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All posts in October, 2013

I made up this recipe a while back.  It looks really weird, but it tastes amazing!  I’m posting it now because a dear friend has a cracked jaw and needs recipes for liquid foods, but I make it every now and then just because it’s so good!

Serves 4-6 dinner portions

1 quart chicken stock
1 medium sized potato, diced
1 cup chopped onion
1 ½ cup chicken, chopped rough
1 package chopped frozen spinach
1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 ½ cup whipping cream
salt to taste
nutmeg, a couple dashes
1 dash cayenne pepper

Boil potato and onion in broth until well done. Add chicken and spinach, boil until done. Puree with immersion blender then stir in cheese, cream, nutmeg and cayenne. Bring back to boiling and serve.

We think this may be good with some ham tossed in, served with a light rye bread with caraway—or just saltines!

Eric and I went to Kentucky for a few days and then to Maine for a week, to visit friends with cows and hopefully get a few pointers and a little hands-on experience. It was great!!!

HUGE thanks to Kim and Mitra for hosting us on our visits and sharing so much! Thanks also to Kim’s friend Jennifer for letting me try milking her cow and goat, and to Shay for giving us a tour of her farm, a visit with her & kids, wonderful apple crisp, and offer of a possible temporary place to live. It was an amazing whirlwind of 2 weeks in all!!!! Here’s an incomplete list of what I gained, in no particular order, in addition to meeting some wonderful people:

  1. I got to drink raw milk from a Jersey/Dexter cross and from a full Jersey. Both were marvelous, but with discernible differences.
  2. I got to drink warm, freshly-filtered milk from the Jersey and it was so sweet that it tasted like it had honey in it! Not TOO sweet, just a really nice full hint of honey. Yum!!! And the cream itself was so sweet that I barely needed to add sugar to my coffee!
  3. I got to try milking a Dexter, and succeeded! I wouldn’t want to milk this particular cow by hand on a regular basis because her orifices were so tiny that the diameter of the milk stream was really not much more than that of a pin and her rear teat was so close to the front that it was hard to get a good grip on, but teat length was good for me and I did get a feel for full/empty teat and how to get the milk out. It was a good experience!
  4. I got to see both the Surge and the Devalal milkers in action, including assembly, use, disassembly, and cleaning. I like the simplicity of the surge, but the volume capacity of the Devalal. I haven’t made a final decision on which I’ll go with, but my wonderful DH Eric says that either way, he’ll rig up something to do the heavy lifting for me. Isn’t he GREAT?!?!?
  5. I got to meet Dexters, a Dexter/Jersey cross, and Jerseys. I realize that each cow will have its own unique personality, but it appears to me at this time that Dexters are more self-sufficient and less apt to walk up to a stranger than the Jerseys. This might be a function of herd size and individual differences and differences in handling, or it might be a more general reality–maybe someone can offer input on that?
  6. I was shocked to get to Maine and find cows at TWO farms that stayed inside the electric tape WITH IT TURNED OFF!!!! And no other fence used at all! Wow.
  7. I saw everything from milking in the yard at a rudimentary headgate to milking in a barn with only a headgate to milking in a milking room with steel pipe stanchion on one side and no headgate, only a loose chain around the neck. I did not see a full stanchion as I’ve seen in pics , at all. I guess that’s all up to individual preference and individual cow necessity.
  8. I saw pigs in electric netting, turkeys in their yard, chickens wandering all over the place or in their own fenced area, even CornishX chickens running to me like I was the pied piper and gathering around and even following me! They were a lot more active than I’d been led to believe they would be.
  9. I’ve learned of some of the “little” things that need to be done and considered how we might simplify.
  10. I was told by an AI tech that Dutch Belted are very nice cows! Yes, I got to meet an AI tech, too!
  11. I got a glimpse of a farmers’ market from the vendors’ side of the table.
  12. I met a LOT of really nice people!
  13. I got to try meat from both Dexter and Jersey–and I gotta say that both are the BEST beef I’ve ever tasted! They’re not the same, but they’re equally great!

In addition to all of that, we found our piece of dirt in Maine, got the soil tested and talked with a contractor about driveway/septic/pad for mobile home etc. and expect to close on October 25, hoping the weather cooperates so that we can move in around the beginning of December. This was a marvelous trip overall and I highly recommend pre-mentoring for those folks who don’t yet have a farm or experience, or even for those who do. I am truly thankful for all of the opportunities!!!!