Friday, June 30

Daily Farm Photo: 6/30/06

Martha & Her Twins Keep Sneaking Into The Hayfield

A year of Daily Photos ago: This Way To The Hen Houses

Thursday, June 29

Daily Farm Photo: 6/29/06

It's Not The End Of The Day Yet

A year of Daily Photos ago:
It's Best To Cut Hay On A Hot, Sunny Day

Welcome new visitors to Farmgirl Fare!
here for a brief introduction to this site.

Wednesday, June 28

Daily Farm Photo: 6/28/06

Butterfly Paradise

I just love butterfly season. Click
here and here (and on 'Butterfly' in the caption) if you do, too.

A year of Daily Photos ago: Last Of The Hay Bales

Welcome new visitors to Farmgirl Fare!
here for a brief introduction to this site.

Tuesday, June 27

Daily Farm Photo 6/27/06: Two by Two

Snugglebunny's Twin Girls Heading Out For Breakfast

A year of Daily Photos ago:
Sweet Teddy Boy
here and here to see how much he's grown.

Monday, June 26

Daily Farm Photo: 6/26/06

It's Been A While Since I Caught A Spiderweb

A year of Daily Photos ago:
Glance & It's Mundane; Look & See Reflected Beauty

Welcome new visitors to Farmgirl Fare!
here for a brief introduction to this site.

The Continuing Cary Chronicles

Who Needs TV When You Have Cary & DDD?

Help! I'm being chased by a donkey!

And he's gaining on me!

NOTE: No Carys or
donkeys were harmed or frightened during the taking of these photos.

And for those who have been asking how Cary is doing, the answer is just great. Every day with her is a zany new adventure, whether we're tooling around town, hanging laundry on the line, or just relaxing in the living room. Did you notice her cute new bobbed tail? And her right hind leg looks like it was never even broken—and is obviously working just fine!


Sunday, June 25

Recipe: Easy Blueberry Bonanza Breakfast Bars with an Oat Crust and Streusel Topping

What to do with a blueberry bonanza? Make these easy bars, which are delicious any time of day. There are instructions for a peach and blueberry version below, and an apple blueberry version here.

July 2015 update: This has been one of my most popular recipes since I originally posted it back in 2006. Click here to read a sampling of rave reviews from Farmgirl Fare readers. Thanks so much to all of you who take the time to come back and report on my recipes. And thanks for pinning them on Pinterest too!

I've been known to claim that a culinary wasteland begins just outside the front gate to our farm. This is of course an exaggeration, but when you know you're probably the only one in three counties growing arugula, or that the closest fresh parsley for sale is 40 miles away—and is probably wilted—it sometimes feels true.

The truth is, though, that if you're willing to hunt around and do some driving, it's quite possible to score some wonderful locally produced foodstuffs around here. Throw in some available freezer space, and you can enjoy these scrumptious seasonal specialties all year long.

For example, next week I'll be driving to a farm to pick up ten all-natural, pasture-raised chickens that will have been processed right there on the premises that morning.

And last week I picked up the five gallons of big organic blueberries I pre-ordered back in January from a local grower. They'd been picked right before my arrival, and are, as you might imagine, incredible: plump and juicy, sweet but not too sweet, each one bursting with flavor.

Most of them are already in the freezer, where theoretically they will last until next year, though I doubt that will happen. On more than occasion I've found myself filling up a large bowl with blueberries and popping them into my mouth like they were M&Ms.

But a baker who has nearly five gallons of blueberries in her possession will eventually get a hankering to turn them into something more than finger food.

I'd been planning to finally make my first ever blueberry pie, and we even bought a carton of ice cream to go with it—a task that requires intricate planning, driving slightly above the speed limit, and lots and lots of ice.

But before I could start sifting through all the blueberry pie recipes I've collected over the years, I was sidetracked by a recipe for blueberry bars I created the last time we had a blueberry haul in the house.

After some tinkering, including nearly doubling the amount of blueberries in my original version, I've come up with what I think is a delectable blueberry bar. I've never tasted anything quite like it. With its oatmeal crust and streusel topping, it reminds me of an eat-with-your-hands cross between blueberry pie and blueberry crisp.

There's no particular reason why I decided to call them Blueberry Breakfast Bars, except that doing so allows you to eat them for breakfast without having to make any rationalizations, as with say, a slice of Emergency Chocolate Cake. Although that's a poor example because a chocolate emergency, even one at breakfast time, does not, by definition, ever need to be rationalized.

August 2011 update: I recently came across a Martha Stewart recipe for something called Blueberry Bonanza Bars. Blueberry bonanza! My recipe remains the same, but I've swiped the fabulous word bonanza and added it to the name.

Despite calling for a fair amount of sugar, these blueberry bars, especially if accompanied by a cold glass of milk and perhaps a banana, do make a healthier breakfast than many of the traditional breakfast foods out there, like jelly-filled donuts or highly-processed packaged items whose names include the word fruit but do not actually contain any fruit.

Of course you can break out a Blueberry Bonanza Breakfast Bar any time of day or night. You can put one in a lunchbox, pack some on a picnic, or munch on one in the car on your way to pick up the kids at school.

You can cut them into squares, wrap them up individually, and freeze them for an instant, on-hand snack. Or you can cut into the pan while they're still warm and gooey and serve them up in bowls alongside scoops of vanilla ice cream to your dearest friends who will then love you even more than they already do. Topping the bowls with a handful of fresh blueberries may cause swooning.

Besides being really good for you, blueberries have another wonderful quality; unlike strawberries and raspberries, they freeze individually without special treatment.

How do you freeze blueberries? Just fill up a zipper freezer bag or plastic container with berries and toss it in the freezer.

9/06 Update: Got peaches? Check the end of the recipe for how to make my Just Peachy Blueberry Bars. And click here to read more about them.

8/07 Update: Love apples? Check out my new Apple Blueberry Version of this recipe.

Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to leave a comment below, telling us how much you enjoyed this recipe and sharing your wonderful variations.

Farmgirl Susan's Blueberry Bonanza Breakfast Bars
Makes one 9"x13" pan — 12 to 16 large bars

**Click here to print this recipe**

Don't let the three separate layers in the recipe scare you off; they come together quickly and you only need to dirty up two mixing bowls.

I've made them with both fresh and frozen blueberries. My blueberries are large and not super sweet. If yours are the smaller and sweeter wild variety, you may want to use less sugar in the middle layer.

Feel free to substitute white whole wheat flour for some or all of the all-purpose flour in the crust and/or the streusel topping. To give the bars another healthy boost, you could mix some chopped walnuts or almonds or pecans into the topping.

As always, I urge you to seek out local and organic ingredients; they really do make a difference. Even organic sugars are becoming mainstream.

Bottom Layer
2 cups organic old-fashioned oats (not quick oats)
3/4 cup organic all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

10 Tablespoons (1 stick + 2 Tbsp/5 ounces) organic butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Top Layer
1 cup organic all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 ounces) cold organic butter, cut into small pieces

Middle Layer
3½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 to 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (1/4 teaspoon if freshly ground)

For the bottom layer:
Heat the oven to 425°. Grease a 9" x 13" pan.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Press this mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan with your fingers. I also use the bottom of a stainless steel measuring cup to help make the crust flat and even.

For the top layer:
Place the flour, brown sugar, and butter in a small bowl and use a fork, pastry blender, or your fingers to combine until the mixture resembles large crumbs (some pea-sized clumps are okay). Or you can pulse everything for a few seconds in a food processor. Set the mixture aside.

For the middle layer:
Place the blueberries in the bowl you mixed the bottom layer in and toss them with the almond extract. Pour them evenly over the bottom layer in the pan.

Combine the sugar and flour and sprinkle it evenly over the blueberries. (Even when wet or frozen, the sugar/flour mixture wouldn't stick to my big fat blueberries when I tried tossing it with them. If yours will, just toss the sugar/flour mixture with the blueberries and then pour the whole mixture over the Bottom Layer in the pan.)

Sprinkle the top layer evenly over the blueberry mixture. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350° and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is golden, and the edges are starting to brown.

Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Store in a cool place or refrigerate. Bars may also be frozen.

Just Peachy Blueberry Breakfast Bars:
Follow the instructions above, but substitute 3 cups of small peach chunks (about 2 peaches, no need to peel them) and 2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries for the 3½ cups of blueberries. Toss the sugar and flour directly with the fruit before spreading it over the bottom layer.

Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, then lower the oven to 350° and bake until the topping looks 'dry' but the edges aren't too brown, about 30 to 40 more minutes.

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

©, the blue but happy foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares recipes, stories, and photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres—and if we're lucky there are always blueberries (or blueberry bars!) in the freezer.

Weekend Turtle Blogging?

We interrupt this regularly scheduled edition of Weekend Dog Blogging to bring you these special newsbreaking tiny turtle photos!

Yep, I found a second one. Click here if you missed the first one.

It was so adorable I couldn't help it. How could I not keep it? (Despite the fact that it obviously wanted to fly away--and that I know next to nothing about keeping a pet turtle.) I have it near a window in the living room in a makeshift turtle house (rectangular plastic tub with wire cooling rack duct taped over the top).

In order to recreate a comfortable turtle habitat, I filled the tub with lots of freshly picked grass and weeds (dirt and roots still intact) and a shallow dish of water. I'm all out of strawberries (the only thing I know for sure that turtles eat), so I gave it mulberries, blueberries, spinach, and beet greens, plus a little iceberg lettuce (because that's what
Sam's pet tortoise has been living on for the past 36 years).

I haven't done any online research into turtle care because I think I'll probably set it free soon. Sure it's absolutely adorable to look at and all (once I peel off the duct tape, lift up the lid, root around in the grass wondering the entire time if it's escaped, and finally locate the little thing), but compared to what I'm used to around here, it isn't exactly a whole lot of fun. I mean, I have Cary and Donkey Doodle Dandy to constantly entertain me--not to mention the chickens. My new turtle doesn't do much.

I did put it on the hardwood floor this morning to let it run around a bit, and this immediately caught the attention of my 19-year-old cat, Gretel. Now she perches on her kitty condo (which is located next door to the turtle house) and stares into the plastic tub for hours.

So between now and Fly Be Free Little Turtle Day, any advice on caring for an itty bitty turtle is most appreciated. And yes, of course we need to name it. Dare I ask if anyone knows how to tell if it's a boy or a girl? (Update: Okay, we're skipping the sexing thing and just going for a gender-free name. You know, like Pat--only cuter.)

Barring any other interesting discoveries, Weekend Dog Blogging will appear next week at its regularly scheduled time.

July 24th, 2006 UPDATE: Just a note to let anyone who is worrying about the welfare of my adorable little find to know that he (yep, he's a he) was named and set free one week after I found him. I do have farewell photos that I hope to post soon.

Contents Copyright 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 6/25/06

Will It Be One Fine Day Lily?

It's Looking Better Already

This morning the first daylily of the season opened in the front yard. The fourth photo was taken exactly two hours after the first one.

A year of Daily Photos ago:
Where's Breakfast?

Welcome new visitors to Farmgirl Fare!
here for a brief introduction to this site.

Saturday, June 24

Daily Farm Photo 6/24/06: Figuring Out How Animals Think

Okay, this I understand. It's the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence thing.

It's this I don't get.

This is her bowl of treats, in her pen, and she knows perfectly well she could just walk right around that panel to reach it.

Oh, I see. It's a llama thing.

A year of Daily Photos ago:
Makeshift Fence

Friday, June 23

Daily Farm Photo: 6/23/06

You Can't Have Too Many Pollinators Around

A year of Daily Photos ago:
Camouflaged Garden Toad

Back To The Beginning:
I've posted another story from my early days at Windridge Farm, but since this one takes place in the garden, it's over on my kitchen garden blog. (The rest of the auction story should be up on the Writings From Windridge site soon.) So what do a newly planted clump of lemon thyme and some 11-year-old sugar snap peas have to do with each other? Click here to find out. And click here if you'd like to read more about my initiation into country life.

Welcome new visitors to Farmgirl Fare!
Please click here for a brief introduction to this site.

Weekend Cat Blogging #55

Evening Sun Catches New Cat In The Cat Cabin

One of the reasons we call him New Cat is because each season he changes into a whole new cat. Click
here and here to see some of his different looks.

Attention Cat Lovers! This Is Weekend Cat Blogging #55!
See fun feline photos & discover tasty new food blogs. Visit my pal Clare & her cool cat Kiri over at
Eat Stuff in Australia for all the links to this week's kitties. For more cute cat pics, catch the traveling Carnival Of The Cats each Sunday night. And the weekly Friday Ark boards everything from felines to fireflies.

Thursday, June 22

Daily Farm Photo: 6/22/06

Farms Depend On Pollinators (& Fortunately Ours Is Full Of Them)

More than 100,000 different animal species--and perhaps as many as 200,000--play roles in pollinating the 250,000 kinds of wild flowering plants on this planet. In addition to countless bees (there are an estimated 40,000 species of bees), wasps, moths, butterflies, flies, beetles and other invertebrates--perhaps 1,500 species of vertebrates such as birds and mammals--serve as pollinators. Cherish our pollinators--they mean the world to us. Click
here to learn more.

A year of Daily Photos ago:
So Often I Forget To Look Up

Oh, the joys of being on dial-up! Keep getting knocked offline every few minutes, am now connected at just 21.6 Kbps, plus Blogger has apparently gone crackerdog. You don't even want to know how long it took to post this--and it's going to look a bit odd until Blogger gets its wits back. Also, I have been unable to access my gmail accounts since yesterday morning, so any messages you sent me have not yet been received. It is definitely time to go outside, grab my pitchfork, and attack a pile of sheep manure headed for the garden!

Wednesday, June 21

Daily Farm Photo: 6/21/06

Here Comes The Sun

Welcome new visitors!
Please click here for a brief introduction to this site.

A year of Daily Photos ago:
A Tiny But Tasty First Harvest

Tuesday, June 20

Daily Farm Photo: 6/20/06

A Little Look Baaaack At The World's Best Pillows. . .

Which have all been sheared off! Many of the lambs still curl up at night with their mothers, though, despite the much firmer pillows. I'm still planning to post a few photos from Shearing Day (as well as Donkey Doodle Dandy's First Pedicure). Hopefully soon. Things have been non-stop around the farm. Busy, busy, busy time of year.
Want to know how much the lambs change color? The bottom two photos are both of Liselotte's baby boy, taken one month apart.

A year of Daily Photos ago:
A Safe Place To Rest (and still one of my favorite photos).

Monday, June 19

Daily Farm Photo: 6/19/06

Real Still Life

Welcome new visitors!
Please click here for a brief introduction to this site.

Pssst! Cary fans--she's been spotted in the greenhouse.

A year of Daily Photos ago:
Farmhouse White Cooling On The Counter

Sunday, June 18

Weekend Dog Blogging #39

After A Rainstorm

Lucky Buddy Bear loves his sheep so much he licks them dry when they get wet. Now that's a dedicated stock dog!

©, cute and dry.

Daily Farm Photo: 6/18/06

Looking For His Morning Treat

This handsome guy is an extremely important member of the flock whose photo has never appeared on Farmgirl Fare. Three-year-old Leopold The Ram is the father of
all of the lambs born on our farm in 2004, 2005, and 2006. Yep, this is Big Daddy, so I thought it only appropriate to celebrate him today.

Cary Trying To Reach His Treats

Or Is She Just Trying To Reach Her Dad?

A very Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

A year of Daily Photos ago:
Potted Herbs In The Garden


Where Did All These People Come From? *

I'm thrilled, flattered, and still in a bit of a daze. Farmgirl Fare was chosen by the Team to be the June 15, 2006 Blog Of Note. So we've had a few more visitors than usual lately. Like about 12,000 more. Welcome new readers (please click here for a brief intro to this site) and many, many thanks to the Blogger Team for bestowing this honor on Farmgirl Fare. Like I said, Wow.

Attention Cat Lovers! This Is Weekend Cat Blogging #54!
See fun feline photos & discover tasty new food blogs. Visit my pal Clare & her cool cat Kiri over at
Eat Stuff in Australia for all the links to this week's kitties. For more cat candids, catch the traveling Carnival Of The Cats each Sunday night. And the weekly Friday Ark boards everything from felines to flower spiders.

Hungry for more than pet pics? Don't miss the delicious and informative
Weekend Herb Blogging roundup Sunday night at Kalyn's Kitchen.

*Click here if you'd like to see more photos of Farm Boss Patchy Cat.

Saturday, June 17

Daily Farm Photo: 6/17/06

I Heart Homegrown Garlic

A year of Daily Photos ago: Patchy Cat Keeps A Lookout

Friday, June 16

Daily Farm Photo: 6/16/06

Garden Mint & Handmade Fence

Welcome new visitors to Farmgirl Fare!
Looking for more food? You'll find links to all of my tasty, original recipes and food posts in the sidebar of the homepage under "Previous Posts: Food Stuff w/ Recipes" and "Previous Posts: More Food Stuff." I also invite you to visit my garden blog offshoot to Farmgirl Fare, In My Kitchen It's definitely not just for gardeners! Click here to read why.

If you'd like to scroll through more Farm Photos, click on the monthly archives in the sidebar of the homepage. To read more about a certain topic (such as "dog stories" or "recipes,"), just click on any of the labels at the bottom each post. Some of the most popular labels are: Farm Landscape Photos, Autumn Color, Sheep, Lambing Season 2007, Donkey Doodle Dandy, Lucky Buddy Bear, Robin The Beagle, Cat Photos, Same Scene New View, Farm Life Tidbits, Heart Rocks, and My Hunky Farmguy.

Or you can use the Google Custom Search box at the top of the sidebar to find whatever you like.

If you're wondering who Cary the lamb is, read this.

Click here to visit my Amazon Farmgirl Fare Favorites Store and see some of the kitchen stuff and other things I just can't live without, like my camera.

And, lastly, if you'd like to know how I went from Cultured California Chick to Manure Mucking Missouri Farmgirl and read some lighthearted stories about my early farm adventures, click here.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I welcome your comments and hope you enjoy your e-visit to my farm!

April 2007 Update: Are you a bread baker or wanna be bread baker? I'm involved in a delicious new blog project called A Year In Bread. It's twelve months, three passionate bread bakers, thirty-six recipes, and more fun than should probably be allowed in the kitchen. You're invited to come bake bread with us as we play with flour and call it research. Click here to learn more.

A year of Daily Photos ago: Front Yard Gate

Thursday, June 15

How To Ensure A Happy Haying Crew

You Don't Want To Be In This Photo

Putting up hay means extremely long days of very hard work under the blazing hot sun. In order for everyone to survive until the end of this exhausting experience, it is absolutely vital to have lots and lots of the following on hand (even if your haying crew consists of only one guy, one girl, and two quadrupeds):

--Ice Water
--Ice Coffee
--Ice Packs
--Ice Cold Homebrewed Beer
--And last but not least, Leftover Homemade Pizza

Happy Haying Crew Member

Daily Farm Photo 6/15/06: Peek-a-Boo, I See You Turtle!

At Least The Mulberries Should Be Out Of Turtle Reach
(Though you never know with turtles. Can they climb trees?)

Yes, all of you who guessed that yesterday's Daily Farm Photo was of mulberries are absolutely correct. And thanks for all the great mulberry stories. I had never seen a mulberry until I moved to this farm, where we are lucky to have several mulberry trees scattered around the hayfield. They don't put on berries every year, and the first time Joe showed me some ripe berries (while we were putting up hay) several years ago, they were so high up in the tree we could barely reach them even when standing on the back of the flatbed pickup truck.

This year Cary and I were hot and sweaty and tired and achy and on the verge of quitting The Haying Crew (for the first of several times), when Joe ordered us to stop picking up hay bales and follow him. He led us to a smaller mulberry tree that was so loaded with low-growing, perfectly ripe berries that I immediately lasped into some kind of picking and eating trance because before I knew it, several minutes had passed, I had this sudden feeling I should stop eating berries, and my lips, fingers, and clothes were all purple. Cary preferred nibbling on the lush clover growing in the shade beneath the trees.

Apparently there are many different varieties of mulberry trees, and the taste of the fruit varies widely. We seem to have one of the yummy varieties. While the other trees had hardly any fruit on them this year, that smaller one probably has enough to make a pie. But if I hike back out there and start picking, I have a feeling very few berries will actually make it into the bucket. Click
here to learn more than you ever wanted to know about mulberries.

If you're wondering about what the turtle has to do with all of this, click here to read my post about Turtles & Strawberries (not a recipe) that appeared last month on my kitchen garden blog. I was going to re-post it on Farmgirl Fare due to popular demand (okay, okay, my mother told me I should because it was so cute), but I think a link to it should suffice. Though I guess now I should beg you to leave comments on that post so my mom will know that you really did go take a look.

A year of Daily Photos ago: Peek-A-Boo Beagle

Wednesday, June 14

Daily Farm Photo: 6/14/06

Another Sweet Hayfield Treat

Do you know what these are?

Attention Pacific West Coasters: Want to visit a beautiful sheep farm? (No, not this one.) My shepherdgirl pal (and amazing artist) Katherine Dunn and her husband are holding a very special Father's Day Open Farm Weekend at their farm outside Portland, Oregon in the heart of the beautiful wine country. Sheep, lambs, goats, dogs, pony rides, 4500 lavender plants, farm art and other fun stuff for sale, and more. Click
here for details, and click here to visit Katherine's Apifera Farm blog.

A year of Daily Photos ago: Nero Di Toscana Cabbage (which is thriving in this year's garden and tastes wonderful in freshly picked salads).

Tuesday, June 13

Daily Farm Photo: 6/13/06

Not A Hay Bale In Sight--It's A Beautiful Thing

Still in Haying Recovery Mode. Busy catching up on everything around the farm and garden now that I can focus on something besides hay. Will hopefully be back later to reply to your comments and emails and answer questions. Thanks for your patience.

A year of daily photos ago:
Heart Rocks make their first appearance. My collection sure has grown in a year. I think I have at least 60 heart rocks now (all found on or near the farm).

Monday, June 12

Daily Farm Photo: 6/12/06

Cary In The Hay Truck

There are 798 beautiful bales of hay stacked neatly in the barn. We are whupped but happy. Yesterday afternoon, out in the middle of the hayfield, Cary and I announced that we were quitting The Haying Crew and running off to join the circus. Our resignations were not accepted.

A year of daily photos ago: Greek Oregano Soaks Up The Sun

Sunday, June 11

Weekend Dog Blogging #38

Cary & The Nanny Bear Take A Haying Break In The Hay

For those who have asked, The Nanny Bear (aka Lucky Buddy Bear) is half Australian Shepherd and half English Shepherd. He looks exactly like his English Shepherd mother except for the patch of white on his belly and his much shorter legs. Click here to see Bear at one of his other jobs (shepherding). Click here if you want to see lots more pictures of him.

Attention Dog Lovers! This Is Weekend Dog Blogging #38!
To see fun dog photos and discover delicious new food blogs, visit
Sweetnicks on Sunday night for the roundup. For more pup pics, head over to the Friday Ark for dozens of links to all kinds of critters. If you prefer food to fur, don't miss the always delicious and informative Weekend Herb Blogging roundup appearing this Monday at Sweetnicks.