I have in mind to do a fancy newsletter about the ol’ homestead each month. You know, fancy color printing, cool packaging, hand-delivered and such.
Don’t have a color printer, y’all, so that’s nipped right in the bud.
Do have the Internet, though. Yeehaw!
If you happen to follow along on Facebook, every now and again we have “FARM BLOTTER” news. Here’s a highlight from August, ironically almost one year to the day exactly when Presley the Farm Cat tried to kill us with Tularemia-rabbits as we first started our small farm. We pretty much armed ourselves with a toolbelt of bleach water, face masks, gloves, and a shovel for days on end back then. Might need to suit back up.
Last week, I thought Presley the Farm Cat had died. I hadn’t seen her in days.
This week, she’s back. We’re on consecutive day 4 of her bringing her “finds” into the house. Night 1: screaming baby bunny under our bed at 4:30am (wild, not domestic, thank goodness, though Hank nearly had a heart attack thinking she had broken into the rabbitry and stolen Mrs. Steve’s babies). Next morning, an intact COMPLETE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM of a rabbit UNDER OUR BED ARE YOU KIDDING ME SOMETIMES I DON’T LIKE BEING A FARMER AT ALL SO GROSS. Night 2: screaming bunny right outside our window at 2:30am, with me running around the house with a flashlight making sure the poor thing wasn’t taking its last breath inside the house somewhere. Night 3: nothing, because I locked all the doors and windows and put that stone cold killer outside for the night.
This morning: she waited. She sneakily dragged her kill in and presented it to the boys while Hank and I were milking the goat (yes, that currently takes the both of us because I’m not very good at it).
At least we’re “saving money” on cat food right now.
Also, Todd Helton the Cat does not condone her recklessness at all. He’s a leave-no-trace kind of guy. And he’s my favorite. Bah.
And what’s new in animal news? Goats! Baby goats! Our babies have all gone to their new homes, and we couldn’t be happier about this new chapter for them. At the end of July, Gooey and Howard, two of our three sibling Nigerian Dwarf kids, were sweetly adopted by Mrs. Jeanne of Jeanne’s Sunshine School in Lafayette. Mrs. Jeanne runs a nature- and play-based preschool, and the babies will be loved on unbelievable amounts by both their family and all the human kiddos. (They also adopted a little male Rex bunny; Lilly – pictured below in the pink hat – named him “Charlotte.” I love her intensely for that.)
Our third baby, Slick, was just adopted by our good friend Michelle Sander, who founded and runs the Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary in Northwest Colorado. Michelle and her INCREDIBLY AWESOME family have their home ranch in north Longmont, and Slick is tearing it up, bouncing around with his new burro and mustang buddies. Evidently, he’s been providing quite the comic relief (just a true Pantier).
He has a way with the ladies. :)
Since we’ve weaned the babies, WE HAVE LEARNED TO MILK GOATS and now have goat milk coming out of our ears. Consequently, we have made Ricotta, Chevrè, Mozzarella, and yogurt, in addition to pasteurizing milk for daily consumption. Milking, making cheese, and pastuerizing milk are huge and major accomplishments, for me at least. Hank, as with everything, picks up on things quickly and easily. I have to muck my way through with tears and YouTube and recipes and lots of help from the Google. Needless to say, my handshake has become much stronger. I had a moment last night when I thought, “Wow, I wish I would have had a goat to milk when we were rock climbing every weekend. My hangtime would have been awesome.”
Hey. Whatever gets me through. And also, I didn’t die or hurt a goat. Win.
We also have three new goats, which I’ll introduce next time. And there’s the bajillion rabbits and chickens to mention, but I want to plug our local Farmer’s Market instead and not make this too horrendously lengthy.
I’ll preface this by saying that my current read is “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. WOW. It’s lit a fire under me to eat local and in-season as much as we can, and our Farmer’s Market is helping that cause. (Caveat: gotta have bananas. And strawberries. Also, avocados. But I like to think that maybe the other stuff we’re doing is making a little difference out there?) Thankfully, we have raised some of our meat (chicken, rabbit), and Hank hunts (elk, deer). We currently don’t have a source for pork, which is unfortunate. Next year, we will have raised goat for harvest; this year our chickens provide eggs and our dairy goats provide milk during their milking season (they will not produce from early winter through their next freshening in late spring 2017). To be honest, I don’t care for goat milk when it is heated, so any cream for coffee or milk for heating in tea or for hot chocolate still comes from our area milk delivery co-op.
Now for recipes. So much fun here.
Zucchini Pasta with Sausage
Super easy. Spirooli a zucchini (homegrown or Miller Farms). Halve some baby heirloom tomatoes (homegrown or Fat Red Hen at the Farmer’s Market), grab some Italian Seasoning, kosher salt, oil (I use avocado oil), fresh basil, and Italian sausage (from Full of Pig & Vinegar at the Farmer’s Market).
Sauté the spiralized zucchini in oil, then sprinkle in the Italian seasoning and salt & freshly ground pepper to taste. I use a a good bit of seasoning. It’s yummy. Cook the sausage links, then slice into smaller pieces and throw them in with your zucchini. Toss the halved baby tomatoes to get them bright, then serve with shredded parmesan and slivers of fresh basil. Looks fancy and tastes delicious.
FAVORITE BREAKFAST HASH
Another super easy recipe. Simply dice a sweet potato and 1/2 white onion and sauté in oil (let those carmelize a bit – you’ll thank me for that one!), use kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Brown some ground breakfast sausage (I used BEAR! WHA?! Hank’s dad gifted us some bear meat earlier this year, and Hank made lots of breakfast and chorizo sausage from it). Poach a couple of eggs and nestle them in, then sprinkle on some crumbled goat cheese. Garnish with a little cilantro.
We usually make Toddy, but in those panic moments of realizing that you forgot to make the delicious cold brew 16 hours prior to needing it, in comes a new and delicious alternative. I read about a Japanese method in Bon Appetit magazine last month and decided to give it a go. It’s very yummy. You’ll need a kettle of hot water, some ground coffee (ground for pour-over), and a Chemex. Fill the Chemex with ice and make your pour-over as usual. It’s that easy. (If you prefer fancy-pants instructions, go here.)
I will say that while this method is very delicious (I always serve mine with half-and-half and a hit of agave), I do prefer the Toddy cold-brew system, since is cuts out about 67% of the acidity of the coffee. I talked with Nate, co-founder/owner of Erie Coffee Roasters, and they now carry the Toddy system at the Farmer’s Market. Don’t forget to pick up their coffee, too. The Columbian medium roast coffee is THE BEST right now.
I challenge you to eat and drink more local things this week! :) Have fun with it!