23 November 2009

Always Busy On A Farm

There really is no "down time" on a farm, and this weekend was no exception.

Chef Jeff shoveled and spread over 500 bushels of manure, alone. The goat barn has a new starter supply of hay for Swedish-style deep bedding for the winter; the chicken coop and nest boxes are fresh and clean as well; and the donkey pucks are out of the paddock. All that organic fertilizer should be great for next year's alfalfa crop - it'll work itself in over the winter and spring.

The house has now been sided outside...

... and drywalled and painted inside:

We celebrated Chef Jeff's 40th birthday with dinner at his favorite restaurant due to a surprise visit from my mother. I also baked orange scones for him this weekend instead of a birthday cake - he isn't fond of sweets. Well, he enjoys sweets, he just doesn't eat them - the man has a will of iron with regard to his diet (which is why he looks 30 instead of 40; me, not so much!)

Tonight we had "dinner in a pumpkin":

This would make a great Thanksgiving dinner for those who don't wish to roast a whole turkey.

The original recipe can be found here (warning: turn down your sound).

I altered it a bit by using dark brown sugar, 1 tsp. of thyme, turkey instead of beef, 3 celery stalks with leaves, Native American hand-harvested and parched wild rice, and white pepper. I used fat from heritage Berkshire hog bacon for browning. The "stuffing" went into a sugar pumpkin that I grew this year. It was delicious!

Next time we make it, we're going to nix the canned soup (albeit organic) and canned mushrooms, and go with dried wild mushrooms. We'll rehydrate them and use the stock from them to deglaze the frying pan, and then add in cream. We will use maple syrup for the sweetener, Worcestershire sauce for the salty, fermented taste, and real chestnuts instead of water chestnuts. Maybe some cranberries as well.

The recipe I made tonight was double what would fit in the pumpkin. Luckily, I have another to use. :)

In fiber news, the four Icelandic sheep and five Angora goats are shorn! Need wool or mohair? Get in touch!

We used Bob Rajek from Rajek Family sheep services for shearing, and were pleased with his care of the animals and the fleeces. He was very easy to work with. He is located in Stanley, WI, and also buys and sells sheep (for those interested) - 715-429-0879.

As far as my knitting, I've finished the large, blue and silver Drops shawl, as well as the Colinette Jitterbug Multnomah. I don't think I'll use that yarn again; it is still bleeding color after 10 rinses! I'm not too crazy about having been exposed to excess dye chemicals while knitting.

If you are thinking of knitting a Multnomah, be prepared to do some fudging - it's not the clearest pattern I've ever read, and you sort of have to see the big picture and intention and do your own thing to make it work out. For instance, fit in new lace pattern repeats on the borders when you are able to after making increases - the number of "repeats" in the pattern seems to be off, and I've seen a whole bunch of projects which don't have a steady Feather And Fan border all the way around the edges because of that.

I finished one gray mitten of Garnstudio Karisma Superwash, and started its mate; they'll be lined with lime green Garnstudio Alpaca. I also have a two-color Garnstudio Fabel Baktus on the needles. Pics coming soon... Who knows? Maybe the next Baktus I make will be the lacy version - I definitely have no intention of stopping knitting Bakti!

Next project is going to have to be a durable farm cardigan for myself; I'm thinking garter stitch, neck down, raglan, with a zipper. Also should do a hat for Chef Jeff - most likely the Doubleknitski.

So what am I most thankful for this week on the farm? Sleep!

Have a wonderful holiday, US friends!


Denise said...

The house is getting so close to completion! I'm excited for you, though I realize making the transition will be a lot of work.

Eager to try the pumpkin recipe. I didn't grow sugar pumpkins this year but may have to think about it for next year. There's never enough space to grow all I would like...

Linda M said...

the house is looking great. I'm so pleased to know that you, Jeff, and the animals will be warm and safe this winter.

Dawn Dutton said...

your house looks to be done soon.. yippie! I look forward to seeing it. I also look forward to your photos of your knitting projects.
Our work here is never done either. It seems like there is always a "to Do" list..
Happy Thanksgiving to you... blessings... dawn

Shell said...

The house looks terrific! You may have written it earlier, so forgive me, but when is the official move in date? Do you have one?

I'm green with envy :)