Sunday, April 28

Sunday Farm Tale: Chickens and Eggs

Chicken and egg tales (1) - washed farm eggs air drying before packing up to sell -
Farm fresh eggs: they're what's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Ever since a kind friend brought Whitey the Chicken a dozen fertile eggs to sit on six years ago when she went broody for the first time in her life at the age of seven, our chicken population has expanded each spring.

Whitey died last year at the ripe old age of 12 (when I checked a few years ago, the world record for oldest living chicken was 14), but her legacy lives on. She raised seven chicks during her one and only stint at motherhood, and we kept one of the roosters, which meant that we now had fertile eggs—and our hens have been taking advantage of that fact ever since.

I once read an alarming statistic that said something like 95% of hens in the United States have had the instinct to sit on a nest of eggs and hatch out some chicks—known as going broody—totally bred out of them. So despite the fact that we don't really need any more chickens, I've never discouraged a hen from doing what she's naturally supposed to do. Plus it's always fun having baby chicks around.

Last year, though, six of our hens hatched out a total of 40 live chicks. Lokey alone was responsible for raising 20 of them. A friend says she's worth her weight in gold.

More photos and a lot more story below (hover over each image for a description). . .

Friday, April 26

Friday Dose of Cute: Heads Down, Mouths Open

Lambs chowing down in the creep feeder -

Have a delicious weekend!

©, always cute, always hungry.

Monday, April 22

Monday Dose of Cute: Jumping into a Brand New Week

Daisy leaping over the barnyard fence -
Go, Daisy!

More Daisy? Here and here.
More farm dog photos? Here.

©, where it only looks like she's going to land in that little barrel.

Sunday, April 21

Sunday Dose of Cute: Greeters at the Entrance to Donkeyland

Greeters at the entrance to Donkeyland -
Got any treats?

More donkeys? Here.
More Donkeyland? Here and here.

©, the enter at your own risk foodie farm blog where the donkeys don't seem to have had any blog time since 2012. How can that be?! (This photo was taken back in March, and although the hillsides still don't look much greener yet, the pasture thankfully does.) Maybe we need to declare May as Official Donkey Blogging Month. Depends on how the donkeys feel about it I guess. Sometimes they just don't want to pose; even here you can see that Donkey Doodle Dandy is trying to remain anonymous.

Saturday, April 20

Saturday Dose of Cute: Really Lemony Lemon Bars Photo Shoot (The Whole Picture)

Really Lemony Lemon Bars, the whole photo shoot -

Really Lemony Lemon Bars recipe here.
More of The Whole Picture series? Here.
More chickens? Here.
More farm inspectors? Here.

©, where if you bake it, they will come.

Friday, April 19

Recipe: Really Lemony Lemon Bars (Reduced Sugar)

These easy, creamy dessert bars are made with less sugar and more lemon flavor. Delicious with either regular lemons or Meyer lemons!

Whenever I see a recipe for old-fashioned lemon bars with a shortbread crust I want to rush into the kitchen and bake some, but the amount of sugar that most of them call for makes my teeth ache just thinking about it. So when I saw this recipe for Creamy Lemon Squares from Martha Stewart, I knew I had to try it. The description said:

The lemon bars of your dreams take just 15 minutes of prep: Stir together a mere three ingredients to create a sunny, puckery filling for a buttery shortbread crust.

Rather than calling for several cups of sugar, the lemon filling is made with a can of sweetened condensed milk, which adds creaminess and sweetness while allowing the lemon flavor to really shine through. I added a generous helping of finely chopped lemon zest to bump up the lemon factor even more.

When I brought a batch of these bars to a big Thanksgiving potluck at a hunting cabin in the woods last fall, I told everyone they were called Pucker Up Lemon Bars and were for serious lemon lovers only.

If you're a lemon fan, these just might be the lemon bars of your dreams. They're definitely mine. And my lemon loving hunky farmguy is crazy about them too.

Recipe below. . .

Wednesday, April 17

British Invasion: Homemade Cornish Pasties & Favorite English Cookery Books

The dangers of outdoor food photo shoots -
The dangers of outdoor food photo shoots (Cornish pasty recipe here).

I'm not sure why, but for some reason my recipe for Jamie Oliver's Cornish Pasties with beef, onion, potatoes, and carrots that I shared with you last fall has been one of the most popular posts on Farmgirl Fare for at least the past six weeks. (You'll find the top ten posts of each week listed over in the left sidebar.) Maybe it's pasty season.

What I do know is that these classic British meat pies taste delicious and freeze beautifully. I made a double batch during the tail end (ha) of lambing season this year, and hopefully next year I'll remember to make some at the beginning of lambing season because they're the perfect thing to have on hand for quick and easy dinners or hot and hearty (and portable!) lunches.

I defrosted the frozen pasties at room temperature and then reheated them in my beloved little Oster convection toaster oven (which I often use several times a day), but you could probably go straight from freezer to oven. If you're in a hurry or at work, you can gently heat them in the microwave. They taste especially wonderful when served with brown mustard and cold beer.

Everybody loves Jamie Oliver's Traditional Cornish Pasties -
Everybody loves these traditional Cornish pasties, including Mr. Midnight.

This pasty recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver's Great Britain: 130 of My Favorite British Recipes, from Comfort Food to New Classics, which is a neat cookbook. I bookmarked several other recipes to try while spending a couple of hours leisurely reading through it.

I have a huge cookbook collection but rarely use most of them. So in keeping with my word for the year—SIMPLIFY—I've been slowly sorting through my cookbooks, most of which still haven't made the move from The Shack to the new house, and donating a bunch of them to the small local (35 miles away) library, much to the delight of the librarian. Jamie Oliver's Great Britain is staying here.

More British cookbooks (including three for under $1) that made the cut below. . .

Monday, April 15

Monday Dose of Marta Cute

Marta taking a break from sheep guard duty -

Wishing you a bright-eyed and smile-filled week!

More Marta Beast? Here and here and here.
More farm dog photos? Here.

©, the 20/20 foodie farm blog where five-year-old Marta is a 100+ pound mix of three livestock guardian dog breeds: Great Pyrenees (which is what her seven-year-old partner Daisy is), Komondor, and Anatolian Shepherd. She's also 100% goofball—and in desperate need of her spring spa day/shearing (or at least her bangs trimmed). She is an awesome guard dog and we love her to pieces.

Wednesday, April 10

Monday, April 8

Monday Dose of Cute: Oh, Happy Day

Sheep Freedom Day (1) - Waiting for their breakfast hay to be delivered -
Just hanging out, waiting for their breakfast hay to be delivered.

Two months ago we moved all of the sheep who weren't in the barn having babies off of the big front field, which is our main grazing pasture, and into a pen about a half acre in size across from the barn.

Until yesterday they lived a boring (in a sheep's opinion) existence in there, laying around, eating alfalfa hay twice a day (that we had to buy because our own hayfield didn't grow during last year's terrible drought), and impatiently waiting for the day when they would once again be able to roam the fields, munching on fresh green grass.

12 more photos and the rest of the story below (hover over each image for a description). . .

Monday, April 1

Monday Quick Dose of Cute

Yearling ewe, Katahdin Suffolk cross -

Wishing you a cute filled week!

More sheep shots? Here.
Lots of sweet little lambs? Here.

©, where the hay is running low and the grass is starting to grow—but nobody gets to start grazing on it just yet. Patience. . .