Friday, February 24

Friday Farm Photos: Hot on the Trail

Of an exciting adventure.

Any plans this weekend? We're staying around the farm (quelle surprise!) and I'm hoping to take advantage of the break in this freaky hot and humid February weather (the daffodils are already blooming!) to start in on all the kitchen garden fall clean up and bed prep that I never actually do in the fall. The good thing about these too warm temps is that all the cold tolerant greens I decided on a whim to direct seed in the garden two weeks ago have already sprouted.

The few dozen broccoli seedlings, cilantro, and 96 plugs of lettuce (seven cold tolerant varieties) in flats under fluorescent lights in the mudroom are also doing well (no need for fancy grow lights; $10 two-bulb fluorescent shop fixtures from the home improvement store work great), but I have no place ready in the garden to put them yet. At least the ground isn't frozen solid like it usually is when I decide it's finally time to pull up all the dead tomato plants. Who knows, I might even turn the compost pile.

Tonight we're having lamb burgers with raw milk sharp cheddar and dijon mustard, and tomorrow I'm planning to slow roast a couple of lamb shoulders in the oven with lots of fresh rosemary from the two plants I've miraculously kept alive on a kitchen windowsill for years, served with rice (we love this organic rice so much we buy the long grain white and the short grain brown by the case and keep it in the freezer) and a freshly picked kale salad tossed with dried cranberries and pecorino romano and dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.

I'm also hoping to finally get around to mixing up a sourdough starter to replace the one I accidentally killed a couple of months ago. After 22 years of baking bread and acquiring a small mountain of bread books (some of which still feel overwhelming when I flip through them), I always go back to where I started, with my bread baking hero's easy to understand, now classic book when I need to make a new levain starter, or when I just want a little bread baking inspiration. (It was such a thrill to talk to him on the phone for nearly an hour last summer!)

I use the levain to make everything from Basil's simple and delicious pain au levain (page 189) to homemade pizza. Years ago I tried the San Francisco sourdough recipe (page 212) and with one bite was instantly transported back to the Bay Area where I grew up. I've been meaning to make it again ever since. The rye sourdough starter is also wonderful for making rye breads, but lately instead of trying to keep two starters alive I've just been using the levain to make my sourdough ryes. No complaints yet.

Since spring has apparently already sprung, there are several cleaning and decluttering projects in the house I'd also like to start (and finish) tackling, but that's a never ending, never very exciting year round list, at least around here. What's much more likely to happen is that I'll blow off the cleaning, close my eyes to the mess, and take a nice long walk with the dogs. It's a simple matter of priorities. Good food and time with the animals win out every time.


  1. Now I'm REALLY hungry AND want to go for a walk!

  2. Oh my goodness! I've died and gone to heaven. My favorite Farmgirl is back and planting again! Hello, dear Susan!!! Tickled to hear from you and get a little peak into your early planting for this year. Your kitchen garden was always a treat to read (FGF also, of course!) and have missed your tips on which wild varieties to try, and why. Glad to hear your weather is warm enough that you've snuck out and seeded a few rogues, and that they've sprouted. Hooray!!! I did better than I've ever done and late last fall I got out and covered all beds with shredded leaves. Got bean poles and cuke trellis out of the ground just before real hard freeze for first time. Dead tomato plants pulled just days before. Relate to your style sooo much! :) As per my usual kamikaze planting though, I think I've burnt my leek seedlings. The first tray I planted succumbed to damping off as I was too tight to sterilize a huge bag of seeding medium that was open over the year before. Wanted leeks so badly, bought a pack of seeds from the feed store (the first were my saved seeds, wah!), sterilized the planting medium, and put the tray on a heating pad on low. Patience is not my virtue so I put the tray in window and lo and behold, solar energy works. Who knew?! :) Fried the babies. Happily I can buy leek seedlings from my favorite local farmer in a few weeks. Haha. Sorry to blather on, but am sooo glad to hear you that I'm being a loon. Better get to work and say adieu. Thanks again for posting. Always terrific to read you. Good luck with your sourdough starter! :) hugs to Joe and you and the beasts!

  3. I'm curious. Which type of rice? The page that link takes you to shows 15!!! different types of Lundberg organic rice.

  4. I love seeing these posts Susan---I hope this means we will see more. Love to Bert, Henry, Bear, and everyone at the farm.

  5. I relate to you about closing my eyes to cleaning and organizing. I'd much rather spend my time growing and preparing delicious food, riding our horses, and walking the dog. My husband has been making sourdough for over three years from a wild yeast starter. It took about three weeks for it to be totally active but it tastes better every time.


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

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