Thursday, September 30

Thursday Dose of Cute: Thinking Outside the Box

Thinking Outside the Box 1
The short version: We've started a free ranging chicken experiment, and so far it's going pretty well.

Monday, September 27

Monday Farm Photo: White Tee Shirt Day

White Tee Shirt Day

Love laundry lines?
1/2/06: Winter Color
5/6/09: The Lamb and the Laundry Line (a look back at Baby Cary)
2/18/10: A Nice Day

©, the fresh and clean foodie farm blog where if you've ever looked at paint color chips, you know that there are approximately 43,000 versions of white available. Around here, we tend toward one called Not Quite White. There's nothing like a few hours hanging on the line in the bright sun to bleach out lingering spots on laundry, but there's also nothing like dirty farm duds.

Washing our clothes is not just a chore, it's a challenge, and thankfully one I don't mind doing, although sometimes—usually after a six load marathon session that hasn't made much of a dent—I wonder how it is physically possible for two people who aren't into fashion and 100+ critters who run around naked to create this much dirty laundry all the time. Because our old dryer is down to only one heat setting—flame—when the weather is bad, the laundry really starts to pile up. Once it is washed, we judge it by what Joe refers to as the sniff test—it may not look clean, but it always smells clean. And fortunately the animals don't seem to mind the spots.

Saturday, September 25

Saturday Dose of Cute: Chicken Food Thief?

Chicken Food Thief
Or Just Can't Pass Up A Cute Dish of Fresh Vegetables?

You never know with our Tough Tortie Topaz!
(click here to see all these posts on one long page)
How Topaz, Sarah Kate, and Mr. Midnight Came into Our Lives
8/18/08: Tractor Cat
8/24/09: Happy Cat
6/15/10: Hangin' Out
9/19/10: Cats on High

© 2010, the veggie happy foodie farm blog where I used to have an enormous Airedale/Rottweiler named Rex who loved to munch on whole carrots as if they were bones. Every other dog I've offered one to since (assuming this was a nice healthy treat all dogs were crazy about), including Crazy Daisy just the other day, has given me the same puzzled/borderline disgusted look that clearly said, Why on earth are you holding this thing in front of my face?

Who knew. At least I do know exactly what
donkeys think of broccoli and will never make that mistake again. The only vegetables donkeys want are carrots.

And for those of you wondering, Topaz is standing on a big metal gas tank that is parked near one of the chicken coops in the farmyard and that we've used once since I moved to this farm in 2000—about 8 or 9 years ago when gas was around $1.50 a gallon and suddenly started shooting skyward overnight, with rumors of it already having hit $4.00 a gallon in nearby towns and lots of price gouging going on.

We, along with everybody else in the area, drove into town and stood in a long line at the one and only gas station, patiently waiting to fill up every gas container we could find for $1.59 a gallon before they ran out.

P.S. Maybe next post I'll explain, for the sake of puzzled new readers, what the heck these ever changing copyright notices are all about and why they sometimes tend to go on for several paragraphs.

Wednesday, September 22

Wednesday Farm Photo: A Glimpse of Color to Come

Lucky Buddy Bear on autumn driveway
Lucky Buddy Bear on the Driveway (taken October 11, 2009)

Hello, autumn! I am so glad you're here. We've had more than enough summer heat and excitement this year and are ready for things to cool down.

Can't wait for more fall color?

©, the still tank topped foodie farm blog where today it was 91 degrees and humid as all get out (as in, you crumble up a piece of paper and it doesn't make a sound) so it doesn't exactly feel like fall yet. But it will. It will. You can see it in the subtly changing afternoon light, and the leaves that aren't quite as green. Everything looks the same, yet ever so slightly different. In a way you can't describe in words. You can only take notice—and photos!—and breathe it all in, this wonderful time of year.

Tuesday, September 21

Tuesday Dose of Cute: It's Another Sing Along!

Gnat hiding among the sheep
One of these things is not like the others. . .

Sing out loud, sing out strong:
5/12/06: Who's Sog-gy Now?
10/18/08: Getting to Know You. . .
7/5/10: Time for a Patriotic Sing Along!

Wow, Little Gnat is already one month old:
Oh Boy, Oh Boy
8/22/10: Not to Worry
8/23/10: Morning Group Shots
8/25/10: Jealous Little Guy?
8/29/10: Learning the Rules
9/1/10: On the Trail of Treats, Version Two
9/2/10: Kiss Kiss
9/10/10: Catching On
9/16/10: Lucky Buddy Bear and Little Gnat

©, the off key foodie farm blog where I didn't realize until just now that so far all of our sing alongs have had to do with donkeys. I guess sheep and chickens just don't inspire singing like longears do. Except for a rousing round of 'Old MacDonald Had a Farm' of course. Okay, yeah, I bet that's going to be going through your head for a while. Should I go ahead and apologize now?

And for those of you wondering about that giant dirt circle in the middle of an otherwise grassy field, I'll show you what it's used for in a future dose of cute.

Saturday, September 18

Recipe: Homemade Italian Sausage with Fresh Basil, Oregano, Garlic, and Fennel Seeds

Italian Sausage, Mushroom & Fresh Tomato Pizza
Homemade Pizza Loaded with Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, Fresh Tomatoes, and Extra Cheese

Okay, it's time to stop bombarding you with baby donkey photos (at least for today), and start getting late summer recipe serious. Otherwise tomato and basil season will be over, and this mouthwatering photo will end up sitting in my files for another year. And that would be a shame, because homemade Italian sausage is really good, and homemade Italian sausage pizza smothered with big slices of vine-ripened tomatoes is even better.

You'll find my easy pizza dough recipe here, and if you still have garden tomatoes galore (lucky you!), you can whip up some fresh tomato pizza sauce in minutes. Got a tomato glut? You'll find all my favorite tomato recipes, along with links to my tomato growing posts, at the bottom of this post.

I'm hoping to share my simple Pasta with Creamless Pesto Cream Sauce recipe soon, which is extra nice when tossed with a little cooked Italian sausage. If this sounds good, then find yourself some fresh basil, make some pesto pronto, and freeze it in little containers. Here's my favorite pesto recipe, which calls for roasted salted almonds, fresh tomatoes, and a lot less olive oil than most (though the more oil you add, the even better it tastes).

Friday, September 17

Friday Dose of Cute: This Moment

Gus Tugging on Daisy's Ear
Daisy and Gus {This Moment post inspired by SouleMama}

Wednesday, September 15

Wednesday Dose of Cute: Um, Excuse Me

Rooster Inspecting the Wheat Grass

Rooster questioning the wheat grass
You're feeding us part of a lawn? What happened to the pizza?

Last year I started growing wheat grass for the chickens, and after a long break, my little sprout factory is finally up and running again. Sprouting grains is a great way for them to get some fresh greens (especially in winter when garden scraps are scarce), and it makes a 50 pound bag of wheat go a lot farther, while delivering a lot more nutrition. Hopefully someday I'll write a whole post about this quick and easy process for growing your own chicken feed that includes step-by-step photos, but I couldn't resist skipping ahead and sharing this one first.

Most of the chickens go crazy for the sprouted wheat, so I'm wondering if this guy expects me to juice it for him. I've actually been thinking about buying a juicer for a while now (possibly a Breville, though my pal Finny swears by her $49 Waring juicer) but it would be for making fresh carrot and other juices for me, not green smoothies for a demanding rooster, even if he is good looking.

I may spoil my animals, but even I'm not going that far. I mean, unless he was sick and really needed one or something. Do you have a juicer? Do you use it? Do you love it?

8/23/09: Morning Peace
5/30/10: You Awake?

Peep! Peep! Peep!

Cluck! Cluck! Cluck!
Somebody's Laying Green Eggs! (and links to more farm fresh egg posts)

©, the picky foodie farm blog where even the chickens are foodies, and this rooster always cracks me up. I'm pretty sure he actually was one of the chicks at that pizza party, though we've had so many batches of chicks in the past couple of years I have trouble keeping track of who hatched out when.

Tuesday, September 7

Tuesday Dose of Cute: Heading Back

Donkeys Heading Back
Whether to work, to school, or just out into the field with the sheep after gobbling up all the treats, I hope your Tuesday was a good one—or at least bearable.

©, the orderly, no pushing (well, mostly no pushing) foodie farm blog where the hoof trails wind lazily through the fields, and everybody likes to stay on them—including me, even though I know walking a straight line would be faster.

Recipe: 100% Whole Grain Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Cookie Bars

Whole Grain Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bars 1
A soft and chewy cross between a cookie and an energy or trail bar.

When I was a kid growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, the new school year always started on the day after Labor Day. And every year on Labor Day, a bunch of families in our neighborhood would have an all day, one last hurrah, potluck picnic at the beach. So for us kids, back to school meant a short first week and a really bad sunburn.

At least we weren't hungover, which, thinking back, is probably what some of the parents were. I could never figure out why we didn't have those picnics on Saturday or Sunday instead.

No matter what your physical condition, back to school means packed lunches and afternoon snacks, and these scrumptious whole grain, mixed by hand treats fit the bill for both. A fairly healthy cross between an energy or trail bar and a cookie, they should also please both parents and kids.

Sunday, September 5

Sunday Dose of Cute: Head of the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee

Molly Doodlebug on the back step
Molly Doodlebug on the Shack Back Steps, Intently Watching Something

Want a bigger picture of this little cat?
(Click here to see all these posts on one long page)
4/1/06: Double Image
5/18/06: Big Day for a Little Lamb (scroll down to see Doodle)
12/16/09: Busted
8/17/10: What?

© 2010, the fur faced foodie farm blog where I realized the other day that my 15-year-old Doodle Monster, who spent the afternoon sunning herself in the greenhouse, feels lighter than her longtime 4½ pound fighting weight—so I put her in a bowl on the kitchen scale (I love that thing). She's down to just over 3½ pounds. Itty bitty, but all attitude.