Spaghetti Squash Secret

This is the season to use spaghetti squash.  It looks like this:

If you look online, most folks recommend cutting it in half lengthwise from the stem end to the blossom end.   But here is the secret that I learned thekitchn.com.  If you want the strings to be longer, cut the squash around the middle this way:

Notice that the strings start in a swirly pattern from the bottom and circle around coming up.  When you boil or bake this, and then let it cool, the squash strings will come out sort of like circles.  I cut them in half and mix them with the topping for the day.  I have used both a traditional spaghetti sauce and a veggie-chicken-sour cream mixture.  Both tasted good and were well-received by the family.

Awesome Administrator

The Farmer saw the above graph recently. As you can see, it shows that over the 39 year period 1970 – 2009, the number of doctors in the US increased by something like 100%.

They doubled.

During that same time, the number of administrators and support staff working in the health care field increased by over 3,000%.

Wow.

But guess what? Farming is no different. Administrative needs have ballooned.

Why? Well, step into The Farmer’s world and let him explain.

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July, August, September Local Food Challenge

I haven’t posted about the local food challenge since June. So for September, we will allow you to have up to 3 comments/entries. They can be about your choice of locally grown chicken or vegetables. The food can be from my farm, from a farmers market, from your garden or from your neighbor’s garden. It just needs to be locally grown (to you). What have you made this summer? Any salads, grilled veggies, chicken soup? Comment below OR  email and let me know.

The Tall and the Short of It – Revisited

In an earlier post, we showed that our corn had met the “knee high by the Fourth of July” criteria.

We went out one month later, and it must be the weather is the right combination of warmth and water, as the stalks now tower over The Farmer.

And remember the short broom corn that was barely as big as the scissors?  Well, it is now taller than the regular corn!

It is the corn-like plant that is in the back.  Here is a close up of it.

What Gaia Saw

Gaia is our Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dog. Her job on the farm is to protect our livestock, and in particular, our meat chickens. On a recent morning, the young crew went out to do their chicken chores, and Gaia was at the end of her chain jumping and excitedly barking.  They let her go and she sped off to investigate a broken two-wheeled cart that is stored close by.

An older son was in the area and came to investigate. As Gaia ran around the cart, our son pushed down on the back so that she could snoop around under the front.

Something flashed out from under the cart…

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The Tall and Short of It

A few years back, The Farmer was able to pick some multicolored maize (translation: “Indian corn”)  from the field of fellow farmer Robert Perry.  The Farmer had been meaning to plant it for himself and finally had space and time this year.

On Saturday, May 26, The Farmer planted the corn in hasty rows just to get it done. On July 6, we took a picture,  because your corn should be “knee high by the fourth of July.”

Multicolored maize

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17-Year Cicadas

Cicada on Wild Parsnip

On and around our property this year was the eruption of the 17-year cicada. We moved here 18 years ago, so we would have been here the last time they erupted.  But it was our first year here and the time of their eruption was also the time of the birth of my twins.  I don’t have any recollection of the cicadas.

This June we knew the cicadas were here by seeing the hard locusts shells on trees and clothes lines and items sitting near trees. About a week later we started hearing a background hum or buzz.  The Farmer described it as an other-worldly noise. (Think outer space other-worldly.) If we were in the city and coming home, there was no buzz up on LaFayette Rd.  But as we came to Graham Road, the buzz started and continued until we got to our home (and probably beyond).

I think the noise was temperature dependent and perhaps daylight dependent as well.  It would start around 9-10 a.m and stop around 4-5 p.m.  This continued for about 2 weeks.  We were able to record the noise of the cicadas.  At first you will hear the hum of the cicadas.  Then at about 10 sec. you hear the hum of 1 cicada.  From our internet  and book research, we found that only the males make the noise.

One day during this time as I took a walk on Kennedy Rd., I saw that the cicadas were covering everything – trees and weeds – everything.  Of course we had seen them flying around.  But I didn’t realize they were hanging off everything.  Here are some pics of them:

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Stray Livestock

From Jewish literature – If a man lets a field or vineyard be grazed bare and lets his animal loose so that it grazes in another man’s field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field and the best of his own vineyard.  (Exodus 22:5 NASB)

Every so often we raise what we term a “naughty” cow. And our naughty cow recently went on a field trip to our neighbor’s house.

A naughty cow often develops when the calf is out with Mom, and she is in a non-electrified fence. The curious calf naturally wanders to and then through the fence.  The calf never learns that fences exist as boundary markers. Most of our calves eventually learn what a fence is, but need one hot wire to remind them. Naughty cows only respect fences with multiple strands of electrified wire.

Generally speaking though, cows are quite content to lounge in the area they are given. Sure, the grass is always greener elsewhere, but as long as they are not super-hungry, they will not cross a fence line to get it.

We currently have a naughty cow, and it changes the pasturing dynamic.

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