Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Monday, October 30, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 10/30/06

Ram! Bam! Look Out, Ma'am!


What A Guy

Many of you know that it can take a while to get a name around here. And when someone does finally get a name, it is pretty much guaranteed that not everyone will think it is as wonderful as I do.

Back in September we drove up to a friend's farm to pick out a new Suffolk ram lamb to breed with our flock. After we had him loaded up and were getting ready leave, my friend turned to me and delivered these parting words with great seriousness:

"Just don't give him a ridiculous name like you gave the last one."

"Leopold? What was wrong with that?"

"No. What was the one before him?"

"Rammy."

"No. What else did you call him?"

"Big Boy?"

"All I remember is you started calling him some goofy name while you were still here, and after you left we couldn't stop laughing. Heck, we still laugh about it and that was years ago." (For some reason this dear friend finds humor in pretty much everything I do and say, including chasing around baby pigs with my camera.)

So as soon as we got back to the house, I dashed off an email to my laughing pal letting her know that we had arrived safely and that 'Stud Muffin'--whose unloading from the truck had attracted the undivided attention of the entire flock (and Dan)--was settling in just fine.

Once we had stopped laughing, we began to put a lot of thought into our new ram's real new name. The thing was, Stud Muffin had started to stick. It was cute (you know I love cute), and he did look like a stud as he strutted around his pen for the girls. Plus the "muffin" part even gave it a baking slant. But knowing that if I named him Stud Muffin my friend (who will be reading this) would never, ever, ever let me live it down, we wisely chose something else.

Some of you may remember Jeff from the Name That Sheep Contest I held last October. Jeff (who keeps his household in hysterics while his partner Joe keeps them in a dizzying array of yummy stuff) was an avid, determined, giggle-fit-inducing player. When his first choice for a name ("Cashew, as in Cash Ewe hee hee hee!") wasn't a winner, he didn't take offense. He simply continued to play his own version of the contest, changing it to Name That Everything (And Please Name It Jeff!). For over a year now he has been leaving not-so-subtle hints and suggestions in comments on numerous Farmgirl Fare posts. At one point he said he would consider having a piece of farm equipment named after him, "like a tractor or a garden cart." And, in a moment of desperation, he was willing to settle for a tree called Jeff.

Well, Jeff, sometimes persistence pays off. It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you:

Mr. Studly Do-Right Jefferson!
(Who goes by Studly Jeff)


And Do-Right he has certainly done. On October 10th we put Studly Jeff in with the flock.There were 32 ewes to cover (that's farm speak for knock up), and two weeks later he'd pretty much nailed them all. What can I say? Studly Jeff has only One Task on the farm--and he's done a bang up job at it. (Now he's going back and double checking his work.)

Of course five months from now, I will no doubt be hoping that he'd spread things out just a little bit more. Fifty or so lambs born in a couple of weeks? Oh my. We'll have to double (or triple) up at The Bonding Suite Inn. This is definitely going to be interesting--and no doubt crazy. But it'll certainly be better than last spring's three month long lambing season (due to Leopold getting overheated during late summer). There's nothing like 21 nights in a row of reluctantly climbing out of a warm and cozy bed at two in the morning, piling on turtleneck, winter coveralls, heavy jacket, hat, scarf, gloves, and boots, then stumbling down to the barn in the freezing cold, clutching a towel and a bottle of iodine, only to find that nothing is going on. (Then repeating these steps in reverse and trying to fall back to sleep for a couple of hours.)

I have a feeling, though, that getting back to sleep this next lambing season won't be a problem, as I probably won't be getting to go to bed in the first place. Hmmmm. Maybe I should make up a little hay bed and just plan on living in the barn for a while. There would be plenty of wool to keep me warm. And I bet Cary would love to finally get to spend an entire night curled up next to her mother.

A year of Daily Photos ago:

The Tail End Of This Year's Fabulous Fall Colors

Five Things To Eat Before You Die



Thanks to Blue Plate at Table d'Hote, Alanna at A Veggie Venture, Ann at A Chicken In Every Granny Cart, and Riana at Garlic Breath for tagging me (weeks and weeks ago!) for a neat joint food project started by Melissa at The Traveler's Lunchbox. We're creating a list of food bloggers' top picks for things you've eaten and think that everyone should eat at least once in their life. Click here to read more about the project and check out the fascinating list of responses from around the world. (Nearly 1600 items and counting!)

My first set of answers came quickly. Like many other people, I thought of memorable meals and food-related moments I had enjoyed over the years, like High Tea at Harrod's department store in London. Or a hunk of Hula Pie for lunch (not dessert, but lunch) at the Kapalua Grill & Bar on Maui. Way too much breakfast (that had to include a pile of those signature home-fried potatoes and one of their enormous, freshly baked drop biscuits) in a booth on a crowded Sunday morning at Bubba's diner in San Anselmo, California. Black rice pudding at a table in the tropical garden of Poppy's Restaurant on Bali. A tiny taste cup of Cherry Garcia ice cream scooped right off the assembly line at the Ben & Jerry's factory in Vermont.

Then I changed my mind. I realized that all of these delicious memories were as much about the place as they were about the food itself. I once ate a perfectly recreated dish of that Balinese black rice pudding in a suburban Northern California kitchen, and it simply wasn't the same. So while I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of these far flung delights (and doubt I would pass up the opportunity to experience them again myself), my new list is completely different--like my life is now. Less fuss, more flavor. It's all about the food. These five things will taste absolutely wonderful no matter where you are. Each one is a celebration in and of itself. I hope someday you'll have a chance to try them.

1. A thick, warm slice (or hunk) of bread from a loaf you made with your own two hands. No mixer or bread machine involved. Plenty of organic butter recommended but not required.

2. Something you grew yourself.

3. Homemade potato chips, preferably made with thin slices of freshly dug, organic red potatoes (scrubbed, not peeled), fried in homemade lard in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, and prepared by someone you adore who is willing to stand over a splattering pan of hot oil for an hour or two while you both devour batch after batch of warm, salted chips as soon as they are cool enough to touch. Serve with lots of laughs and plenty of iced tea or cold beer.

4. A grilled hamburger made from a freshly ground chuck steak (from grass-fed, naturally raised beef), served on a toasted, freshly baked bun & smothered with slices of vine-ripened, organic heirloom tomatoes.

5. A crisp, juicy apple you plucked from the tree.

And my Bonus Beverage Answer:
6. Champagne for breakfast. Just because.

Everyone is invited to participate in this project. If you're not a blogger, simply leave your list of five things in a comment on the original post at The Traveler's Lunchbox.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 10/29/06


I don't see colors like you do. Let's go.

Attention Dog Lovers! This is Weekend Dog Blogging #58!
Catch the roundup every Sunday night at
Sweetnicks. Hungry for more than pup pics? Weekend Herb Blogging is for you.

A year of Daily Photos ago: Patchy Cat & The Birthday Party

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 10/28/06


Out Of The Blue

A year of Daily Photos ago:
Local Real Estate
I also wrote about
A Night On The Town--At The Livestock Auction Barn!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 10/27/06


Donkey Doodle Dandy Is Starting To Fluff Up For Winter

A year of Daily Photos ago:
Where Sheep Sleep, Take Two

Welcome New Visitors To Farmgirl Fare!
Click
here for a brief introduction to this site.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 10/26/06


Did Someone Order More Fall Color?

A year of Daily Photos ago:
Where We Cut Firewood

Welcome New Visitors To Farmgirl Fare!
Click here for a brief introduction to this site.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 10/25/06


I Get This Look A Lot

A year of Daily Photos ago:
Nothing Feels Quite Like The Warmth From Wood Heat

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 10/24/06


There's That Distracting Sky Again

A year of Daily Photos ago:
Sheep, Sunlight, Shimmering Leaves
(And comments covering everything from what we do with our sheep to what that tree in the photo really looks like.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

Writings From Windridge Farm:
A New Story Is Up!


Robin Looks Back Nearly Ten Years

I've just posted another chapter from my early years of country living on the Writings From Windridge Farm site. I wrote this story in the spring of 1997 for my Writings From Windridge newsletter, and I figured this was the perfect time to share it since deer season is nearly upon us. I've put up the entire story at once, so those of you who have been wishing for a longer read will be able to curl up with your favorite beverage and a little plate of cookies and settle in for a lengthier visit to the first farm I lived on (back when I really had no idea what I was doing).

Click here to go directly to the new story. Click here to begin at the beginning. And click here if you have no idea what this Windridge stuff is all about but wish you did. Enjoy.

And for the many of you who so kindly keep asking if I have ever thought of putting all this stuff into some sort of book, the answer is a resounding yes! Getting from here to there is, of course, a whole other story, but it is definitely something I really hope to do. (So any suggestions, tips, publishing contacts, or book deals are welcome.) What kind of a book would you be interested in buying?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 10/19/06


High Wire Act

A year of Daily Photos ago:
More Fall Color & That Handmade Fence

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Daily Farm Photo 10/18/06: My Little Girl Is Growing Up


Cary gazing across the field at her flock

Don't know who Cary is? Meet her in A Tiny Tail for Mother's Day.

Most mornings Cary is calling out to me long before I reach the barn. I still greet her with a bottle of milk, and once she has sucked it down, and the rest of sheep have been counted and are headed down the gravel drive in search of breakfast, we give Donkey Doodle Dandy his morning treat and tend to any barn chores.

Then we meander out to the front field together to find the sheep. We stand among them while I breathe in the beautiful scenery and slowly look everyone over and Cary nibbles on grass. The sheep are always busily eating in a way that manages to be at once frantic and serene.

This morning, after assuring myself that everything was right, I continued to walk past the flock toward the next field, checking behind me to make sure Cary was following along. She wasn't. She was several yards back, standing among a group of sheep, happily grazing.

I called her name, and she looked up and gave me a small "Maaaa!" bleat in return. Then she went back to eating, her actions clearly saying, "I know you're leaving, but I'm supposed to stay here."

And that is as it should be.



As I continued to walk along without her, I thought about how much less affectionate she has become, how for the most part she has turned away from me and toward her flock. And just as the words and that is as it should be played through my head once again, I looked down and saw a beautiful heart rock unlike any other in my collection. I picked it up and slipped it into my pocket, rubbing my fingers along its smooth surface, grasping its weight in my hand, feeling its physical presence.

Cary isn't rejecting me; she's simply growing up, as all little lambs must do. I had no idea I would be so affected by this. But I do know that I will always be in her heart, and she will of course always have mine.

And that is as it should be.

Want to get to know Cary better? You'll find lots more photos of her here.

A year of Daily Photos ago:
Look Up, Look Down, Look All Around—Always

© FarmgirlFare.com

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 10/17/06


Garden Life

A year of Daily Photos ago:
Not Everything Happens Slowly In The Country

And out of the kitchen a year ago came Chocolate Babycakes.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 10/15/06


I Recently Uncovered This Purple Kohlrabi In A Weed-Choked Bed




And It Is Very, Very Safe

Lucky Buddy Bear is half Australian Shepherd & half English Shepherd. He loves to work--which is good because his job description is never ending. And he excels at guarding things.

Attention Dog Lovers! This is Weekend Dog Blogging #56
!
Catch the roundup every Sunday night at Sweetnicks. Care for more canine candids? The weekly Friday Ark boards everything from pups to parrots. Allergic to fur? Weekend Herb Blogging is for you.

A year of Daily Photos ago: Dan's Opinion Of His New Charges

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 10/14/06


Freshly Picked Fall Color

And just in time, too. Twenty-one degree frosty mornings have arrived on the farm! Oh the warmth from the first fires in the woodstove each year always feels extra cozy. But back to this beautiful bounty. So what am I going to do with it? Green tomatoes will actually turn red once they've been picked, so I'll be setting some aside for salads as I have all kinds of autumn greens in the garden and greenhouse. They won't develop that deep, vine-ripened flavor, but I figure it's a small price to pay for dining on organic, heirloom homegrown tomatoes on Thanksgiving. (And you know they'll still taste miles better than anything commercially available.)

As for the rest? It's time to make some of my Green Tomato Relish! This tasty (and oh-so-easy) concoction is really more like a salsa, so don't let the name scare you away. You can put it on everything from flank steak to home-fried potatoes, and it'll keep right in the fridge for weeks--no canning necessary. Click here for the recipe--and I do hope you'll let me know if you make some.

A year of Daily Photos ago: Dan & His New Charges

Friday, October 13, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 10/13/06

A Lucky Little Something For Friday The 13th


Please Say Hello To Lucky Cherry!

Names, names, names. Everybody needs a name around here! And many of you know I have, um, well, a small backlog problem with getting around to giving them--and then revealing them. And although this is not the promised lady llama's name (it's coming soon, it really is, and I wasn't kidding when I said I had a good excuse for the delay), but this is a new name announcement nonetheless. And even though this is only the third of the 2006 ewe lambs to be named (Cary--whose full name is Caraway--and Chocolate Chip Biscotti are the other two), I felt this was the perfect day to introduce you to little Lucky Cherry.

Lucky Cherry was named in honor of my new English pal, Cherry, who writes two delightful blogs and maintains a wonderful website/online store. People often tell me they come to Farmgirl Fare to "escape" (which thrills me to no end.) So where do I go to escape the farm without having to actually leave (and when I'm too hungry to devour all my favorite food blogs)? To the English countryside and Cherry's absolutely charming Tales From Pixie Wood.

Lucky Cherry is one of Snugglebunny's twin girls. Snugglebunny's eartag is Yellow 13, and Lucky Cherry was the 13th lamb born on the farm this year. The "lucky" part is in honor of my sweet Lucky 13 sheep who died last spring. (And yes, Lucky Cherry's amazing resemblence to Cary and the fact that Cherry rhymes with Cary also played a part in her naming.)

Cherry the person, who spent many years as an actress, was so tickled when I told her about her little woolly namesake, that she sat right down and published a wonderful (and blushingly sweet) post chock full of photos called "I'd Take This Over The Academy Award Every Single Time."

Back on my one year Farmgirl Fare anniversary post, I announced that I was taking suggestions for "C" names for the 2006 ewe lambs. So recognition must be given to Dawn and Kat, who both submitted Cherry as a name. They were certainly thinking along the same lines, as Dawn also came up with Cornflake, and (the morning after she put in her vote for Cherry--along with a little French lesson) Kat came back with Chex & Cheerio. Dawn's first choice was Cherry, and her second choice was Cherry Pie, which was also the name offered up by Jas (another English food blogger)--and Lucky Cherry is definitely as sweet as cherry pie. She comes right up to me for hugs and kisses every day.

As I mentioned earlier, there are still several more "C" lambs to be named. Click here to read everyone's suggestions so far--and to offer up your own if you'd like to join in the fun. And Happy Friday The 13th to you. I'm hereby declaring it to be a very lucky day!

Oh, and if you're more into food than farm animals (yet still happen to be reading this), be sure to stop by Cherry's English Kitchen, where she celebrates home cooking and seasonal recipes in the most deliciously winsome way.

A year of Daily Photos ago: Autumn From A Different Angle

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 10/11/06


Glowing Glimpse Of Autumn

We've been having some fast & furious fall color this year. The Annual Autumn Leaf Show hasn't been nearly as spectacular as in previous years, and it also started early. This may be due in part to the lack of rain we've had over the past months. Several thunderstorms have sneaked right by us, but the blustery days have been sending giant bursts of yellow leaves flying around the sky and flittering to the ground. The rain is missed, but these showstopping showers are a welcome distraction.

A year of Daily Photos ago:
Into The Mist

Friday, October 06, 2006

Daily Farm Photos 10/6/06: Baby Cary is Five Months Old Today


Cary and a colorfall backdrop

Don't know who Cary is? Meet her in A Tiny Tail for Mother's Day.

The scenery is changing and so is my little lamb. (Where in the world did the last month go?) She now spends the majority of each day happily meandering around the farm with the flock, engaged in her favorite activity--eating! (Although she does still hang out in the house once in a while--banging on the door with her hoof to let us know she wants to come in.) Cary is absolutely fine and doing exactly what she should be doing. She is handling the assimilation/separation process very well. As for me? Well, that's another story.



They do grow up so quickly, don't they?

Can't get enough of Cary?
Cary Is Two Months Old Today!
Cary Is Three Months Old Today!
Cary Is Four Months Old Today!

A year of Daily Photos ago:
There Is Absolutely, Positively No Place Like Home
(Look how green the trees still were!)

© FarmgirlFare.com

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 10/3/06


Follow The Yellow Dirt Road

Thank you so much for your outpouring of kind and encouraging words regarding yesterday's announcement of my unexpected break from blogging. I just wanted to reiterate that I have no plans to quit blogging entirely and hope to have these technical problems fixed soon. In the meantime, I will continue to periodically post photos when I can.

If you don't want to keep popping by the farm to check for something new, I invite you to subscribe to Farmgirl Fare and/or In My Kitchen Garden via email. It only takes a minute to sign up, and the process is completely painless. Just scroll down to the bottom of the sidebar on the right side of this page, enter your email address, and click on 'Subscribe Me!' (The sign-up at In My Kitchen Garden is at the very top of the sidebar.) You will then receive each new post via email.

Thanks again for all your support. It means so very much to me.

A year of Daily Photos ago:
Winter Food For Sheep Or Giant Dog Fort?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 10/2/06

Be Back Soon (I Hope)


Just Where Does She Think She's Going?

I'll come right to the point: I'm temporarily giving up. I love blogging, and I love my blogs. I also know regular readers are no doubt sick and tired of hearing about the dial-up connection problems I've been having over the past few months, but it is now taking me an average of two to three hours just to post the Daily Farm Photo.** (DSL and other options are not available here. I'm lucky there's a local dial-up number.)

I've learned to have an incredible amount of patience since moving to the country, but this is trying even mine. Add in the fact that several days ago Blogger decided to start working on only 2 cylinders (but apparently just for me--nothing like the entire tool bar and 'Compose' mode disappearing), and, well, I'm on the verge of going completely bonkers.

I still carry my camera wherever I go, yet I've taken a total of only four photos in the past six days, all of the same subject (some gorgeous freshly picked fall salad greens). I'm not seeing pictures anymore. And, more importantly, today I realized I'm not even looking for them.

Blogging is something I do purely for the joy (and laugh out loud entertainment) it brings me. But because of these incredibly frustrating and ridiculously time consuming technical problems, it's started to feel more like a job that I dread going to each day.

The garden is calling (actually it's now stepped up to more of a yell). There are countless things to be done around the farm. And my mother, who happens to be visiting right now, is playing way too many card games with herself while I mutter obscenities from my stuffy little office.

Autumn in our area is one of the most pleasant times of the year, and this beautiful weather usually only lasts a couple of weeks. The thought of spending them cooped up indoors, staring at an uncooperative computer while becoming more infuriated than I've been since I stopped sitting in gridlock traffic a dozen years ago is really, really depressing.

I'm taking all of these things as a giant sign. I need to step back. I need to figure out what the heck is going on with my blasted Internet connection. I need to get the new modem installed in my computer (which I may actually be able to do thanks to the help of my genius pal Kitchenmage--who knows her way around kitchens and computers). I need to have enough time to post not only photos on my blog, but all those backlogged recipes as well--not to mention replies to your wonderful comments.

Most importantly, I need to start seeing photos again. Because I know they're still out there. I hope all of this won't take long, and I hope you'll wait for my return. I know I'll miss you while I'm gone.

That said, I am going to ask for a favor: I could really use your opinions and input regarding a small blog-related project I have in the works. I will post the details as soon as I am able, but right now it's time to head outside, breathe out these cyberspace frustrations, and breathe in as much of this beautiful evening air as I possibly can. With my camera slung around my neck of course--just in case.

P.S. If you're a new reader (hello and welcome!), this would be a great time to explore the Farmgirl Fare and In My Kitchen Garden archives. All the links are over in the sidebars. And thanks to Miss Kitty for reminding me that I'd meant to mention this.

A year of Daily Photos ago: Where Sheep Sleep

**Clarifying a bit of confusion: I use Picasa/Hello to upload photos. The actual uploading process isn't taking that long, it's the fact that often I will get disconnected over and over and over after just a minute or two of being online (and I have to start the uploading process all over again each time). Then when I finally am supposedly connected to the Internet (usually at extremely slow speeds), web pages suddenly won't open, meaning I can't get into blogger, gmail, or even my blog, etc. etc. So by the time I've finally put the simple Daily Farm Photo post together, two or three hours have often passed.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 10/1/06


He Looks More Like A Bodyguard Than A Nanny Bear



Don't You Think?
(Click here if you don't recognize that little woolly backside.)

Attention Dog Lovers! This is Weekend Dog Blogging #54!
To see fun pup pics & discover yummy new food blogs, visit Sweetnicks each Sunday night for the roundup. Allergic to fur? Don't miss the Special One Year Anniversary Edition of Weekend Herb Blogging at Kalyn's Kitchen!

A year of Daily Photos ago:
I Wonder If Anyone Has Noticed I'm Gone