Monday, July 29

Monday Dose of Cute: Ready to Jump into a New Week?

Jasper surrounded by chickens -
It's gonna be great.

More Jasper? Here.
More chickens? Here.

©, where somebody promised you Jasper's story ages ago and then totally forgot to deliver. It's actually a fairly short story, so hopefully I'll get around to telling it soon. Meanwhile he's pretty much taken over the farm.

Friday, July 26

Friday Farm Color: Pretty in Purple Coneflower Pink

Echinacea is a beautiful, hardy, no maintenance, long blooming, perennial medicinal herb -
Have a lovely weekend.

Echinacea is one of my favorite plants. It's an easy to grow, no maintenance, heat loving, cold tolerant, drought tolerant, long blooming, self seeding, pollinator attracting, poor soil loving, insect resistant perennial that's pretty much impossible to kill. It also happens to be one of the most popular medicinal herbs in America.

But most importantly, it's beautiful, especially since the flowers look different at every stage. More about growing echinacea here and more echinacea photos here.

©, where less time tending flowers means more time snuggling cute critters (and baking bread).

Tuesday, July 23

Tuesday Baker's Dozen Dose of Seven Donkey Cute

Tuesday dose of seven donkey cute (1) -
Let's roll.

Much to their delight (not), our herd of donkeys has been living out in the (well-fenced) front field with the sheep. This command decision was made, without consulting the donkeys, for two reasons: to give Donkeyland a rest and allow it to hopefully reseed itself, and because the seed stems on the grass in the front field grew up so high this year (yes!) that the sheep were afraid to venture very far out in it. This meant that a lot of good food was going to waste.

Enter seven tall and fearless longears.

In retaliation for being wrenched from their homeland and imprisoned with a bunch of woolly beasts, the donkeys have been spending much of their time hiding out in their secret donkey clubhouse, a darkly shaded area of cool bare dirt at the edge of a small ravine and under a giant cedar tree, away from the riffraff and gnats.

If you try and sneak a peek into the clubhouse to make sure all seven donkeys are still alive and well, they give you dirty looks and then gallop haughtily off into the brush.

When we first moved the donkeys out front, they would spend a lot of time standing at the gate that leads out of the field and up to the barn and the house, like they were waiting to be rescued or released, though Joe said it might have been because the nearby fly trap kept the gnats away. (We've been using these regular size and big bag non-toxic Rescue fly traps around the farm for years; they stink but they work great).

As we were leaving the farm yesterday to run some errands, the donkeys were once again lined up at the gate, staring us down as we approached. Joe said, "When I came out earlier I told the donkeys to stay up here so you'd be able to see them." Three and a half hours later we returned home to the rear view of the exact same scene.

"How long did you tell them to stay there?"

I don't know what was going on this morning, but when I hiked out front to check on everybody, the donkeys all piled out of the clubhouse and came over for scratches and pets. They tanked up on water, licked some salt, nibbled some minerals and diatomaceous earth (you can read about the many ways we use this wonderful, all natural stuff around the farm here), took turns taking dust baths, checked out the grass, and totally ignored the sheep. I snapped more pictures of them than I've taken in the past month.

12 more photos below. . .

Monday, July 22

Monday Dose of Farm Color: Double Delight

Double rainbow over the hayfield -
Double rainbow over the hayfield (it was brighter in real life, but you can just make out the second one above the first).

Did you have a good weekend? We were thrilled to get over two inches of much needed rain in the past 48 hours, with a chance for more in the next few days. Woohoo!

I'm loving the break from my daily sweat-drenched watering sessions in the kitchen garden, though they're much more enjoyable since I bought some of these awesome, ultra light (made in the USA!) Water Right hoses two years ago. What a difference. I used to dread watering.

We're slowly getting back into the swing of things after a whirlwind 10 days of plane travel and cross-country road tripping (Joe), stocking up on a ton of groceries in the big city and getting 10 inches of hair lopped off (me), enjoying the company of a hard working houseguest (Joe's older brother, who hasn't been here in 6 years and who managed to squeeze in two fun bread baking lessons in between helping Joe with the enormous job of cleaning out the spring boxes), and stuffing ourselves with lots of wonderful homemade food (everybody). It's been crazy hot and humid, but that's sum, sum, summertime.

Wishing you a wonderful start to your week!

Want to see more of this place?

©, the eyes to the sky foodie farm blog where we're hoping that tonight's supermoon won't be obscured by cloud cover like June's was, but if the clouds mean we're getting more rain, then so be it. We'll just raise a champagne toast to the ceiling and use our imaginations.

Thursday, July 11

Recipe: Not Too Sweet Lemon Rosemary Zucchini Bread

A moist zucchini bread made with less sugar; lemon zest and fresh rosemary add a flavorful twist (recipe here).

Got zucchini yet? I know some of you do, because How To Freeze Zucchini and Summer Squash & My One Claim to Fame is the most popular post on Farmgirl Fare right now.

It's easy to freeze zucchini for winter, but you could also make an extra loaf or two of this scrumptious Lemon Rosemary Zucchini Bread and freeze it instead.

If you're up to your ears in zucchini and bored with the same old cinnamon zucchini bread, you're going to love this favorite recipe from last year. It's not a savory quick bread, but with less sugar than many zucchini bread recipes, plus some whole wheat flour and olive oil, it doesn't feel like you're eating cake for breakfast. (Not that there's anything wrong with eating cake for breakfast.) It also makes a delicious afternoon snack.

The flavors of the rosemary and lemon are pleasantly subtle, but you can bump them up if you like. This bread tastes even better the next day, will stay moist for several days, and freezes well. I like it best sliced, toasted, and slathered with butter. Enjoy!

P.S. 100% Whole Wheat Coconut Zucchini Bread (made with unsweetened coconut) and moist and healthy 100% Whole Grain Carrot, Raisin, and Zucchini Bran Muffins (made without bran cereal).

©, wishing we were up to our ears in homegrown zucchini!

Monday, July 8

Monday Dose of Random Critter Cute

Random critter cute (1) - Birdies taking a break on nine-year-old pet wether Teddy -
The only thing sweeter than a bird hitching a ride on the back of a sheep? Three birds on one sheep.

I didn't get around to putting together a Friday Farm Fix last week, but it wasn't for a lack of cute. Here are nine favorite four-footer shots taken around the farm during the past week (sorry, no chickens). Hover your cursor over each image for a description.

More photos below. . .

Thursday, July 4

Thursday Dose of All-American Cute

Jasper helping harvest Maxibel and Dragon Langerie bush beans in the kitchen garden -
Happy Fourth of July!

Wishing you a wonderful day surrounded by good food and those you love.

More Jasper? Here.
More farm cats? Here.
More about growing those gorgeous Dragon Langerie beans? Here.

P.S. The wild turkeys are out strolling around the hayfield today, celebrating the fact that it isn't that other American holiday.

©, made in the USA, available around the world.

Wednesday, July 3

Recipe: Confetti Crunch Coleslaw with Creamy Lemon Caper Dressing

A healthy, crunchy slaw that's made with green and purple cabbage, green onions, carrots, and sweet peppers and tossed with a tangy lemon caper dressing.

Love coleslaw but tired of the same old mayo-heavy recipes? Liven—and lighten—things up with this colorful, flavor-packed version of an all-American classic.

This tasty, low fat slaw is made with yogurt and a lot less mayonnaise than many traditional coleslaw recipes. It goes well with all sorts of summer meals and is perfect for bringing to potlucks, picnics, backyard barbecues, and buffet parties. I love having a bowl in the fridge for a healthy snack or the fastest dinner salad ever.

Recipe below. . .

Tuesday, July 2

Recipe: Big Bite of Fresh Basil Herb Dip & Salad Dressing

Farmgirl Susan's Big Bite of Fresh Basil Dressing & Dip -
This simple, healthy dip is packed with fresh basil, parsley, chives, and garlic (recipe here).

The basil plants in my kitchen garden are growing like mad, the chive patch is still thick and lush, and I just picked five pounds of gorgeous green beans. It's time to mix up some Big Bite of Fresh Basil Dip.

Having a batch of this flavorful, herb-packed dip on hand in the fridge makes it easy to bypass the sweets and grab a healthy snack of fresh summer veggies instead, although it also tastes great with pretzels and potato chips.

You can thin it out with a little milk or buttermilk to make a flavorful salad dressing, or you can pack it in a pita (homemade perhaps?) with some greens and chopped vegetables. If you let the dip chill for at least a few hours before serving (or overnight) it'll taste even better.

Any way you serve it, it's a celebration of the season. Enjoy!

Love dip? More Farmgirl Fare fresh recipes:
Really Easy White Bean Pesto Dip/Spread (and my favorite pesto recipe)

P.S. Growing (and Using!) Your Own Fresh Herbs: My Six Favorite Varieties (chives, basil, Greek oregano, lemon thyme, Italian parsley, and lemon balm), plus all my basil growing posts.

©, where we dip it, dip it good (and Devo and I will now be spending the day together).