Friday, March 31

Thursday, March 30

Wednesday, March 29

Daily Farm Photo: 3/29/06

They Certainly Do Learn Early

Pssst! Do you know about my new gardening blog?

Tuesday, March 28

Roasted Garlic Lover's White Bean Soup Recipe (Fat-Free, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan)

Roasted Garlic Lover's White Bean Soup 1 -
Easy cooking with dried beans: hearty, flavorful, healthy soup.

American cooking has come a long way over the past 25 years. Once exotic ingredients from faraway places now line supermarket shelves and have been incorporated into classic dishes. Previously unheard of ethnic cuisines become more mainstream every day. And farmers' markets carry extraordinary vegetables and herbs that were unobtainable just a short time ago.

But in this rush to embrace the exciting and new, some faithful culinary friends were nearly forgotten. One of these was dried beans. During the eighties and nineties, beans were all but left by the wayside in favor of cutting-edge, unconventional fare. Chefs and cooks across the country were too busy serving up pumpkin seed-cilantro pasta with wilted chicory and sour cherry fennel sauce to bother with the humble legume.

Fortunately tastes change, and although it is still possible to dine on sea urchins with strawberries and squid ink foam, many of those now-weary fast-track eaters have decided to simplify and slow down. Old-fashioned comfort food is back in style. Elegant restaurants proudly offer mashed potatoes on their menus. Food magazines tell us that there is nothing more satisfying than having a modest pot of beans simmering on the back of the stove.

Organic great northern beans are a cheap and nutritious pantry staple.

Recipe below. . .

Daily Farm Photo: 3/28/06

It Seems Like They Never Stop Moving

Sunday, March 26

Weekend Dog Blogging: Thirsty Bear

The bigger the water dish, the happier the dog.

©, the fresh water foodie farm blog where Lucky Buddy Bear isn't the only one who loves it when our wet weather creek is flowing—except when it's flowing a little too much.

Daily Farm Photo: 3/26/06

I Told You They Have No Manners

Saturday, March 25

Weekend Cat Blogging #42

Smudge on the old well house roof


Daily Farm Photo: 3/25/07

Well Somebody Has To Eat It

Friday, March 24

Daily Farm Photo: 3/24/06

Uncle Dan Is Back On The Job!

More details in a few days. (No really, this time I mean it.)

Thursday, March 23

Wednesday, March 22

Is It A Boy? Is It A Girl?
No, It's A Bouncing Baby Blog!

(Because I Wasn't Busy Enough Already)

Volunteer Chard Seedlings In My Greenhouse

Yes, that's my little announcement. I've started another blog. It's an offshoot of Farmgirl Fare, very informal, and created for purely selfish reasons. is basically my personal gardening journal--and hopefully a way to get me to start keeping better (any!) records of what goes on each season inside my garden gate.

Since our weather here is never, ever the same from year to year, keeping detailed day-to-day records of what goes on seemed (and still is) pointless. But it would be nice to be able to look back at what generally went on in the garden--you know, not just what types of tomatoes I planted, but how they actually did. One of my golden rules of gardening is that I Will Forget All Those Little Things I Swear I Will Remember. It will be nice to not keep making the same mistakes over and over because my pathetic memory forgot all about them (or, more likely, blocked them out).

If you're a gardener or a wanna-be gardener, you're welcome to follow along with what's going on in my garden. And by sharing what I'm doing, maybe I can save you some time, trouble, and serious frustrations as well. I have no problem admitting that I screwed up! Of course I welcome your comments, questions, tips, and suggestions. I'm sure I'll be asking for help on a regular basis.

Like I said, this new project is supposed to get me to keep track of what's going on in the garden on a regular basis. So if I start slacking off, friendly harrassment is definitely encouraged! Okay, time to get growing.

Daily Farm Photo: 3/22/06

Fresh Frozen Chives

Okay, I do in fact have a (according to Whitey) boring little announcement to make, which I promise will be up later. In the meantime, this photo, taken this morning in the garden, does have something to do with it. But right now I'm headed out into the last of the afternoon sunshine. That frozen morning turned into a glorious spring day.

Whitey & Lindy Take Over

Just ignore her, Lindy, like she'll no doubt be ignoring us (even more than usual). I know about the boring little announcement she's going to blab about later, and it has absolutely nothing to do with you and me. Yawn. (Yo! Of course chickens can yawn.)

She just sticks us up here for, for. . .color! It's true. We look good above the flower photo down there. That's like buying a painting to match your sofa or a dog to go with your coat. She treats us like objects--and I don't mean the celebrity blogstar objects that we are. Did you know people actually email her requesting more photos of us? Did you know that? I have to get to work on my blog. I need to steal more pictures of us. She has an entire folder named Chickens. And a separate one called Whitey.

We are totally underappreciated. We simply don't get enough respect around here. Or attention. Or treats. I didn't see her flipping any of those multigrain pancakes over to us during that breakfast revolt. Or crepes. Or peanut butter waffle sandwiches. No, it's kitchen scraps, moldy cheese, and banana peels for old Lindy and Whitey. It really is a miracle we're still alive. And we even went back to laying eggs. I think it's our fans that keep us going. We have to think of them. What would they do without us?

Tuesday, March 21

Daily Farm Photo: 3/21/06

You Don't Mind One More, Do You?

Monday, March 20

Daily Farm Photo: 3/20/06

Happy First Day Of Spring

Sunday, March 19

Daily Farm Photo: 3/19/06

Farewell Winter (I'll Miss You)

Weekend Dog Blogging #26: Off Duty Dog

We've Found Another Use For All That Uneaten Hay

Attention Dog Lovers! It's time for Weekend Dog Blogging #26!
To see fun dog photos and discover yummy new food blogs, head over to
Sweetnicks on Sunday night for the complete roundup. Want to see more woofers? Check out the weekly Carnival Of The Dogs. And at The Friday Ark you'll find dozens of links to everything from canines to a common checkered skipper.

Saturday, March 18

Daily Farm Photo: 3/18/06

I Love When Our Wet Weather Creek Meanders By The House

Weekend Cat Blogging #41

J2 On The Potting Bench

(Law Of Cats #74: If the sun shines on it, they will come--whether they should be there or not.)

Attention Cat Lovers! This Is Weekend Cat Blogging #41!
See fun feline photos & discover yummy new food blogs. Visit my pal Clare & her crazy Cat Kiri at
Eat Stuff in Australia for all the links to this week's kitties. We'd love to have you join us. Just leave your permalink in a comment at Eat Stuff. For even more pussycat pics, be sure to catch the traveling Carnival Of The Cats each Sunday night. And the weekly Friday Ark features everything from cats to Carolina Parakeets.

Friday, March 17

Daily Farm Photo: 3/17/06

Same Scene, New View: This Was January

And This Is A Little March Green For St. Patrick's Day

Click here to see other views of this same scene.

Thursday, March 16

Wednesday, March 15

Daily Farm Photo: 3/15/06

One And A Half Anonymous Hay Eaters

Tuesday, March 14

A Whole New Way To Start The Day

(Thanks To A Little Help From Dan's Fans)

Two Days Ago This Would Have Been Fine

(Note: Read this first.)

Breakfast used to be a no-nonsense, hassle-free, room-temperature affair around here. Joe had a peanut butter sandwich (on homemade bread of course) and a glass of milk (after his mandatory, wake-up espresso). Donkey Doodle Dandy and the sheep and the llamas were given hay. And not just any hay. All natural, homegrown hay, lovingly put up by yours truly (and Joe) during the hottest freaking part of the year. My breakfast was a piece of fruit and a bowl of organic cereal slurped down between chores.

So things were fine, and our morning meal was a happily anticipated affair. Some of us would even jump for joy at the sight of our breakfast, tearing into it with desire and excitement (meals are a highlight of the day!).

Not anymore.

Now, thanks to Donkey Doodle Dandy's helpful and concerned fans, things have changed. Drastically. One might even say a full out breakfast revolt has taken place on the farm.

Following I Gallop On's advice (but not having any small children around from whom to steal a peanut butter sandwich), I took half of Joe's and fed it to Dan. This was fine with Joe, who, after hearing how well apple fritters went over at Heather's household, had already decided that a hot, fresh fritter sounded like a delicious change. It was then strongly suggested to me that vanilla ice cream would surely be a much more fitting source of calcium than his usual glass of milk.

Dan thought the peanut butter sandwich was the cat's meow until Kaliblue reminded us that famous donkeys prefer waffles. Dan immediately demanded that from now on his peanut butter sandwich be crisped up in the waffle iron (it should be arriving from Amazon any day).

Meanwhile (and I have no idea who to blame this one on), the sheep (all 53 of them--yes, those shameless mothers even got their babies in on the act) unanimously declared that if hay wasn't good enough for Dan, it certainly wasn't good enough for them. ("We're pregnant and nursing for baaing out loud!") They are now holding out for whole grain pancakes made in the shape of stars and hearts (where do they get these ideas?) and smothered in molasses syrup.

The prima donna llamas, who pretty much snubbed their noses at our hay (and us) since their first day here, have joined in the revolution and let it be known that they would like crepes, preferably stuffed with lightly sauteed morel mushrooms, since they are just coming into season here. Naturally I am the Head Mushroom Hunter.

And Vickie, it does appear that your well-intentioned city girl bribes are simply not up to par. Obviously a plain old apple just will not do, and--leave it to Stacey to remind us--that braised carrots are much better than half-dead limp ones. Who knew?

As for me? Well, somebody has to eat the rest of the hay. It's really not that bad (though it does take much longer to chew than cereal), and it should keep me filled up long enough to find some morels, learn to make crepes, buy vanilla ice cream, and figure out how to turn on that "Approve All Blog Comments Before They Appear" setting on Blogger.

Who says blogging can't change your life?

Daily Farm Photo: 3/14/06

On The Breakfast Lookout

(An explanation will be forthcoming.)

Monday, March 13

Daily Farm Photo: 3/13/06

I'm Gonna Need Something More Than Spun Gold For Breakfast

Sunday, March 12

The Great Compost Cover-Up

Compost: Miracle Or Malarky?

If gardening is the outdoor activity of the new millenium, then compost is definitely the buzzword. This magical yet ingenuous process is, we are told, the answer to all of our problems. Rescuing our peach pits and plant clippings from a slow death in America's bulging landfills will fill our gardens with the ultimate soil amendment, while filling us with a supreme sense of environmentally correct satisfaction. And, oh yes, it's a great way to spend money.

The concurrent arrival each year of killing frost and gardening catalogs is no coincidence. Everyone knows that a gardener trapped indoors in the dead of winter can rationalize the purchase of almost anything--especially stuff we never knew we needed. Suddenly our simple backyard humus mills are incomplete without an ergonomic pile-turning tool and a box of Secret Compost Starter.

And surely our eggshells and apple cores deserve one of the high dollar 'professional' composting receptacles that seduce us with exciting names like The '49er ("Black Gold in Only Seven Weeks!"). Crafty entrepreneurs even offer special mail-order composting worms. Oh, please. If I want worms I'll get some from the Vend-A-Bait machine down at the liquor store once they get it working again.

I may have seen through the worm scam and resisted the catalog come-ons, but I will admit that I fell right into the composting trap. When I moved from urban Northern California to a remote Missouri farm, I was thrilled by the thought of turning plain old trash into practical treasure—especially when I discovered there was no garbage pick-up out here. Knowing I could never justify the purchase of a $200 trash can, I constructed a perfectly serviceable bin from wooden pallets and a tin-covered scrap of plywood that were laying around the farm.

I also started researching. I read fascinating, tell-all stories by expert composters (who I now realize are mad, and who lavish more attention on their potato peels than I do on my pets). There was, for example, the man who used scientific charts and hourly temperature readings to produce finished compost in only 14 days. His secret ingredient was abalone bits he happened to have handy—useless information for a girl who had just moved 1600 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

Then there was the woman who put everything through her enormous blender and poured it straight onto her garden plots. An intriguing idea, but I didn't think my 1930s Osterizer was up to the task of pulverizing blackberry brambles and frost-bitten tomato plants. I even, while under the influence of an extremely long snowstorm, ordered a 900-page book devoted solely to the art of composting, though I've never had the courage to open it.

After two years of dragging organic debris 150 feet across the barnyard to my little homemade bin, I finally grasped the real secret behind composting: It simply does not work. My compost pile looked exactly the same as when I started it.

Okay, so maybe I did ignore a few rules, like the one about not putting in anything thicker than a quarter of an inch (who has time to chop broccoli stems into tiny pieces?), or all those nitpicky layering laws. And granted, the one time I plunged my pitchfork into the pile to turn it, it was frozen solid. But this was trash, not a full-time occupation.

At least the animals made some use of my efforts. I once lifted the plywood lid and found a litter of kittens staring up at me. Another time I walked outside shortly after tossing a big bowl of tomato skins onto the pile and saw one of the sheep staggering across the barnyard with dripping red lips and an entire pallet stuck around its neck.

After that, I took to leaving the bin open to the sheep as a snack bar, figuring the manure would make it into the garden faster than any compost might. Eventually, I decided to save myself the walk and started dumping everything a few steps into the barnyard.

The seasons changed, but my uncompost pile did not. I ignored it. But then, on a rare walk past it, I stopped to brush back some coffee grounds that had spilled out from between the wooden slats at the bottom of the pile. The realization came slowly: Those weren't coffee grounds. I had compost—in only 800 days!

Once the shock wore off, I naturally rushed out and ordered three professional composters. I figure I'll be all set as soon as the Vend-A-Bait machine gets fixed and my West Coast friends express-mail me those abalone bits. While I'm waiting, I might even crack open that 900-page book.

This article originally appeared in Garden Design magazine. I now happily co-exist with no fewer than five producing compost bins.

Now is the perfect time to start composting. It really is a wonderful thing. I use my compost all around the garden: in my seed starting mix, worked in as a soil amendment in my raised beds, and as a side dressing/mulch on plants.

The whole composting process (as you can see) can be as easy or as complicated as you care to make it. But whether you buy your compost bins or make them yourself (out of anything from wood to chicken wire), I do suggest that you start with at least two. That way you will be able to stop adding to one, giving it a chance to fully break down while you fill the second bin.

No yard? No problem. There are even "kitchen composters" available, complete with squiggly little worms that hasten the breakdown process. Your potted plants will love you for the effort. You can even water them with compost tea.

Here are a few handy links to get you started turning your trash into treasure:
A Complete Guide To Composting
What Kinds Of Things Can I Compost?
Planet Natural's Composting Tips & Supplies
Composting Products From (My Favorite) Pinetree Garden Seeds


Weekend Dog Blogging #25

Resting But Ready For Anything

Attention Dog Lovers! It's time for Weekend Dog Blogging #25!
To see fun dog photos and discover yummy new food blogs, head over to Sweetnicks on Sunday night for the complete roundup. Pining for more puppy pics? Check out the weekly Carnival Of The Dogs. And at The Friday Ark you'll find dozens of links to everything from dogs to dolphins.

Note: My apologies for not responding to recent comments. I love reading them & am slowly but surely catching up!

Daily Farm Photo: 3/12/06

Misty Morning Rose

Saturday, March 11

Weekend Cat Blogging #40

New Cat Lives His Life Above Dog Level

Attention Cat Lovers! This Is Weekend Cat Blogging #40!
See fun feline photos & discover yummy new food blogs. Visit my pal Clare & her crazy Cat Kiri at
Eat Stuff in Australia for all the links to this week's kitties. We'd love to have you join us. Just leave your permalink in a comment at Eat Stuff. For even more pussycat pics, be sure to catch the traveling Carnival Of The Cats each Sunday night. And the weekly Friday Ark features everything from cats to coots.

Daily Farm Photo 3/11/06: Oh, Just Take A Seat Anywhere

When It Comes To Food, My Sheep Have No Manners. . .

. . . At All

Note: These photos were taken five minutes apart. Those are two different sheep in the trough. My back was turned. All I heard was some scuffling. Probably better that I wasn't watching.

© Copyright, the foodie farm blog where who needs TV when you can watch laugh out loud wooly reality shows 24/7.

Friday, March 10

Daily Farm Photo: 3/10/06

Fleeting Heart

So what is this? Click here to find out.

Life When You're 12 Hours Old

Hang With Mom

Check Stuff Out

Get Plenty Of Rest (So You Can Grow Into Your Ears)

© 2006, the award-winning blog where Farmgirl Susan shares stories & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote acres.

Thursday, March 9

Daily Farm Photo: 3/9/06

I Think They're Born Addicted To Treats

Wednesday, March 8

Counting Sheep, Not Getting Much Sleep

A Little Update

Lambing Season Can Be Awfully Tiring. . .

. . . For Everyone

So here is what has been happening on the farm.

On Sunday, ten-year-old Mary (pictured above) had itty bitty twins.
On Monday, Frederica had a humongous baby boy.
On Tuesday, first time mother Annie (and my other 2004 orphan bottle baby along with Teddy) had a little baby boy.

Things have been crazy but wonderful. Who needs sleep? I'm running on adrenaline and lamb kisses. So, for those of you who are keeping track of this stuff, here is the current tally:

Six ewes have given birth to 8 live lambs--five boys and three girls. There are still 20 (or so) rapidly widening, pregnant ladies out there.

And for those of you who are tired of wool and are wondering where the food is on this food blog (and if lambing season is ever going to end), please believe me when I say that I had every intention of writing about a sweet new recipe yesterday, but babies always win out over biscotti (even if it is Toasted Almond & Chocolate Chip). Soon.

In the meantime, if all of this sweetness is giving anyone sugar cravings (besides me), I invite you to peruse the Farmgirl Fare archives and perhaps discover (or re-discover) a new favorite. All of the recipes are listed in the sidebar under 'Previous Posts.' Might I suggest Mexican Monkey Cake, Emergency Chocolate Cake, or a batch of Crazy Cookies?

As for me, it's back down to the barn. Lamb kisses are on the menu for dessert tonight.

Daily Farm Photo: 3/8/06

Another Farmyard Still Life

Tuesday, March 7

Daily Farm Photo: 3/7/06


Monday, March 6

Daily Farm Photo: 3/6/06

Freeze Frame

H.R. 4167 Is Bad News For Our Bellies

Please Tell Them To Vote NO Today!

Dear Friends,
I don't usually mix politics and blogging, but this new bill hits right where it counts--in our stomachs. It will take away local food labeling rights and help keep gene-altered ingredients in our food. Here's the low-down:

Tell your Congressman or Congresswoman to vote "No" on House of Representatives Bill H.R. 4167, the "National Uniformity for Food Act," coming to a vote in Washington, D.C on March 8.

The House of Representatives will vote Wednesday on a controversial "national food uniformity" labeling law that will take away local government and states' power to require food safety food labels such as those required in California and other states on foods or beverages that are likely to cause cancer, birth defects, allergic reactions, or mercury poisoning. This bill would also prevent citizens in local municipalities and states from passing laws requiring that genetically engineered foods and ingredients such as Monsanto's recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) be labeled.

Big food corporations and the biotech industry understand that consumers are more and more concerned about food safety, genetic engineering, and chemical-intensive agriculture, and are reading labels more closely. They understand that pesticide and mercury residues and hazardous technologies such as genetic engineering and food irradiation will be rejected if there are truthful labels required on food products.

Industry-sponsored H.R. 4167 is gaining momentum and must be stopped! Act now! Preserve local and regional democracy and protect yourself and your family from unsafe food by sending an email or calling your Representative and urging them to vote "No" on H.R. 4167.

Please Take Action Now--Send a Message to Your Congress Member in the House of Representatives to Vote "No" on H.R. 4167. Read more at, or immediately call or email your State Representative by clicking here. Time is almost out; Please act now!

For more information:
Center for Food Safety Call to Action (This links to a page where you can send a pre-drafted e-letter to your congressperson opposing the bill in about 30 seconds.)
Attention Missouri Residents: We also need to take action on a new pro-GMO bill that will keep local communities from blocking GMO seeds. This pro-Monsanto legislation needs to be stopped now! Act before March 8! Please visit for more information.

Okay, I've got to go. Frederica's in labor.

I'm fine. Go let your voice be heard. And spread the word!

Sunday, March 5

Saturday, March 4

Daily Farm Photo: 3/4/06


Trivia Tidbit (carried around since grammar school):
This is the only day of the year that gives a command.

A Little Announcement

Don't Be Shy, Just Come On Out And Tell Everybody. . .

My Name Is Rose!

Can I Go Play Now?

It's hard to believe that it's already been three weeks since this little darling was born. And because she was the first ewe lamb to arrive this year, that means she is the "prize" I donated back in December to the wildly successful Menu For Hope Campaign--a little lamb to call your own. Winner Jennifer New and her family are the proud honorary owners of--well, you heard her--Rose. This lovely name was chosen by Jennifer's daughter, who took no time at all in coming up with it. It just took me a while to get around to making the announcement. Meanwhile, Rose has been growing by leaps and bounds, and is thrilled that she now has three little playmates.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to the Menu For Hope. Because of your generous support, we were able to raise over $17,000 for
the victims of the devastating earthquake in the Kashmir region of India and Pakistan. And for those of you who were hoping that little Rose would be yours, well, we always seem to be acquiring new critters, and you never know what I'll come up with next. Right now I'm (impatiently) waiting for 23 more sheep to have their babies. I have no idea what they are all waiting for.

As far as names for all the other 2006 ewe lambs (of which there is only one so far), you'll just have to wait and see.