Sunday, January 27

Sunday Dose of Cute: The Waiting Game

The pregnant waiting game (1) - Freida -
Four year old Freida

Can you believe it's already the end of January? How has your new year been going so far? Ours hasn't been going quite as expected.

It started with Joe throwing his back out on new year's day morning. Remember last spring when he was housebound for several weeks and ordered not to lift anything heavier than five pounds for at least a month? It's like that. Fortunately this time we had some medicine on hand (left over from the last time), and he was able to make the 70-mile round trip to the chiropractor the next day.

Things were going okay until a few days later when, in a freak accident, I managed to stab myself in the ankle with a metal electric fencing stake—in the exact same place the snake bit me, which was still store after two and a half years.

It was a lot like the whole snake bite ordeal all over again, and almost as painful, only without the morphine drip and three hot meals a day—and with a lot more blood. For a while I even had the Luggable Loo back on my side of the bed.

I once read that farming is one of the most dangerous jobs there is, and I believe it. We're always getting banged up, but in our nearly 13 years together we've never both been out of commission at the same time. Until now.

More story and photos below. . .

Thursday, January 24

Lucky Buddy Bear, Ace Cattle Dog

Lucky Buddy Bear, ace cattle dog (1) -

It's hard to believe that our beloved Lucky Buddy Bear turned eleven years old this month. He's been suffering from some age-related hormone issues (aren't we all?) that we're still trying to get figured out, and he is slowly losing his eyesight, but for the most part he's doing well. The vet couldn't believe how good his teeth looked.

Bear is half English Shepherd and half Australian Shepherd, which are both excellent stock dog breeds. When Bear was still a little cub, we bought a book called something like How To Train Your Stock Dog Even if He's Smarter than You Are. After reading the first couple of chapters we gave the book to Bear.

It has been so amazing to see the natural instincts our different farm dogs possess. Bear simply knows what to do, just like Daisy and Marta, our two livestock guardian dogs, know to protect their flock. Two different types of dogs, two completely different jobs. And then of course there's Beagle Bert. Nobody had to teach him to head off after a rabbit.

Even though Bear has never been formally trained as a stock dog, he does remarkably well. He helps with everything from rounding up chickens and herding sheep to keeping the donkeys (and sheep) from attacking you when you're holding the treat bucket. He's also an excellent guard dog, often staying up all night warning off coyotes and monsters.

He's far from perfect (probably because we never trained him), and there have been plenty of times over the years when he's done exactly the opposite of what we wanted him to, but he's always been more of a help than a hindrance. And what a big personality. I can't imagine the last eleven years without him.

Despite having no experience with cows except for being around the freezer steers we raise two at a time every few years, Bear was in top form recently when a hungry mama and three bad little calves escaped from the neighbor's pasture into our (obviously much tastier) hayfield.

15 more photos below. . .

Recipe: Easy Spinach Soup Made with Fresh Spinach

This tasty, healthy, dairy-free, gluten-free, low fat soup is packed with fresh spinach and cooks up in about 40 minutes (recipe here).

I originally shared this recipe for Super Spinach Soup Made with Fresh Spinach back in 2006, and it's been tucked quietly away in the recipe archives ever since. I've continued to make it all these years, and for the last six weeks it's been one of the most popular posts on Farmgirl Fare, so I dusted it off, spiffed it up, and finally added some photos, along with a printer-friendly version of the recipe.

What's so super about this simple spinach soup? It's super fast and easy to make, super delicious, and super good for you. It's rich and satisfying and yet contains no milk or cream. The secret to its thickness is a little uncooked rice tossed in. Enjoy!

Still hungry? You'll find over 120 more of my Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

©, where going green never tasted so good.

Thursday, January 17

Recipe: Sunburst Carrot Soup with Fresh Ginger, Orange, and Carrot Juice

How about a piping hot bowl of healthy winter sunshine? (recipe here)

For the latest installment of soup week on Farmgirl Fare we have Sunburst Carrot Soup with Fresh Ginger, Orange, and Carrot Juice. This cheerful, low fat soup is packed with carrots and bursting with antioxidants and flavor.

It's a big dose of happy for the body and mind and even freezes beautifully. The flavor and color from the fresh carrot juice stirred in at the end add a wonderful brightness, but the soup tastes great even without it.

Adapt my easy recipe to suit your taste: try more fresh ginger, more orange zest, maybe extra garlic—or leave any of them out. A little ground cumin is a very nice addition. However you serve it up, cold and flu season won't stand a chance.

Can't survive on soup alone? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

©, where our seven donkeys don't get all the organic carrots, just most some of them.

Tuesday, January 15

Recipe: Simple and Healthy Swiss Chard Artichoke Soup

Swiss chard and artichoke soup -
Thickened with garbanzo beans and made with milk, not cream, this flavorful soup is cozy comfort food at its healthy best (recipe here).

It's homemade soup week here on Farmgirl Fare! In honor of the single digit degree mornings we've been having, I thought I would highlight a few more of my favorite soup recipes from the recipe archives. There's nothing like a steaming bowl of homemade soup to warm you inside and out. It's easy to make, tastes great, and the delicious aroma that fills your kitchen is oh so comforting.

I've already mentioned my popular Roasted Garlic Lover's White Bean Soup/Stew with Vegetables and Herbs and this sublime Roasted Leek and Potato with Arugula (or Spinach). Here's another healthy favorite: Swiss Chard and Artichoke Soup. It's a slurpable version of my Hot Swiss Chard and Artichoke Dip that's low in fat, full of flavor, and packed with vegetable goodness. It's not exactly beautiful, but it tastes really good.

Have you discovered the joys of Swiss chard yet? This tasty, nutrient-packed green is a mainstay in my organic heirloom kitchen garden. There's even some thriving in the unheated, homemade greenhouse right now. If I were allowed to grow just two things, they would be tomatoes and Swiss chard. We almost always have an abundance of chard, so it was only natural that I would eventually turn some into soup. Both the leaves and stalks are used in this recipe.

Swiss chard is cold tolerant, heat tolerant, and even more versatile than spinach. It's easy to grow from seed, comes in all sorts of colors and sizes, and thrives in containers. I'm thrilled that one of the most popular posts on my kitchen garden blog for the past five years has been How To Grow Your Own Swiss Chard from Seed (and Why You Should). I'm on a one farmgirl mission to get everyone loving this gorgeous leafy green.

Wondering what else to do with Swiss chard?

©, comfort for the country (and soup) lover's soul.

Monday, January 14

Recipe: Roasted Leek and Potato Soup with Arugula (or Spinach)

Roasted Leek and Potato Soup (1)
This simple, flavorful soup is thick and rich but not loaded with calories or cream (recipe here).

There's nothing like an 8°F morning to put you in the mood for a piping hot bowl of soup. I could probably eat soup every day in winter, and this Roasted Leek and Potato Soup with Arugula is one of my favorite recipes.

It's hearty and healthy and full of flavor, especially if you use homemade chicken stock, which freezes well and is ridiculously easy to make (instructions on how to make your own chicken stock are included in the soup recipe).

No leeks? Just use onions. No arugula? Try spinach instead. The roasted leeks and potatoes also make a scrumptious side dish. Snuggle up and enjoy!

Love the peppery bite of arugula? Check out these other Farmgirl Fare arugula recipes:
Arugula Pesto (tastes great on pizza!)

Did you know arugula is easy to grow? This gourmet green thrives in cool weather and doesn't take up much space. It's also really good for you. Learn how to grow arugula from seed in less than a month here.

©, just as good reheated.

Tuesday, January 8

Recipe: Roasted Garlic Lover's Easy White Bean Soup with Vegetables and Herbs

Roasted Garlic Lover's White Bean Soup 1
A bowl of hearty and healthy white bean soup is cold weather comfort food at its best (recipe here).

This Roasted Garlic Lover's White Bean Soup, which is so thick it should probably be called white bean stew, has been one of the most popular winter recipes on Farmgirl Fare ever since I originally shared it back in 2006.

It's packed with flavor and is so simple it can be made by nearly anyone. It can also be eaten by nearly everyone: it's vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and fat-free, and any ingredient except for the beans and water can be successfully omitted if necessary. If you're looking for recipes for Alejandro Junger's Clean Program, just swap the potatoes for extra turnips and you're good to go. (This Easy Spinach Soup Made with Fresh Spinach is another Clean Program recipe.)

This recipe also happens to be cheap to make, freezes beautifully, smells divine while simmering on the stove, and is really good for you. But most importantly? It tastes delicious—and it's even better the next day.

Love cozy soup season? You might also enjoy these Farmgirl Fare recipes:

Care for some homemade bread to go with your soup?
Beyond Easy Beer Bread (my most popular recipe)
Farmhouse White Classic Sandwich Bread (makes great rolls & buns too)
Oatmeal Toasting Bread (makes scrumptious rolls too)
Carrot Herb Rolls (and a wonderful bread baking book for beginners)

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

©, full of flavor and simmering slowly for years.

Wednesday, January 2

Wordless Wednesday Dose of Cute

Chickens inspecting the snow -

More wordless cute? Here and here.
More chickens? Here.
More snow? Here.