New roommate moving in

Greer told me a cute story about washing dishes yesterday and having a robin listen to him whistle from the top of the mushroom log.  This morning while making breakfast, I discovered the reason…

2015_03_15_movingin1This little guy/gal is building a nest, right on our kitchen windowsill.  Greer taped some paper there to give it confidence and privacy since it seemed so determined!  It looks like there will be eggs soon.
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New poultry waterers

2015_03_12_newwatererBarney is modeling our new poultry waterers.  They hold 5 gallons, seem sturdy, and put the water at a comfortable level for the birds.  Having the water off the ground also helps keep dirt and muck out, but it’s been raining so much that things got muddy fast, and some worms even somehow moved into the water basin.  It’s gross to me, but I guess the birds don’t mind water that tastes like earthworms…

 

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Baby cow!

Awwwww…. the first baby calf since we moved in almost a year ago!

2015_03_08_newcalfHis name is Homer, and he’s a cutie.  He and his mom had to be separated from the rest of the cows because they were a little rough with him.  It was the first time any of them have calved.

Here he is right after he was born (a little sticky):2015_03_07_newcalf1

I’m hoping he’ll eventually let me hug him because all that fuzzy cuteness is adorable!

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Simple carrot salad

2015_03_14_carrotsaladGreer started making this tasty carrot salad, which is just grated carrots, onion or shallot, radishes, and a simple dressing of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil.  But it is quite a tasty and fresh addition to our meals!  It was especially good with a ground pork patty and broccoli salad.

 

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2015 – first seeds

2015_03_13_newseedsSo happy to have a lot of beet seeds in the ground for pickled beets!  We also planted a few radishes and scallions.  Yum!

 

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BIG eggs

2015_03_10_threekindsofeggsAll the birds are laying now, so we have eggs in small, medium, and large: chicken (the multi-colored ones), turkey (the speckled ones), and goose (the ginormous ones).  We’re not letting the geese brood goslings this year because all the information I’ve read says to wait until their second year.  As soon as we get the turkey-mobile built in a few weeks, we’ll see if they’re ready to brood poults, though!  And one of our hens is showing signs of broodiness already this year, but she’s been through that before.  Spring has sprung on the farm!

 

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Greer’s geese

2015_02_21_greersgeeseThese are supposed to be MY geese, but you can see who they really like… Apparently the grass tastes better from his hand than from the ground!

The geese follow Greer around while they’re free-ranging, and refused to let us get any work done when we tried to do farm planning in the sunshine.  Silly geese!  We really enjoy their antics.

 

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Happy anniversary – 7 years!

2015_02_08_anniversaryHow do the most romantic couples celebrate anniversaries?  By visiting the Rice Northwest Rock and Mineral Museum, of course!  :)  We had a great time looking at wild rock formations and…. dinosaur poo (pictured above).  Now that’s not something you see every day!

 

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Spring… already?

2015_01_29_crocusThis is our first Pacific Northwest winter, and it’s definitely been colder than it was in the bay area of California.  No snow (unless you count the snow mixed with rain we had right after Thanksgiving).  Last year before we moved, the area experienced “snow-pocalypse” in early February, which was about 6″-8″ of snow, and more than the area was equipped to handle.

This past week has been sunny and warm in the afternoons (very foggy mornings), and things are starting to bloom.  I spotted the crocuses pictured above on a lunch time walk.  Winter is not as gray and wet as everyone warned us…This friendly weather is definitely inspiring us with our seed orders for this year, and  I’m starting to feel Spring fever!

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Excellent method for cooking a cockerel

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We cooked our third cockerel (young rooster), and are completely pleased with the results.  I roasted the first one, and the dark meat was pretty tough because the cockerels were 6 months old at processing time.  The second time, I made coq au vin, and it was tasty but a little time consuming.

For the third cockerel, I searched for recipes about cooking a whole chicken in the slow cooker.  Most recipes said to just rub it with spices, and put the whole thing in for 6-8 hours on low, maybe with some onions.  I had to restrain myself from adding liquid, and it really did make its own liquid in the bottom of the slow cooker.  The chicken turned out perfectly!  I started the slow cooker at night, and in the morning I was able to quickly pull off all the meat (pictured above).  The dark meat on a heritage bird is a beautiful rosy color.

Then the bones went back in the slow cooker with some onion, carrots, and celery.  I added water to the top and cooked that for 24 hours to make bone broth.  It’s the best bone broth I’ve made so far in taste and texture.  The cooled bone broth is gelatinous, like it’s supposed to be.  In fact, this bone broth is so rich in flavor that it tastes like beef broth!

Greer took the shredded chicken and sauteed it in a little orange marmalade, fish sauce, and red pepper flakes for a fabulous spicy orange chicken that he served over cauliflower “rice.”  It made two hearty lunches for us.

We are thrilled with this process because it makes rich-in-flavor chicken that is versatile for cooking AND nourishing bone broth.  Using the whole bird makes us feel good about raising the birds for this purpose, and inspires us to perhaps raise more than we had originally thought we would this year.  In the past, chicken has not been our protein of choice, but the flavor on these home-raised heritage roosters has persuaded us otherwise.

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