Chickens, Farming, Greenhouse, Maple Syrup, Meat Animals, Meningioma Tumor/Healing, Rhubarb

More Changes at the Farm

I’m telling you, this has been some crazy kind of year for the Lee’s!

Recently our septic system failed, so a new summer project came up as well as changes for the farm. We only have an acre of land and apparently our old septic system was severely undersized for the number of bedrooms we have. This means that we can’t just dig up the old system and put down new pipes and fill etc. We have to actually move the entire septic system to a new location on the property. The only space that is available is the one at the bottom of our hill, which is where the laying hens were and the gardens. This means that we have to cut down several trees in the area and we got rid of the chickens. We were planning to have these chickens until fall then put them in the freezer and build a new coop before we got any more chickens, however, we had to get rid of the chickens before we could get a septic design so, the chickens are in the freezer a little sooner then anticipated.

We were planning to have meat birds again this year. We changed our mind and decided not to do them as we have this big project on our hands now. Our friends at Mahalo Farm right down the road will have two pigs for us and that is the extent of our animals at the moment. They would also be happy to sell pork to you in the fall.

I am only planting in our greenhouse and at our away field (about a half mile down the road). Our away field will be squashes and pumpkins in the entire field. We grew potatoes there last year, and squash is pretty low maintenance, once it gets large enough.

In the greenhouse we will have, tomatoes, peppers, basil, green beans and possibly some lettuce, but I might put the lettuce in pots on the porch instead, we will see how that pans out.

Overall it is a big change for the farm. This is both a relief and sad for us. We were trying to simplify after my surgery and this is a forced simplification.

We are still planning to ramp up our syrup production in the spring of 2020.

Meningioma update: I had my first follow up MRI and it looked great, the doctor had no concerns and this will be my new baseline MRI. Hopefully there won’t be any growth detected ever or at least for many, many years. This is wonderful news and we are very grateful!

One thing that came about since my surgery is that one of my knees really started hurting. I had fallen down the stairs while holding #3 when he was just a couple weeks old (about 4 years ago) and twisted my knee. This seemed to have repaired itself and had not caused me pain for sometime, until one of my children rammed into me a couple of years ago and my leg twisted again. I had some pain and a constant uncomfortableness, but it was not unbearable nor did it impede my motion or walking etc. About a month after my surgery, when I was done with any drugs and not taking even advil daily and began moving around more, my knee became so painful I couldn’t walk for a few days and had trouble sleeping. Apparently my head had been hurting so badly that I didn’t realize that my knee was badly injured. I had torn some cartilage and meniscus in my knee. Hoping to avoid another surgery, I am now doing physical therapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles and it is working very nicely.

Since my surgery I have come to find out that I was really, really lucky not to have any life altering problems after my surgery. I still have trouble when there is a lot of overwhelming noise and commotion sometimes and I have trouble remembering words on occasion (ok, sometimes several times a day if I am tired – but that could just be because I am getting older right???), but this is so minor compared to other complications. It could have been so much worse. River knows of someone who was diagnosed after me and had surgery and it is like she had a stroke since her surgery, she has a droop to one side of her face and has trouble with one side of her body working sometimes. I feel that we were remarkably lucky that I did not have any complications with the surgery and recovery. Amazing.

I will be selling seedlings at the bottom of the driveway beginning next Saturday. I will have, tomatoes, pepper seedlings as well as rhubarb plants that need to be divided so if you need any rhubarb plants for your yard come on over! We also have maple syrup still available.

Enjoy the week, hopefully it will warm up soon!

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Chickens, Farming, For Sale, Maple Syrup, Meat Animals

Changes

This has been a year changes for our family and it is only April 1st! We have decided that we need to change our focus on the farm.  Since I am still recovering from my surgery, I tire easily, we decided that we needed to shift our priorities to spend more time with our children right now and less time farming. We will still be growing meat for ourselves on the homestead, but we have decided not to grow meat to sell anymore.

Instead we are going to focus on growing our maple syrup production! This is a wonderful venture that we are undertaking with a lot of excitement and joy as it is our favorite part of the farm; from checking the sap lines and installing new ones in the forest, identifying animal prints in the snow, sitting in the sugar house while sap is boiling away, smelling the sweet steam, watching the water vapors rise to the cupola and drift out of the sugar house on rays of sunshine, seeing the beautiful colors of the maple syrup as it is bottled and cleaning up after each run, getting to taste the drips and the extra bits of each batch of syrup, to our big Maine Maple Sunday party! We just love this part of farming so focusing on this seems like the right direction for us to go.

We still have meat in the freezer from 2018 that we would love to have you put in your freezer instead of ours. We will have the freezer in the sugar house open for the rest of this week then we will be moving the meat to our freezer inside and it will only be available if you call ahead or stop by when we are home.

The seedlings are started for tomatoes and peppers and some flowers that A wanted to plant. Greens have been planted in the greenhouse (I found one tiny kale plant that had seeded itself, growing in the greenhouse when I was planting this years springs greens!). I may have tomato seedlings for sale in a couple months – I planted way too many tomatoes and peppers!

Spring is for new beginnings and we are beginning with a new plan for the future, we look forward to seeing you all soon!

Food storage, Meat Animals, Recipes, Vegetables

Duck Broth

A few weeks ago, River helped some friends slaughter meat ducks. We got a duck, yummy, the necks for broth, and the livers, hearts, etc.

River loves liver, usually we invite my grandmother over who also loves liver when we make something like this. The boys and I don’t care for it.

Using my insta-pot, I put leek greens from our garden, parsley from a friend and duck necks in the pot and added water. I don’t usually add salt or pepper until i am using the both in a recipe. I covered my pot, made sure the vent was closed and set it for an hour.

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This will be broth soon!

When it is done, I will strain the broth and store it in 1/2 gallon jars in the fridge. This time of year, I make one or two soups a week. It always tastes good on a chilly day and I heat some up for River and #1’s lunches and put it in a thermos for them, so nice to have a hot lunch when it is cold outside.

Duck necks have a lot more meat on them then chicken necks! I think there were 6 necks in the bag and I got almost a quart of meat from them.

Yummy, nutrient dense, broth in an hour. I had already cooked some pumpkins that were not going to store in the pot this morning and roasted some of them in the oven. On the docket for dinner tonight, Roasted pumpkin and black bean soup. I will be putting the steamed pumpkin in 2 cup jars in the freezer for future pies and puddings, muffins or anything pumpkin!

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Roasted Pumpkin
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Steamed Pumpkin
Farming, Meat Animals, Vegetables, What’s For Dinner

What’s For Dinner? Summer Squash

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Yummy!

We harvested our first summer squash today from the garden, I’m not sure how many more squash will appear from this beauty. My huge and beautiful summer squash plant, has been damaged, my guess is by a boy…they are sure it wasn’t, but you know, summer squash is in the greenhouse this year, so not so many other creatures could damage our plants…

Tonight I made a lovely dish, I put chopped up garlic scapes in some bacon grease and sauteed them while #2 sliced the squash, then I added the summer squash and sauteed until cooked adding salt and pepper. When they were fully cooked I added chopped basil and turned off the stove.

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In progress

I also made a lovely salad with leaf lettuce, cilantro, basil and oregano. I added some apple (procured in the discount basket at the local market), goat cheese (I usually like to make my own, my brothers goats aren’t producing enough for me to barter with them right now), balsamic vinegar and olive oil, soooo delicious!

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The finished product, so delicious!

I sauteed up a ham steak just to warm it slightly to serve on the side.

All the greens and veggies and the ham was from our farm, I love that!

Enjoy what you can produce on your land, everyone can grow

Farming, Meat Animals

This Little Piggie Stayed Home…

We have piggies! Our piggies are happily rooting up the hillside at Mahalo Farm with there piggies. Mahalo Farm has an area that needs to be cleaned up in preparation for a future orchard. It is awesome that while growing our food, we can also prepare an area for growing more food!

Check out Mahalo Farm on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/MahaloFarmME/

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These little piggies love to be scratched all over…
Chickens, For Sale, Meat Animals

Roasting Chickens

Folks, we have about two hundred chickens growing right now. Our first batch will be available for roasting on July 7th!

Come join us on the 7th to pick up a fresh chicken, or starting the next day a frozen chicken. We do the processing right here on our farm, feel free to check it out!

Meat Animals, Recipes

GF Pizza with Asparagus, sautéed onions and Sausage

My cousin Tricia gave me this recipe for a Grain Free/GF pizza crust using almond meal flour. We don’t make it often because almond meal is expensive, but we all enjoy it when we do!

For toppings I used onion, Firehouse Farm asparagus, Firehouse Farm red sauce, made last summer and canned, Firehouse Farm sausage and a mix of a Maine made cheddar from Sonnental Valley Dairy and Organic  Valley Mozzarella.

2 cups almond meal

1 cup arrowrootpowder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp thyme/oregano/marjoram (I don’t usually put this in)

1/4 tsp pepper

3 eggs

1/2 cup coconut milk (I use cow or goat milk usually)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Put all ingredients in a mixer and mix thoroughly, dough will be scoopable.

Scoop onto pizza stones or cookie sheets that have been greased. Spread the dough with a spoon to desired shape, trying to leave the edges higher then the middle to contain the toppings later.

Place in oven for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and put on desired toppings and put back in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes and enjoy.