Just a couple of pictures of a charming and curious heifer.
I didn’t notice how googlie-eyed she was until I looked at her picture. If there was a prize for most talented and beautiful heifer in Escambia County I would choose her.
I did a quick water garden project this past week with some wonderful results. A client asked me if I could help her get ready for a garden club visit in a couple of weeks. She has a large water garden but her plants have outgrown it over the years so she’s taken to filling kiddie pools with the cuttings. When the local garden club asked her to tour the garden she wanted to get rid of the unsightly pools, but not the plants. I suggested we dig the pools in and use spare slate stones from the original pond with some pieces of driftwood from the creek for the finish. I think the expansion proved quite beautiful and it didn’t cost her a dime in new materials.
My apologies for the bad picture quality, but I only have my crappy cell phone camera to work with.
I went to visit Udder Chaos Farm in Milton Florida on September 11th. A few night before I had seen an ad on Craigslist for a beautiful Nubian doe named Lil-Bit with similar markings and colorings to Phil & Lil. I knew when I saw her picture that she would be coming to live with me and after I spoke with her keep, Allison, I was even more sure, so I packed up the kennel carrier in my truck and headed off to Milton to pay a visit to the farm. Udder Chaos is a mixed breed goat ranch and a small batch dairy that sells goat milk soaps online. Allison also told me she would work with me to breed Lil this fall which would be awesome! We still have to hammer out the details though, but when we do I will let y’all know and we can experience honey-mooning, pregnancy, kidding, and milking together!
Phil & Lil took a little while to get used to Lil-Bit and there has been some butting heads and some pushing and shoving, especially at dinner time. Phil is much more aggressive than Lil, as Lil was already dominate over Phil I think he is competing with Lil-Bit for 2nd spot now. As Phil is 3 times as big as Lil-Bit I think he’s gonna be second goat on the totem pole for now, but Lil-Bit has a lot of growing to do.
Take a look at the eye markings on Lil and Lil-Bit, don’t they look like they could be sisters. The top is Lil, the bottom is Lil-Bit.
I’m sure I thought about writing about this experimental plant back at the beginning of summer, maybe I did write about it, maybe it’s redundant, but I don’t care! I love this plant!
Oh my, behold the favorical, magickal, medicinal, deliciousal, herbacious, heat loving hibiscus known as Thai Roselle, Jamaica Sorrel or Hibiscus sabdariffa. I’ve watched this stuff grow in my garden all summer anxiously waiting to see what it would do. Well, it’s doing it NOW. I harvested some tops today to sample and squeeeeee!!!!! Muy Delicioso! I made an herbal iced tea with the flower calyces; steeped them for about an hour then added sugar to taste, it’s an extremely refreshing, light tea with a berry note with a very mild hint at a sassafrassiness. Then I prepared a simple green dish for lunch out of the leaves.
This plant is amazing people! It’s used all over the world for a variety of medicines, its woody stems are made into rope fiber, its flowers are made into herbal tea, and it’s greens are a deliciously sour, fruity, greeny tasting pile of YUM. I took about 2 cups of green leaves, 3 small cloves of garlic, 1 seeded cayenne chili pepper and about 1/2 a tablespoon of sugar and lightly tossed it all in olive oil on high heat for about 45 seconds. Sooooo Good! Next time I’m gonna try it with tiger prawns, fish sauce, galangal, and a handful of ground peanuts.
If you haven’t tried this stuff, go find some! YUM! Happy Sunday Dinning Y’all!
Some new visitors have taken up residence at Bunny Goat Farm, no not the ponies this time. This is the Leptoglossus phyllopus a.k.a the “Florida” or “Southern Leaf Footed Bug.” (It’s a type of stink bug just to add to the ewwwwww factor!) I hear they’re bad for citrus and pecans, but here, they’re infesting the seeding sunflower patch, strange though, they don’t seem to be eating them, just breeding on them, ewwwww. I find this very curious. I’m going cut and hang heads to dry today so I’m not too concerned, but what I’ve found as far as management goes, suggests pesticides… of course, this is me rolling my eyes…, or field management and heavy hand squishing, these are mighty tough bugs I guess. I’m gonna hope they move on after I pull up their sunflower condos and go bother somebunny else.
As promised, here are my two beautiful new farm residents. They’re pasturing for a while at Bunny Goat Farm but they belong to my cousin. While I have them I’m gonna call them my starter ponies ’cause they’ve been here for 6 hours and 40 minutes and I already love them bunches and oodles.
I WANT ALL THE PONIES! I WANT ALL THE GOATS! I WANT ALL THE PUPPIES! I’m so glad I’m surrounded by animals and learning something vital and beautiful everyday.
Thanks to my cousin Jim, who has let me come help him with his yard services business, I’ve been able to scrap together a little money to keep the wheels turning down here on the farm. For the first half of the year I’ve been pulling in money with online freelance work but then a couple months ago, out of the blue, the company I was getting clients through shut their doors leaving me once again without a job. It’s been a rough couple of years for making a living, but thanks to a kind universe, not all is lost for me.
It’s a joy to work outside everyday and I’ve felt so much better about myself for having work. I drive a diesel tractor, use small gas driven leaf blowers, weed-eaters, and edgers. It’s noisy and smells of fossil fuel, which makes a beautiful contrast for on BunnyGoat Farm I do all my work using the old human powered methods. Among the many things I’ve learned to do is mowing hay with a scythe.
Very early yesterday morning, I was out cutting hay and thinking about thinking when a strange realization occurred to me. When I’m on a tractor I’m daydreaming, long silly dreams of a wandering mind, spinning and tossing in the waves of fancy which I promptly forget when the noise and rattle’s done. Swinging the scythe however puts my mind much at ease, the morning is silent with sound, the way that nature will be, silent with birds and bugs and wind in leaves. My scythe makes a swish at each pass and the grass lays down smooth and long behind it. My mind thinks about seasons, and weather, I notice things, I’m engaged. The old way of thinking comes back to me and a deep peace settles over me.
Because I’m human I’m happy in both ways, I’m so thankful for my modern mind.
I love playing in the kitchen, I guess that goes without saying. I love experimenting with soups, it’s easy to do and not expensive if you mess up, and easy to alter or transform if you do mess it up. This summer I’ve grown copious amounts of red malabar spinach and being very new to my palate this has led to a whole bunch of experiments. This soup was one of the best results of this kitchen play, maybe you could help me name it.
In a saucepan sauté the cayenne, and red onion with one shallow tablespoon of raw palm sugar or raw cane sugar in olive oil until the onions are caramelized. In your soup pot bring the tomato broth to a slow boil then add the sauteed onion & pepper with all the remaining ingredients to simmer slowly for 1 1/2 hours or longer stirring regularly. No roux’s needed for this beautiful vegetable stew as both okra and malabar act as thickener.
Serve with rice or fresh cornbread and happy slurping!
Of all the food in the world this is my favorite dinner, it always has been. When I was a teenager I used to come home from school and instead of grabbing chips or a candy bar I would dig through the fridge and pile a plate full of any of these leftovers I could find.
This particular evening meal though, tasted so much better than usual peppered as it was with pride. When I sat down to this plate of food it was with the thankful knowledge that, between my Mom’s kitchen garden and my own gardens, my family grew everything on this plate except for the cornbread and the corn. This meal reminded me of how every summer meal of my early childhood came from my grandfather’s garden. This plate of food made me feel like the return to the blessings of the farm table really is possible.
Everyday is thanksgiving!