Thursday, January 31

Farm Photo 1/31/08: Breakfast Blend

Winter Colored Sheep

But this is all about to be wiped out by white. It just started to snow, and they're predicting 7 or 8 inches of accumulation by tomorrow. Unfortunately we have a lot of driving to do today. Yikes.

© 2008, the award-winning blog where former California girls still get a little freaked out during snowstorms.

Tuesday, January 29

Farm Photo 1/29/08: Farmyard Kitty

Topaz Reminds Me Of A Teddy Bear

Want to see more?
Topaz Photos
Farm Cat Photos
Farm Cat Stories
Haybarn Photos
Haying Season Photos
Farm Landscape Photos

Update: A Place To Bark & The America's Giving Challenge $50,000 Grant
A huge thank you to all of you animal lovers who have so kindly donated to Bernie Berline's A Place To Bark non-profit animal rescue during this exciting and important fund drive. Bernie is absolutely overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity from around the world, and the Zoline Foundation is so thrilled by the tremendous response that they've upped their $25,000 matching donation (which has already been matched!) to $35,000.

Right now A Place To Bark is in second place in the Giving Challenge, but the competition is quickly gaining on us, and only the four charities with the largest number of donations (not the highest amount of money donated) will win the $50,000 grant. These last two days will be crucial. All it takes to help Bernie realize her dream of constructing a shelter building for the hundreds of animals she rescues each year is a $10 tax-deductible donation made through A Place To Bark's Six Degrees badge, which you can find at the A Place To Bark blog or on my previous post: A Place To Meow, A Place To Bark, Another Phone Call From A Foodie Farmgirl, More Prizes, & How To Turn Ten Dollars Into Fifty Thousand. 100% of all donations go directly to the animals.

Everyone who donates will automatically be entered in a drawing for all sorts of wonderful prizes, including signed copies of books and beautiful original works of art created by Bernie and other talented artists.

In addition, I'll be holding two separate drawings: one for a half hour phone call from this foodie farmgirl (we'll chat about whatever you like) and one for a signed copy of the fun new cookbook, The Cornbread Gospels, by Crescent Dragonwagon. Simply leave me a comment or send me an e-mail (farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com) letting me know you made a donation to A Place To Bark and if would like to be entered in one or both of the drawings. Again, thank you!

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where the dogs bark whenever they like and life is the cat's meow.

Monday, January 28

How To Contact Me

There's Nothing Better Than A Big Donkey Hello

Welcome to the farm!

I always love hearing from readers, and your feedback is always greatly appreciated. You're welcome to e-mail me at farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com, but please bear in mind that it can sometimes take me four to six weeks to reply.

If you have a question or comment about one of my recipes, please consider leaving it in a comment on the specific recipe post so others can read and benefit from what you have to say. I receive all blog comments via e-mail, so even if you leave a comment on a very old post I'll receive it and will do my best to reply.

I regret that I am no longer able to answer e-mail messages that are full of general questions about moving to the country or living on a farm. After spending countless hours over the past few years answering these types of messages and then never hearing back from 99% of the senders, I've realized that my limited time is better spent sharing more stories about my crazy country life, posting more recipes and photos, and of course maintaining the farm. However, I'm working on a page of Frequently Asked Farmgirl Questions that I hope to have ready one of these days.

Thanks so much for visiting Farmgirl Fare. I know there are a zillion places you can go online, and I'm thrilled that you've chosen so spend some of your time here with us.

All the best to you,

Farmgirl Susan

Sunday, January 27

Farm Photo 1/27/08: Fence As Farm Art

Form And Function (And Unfortunately Falling Down!)

Want to see more?
Handmade Fence Photos
Farm Landscape Photos
Found Art & Farm Junk Photos

© 2008, the award-winning blog where we find beauty in the everyday and prefer to use terms like seasoned and weathered rather than broken down and falling apart.

Saturday, January 26

Farm Photo 1/26/08: Donkey On Duty?

Faithful Chicken Guard. . .

Or Donkey Naptime?

I'll Let You Decide

But don't be fooled by the open eyes. Remember, Dan can even
sleep standing up.

Want to see more?
Donkey Doodle Dandy Photos
Donkey Photos
Chicken Photos

A year of Farm Photos ago:
1/19/07: Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Life Is But A Dream
1/21/07: Nothing Slows Farm Boss Patchy Cat Down
1/25/07: It's Just Not The Same Without Her

Two years ago:
1/22/06: Not Stuck, Just Resting
Watered Down Handmade Fence
Dusk From A Different View
Can't Look Over Something? Try Looking Through It

And out of the kitchen came:
Savory Cheese & Scallion Scones

© 2008, the award-winning blog where you grab forty winks whenever you can, and the donkeys are even cuter when they're sitting down.

Monday, January 21

A Place To Meow: Rescued Pets are the Best

A new furry face on the farm

Many of you know that last June our magnificent New Cat died suddenly, most likely from a snake bite. And then a week later we lost Gretel, a sweetheart of a tabby cat who was my beloved companion for 20 years. What you don't know is that early last November we lost yet another cat, one you'd never met (she was very private). Twin was a beautiful Siamese mix who was Molly Doodlebug's half sister.

Their mother, an incredibly smart calico cat named Ollie, was one of the seven semi-feral felines that came with Windridge Farm. There were several litters of kittens born before I was finally able to get everyone caught up and spayed and neutered.

Twin was an outdoor cat who came to live in the house after she'd had her leg badly torn apart, probably by a coyote. I didn't think she would ever walk again, but with the help of Dr. Susan's Cat Repair Kit, I nursed her back to health (hydrogen peroxide is an amazing thing!), her leg healed up just fine, and she spent ten happy years amusing us in her own quiet way.

She didn't meow, she couldn't purr, and she pretty much stopped moving around once she realized that inaction was the best way to lose The Doodle Monster's constant interest in attacking her.

With both Twin and Gretel gone, only 12-year-old Molly was left in The Shack. The thought of being the 4-1/2 pound Doodle Monster's only potential indoor victim terrified Joe so much that, despite the fact that he happens to be extremely allergic to cats, he suggested we rescue a couple of cats from the always struggling, always overcrowded, and always underfunded no-kill shelter that we've been donating money to for years. Then he let me go there alone.

On December 1st, I visited the shelter and adopted the three adult cats who had been there the longest—because really, three cats is only one more than two. (My dear friend Beth kindly pointed out that three is actually a full 50% more than two, but I told her we weren't doing the math that way and to please keep that fact to herself.)

Topaz, who is pictured above, had been living at the shelter for 15 months. There was a big 'QUARANTINE' stamped on her paperwork because she had bitten a small boy and a teenage girl, and nobody wanted to risk adopting her.

She was curled up on the bed within an hour, and when I crawled in next to her later that night she ever-so-subtly shifted her body so that it was pressed against mine, gave my hand a lick, and began to purr. I started to cry. She's a total foodie, and her favorite place to be is on Joe's lap.

Panther-like Whiskers (who now goes by Mr. Midnight) and frisky little Sarah Kate had both been at the shelter for 8 months. These two are the best of friends, and if they ever stop chasing each other around the house I'll snap some pictures of them and introduce you.

It's been a long time since I've lived with young cats, and adopting this instant family has been way too much fun. I forgot how much energy two-year-old cats have! It's been quite a change going from animals that lay still for so long you have to check to make sure they're still breathing to crazy critters who start their day by doing top-speed laps around the bedroom and bouncing across the bed to wake you up.

Settling Into Life On The Farm

Adopting a pet from a shelter is a win-win situation for everyone. As shelters go, ours is very nice and the animals are treated well. But it isn't home. I'm so glad we could finally give these wonderful, loving cats a real one.

February 2011 update: Topaz is doing great and (for three seasons a year) has turned into quite the farm cat. You'll find lots more photos of her here. You can meet Mr. Midnight here and Sarah Kit Kat Kate here. They're both doing really well, too.

© 2008, the fur covered foodie farm blog where life is full of laughs and there's always plenty of fresh cream for the cats.

Wednesday, January 16

Farm Photo 1/16/08:
Menu For Hope A Tremendous Success!

Yo! Do I look like I belong on a menu? I don't think so. And get your mitts off my mizuna!

As you can see, Whitey's foray into motherhood (which is so over, by the way) didn't soften her up one bit. At nearly eight years old, she's as feisty as ever - and having a grand time bossing everybody around. The other day she even laid an egg.

But this post isn't about Whitey The Chicken (though she would like it to be, and I do realize that an update about her and her chicks is long overdue); it's about the Menu For Hope food bloggers' fundraiser which raised a whopping $91,188.00 this year! Through the UN World Food Programme, over 86% of this money will go directly to an innovative school lunch program in Lesotho, Africa which helps not only hungry children but local family farms as well.

Thanks for all of your generous donations, to the dozens of prize donors and the regional hosts, and to Pim for creating this powerful event. Every year it just gets bigger and better. We had a stunning array of prizes raffled off this year, including some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. You'll find the complete list of prizes and winners here.

As for who won the phone call from a foodie farmgirl? A big congratulations goes to longtime Farmgirl Fare reader (and huge fan of my Oatmeal Toasting Bread recipe) Jane Gardner. I'm looking forward to chatting with her and am curious to see what questions she has for me.

And if you were one of the other bidders on my prize (thank you!), you're in luck. I'm going to be offering another phone call from this foodie farmgirl as an incentive for you to donate $10 during a very special January fund drive for one of my favorite charities, A Place To Bark, which is run by one of the most amazing people in the world, artist and animal lover extraordinaire Bernie Berlin.

More details will be posted here in a day or two, but if you hate waiting and want to find out right this minute how your $10, 100% straight to the animals, tax-deductible donation to A Place To Bark will be automatically doubled, then possibly turned into $50,000, which would then be turned into a much needed shelter building for the hundreds of unwanted dogs and cats Bernie rescues each year, you can pop over to A Place To Bark and read this post. Oh yeah, and you might even win one of several great prizes, too.

Thanks again to all of you who helped make this year's Menu For Hope such a tremendous success. We couldn't have done it without you!

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog that's sometimes taken over by a small chicken with a big attitude.

Sunday, January 13

100% Whole Grain Ginger Pear Bran Muffin Recipe Made with Honey (and Baking With Your Mom)

Moist and healthy bran muffins made without bran cereal and sweetened with honey. Going whole grain never tasted so good. Overripe pears are the secret!

November 2012 update: Click here to read rave reviews about these muffins from Farmgirl Fare readers, along with some great sounding recipe variations. And you'll find the original version of my wildly popular 100% Whole Grain Bran Muffins here (recipe includes four different flavors, plus all sorts of other ideas in the comments section).

"I'm getting tired of trying take pictures of bran muffins," I complained to my mother. "I love them, but they're just not photogenic."

"Why don't you take a picture of a perfect—oh wait, we don't have any perfect pears. I know! You can take a picture of that last overripe pear sitting next to a muffin!"

I pulled the pear in question out of the crisper drawer of the fridge and examined it.

"I can't put a picture of a bruised and battered piece of fruit on my blog. Nobody wants to see that."

"Why not? It's the secret to the muffins."

Saturday, January 12

Farm Photo 1/12/08: Winter Wash & Dry

You've Heard Of Slow Food? This Is Slow Dry

I love my clothesline and use it all year round. There's nothing like the smell of sheets and towels that have been air-dried on a fresh breeze. Because I'm a certified shrinkmaster, even in winter I shy away from our dryer. (Okay, okay, the crazy thing terrifies me, especially now that it seems to have only one temperature: Flame. Thank god the air-only setting still works so I can fluff up bath sheets without too much fear of turning them into washcloths.)

January weather in Missouri isn't real conducive to line drying, though, so the dirty laundry has really started piling up. You know it's bad when you can do an entire load of only reds and pinks--and it's a king size load. I'm just grateful the sheep don't wear clothes.

Click here to see the R-rated version of today's photo.

Want to see more?
I've aired my clean laundry a couple of times before. You'll find it hanging here and here.

© 2008, the award-winning blog where you never know what you're gonna find.

Thursday, January 10

Farm Photo 1/10/08: Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

Feline Friend Or Furry Heat Detector?

Actually, the old tin roof on The Shack probably isn't real hot, but the woodstove chimney must put out some heat because cozied up next to it is one of J2's favorite winter places to be. Plus the view is great.

As for the big cracks in the top piece of the chimney, they happened when the whole thing flew onto the lawn during that bad storm back in July 2006 (the one where
the greenhouse blew apart and Lindy The Chicken went missing). I figured we could just patch it back together with duct tape (I love that stuff), but Joe used some sort of special high-temp glue instead. So far so good.

Want to see more?
You'll find other pictures of J2
here, lots more farm cat photos here, and various farm life stories and tidbits here.

© 2008, the award-winning blog where Farmgirl Susan shares stories & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote acres.

Wednesday, January 9

Farm Photo 1/9/08:
I've Been Adding To My Heart Rock Collection

In A Big Way

At 5-1/2 inches high, this behemoth is now the second biggest heart rock in my collection. (The ladybug that crawled into the photo shoot helps to give you an idea of its size.) I found it while we were out enjoying a walk around a neglected section of our property on Christmas Day. I can't think of a more perfect gift from the farm.

Want to see more?
You find several other photos of my collection of found heart rocks
here, along with a few stories that help explain why a bunch of old rocks holds such a special place in my heart. One of the very first photos I posted on Farmgirl Fare back in June 2005 was of my heart rocks. I think it's an interesting sign that since then, nearly 200 more have joined them on the little stone ledge that hangs on the front of The Shack.

© Copyright 2008

Monday, January 7

Farm Photo 1/7/08:
Cute Things Come In Little Packages

Molly Doodlebug, Twelve Years Old & Still Only 4-1/2 Pounds

Want to see more?
You'll find plenty more pictures of Molly Doodlebug (aka The Doodle Monster) here. There are farm cat tales here and all kinds of cat photos here.

© Copyright 2008

Sunday, January 6

Farm Photo 1/6/08: Stock Dog Inspection

Daphne Is Very Curious - And Bear Is Very Tolerant

Welcome New York Post readers!
Click here for a brief introduction to this site.

Want to see more?
--There are all sorts of Lucky Buddy Bear photos here
--You're find even more dog photos here
--There are other photos of Daphne here
--And more donkey photos are here

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where Farmgirl Susan shares stories & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres.