Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Farm Photo: Snowed In!


Nobody Comes In, Nobody Goes Out (Well, Except for Us Going to Do Chores)

I love our little front yard gate:
6/16/05: The Front Yard Gate
7/7/05: Robin at the Front Yard Gate
3/1/09: Snow! (Again!)

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the blanketed by beauty and silence (and six inches of snow) foodie farm blog where we could probably get up our very steep, half-mile-long driveway if we really wanted to, but we don't really want to. Besides, we always spend Saturday Date Nights at home—especially when there's a bottle of champagne chilling outside and a gorgeous full moon shining up above.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Dose of Cute: A Kiss for Aunt Dolores





Ooh!

Want to see more of furry (and feisty!) little Fernando?
7/25/09: New Baby Donkey Alert!
7/27/09: Mama Love
7/30/09: Sacked Out in the Sun
8/19/09: Wordless Wednesday Dose of Cute (I really love these photos)
10/13/09: Who's Soggy Now?
10/17/09: Have You Heard? Winter Weather Is on the Way!
10/26/09: One Scene, Two Angles
11/30/09: Um, Excuse Me
12/7/09: Lean on Me

© 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the peace, love, and understandably enamored with donkeys foodie farm blog where it's always the right time to tell someone you care—or have a little nibble. Or both!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday Dose of Cute: Freida in Front


Taking Over the Flock?

Meet Freida. Daughter of little Dee Dee (although as Joe is fond of pointing out, "There's nothing little about little Dee Dee anymore!"), granddaughter of Frederica, also known as The Sex Slave and The Jumper (stories for another time), who led the most adventurous life of any sheep I've ever known, always gave us some of our biggest and best looking lambs—even after being attacked and having her back half torn apart by coyotes—and pretty much detested me and Joe.

Frederica died last winter at the ripe old age of thirteen, not long before her little granddaughter was born. Freida, who you can also see here and here (scroll down), definitely inherited some of her spunk.

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the all ears out foodie farm blog where you know who else is Frederica's granddaughter? Cary! And she just happens to be standing to the left of Freida in this photo. Other faces you might recognize—though several visitors to the farm have said they can't believe I'm actually able to tell my sheep apart—include (up in the back left) Snugglebunny, Auntie Rose, and Tana.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Dose of Cute: Man at Work














The Girls Just Love Him

It's the heart of hay feeding season!
First You Have to Put Up the Hay
3/11/06: Oh, Just Take A Seat Anywhere
3/14/06:
A Whole New Way to Start the Day
3/26/06:
I Told You They Have No Manners

3/2/08:
How Do Donkeys Order Lunch?
3/7/08: Waiting for Lunch (on Top of Breakfast)

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the eating for two (all those sheep in the pictures, silly—not me!) foodie farm blog where I don't know about you, but it sure looks to me like my hunky farmguy Joe is petting a ewe or two in that last photo—which is something he'd definitely never be caught dead doing.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Book Review: Keeping the Feast by Paula Butturini

Win an Advance Copy!

In conjunction with this review, Paula graciously shared one of her favorite cold weather recipes with me. You'll find her recipe for Zuppa di Fagioli/Italian White Bean Soup, along with my thick and hearty version (this soup is made for improvising!) here.

When Lisa at TLC Book Tours asked if I'd be interested in 'reviewing another book that has food a central theme' for an upcoming tour (I was part of last year's TLC book tour for The Laws of Harmony, written by one of my favorite novelists, Judith Ryan Hendricks), I naturally said yes.

I started reading Paula Butturini's memoir, Keeping the Feast, which will be released on February 18th, while sitting in an uncomfortable chair in a doctor's office waiting room while a noisy health news show reverberated off the walls. I made it to the third sentence.

A few days later, cozied up under a heavy layer of flannel sheets and quilts after being knocked down by the flu, I turned on my soothing little bedside stained glass lamp and once again started to read. Much better. The food showed up in the fourth sentence and never left.

The morning before moving day, I took a notebook instead of a shopping bag to the Campo dei Fiori, and wrote down everything on offer at one of the more modest stands in the square. A truck farmer named Domenico presided over that stand, and much of what he sold he grew himself.

On that sunny August morning, Domenico was selling fat, round heads of soft Bibb lettuce and wild-looking heads of curly endive. He had crates of Romaine lettuce, whose elongated heads form the base of many salads, and tight little knobs of red racicchio, to add color. He had fistfuls of wild arugula, which the Romans call rughetta and use to add a peppery bite to a meal. He had foot-long bunches of Swiss chard, tiny new shoots of broccoli rabe, bunches of slim scallions. He had bouquets of zucchini flowers, which Romans stuff with mozzarella and anchovy, dip in a light flour and water batter, then deep fry till golden.

He had flat green broad beans, the kind the Romans stew slowly in garlic, onion, and tomato. He had red and white runner beans, which housewives use to fill out a summer vegetable soup, and regular green beans, tiny, just picked, perfect for blanching and serving with a dribble of olive oil and lemon juice.


This amazing list goes on for two more pages.

Paula Butturini and John Tagliabue met as foreign correspondents in Rome in 1985, and proceeded to live 'four essentially joyous years' afterward. Only then, says Paula, were we sucked into what I came to think of as our own private tornado. While covering a story, she was severely beaten by police in Czechsolovakia two weeks before their wedding; three weeks later John was shot and nearly killed on the job in Romania. He then began a debilitating, 'long, slow slide into textbook depression' which lasted for years.

Keeping the Feast is not a lighthearted tale of living in Europe, filled with fabulous food where every meal is a cause for celebration, a la Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence or a Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun (both of which I loved—and the six-hour made-for-TV version of A Year in Provence is wonderful, too). Unfortunately life isn't aways joyful and funny. What has the power to help you survive the toughest times? Love and food—and in this very personal story, Paula Butturini proves just that.

Cooking was my way of trying to make us both feel at home again, to make us feel as safe and nourished as we did as children, when we ate all our meals surrounded by utter familiarity and routine. During that year on the Via Giulia, I went to the Campo six days a week, to multiply the good I took away from each visit. I bought enough food to last for a day, two at most. Everything we ate seemed to have been picked just the night before, just for us. During that year, I cooked every comfort food from my childhood and John's: pastina in chicken broth for me, simple risotto or chicken baked with garlic, rosemary and potato wedges for John.

Each chapter begins with one of Paula's food-centered memories from her Italian-American upbringing in Connecticut, which then somehow ties in to the current narrative. These stories are one of the things I enjoyed most about the book.

Until I went away to college, I ate virtually every Sunday lunch of my life with a dozen or more of my mother's relatives in my grandparents' tiny apartment. Except for those first moments of silence when everyone dug into the steaming plates before them, Comparato, Romano, Tozzi, Delia, Fucci, Gabriel, and Butturini never stopped talking, kidding, joking, telling stories, swapping news or listening to the latest tales of wacky customers at Gabriel's Meat Market. We ate a ritual menu: Jennie's pasta al ragu; followed by meatballs, sausage, chicken, pork, and braciole, thin, slices of herbed, rolled beef, all of which had flavored her thick, Neapolitan sauce. A mixed salad, "good for the digestion," always followed the meat.

The only variable dish was dessert, usually one of Jennie's homemade American specialties: fresh blueberry, apple, cherry, or pumpkin pie, depending on the season; Boston cream or lemon meringue pies on occasion; pineapple crush cake (made with zwieback, eggs, condensed milk, pineapple, and whipped cream); or on birthdays, my favorite, Auntie's chocolate cake, a moist, sour-milk, two-layer concoction spread thickly with Jennie's soft, white frosting and covered in grated coconut. . . I never lost the recipe for Auntie's birthday cake, no matter how many times I have moved. The recipe, stained with melted chocolate and vanilla, travels with me to each new country, each new kitchen. I make Auntie's cake at least once a year.

I don't have much time to read these days, and after a long and tiring, often frustrating, sometimes heartbreaking day on the farm (I don't tell you all the bad stuff!), I tend to gravitate toward books that cheer me up. Reading about depression can be, well, depressing, and much of the second half of Keeping the Feast is about 'John's illness.' There were a few times when I chose to pick up something else to read instead, wondering if I really wanted to finish the book. But later I realized that I was already looking forward to reading parts of it again.

Would you like to win an advanced copy of Keeping the Feast? To enter, simply leave a comment in this post telling us something—anything—about how food or cooking has in some way, big or small, helped you or someone else heal or survive a tough time.

One entry per person, please. I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be several hours before yours actually appears.

You can enter through next Monday, February 1st, and I'll announce a random winner a day or two later. Please check back to see if you've won, especially if I have no way to get a hold of you (for example, if you have a blogger profile, is it public and does it list your correct e-mail address?). Sorry, but the book can only be shipped to a U.S. or Canadian street address (no P.O. boxes).

Related links:
Pre-order Keeping the Feast from amazon.com
Keeping the Feast TLC Book Tour schedule
Paula Butturini's website
Paula's blog

Other book reviews on Farmgirl Fare:
The Laws of Harmony (and readers share favorite food novels)
Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant (and what readers eat when alone)
Local Breads (and my favorite Four Hour Parisian Daily Baguette Recipe)
Cooking with Shelburne Farms (& Lamb Burgers w/ Red Pepper Olive Relish)
Comfort Food (readers share favorite comfort food stories & recipes)
The Cornbread Gospels (readers share cornbread memories & recipes)
The Artist's Palate (a beautiful cookbook for food and art lovers)
Falling Cloudberries (Greek Leg of Lamb & readers talk food/travel)
The Vegetable Gardener's Bible (my favorite gardening book)
Astrological Gardening: The Ancient Wisdom of Successful Planting & Harvesting by the Stars

© 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the bookworm foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares recipes, stories, and photos from her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres—and there's nothing better than curling up with a good book, except curling up with a good book and some good food. Keeping the Feast excerpts copyright Paula Butturini. Disclosure: I was provided a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Recipe: Paula Butturini's Zuppa di Fagioli / Italian White Bean Soup

Paula Butturini is the author of Keeping the Feast, a memoir in which food plays a central theme. You can read my review of it here. The book doesn't include recipes, but Paula was kind enough to answer my last minute request for a favorite simple cold weather dish, offering up this healthy and comforting Italian soup.

After cooking some up over the past grey and rainy weekend, I can see why her family likes it so much. A big pot of this soup in the fridge is the perfect thing to have on hand for quick, tummy-warming meals and filling, after-chore snacks.



Onions and tomatoes and carrots and a meaty smoked ham hockoh my!

Paula Butturini's Zuppa di Fagioli / Italian White Bean Soup
(My version made about 9 cups)

Paula says:
Whenever it's snowing, or simply dank and cold, my family likes eating sturdy soups to ward off mid-winter chills. This hearty Italian soup—which can be made with any dried white beans or a combination of varieties—warms our kitchen while it's cooking and warms us through when we sit down to eat it.

You can speed the whole process by using a 20-oz can of good quality, canned, white or cranberry beans, and using only 3 to 4 cups of water. In that case, you simply skip Steps 1 and 3, and add the canned beans and water to the stockpot at the end of Step 2.

My notes:
This is the sort of recipe that invites improvisation and experimentation. You could make it ten different times and end up with ten different soups—all of them good. Just use what you have on hand and personalize the pot to suit your taste.

I tend to prefer thick (dare I say sludgy?) soups to brothy ones, so I reduced the amount of water, upped the veggies, and added extra beans (I used canned organic cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans).

For the pork portion, I used a small but meaty smoked ham hock from the locally raised hog we bought a while back and had butchered to our specifications (and which has sadly just about all been eaten up). Good call—it added a wonderful smoky flavor.

After the soup finished simmering, I cut the meat from the bone and into small pieces, then stirred the ones I didn't pop in my mouth back into the pot.

If you want to make a vegetarian version, you could toss in some fresh (or even dried) herbs to add more depth. It would probably also be very tasty made with good chicken stock instead of water.

Next time I'll stir in some kale (I still have a beautiful bag of homegrown 'cat cabbage' in the fridge) or Swiss chard (my favorite garden green), or maybe even a few big handfuls of fresh spinach. A little chopped arugula (so easy to grow!) sprinkled on top just before serving would add a nice zippy touch.

My plan was to cook the soup and serve it the next day, waiting, as Paula suggests, to add the pasta until then. But the texture ended up so thick that I decided the macaroni might seem out of place and simply left it out. Don't skip the parsley and Parmigiano, though—they're the perfect finishing touch.


I love cozy soup season.

Paula's original recipe is below, with my changes noted in parentheses. As always, I urge you to seek out locally produced and organic ingredients—they really do make a difference.

1 cup dried white or cranberry beans (I used two 15-ounce cans of cannellini beans)
2 quarts water (I used 2½ cups)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped (I used 2 cups)
1 large carrot, finely chopped (I used 1 slightly mounded cup)
2 stalks celery, with their leaves, finely chopped (I used 1 slightly mounded cup)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I used 1½ Tablespoons)
1 ham bone, 1 pork rib, or 1/4 lb. salt pork (I used a 10-ounce smoked ham hock)
Small can Italian tomatoes, roughly chopped (I used a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes)
1½ teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup small, tubular macaroni (I left it out)
Freshly grated Parmigiano cheese (I used 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano)
Handful of finely chopped fresh, flat-leaved parsley (I used 1/2 cup)

1. (I skipped this step since I used canned beans.) In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan, bring the dried beans and 2 quarts of water to a boil over high heat; let boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let beans soak for 1 hour.

2. While beans are soaking, finely chop the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot and sauté the onion over medium heat until lightly colored. Add the carrots, celery, and garlic plus ham bone, pork rib or salt pork and continue sautéeing for about 5-10 minutes. (I turned the ham hock every few minutes so each side would brown.)

Then add chopped tomatoes and simmer 10 minutes. (I added 1/2 cup of water with the tomatoes, simmered 10 minutes, then added the two cans of beans and 2 more cups of water.)

3. (I skipped this step.) Once the beans have soaked for an hour, drain them, making sure to save the bean water. Add enough additional cold water to make 2 quarts. Then add beans and the 2 quarts of bean water to the vegetables in the stockpot.

4. Bring contents of stockpot to a boil, then cover and cook over low heat for about 50 minutes, until vegetables are tender (I cracked the lid and simmered for 60 minutes). Remove ham bone, pork rib or salt pork. (I cut the meat off the ham hock and stirred it back into the blended soup.)

You can pass half the vegetables through a food mill back into the pot, the way this soup is usually served in Italy, or you can pass the entire contents of the pot through a food mill, or use an immersion blender to purée the soup lightly. (I used my KitchenAid hand blender for three seconds on speed number three. I love that thing. I also love my Oxo Good Grips food mill.)

Don't over-process, as it tastes best when it still has some texture. If the soup seems too thick, you can add water to thin it; every batch seems to absort different amounts of liquid.

5. Add salt and pepper, then bring soup back to a boil and add the pasta, cooking it about 2 minutes less than called for on the box. Let the soup stand covered for 10 minutes, then stir in the parsley and Parmigiano and serve immediately. (I garnished the bowls of soup with more parsley and cheese.)

Paula's note: You can prepare the entire soup ahead of time—it actually tastes better if it spends a night in the fridge and is reheated the next day—but DON'T cook the pasta until you're ready to serve it, or the macaroni will turn to an unappetizing mush. (I cooked the soup, let it sit in the fridge overnight, then reheated it on the stove, stirring in the cheese and parsley just before serving.)

How about some homemade bread to go with your soup?
Beyond Easy Beer Bread (my most popular recipe)
Whole Wheat Beer Bread
Onion Rye Beer Bread
Savory Feta Cheese & Scallion Scones

Easy Rosemary Focaccia
How To Make Pita Bread
No-Knead Crusty Freeform Bread
Oatmeal Toasting Bread (makes great rolls, too)
Fresh Tomato & Basil Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
Carrot Herb Rolls (and a beautiful bread book for beginners)

And here are some more Less Fuss, More Flavor soups:
Simple & Healthy Swiss Chard Artichoke Soup
Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Artichoke Soup
Cream (or not) of Artichoke Soup With Garlic, Onions & Garbanzo Beans
Broccoli Onion Garbanzo Bean Soup
Susan's Super Spinach Soup

Garlic Lover's White Bean Soup (fat free, vegan, & delicious!)
Hearty Lentil Soup with Smoked Sausage
Use It Or Lose It Lentil & Escarole Soup
Spur Of The Moment Summer Squash Soup
Simple Summer Harvest Soup
Simple Summer Harvest Soup: The Autumn Version
And in summer, there's Quick & Easy Gazpacho

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 soup's on foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares recipes, stories, and photos from her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres—and the simplest dishes are often the very best.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Dose of Cute: Cold Backs, Warm Heart?






Must Be a Dog Thing (Because Marta Does It, Too)

Want to see more candids of these three canines? Pictures of Daisy the Great Pyrenees livestock guardian can be found here, (mostly) action shots of Lucky Buddy Bear the Australian/English Shepherd stock dog (mostly) extraordinaire are here, and photos of Robin Her Beagleness are here.

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the upside down foodie farm blog where the only thing better than having a farm dog is having four of them—though I'd really like about nine. And tomorrow I'll actually be posting a recipe!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Dose of Cute: Staredown











Just A Little Territory Dispute

Between Mr. Midnight:
11/16/08: Yoga for Pets
2/16/09: Looking for Santa?
6/7/09: Beauty and Grace (and a Scary Little Corner of The Shack)

And Sylvester:
1/8/09: Meet the Newest Member of Our Feline Family, Sylvester the Cat
8/5/09: The Pollinator and the Pussycat
9/4/09: Sacked out Sylvester on the Potting Bench
1/5/10: Cold Lover
1/11/10: My All-Weather Gardening Companion
2/1/10: Monday Dose of Cold and Cute: In the Snow

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the friendly but not always friends foodie farm blog where Mr. Midnight may do yoga and leap from tall buildings with gorgeous grace, but Sylvester has everybody beat when it comes to balancing—and you'd think that with 240 acres to roam around (not that any of our 9 farm cats ever roams quite that far), everybody would peacefully lay claim to their own little patch of land. But nope, boys will be boys. It's never gonna happen—especially since sweet and fluffy little Sylvester is actually a pretty big bully.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Dose of Cute: Everybody's Safe


Time to Sleep

That's our crazy Daisy!
1/27/09: Losing Lambs and Lottie (and Acquiring Daisy)
1/28/09: Snowed In! (scroll down to see Daisy)
2/5/09: Daisy Off Duty
2/9/09: When Sleeping and Eating Schedules Collide
3/19/09: Nap Time
3/23/09: Bear Hug

4/18/09: A Girl's Gotta Sleep Sometime
4/29/09: Standing Tall and Smiling Wide
6/11/09: Breakfast Company
7/4/09: The Dog Days of Haying Season
8/20/09: Work All Night. . .

10/8/09: The Boss Lady is Back?
10/11/09: Relaxing in the Afternoon Shade
11/27/09: Thanksgiving, the Morning After
12/14/09: Time to Punch In
12/30/09: Snow Day!
1/16/10: On the Lookout
1/19/10: Oh, Look

© 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the sacked out foodie farm blog where we hope you all enjoy a restful and relaxing weekend.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Did You Resolve to Become a Better Bread Baker in 2010?
Try My Artisan Bread Baking Tips!


My Classic Farmhouse White with A Few Cups of Whole Wheat Flour Tossed In

I recently spent some time updating the Ten Tips on How To Bake Better Artisan Breads at Home post I wrote back in 2005, and it was interesting to see the little ways my bread baking has changed over the past four and a half years.

I'm still following most of the tips, though I don't use my beautiful wooden bread bowls as much as I used to—preferring to let my dough rise in straight-sided plastic containers with snap-on lids instead—and I rarely bother making steam in the oven anymore. I've also started baking all of my pan loaves (these Chicago Metallic commercial loaf pans are the best) on a hot baking stone to simulate the 7-foot wide ceramic hearth deck oven waiting for me in our almost finished commercial kitchen. The results are fantastic.

If you're a new bread baker looking to improve your loaves, you might take a look at the tips—which are simply things I've learned that have made my breads better. And if you're already a seasoned bread baker, I invite you to share your own tips in the comments section.

And you're all invited to come bake with us over at A Year in Bread! Our first offical year of baking is long since past, but my best baking pal Beth (aka kitchenMage and author of the wonderful book, Picture Yourself Cooking with Your Kids) and I are still sharing recipes and information on the site—and hoping to do a lot more posting there in 2010.

You'll find our complete index of recipes on A Year in Bread here. And if you have a beloved bread recipe, we hope you'll consider sharing it in our Friday Favorites series, which you can read more about here.

Meanwhile, Beth and I are giving away a copy of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes A Day, a new book by the authors of the bestselling Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. You can enter to win here.

Ready breadie? You might enjoy some of my other bread recipes:
How To Make Pita Bread
Oatmeal Toasting Bread
Parisian Four Hour Baguettes
No-Knead Crusty Freeform Bread
Italian Rosemary Raisin Bread
Fresh Tomato & Basil Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
Whole Grain Cottage Cheese Bread
Italian Black Olive Cheeks
Carrot Herb Rolls (and a bargain bread book for beginners)
Three Onion & Three Cheese Pizza (pizza dough is a great place to start)

Not quite ready for yeast yet? My Beyond Easy Beer Bread requires five minutes of work and rewards you with a warm, crusty loaf in under an hour. Year after year, it's the most popular recipe on Farmgirl Fare.

© 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the flour covered foodie farm blog where no knead can be good, but sometimes the act of kneading by hand is the very best part of bread baking.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday Dose of Cute: Oh, Look











Yeah, We Know—Snow.

Want to relive this season's snowstorms?
12/25/09: It's White!
12/20/09: Snow Day!
1/5/10: Cold Lover
1/7/10: So We Got Some More Snow
1/8/10: See Spot Grow
1/9/10: Snow Quiet
1/10/10: Sheep Don't Tweet—We Bleat

1/11/10: Fluffcat on a Frozen Roof
1/12/10: You Shouldn't Take Chances with the Food Supply
1/14/10: Soaking Up Sun in the Snow
1/16/10: On the Lookout
1/22/10: Everybody's Safe
1/23/10: Staredown
1/24/10: Cold Backs, Warm Heart

1/30/10: Snowed In!
2/1/10: Monday Dose of Cold and Cute: In the Snow
2/2/10: Cold Weather Food
2/4/10: Scratching Her Face—or Rushing the Camera?
2/7/10: Hay Girls
2/8/10: Weathered Wood (and a Little Cute)
2/9/10: Winter Water
2/11/10: Girl Power
2/12/10: Snow Happy

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the hats off, gloves off, heat wave having foodie farm blog (a balmy 62 degrees today!) where our most recent snowfall finally melted off after a week, but we couldn't help keeping a few more favorite snow pictures on ice for you.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Farm Photo: Somebody's Laying Green Eggs


Woohoo!

"How many chickens do you have now?" asked my foodie mom, who thoroughly enjoyed some breakfasts of fresh fried eggs on toasted Farmhouse White during her recent holiday visit.

"Seventeen."

"Seventeen? How'd you get so many?"

"They just keep hatching!"

"Oh, that's right—you have a rooster now."

I've been raising chickens for 10 years, and our eggs have always been brown or white. The white hens lay white eggs, the brown hens lay brown eggs, and the black hens lay brown eggs, though Joe says he's had white hens who laid brown eggs.

Back in June 2007, when little old Whitey got her motherly wish and was given a dozen fertilized eggs to sit on, three of those eggs were green (scroll down the page on the above link to see them)—and at least one of them produced a chick. Several of the seven chicks that Whitey hatched turned out to be roosters, and none of the hens lays green eggs.

But the six hens born last April, who are all related to Whitey's original chicks, have recently started laying (which means we're now averaging 49 eggs a week!), and one of them is giving us green eggs. The other five are laying brown eggs of various shades, even though one of the hens is white. I think the green egg layer is the gorgeous black and white one you can see in the top of this photo, but I don't know for sure.

What I do know is that I've always loved green eggs. Some people say the color doesn't affect the flavor, but it's always seemed to me that the green ones taste just a little bit better. Whether they really do or not, I'm thrilled to finally have some.

Chickens and eggs that came before:
7/1/07: On Loving Lettuce and Eggs on Salad for Breakfast
4/20/08: Chick Days Are Here! (Hatching Photos)
11/11/08: Farm Fresh Eggs, They're What's for Breakfast
3/7/09: Cluck! Cluck! Cluck! Ouch.
10/25/09: Egg Layers, the Next Generation
Links to lots more chick pics

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the ready for Easter foodie farm blog where all we need now is some ham.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Dose of Cute: On the Lookout

















Not Much Happening

I hope you're finding yourself some fun this weekend!

Want to get to know these two hard working dogs better?
3/22/09: Trying to Impress the Girls
3/23/09: Bear Hug
12/14/09: Time to Punch In
12/30/09: Snow Play for Daisy and Bear
More Daisy Photos
More Bear Photos here and here

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the best friends foodie farm blog where Lucky Buddy Bear is an English/Australian Shepherd stock dog and Daisy is a Great Pyrenees livestock guardian. Their personalities and jobs are very different, but at certain times these two are exactly the same.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursday Dose of Cute: Soaking Up Sun in the Snow


It's A Rough Life Being a Donkey (Can't You Tell?)

There's lots more cute where this came from:
The First Daily Doses of Cute
Daily Doses of Cute Part 2
Daily Doses of Cute Part 3
Daily Doses of Cute Part 4
Daily Doses of Cute Part 5
Daily Doses of Cute Part 6
Daily Doses of Cute Part 7

Daily Doses of Cute Part 8
Daily Doses of Cute Part 9
Daily Doses of Cute Part 10
Daily Doses of Cute Part 11
Daily Doses of Cute Part 12
Daily Doses of Cute Part 13
Daily Doses of Cute Part 14

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the sleeping while standing up (and with your eyes open) foodie farm blog where one of this new year's resolutions is to get back to posting the daily doses of cute on a daily basis! Plus lots more recipes of course. And now that I've almost kicked this ridiculous five week flu, that should hopefully start becoming a reality—if I'm not too busy delivering donkey treats of course.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday Dose of Cute:
You Shouldn't Take Chances with the Food Supply


That's Why We Use Marta Guard

Want to see more of Marta?:
Marta Baby Pictures
7/27/08:
Siesta Time
10/26/08:
Mostly Marta
10/28/08:
Just Doing Her Job
11/6/08:
Maybe Marta

1/24/09:
Keeping the Food Supply Safe
2/1/09:
Moping Marta
2/4/09:
Three Dog Sight
2/7/09:
Being Watched
3/4/09:
Food as Furniture
9/28/09: Tails in Tandem
11/27/09: Thanksgiving, the Morning After

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the totally secure foodie farm blog where Marta (whose full name is now Marta Beast) is actually multi-tasking here—guarding the hay and protecting her belly from the snow.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Dose of Cute: Fluffcat on a Frozen Roof


That Would Be Whiskers

Want to see more of him?
7/24/09: We Have a New Farm Cat!
10/1/09: Cat Cart
11/4/09: Sky High Kitty

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the no fear of heights foodie farm blog where it takes a lot more than a little snow and ice to keep this guy—who just keeps getting fluffier and fluffier—down on the ground, though for safety's sake he does use a ladder to climb up and down. (Now if only I could get a picture of that!)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Dose of Cute: I'm on Twitter! (Sort of)


Sheep Don't Tweet—We Bleat

I know, I know. I'm the only person who isn't on Twitter—well, besides my hunky farmguy Joe (and don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen).
Even now I'm not really on it. Since I'm already constantly behind replying to e-mail and blog comments—not to mention posting all those backlogged recipes!—I don't think starting to tweet would be such a good idea.

But some of you have asked me to announce each new blog post on Twitter, and I'm happy to oblige. You'll find Farmgirl Fare on Twitter here, and In My Kitchen Garden here. I'm also hoping to post much more often on In My Kitchen Garden this year, but of course I said that last year, too (and probably the year before).

In other exciting organizing news (it doesn't take much to get us excited around here), the 'Visit My Kitchen Garden' link in the upper right sidebar on Farmgirl Fare, which currently is a close-up lettuce photo, now goes directly to the In My Kitchen Garden homepage, for those of you who wanted to be able to easily pop over there. And the 'Visit My Food/Farm Blog' link in the upper left sidebar (with the lamb sitting in his 'boat' photo) on In My Kitchen Garden still goes to this homepage.

As for those of you wondering about this photo, that is indeed my baby Cary, who will be (gasp) turning four years old in May. She's happy and healthy and still enjoys haughtily ignoring me most of the time, though she's well aware that she still holds special priviliges and will break away from the flock and storm the treat room door any chance she gets.

I decided not to breed Cary again this year because of the traumatic experience with her first pregnancy. As much as I'd love to have a Cary baby, I just don't want to take the chance of losing her—and since there's no reason I have to breed her, I'm not going to, at least for now.

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the way beyond nippy foodie farm blog where it's no suprise that the incoming water pipes are frozen and there's a mound of ice sprouting up from the shower drain in the bathroom—the thermometer outside read minus six degrees this morning. Brrrrrr! But as long as we don't have to do this again (and I use 'we' in the most general of terms here), things should be fine.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Saturday Farm Photo: Snow Quiet


Stumbling Upon Another Still Life

We see art everywhere around here:
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
4/22/09:
Every Day is Earth Day—and I'm Eco-Chic (Who Knew?)
12/13/09: Living Art
12/20/09: Ice Sculpture

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the white but green foodie farm blog where small things really can make a big difference—this one leaf caused an entire snowdrift to form. Similarly, if we all make one small environmentally friendly change each month, the effects will be huge. Hip Mountain Mama is asking you to do just that—click here to learn how you can join hundreds of others as they take part in the One Small Change challenge (and there are even prizes!). We already do a lot of green things around the farm (you can read about how we deal with having no garbage pick-up here), but right now we're busy switching over to those highly efficient, curlicue flourescent light bulbs—including in the new sheep barn. What small changes are you making?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Friday Dose of Cute: See Spot Grow


He Gets Bigger, and It Gets Bigger

The 2009 lambs are growing up! Want to see some littler lambies?
Lambing Season 2006 Photos & Reports
Lambing Season 2006 Part 2
Lambing Season 2006 Part 3
Lambing Season 2007 Photos & Reports
Lambing Season 2007 Part 2
Lambing Season 2008 Part 1
Lambing Season 2008 Part 2
Lambing Season 2008 Part 3
Lambing Season 2009
Lambing Season 2009 Part 2

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the hungry foodie farm blog where the temperatures still keep dropping (just how low can they go? wait—don't answer that), the incoming water pipes have thankfully defrosted (for now at least), there's a small mountain of firewood sitting next to the woodstove in the living room, and our lips are still warm enough to curl into a smile at the sight of those polka-dotted eyes and ears and that adorable giant pink nose—not to mention that everexpanding spot.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Thursday Dose of Cute: So We Got Some More Snow


Tana is Thrilled

More snow photos coming soon. Need a bigger blizzard right now? You'll find links to lots more snowstorms here (scroll down past the playful pups). I've also just added the cute half to Tuesday's heart rock post, which was the whole reason for it in the first place, yet I somehow completely spaced it out until that crazy Sylvester kept walking into more photos this afternoon. And here I was hoping to be more organized and on top of things this year!

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the three inches of snow covered foodie farm blog (which makes that white Christmas already seem like nothing) where the sheep have so much wool (or hair) to keep them warm in winter that they often choose to sleep outside during snowstorms, but you just get the sense that for some of them, this is definitely not their favorite time of year.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Wednesday Dose of Cute: Easiest Guard Job Ever


Lucky Buddy Bear and some extremely safe chickens (taken 12/07)

Love the chick pics? You'll find lots more of them here.

© FarmgirlFare.com, the whiteout foodie farm blog where tomorrow I should have freshly fallen snow photos!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Sunday Dose of Cute: Two Heads in a Bucket


One Camera in Hand (Dolores and her son Dinky, September 2007)

Want to see more of the Dinkman?
12/2/07: A Little Donkey Secret
12/10/07: Flying Donkeys
2/9/08: Donkey Update
4/7/08: Surprise Inspection
5/17/08: A Little Look Back at Dinky
6/16/08: Mother Love
6/17/08: Playing Hide and Seek
7/2/08: Happy First Birthday Dinky Donkey!
1/1/09: Happy Happy, New New

© 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the share and share alike foodie farm blog where bitter cold temperatures (after 15 years in Missouri, this California girl still has trouble with phrases like 'highs around 3') combined with having this cold/flu/whatever-it-is for three weeks and counting (so not fun) means I haven't been snapping many cute pictures lately, let alone sharing all the recipes I'd planned. What I have been doing, however, is finding lots of never posted photos that still make me smile. Nothing can keep down cute!