Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Case of the Missing Chicken

On Monday evening, Emma didn't return to the coop. She's our big white dominant hen. Normally she takes off on her own when they hop out of the coop in the morning. Monday morning she took off toward the woods. When she didn't return, we assumed something snagged her during the day. We couldn't find any sign of her, so it was really an enigma.

I just went out to gather eggs and check on the garden. As I was walking toward the coop, I saw 2 white chickens. As I got closer, I realized it was Emma! She's returned. She's a bit dirty, but otherwise fine. She ate and drank and promptly went for a dust bath. While it will forever remain a mystery of where she was, she's home and safe. We are thrilled!

Speaking of the garden, I harvested 2 Stupice tomatoes, some green beans, and a cucumber. Our cucumbers are loaded with blossoms, so in a week or two the kids will be happy campers! We dug our potatoes on Friday night. We still have to dig the reds and then I'll report back on the final harvest weight. We are anxious to see how we did. We also have a bunch of volunteer cantaloupe vines and a watermelon vine, which is great since the chickens annihilated the ones we planted. We also have 2 cherry tomato volunteers. We didn't plant any cherry tomato plants in the main garden, so it's a nice surprise! How's YOUR garden coming along?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Monster Potato

I had a hankering for French fries today for lunch. Convenient that we have potatoes ready in the garden! After I dug this beauty, I had to weigh it. 9.6 ounces! I have a feeling we will have a good harvest this year!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Reading Material

I've been carving out time to do more reading lately. Reading for pleasure that is. At the library this weekend, I ran across "The Third Plate" and was very intrigued. I'm about 100 pages in and it is a very thought provoking and motivating read.

I received "Free Range Farmgirl: Cooking Grassfed Beef" today and it looks wonderful! I'm planning on doing reviews of both books soon on the blog. What are YOU reading lately?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

CSA Sunday

The weather is returning back to normal around these parts. I'll be honest, though....I was enjoying the cooler days! I was at AC Moore today and they have start putting out their fall displays. Fall is one of my favorite times of year.

Little J and I also went out to the farmers market. We picked up some yummies for our CSA box: green peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, ramp barbecue sauce, cookies, a triple chocolate muffin, pepperoni roll, and some strawberry soup. The baked goods generally don't last to get photographed!

Saturday, July 19, 2014


We are so lucky to live relatively close (I say relatively because it's WV we are talking about here!) to three blueberry farms. Our plans last weekend didn't work out to pick, so we went for it today. Well, Dan and little J went to pick berries while K and I went to see the new Planes movie.

They were able to pick 2 gallons of berries. We currently have 2 cookie sheets worth in the freezer so they can freeze individually before we throw them in a bag for the winter. And we also plan to try out dehydrating some. I make our granola for the week and Dan generally likes dried cranberries.  If we can dehydrate some blueberries and lessen our dependence on buying cranberries, that's just one more step on our journey. And we do plan to get blueberry bushes and maybe even cranberries!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Garden Goodies

My hubs asked me the other night if I talk much about our garden. And I realized I'm usually talking about the chickens! Our garden is coming along well, albeit weedy. We had it under control earlier this spring, but preparations for family visits and our pig roast kept us away. We've been whittling away at the weeds and have started harvesting veggies.

We've picked all of our beets and they have been turned into pickled beets. We planted three more rows last night for a fall harvest and I also have kale, broccoli, and brussel sprouts started on the kitchen counter. We also picked the carrots last night. We ended up with 1.5# and we are pretty happy with how some of them turned out! We have pretty thick clay soil and so it's somewhat of a struggle to get good ones. Dan also accidentally dug up a pretty strawberry paw potato! I'll work on garden pictures soon!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Beans and Pie

Our garden is moving right along. I have a big bowl of beets we will can tonight and I harvested our first green beans yesterday morning!

When we got home Saturday afternoon, Dan requested blueberry pie. We canned some pie filling last summer and we wanted to use it up before we pick more. And I just happened to have some pie crust I had frozen! We've been enjoying some each night.

Our blackberries are ripening and we are looking forward to picking those as well. And the girls are being laying machines!  What about you - what have you harvested lately?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

CSA Sunday and a Farm Visit

We had high hopes of going blueberry picking yesterday. We loaded up the cat and promised the kids lots it blueberry snacks for the ride home. We arrived at the farm.....and....there were no berries. Between a record breaking opening day and wonky weather in late spring, there were no berries left. We were really bummed....but we realized we were only a few miles from Fish Hawk Acres!

Dale and Teresa were busy getting things ready for the market today. Dale needed to run to the farm to get some lettuce for their BLTs for lunch today and we tagged along.

Swiss chard growing in the raised bed

Squash growing - behind the fence were onions, tomatoes, squash...The fields were packed to the brim!

When we got back to the kitchen, Kole helped Teresa make pepperoni rolls. He is really in his element when he's helping in their kitchen - I love it!

And we enjoyed some pepperoni rolls as part of our CSA share this week. Things are coming along in our garden and I harvested green beans this morning. I tried to make my choices for our CSA based on what's not ready in our garden or what we didn't plant.

This week we picked up some pepperoni rolls (not pictured because they were quickly devoured), tomatoes because they're not ripe in our garden, cucumbers, red onions,  and zucchini. I'm going to try some things other than zucchini bread this week!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A New Adventure

Ever since seeing Deborah's talk at the Mother Earth News Fair a few years ago about her nigerian dwarf goats, we've been talking about a dairy animal(s) at some point. Deborah and her family fulfill all their dairy desires with their goats. That's something we want to do one day. One more piece to our food independence puzzle.

We've been oscillating between goats and a cow. There are so many things to consider when deciding between the two, but the biggest thing for us was making butter. We sure do love butter! We had tentatively decided on a cow and put our plans on the back burner for a few years. I recently ran across Leigh's post about making butter and it reignited my desire to look further into goats.

I did an Internet search for nigerian dwarf goats and West Virginia and ran across Becky at JCH Mountain Farm. She's only about an hour away from us and today, the littlest one and I went for a little field trip.

And we fell in love. They are the most adorable little goats ever! They currently have around 25 goats. Becky has worked hard to build up her herd for traits that she finds desirable and it shows. She was so open to answering all my newbie goat questions and welcomed us for nearly 3 hours! She made me feel better about housing concerns and pasture. And she may have two kids for us if we want to get started sooner rather than later!

I came home excited about the possibilities. She said her family loves fudge and ice cream from the milk. We want to make cheese. And I'd love to make soap! The world will be our oyster when we take the plunge. While I know a dairy animal ties you to your house a bit more than most,  I don't mind so much with sunsets like these:

And everyone who said chickens are the gateway livestock was absolutely right!

Do you have goats? What breed tickles your fancy?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Meatless Monday!

We eat a fair share of vegetarian meals. We still have roughly 1/3 of our beef partners share left after almost 10 weeks and we only started with 40 pounds!

Tonight I made herbed broccoli and cheese toasts with couscous garbanzo bean salad. The salad is a summer staple and it has all local or home grown veggies in it. What's your favorite vegetarian meal?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

CSA Sunday

I'm loving picking up our share at the Farmers Market! Today I grabbed a bunch of cucumbers, tomatoes, and green beans. The kids are loving cucumbers and our plants aren't quite there yet. What things are you growing? What about at your farmers market?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

We Love DIY

...projects! Since building our house, we've been motivated to do all kinds of things. I mean, building was the ultimate DIY. We've been working on a project for a little while now. I'll give you some glimpses along the way and see if you can guess what it is. Here's the first clue:

Any guesses yet? In chicken news, the big girls have been on fire. Some days we've gotten 10 eggs! They're keeping us well fed, that's for sure. We've also started letting the littles out some. They've destroyed my hostas and pooped all over the front porch. But. But! The bigs haven't been messing with them. Well,  Nugget does. But we chalk that up to Nugget being the lowest in the pecking order and her trying to establish her place.

And we let the dog out off her leash today. And she did great! I think since the chickens have been leaving their mark on the yard and such, she has gotten used to them. It will probably be awhile until we can trust her fully, but it's a good start!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


So, Dan requested I keep the chickens out of the garage because they...well...poop all over the place. Today I closed up the garage. I think they're mad because as the kids and I were having some morning snacks, I look out and see a hen on the deck.

I think they're rebelling. Typical teenage girl, right?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Those Naughty Hens...

So, we've been coming up a few eggs short the past few days. On Sunday, Dan heard some clucking commotion in the garage. We have our straw for their nesting boxes stored there...and well, they found it. So far today, I've found four!