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!

Monday, September 27, 2010


Also known as Aubergine, the eggplant grows abundantly in our garden. We planted both the "Black Bell" or purple globe eggplant and the Japanese eggplant sometimes called nasu. Both varieties flourished in the garden this year and the heaviest picking will be in the next few days.

I try to leave the eggplant on the bush until I can use it immediately. By that I mean within a few hours. The quality and the flavor can't be matched. Tonight we had Eggplant Parmesan O'Brien style!

First I picked one of each variety of eggplant, along with some especially ripe tomatoes, a small zucchini, and green onions. I added to the vegetables some garlic, bread crumbs, olive oil, salt and cheese.

After washing the vegies, the slicing and chopping and layering began. Eggplant, dipped in bread crumbs, layers into a small casserole dish with olive oil in the bottom. Once the eggplant had all been breaded, an extra drizzle of olive oil over the top finished it off. Then the sliced zucchini was tucked around the edges and across the top of the eggplant along with addition of freshly chopped garlic.

Next the super ripe, and wonderfully sweet tomatoes were chopped and piled on top of everything already layered in the casserole dish. At this point a dash of salt was also added.

Here it is ready for the oven. The Eggplant Parmesan was baked or roasted at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes. The edges of the tomatoes were turning brown and it smelled good enough to eat! At this point, add a mixture of grated mozzarella cheese and grated Parmesan cheese. I put about 3/4 of a cup of cheese over the top of the bubbling hot casserole. Then popped it back into the oven for about 10 more minutes.

You can see the cheese has melted thoroughly and the edges are browned. Here is a closer look! Be sure to use the scratch and sniff button!

There were extra green onion slices so they were scattered across the top of the Eggplant Parmesan and it was ready to serve. This was a big enough casserole for dinner for two and leftovers for lunch.

Eggplant Parmesan O'Brien Style served with garden green beans, mmm-mmmm!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall Breakfast

Autumn mornings are definitely here and the farm is such a pretty place at this time of year. My dad came down to Southern Oregon to visit and to do some maintenance and minor repairs on his father-in-law's place. He took time out of the work schedule to visit the farm.

We had a breakfast of bacon, eggs, biscuits, and blackberry jam and nearly all of the food was produced on the farm. In fact, one of the producers came to breakfast!

We visited, ate, drank coffee and watched the neighboring farm gear up for a fun filled day of visitors at the corn maze.

Thanks for a great start to the day, Dad!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Autumn Has Arrived!

The first day of autumn has arrived and the echo of the Canada Geese is in the air! The honkers are flying in formation, but they still can't resist the freshly cut corn fields all around us! Happy Fall~

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Garden that Wouldn't Stop!

Even with the changing seasons and the drop in temperatures, our little farm garden just keeps producing. Which of course means we keep harvesting and canning and freezing.

Although the days seem so busy right now we are very thankful for all the delicious food the garden is putting out.

The rains over the past few days have encouraged more growth and ripening.
As soon as the first frost hits, the grapes will be ready to pick, the walnuts will begin to drop, and the rest of the garden will be cleaned out. In the meanwhile, we will keep picking, preserving, and pickling!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

End of Summer Rain

It has been a warm, rainy, wet week end and summer is nearing the end. It couldn't be more beautiful in Southern Oregon as we prepare for the Autumnal Equinox!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pigs on the Farm

The homegrown pigs have had a great time reaching maturity. We really enjoyed this group of porkers each with its own personality. Pigs are very smart animals and develop games to keep themselves from becoming bored and to entertain one another.

Here one of the pigs is a comedian and the chickens are the audience!

Now this pig insisted on carrying a stick around. Sometimes he would drop the stick and grab it before another pig could pick it up. It was a modified version of Keep Away!

Then there was the tireless and timeless game of tag. The pigs would choose one to be "it", and the other pigs would chase the one that was it. When caught all the pigs would roll around together.

There was plenty of time in the pasture for grazing, wandering off to the spa for a mud bath, a roll in the dust to cool off, and moving freely from pasture to pasture. The ten pigs have been butchered now and they will be filling the freezers for many happy families.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Can you believe the blackberries are still going strong? We have the smallest patch of prolific berries on the farm and they produce from mid August until the middle of October or until the first frost. We have been more diligent at picking the ripened berries as quickly as they turn black because the weather this year has been a little more unpredictable than usual. The berries just need to be rinse thoroughly, drained, stored in freezer proof containers, labeled and frozen. Then when the rest of the harvest is put up, we will make syrup and jelly and jams and blackberry cobbler and blackberry muffins with our frozen berries. Of course there has been plenty nibbling of the fresh berries as they are picked and rinsed!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Green Beans

Here are a few photos of the time with green beans!

We have picked and snapped many, many green beans this summer. The beans are such a treat especially during the holidays when the family is gathered close. During the busy canning season, the green beans seem to offer a pause in the busy summer schedule because they require snapping.

They are often a filler during the day while watching the pressure canner. We have taken our canner outside and put it on the campstove to keep the kitchen cooler during the hot summer days.

Don't forget how tasty the beans are cooked with a little bacon and onion!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Apple Goodness

The apples are earlier this year than in years past, so we began picking in early September.

We have seven different varieties of apples on the farm. One of them is the old fashioned gravenstein apple. They make delicious applesauce, pie, crisp, etc.

You can't go wrong with the old time flavor of a Gravenstein. We also have Crispins or Mutsu, Golden Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Jonathan apples.

With the late frost snapping many of the blossoms, and our water shortage this summer we feel especially lucky to get as many apples as we did.

Some were much smaller than they might have been with a steady, adequate water supply, but they sure have a great flavor.

There are plenty of tasty apples for sauce, fresh eating, pie, and apple crisp. It takes about two hours for a large batch of applesauce to cook down. We don't add too much to the apples other than a splash of water in the bottom of the pot to keep them from scorching.

This batch does have a sprinkling of cinnamon and some freshly grated nutmeg. The spices seem to strengthen in flavor after the applesauce is canned, so less is more for our taste buds.

Now there will be plenty of sauce for our homegrown pork!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dill Pickling

We have been busy, busy, busy on the farm! There is so much to harvest and put away for the winter months and as always, everything is ripening at the same time. Then there is the yearly rush to gather in all the good foods before the first frost.

Here are some of the goodies from the garden all gathered together for one pickling! The red peppers, dill, cucumbers, carrots, celery, and garlic all gather together for the tastiest, snappiest delightful dill pickles!

Once all the ingredients are pulled together and scrubbed clean, it is time to prepare all the vegetables for the jars. Peeling, slicing, trimming keeps everything looking and tasting delicious.

It also helps tremendously to have a wonderful husband who helps with all of the chopping, peeling, and canning!

Then layer all the spicy, aromatic deliciousness into the clean, warm jars. Dill on the bottom, garlic, cucumbers, carrot strips and celery sticks to make them extra fancy, more garlic, more dill and then the vinegar brine.

Once these jars have set for at least 6 weeks, put a jar into the refrigerator and let it get nice and cold. These pickles really taste the best at Christmas time and they go so well with any left over or full course meal you might have with the family. These pickles can also become a meal with some fresh bread and butter!