Saturday, December 11, 2010

Eggs for Sale

We are officially in the egg business.  My plan is to post a sign on the goatyard fence whenever I am home and have eggs to sell.  Since I only have 24 hens I won't have an unending supply, so I thought this would be a good plan.  So, if you are in the area, stop by for some farm fresh, organic, free range eggs.

Today's Menu

Breakfast:  Home Cured Bacon, Egg and Goat Cheese Omelet, Gogurt with Blueberries
Main Meal:  Grilled Grassfed Hamburgers, Glazed Turnips and Carrots
Evening Snack:  Hardboiled Eggs dipped in mayonnaise, apple and peanut butter

Ingredients from today's menu courtesy of Sweet Garden Farm:  bacon, eggs, goat cheese, gogurt, turnips, and carrots.  The blueberries were hand picked about five miles from the farm.  The grassfed beef is from Potomac, Maryland.  Now if I could just get some apple trees and peanut plants I'd really be local!!  :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

November 2010 Update

Just a general update of all that is going on:

Goats - I continue to move towards a show herd.  I now own the following goats:

Tiny Town Blue Suede Shoes (Melody) - a terrific milker and a proven producer of show quality kids.
Tiny Town Treble - a solid milker with show potential in her own right.
Sweet Garden Blossom - maturing beautifully: deep, wide, and long. I expect big things from her next year.
Tiny Town BP Sweet Muzette - A flashy blue-eyed doeling with potential for excellent milk production and outstanding conformation.
Tiny Town Sweet Serenade (Sara) - A beautiful white doeling with royalty in her blood.  Hopefully this precious girl will live up to her pedigree.

I've posted a kidding schedule here:  Reservations will be accepted.  No deposit is required.

Melody and Blossom have both been bred to NC Promisedland Peeping Tom.
Treble has been bred to Tiny Town Sunny Surprise.
Muzette has been bred to NC Promisedland SIA Samuria.
Sara will be bred to NC Promisedland SIA Samuria in a couple of weeks.

Tigger is still here, but will be returned to Tiny Town Goats in a couple of weeks.  That will complete my plans for this year.  Then I will just have to wait for all of the girls to kid next year and see what the stork brings!

I have also placed a deposit on a buckling and doeling from Rosasharn Farm in Massachusetts.  Those additions should put me in good stead, along with my current does, to move forward towards a show herd with solid milk production.

Pigs -  The pigs have grown and grown and grown, and now they are ready for the slaughterhouse:

Tomorrow evening we are taking them up to Mt. Airy Locker for slaughter.  We'll bring them back down here, hopefully Wednesday, to butcher them ourselves.  I'll have to report back later on flavor and how the processing went.

Broiler Chickens - we ended up processing about 75 broilers.  They are all (except for the ones we've already eaten) in the freezer.  We've been extremely happy with the chickens.

Layer Hens - the twenty-five Rhode Island Reds that we purchased in the Summer began laying a couple of weeks ago.  I don't expect a lot of eggs until Spring, but I did collect eight eggs today.  They are still mostly small eggs, with an occasional larger one.

Garden - The greenhouse is up.  I have six squares producing lettuce, cabbage, Spring onions, Swiss Chard, and spinach.  The root cellar holds turnips, kohlrabi, beets, and carrots.  So, we're set for the winter.

And that's my November 2010 update...  Hopefully I'll have more time this winter for blogging, but Spring will come and along with that a heavy show schedule, milking, cheesemaking, gardening, and normal life responsibilities.  It's all good...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Well faithful blog readers, I apologize that it's been so long since I last posted.  I've been spending time getting my new website up and running and making plans for next year.

In the late Summer I decided to move from a "just milk" operation to show goats.  My reasoning is simply that I need to breed to produce milk, so I might as well breed the very best goats I can.  And, if I'm breeding the very best goats I can I might as well show them and be able to sell these higher quality  kids for a better price.

As you know, I had already rehomed Una as a pet.  Tigger, my other original milk doe purchase, is still producing well and is a fine doe, but will never be a show goat and has proven not to produce show quality kids, so she is being retired.

Melody, the goat I purchased this year to add to my milk supply, is a proven producer of show quality kids, and a truly exceptional milk producer.  I have also acquired her daughter, Treble, another good milk producer with show potential in her own right.  She actually has one leg towards a championship.

I kept the doeling from Una this year, Blossom, who continues to mature and look really outstanding in her general appearance.  I also purchased Tiny Town Sweet Serenade for her outstanding show potential.  I believe I have one more junior doe on the way this week to add to my show string for next year.  More details and pictures later about her.

These two mature does, Melody and Treble, and two-three junior does will form the foundation for my show string.  I have also partnered with another breeder and purchased a buckling from Dills in Oklahoma, and I have placed a deposit on a second buckling for next year from Rosasharn Farm in Massachusetts.  (These bucks will not be available for outside service.)

This should give me a good foundation to begin to build a premier quality Nigerian Dwarf goat herd.  In order to achieve this goal without ending up with 100 goats, I will need to cull ruthlessly.  Therefore, kids will be available for sale every Spring beginning 2011, and one-three adult does in milk will more than likely be available after each kidding season beginning 2012.

I've lined up a list of fairs and goat shows for next year, and plan to invest in a small trailer to house the goats for travel.  So, I'm on my way.

Much thanks in helping me every step of the way to my friend and mentor, Jane Bailey at Tiny Town Goats.  She not only advises, but has made every step of the way truly fun!

Monday, September 13, 2010

New Website!

I have a new website!  There's still a lot of editing and work to be done, but it's up and running.  Check it out here:

Tiny Town Sweet Serenade (Sara) has arrived.  Pictures soon!  She's taking a good bit of bullying from the rest of the herd, but is doing very well. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sweet Garden Petals - For Sale

I've reached the difficult decision to sell Petals.  Details are on the For Sale page.

I have purchased a new doeling, Tiny Town Sweet Serenade, "Sara", who will be joining my little herd within the next week or so.  Watch here for pictures and more information.   Sara will join Blossom in the show ring next year.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blossom's First Win!

Blossom and I attended the Queen Anne's County Fair yesterday.  They have an ADGA sanctioned Dairy Goat show.  Blossom won the blue ribbon in her class which was Intermediate Nigerian Dwarf Kid:

That's me on the far right with Blossom.  Didn't she set up pretty!  The goat kid in the middle is actually Tigger's granddaughter!  When we went up against the yearling doe later in the competition we just couldn't compete though, so Blossom didn't win Junior Champion.   Blossom is only four months old. We had a great time.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pickles, Pickles, Pickles

Pickles are everywhere!  I've been making batch after batch.  Last year I only had enough cucumbers to make half a recipe of Bread and Butter pickles.  This year I planted plenty cucumber plants to make sure I had enough and they are going crazy!!  I have sooo many little pickling cucumbers.  But finally the plants are beginning to give out. 

I don't like dill pickles, so I don't make those, just sweet ones.  I make a Bread and Butter pickle recipe that was my husband's mother's, and a Virginia Sweet recipe from my mom.  They both make old fashioned sweet, crunchy pickles.  I haven't actually counted, but I have quite a few dozen pint and quart jars in the cupboard.   Tomorrow I plan to make a double batch of Bread and Butter and slice and make the syrup for my last batch of Virginia Sweets.  I think I'm about pickled out...

I also have pickled Golden Beets in the refrigerator, but that's another post.  :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pigs Arrive !

We picked up our feeder pigs on Sunday.  The reddish one on the left is a Tamworth, and the black one is half Tamworth, half Large Black.  Tamworth and Large Black are both heritage breed pigs that do well on pasture.  Both breeds are known for their friendliness.

Although, I'm not sure I want them too friendly, and they are kind of cute..

We plan on enjoying delicious pork this winter.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sweet Garden Crottin

Mold-ripened Cheese Success!!  I made three little cheeses two weeks ago, and here are the two remaining ones.   We ate one Monday evening and I'm thrilled with the flavor and texture.

The little cheese was just starting to liquify under the rind.  The taste is very similar to a Brie.  Yippee!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Farewell to Una

Well, I know I said I planned to keep Una here as a pet, but I have changed my mind for two reasons.  First, I want more milkers and every goat I keep that is not contributing to my milk supply is taking up the space of a doe that could.  

Second, Una has been causing serious problems within the herd.  She has been unreasonably harsh with Melody and the two kids.  I had hoped that this would abate as Melody was here longer, but it has not, and I really do need Melody to blend in and be happy here.

So I have returned Una to the breeder I bought her from.  She will find a pet home for her. 

I'm sad about this and will miss Una.  When it was just Tigger and her she was very sweet, but once she got the chance to be dominate over someone she simply became mean.  Tigger, our herd queen, has not been nearly as harsh to the kids and Melody as Una has.

I guess this is one of those times when a goatkeeper has to decide whether the goats are pets or farm animals.   I really have been thinking of them all as pets, but I probably should change my thinking a little if I want to be able to cull as necessary to have a quality herd.  Sometimes these life lessons are difficult, but still they are an important part of the journey.

Here's Una about a week after she arrived here with Tigger in September 2008.  Behind her you can see the framing for the barn which was not yet complete.   Bye Una.  I sure hope your new owner cares for you well and that you are happy in your new place with your new herd.   Goodbyes are hard...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Five Goats on Spools

I finally managed to get a good picture of all five girls on the spools.  I really need a lighter background to show Melody properly, but I think it's a really good picture.  I took quite a few to get this one.  Isn't it cute how Blossom (on the left) and Petals are snuggled together?

And here's a really good shot of Melody.  The one I posted here last week really doesn't look like her at all.  This one does.  She is all black with a little white on her head, ears and nose.   She's smaller than either Tigger or Una.  She probably weighs about 65 pounds.

I'm very pleased with her and hope she soon melds in with the rest of the herd.  I like for all my girls to be happy.

Today's Menu:
Breakfast:  Quiche, Sausage, Gogurt with Blueberries
Main Meal:  Italian Casserole, Green Beans
Evening Snack:  Salami, Assorted Cheeses, Dark Chocolate and Wine

Ingredients from today's menu courtesy of Sweet Garden Farm:  Eggs, cheese, milk, chives and garlic in quiche; gogurt; zucchini, tomatoes, and garlic in Italian Casserole; Green Beans; Assorted Cheeses for Evening Snack.  The Blueberries with breakfast were picked locally about five miles from the farm.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Chicken Butchering (not for the faint of heart)

We butchered our Cornish Cross Broilers in 3 batches, aiming for a live weight of 4 and a half pounds to get a dressed chicken of 3 pounds.  Here's how it went:

The Condemned.

The Killing Cones.



Plucking feathers using a "Duck Naked Plucker."



 On ice and ready for the freezer.  These were just the first four.  Yes, you are observant dear blog reader.  Hubby did most of the work, and certainly all of the nasty work.  I received a relatively clean little naked, headless, gutless body for a final rinse and pin feather removal.  I weighed and recorded each bird and labeled and packaged them for the freezer.  And, of course, I'm in charge of cooking them!

We would do this again.  We know that we have way healthier chicken then we could buy anywhere.  They are organic, pastured, and soy-free.  These first ones were six weeks old at butchering.  We did a second batch a few days later, and the final four at few days after that at seven and a half weeks old.  We did well at our goal of a three pound bird. 

We now have 26 Freedom Ranger Broiler chicks in the brooder.  They will be one week old on Wednesday.  We plan to butcher them in about 8-9 weeks, aiming again for a live weight of 4 and a half pounds.

Today's Menu:
Breakfast:  Apple Gouda Sausage, Pumpkin Breakfast Bake, Gogurt with Blueberries
Main Meal:  Chicken Casserole, Green Beans
Evening Snack:  Assorted Cheeses, Salami, Dark Chocolate and Wine

Ingredients from today's menu courtesy of Sweet Garden Farm:  Eggs and Chevre in Pumpkin Breakfast Bake, Gogurt, Chicken, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Basil, and Mozzarella in Chicken Casserole, Green Beans, and assorted cheeses.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Melody Arrives

Announcing the arrival of Tiny Town Blue Suede Shoes (Melody) at Sweet Garden Farm.    I simply didn't have enough milk with Tigger and Una.  Tigger is doing a great job, but Una just doesn't have any capacity at all.  I believe that repeated bouts of udder edema at her freshenings have destroyed her udder.  She was only giving a tiny bit of milk so I have dried her off.

Tigger is now joined by milker Melody.  Between the two of them I am now getting about 3/4 of a gallon of milk each day.  That should work for my cheesemaking plans, at least for now.

Melody is very submissive and nonconfrontational and I'm afraid that Tigger and Una have really been taking advantage of her desire not to get into any arguments.  They have been pushing her around pretty roughly and she just runs away.  She will have been here one week tomorrow and I think she is finally starting to settle in.   Tig and Una were a little nicer to her yesterday and today.  I don't think she's been eating as much as she needs to because of the stress of the move, so I've been taking her into the milk room several times a day so that she can eat without having to fight off Tig and Una.  This is just a temporary help for her, I think that soon she will be chowing down just like everyone else.  So, here's the whole team:

I tried to get a shot with everyone looking at me, but with five it's difficult.  Eventually I'll get a nice herd picture of them all.  I also need a head shot of Melody for the side bar.

We added one more cable spool to the barnyard, so now there are four.  Petals and Blossom will share one with no problem so I think we are set!

Monday, June 21, 2010

In Memory of Katie

Last night we put down our Golden Retriever, Katie. She would have been twelve years old this October. Just last week she stopped eating and became very lethargic. The vet did tests and xrays and informed us that she had a mass below one of her lungs. The blood tests were consistent with cancer. We brought her home with special food and instructions, but she quickly began getting worse. And now she is gone.

Katie was a wonderful pet and companion. She was technically my step-daughter's dog, but her first love was for my husband. He trained her and took her hunting, both waterfowl and upland birds. She was very smart, like most Goldens, and had those great expressive eyes they have. She was the easiest dog ever to house break. Since I'm the one who was home, I did a lot of the work in that regard, and man, was she easy.

When we got our French Brittany Spaniel, Maddie, three years ago, Katie let her jump all over her and cuddle with her. She was very, very patient with the annoying puppy. Our vet said at the time that she must have a very strong maternal instinct.

Katie was quite the traveller, by car or RV or truck, she was ready to go whenever we were.

She had that even temperament that Goldens are known for, and was stoic to the end. She never wimpered or cried out even as she became worse and worse the last couple of days.

Katie loved the beach and would jump in the waves to retrieve over and over again, or as long as someone would throw something out for her. She was at the beach many, many times and loved finding dead fish and interesting things to eat along the shoreline.

Life does go on, but it's lonely in the house today, knowing that Katie will never be here again. Our little pet cemetery is on the other side of the barnyard. Last night as we were walking back, after having buried dear Katie, Petals and Blossom came bouncing out of the barn "baaing" at us. We were reminded of the cycle of life. As Katie has moved on and finished her journey, so Petals and Blossom, only about three months old, have barely started theirs.

Katie was very, very much loved and will be very much missed; so long precious girl...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


This is our movable chicken cage. The chickens are five weeks old and several of them look to be about ready for butchering. We will probably weigh a few tomorrow to see. We're looking for about 4.5 pounds live weight to get a 3 pound dressed chicken.
For lunch today we grilled the one that was butchered on Saturday evening. He was 2 lbs 3.9 oz. dressed. We ate all but one breast.
We let him "age" in the refrigerator for several days to see if he would be a little more tender, but there was no difference between him and the one we ate the day after butchering. The flavor is really great, and they are not tough at all, just more firm fleshed than supermarket chickens. We are very pleased with them.
We have 25 Rhode Island Red layer chicks in the brooder. They are very cute little things and are developing colorful wing feathers. Whenever we lift one of the lids on the brooder they run to the other end in a pack. It's comical!
In about three weeks or so they'll be moved to the chicken cage or a new coop if it's ready. We need the brooder for 25 Freedom Ranger Broiler Chicks that are arriving on or about July 1.
We've read a lot online about the Freedom Rangers, that they are just as tender as the Cornish Cross, but don't have the health problems and will forage for more food. They are suppose to take a little longer to get to butchering weight. We shall see...

Garden 2010

The garden is producing very well this year so far. At left see a gorgeous display of carrots and golden beets picked several days ago. They looked so pretty in the basket I just had to take a picture!

See at the right savoy cabbage, kolhrabi, spring onions and sugar snap peas. Most of this has been harvested now.

Today's Menu:
Breakfast: Bacon, Eggs, Gogurt and Blueberries
Main Meal: Salad with Pecans, Spring Onions, and Shredded Ricotta Salata dressed with Sweet Oil and Vinegar Dressing, Grilled Chicken seasoned with homemade seasoned salt, Pickled Beets
Evening Snack: Assorted homemade cheeses and salami, goat milk ice cream

Ingredients from today's menu from Sweet Garden Farm: Eggs, gogurt, lettuce, Spring Onions, Ricotta Salata, chicken, beets, evening cheeses, eggs and milk in goat milk ice cream

Monday, June 14, 2010

Catching Up

I apologize blog readers for taking so long to get a new post written. It's been a busy time here at Sweet Garden Farm, but things have quieted just a bit this week, so there's time to catch up. With that said, here goes:

Senior Does - Tigger is milking very well, I'm pleased. She's giving better than three pounds a day in her third month of lactation. Una, on the other hand is giving just over a cup a day. I should be getting another doe for milk in a week or two. Once my new doe arrives I should have close to a gallon a day between her and Tigger and be ready for some serious hard cheese making. Once she arrives I plan to dry off Una. I also do not plan to breed Una again. She does not produce enough milk to make her worth milking, and she has delivery problems. Unless something changes, I plan to just let her live her life here in comfort as a pet.

Doelings - Petals and Blossom continue to grow and thrive. They get one bottle a day now, in the late afternoon. They are eating hay and alfalfa pellets very well, and picking at grain. They were recently moved into the main barnyard with Tigger and Una. They do have their own little area with their shelter, hay rack, food, and water. Tigger and Una can't get into the little pen because the doorway is too small. I have a gate for entry. Tig and Una have shown the little ones that they are very much in charge, but Petals and Blossom (especially Blossom) have learned to scuttle out of the way when necessary.

Laying Hens - The layers are not producing the number of eggs I was hoping for. They are about 22 months old and have never properly molted, so I wonder if that could be the problem. I did use artificial light this past winter to keep the egg production going, which worked, but it probably confused their natural rhythm for molting. Some of them appear to be "partially molting." They have missing feathers on the necks and some on their backs. I'm getting 3-4 eggs a day from my 8 hens. My "guard rooster" is doing a great job fending off predators. Or, at least, I assume so. I haven't lost any hens since he arrived. He's a very, very nice rooster. He lets me collect eggs and walk amongst the hens without being threatening to me at all.

New Layers - We have a batch of 25 Rhode Island Red chicks in the brooder right now. They were one week old yesterday. They will be our new layer flock. I should have enough eggs in the Spring for ourselves and a few dozen a week to sell.

Meat Chickens - Our meat chickens are growing well. They are five weeks old, so in about a week or so we will start butchering the largest ones. We did lose one chick the first week. He couldn't stand very well and was obviously not going to make it, so we helped him along. Then, while moving the rolling cage one got his leg broken, so we butchered and ate him last week. On Sunday we noticed that one had been injured, we think during the thunderstorm. His crop was split open, his thigh skin was broken, and a wing was damaged. So Eddie butchered him on Sunday. We are letting him age until tomorrow when we will put him whole on the grill.

The first one we ate had the right flavor, but did seem a little firmer fleshed than the chickens from the grocery store. We are not sure if that is because we didn't age it, or because they naturally get more exercise when raised in this manner.

There's more to say, but wouldn't want to bore everyone, and I can't seem to get pictures to upload, so let me work on that and post again. I still need to update on the garden and cheesemaking...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Baby Chicks Arrive

We ordered 25 baby broiler chicks and they arrived yesterday. They are all settled in to their brooder set up in the garage. We've never raised broiler chicks before, so this should be interesting. We have butchered six layer hens, and of course, many, many game birds.

They all arrived healthy and thirsty, and immediately started drinking, eating, and sleeping. They are suppose to be ready to butcher in 6-8 weeks, and since we want them on the small side, we are planning on 6 weeks. It's hard to imagine that they will grow that quickly, but that's what is suppose to happen. I'll keep you informed!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Petals and Blossom on Playset

Just had to share this precious picture of the girls on their playset. It was taken on May 4. I know they both look like they should be Tigger's daughters, but Petals, on the left is Tigger's kid, and Blossom, on the right, is Una's.

Friday, April 16, 2010

New Pictures

Above is Blossom at exactly two weeks old. And below is Petals, just shy of four weeks old.

Both doelings are growing well and thriving. Blossom, the younger, is a sturdy little thing and loves to jump and play. Petals is more reserved, and is long and lanky. She feels more like a cat than a goat. She's not as coordinated or as adventurous as Blossom.

They have a large fenced grassy area in our back yard to call their own. They have an insulated dog box for a shelter, a plastic picnic table, a large plastic playset with ramps and a sliding board, a little shade shelter that has a flat black roof they enjoy sunning themselves on, and their own food, grain, and hay.

The girls actually do play on the playset and go down the slide! It is laugh out loud funny to watch. Blossom is better at it than Petals, but Petals does get up there and enjoy herself.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sweet Garden Blossom

Una kidded Friday evening, April 2, with triplets: two bucklings and one doeling. We are keeping this doeling, in addition to Petals, so, announcing the arrival of Sweet Garden Blossom!

Blossom was butt first and had some difficulty arriving in the world. I had to reach in and get her rear legs to pull her out. I'd never done that before. Una's entire delivery was very much a learning experience with many, many phone calls to my friend and mentor for all things goat. Thank you again Jane! I was very ably assisted in the delivery by my outstanding husband Eddie, friend Kathleen, and cousin Carrie. Thanks so much to all of you. It was quite a night.

Blossom was smaller on arrival than Petals, and so is considerably smaller now than her big sister who is twelve days older. She's steady on her legs and will be chasing Petals soon. She's nursing very well. In fact, she learned faster than any of the kids I've bottle fed.

Looks like we're set for now. The plan is to have four does in milk next Spring. I should finally have enough to make all the cheese Eddie and I need, or anyway, that's the plan... Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sweet Garden Petals

Tigger kidded a text-book perfect quad delivery on Sunday morning, three bucklings and one doeling. She did a great job and I'm so proud of her. I plan to keep the doeling, so, ladies and gentlemen, presenting "Sweet Garden Petals."

Petals was the smallest and the last to be born, so she was pretty stressed afterwards. She couldn't stand and it was difficult to get her to nurse at all.

After some expert advice, I gave her some extra selenium, a shot of nutri-drench, and started feeding 1 oz. every two hours. By the last feeding last night she was sucking down 2.5 oz. Today she has gotten increasingly strong, now able to walk around and is nursing very well from the bottle.

Petals will join Tigger and Una as a milk doe for me next year about this time if all goes well. It's certainly hard to imagine the sweet little thing actually giving birth like Tigger did on Sunday!

I was getting pretty concerned about her yesterday morning, but she is really thriving now!

Welcome to the world Miss Petals!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I love Turnips -- Who knew?

Eddie's uncle plants a large patch of turnips in the field behind our house every year. Since we built the root cellar last year, we decided we should really store up some turnips for the winter. So, my dad, Eddie's cousin Carrie, and I picked more than enough turnips to last us all through the winter and stored them in our root cellar.

I tried a simple saute with them, OK, but nothing great. Then I tried a turnip and apple saute, better. Next I found two other recipes, Turnip Supreme (turnips and cheese), and Glazed Turnips and Carrots... WOW! So good! The recipes both start the same way, then at the end you add either brown sugar or sour cream and cheese. Here's how it works:

Turnips Supreme or Glazed Turnips and Carrots
2 T butter
2-3 turnips, cut into small cubes
salt to taste
pepper to taste
3/4 c. chicken broth (bouillion works fine)

For Glazed Recipe: 1-2 carrots, thinly sliced, and 1-2 T brown sugar
For Supreme: 2 T sour cream or yogurt, and 1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Melt butter in large skillet over medium low heat, pour in turnips (and carrots if making the glazed recipe). Stir until covered with butter, then let cook for 4 minutes without stirring. Stir, then let cook for another 4 minutes. Add chicken broth, cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Take off lid, turn up heat, and let water cook off. When mostly dry:

For Turnips Supreme: Stir in about 2 tablespoons sour cream and 1/2 to 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Let cheese melt and serve. YUM!

For Glazed Turnips and Carrots: Stir in 1-2 T of brown sugar. Let melt and serve. YUM!

Eddie and I found that we did not like the leftovers from these recipes. The turnip flavor was way too strong in the leftovers. So, clean it all up at the first sitting!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Little Tomme -- Vegetables

I cut into the little Tomme this past Friday night. I'm very pleased with it. It is just a mild little cheese. I thought it would be a little softer, but it's nice and firm with a nice rind as you can see in the picture. It never developed any mold at all, so I never put vinegar on it or oil. It simply sat on my kitchen counter for three weeks. I've wrapped it in wax paper and put it in the fridge now to keep it from aging any more.

To the left see the assortment of vegetables grown right here that I used for our main meal today. The turnips I picked in the field behind our house. Eddie's uncle actually grew those. They've been in the root cellar with the carrots. The green, red, and purple sweet peppers are from the freezer. It's kind of like having a grocery store right here at the house!

Today's Menu:
Breakast: Quiche, Sage Sausage, Yogurt (yes, yogurt -- I've run out of frozen gogurt) with blueberries
Main Meal: Chicken Fajitas, Glazed Turnips and Carrots
Evening Snack: Beef Brisket with homemade mayonaise, apple with peanut butter, dark chocolate, and wine

Ingredients from Sweet Garden Farm: eggs, cheese, and milk in quiche, peppers and cheese in chicken fajitas, turnips (see note above), carrots, and eggs in mayonaise

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Little Tomme

I made a little Tomme on January 27. It's been drying/aging on my kitchen counter since then. It's developed a very nice rind and a lovely delicate aroma. I plan to cut into it the end of next week, or at about 3 1/2 weeks of age. I'm hoping that it is just a nice mild cheese.

I don't have any goat milk right now so I used two gallons of Trickling Springs milk that I purchased at Whole Foods. It is gently pasteurized, and not homogenized at all.

The Tomme hasn't developed any mold, probably because it is so dry in the kitchen. It is February after all, and we have a wood fire going all of the time in the room. I'm so anxious to taste it! Of course, even if it turns out great, it will be different using my own raw goat's milk. But, it would be nice to know that I have the process right.

Today's Menu
Breakfast: Apple Gouda Sausage, Pumpkin Breakfast Bake, Gogurt with Blueberries
Main Meal: Country Fried Steak, Steamed Green Beans with Sweet Oil and Vinegar Dressing, Pecans, and Shredded Ricotta Salata
Evening Snack: Salami, Cheeses, Melon, Wine, and Dark Chocolate

Ingredients from today's menu produced on Sweet Garden Farm: Chevre, eggs and milk in breakfast bake, gogurt, milk in gravy, ricotta salata and melons (all but the eggs were from the freezer). The green beans were picked at the farm next door last summer.

February 6, 2010 Blizzard

We had about two feet of snow here in Maryland with the big snowstorm yesterday. Happily for Tigger and Una, Cousin Carrie dug pathways through the snow so the girls could move about. Tigger is six weeks from her due date, Una is seven and a half weeks from hers. I can hardly wait to have new babies and fresh milk!!

Just like last year, Tigger looked really big early, but she doesn't seem to be getting any bigger now, so she probably has triplets in there again. Una is definitely bigger than last year, so I'm still hoping for twins.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Guess How Many

Here are Tigger and Una in pictures taken yesterday. Tigger starts her fourth month this Friday, Una starts her fourth month in about two weeks or so. What does everyone think? Tigger has had triplets I think the last four years or so in a row. Una had a single, then twins, then a single last year. My prediction is quads for Tigger (I really do think she's bigger than last year) and twins for Una. Post your predictions in the comment section.

Oh, also - Tigger, two doelings, two bucklings, Una, twin doelings. Last year was a buck year for me, three bucklings and one doeling, so I'm due for a doe year!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Organic Chicken

I subscribe to and follow the postings of Dr. Mercola at Yes, he can be a little annoying and too commercial, but I still think he's on the right track with most things. I also like that he changes his mind when new information comes out.

Well, not long ago he had a post where he said that organic meats are actually more important than organic produce. I grow most of my own vegetables. We eat fresh from the garden, or from the freezer and root cellar twelve months a year. So, the vast majority of our produce is organic. And, I've found an organic grass-fed beef provider that I am thrilled with, Nick's Organic Beef, but I haven't found chicken that I like so, I've just been purchasing the regular chicken from Whole Foods. It's hormone and antibiotic free, but not pastured or organic. The cut up organic chicken at Whole Foods is very expensive. So, yesterday at the store I decided to try something different. I purchased three organic, pastured whole chickens. They were $2.69 a pound. Yes, pricey, but way less than the skinless boneless nonorganic breasts.

The smallest of the three I put in the freezer to grill whole. I cut the other two whole chickens up into pieces. I now have two packages of skinless, boneless breasts, one package of leg quarters, one package of wings for buffalo wings, and two carcasses in a pot on the stove for making soup. I should get about five meals out of the two chickens. That comes to less than $4.00 per meal for pastured organic chicken. Works for me!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Updates: Mice, Pregnancy, Goat Nutrition and some Recipes

Mouse Update: 54 mice killed in the barn since it was finished in the Fall of 2008.

Pregnancy Update: Tigger is looking very, very pregnant and she's not into her fourth month! She always has triplets, but maybe this year quads?!?! Una looks a little bit pregnant, not really much bigger than her normal tummy. She is about 10 days or so behind Tigger and is not likely to have more than twins. I'll be happy with one as long as it's a doeling and as long as Una comes through healthy and well. She had a difficult kidding in 2009.

Goat Nutrition Update: I've been working hard on my feeding program for 2010. I started with my two does in the Fall of 2008 and basically duplicated what the breeder had been doing. I did want to feed as organic and natural as I could, so I've made some changes. Last year's milk production, especially from Una, was less than I expected. I think some of that was my fault, due to ignorance. There are so many things that work together to unable each doe to live up to her full milking potential. This year I want to be very careful of my calcium to phosphorus ratio, using alfalfa and whole oats in proper proportions. I'll be providing kelp mixed with copper and selenium rich herbs, baking soda, and celtic sea salt (rich in minerals) free choice.

I'm right now trying to decide if an additional standard goat mineral supplement is necessary. I have received different opinions from experts, so I'm just not sure yet. I don't like the idea of giving my goats artificially produced vitamins and minerals, but I certainly will if it proves necessary.

Low Carb Ground Beef Vegetable Soup
1-2 organic garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 organic onion, chopped
3-4 cups chopped low starch organic vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and/or carrots)
1 can diced organic tomatoes (or 28-32 oz. fresh tomatoes)
about 3 cups water
about 3 t. Better Than Boullion
1 pound organic grass-fed ground beef
2 T organic butter, if desired
salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef, garlic, and onion in soup kettle. Pour off grease if necessary. Add all other ingredients and allow to simmer for an hour or two. Taste to adjust salt and pepper. I like to serve this with a big block of cheddar cheese. YUM!

I made this recipe this afternoon. I used zucchini and tomatoes from the freezer, and carrots and cabbage from the root cellar.

For lunch today we had this:

Low Carb Chicken Fajitas
Olive oil
1 lb. chicken breast, cut in strips
Fajita seasoning*, to taste
1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1-2 cups shredded cheese, Monterey Jack or whatever you have on hand

Brown the chicken breast in the olive oil in a large skillet. When the chicken is no longer pink, add the onion and peppers on top. Sprinkle on the fajita seasoning and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender crisp. Taste for seasonings. Turn off the heat, sprinkle cheese all over the mixture and cover for a minute or two until the cheese melts. Serve with salsa.

I used a red and green bell pepper from my freezer, and homemade mozzarella cheese. I served it with carrot salad made with carrots from the root cellar and mayonnaise made from our chicken eggs.

*Fajita Seasoning
4 T chili powder
2 T cumin
2 t. oregano
2 t. garlic powder or garlic salt

Mix all of the above together and use in place of Fajita seasoning in any recipe. You'll need to add salt and pepper to taste. I keep this mixed up and ready to use in my spice rack.