Sunday, October 30

Sunday Dose of Color and Cute: Bringing in the Sheep Version Two

Rounding up the sheep surrounded by autumn color 1 -

When it was time to work this group of 17 sheep on Friday, they were once again (that would be Version One) way out at the far end of the front field, grazing in the autumn sun while being guarded by Marta Beast.

More photos below. . .

Friday, October 28

Friday Quick Dose of Cute: Fun on the Farm

Bert and Daisy playing by the barn -

Enjoy the weekend!

More beagle Bert? Here.
More Crazy Daisy? Here and here and here.

©, always fast, never furious.

Thursday, October 27

Wordless Thursday Dose of Cute

Tuffy on the inside and her chick on the outside -

More wordless cute? Here.
More chick pics? Here.

Wednesday, October 26

Wednesday Dose of Cute: Organizing the New Pantry

Organizing the new pantry 1 -
Kitchen linens all in one place (at last!)

More photos below. . .

Monday, October 24

Monday Dose of Cute: Don't Look Now

Gnat peeking through the fence -
It's another Monday.

Wishing you a smile filled week!

More little Gnat? Here.
More donkeys? Here and here.

©, doing our part to keep you in cute.

Tuesday, October 18

Tuesday Dose of Cute: Hay Bert

Bert on lookout duty in the haybarn -

More autumn color? Here.
More beagle Bert? Here.
More haybarn? Here.

©, best seat in the house.

Sunday, October 16

Sunday Dose of Cute: Bringing in the Sheep

Bringing in the flock for sheep working Sunday 1 -

Last spring my hunky farmguy Joe and I decided we would start spending part of each Sunday working the sheep. We've been really good about sticking to our schedule, and in all these months we've only blown off a couple of weeks.

Since sharing a farm with dozens of critters (current count: 78) means we live in a constant state of surprise, uncertainty, and the total inability to do almost anything at a designated time, keeping to this new routine has been nothing short of miraculous, especially since working the sheep is not something we really look forward to doing.

More photos and story below. . .

Friday, October 14

Recipe: Easy and Healthy Roasted Eggplant with (or without) Red Onion and Sweet Red Peppers

How to roast eggplant? Just dice it up, toss with a little olive oil, and pop it in the oven. This healthy way to cook eggplant is so simple, yet so flavorful.

When it comes to food I often tend to go overboard. I serve dinner salads that guests assume are meant to feed the entire table. I bake enormous cookies. I currently have 14 jars of organic peanut butter in my pantry.

More than once I've been declared the "highest grocery receipt of the month" at Trader Joe's, although in my defense the store is 200 miles away and I only get to shop there a couple of times a year. The checkers say things like, "Wow, you must really like cheese," and "Just how many cats do you have?" When they raise an eyebrow at the twelve pounds of organic carrots, I mention our seven donkeys.

So it wasn't surprising that when I moved from a tiny urban lot in Northern California to a sprawling Missouri farm back in 1994, my organic kitchen garden grew from around 60 square feet to about 10,000. I planted something like 174 different kinds of herbs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, almost all of them started from seed. The gardening magazine editor who asked me to send him a complete planting list called my efforts "ambitious."

I've scaled back since then.

I'd never grown—or even cooked—eggplant before moving to Missouri, but the 20 plants in my first year's garden (what was I thinking?) rewarded me with a bumper crop. I ended up turning the majority of my harvest into caponata during a several month long canning rampage, but when I called the 800 canning hotline number for processing directions, I was sternly informed that I couldn't put up jars of caponata.

"Oh, yes I can!" I said, hanging up and taking my chances. (I lived.)

It would have been easier on everyone if I'd just roasted all that eggplant, which is what I did with the 15 beautiful dark purple ones I recently bought from our Amish neighbors.

Recipe below. . .

Wednesday, October 12

Wordless Wednesday Dose of Cute

(Big) Little Dee Dee hoping for treats -

More Wordless Wednesday? Here.
More Little Dee Dee? Here.
More sheep? Baaaa!

©, where my hunky farmguy Joe likes to point out—usually while he's unsuccessfully trying to flip her over onto her butt so we can trim her hooves—that there's nothing little about Little Dee Dee anymore. But that's her name and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, October 10

Monday Dose of Cute: Moving Day (One of Many)

Joe uses the tractor to move the propane tank -

Moving across the farmyard, rather than across town or across the country, is both good and bad.

Good: There isn't that one big exhausting moving day.
Bad: There isn't that one big exhausting moving day.

We actually started moving into our new home, which has been under construction for 8½ years, last year (we've been paying as we go and doing a lot of the work ourselves). The washing machine and a couple of new chest freezers went over, we started filling up the big walk-in pantry, we carted over various boxes and plastic tubs of stuff.

We began sleeping in the new house (which Joe says we need to just start calling 'the house') in August, the night before our new fancy air conditioning system broke for the third extremely exasperating time. Cross your fingers it's finally fixed (now that we don't need air conditioning).

More below. . .

Saturday, October 8

Saturday Quick Dose of Cute: Under Cover

Sarah Kit Kat Kate tucked under the tin -
Farm cats find all the best spots to hang out.

Want to see more of Kit Kat Kate? She's tucked over here.
More firewood photos? They're stacked back here.

©, black and white and cute all over—and almost time to head out into the woods to start cutting and stacking this year's heat.

Thursday, October 6

Recipe: Healthy 100% Whole Grain Carrot, Raisin, and Zucchini Bran Muffins with No Cereal

Can you freeze shredded or grated zucchini? Yes! And there's nothing to it. One of my most popular posts this time of year is How To Freeze Zucchini and Summer Squash (and My One Claim to Fame).

Hopefully someday I'll actually have a surplus of zucchini (and be able to give up my one claim to fame), but in the meantime, Farmgirl Fare readers offer advice for using frozen shredded zucchini in this thread on the Farmgirl Fare Facebook page. If you have any tips to share, please join in the conversation! And if you make these muffins with frozen zucchini, I'd love to hear about it.

100% whole grain carrot, raisin, zucchini bran muffins 1 -
These moist and healthy muffins are sweetened with honey and/or molasses and are made without bran cereal.

A lot of my favorite foods taste great but don't photograph all that well, like Kohlrabi Purée, or this Slow Roasted Dutch Oven Lamb with Tomatoes, Onions, Rosemary, and Red Wine. And bran muffins.

So forget the photos and just go mix yourself up a batch of this new version of my super popular 100% Whole Grain Bran Muffins. They're flavorful and moist, packed with healthy vegetables and fiber goodness (but you don't have to tell anybody that part), freeze beautifully, are made without bran cereal and processed sugar, and taste really good.

With all that going for you, who needs to look good in pictures?

One of the best things about having a food and farm blog is hearing from readers all over the world who not only love to cook but are also interested in knowing where their food comes from. Karen Perry Stillerman is one Farmgirl Fare fan who goes a step beyond just caring.

She's a senior analyst (and new blogger!) for the Food & Environment program of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington D.C., the leading science-based nonprofit organization working for a cleaner environment and a safer world. What began as a collaboration between students and faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969 is now an alliance of more than 250,000 citizens and scientists.

The goals of the UCS Food & Environment program are "to promote sustainable agriculture practices like organic and pasture-based systems while eliminating harmful 'factory farming' methods and strengthening government oversight of genetically engineered food."

Sounds like good work to me. Check out their most recent report, Market Forces: Creating Jobs through Public Investment in Local and Regional Food Systems. Yes!

One summer Karen wrote to say that she had become so addicted to my blueberry bran muffin recipe that she went and picked 15 pounds of blueberries at a U-Pick farm in Maryland and froze them so she could keep herself in muffins all winter. (Find U-Pick farms in your area at, which includes international listings.)

A few months later she told me about her new apple blueberry version and said, "I'm starting to think that I can put just about anything in those muffins, and they'll turn out to be delicious!" This adaptation of her carrot, raisin, and zucchini variation helps to prove the point.

Recipe below. . .

Monday, October 3

Monday Dose of Cute: No Dumb Clucks Here

Lawn care chicken patrol 1 -

"I'm surprised Cheeky and Mr. Fancy Pants can even still walk," my hunky farmguy Joe said one evening as we were finishing up chores and tucking in the chickens for the night.


"Because they spent the whole afternoon following me around while I mowed the grass, feasting on all the bugs I scared up. They've been eating non-stop for hours."

"That's pretty cute—and smart."

"Oh, those two know where the good stuff is alright."

A few days later I was able to see them in action myself—and couldn't stop laughing at the whole scene.

Lots more photos below. . .