Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Water truck


The well pumps are off and irrigation is done for the season. We still have birds out in chicken tractors for another week so the Dodge acts as a perfect water truck to gravity-feed the waterers so the broilers can all get a good drink.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ranch recipes: When life gives you vruchten hagel... Make vruchten hagel cookies!


Our dear friend Hester left us with some sweet treats from her visit to our summer soiree. One such Dutch delicacy was a box of chocolate and fruit sprinkles. We were informed that it is a perfectly acceptable breakfast to have fruit sprinkles on white bread. Even the box says "fruit sprinkles for bread". Alas, I had no buttered white bread but I did make a pretty batch of fruit sprinkle cookies to share with our lovely butcher.

Vruchten Hagel Cookies aka Fruit Sprinkle Cookies

- 3c AP flour, sifted
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/4 t salt
- 2 sticks butter, unsalted, room temp
- 1c sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 1/4 t almond extract
- vruchten hagel (or any kind of sprinkles if you don't happen to have fancy Dutch sprinkles laying around)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt together.

3. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add egg, vanilla and almond extract.

4. Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until fluffy.

5. Spoon out rounded teaspoons of dough (mine weighed 0.7oz but I'm a little neurotic about all the cookies being the same size). Roll dough into little balls.

6. Pour sprinkles into small bowl then gently press each ball into sprinkles and place on parchment-lined baking sheet, sprinkle-side up leaving about two inches between cookies.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes or until edges just barely start to brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before placing on wire rack to cool completely.

Spits and sprinkles

021 (2)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Revisiting the pasture pens

It's been a couple months since our first batch of broiler chickens rolled through this area in our new pasture pens. The color difference is pretty dramatic. The regrowth is a darker green and much of the older, dead vegetation has been scratched down into the dirt. It will be interesting to see the difference next spring.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

99 chickens...


And one turkey (my little helper is pointing to the turkey). With our last batch of broilers we accidentally received a turkey poult (they look like similar balls of yellow fluff straight from the egg). It is too late in the season to raise it up for Thanksgiving and it will be too small when we harvest the rest of the broilers. Our summer helper, Larry offered to give it a good home since we already have a pet turkey.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


The safflower crop is nearly dried down. Soon we will harvest the spiny flowerheads with the combine and run the kernels through the press which separates the oil from the meal. We'll use the oil in biodiesel here on the farm and the high protein meal is fed back to the chickens and hogs.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Moving cows


Moving cows back to the York Place for the fourth time in as many days. The girls did not want to stay there so we ended up marching them home before they broke the fences again.

Clean up crew

Several times a day the little flock of sheep wander in to the front yard to eat the windfall apricots. Once the last fruit has been Hoovered up, they amble off spitting pits as they go.