Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Monday, April 14, 2014

All our beez died....

So, all our beez died. They didn't make it thru this long and difficult winter. We think that they did OK up until the last polar vortex got us. It had been warm one day then bitterly cold the next - we think that is what did them in. It's very sad.

Back when we had beez and were happy.

We talked to a lady in town who said she knew some folks who moved their hives into their basement on the coldest nites. To tell you the truth I would have never thought of that. I can't imagine that would go well for us. I'm picturing over-interested cats covered in honey, wax, and angry beez.

We did what we could which was to take up most of the honey. We left some of it out there, tho,  in the off chance a swarm is out and about and wants to move right on into our a nice and roomy hive.

Not a bad supper - Honey Soy chicken.

The good news is that the honey is terrific. Last nite we made Honey Soy chicken and it was really good. I can't wait to drizzle some of the honey over goat cheese once the goats ramp up to full production next month.

In the meantime the crazy weather is making us all insane. At this writing (a couple hours before sunrise on Monday) its 73*...but it will snow within 24 hours. It's all a little ridiculous. I'm glad I didn't put any plants out yet and I hope my greenhouse will keep my seedlings from freezing tomorrow morning.

Happy Monday everyone - did your beez make it?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Steaming Hard Cooked Eggs

Friends, you know we've all been here....

You desperately want a plate of deviled eggs - but your farm eggs are so fresh that they are too hard to peel. The pain is real.

Well, suffer no more. Stop boiling those hard cooked eggs - steam them.

Yep. It sounds crazy - right? When my pal Bourbon Red told me to give it a try I immediately wrote it off as some sort of ridiculous idea. But then .... well... maybe I'd try it.

It totally works.

I couldn't believe it. Fresh eggs - as is fresh that day - peeled like a dream. I wasn't left with a big nasty, jagged, ripped apart egg... it was smooth and perfect and perfectly cooked.

Even Alton Brown agrees..... this is a great video that explains it all (just about 3 mins). I'm absolutely sold on steaming hard cooked eggs.

And now if you excuse me... I'm going to go and steam up another batch of eggs so we can have deviled eggs all day long.

Note: if you can't see the video  - he says to steam the eggs for 15  - 20 minutes. I used 15 minutes and they turned out perfect. I put them in an ice water bath after steaming for about 5 minutes and peeled them so easily I couldn't believe it. I've tried doing this with eggs after boiling and it never worked for me.

Happy Sunday everyone! This is a revolution!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bacon Scramble

Yikes - looks like there might be fewer feeder pigs this year. Does everyone know about this? The virus that is killing piglets?

That is a beautiful pig. So much bacon...

We'll be looking for pigs in the next couple of weeks. This virus tho, is some serious business. This story talks about how quickly it spreads and how it can wipe out a new crop of bacon seeds fast. The good news is tho, if the piglets make it, they will be fine. And no, doesn't look like it is a threat to people. Altho lack of bacon is a crime.

The last sentence of that article is staying with me, "We're all used to: 'We've got plenty of food, it's cheap. We'll eat what we want to,'" Meyer said. "We Americans are very spoiled by that, but this is one of those times that we're going to find out that when one of these things hits, it costs us a lot of money."

For a lot of reasons I've been thinking about this very thing. I'm concerned about the drought that has been on the West Coast - and if we are going to have a hotter than normal summer... and if we are already heading into the growing season without a lot of bacon. You know that food prices are just going to keep going up.  And no joke... the drug cartels in Mexico are killing each other over... limes. So what do you think is going to happen if there is a real food shortage and not just a garnish fruit?

What do you do?

Make your own food. Get a garden growing, get some meat chickens, do what you can with what you have. I know a bunch of folks who raise meat rabbits for their table and do a bang up job. Rabbits are easy to raise, easy to process, and well... breed like rabbits.

Well. They are made of meat....

As for us... we may have to look at alternatives to pigs. Very soon we are going to be flooded with goats... so this could be the first ever Year of the Goat BBQ. It is the world's most popular meat.

I'm also keeping my eye open for lambs. The trouble with lambs around here is that everyone wants them for 4H projects. Which is great - unless you are the person that wants to just have sheep and don't need the fancy, ribbon winning ones. They are expensive.

Another option would be to swoop in and scoop up some bull calves from the dairy operations around here. If we are going to have buckets and buckets of goat milk, well then, might as well feed out a bull calf, finish him on pasture, and call it veal. Is that horrible? No - what do you think they do with all the male calves on a dairy?

So we'll see what happen. But however it turns out - this could be a very interesting year in farming.

Happy Friday everyone - do you have your meat strategy worked out?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's getting hot in here...

Yesterday we had a beautiful blue sky day - it was perfect to get some seedling started in the greenhouse.
Yikes - um... gettin' a little hot in here...

But boy was I surprised when it got to almost 90* in there!

Fortunately I had thought about this and implemented Project Ventilation. If I had done much better planning I would have constructed a window in the closed end - but remember that I'm not intending to keep the plastic on for the whole summer. I'll be using the hoop as a trellis after this summer really gets growing.

Quick and easy ventilation system.

So these binder clips were a fast and easy solution. I just untucked the plastic from the closed end and clipped the plastic about a third of the way down.

I also took down the plastic on the door leaving just the screen in place. I need to find a better solution for this - for instance I think I need to get some hooks so that I can open and close the plastic on the door more easily. The screen door is necessary to keep the chickens out. And other birds looking for a quick snack.

The screen door keeps over-interested chickens out.

When it started to cool down I just put the plastic back up - easy peasy!

Today I'll be potting up more seeds and hopefully will get some potatoes planted. We are headed for 75* and super sunny - good thing I have a way to keep the greenhouse from over heating.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Super Sandwich.... the Monte Cristo!

I don't know how I lived my whole life without trying a Monte Cristo sandwich. Maybe I thought it was too weird... but it's not, friends. It's amazing.

Look at it. Just LOOK at that sandwich!

My problem with french toast is that it doesn't have enough protein in it. But this... this sandwich solves that problem. Sure you'll still have a sugar high but it's worth it.

I love the Brown Eyed Baker so you can check out her recipe and method here.

As for me it's just a matter of making the custard and keeping the ham and cheese sandwich together until you get it into the fry pan. Some purists believe this has to be served with preserves but are you kidding me? With all this fabulous maple syrup we've been cooking down? Salty from the ham, sweet from the syrup, and fabulous from the custard. This is a taste sensation.

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Have you waited too long to try a Monte Cristo? You've got to give it a go. Really. You'll be surprised.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Free Meat!

Look what we found.....

Creepy meat eggs.

Some of the meat chickens are laying! I always think this is hilarious but this time they seem to be consistently producing about an egg a day. That's one egg total for all of the meat hens. Not great production numbers but still - better than nothing.

I'm taking up these eggs and we'll see if we can get them to hatch in the incubator. I have no idea if they are viable or not - but might as well try. What's better than free meat, right?

Nice and plump.

Our fatty creepy meats are really... fat.  They are like little bowling balls. This is the group from last fall. They are overdue for being butchered but it's been so darn cold that we haven't been able to do it. We can't believe they have done so well in this bitter winter. We think we only lost one - and that was due to a creepy meat heart attack. I think we lost one of the chicks and that is about it. Wow!

Yesterday was a big harvest day. We set the meat roosters directly to the freezer. Hopefully in the next couple weekends we'll get the rest of the meats sent to their glory.

Happy Monday everyone! Do you have any free meat?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Best Hoof Trimmers EVER

Friends, my life has been changed. My hoof trimmers. I am not lyin'.

Nibs was.... reluctant.... to let me trim her hooves.

A while ago my pals over at High Tail Farms posted this stupendous how-to on Trimming Goat Hooves. I have to admit my eyes were opened. Previously I either hacked my way thru trimming the goat's hooves... or I just got the neighbor kid to do it. Adventures in trimming for me always ended with a fight, someone bleeding, or crying - and not by me.

But wow! High Tail Farms really hit the nail right on the head about how to get it done. I was absolutely mesmerized. So I had to find out what tools they were using.... it had to be something really special.

And it was.

These are, hands down, the best hoof trimmers EVER. They have revolutionized goat care for me.

Truth be told, I would have never ordered these. I'm entirely too literal sometimes and similar trimmers have been labeled as "hoof rot trimmers." Well. My goats don't have hoof rot - ergo I do not need them. Foolish me.

I was still skeptical when the trimmers arrived. I stomped out to try them out on my least annoying goat, Debbie. It was like a hot knife thru butter. I was done before she even noticed I was holding her foot. Next up... my most annoying goat - Nibbles. She barely batted an eye. You'll remember that I very nearly killed her one time. These trimmers work so fast and cut so quickly that Nibs didn't have a chance to have a breakdown. Just snip snip snip and away she went.

I even got Daisy and Darla done in record time. Honestly I couldn't believe it.

I don't know if it is because the blades are so sharp, are so strong, or because they are designed for success - really I don't even care. This is the best money I've spent on goat care.

If you hate doing your goat hooves the run, don't walk to order these hoof trimmers.You won't be sorry.

Then run right over and check out these incredible step by step instructions by High Tail Farms

Does everyone know High Tail? They are so much fun. HighTail Farms is located in Hammond, Louisiana. They are dedicated to providing people with ethically raised and humanely processed pastured poultry and sheep, fresh eggs, and raw meat for pet food. Check them out! You can find them on 'the facebook' here

Do you hate trimming goat hooves? Then you just need the right tool for the job!  Come on everyone, right out and give those goaties some beautifully trimmed feet!

Happy Saturday everyone! 

Editor's note: Again with the associate links to Amazon? Yep - someone is going to ask so I'm including the link to this incredible trimmer. Remember if you order something thru my Amazon store,  from one of the links, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page I'll get a tiny percentage of the sale. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon to show your support. Thanks!
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