Monday, August 12, 2013

Grading garlic

It's coming soon....

Cleaning, grading & weighing garlic.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Curing Garlic

The barn is repaired!
The old crumbling limestone foundation is removed and replaced with a concrete foundation, back wall jacked up and rebuilt, new roof, reinforced infrastructure, cables strung from gable to gable to pull the whole thing back together, the missing boards replaced, bird entries covered with screens, new barn doors (on salvaged track) and the garlic drying racks are permanently installed. 

 New boards (they sure stick out against the red siding).  Also fixed is the hinged window
View from inside the barn, the door is built from tin extras from the shop building
The photo above shows the exterior on the hill top side.  Our barn is known as a banked barn, it refers to the back half being buried in the hillside.  This photo shows the new foundation sill and the new red siding which is where the wooden siding was cut and removed to allow Bill access to the sill.  After rebuilding the sill, he replaced the mostly rotten siding/boards with extra metal siding from the shop (bright red in this photo).  Since this is also the soil splatter area (and the back where no one sees it, the metal siding on the bottom makes a lot of sense).
Also shown here is the new white sliding door. 
Inside the barn, Bill is installing the garlic drying racks.  These are now a permanent fixture in the barn.  They are 12 feet tall.
And the 2013 garlic harvest is in! 


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Final 2012 tomatoes

In anticipation of a busy garlic harvest season, I am making a big pan of chard lasagna on Sunday to freeze for quick late night meals.  So today the last of the 2012 tomatoes went into the slow cooker to make the sauce...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Wheel hoe

The Valley Oak Wheel Hoe may be the single greatest hand tool that we use on the farm these days.  The blade/hoop attachment slices easily and cleanly through the invasives that we are continually fighting like thistle, burdock and curly dock.  This is a fun tool to use:  no bending or kneeling and it's gratifying to slice through a thick thistle plant and root! 
This photo shows the end of a garlic bed that wasn't fully planted with garlic.  I first cleared it with the wheel hoe blade attachment and then attached the 3 tine cultivator which allowed me to clear the "trash" from the bed and then loosened the soil.  I then put in some beet seeds.
Wheel Hoe - made in the USA.  Ours was purchased through the
great folks at Green Heron Tools 
 Chard in the foreground, kale in the back.  Buckwheat cover to the right.  The buckwheat is really taking it's time this spring to get going.  Some of the weeds are getting ahead of the buckwheat so the smother benefits might be minimal. 

Today, right out the front door on the county road at our church-house was a young turkey. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Barn Roof v2

No work done on Wed but today the "front" of the barn roof was finished.  Crew starts the opposite side tomorrow.

Thurs, Jun 6th

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Getting a new barn roof

Bill has done a lot of work on the old barn.  The garlic harvest is going in the barn this year (not the shop unlike the previous year since we doubled the planting quantity) so we are under pressure to get the foundation repaired, the building jacked up, a new roof and repairs to the barn board siding.

This week brings the new roof.

Sun, June 2nd


Monday, June 3rd
Tuesday, June 4th (roofers got rained out at midday)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Garlic - and canning season (Pickled Green Garlic)

The garlic is looking good.  Although we are weeks behind where it was maturity-wise last year at this time.  We've completed our first pass at weeding the beds. 

All tomatoes are transplanted.  Varieties this year are Hillbilly Potato Leaf, Illini Star, Blonkopfchen, Green Zebra, Martino Romano, Dester and Kellogg's Breakfast. (Our forever thanks to Penny at Wishful Acres for introducing us to Kellogg's Breakfast!)

Kale, Swiss Chard and a couple of pepper varieties are also transplanted.  Pepper varieties transplanted are Georgia Flame, Beaver Dam, Lipstick and Alma Paprika.

Memorial Day saw summer canning start again. 

Our first batch of pickled green garlic.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Iowa White Spread Asparagus Pizza

A springtime pizza featuring the gorgeous La Quercia Iowa White Spread, caramelized pear, asparagus and WI Sheep Dairy Cooperative Pecorino, and small amount of cubed mozzarella.

I made a whole wheat pizza crust.  Heated oven to 500 degrees and put baking stone on the top rack.  Turn broiler on for ~10 mins once oven is heated and prior to baking pizza.  (Cook's Illustrated tip! - it really heats up the stone.)

After rolling out the crust and another slight rise (I make rectangular pizzas - fits better on the peel, the stone, and the cooling rack).  Baked empty crust for 3-4 mins; just enough to 'toughen up' the crust.  Remove and let cool.

I spread the Iowa White spread, pear, asparagus and shaved Pecorino and a small amount (approx. 1/4 cup) of small cubes of mozzarella.  Bake until golden.  It was spectacular.

And for Susan - here's a photo of the barn cats.



Sunday, April 7, 2013

How to make a goat shoulder

In preparation for raising our own food, I'm embracing the challenge of cooking the cuts of our intended livestock.  At the Platteville winter market last week, lo and behold, I found goat for sale!  Raised locally by a mother/daughter team in Potosi, Glasson Valley shows and raises Boer goats.  I purchased a goat shoulder.

I liked the method of Popartichoke so I based our prep on her method - plus we just happened to have homemade harissa in the fridge.  (As a side note, I found Popartichoke in searching for goat recipes - a lot of good stuff and recipes on that blog, definitely worth checking out!)
Harissa rub on the goat cut - let rest for a couple of hours in the fridge



 Mirepoix ingredients, browned
 Ready to go in the oven
 After a couple of hours. 
 Browned and tender


 Resting - note the whole garlic bulb!

 Mixing the mirepoix

Recipe for Goat Shoulder  *Dutch oven is a necessity for this dish!
(Recipe adapted from Popartichoke)

3 T salt
generous grinds of black pepper
1 1/2 t. oregano
1 t. chopped rosemary
1 t. olive oil
2 T. Harissa (homemade)
1 1/2 t. cumin
1 t. turmeric
2 lb goat shoulder

Rub mixture on goat.  Let rest in fridge for at least 2 hours (or overnight).  Remove at least 1 hour before preparation.

2 carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced
~1/2 C dicked celeraic
sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 to 2 bulbs (whole bulbs, not cloves) of garlic.  Remove cloves and clean from 1 bulb.  Cut off the top 1/4-1/3 of the remaining whole bulb (as if you were going to roast it, and include the entire bulb in the mixture in the dutch oven.  Again, gotta give credit to Megg at Popartichoke, here - I love this idea!  
1 to 3 bay leaves
1.5 to 2 C of red wine (or more)  :)
2 C chicken stock
1 C water

Preheat oven to 250.

In dutch oven on the stovetop, brown veggies in batches in the grease leftover from your morning pancetta breakfast omelet (No?  your breakfast didn't include pancetta?  sorry, it was delicious!) or sunflower oil.  Start with carrots and celeriac and brown slightly.  Remove and brown onion slightly.  Remove.

Turn dutch oven to high.  Brown the goat.  Really get in there and brown it - don't be shy.  Get all of the sides and edges.  When turning, scrape any rub that falls off from bottom of pan and save on a plate.  Remove once browned.  Turn off stovetop heat.   Deglaze dutch oven with some red wine.  Add veggies.  Add goat, the rub that fell off during cooking and liquids.

Cover and put in oven for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, remove cover, flip meat, increase heat to 300, and cook for another 45-60 mins.

When meat is tender and falling from the bones, remove from oven.  Remove the meat from the dutch oven and cover on a plate.  If you can find the bay leaves, remove them and the whole garlic bulb.  Using your stick blender, combine the mirepoix ingredients until a gravy forms. 

Serve with couscous or rice.