Archive | October, 2010

Local Honey

30 Oct

Contact: Ben & Emmaline Seaborn (931) 623-8112.

Ben and Emmaline also sell their amazing raw, all natural honey at the Fairview Farmers Market in Fairview, TN., at the Recreation Center parking lot on most Saturday mornings during the regular season.

Mozzarella with farm-fresh cow’s milk…finally!

22 Oct

Since on-farm goat cheese/chevre is a hope and dream for another day, I have been thinking about finding a source for local milk, any milk frankly, (goat,cow,sheep) raised without antibiotics or growth hormones and not ultrapasteurized. Pasteurized versus raw milk is a topic I’m not going to discuss right now, however, when milk is superheated, i.e. ULTRApasteurized thus denaturing the proteins, cheese is very difficult if not impossible to make. Last weekend, I ran into a nice lady who makes her own butter. Conversations such as these remind me of how much I love dairy and how expensive it is, and also, how difficult it is to find a local natural source. Unless, of course it finds you…

After the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) meeting last night at our kids’ elementary school, I happened to talk to a parent about buying beef from his farm. I am interested in a half a cow for the freezer. He mentioned that they sell milk too. YIPPIE! I went over to his farm this morning and picked up some precious cargo.

2 gallons of fresh (milked within the last 12 hours, fresh) whole milk – located only about 3 miles away, I had to pinch myself. I told him that I planned on being a very good customer since my husband is an excellent cheese maker (well, the only one I know of, really) and I can’t wait to give the piglets some whey. Piglets fed whey eventually make very tasty pork, or so I’m told!

So out comes the “Home Cheese Making” book:

Which was a little dusty, and I spent this morning dreaming of “Mozzarella with farm-fresh cow’s milk”, Panir, an Indian cheese, Queso Blanco, “Whey Ricotta” (piglets are gonna have to share on this one) and Gouda. How about Caraway Swiss? Mascarpone? Lemon Cheese and Gorgonzola? I realize I’ll have to work up to Parmesan.

The other worlds that are opening up now to my culinary delight are buttermilk, sour cream, kefir, creme fraiche, yogurt, butter and ghee. It is all enough to make one giddy…

If you are interested in checking out the site where I purchased my cheese making book and got my initial “Cheesemaking kit”, click here. Check with your local farmers or ask around at your farmers market to locate a source for farm fresh milk – it’s worth it!


10 Oct

We were losing chickens. By August, we had lost all of our spring roosters and we assume they died protecting their (our laying) hens. When the roosters were gone we started losing hens, almost daily. The day Sophie lost her prized Bantam hen “Peppermint” evidenced by a puff of tiny buff and white feathers, we decided that we must act and fast.

We felt we had two choices, fence the chickens in, or find LGD’s (Livestock Guard Dog’s) to protect them. We love having our chickens range and initially suffered few losses. But our farm was becoming an all you can eat buffet for all the usual (and possibly some unusual) suspects.

We want our chickens to eat bugs, weeds and whatever else a chicken/raptor chooses to eat even if it means hanging out with piglets. We feel that especially in the summer time, it cuts down on feed costs and aids health and immunity (as long as they are not being eaten by a predator!).

We also like the idea that our chickens get to go for an afternoon stroll (or scratch, rather) in the woods, take a dust bath in the pony pasture or simply work out their chicken politics in an open forum. We decided we did not want to fence them in, nor did we have the means to tractor them, so free range it was – meaning the search for LGD’s was on. As you can see below, the piglets enjoy a little free ranging too.

I started researching LGD’s about six months ago, but with so many projects, I wondered how I would have time to train one… or two. Nevertheless, I had talked to farmers, seen LGD’s in action and felt confident that they would work for us, we just wondered how to find one preferably already trained (training can take up to two years) that would also be able to transition to our farm.

While we were out picking up our RWH gilt, I mentioned to the farmers at Ecotonefarm that we were looking for LGD’s (they have two wonderful Great Pyrenees dogs). And as luck would have it, they knew of a farmer who was looking to place two 18 month old Great Pyrenees dogs, a male and a spayed female who were siblings. After several e-mails, phone calls and a visit to our farm by this very conscientious farmer, we went to pick up Jane and Burley on October 3rd.

This is Jane (to the left), not only does she patrol all night long between the chicken coop and the pig pens, she walks the kids to their bus stop (the entrance to our driveway) in the morning. Jane is a sweetheart.

This is Burley (above right); he wanted to hang out with me in the garden today while I harvested sweet potatoes. I put him in the shade by the barn since he is too large and furry for the meager shadows of a fallen amaranth flower stalk and a bell pepper plant. I sure appreciated the company though! He is a big sweet boy.

Poor Jane, she had no idea that when she came here, she would have the dubious honor of piglet babysitter. She is a good piglet herder too, especially when they are naughty and try to eat the chicken food up by the barn.

Burley is more reserved and mellow than Jane, and he has a very deep bark. There have been no more chicken losses in the past 10 days since they arrived here.

Everyone sleeps better at night now that Jane and Burley are here on the job, including our Narragansett tom turkey, Brad. In fact, he feels so secure now, he even gobbles at the moon. G’night Brad!

We are very grateful to have found Jane and Burley through the farmers at Ecotonefarm and to benefit from the wonderful training they received from their former owner. Jane and Burley are truly amazing, incredible dogs and are already a very important part of our farm. Many thanks to C.J. and Fletcher!

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