Archive | May, 2011

On farm, all farm breakfast…

15 May

This morning we rushed to finish chores and make breakfast in order to get downtown for a Mr. Pink Guitar gig on Broadway with Todd Bolton. We’d originally planned an obligation free Sunday for our breakfast sausage-making for the Charcuterie Challenge/Charcutepalooza the apprentice challenge this month (due today – nothing like waiting until the last minute…). However, Mr. Pink Guitar got a call late last night to fill in for the Sunday show, as the other drummer had canceled. So suddenly our Sunday was wiped out. Ruh, roh.

Waking early, we opted to divide and conquer. Mr. Pink Guitar and Jack finished the morning feeding chores while Sophie and I harvested tatsoi and collected eggs.

Oh, and herbs,

Tatsoi on the right, Napa cabbage on the left, onion “companions” interspersed:

We’d hoped to harvest our February planted fingerling potatoes…but alas they were not ready. So, no starch today for breakfast. With feedings done, we cubed our pork, chopped herbs and sprinkled seasonings;

ground our sausage;

Cooked the patties; wilted the chopped greens in sausage drippings (yes, the tatsoi has a few bug nibbles, we don’t spray insecticides).

fried up some farm fresh eggs;

And ate the most delicious, satisfying and nourishing breakfast ever. No kidding.

All of the ingredients came from our farm except the balsamic vinegar, butter (local) salt and pepper. That, my friends , feels like quite the accomplishment. Mr. Pink Guitar wants me to do a post on how hard the work is on a farm, how it is every day work that is a labor of love and costs a fortune. He’s correct but that stuff is boring.

So as I sit downtown at Layla’s Bluegrass Inn on Broadway, writing this post, worlds away from the farm, my gratitude for the animals, vegetables, hard work and time it took to bring this incredible food to the table is a bit overwhelming. The brick walls of the venue, the worn plywood floors, the tiny front window stage and music reverberating around my head and through my core inspires me; but the farm food sustains me.

My friend Farmer Joe always shares words of wisdom whenever he delivers hay to the barn or when I see him at the elementary school where both our kids attend. He tells me stories about hog killin’, making lard, the design of their scalder (it was set in a hill) how it was an event for multiple families and brought the community together. He says… “we ate really good for being such poor people”. Joe is one of the smartest farmers around, we’re lucky he shares his stories, insight and wisdom with us.

And he’s right, the food is so undeniably delicious, it doesn’t seem fair. If you want access to the freshest ingredients, meet your farmer, lend a hand, help out, the rewards are immeasurable.

Sausage recipe: (Adapted from Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s breakfast sausage recipe)

1 Pound Chopped pork (we used what would be pork chops along the back bone from a primal cut) so there was already a lot of fat on the meat
1/4 Pound Pork fat (see primal cut reference)
1 small bunch sage
1 small bunch oregano
1 small bunch parsley
1 small bunch thyme (no stems)
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Generous shake of kosher salt (be liberal if you like salt)
Many grinds from the pepper grinder (you decide)

Mix all ingredients together and grind into sausage. We used a manual meat grinder.

Form patties and fry in lard until browned, flip and repeat. Wilt the greens in the sausage drippings, remove and then fry about 6-8 farm fresh eggs in a little butter.

Enjoy!

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More Piglets!

7 May

Born last night, they are less than 12 hours old. Out of 8, 6 made it. 5 females and 1 male.

This piglet (mini)  documentary was filmed and produced by Jack Matthews.

Like a,…a bull in a china shop?

4 May

Our steer is currently living in our back yard (Roselle kicked him out of his stall in the barn) and he’s now paired with the goats, of whom he’s reluctantly beginning to acknowledge as his current herd. He thinks goats are weird and stinky. He’s right.

We keep them in a rotational grazing pattern to mow our lawn because it’s free food and well, the real reason is that our mower is broken. While necessity may be the mother of invention, lack of a new mower is the mother of cow plops in the yard. We’re going “green” in our lawn care operation and did I mention it’s free cow/goat food? Never mind, it’s a big yard.

However, “Cowie”, our once bull-calf, now steer who we refer to using endearments of female bovine terminology (immediately belying our city roots to county folk) is allowed to roam around while we relocate our goat/steer tractor, (the goats stand tied, they cannot be trusted – they eat fruit trees). We took a lunch break and Cowie decided to check out the kitchen garden “greenhouse”.

YIKES! Nobody panicked except me, a completely normal reaction after being trained in the unexpected/unpredictable flight response of and by equines, I s.l.o.w.l.y walked over to the doorway (well it will be one someday, anyway) and…got no reaction. He didn’t even eat or trample the vast array of lettuces, chicories, chards, Bulls Blood beets (ahem) or radishes. No bull in a china shop here.

We love our Cowie. His name is T-bone. I wish he were a heifer, because then he would get to “stay” and give us milk. Mr. Pink Guitar is adamant that we have to eat him. I want to train him to pull a plow, in which case he would be considered an “ox”. He is 7/8 Simmental, very gentle and easily trained. I will have to work on this topic with Mr. Pink Guitar.

When we told Farmer Joe about our bottle calf, he just shook his head and reminded us of what we already knew; that this calf will be with us for a very long time, until he dies of natural causes – right here at Pinkguitarfarm…

One day we will be “real” farmers, until then, our motto is: fake it ‘til you make it. Or not, we really like our brisket…

Jack’s version of “Mama Tried”

1 May

Farmer Jack kickin’ it old school with Todd Bolton and his band Sunday afternoon at Layla’s Bluegrass Inn, singing his version of Merle Haggard’s Mama Tried, downtown on Broadway, Nashville, TN.

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