Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mmmmm. Quiche

My chickens lay these absolutely gorgeous eggs with dark orange yolks and now they're laying up to two dozen (sometimes more!) a day.  So, you can probably guess that I'm always looking for recipes that use eggs.  This is one of my favorites in the summer.

Mix and Match Quiche

I had a handful of asparagus from my garden - not enough for a meal for four.  I had lots and lots of eggs.  I had bacon in the freezer from our pigs butchered last fall.  Finally, I had pie crusts made with lard I had rendered from our pigs in the freezer (I make four pie crusts at a time, roll them in balls, and freeze them).  So quiche was inevitably what was for dinner!  

I love this recipe.  I can't tell you from where it came, but it's completely versatile.  BTW, I think a pound of bacon is waaaay too much meat - and I always add some kind of vegetable.  Other than the egg milk, flour, and mustard, everything else can be switched out.  I've used ham, chicken, and other meats I have on hand in place of the bacon.  I prefer a sharp cheddar to the Swiss cheese.  I've used feta - yum!  Sometimes I'll a different spice or herb other than nutmeg.  Thyme goes well with ham and broccoli.  And any number of veggies can be mixed in - broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, chard, the sky is the limit!      

I'd be interested to hear what you mix and match in your quiche... enjoy!

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Big Bug Hunt 2017

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Help create a warning system to alert you when pests are heading your way.

After weeks of care, having your plants attacked by pests can be disheartening.

The Big Bug Hunt is an international research project using reports from real gardeners like you to track how bugs and pests spread.

We’re creating a prediction system that will send alerts when pests are heading your way, so you can take preventative action.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Turkey and Horses

It's busy season here now.  I'm getting the high tunnel ready for planting and lawn mowing has come on with a vengeance!  

This little cutie came home.  She's growing fast!  Look at her little wing feathers!

The hubby finished the horse fence across the road.  What a job!  He worked on it for six days straight in the pouring rain.  It is veeery well appreciated!  It's so nice to get the horses out on fresh grass and not mess with hay anymore.  

I believe the horses think they died and went to horsey heaven.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Turkeys and Bees!

This week I picked up more bee packages.  

I drove home with them Saturday.  The weather was kind of rainy when I got home, so we move the bees into our dining room.  We installed the bees into their new homes on Sunday.

I have a zillion pictures of us installing bees and didn't want to fuss with the phone camera, so this is one from previous years.  The one thing we did different is that we took out three frames, then dumped in the bees, then slowly put the frames back into the hive.  That way the bees are down in the hive and not flying all over the place.  

The weather has turned cool, so I'm anxiously watching the hives and waiting to get in and make sure the queen was released from her queen cage!

Do you remember few weeks ago I told you about the turkey eggs that we gave to the high school agriculture program for hatching?  

I got a call yesterday that a peep was coming out of one of the eggs!

That's my peep breaking out of it's egg on the right.  The little bird on the left is from a turkey egg donated by another person.  We were worried that our little poult would get stuck in the egg.  She was given a little help at the end of the school day and this morning, this is what was waiting!

Is that not a face to fall in love with?  She'll come home on Friday and be put under a heat lamp until she grows big enough to join the flock.  

Why do I say "she"?  Because right now I have three jakes and one hen.  So I really, really hope it's a she!


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Idaho Pasture Pigs Moved Onto Grass

When we have a sow get close to farrowing, we move her into the barn so that she can have the luxury of a heat lamp and protection from the elements.  There's a small fenced area where the pigs can go outside, but it's definitely not pasture.  When spring comes, we finally get to move them outside so they can enjoy the wonder of being on real grass.  

First, we moved William, our boar, into his own pasture.  He'll stay there until the next time we decide to breed again.  He's an electric fence away from the girls, so he gets their company without us worrying about a mis-timed litter.  

Then we tried to quickly move Marmalade.  Yes, she got loose.  She ran around the yard.  Being a few hundred pounds and not getting much exercise made it fairly easy to keep her from running off -   but it didn't make it any easier to herd her!  Finally we were able, using a board to pat her on the rump and direct her, to move her into her new pasture.  When she finally figured it out she seemed soooooo relieved!

She was happy to meet up with her mother, Flower.  

Then we had a piglet rodeo in the barn.  We put some food in their bowl and tried to grab them.  Of course, once they knew we were trying to catch them they started running away as fast as they could. But finally, after a few bumps and bruises on our part (those little hooves are sharp!) we were able to take them out and drop them in the pasture with mom.  They loved it!  We put a few little piles of feed around and they ate those while they figured out the parameters of their new world.  

At feeding time, the little devils tried to come through the electric fence to get to the food.  A quick zap on the head made them decide that they didn't want to do that!

Later, we saw mom and piglets grazing.  This is why we raise Idaho Pasture Pigs.  They eat the grass instead of rooting it up.  You'll notice, in the video below, some bare areas in the pasture.  That's the high traffic areas.  Look at that lush grass!

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Monday, April 17, 2017

1925 Bee Market In Holland

The old ways of doing things can be so entirely fascinating.  People sure were a lot tougher back then!

At the bee market in Veenendaal, Holland the principal buyers are the bee-farmers of the Veluwe, living near buckwheat fields and the heath. When the season is favorable, and the buckwheat gives honey (which it does not do always), the skeps may be filled in two or three weeks. In case they are entirely filled up with buckwheat honey they are emptied before the heath begins to flower. If not, the partly filled skeps are brought to the heath in order to be completed with honey of the heath. The latter crop being over, the bees are generally killed, and the bee-farmers await the next market to buy new swarms.

At the Annual Bee Market at Veenendaal, Holland, a hive of bees typically sold for around $3. Once a sale is made, the deal is concluded with ritualistic handshake, beekeeper and customer smack hands together hard, first in high position, then in lower, repeating.
Posted by Historical Honeybee Articles - Beekeeping History on Monday, January 12, 2015

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Interesting Farm Week (some "icky" photos)

I had some fun this week.  

I got to castrate a pig.

Talk to the Game Commission about bear damage.

Got good news about the turkey eggs. 

And help pull a calf out of a cow.  

First, I've had our local veterinarian show and walk me through piglet castration.  I watched it on Youtube (there are a lot of different variations on the same method!) and I had an experienced friend come and walk me through when the day finally came to perform the task.  I didn't take any pictures because my hands were obviously full.  But the operation went well and our little meat boar - now barrow - is healing well. 

The Game Commissioner came to let us know we could make a claim on our bear damage.  We won't get a lot of money, but it will be enough to stay in the beekeeping game!

The Ag teacher, to whom I had given some of our turkey eggs, reports that they found evidence of growth inside after candling the eggs! 

And finally, our neighbor raises black angus beef cows and as we noticed a cow in labor as we drove past yesterday.  She was still lying there when we came back and the farm worker was watching her because she had been trying to get the big calf out for a long time.

At one point, another cow walked up to her and started bellowing and the rest of the herd started coming over (I was very nervous and ready to get on out of there if need be!).  The other cow made the laboring cow get up and walk around a bit.  We hoped that would help...

...but it didn't, and we ended up putting a rope around the calves feet and pulling out the calf.  What a relief when the calf finally slid free!  We were worried it might be dead because it was stuck for so long, but it was, happily, still alive.  We immediately retreated so that the mother cow could take care of her calf.  When we left, momma cow was sitting up, but as of yet I'm not sure of the status of mom and calf.  An update will follow later today!

Hope for the best!