Category Archives: favorite things

Another chicken day

Our spring, summer and early fall seem to be peppered with visiting to Bramble Hollow Farm for chicken days.  We love helping process the food we eat, but mostly we like hanging out with our friends.

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Seeing the new animals

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With all that goes on at the farm, the craziness of chicken day and putting on an awesome family meal, there is still time for the heart of this place to have a moment together.

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Hello old friend

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Haven’t come across a panda express since Spokane, so Madigan and I indulged in Daytona Beach, while Boomer got Chipotle.  Road trip car picnic.

so much…just…SO MUCH

This year seems to be action packed.  There is so much going on.  Making costumes for Madigan, knitting for babies, new chickens, old chickens, a new adventure that will involve all three of us doing what we want/love to do.  (deep breath)

I wake up in the middle of the night, with a thought of how I am going to make the crazy striped leggings for Madigan’s next costume?  If the grey is going to be too dark for the nursery on the next baby blanket? How soon can we process the meat birds? Should I start my garden with seeds only or buy plants at the farmers market?  My thoughts seem to be racing with excitement over my life, not the life I hope to have but the life I have.

Maybe this is what people call a passion for life.  Being excited about all the things you are doing , regular life stuff, doing them because you really want to, not because you have to.  My job, more specifically, the hours I work, allow me to use my time off to get stuff done.

A by product of this, I am loving  my family.  Yes, I love my kid and my husband, but we have a new spark a new excitment.  I miss them when we are all off doing our solo work, and when we are together we are having fun working together.  (deep breath)

 

14 years and the official start of the New Year

I don’t consider January 1 the start of the New Year, it is the 4th.  The last two months of the year are all about eating, drinking, treats, over indulging, all of that continues to the 3rd for us due to our anniversary.

We decided to go out for a fancy dinner for our 14th Anniversary.  The River and Rail is a local sourced restaurant we have been apprehensive about trying, getting a snobby vibe about the place and at one point was told children were not welcomed.  I felt comfortable taking her with us even though some patrons gave her a look.  I told her before we walked in that she deserves to be there as much as everyone else, she loves good food too.

I warned Boomer that I was going to order appetizers, drinks, get the steak entree and get dessert.  It has been a long time since I  have done that.  I love appetizers so much, but I always feel like we spend too much money when we go out to dinner anyway (even if it’s a cheap place, I can make MANY meals for what we send on one dinner out).  For our Anniversary I felt like it was okay.

We ordered the pork rinds with pimento cheese (and it wasn’t nearly as good as the stuff I get from Drew), ham and deviled eggs with carrot chow chow.  All very good.  Boomer had a chicken and sausage dish and Madigan and I split the steak.  A cocktail with Kettle One and cranberries.  A banana pudding with jalapeno ice cream and a tasting of 5 ice creams and sorbets.  It was a great end to another great year as a family.

The only bad thing was Boomer threw out his back that morning (he will do anything to get out of putting the chickens up).  He spend most of Sunday flat in bed.  Then I drive him to urgent care.  To put this into perspective, it was so bad he let me drive.  In the 14 years of marriage, this is the second time I have driven, so I know it was bad.

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We are looking forward to another great year of marriage, next year we are planning a trip for the big 15.  We have superbowl sunday and a garden to plan.  Here’s to a healthy, happy and fruitful 2015.

Past and present

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I giggled when I noticed my leather jacket and Doc Martins…

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in front of my sewing machine.  I lived in NYC when I got that jacket.  I got the boots when I lived in LA and was obsessed with the Green Lantern.  The person I was could never imagine that I would be here, in SW Virginia, married to a local, with 10 chickens, growing some of my own food, with an ALMOST 13 year old daughter.

I was committed to being single.  Everything that mattered to me fit in my Blue two door Tercel.  I moved when ever I wanted, which averaged about every year and a half. I did whatever I wanted.  I was obsessed with pop-culture, seeing movies the weekend they came out and I spend my winter weekends snowboarding. I was happy-ish.

Now, when I see people magazine, I do ask who is that woman and why does she want to die, I have seen about 6 movies at the theater in the last 12 years, snowboarding only brings up thoughts of me breaking something and not being able to take care of my family. All our cars are 4 door and we have a minivan.  With all that said, I feel better than I have in my life.

I am comfortable in my own skin in a way that alluded me in my 20s.  I am confidant in my choices as a parent in a way I wasn’t in my 30s.  At 45 with green Docs and a leather jacket on a sewing chair mixing my past and present.

Looking forward to the future!

Pork glorious pork

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We picked up our half hog today.  It’s over 100lbs of meat.  Sausage in the back is hot Italian and the packs in the front are ground pork.  A few roasts, two page is of ribs, a tenderloin, which I think will become like Oogies tenderloins, jowls and fat on the left front.  That should take care of a third of our dinners for a year.

As always, thanks to Brent and Anna for what they do at Bramble Hollow Farm.  A few times this past summer I was jonesing for Italian sausage.  It would be on a Monday, no farmers market, and I would just breakdown and get some from the store.  And after a couple years of only eating local, it tasted fake and rubbery.  I compare it to bank tellers who are so familar to the feeling of real money that a counterfeit is obvious because it feels off and wrong.  We are spoiled.  We know what chicken and pork should taste like when raised on pasture, with good non gmo feed, with room to move and scratch and root around.

chicken for the winter

We picked up our 15 chickens on Sunday

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We let them “rest” for a day or two in the fridge, making it easier to cut up. IMG_6296

I leave some whole.

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Mom got me an early christmas present, a food saver, which has made the process easier.  I am confidant that the birds will be free of freezer burn.  They could last a year or more in there, but we eat them up before that happens.  Nice to know we have food for the winter.  We have been doing this for a couple years now, and have it worked out that we are usually on our last bird end of May, which is around the time of the first chicken day.

I know people think it’s weird that we choose to spend our Sunday processing chicken.  Even more odd is how kind of bummed I get after the last chicken day.  We started going out to the farm to get more connected to our food and now we have these great friends.  I look forward to seeing everyone, talking and laughing while wrist deep in chicken guts.  Sharing a meal with folks who believe like we do in real food, humanely raised meat and supporting local farmers/business.  I am glad that I met Anna at the Grandin Market in 2011, she was the only vendor selling chicken at the market at the time.  I had done a search to find local chicken and Bramble Hollow seemed to be one of the only farms doing it at the time.  If you go saturday, there are a handful of folks selling birds, maybe you can find a farm that will let you take a tour of the farm, and eventually let you start bagging, and when someone who usually helps out on the table goes off and has a baby, you might be one of the people they ask to help you do this.  Brent and Anna are always so grateful and appreciative of us coming out to help with the work, but we talk about it every drive home away from the farm how we feel like the lucky ones!

 

Cosmo compost bin

Last year when I tossed out the last of the cosmos, they didn’t all make it in the compost bin. I love the flowers, they are so delicate and beautiful.  They are doing some serious blooming, makes the compost bin nice and fancy!

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The petals on this one makes me want to paint.

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I have taken pictures of these flowers for a couple of years and one always sticks out, even though they are all similar, this is the one for this year.  LOVE the dark tips.  They will make it into a collection one day.IMG_6266

And so we say goodbye to summer.  See you next year my beautiful cosmos!

Homemade gifts

So this year we asked Boomer’s brother Zach, and his wife Ashley, if they would be interested in making gifts for each other this Christmas. The text I sent was no money and no gift cards. I know they are both clever and crafty. I mentioned this homemade Christmas idea in October, giving everyone a good amount of time to do what they needed to do. And I think it turned out so great.

When we met up for breakfast at Margaret’s, Zach even mentioned being excited about about the gift exchange. Later we talked about how we all needed to keep in mind it’s the thought that counts. How we really tried to do something that fit each person. It really added some excitement to opening presents. Not just what you were getting, but also what you we were giving.

And serious, they nailed it…even for Madigan. (Which I thought would be the hardest.) But they know our girl loves Star Trek so they made her a great blanket. Cool, cozy and super warm.

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For me, beautiful homemade cards, nicer than those 3-D wrapped in plastic ones.

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Boomer’s gifts were awesome too: Reinbeer!

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And a set of coasters, that combine two of MY favorite things, cocktails and Scrabble!

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I know not everyone wants to or can do fun creative homemade gifts. It really made Christmas have a fun feel, gave it an excitement and I am hoping it was fun enough for all the participants that they want to do it again next year.

*I did not take pictures of what we made. Ashley collects tea pots, so I made her a candle in a tea cup. Also Lemon infused and Vanilla infused vodka. And an egg carton garden, with egg shells to start the seeds, and plant markers.