We’ve been busy. Farm babies are coming nearly every day now. Goat kids and calves keep appearing. Of course we still have our puppies and piglets to care for too. It’s been a fun but always busy time of year.
I wanted to let you know about a few changes and additions to our website. Under our new “Opportunities” tab at the top of our page we now have a link to:
- Our 2017 Events on the farm this summer
- Our 2017 Newsletter if you missed it
- A Survey to help us get to know you, a chance for you to tell us what you’d like us to share or give to you via email and a request for information for those who don’t want to miss out on news from the farm.
- An updated Volunteer Opportunities page if you’d like to get involved on the farm this year.
Check out the changes and let us know what you think! We really would love to hear from you.
Enjoy the Spring weather to come,
Rhubarb is Ready: $2 per pound if you pick it up or $3 per pound delivered to your area. 218#927#1425
Rhubarb is loaded with vitamin C, K, calcium, potassium, manganese and more. It also has a good amount of fiber and has a very low glycemic load.* Now is the time to enjoy the first fruits of Minnesota. It’s a great time to can up some rhubarb sauce or freeze chopped rhubarb to enjoy all year long.
Be sure to order some maple syrup to go along with it. Maple syrup helps the rhubarb to not have the filmy after feeling on your teeth. You don’t have to use so much sweetener when you use it either. Normally if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, I’ll put 1/2 cup of maple syrup in for starters and can often decrease from there. You may also need to cut the liquid in a recipe if you do this. And for those of you who sometimes get heartburn with rhubarb desserts (likely because of the white sugar), it sure helps cut back on that as well.
Recipes we’ll be making again:
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Strawberry, Rhubarb, Lemon Rind, Yogurt, Maple/Stevia Smoothie
BBQ sauce (made with rhubarb)
“Refreshing Rhubarb Salad”
Maple Rhubarb Sauce
1 cup rhubarb, chopped (2-3 stalks)
1-2 Tablespoons maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
Stir rhubarb and maple syrup together in a small saucepan. Stir over medium low heat for 5 minutes, simmer for about 3 more minutes or until the rhubarb has broken down and a pourable sauce forms. Taste and sweeten as desired.
Wonderful topping for ice cream, pancakes, oatmeal, etc. This recipe could easily be made in large batches and canned.
We never spray our produce and practice soil health principles to create healthy and yummy produce.
*http://foodfacts.mercola.com/rhubarb.html and http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2056/2 (the ads on this site are not so good for the eyes, but I thought I’d let you know where I got this information)
Sweetie is not my milking goat, but I just couldn’t resist sharing this picture
I can’t believe it’s been a month since I’ve updated you all on farm living. Some new developments have us excited.
- Our newest increase is that we will be getting a female Great Pyrenees today and hope that she and our male will do well to guard our growing goat herd. We also hope to offer livestock guardian puppies in the future. We’ll let you know if Furry and Juniper (Juni) get along well together.
- Another cause for elation is that we have chicks hatching today. Yesterday, Moe and Fiesty were born. Last month, we had seven born in our incubator. This has been such a fun process for us and we hope to get some good laying hens for future egg production for our own use. Last months chicks; Hawk, Big Goldie, Little Pepper, Cookie, Little Goldie and Speckled Head, are doing well and love following me around the yard.
- I have also taken up the challenge of milking our Alpine goat, Ivy. She has been providing us with over a quart of nutritious raw goat milk each day. In early June, we will likely start milking twice a day (a whole new challenge). This weekend, we may even make goat milk ice cream. We have enjoyed the flavor and our many guests have enjoyed a little taste too.
- Mat’s new chicken tractor design is complete. As a result, moving our pastured chickens twice a day is now enjoyable. A smaller number of chickens has resulted in cleaner, healthier birds so far. If a chicken can be beautiful, I have to say that these are. I have actually said it to them more than once as I’ve seen them this year. Maybe I’ve been on the farm too long.
- Our pigs are growing strong enough and big enough for our youngest boys to ride them. These two boys have become more daring with age.
- I don’t think we’ve mentioned that we have three bull calves born last month. They were a surprise since we were told our Scottish Highland cows were bred to give birth in June. We are happy with our healthy and fluffy and soon to be steers. They are growing fast.
- Mat split one healthy bee hive yesterday and has another out there. Hopefully, this will be the year to brag about when we actually get honey to market.
- Lastly, our maple syrup season went well. We weren’t so sure at first and it was hard work. At $.25 an hour, Mat doesn’t get paid much for his time with this product, but we enjoy the stuff so much that it’s worth it.
That’s it for now I suppose. Hope you enjoyed hearing about our busy lives. Sorry for the lack of pictures. I guess you’ll just have to visit and pick up some fresh food from the farm if you want to see this stuff for yourselves.
Some of our maples have started to produce sap which we will soon start boiling down into the Nectar of the North aka Pure Maple Syrup! This flow of sap will continue as long as we have air temperatures cycling below and above freezing.
When the trees thaw initially they take up water along with the stored sugars they had deposited last fall. As the tree refreezes the water it has taken up expands and creates a positive pressure within that will push the sap out the taps. Eventually the pressure will equalize if the tree doesn’t freeze up again and the sap flow will stop, but each time the tree refreezes pressure will be regained. This process will last 4-6 weeks. By that time the temperatures will stop dipping below freezing or the sap will start to turn off-flavored due to the leaf and flower buds breaking open.
This kind of pressure build up during sap flow is found in only a few types of trees. Thankfully, God has designed the maple in this way so that we can harvest the sugars in the sap and boil them down into a delectable syrup!
One final parting fact: The Box Elder Tree (Acer negundo) is part of the maple family and can be tapped for maple syrup.
Mat is out in the woods all day and night boiling the last of this years sap to make some excellent maple syrup. My boys and I occupied ourselves with a new project today and needed some vegan and gluten free treats.
First, I found this:
Healthier Peanut Butter Balls
Second, I found this:
The Ultimate Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
My boys and I made the peanut butter balls and cut the sugar in half, as I do with most recipes. It turned out not as yummy as I thought it should be. Then we made the cookies. I didn’t cut the sugar in half because of my peanut butter ball mistake. I wish I had (a good excuse to make them again). They did turn out rather yummy, so I wanted to share what I did for all my gluten free loved ones…
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Coconut flour
1 & 3/4 cups pecans, toasted
2 cups regular oats, divided
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup brown sugar (I will definitely try 1/4 cup next time)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 tbsp almond milk
3.5 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup raisins
Directions: Coat pecans in tiny amount of oil, a touch of maple syrup and a sprinkle of salt. Toast pecans on a baking pan for 10 minutes. Let them cool. Put in a blender until coarsely chopped (put only half in at a time if you have a small blender). Combine flour, baking soda, 1 cup oats, cinnamon, and sugar. Add the nuts to the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, melt the coconut oil, then add maple syrup, almond milk, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of oats and the raisins. Make a ball with the dough, put it on the cookie sheet and flatten it. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes before putting on a cooling rack. This made about 26 medium sized cookies.
This follows the original recipe quite closely, so much thanks to ohsheglows.com, a website I plan to visit again.
It was 4 degrees when I woke up this morning. Needless to say, I’ve been trying to heat up the house with some baked goods. We have an abundance of apples for some reason. No worries because we all seem to love them. I thought it would be fun to try some baked to see if the kids like them.
I haven’t made them more than a few times and can’t remember the last time I ate one. What a surprise when my tummy felt warm and satisfied. Have you ever gotten that hearty, healthy, satisfied feeling from food? Mmm. These were good.