteads!  

Now I know many people will say it is important for kids to learn where their food comes from, and in our houses our kids do.  However, with that being said I thank every animal that is butchered for giving me the gifts of sustainability and nourishment.  I feel that animals are smart enough to sense emotion so you have to be in the correct frame of mind to butcher successfully.  I know that if we had just butchered the rooster with no regard to other's feelings we would have made a terrible mistake.  We would have killed the rooster in a negative mindset and Katzya would have been extremely upset. (Possibly to the point of vegetarianism!)  

We learned a few things tonight:

1)  The $1.65 fee to have a butcher prepare my chicken is money well spent.

2)  NEVER name and play with your dinner!

3) Whether it be people or animals, always live by the Golden Rule and treat others like you want to be treated.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hanging with my peeps!

A short video of the girls enjoying themselves this morning before it became too hot.  Featured guest is Dora the chicken....

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Declare Your Independence But Wear Your Sunscreen!

The 4th of July is a huge holiday in this house and I am grateful for this day.  I am thankful that a handful of men realized how important our independence was on this day in 1776.  We love to go to the fireworks that our town hosts every year!

 This year we also spent half the day in the garden (I know, I know you didn't see that one coming, did you?!), half the day in the pool, and several hours napping.  All in all it was a successful day with the exception of one thing...  The Reluctant Farmer has declared her independence from her sunscreen, and I think it is safe to say that was a bad idea!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Looking for a few good men?!

These gentlemen are looking for a new home!  Purchased as pullets, and born on April 1st, the joke was on me because these beauties are roosters not hens.  These boys went to live at the Remy Homestead as hens, but can't stay any longer.  They already have Puff Daddy and three roosters for a small flock is just too many!  So if you are looking for a 4H project, a pimp for your ladies or Sunday dinner contact me and we will work out a great deal!

Amber Link Rooster

Tetra Tint Rooster

Monday, July 2, 2012

Storm Damage

We had several severe storms this weekend, both producing winds between 80-100 mph.  I must say we were a lot luckier this go around then we were in the September storms however we still have a lot of pickup that will keep us busy for several days.  There is stuff everywhere!

The above tree had fairly large branches that fell and as you can see it is very close to the power lines that come in to our house.  I am so grateful that this branch missed our line!  I am a sucker for no power, and reading by candlelight but only when I am NOT on call at the hospital....

This butterfly bush was replanted after Friday's storms and it looks like I will be replanting it tonight when I get home from work.  The wind just ripped it right out of the ground.  

Our gardens at home weren't hit very hard with the exception of some herbs, however our corn was all flattened or bent to look like flexi-straws.  We worked so hard on the corn and I will sat I am sad about the loss.  I think if  I replant now it will be too late in the season.  Any opinions?!

The animals all weathered the storms well, and Larry and Happy weathered the storms from the couch.  Neither was very traumatized....

I learned after trees fell on our cars in September to move our cars to safer ground during the storm.  I ran out to move the cars in the middle of the storm so they would be clear of any trees that might fall.  I am learning!

I hope you and yours are all safe after this weekend, and here's to happier homesteading in the coming week!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Very Inspiring Blog Award!

I am so very excited to have been given the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by Rama and her Mama at  (Please check out Rama, she is super cute!)  I am grateful and humbled that  they found my blog inspiring, and it makes my heart happy to know that people feel inspired by my writing.

As part of the award I am supposed to give this award to other blogs that I find inspiring, and list 7 things about myself.

Here is goes:

1.  I am positively phobic of frogs and toads!

2.  I hope to quit my job one day and support myself on my homesteading/farming.

3.  I am also a book reviewer.

4.  I add only one major thing to my homestead every year so that I can become good at that thing.  Next year is bee keeping.  (I think....)

5.  I rescue and rehabilitate dogs that other people have cast off as too difficult or they have special needs.  Every dog here has a story with an beginning and ending.  Their beginning always starts when they land here...

6.  I was a veterinary technician for 10 years before becoming a pediatric radiographer.  It is sort of the same:  I still get bit, kicked, scratched, and can't reason with a single patient!

7.  I want to write a memoir about my urban farming experience!

Thank you to all of you for reading my blog!  It is my sincere hope that I inspire you!