Monday, June 25, 2007

Ag Review

Have you ever heard of "Ag Review"? Nearly every state has an Ag Review either in print or more often then not, a spot on a local radio station. They are often daily, but sometimes weekly, summaries of agricultural news for that state.
Well, here is the St. Brigid Farm Ag Review...
This past week I made my first attempt at cheese making. Here you'll see a few pictures. First I'm warming the milk, then it's dripping and finally the end product. I let it drip too long and it's a bit dry. This is called Chevre or French Style Chevre. It can be used in place of cream cheese in nearly any recipe. You can also season it as a spread for crackers. I have yet to try it but hope to make a yummy cream cheese kind of dessert for the weekend to come.

(you can click the pics for a much bigger view)

I've been busy working on the garden. I still have poles to string for beans and peas but all rows are coming through the soil now. The 9 tomato plants are in and I chose yet another method to see how they do this year. It is hard to grow tomatoes in Washington, but I'm determined. They say tires help keep the soil warm as they absorb heat. They also stay warm into the evening and give off that heat to the plant. I also hope to construct some sort of row cover using flexible conduit for later when the rain season begins but my tomatoes are done yet. In the first picture I'm standing in one corner of the garden area and you can see the whole area. Next year I hope to have more of the grass dug up into beds. Looking at the picture you see the raspberries on the far left, the first bed in front is peas and spinach (which is NOT doing well). In the next bed you see onion, potatoes and on the far end one loan squash plant (not visible in the picture). In the way back next to the raspberries we have 3 apple trees. One of them did not produce this year. I'll have to figure that one out yet. Next to the potato bed is an empty bed where I'm dumping manure from the goats and chickens to decompose and have a great bed next year. After that are the tomato tires and rows of pole beans and pole peas.

Here is a close-up of the beans, peas and tomatoes. Below is a close up of the one little raspberry that was ripe. I snuck it. Shhhh! It was so yummy.
This a branch of one of the apple trees.

The livestock is well. I really think Butter needs to wean from her mother but I'm not in charge of that. Once she does we'll probably get nearly a gallon of milk a day. As of right now we get just over 1/2 a gallon and it's more than we need. I hope to make cheese more often. My goal is to make LOTS of cheese and to never buy it again. I can't wait to learn how to make hard cheeses like cheddar. The chicken production is down slightly. We were averaging 18+ eggs a day but now we are averaging 16. Time to really think about another coop and more chickens. More and more people from Church are inquiring about purchasing eggs and I don't have enough.
We sold the Caravan! And now have just the trooper to sell. I'm pretty used to the big Suburban now. It has a huge tank and we filled it for the first time since the first day we got it and it still only took 22 gallons (35 gallon tank we think). We got 17.8 miles to the gallon, all city miles. Our caravan gave us 16 miles to the gallon, city. So we are a tad better, plus diesel fuel here in Poulsbo anyway, is cheaper than unleaded.
Oh, I forgot to mention. This past weekend the weathermen had NO IDEA what the weather was going to be like. It was gorgeous! Very little rain and lots of sun. Today the same. I have 2 loads of laundry hanging out on my temporary clothesline! I love freshly sun dried clothes.

Below, is a very cool picture (if I do say so myself) of a huckleberry bush. We have many of these on the property. They are so delicious. I've never had them before so I need to research recipes. Anyone have a good huckleberry recipe? I'm most interested in preservation for future use. There are so many!

Well, there you have it! Ag review for St. Brigid Farm.


grammafaithie said...

this looks and sounds wonderful - just today I started to really think and getting excited about coming out soon!!! after reading this blog - I am really looking forward to it!!! I hope -(whisper) you are not going to leave me for a week!!!! sshhh - sorry - I should not say that - you need to have some fun too - maybe I can learn to kick Firefly back! LOL.

JamesoftheNorthwest said...

HEY! You told me in no uncertain terms not to touch the raspberries!!!!!!!

Nyah you!

Bluecanopy said...

I've never had huckleberries either...pie? That's always good with berries :) muffins? fruit spread? sorbet?

that chevre looks delicious...i absolutely love goat chees...have you tried it on pizza? just dab a bit around over the mozzarella and other toppings...mmmm.

you r garden looks great. i can tell you're enjoying all of this :)

Mimi said...

Yum! it looks awesome.

Arielle said...

Huckleberry jam is awesome.

Huckleberrys - another thing I miss about Washington. People in the rest of the country don't even know what they are. Also rhubarb. It doesn't grow in NC at all, and every once in awhile, rhubarb from WA shows up in Whole Foods as a novelty item.

Susan Sophia said...

In my research for huckleberry recipes I've learned that there are a couple different varieties. I remember visiting Montana about 14 years ago and Huckleberry was THE thing!!! But everything was very dark. Dark huckleberry jam and every restaurant you went to had huckleberry pie but it was a very dark berry. So I wondered if I was picking too soon. But I found there is a red huckleberry. But when you just search huckleberry recipes you find everyone talking about the "blue-berry" huckleberry. Anyway...I'm going to try jam!

I CANNOT believe there is no rhubarb in NC! I LOVE rhubarb and am currently scrounging to find some from someone who doesn't want it (which is another thing that amazes me--that someone wouldn't want it--LOL). I think I found some! We had tons of rhubarb growing up in MN and would eat it by dipping in a cup of sugar as a treat!
It was good to see you Arielle and I loved meeting your mother!