Sunday, December 9, 2012

New Babies... oh how we love babies around here!

No matter how stinky or how dirty animals are the amazement of babies always seems to catch us full force around here. Ever since we started the farm and had our first baby goats born it still rings true today. When the new baby has arrived everyone drops what they are doing to go check it out.  Ever rough and tough Farmer D runs to the momma's side and usually is the first to steal a new baby away for everyone to see.
 These guys and gals are about a week old in this picture. They are still so precious. As you can tell they are not so fond of me yet and prefer to hide out behind the feeder.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Oh boy how they grow..

One day old 

Two weeks old 

These are pictures of our cornish rock X meat chickens.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Big helper

This is the best chicken coop preparer around! Little Miss E can spread more wood chips in a minute than any other chicken farmer around.  :)

Last week we decided to separate our latest batch of meat chicken into two different coops. We had a total of 43 but have lots two since we got them. When we first put them into the coop it seemed so large for them. But within one week it was beginning to become overcrowded as these chickens are specifically breed to double in size each week. They left us no choice but to separate the flock into two separate areas. The above pic is the new coop we moved 20 of them into. We put down wood chips to help hold heat and help compost the manure they drop.


I have to apologize for my absence here lately. When things are busy on the home front and farm front this is the first place that gets neglected. 
Please accept my apologies.
We have been gearing up for winter as well as the upcoming holidays. Pictures are soon to follow.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

More Homemade attempts

 Pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream cheese icing

 Fresh crispy potato chips

Little Miss E voted for the cream cheese icing as her favorite!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Homemade or attempt there of...

With the change in temperature these days I have been very anxious to spend time cooking in the kitchen.  This past weekend I challenged myself to start creating one new dish each week for the family. This is in an attempt to break from my mold of cooking the same ole same ole for dinner. I also enjoy cooking and thought this would give me the extra push I need to try new recipes or any of the ones piling up on my recipe book shelf. I started out by making a chicken corn chowder on Sunday. All was going well until I realized that I was out of saltine cracker or anything similar to add to it. So in a very brave moment I decided I would make my very own saltine crackers. The recipe was beyond easy and ending up being a huge hit with little miss E and Farmer D. I don't plan on ever buying saltines again these are my new favorite pantry item!

Homemade Saltines
1 cup of flour
2 tbs of melted butter
3-7 tbs of water

With a mixer stir together the flour and melted butter, once combined slowly add a tablespoon of water at a time until you see the mixture become more of a ball of dough and the sides of the bowl are clean. Remove the dough and roll out onto floured surface, you can add salt here if you like. Once rolled out paper thin begin to cut your crackers to the size you prefer. I used a pizza slice and made rectangle shapes as you see above.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Live mail

 Above package is a shipment of 40 cornish rock X meat chickens and 1 rare exotic breed chick.

Our latest shipment of meat chickens arrived bright and early last Friday causing quite a stir at the post office. We got a call first thing (6:00 a.m.) that the chick were in and ready for pick up. Little Miss E just so happen to be up that morning so she and I bundled up and headed off to pick up or furry new friends. Upon arrival at the post office we could easily hear where they were holding our package due to the very large chirping the babies were doing. Miss E was so excited to take them to the car and home with us. I think picking up something real and live at the post office instead of just papers was lots of fun to her. These chicks were just born on Wednesday and able to ship within 48 hours without food or water because they are still ingesting part of there egg yoke sack during this time. However as soon as we go them out of the box as you can see in the picture above they were more than happy 
to finally have food and water. All the noise came to mere peeps once the heat lamp was put on them, these girls are happy and hot now. For the first week we have to keep them at 95 degree, each week after we can decrees by 5 degrees until they reach 5 weeks and they can pretty much make it on their own. With winter quickly approaching we may give them another week with heat at night just to be sure everyone is safe.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Red Meat Pork

We just took two of our Ossabaw Island Pigs to the processor over the weekend. We were excited to have the meat back in a record two days. As quickly as I could we cooked up some of our very own all natural pasture raised pork chops. This was a long and much anticipated meal. We were delighted with the taste and are happy to have a freezer full of pork to get us through the winter. The only draw back to this breed seems to be the lack of fat and increased muscle; which in most cases is a good thing but we didn't receive any bacon from these two pigs because of that.
The Ossabaw Island pig is a natural forager. This is much of the reason we choose to raise them on our farm. They do not require any additional feed when given good pasture to gaze on. With a large vegetable garden this year we have been very blessed to have extra to pass along to all the animals. They all go pretty crazy when they see Farmer D's farm truck back up to the gate filled with garden leftovers in the back. Check back with us in about 2 months and we will have some extra meat around to sell. One of our sow's is due in December and we will need to down size again.

Monday, October 29, 2012

New farm slide

New farm slide or so to speak. The above picture features little miss E trying out or new calf hutch as a slide. We could not convince her that it was actually a shelter for the animals.We purchased this at an auction this past weekend for a steal. We are very excited to add it to the pasture since temperatures here are dropping fast lately.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sweet Potatoes; like you have never seen before.

These above are sweet potatoes that you may find at your local grocery store. 

These are Branch Farm sweet potatoes. Can you see the difference? I hated to put my foot in the picture but I wanted to show just how big these potatoes really are. 

Here comes the wheat

 After many hours of plowing and scraping Farmer D was finally able to plant some wheat on this new pasture at the farm. Here are some pictures of Little Miss E inspecting the sprouts last weekend. She acted like she knew just what she was doing.

Once this wheat is about as tall as Miss E it will be ready to turn the sheep out. We will enclose this area that will allow for additional food gazing through the winter for the animals.
This is her best fish face as she was running to tell me all about what she saw.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Down on Branch Farm

Among the many wonderful things down on Branch Farm I must say that we have the most beautiful sunsets. Not sure if you all can tell but our cow and sheep are in the dim background. This was the wonderful view we have this evening as well left the animals before dinner. Even the dog was enjoying the beautiful sky. It won't be long and I will be able to put a saddle on him and ride him around. As you can see he likes to squeeze between my legs and get a good neck scratch when we are around. He's only five months old and already nearly to my waist. We were told that he should be around 150 pounds full grown. So at that size I am defiantly thinking at least little miss E can learn to ride him around to keep us from having to get her a pony.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cooking on the Farm

I wanted to share some tips on farm cooking. Now please note that I do not profess to be a good cook but I do enjoy doing it. We have had some wonderful greens start coming into the garden over the past few weeks and I wanted to offer some tips on getting them from the farm to the table.

Green Beans: the Fall green beans we planted are called blue lake. These beans require only snapping prior to cooking. (which is wonderful as oppose to hours for having to get the strings out of them). I usually will cut all the ends of the beans and snap into two maybe even three sections before throwing into the pan. Fill the pan with plenty of water to cover the beans adding lots and lots of salt and garlic salt as well. Then adding chicken broth if you have some or a half a bouillon cube if you don't have the broth. Now most of the time I will bring the beans to a rolling boil and then turn the heat all way done for at least one hour usually two hours being careful to add water when needed.
An easier and faster way to enjoy these beans is steaming them. This works if you are in a time crunch it take around 30 minutes start to finish. Be sure to season them before you eat with salt and garlic salt.

Turnip Greens/Mustard Greens: Cleans leaves well and place in boiling water on the stove. Add a side of fat back. Let cook for 30 to 45 minutes until greens are tender. These are best seasoned with salt, pepper and a tad of butter.

Broccoli: Clean and remove stems. (keep stems if you are in the mood for broccoli and cheese soup you can them to it). Place broccoli in steamer and steam for 20 minutes. Be careful not to over-cook this can cause the broccoli to completely fall apart making for a very messy side dish. Top with salt and butter or Miss E's favorite top with grated cheese.
I have also used the broccoli this week in a stuffed chicken recipe and topped some on a twice baked potatoe. All were delicious. Or I almost forgot the easiest way to enjoy Branch Farm Broccoli is raw with ranch dressing. YUM!

More ideas and tips tomorrow. Sorry I'm tired :)
To be Continued...

Monday, October 15, 2012

In the rear view...

Even though we have sheep this is a first for me. Little Miss E and I drove to the farm the other day and decided to stop and see the sheep. I quickly became aware that we were going to be there for a while... Our sheep whom at first didn't want to be near us now have a sparked interest and are very curious in us. As soon as we opended the door we realized we were surrounded on all sides by them. It appears as if this is the first time they are even encountered a truck... They quickly learned that it made a very nice back and side scratcher for them. Little Miss E and I sat on the tail gate and got a nice rocking back and forth from all the frenzy going on with the sheep.