Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday Daily Dose of Cute


Hanging Out Poolside

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where brightly colored bathing suits are all the rage this year - and the longer we stare at frogs (which we feel you can never have too many of around) the more we're fascinated by them.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Daily Dose of Cute:
The Littlest Member of the Flock


Doris's Bouncing Baby Boy, Two Days Old

Current lamb count: 30. Number of still pregnant ewes: 2. Number of days this ridiculously drawn out lambing season (our longest ever) has lasted so far: 79. Number of days we expected it to last: about 30. Number of questions about lambs, puppies, cows, roosters, baby chicks, wild mushrooms, coyotes, and Sarah Kate's Mickey Mouse nose you've asked lately in the comments section that I haven't had a chance to answer: an embarrassingly large number. (Sorry!)

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where we'd probably get a lot more done around here if we weren't constantly bombarded by so much cuteness.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday Daily Dose of Cute: Tug-O-War


With My Heartstrings

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where when you're faced with a scene like this, there's nothing to do but pull out the camera you always carry with you (for just such occasions) and quickly start clicking away. Lessons can come later.

Bargain Book Alert:
Cooking With Shelburne Farms for $7.99!


This Dinner Courtesy of Cooking With Shelburne Farms

Remember these mouthwatering grilled lamb burgers on homemade buns with roasted red pepper, parsley, and kalamata olive relish I made last fall from Cooking with Shelburne Farms: Food and Stories from Vermont? Remember my raving about how much I fell head over heels in love with this marvelous book? (If not, go back and read this post.)

Well this beautiful $35 hardcover book - which would make a wonderful gift for any food lover in your life - is on sale right now at Amazon.com for just $7.99,** with free shipping on orders over $25. Got more than one foodie friend? Talk about an easy way to stock up and save on special gifts.

The book contains stories from farmers and other food producers along with more than 100 recipes featuring nine iconic Vermont ingredients: Milk and Cheese, Maple, Early Spring and Summer Greens, Lamb, Wild Mushrooms, Game and Fish, Pork, Root-Cellar Vegetables, and Apples. The dishes deliver rustic flavors with a "fresh, comfortable cooking approach."

Recipes range from the everyday--Sausage Rolls and Deviled Ham & Cheddar Spread--to the extraordinary: Roast Duck Legs with Sour Cherry Sauce and Sage & Garlic Pan-Roasted Quail. Classic dishes are given fresh twists, and unexpected ingredients are paired in contemporary ways.

The recipes are well written and easy to follow. Each one offers a "Before You Start" paragraph that gives helpful advice on everything from sourcing the best ingredients to making substitutions, and the Prepare-Ahead Tips make preparation even easier. The sections of sumptuous, full-color photos will no doubt have you drooling all over your beautiful new cookbook.

Which reminds me - I need to pull my copy off the kitchen shelf and check out all the summer recipes I was dying to try last fall. Can one ever have too many recipes or too many cookbooks (especially when they're on sale)? I think not!

**Note: If the bargain price is currently not showing (it disappeared last night just as I finished this post but reappeared this morning), new copies of Cooking With Shelburne Farms are also available at bargain prices from other sellers through Amazon. From this link, click where it says More Buying Choices: Used & New Copies on the right side of the screen.

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where we love cookbooks so much we're afraid to count up how many we actually own. Sometimes it's better not to look, just to cook.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday Daily Dose of Cute:
Back in the Hay Day


Snugglebunny's Twin Boy Trying to Reach Some Lunch on 5/6

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where all the new lambs are now happily munching on fresh spring grass in the fields, which is well within their reach. Well, except Doris' baby boy who was just born this evening. For now he's sticking with milk.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday Daily Dose of Cute:
Learning to Fly (And Tilt Your Head)


Cheeky & Her Chick on a Perch In The Henhouse

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where the three chicks who hatched last month are at that cute but scraggly stage, somewhere between ball of fluff and full of feathers - and so far none of them are showing signs of being roosters! But of course it's still early.

Tuesday Farm Photo: Party Animals


Do They Look Hungover or What?



And We Appear to Have Just Lost Dan

So how was your holiday weekend?

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where it's obvious that some of the animals around here lead secret lives we don't know about - and you know it's been a wild and crazy night when the next morning none of the donkeys are able to hold their ears up, let alone stand up.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday Daily Dose Of Cute:
Purr Where You're Planted


Sarah Kit Kat Kate

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where it's nice to know somebody's making good use of this poor neglected planter - and we just realized that this is the 54th Daily Dose of Cute, but the very first one to feature a cat. Looks like we have some serious explaining to do.

Monday Farm Photo: Foraging & Finding Morels (Not Today)


Morning mushroom score!*

I actually found and photographed these gorgeous morel mushrooms, all 1¼ pounds (!) of them, back on April 23rd, then promptly forgot about the photos until the other day when I noticed that wild mushrooms had started popping up around the blogosphere. It seems morel season here in southern Missouri (when all the forces of nature come together in the right way and we actually have one, that is) happens early. In many places the time to find morels has only just begun.

This is probably my biggest morel score ever, discovered on a warm and muggy morning following a nice rainstorm the previous day - perfect mushroom growing weather. I actually bestowed this entire bounty upon a foodie friend in the city who was blown away by my willingness to part with them.

"Tell me you saved some for yourself," he said.

"Actually, no."

"What?!"

"It's okay. It's the beginning of the season - I might find some more. And besides, it's not like they're chanterelles." If they were chanterelles - which I've only found a few times in all my 13 years of living in Missouri - I wouldn't have even told him about them. Yes, I can really be that selfish when it comes to hard-to-find food that I love.


Small morel mushroom in its natural habitat

In this case, though, my generosity was rewarded because a few days later Joe (who had never tasted a morel in his life but now loves them because I foolishly forced some on him several years ago) and I happened upon several giant specimens in a spot on the farm we'd never checked before. It was as if somebody had sprinkled steroids on the soil; some of them were an astonishing 5 or 6 inches long, not including the stems. We feasted.

One of these years I should probably try doing something a little more imaginative with my morels, but I always end up just cutting them into pieces (after soaking them in salted water to remove the dirt and any bugs lurking inside) and sautéeing them in butter with a sprinkling of salt. This time we enjoyed the simple preparation alongside grilled, grass-fed steaks from our own farm-raised beef, plenty of pain au levain to sop up all that marvelous juice, and glasses of a nice cabernet. Wow.

My foodie city friend made his morels last for two meals, one shared with his foodie girlfriend (sautéed with butter and a little white wine and served over ribeye steaks) and the other with a foodie friend who was recovering from knee surgery. In a thank you e-mail he reported that they were "Fabulous! Fabulous! Fabulous! And that was three separate opinions."

Our morel season consisted of just those two days this year - it was very short but very delicious. I recently read that morel mushrooms were selling for $48 per pound at a Chicago farmers' market, which made me even more appreciative of our elusive gourmet gathering.

Have you ever found morels in your kitchen, by way of a walk through the forest or the farmers' market? What did you do with them?

* Foraging for wild mushrooms can be a wonderful and rewarding thing to do, but you should never taste (or even touch) a wild mushroom unless you are 110% sure that it is edible. Most mushrooms are poisonous, and many are deadly. Please be smart and stay safe!

© 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the foraging foodie farm blog where morel mushroom season might be over, but the wet, warm, and muggy weather has just begun, which means there's still hope of finding wild edible boletus, puffball, chicken of the woods, and yes, even my beloved chanterelle mushrooms - and there are already scary (yet fascinating) looking poisonous mushrooms popping up all over the place.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday Farm Photo: Bunnies in the Barnyard


Peter, Is That You?

We're being taken over by rabbits. I've seen at least three of them scampering around the sheep barn during the last few days. Now that Robin has gone into semi-retirement, we have cute little varmints everywhere.

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where the scrawny wild rabbits are in no danger of becoming dinner - unless they decide to hop into the garden - and we didn't think this scruffy little critter was actually adorable enough to be a full-fledged Daily Dose of Cute.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday Daily Dose Of Cute:
Livestock Guardian Pups


On Duty or Off Duty?

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where the new puppies play guard hard and sleep hard - and sometimes it isn't easy to tell which is which.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Foodie Travel and a Recipe: Pretzels & Potato Chips with Sour Cream & Onion Dip


My idea of vacation party fare

I often tell people that my life on the farm revolves around food. Basically everything I do around here - whether it's putting up hay (next month!), freezing tomatoes, fixing fences, feeding the chickens, sowing lettuce seeds, spreading donkey manure in the organic heirloom kitchen garden, or making sure a newborn lamb is nursing - is in some way responsible for eventually puting food in our and other peoples' mouths.

For a foodie farmgirl whose mind is never very far from her next meal, this is extremely good news, because even the most loathesome task (that would be putting up hay) is a lot easier to bear if you tell yourself that doing it will keep you from starving to death.

Food played a large part in my life before I moved to the country, but in a different - and much less work-related - way. Most of my fondest memories have to do with eating, especially while traveling. Some people go on vacation looking for beautiful scenery, amazing architecture, or some really good fly fishing. I go on vacation to eat.

Many years ago I spent a glorious couple of weeks in New England hopping from one historic diner to the next (passing up the free breakfasts at bed & breakfast inns so as to squeeze in even more diner fare), and I once took an 80-mile detour while driving through Arkansas in order to sample some highly recommended, but very out of the way, barbecue.

It was worth it, but to this day I wish I'd had room for one of their fabulous looking desserts. I'm a sucker for a piece of good homemade pie.

Other unforgettable food-related moments I've enjoyed over the years include high tea at Harrod's department store in London while living briefly in England as a kid, a hunk of Hula Pie for lunch (not dessert, but lunch) at the Kapalua Grill & Bar on Maui, and 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.

Then there was the black rice pudding at a table in the tropical garden of Poppy's Restaurant on Bali, and a tiny taste cup of Cherry Garcia ice cream scooped right off the assembly line at the Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory in Vermont. Actually I did the Ben & Jerry's tour twice.

Living on a farm puts a pretty big damper on vacations, but that's okay. These days my idea of a perfect getaway is spending a couple of days on the farm but blowing off most of the work - and sometimes that's almost sort of kind of possible. On the rare occasion I do leave for more than a day, it's usually to visit friends or family in some exotic and decidedly non-foodie place like Kentucky.

The truth is that besides having become a great big homebody, I'm probably unfit to travel. The other night as I was unhooking the bib of my overalls, Joe looked over as a couple of syringes dropped out of one of the pockets and onto the floor.

"It's a good thing you don't like to fly anymore," he said, shaking his head. "I'd never get you past airport security."

Fortunately I'm also a cheap and easy to please traveler. I love it when there's good country cooking to be found and make an effort to seek out local hole-in-the-wall eateries. But give me a motel room, a bottle of cheap champagne on ice, and a big bag of plain potato chips and I'm perfectly content. Throw in air conditioning and a container of dip and I'm practically at Club Med.

One of the things I love to do while visiting another place is scope out the grocery stores. Despite the profusion of cookie cutter malls and big box behomeths taking over the landscape, there are still some interesting local and regional food stuffs to be found around the country.

When Joe and I were in Cincinnati few years ago, I discovered an entire section in the supermarkets there devoted to nothing but pretzels. This apparently has to do with the German influence in the area (which also means you can find some really good bratwurst). There are so many different kinds of pretzels available that they literally get their very own aisle. So along with my enormous bag of 'I'm on vacation' potato chips, we picked out several packages of pretzels.

Then Joe announced that we needed some dip to go with our pretzels and chips, and we proceeded over to the dairy section where he tossed a carton of something I swear only said DIP into our cart. What a turning point! How had I been missing DIP all these years? This was vacation party food at its finest!

There are many things, like that black rice pudding in Bali, that can never be fully recreated at home, often because at least half of the memory has to do with the atmosphere. Even perfectly made black rice pudding served in a Northern California suburban kitchen simply doesn't taste the same.

Fortunately DIP does not suffer from this problem. DIP can be thoroughly enjoyed anywhere, anytime, and this homemade version I was inspired to create tastes infinitely better (and is better for you) than that slightly scary - but very exciting - stuff from the store. Of course it would be even better if I served it up in one of those cartons labeled DIP.

We generally try to hide out on the farm during holidays, so we don't have any big plans for this Memorial Day weekend. I could really use a little vacation, though, so I'm thinking I may have to dash into town for a big bag of potato chips and whip up a batch of dip. The cheap champagne is already chilling in the fridge.

So what's your favorite (or most embarrassing) food-related travel memory - or favorite vacation/party food?



Susan's Sour Cream & Onion Vacation Party Dip
2 cups sour cream (light is fine)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 to 5 scallions, green & white parts, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder (or granulated)
1 teaspoon garlic powder (or granulated)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
A smidge of anchovy paste (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and chill for several hours. Serve with potato chips, pretzels, tortilla chips, cut up veggies, or a spoon. If desired, close your eyes and pretend you're on vacation in your idea of paradise while consuming.

Still hungry? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

© FarmgirlFare.com, the chip and dipping foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares stories, photos, original recipes, and sometimes embarrassing foodie glimpses into her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday Daily Dose Of Cute: Off Duty


Very Off Duty (taken 4/23)

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where there's always plenty of work to be done around the farm, but nobody's expected to be on duty (or even conscious) all of the time. Except Lucky Buddy Bear of course, who lives to work. He'll occasionally shut his eyes while guarding the garden or babysitting, and he spends time hibernating in his lair under The Shack, but in 6 years nobody has ever actually seen this Australian/English Shepherd sleep.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday Daily Dose of Cute


Bear Loves Babies!

Current Lamb Count: 28. Number of still pregnant sheep: only 4! Number of ewes who don't mind when Bear wants to help clean up their new lambs: only a few.

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where The Nanny Bear (pictured here with Zelda's twins) is on the job - whether the mothers like it or not.

Tuesday Farm Photo:
Building Up The Soil Organically - And Beautifully


Patch of Crimson Clover on a Nearby Farm

A year of Farm Photos ago:
5/16/07: Yard Art
5/19/07: Patiently Waiting for Snow

Two years ago:
5/17/06:
Lilac Iris
5/18/06: Found in the Forest, Photo 1 of 4
5/19/06: Found in the Forest, Photo 2 of 4
5/20/06: Found in the Forest, Photo 3 of 4

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where we all adore clover, which not only tastes great (to cows and chickens and donkeys and sheep) but also helps make nitrogen in the soil available to other plants - and I still can't believe that once (in a faraway, long ago city life) I actually went searching for some kind of poison that would kill all the 'nasty clover' in my tiny front lawn.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Daily Dose Of Cute #2


Zelda & Her Newborn Twins Yesterday Afternoon

© Copyright 2008 Farmgirl Fare.com, the award-winning blog where we have a sheep named Zelda because back in 2004 when we decided to give all the ewe lambs born that year 'A' names (then 'B' names in 2005, 'C' names in 2006, etc. - which was a brilliant idea) I said to Joe, "This two-year old sheep needs a name!" and without skipping a beat he said, "Zelda." I asked why. "Because I doubt we'll ever make it to 'Z!'" It suits her perfectly.

Monday Daily Dose of Cute: Way to Go, Zelda!


Bye Bye
Big Belly, Hello Little Boy & Girl

Thank goodness. You know she's got to be feeling better now that those babies are on the ground, especially since it's 90 degrees in the shade today. As you can see, though, her appetite hasn't diminished. More photos to follow - Zelda's very proud. And her twins are very cute!

© 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where sometimes all you have to do to jump start lambing season is leave the farm for a while - which is what happened yesterday afternoon. All three are doing just fine.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saturday Daily Dose Of Cute: A Little Look Back


Dinky Donkey on July 14th, Age 12 Days

Just over a year ago I brought home two girlfriends for Donkey Doodle Dandy. Dolores was already pregnant when she arrived, and on July 2nd she gave birth to Dinky. Dinky was supposed to go live with a friend on another farm several months ago, but she's having a fencing - or, more precisely, a lack of fencing - situation, which I understand completely.

Meanwhile Dan's other girlfriend, Daphne, is expecting Dan's baby, which we thought she was going to have a month ago. Instead she just keeps getting bigger, kind of like poor Zelda. Maybe she's waiting for lambing season (which keeps dragging on and on) to be done - or at least for Zelda to be done.

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where the photos are sometimes actually taken the same day they're posted - just not lately. But cute is cute no matter when it's from, right?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Daily Dose Of Cute: Splish Splash!


The New Pups Love to Get Wet (taken April 11th)

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where yesterday's nice big rainfall started our beloved weather creek flowing again (though thankfully not at flood level) - and even though the days are getting longer, they're still too short to do everything that needs to be done.

Friday Farm Photo #2: Ribbit!


Spotted by the Barn

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where the spring box is full of eggs, frogs are hopping up everywhere, and the nightly summer serenade has already begun. There's nothing quiet about springtime on the farm!

Friday Farm Photo: Outdoor Decorating


There's Nothing Like Fresh Flowers to Brighten Things Up

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where these cheerful little blooms won't be going into a Congratulations New Mother! bouquet for Zelda since she's still enormously pregnant.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday Daily Dose Of Cute


Pup & Robin (taken 4/16, which means the pup is now bigger than Robin)

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where self-respecting beagles don't fall head over heels for the fluffy white puppy cuteness - and the above photo was taken just seconds after somebody white and fluffy tried to cover Robin's face
with kisses. Blech.

Thursday Farm Photo:
High Level Dining Experience


Meet Lazy, Lazy, Lazy, & Lazy

A year of Farm Photos ago:
5/15/07:
All You Can Eat Buffet

And two years ago the creek was running:
5/13/06:
Morning Mist Rising Off The Wet Weather Creek
5/13/06:
Weekend Cat Blogging - Cat Fishing?
5/14/06:
Weekend Dog Blogging - Beagle In Paradise
5/15/06:
Sheep Crossing

© Copyright 2008
FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where there's no reason to waste all that energy bending over to eat when you can just stand in the creekbed instead.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday Daily Dose Of Cute


Hello!

© Copyright FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where everybody likes to have their own distinguishing attribute, even if the only choice left is to look a little lopsided - and all the lambs eventually grow into their wrinkles.

Tuesday Farm Photo #2: Mother Nature's Canvas


A Smattering of Color in the Creekbed

Want to see more farm art?
8/28/05:
Discard On Display
9/26/05:
Well Seasoned
9/29/05:
Heart Of Vine
11/27/05:
More Found Art
12/15/05:
The Weathered Look Is Very In Around Here
1/29/06:
Bird Nests Are Definitely Works Of Art
3/30/06:
More Old Stuff Just Hanging Around
8/9/06:
Feather Wait
8/29/06:
Seeing Things
9/16/06:
The Farm Is My Canvas
9/29/06:
Perfect Landing
11/19/06:
Farmyard Still Life
1/6/07:
Precious Farm Jewels
12/15/07:
Still Life With Barbed Wire & Buck Brush
1/27/08:
Fence As Farm Art

© Copyright 2008
FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where even though we're miles and miles from the nearest museum there's beautiful artwork everywhere we look.

Tuesday Farm Photo: Still Collecting Heart Rocks


Put There Just For Me?

I've been finding heart shaped rocks on and around the farm for the past few years, and much to my surprise and delight I now have about 250 in my collection (there are a lot of rocks down here!) Usually the shape of a rock will catch my eye and I'll stop and pick it up to see if it really is a heart, but once in a while it's as if a heart rock was set out especially so I would find it. I came across this one in the creekbed the other day, sitting in what looked like its own little heart rock shrine. What a gift.

Want to see more hearts?
6/13/05: First Heart Rocks To Appear On Farmgirl Fare
8/22/05: Heart Rocks By The Barn
11/10/05: Hearts & Cats For Clare & Kiri
2/14/06: Happy Valentine's Day
3/27/06: Happy Birthday To My Sweetheart, Joe
4/12/06: Hearts & Rocks & Numbers & Thoughts
6/17/06: I Heart Homegrown Garlic
7/22/06: Heart Rock Embedded In The Front Step
9/20/06: Heart Rocks, Morning Sun
10/18/06: My Little Girl Is Growing Up
12/2/06: Snowstorms & Snowfall
1/17/07: My Heart Is Embedded In This Place
6/12/07: Hold Life In Your Hand & Keep It In Your Heart
1/9/08: Adding To My Heart Rock Collection
2/8/08: Handful Of Heart Rocks All Found At Once
2/14/08: Happy Valentine's Day
3/8/08: My Hearts Overfloweth
3/27/08: Little Hearts, Big Love

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where we love our crazy country life 240 remote Missouri acres with all of our hearts.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday Daily Dose Of Cute:
Sleeping With A Smile?


First Day Out Of The Bonding Suite Is Exciting & Exhausting

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where this little guy has been feeling under the weather since this photo was taken last week, but thanks to some tasty vitamin paste, plenty of fluids, and lots of TLC - plus another stay in a private bonding suite with his mom - he seems to finally be perking back up. Today he received the Vitamin D treatment - a day out in the sunshine on fresh green grass. Now that ought to do it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday Daily Dose Of Cute: Newborn Bliss


Happy Mother's Day.

Want to see more Mother's Day photos & stories?
5/14/06: Happy Mother's Day
5/14/06: A Tiny Tail For Mother's Day (Cary's story)
5/13/07: The Tail Of Two Mothers: A Mother's Day Story From The Farm

© FarmgirlFare.com, the itty bitty foodie farm blog where even after 13 years of raising sheep, we never get tired of watching tender scenes like these.

Sunday Farm Photo #2:
There's A New Supervisor In Town


Sheep Freedom Day: Sarah Kate Is On The Job

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where there may be a stellar stock dog and two big fluffy puppies watching over the sheep, but everyone knows it's the cats who are really in charge.

Sunday Farm Photo: Mother To Be


Hopefully soon!

This is Zelda. She is, as you can see, extremely pregnant. Last year she had twins - and was the very first sheep to give birth. This year she just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. A week and a half ago I put her in a bonding suite because she was so enormous I figured she was going to have a baby or two any minute.

Nothing happened. For six days.

My guilt and her well being demanded that she be let out, and I figured Sheep Freedom Day was the perfect time. All that fresh spring grass would no doubt jump start her into labor, just like at the New York pizzeria I read about years ago where pregnant women past their due date order a special prego pizza and proceed to go into labor, sometimes while still at the restaurant.

My plan worked beautifully—for two other pregnant ewes.

Meanwhile Zelda is now back in a bonding suite, complaining loudly and looking impossibly huge. Any time, Zelda, any time!

Current lamb count: 27. Number of still pregnant ewes, including Zelda: 5. Number of pregnant ewes who will probably give birth before Zelda: 4.

© FarmgirlFare.com, the any minute foodie farm blog where every day feels like Mother's Day this time of year.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday Farm Photo: Sheep Freedom Day!


No More Hay! Yay! Yay! Yay!

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where the best part about Sheep Freedom Day is watching the wooly pile up that occurs when the first sheep out of the barn door come to a screeching halt the second they hit sweet spring grass - while giving no thought whatsoever to the dozens of sheep racing toward freedom behind them.

Saturday Daily Dose Of Cute: Fiber Deficiency?


Or Just A Puppy?

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where some of us need more puppy training than the puppies do. It's been a while since we've had to remember to never put anything you don't want to be chewed up laying on, or even dangling near, the ground - which is why one of us is now walking around in a holey hat and a fancy new bra decorated with puppy puncture marks.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Daily Dose of Cute: In the Dog House?


Did I Do Something Wrong?

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where the misbehaving, escape artist new puppies (who are a mix of Anatolian Shepherd, Komondor, and Great Pyrenees) are driving some of us nuts - but as soon as you get mad at them they look at you like this. More puppy details on the way, I promise.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Book Giveaway!
Win a Copy of Butterfly by Thomas Marent


Pollinating Sedum Autumn Joy Last September

Some of you know about my love for moths and butterflies. I find myself constantly awed by these remarkable creatures, and of course it would be nearly impossible to have any sort of garden without them. Well if I'm in love, then Swiss photographer Thomas Marent is obsessed - and in a good way. His gigantic new hardcover book, simply titled Butterfly, includes more than 500 amazing photographs of butterflies and moths in each stage of their life cycles.

Thanks to the nice people at DK Publishing, I have a brand new copy of Butterfly to give away. You can learn more about this bigger than life-size book, see the photos of a mating pair of luna moths I took one morning in the garden (those colors!), and sign up to win over on my kitchen garden blog - because that's where the moths and butterflies like to be.

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where a butterfly bonanza is always sure to bring a smile - and more flowers!

Thursday Daily Dose Of Cute

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Wednesday Daily Dose Of Cute: All Day Hay Buffet


Kids Eat Free!



Sorry, No Puppies


© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where it's too bad the new puppies (who are - for those of you who have been asking - Anatolian Shepherd, Komondor, and Great Pyrenees) don't actually eat hay, since at this feeding rate we're probably going to have to start buying kibble by the ton.

Wednesday Farm Photo: Spring Garden Greens


Arugula & Baby Swiss Chard In The Homemade Greenhouse

It's spring salad season - and it's not too late to plant! Did you know you can go from seed to salad bowl in less than a month no matter where you live? Just check out these links on my kitchen garden blog:
Sublime Salads For Those Short On Time, Space, & Sunlight
Growing Your Own Gourmet Lettuce Is Easier Than You Think
How To Grow Your Own Swiss Chard From Seed & Why You Should

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where one of us loves lettuce a lot more than normal people (and even eats it for breakfast) - yet somehow never got around to planting any this spring (and is blaming it on lambing season). Thank goodness for Swiss chard and arugula!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Tuesday Daily Dose Of Cute: Back To Baby Cary


Two Week Old Cary Checks Out The Chickens (taken 5/20/06)

Cary turned two years old today!

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where there's always something new going on around the farm but there's one thing that never changes - everybody wants to hang out with the chickens.

Tuesday Farm Photo: Happy 2nd Birthday Cary!


Dreaming Of Something Greener Than Hay For Lunch

Wondering who Cary is? Meet her in A Tiny Tail For Mother's Day.

It's hard to believe that my little girl is already two years old, but that's what the calendar tells me so I suppose it must be true. Cary had a quiet and uneventful birthday today, as the ewes and lambs spent the day stuck in the barnyard like they have every day for the past few months. We're just about out of our carefully hoarded homegrown hay, though, so tomorrow she'll probably get to gorge herself on some of those greener pastures. Happy birthday, baby.

Want to see more of Cary?
The Cary Chronicles: Big Day For A Little Lamb
Cary Is Two Months Old Today!
Cary Is Three Months Old Today!
Cary Is Four Months Old Today! (And still allowed in the house)
Cary Is Five Months Old Today!
Cary Is Six Months Old Today!
Cary Is Seven Months Old Today!
Carybunga! Nine Months Old and Coming at You!
3/7/07: Cary Turned 10 Months Old Yesterday
Cary Is One Year Old Today!

11/18/06: Cary's Last Dish of Treats in the House
12/7/06: Cary Goes Grunge
12/19/06: Cary Can Find a Snack Anywhere
12/31/06: Farm Life Is Exhausting
1/7/07: What I Learned From Cary Last Year (Plus lots of links to photos of Cary laying waste to the kitchen garden)
1/7/07: Yeah, So?
2/11/07: Cary's First Woolcut
2/18/07: With the Nanny Bear on Sheep Shearing Day
4/13/07: Harvesting Beets with Cary
5/5/07: Pushover
12/6/07: Finally, A Cary Update
3/12/08: Cary Babies?
3/13/08: Cary, No Baby
4/18/08: A Little Look Back at Cary
4/18/08: Cary Update: Too Hungry To Say Hi
4/28/08: Meet and Greet with Cary
5/6/08: Back to Baby Cary
7/25/08: Let Me Out Already
8/19/08: Cary Scratches an Itch
5/6/09: Baby Cary is Three Years Old Today

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the wooly foodie farm blog where there are currently 104 critters on the farm (no wonder it takes so long to feed everybody!), but only one sheep who spent her babyhood curled up at my feet while I sat at the computer and snuffling up treats in the living.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Monday Daily Dose Of Cute: Morning Wake Up


Snug As Three Bugs In A Rug (Yep, there are three tucked in there)

Current Lamb Count: 25, including one born Friday (Liselotte's), one born Saturday (Bella's), and one born Sunday (Alisha's). Number of times I counted the lambs and ewes locked in the barn tonight: I stopped counting the counting at 9.

© Copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where the sheep obviously have cloaking capabilities - because otherwise our counting skills would look incredibly pathetic.

Recipe: Quick and Easy Black Bean Chili with Canned Black Beans, Tomatoes, Roasted Red Peppers, and Corn

Quick and Easy Black Bean Chili - FarmgirlFare.comComfort food with a fiesta flair that's vegetarian friendly & makes a great dip, too.

Just (barely) in time for Cinco de Mayo. Is it black bean soup? Is it black bean chili? Is it even Mexican? Who cares—let's eat!

Here's another spur-of-the-moment recipe I came up with one day after poking around in the pantry and looking at stuff languishing in the fridge. Whether you call it black bean soup or black bean chili or simply 'that black bean stuff,' it's quick, easy, delicious, low fat, and good for you—my kind of meal.

As I slurped up test spoonfuls from the first simmering pot, I thought of how much my cilantro loving foodie mom would probably enjoy it and decided I would freeze some for her upcoming visit. I divided the big batch into two different containers, and then over the next few days proceeded to devour them both. This stuff is really good.

It's also the perfect kind of thing to have on hand when you find yourself grabbing snacks and meals at all hours of the day because you're knee-deep in lambing season, or something equally as schedule-wrecking and time consuming. A quick bowl reheated on the stove or in the microwave and you're good to go for hours. One day I even had it for breakfast.

Like most soups and chilis, this one tastes even better after a day or two in the fridge, so I recommend cooking it up ahead of time if you can. I did end up making another batch for my mother while she was here last month, and she loved it, but when she tasted it the second day the first thing she said was, "I think it might have too much flavor."

Too much flavor? I did add a tablespoon of chili powder to her batch, so if you're the kind of person who can be easily overflavored, you might want to leave it out and/or reduce the other seasonings.

I realize that a steaming bowl of hearty black bean soup or chili isn't everybody's idea of late spring fare, but I'm running a little behind with the whole sharing seasonal recipes thing (so what else is new?), and I figured I could slide this one in under the guise of it being for Cinco de Mayo.

Besides, it even tastes good cold as a dip with tortilla chips. And if I ever get any heirloom tomatoes planted in my kitchen garden this year, I plan to enjoy it topped with lots of fresh chopped garden tomatoes come summer. Olé!


Farmgirl Susan's Quick & Easy Black Bean Chili
Makes about 10 cups

**Click here to print this recipe**

The spices play a big role in this dish, so use the freshest you can find. I've been ordering mine in bulk for years from Ameriherb in Iowa.

Whole cumin and coriander seeds will last much longer than pre-ground; just use an electric coffee/spice grinder (not the one you use for coffee!) to grind up a little at a time. If you've never ground your own spices you won't believe the flavor difference. I use a small piece of bread or a spoonful of rice to clean the grinder out.

The chicken stock adds richness and protein, but you could easily make this vegetarian by adding more tomatoes (canned or chopped fresh), not draining the black beans, or simply using water (I'd start with one cup rather than two) instead.

2010 Update: CarebearNJ writes, Just made this for a Super Bowl party. My fiancé said he'd been worried about a vegetarian chili tasting right but that this recipe was the best chili he'd had in years! I added one minced chipotle and a teaspoon of the adobo sauce and used water instead of stock.

A jar of roasted red peppers is a tasty addition, and if I had any Aconcagua peppers from the garden left in the freezer I would have chopped up a few handfuls and tossed them in. Fire-roasted or spicy tomatoes would kick things up a notch.

If you're serving this to guests, offer several toppings and let everyone have fun piling them high and personalizing their bowls. As always, I urge you to seek out organic and local ingredients; they really do make a difference. I really like Eden Organic canned beans, which

I haven't bought canned corn in years, but a few months ago I saw that Libby's was selling cans of organic sweet corn, decided to give it a try, and found myself nibbling on niblets straight from the can.

2 to 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium yellow or white onions
(about 1 pound), chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons paprika
1 Tablespoon cumin powder, preferably freshly ground
1 Tablespoon chili powder
(optional)
1 teaspoon coriander, preferably freshly ground
1 teaspoon salt
3 15-ounce cans organic black beans,
drained & rinsed (or not)
1 24-ounce can organic chopped tomatoes
1 jar roasted red peppers or a few handfuls of chopped fresh or frozen sweet pepper
(optional)
2 cups organic chicken stock, preferably homemade (or vegetable stock or water—start with just 1 cup water)
3/4 to 1 cup (packed) chopped cilantro
1 15¼-ounce can organic corn
, drained

Toppings:
Shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese
Diced avocado or guacamole
Sour cream, cottage cheese, or yogurt
Your favorite salsa
Chopped cilantro
Chopped scallions
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped sweet red peppers


Heat oil in a large pot then add onions and cook on medium high, stirring often, until soft and starting to brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Make a space in the center of the pot and add the garlic, stirring so it all touches the bottom of the pot. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the cumin, corander, paprika, & salt and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Add the beans, tomatoes, peppers (if using), and chicken stock. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer with the lid barely cracked, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how much time you have. Stir in the cilantro.

Purée with an immersion blender until still slightly chunky, less than 5 seconds. (I love my KitchenAid hand blender.) Or transfer about two-thirds of the soup in batches to a countertop blender and very carefully purée, then return to the pot. Stir in the corn and cook for a few more minutes.

Serve hot, topped as desired.

Other serving ideas: eat hot or cold as a dip with tortilla chips; put it in quesadillas or burritos; spread it over tortilla chips for super sloppy gloppy nachos; serve it atop a mound of rice.

Hungry for more Tex Mex recipes?
You might also enjoy my Fiesta Cottaqe Cheese Veggie Dip or Mexican Jumping Bean Slaw, Easy Vegetarian Tacos & High Kickin' Creamy Tomato Dressing.

How about some homemade bread to go with that?
Beyond Easy Beer Bread (my most popular recipe!)
Savory Feta Cheese & Scallion Scones
Easy Rosemary Focaccia with White Wine & Pecorino Romano
Oatmeal Toasting Bread (makes great rolls and burger buns, too)

Still hungry? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

© FarmgirlFare.com, the always up for eating foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares recipes, stories, & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres—and we don't need a holiday to declare that it's fiesta time (which is good since this one is practically over).