Buttermilk honey scones

Today’s experiment (which began yesterday) was to use up the buttermilk from this week’s butter-making. I’m pleased with the results!

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Clockwise from top left: strawberry, cinnamon & ginger, orange, plain

The strawberries were fresh from the market last Saturday, and the oranges had been dried last year and re-hydrated for this recipe.

I used the recipe from The Messy Organic Mum, with a few changes (always!) – I used my fresh-ground hard white wheat for the flour, and I soaked the mixture overnight in the fridge, then brought it to room temperature before adding the extras and baking.

For next time? More cinnamon and ginger because the flavor was too subtle. I used roughly 1.5 teaspoons of each – I could barely taste the cinnamon, and couldn’t taste the ginger at all. Maybe add some more orange pieces, too.

This one is a keeper, and the sweet or savory possibilities are endless.

 

 

 

A state of mind

For me, the biggest downside of farming is that my health doesn’t always agree with it, mostly in the form of sometimes debilitating allergies. People often ask me why I keep doing it knowing that I will periodically subject myself … Continue reading

For me, the biggest downside of farming is that my health doesn’t always agree with it, mostly in the form of sometimes debilitating allergies. People often ask me why I keep doing it knowing that I will periodically subject myself to such suffering, and my most often answer is that it’s just a temporary state.

For example, for the past few days, I’ve been doing hay. It turns out that whoever coined the term “hay fever” wasn’t kidding, and as is the case nearly every year, right now I feel like I’m coming down with the flu. I know a lot of people would consider such a reaction to the task to be a deal breaker, but what I discovered a long time ago is knowing this will last, at most, a couple of days, gives me the willpower both to inflict it on myself and to endure it while it lasts.

What I’ve discovered as a result is that hay fever is kind of a metaphor for farming and that farming is a kind of metaphor for life. Sure, sometimes the process sucks, but the fact is the work needs done, somebody has to do it, and the results are usually worth even a little suffering to get there.

So it is and so it goes, pardon me while I wipe my nose.

DLH

Ovine news

For those of you keeping score at home, the four sheepies are adapting to their new living arrangements with the 2 goats and the Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs. The goats think they are in charge of things at the moment, but I’m waiting for the day that Bruce realizes he’s bigger than the goats and doesn’t have to take anything from them. They are eating grass like it’s going out of style, which keeps me busy moving their pen every few days.

I now have a new-to-me electric clippers. I got a tutorial when I bought them, and a little practice on a ram that needed sheared. It is not easy to nick them (although possible) because of the blade guard, and I will not be shearing at warp speed anyway. Biggest things to remember are to keep the blade at a slight downward angle to get a close shear, and to pay attention to where you are on the sheep – watching for curves and dips in the body of the sheep.

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Vicky is ready for her close-up.
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Bruce and Tilly (in the front)
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Hard at work mowing the yard
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Tilly coming to investigate (and get some pets)
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Molly (goat) supervising the newcomers

 

 

Honey harvest

The hive inspector was here the other day to check hives, and we discovered that the three hives were all honey bound. Honey bound happens when the bees fill up all the frames with honey and the queen has nowhere to lay eggs. The solution is to move emptier frames from the outside of the box to the inside (bees work from the center frames to the outer ones), and to harvest the honey from the filled and capped frames, then put the emptied frames back in for the bees to use.

All told, I extracted around 20 pints of honey from the frames. I didn’t harvest all of the honey-filled frames on the advice of the inspector. The final product is beautiful and tasty! I’ll also be processing the wax to use for salves, balms, and candle-making.

Flow honey super update – I have the slowest bees ever, I think! They are taking their time to fill in the gaps with wax, then make the honey. I’m hoping since I harvested a bit of the honey they had, they will start working on getting the Flow super filled up. Only 3 frames have activity at this point.

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Grass farming

So, after a long hiatus, I’ve decided to reboot this blog. When doing so, it’s often hard to know where to start, so I decided to start with the question we get asked most often: Why don’t we mow our grass? … Continue reading

So, after a long hiatus, I’ve decided to reboot this blog. When doing so, it’s often hard to know where to start, so I decided to start with the question we get asked most often: Why don’t we mow our grass?

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The short answer to that question is that our “messy” “ugly” yard that makes our “farm look abandoned” is what real sustainable stewardship looks like. Because we’re not mowing our yard, we’re not spending money on grass mowing, not producing the byproducts of grass mowing, and are providing habitat for all sorts of native species.

But, honestly, the answer is more complicated than that. Yes, we are doing all of those things, but it turns out we’re also grass farmers. Our primary occupation at Innisfree is raising animals for food, and it turns out most of our animals eat grass. When I see a yard, I see a pasture, even if it’s one right up next to my house.

In a manner of speaking, we do mow our grass. We just do it sustainably with animals instead of mowers and gas. For us, the results are worth the “mess”.

DLH