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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pasta~Pea Salad

My shelling peas are ready for harvest.  This is the first year, since moving to NC, that I have been able to grow peas.  I planted mid-February, and now the shelling peas are ready for harvest.  My first bunch yesterday, and, in total, I had about 2 cups of peas.  I WANT MORE!  I love peas.  I want enough to eat now and freeze for later.  I do have about the same amount left on the plants, they need to fill out more.  But the heat will take them first.  My plants are starting to die in the heat.  I think next year I may add a hoop frame over the peas and plant more shelling peas.  Maybe the hoop frame will help them germinate and grow earlier, we will see.  But now that I know I can grow peas here with some amount of success, I am going to work at it.  LOL.  My mission MORE PEAS.

So with yesterday's harvest, I made a nice pasta and pea salad.  I started with a recipe online, but with all the changes, I only kept three ingredients, the peas, balsamic vinegar and mayo.  I kind of morphed that recipe into something I knew my family would love, and they did!!  So here it is:

Ingredients~
2 cups fresh peas
3 cups cooked rice pasta
1/4 cup diced chives
1 package fake chicken chunks (or real 2-3 cups chicken if you eat meat)
3/4 cup mayo
fresh ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Fresh lettuce
1/2 cup goat cheese crumbled

For me the lettuce, peas and chives all came straight out of the garden. 
boil the peas for just a couple of minutes, so they are still nice and crunchy, then run under cold water to cool.  Thaw the fake chicken.  Add all ingredients to a bowl and toss.  Let sit in the refrigerator for an hour or so, taste so much better if the flavors have a chance to get to know each other. 

It was such a nice lunch for a HOT day, nice and cool.  And everyone loved it so I will definitely be making it again.  Not sure the goat cheese added anything so will probably leave that out next time.  Also might add some chopped basil, that would be a nice flavor. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jackson's Wine

Jackson enjoys making wine, he really likes researching yeasts and talking to other wine makers about the process.  He has been planting different varieties of grapes on our property for about 10 years now, specifically for making wine.  He also likes to experiment with different fruits and mixtures, as well as different yeasts. 

This past weekend we bottled some of Jackson's wine.  It was made from grapes and rhubarb he harvested back in 2006, so it has been a few years in the fermenting.  He said it was delicious.  I did not taste the wine, figured it wouldn't be fair, as I have a cold, to judge a wine based on a sample I could not taste or smell.  So I will judge once the cold has passed.  He and I have different taste in wine, he likes a dry wine, woody taste.  I personally like a sweeter wine.  Sometimes he will ferment a batch especially for me.  :-)  Nice and sweet.




The process if fun for both of us, although I don't have the same passion for wine as he does.  And it is made from produce readily available on our property. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

From the Garden

I planted a few things in the garden back in mid-February.  Advice from a local farmer, and I am so glad I did.  I know I will be adding to the early planting list next year.  But as I am just finishing up planting the rest of my summer garden we are enjoying the bounty of the early plantings, lettuce, spinach, radishes and soon...peas. 

One favorite of ours is green smoothies.  I make these probably 3-4 times a week as a mid day snack, so refreshing and a great way to bring more greens into my diet.  I also ordered a new blender as mine was leaking terribly and I have not been able to fix it.  So I bought a kitchen ninja, yes that is what it is called...LOL.

Today's smoothie is made of local strawberries, we had so many that I froze quite a few, thought they would be great in smoothies, also frozen honeydew melon, fresh-from-the-garden spinach, blueberry juice, a banana, and about a tsp of honey.  It looked so delicious just sitting there in the new blender waiting, that I snapped a picture. 

Also from the garden is this radish, I just thought it looked so cute I had to snap a picture. :-)

I thought it looked like a heart, the boys thought it looked like a butt. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chickens

OK many updates to come, I have so much to blog about on the farm here, so little time.  But now it is time to slow down.  I don't enjoy being on the go so much, I have one very social child and one that is more social than I, so finding that gentle balance, where everyone is happy, can sometimes be tricky.  Sometimes I get caught up in the whirlwind before I know what happened. 

Anyway, things are coming along so nicely here, after a slow start. 

All the roosters are "taken care of".  We ordered chicks from McMurray Hatchery, great company, last year and we ordered 25.  With that purchase you have the option of a "Free" chicken.  I unchecked the box for the free chick, as I know you usually get a rooster, and I did not want a rooster.  But I got the free one anyway, and yes it was a rooster.  OK I can handle one rooster.  We then (July last year) adopted some chicks from a friend that was moving.  Great, MORE eggs.  Well she didn't have the number of  hens she thought she had.  What she had were 8 roosters, LOL.  YES 8.  And a few hens.

We knew the roosters were not staying, I have one son and a husband that eat meat, so the roosters would make great soup for them.  And knowing where the roosters came from, how they were treated, what they ate, that they were not vaccinated, and how they died, somehow feels more peaceful.  Like I am feeding my son, good~happy meat.  If he is going to eat meat, I want it to be the best I can give him, yes I am that mom.

I have not slaughtered chickens in many years, since I was a child.  Not sure if I could do it.  I saged the area, and offered a message of thanks to the chicken for nourishing my son.  I could NOT even watch the rooster be killed.  I know it is quick, but I couldn't watch and I cried.  Jackson, dh, had to do this part.  He didn't mind at all.  But it was just too much for me.  Once it was dead I could process the bird, it somehow seemed different with all the life gone.  So dipping and plucking and ...well you know what all comes next, you know what chickens look like in real life and what you buy in the store, I could help with all of that. 

We processed I think three roosters a few months ago, and were waiting for the rest to get a bit bigger, so we waited until just a couple of weeks ago to process the rest.  I now have a freezer full of meat for soups. As well as happy hens that are giving us lots of eggs.  We also purchased a chicken plucker.  That made the process go so much quicker.  Although hand plucking isn't that bad, it does take time. 

Here is a picture of the first rooster we processed:

And here is Jackson:


The soup that Phil loves:

And here is the plucker:
Now Phil wants to raise his own chickens for food, so we have ordered some chicks, due to arrive mid-month.  And we will have some extras to sell to friends.  We will see where this takes us.