Sunday, October 24, 2010

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

This is a delicious soup that combines all the ingredients available in the fall.
First, go to the herb garden and clip a bunch of purple sage. Actually you can use any color of sage, it just happens that purple is what is growing now in our garden!

Put the sage into some water until you are ready to use it.

Gather the rest of the ingredients together. Keep in mind that I doubled this recipe when I made it because the freezer is a wonderful source of fast food!

Now it is time to start chopping 4 medium onions. You can use any color, but again, purple is what was on the farm today.

Once the onions are cooking in some butter and a little olive oil in the soup pot, start cutting the 2 butternut squash. They are easier to cut than pumpkins and the butternut have small seed cavities. I found it easier to cut then in half and then in slices before peeling.

Add the butternut squash to the soup pot with the onions and let them cook together on low heat for about 10 minutes.

While you are waiting, core and chop 2 apples, and mince about 4 or 5 leaves of the sage. Then add them to the soup pot.

Next add 10 cups of chicken stock. If you don't have homemade chicken stock this one is a good stand in and it isn't too salty. These two boxes contain 8 cups, so just add two cups of water.

Once the chicken stock is in the pot, bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. Let the soup simmer until the vegetables and fruit are soft.

Get the blender ready for the puree party! You will also need an extra pan to put the puree into while you blend the next batch.

After all of the soup has been pureed, combine the silky smooth tastiness back into the soup pot for the final touches of seasoning with salt, pepper, and Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute! (Thanks Mom!)~

Serve with biscuits fresh out of the oven and peach butter, or crusty bread and butter. Enjoy with your family over candle light!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Garden Clean Up

Last weekend we cleared the end of the produce out of the garden and it is hard to believe there was still so much happening in the middle of October: Tomatillos, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchini, eggplant, squash, and pumpkins. You may see some vegetables not listed too!

The basil went into Eggplant Parmesan and there was enough goodies to make two batches, one for dinner and the other for the freezer! The tomatoes are being eaten everyday and the green tomatoes were stored in the refrigerator and will be taken out one or two at a time to ripen. The cherry tomatoes are being eaten like candy and we left two of the bushes up until it freezes.

The variety of vegies left will make at least two good batches of garden sauce. This is basically a spaghetti sauce, but it just depends on what is ripe in the garden what the ingredients will be in the sauce. The one little trick used, though is a piece of fruit. It can be an apple chopped up or a couple of plums added to the sauce that will offer an extra layer of flavor. The pumpkins are being put to good use decorating the farm fences and baking in the oven for pumpkin bread, pie, or cookies.

Once all of the garden goodness was picked and stored away, the tractor came out of the barn and we turned the plants into the soil. We also put some chicken manure and barn litter on the garden to be turned under also. The chickens will work the garden all winter long getting the bugs, weed seeds and any leftover tomatoes they fins! We also add another layer or two of straw and manure from the stalls in throughout the fall and winter to enrich the soil. Now the rains are here and it's time for walnuts!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Got Eggs?

The hens have decided to lay their eggs anywhere but in the nesting boxes lately. So we are looking in every little nook and cranny to find these delicious treats! A couple of hens decided they would nest near the tractor. I sure am glad we were persistent in finding these beauties. Once they were collected, the hens quit laying in this spot.

Then one of the feeders was getting heavily used, so we put some straw in it to make a more desirable nest. The girls were lining up for this location, location, location!

The rabbit cage has been the latest hot spot for nesters. It is the funniest idea that the rabbit cage once used for bunnies, then became part of the chick mobile, has now become a nest cage! The door is latched open so the hens can't get trapped inside. The only challenge is reaching with a long enough wooden spoon!

The amazing egg hunt is well worth it when the reward is so tasty! Anybody want to help gather the eggs?~

Monday, October 18, 2010

Field Corn Harvest

Our neighbor grows acres and acres of corn. Some of it is sweet corn, some is field corn and some is even a-MAZE-ing corn! There is about 275 acres of corn all around our small farm. At this time of year, the farmer harvests the field corn which is 10-12 feet tall, into silage or chop which is chopped up bits of corn stalk and ears of corn. This corn ferments and turns into a delicious treat for the milk cows.

Before can see our barn at the far end of the picture.




Nutrients will be returned to the soil with the green miracle, otherwise known as manure! Cover crops will be grown, hay will be baled and by June the corn will be sprouting again.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Acorn Squash!

Yum! Acorn squash is one of the garden treats that feels like and tastes like dessert! Don't let its decorative look fool you. Cut it open and start cooking!
Here is the acorn squash freshly sliced open. You do have to use a little muscle, just be patient.

Once it is open, scrape out the seeds and save them for drying for next year's garden or you can rinse, salt and roast just like a pumpkin seed! Back to the baking. Rub a little olive oil on the inside flesh to keep the squash from drying out.

Place it face side down in the pan and add some water to the bottom to keep it from scorching. Roast at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.

Remove from the oven and see the wonderful sweetness browning in the bottom of the pan? That is from the natural sugar in the squash.

The outer shell will become quite stiff from roasting. Scrape out the soft, yellow inside.

Once both shells are scraped out and the squash is placed in a bowl, add a dab of butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a handful of raisins. Mix well with a spoon and serve with dinner!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


The change of seasons has drifted in slowly and softly to the farm. While there has been so much ripening and canning and preserving going on, outside the landscape seems to be taking a deep sigh of relief.

The sky slowly filled with clouds late in the day, but the temperatures remained mild into the evening. We have yet to have a frost that will put an end to most of the gardening.

Meanwhile, the geese are gathering together in the evening sky knowing it is hunting season, migrating season, and feeding before the cold settles into the valley. I wonder what the Autumn is bringing to your home...

Washing Station

The eggs and the butternut squash are from the same color palette it seems! They each get rinsed in clean, fresh water and then are ready for storage, cooking, baking, eating! We will be making some butternut-apple soup with some purple sage this week end!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Busy with Garden Goodies

A quick shot of one of the many treats that keep ripening from the garden!

We made several batches of tomato soup to be canned for the winter months. These tomatoes are roasted first, then mixed together with a few carrots, onions, garlic, celery, and an apple for good luck! These fresh garden goodies simmer together in some chicken stock and a handful of fresh basil, then get pureed together. Once the puree is complete, the soup is ready to be served or canned.
For serving add equal parts of whole milk and soup base, heat, and eat with your favorite bread or a batch of biscuits!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

More Green Beans

Well, this is the last of the green beans, but this time we are freezing them. They can be put up quickly and they have great flavor. Besides, the pork is in the freezer and we know how much room is available for other garden goodies.

These green beans were grown at our good friend, Bob's garden. Bob is 81 years old and still manages an unbelievable garden every year. Anything Bob wants canned or frozen, we will help him put by and in trade we have beans free for the picking!

Then beans are snapped and trimmed. At this time of year they always seem to be in a variety of thickness, but bite sized pieces. There is no green bean too little to use especially at the last picking!

Garlic is added to the bean for flavor. It seems to make a big difference to have it in the water with the beans before freezing. Besides, is there really a thing called too much garlic?!

Onions and salt are also added to the beans before filling the pot with water. We use sea salt and there is no iodine in the salt. This type of salt is better for canning and freezing because it doesn't make the food limp or frumpy or less crunchy! The top of the beans were sprinkled with salt and that might have been 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt. I am planning to put a little bacon in these beans, so they won't need much salt now.

The beans and garlic and onion are set to simmer in the big pot. I let this batch cook for nearly 40 minutes. Beans can be blanched for 2 minutes or cooked for an hour before they are packed for the freezer and they will still taste great. The only time they can become waterlogged is when they are prepared in a casserole for the freezer and they haven't been properly drained or they haven't been cooked long enough.

Now the green beans are ready for the freezer. The original picking filled a two gallon bucket. We snapped them here and there for dinners and the rest went into the pot. BUT before they made it to the bag, we had a bowlful for lunch! So you can see there is still plenty of green beans for the freezer and for many happy gatherings on the farm. Thanks, Bob!

Friday, October 1, 2010

In Between Harvest and Canning

In our other work around the farm, the boat shed has been completed. It will hold three boats and trailers, and if the boats are stacked it will hold more! Tim and River Friend Wayne put it all together.

Now the gear is protected from the weather and the dropping of walnuts and out of the way for wood stacking. The work goes on!

Happy October!

The harvest is nearing the end, but there will be at least one more week end of canning and pickling before we are done.

Then the warm fires with candle light and fire glow will begin.

~Happy October~

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Change is in the Air

Our farm is surrounded by a bigger farm that produces fresh, local produce for the Rogue Valley. In addition to the local vegetables growing in the field, there are a large number of acres dedicated to field corn. This corn may grow to be 10 to 12 feet tall. It is turned into silage and fed to the cows throughout the winter. Now it is time for the harvest of the field corn.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Eye Candy from the Farm

Here is a little bit of warmth and comfort from the farm as the season slips into October!

The girls with their early morning fluff and shine!

Hen party at the barn!

Raspberries offering the last picking.

Is this seat taken?

Remember to slow down with the season, enjoy the warm surprises in every corner of your home, and take the time to look around. Have a great day!