Monday, August 8, 2011

We Love (the tastes of) Summer

It's such a plentiful time of year. The gardens are fresh and swollen, just ripe for the picking. Crops in the fields are grown plump and eagerly await the coming harvest. Flowers spring from every planter; wild blossoms choke even the smallest fallow bits of ground. Animals sate themselves on the rich growth; they grow big and strong. Plump, too. The table is never without fresh dressings. The smell of herbs and newly-picked vegetables waft from the kitchen throughout the house. Farmer's markets offer everything you could ever dream.


Local farm-fresh chicken, fresh local bacon, local organic zucchini and red onions, and our own home-grown broccoli from our garden. Also, homemade macaroni-n-cheese with some local Amish sweet mustard thrown in---the best there ever was!


There are few things in the world more delicious...


- Jacinta, for the Meyers family

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Flowers

Shame on me! I forgot to mention that the flowers I posted yesterday came from two wonderful local farms: Wyn-De-Elm and Garden Hill.


They are so beautiful! Thanks for brightening up our home, ladies. :)


- Jacinta, for the Meyers family


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Something Old, But New

We've taken up a new hobby here at Great Bend Bakery Farm. Allow me to introduce you to our first batch of old-fashioned, hand-made, goat's milk soap:


It's an oatmeal and mint soap, made with olive oil, honey, a little bit of soy oil, goat's milk, organic oatmeal, and our own home-grown mint. The scent is very subtle---something that appeals to me, personally, because I am allergic to most scented soaps. It feels wonderful on the skin; the mint leaves a refreshing coolness while the oatmeal gently and naturally exfoliates, making this a fantastic choice for a morning facial cleansing. It's also nice for work-roughened hands; artists and gardeners can use it to clean caked-on grime off of their fingers and palms. The honey and olive oil are hygroscopic, helping to prevent infections and promote healing. While it may not look pretty, it's really good for your skin.

This is really my fiance's hobby; he totally loves it, along with cheese-making. But we're all doing our part to help him out. I was put in charge of packaging. I chose a plain brown parcel paper.


Then I made up some labels, variations on our blog themes!


We are still trying to figure everything out. For instance, how and when to cut the soap so that it's more even. (We priced these by the ounce, and rounded down because of the imperfections in this first batch.) I brought a bunch to the Watertown Farmer's Market to sell from a basket on my jewelry table, and everyone seemed to love it!


Up in the corner of this last picture, my fiance (David, by the way) is cutting up our third batch of soap---coconut mocha, made with coconut oil, coconut milk, goat's milk, olive oil, and coconut essence. It's also got curls of our second soap mixed in---cocoa powder, olive oil, goat's milk, and pieces of ground-up coffee beans. Very decadent! I think it's my favorite so far. It certainly smells the best!

Looking forward to making more. :)


- Jacinta, for the Meyers Family

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

"Already Home"



Glimmering sail on the horizon.
Frail light, but I can see the new day.
Little dot brightening, dawn is on its way.

It’s been a cold and bitter winter
My cheeks raw with wind.
Nascent light, soon it will be spring.

Time left me standing at the bus stop
Stamping my feet to keep my toes from freezing.
When I landed at your doorstep
I had no key, I couldn’t get in.
There was nobody home.

I thought that we would be together
'Til earth kissed its longest day.
But the heat must have melted you away.

And it’s been a cold and bitter exit
My heart still raw with love.
Absent nights, yes this would be enough.

Time left me stranded in your shadow
Building up hope, looking on the bright side.
You left me shivering under scaffold
The weather got in, though the walls were sure there.
It was no home.

Time left me stranded at your doorstep
Stomping my feet, keeping with the season.
And when I finally saw you in the window
I didn’t knock. I didn’t go in.
I was already home.

I thought that we would be together
'Til earth kissed its longest day.
But the heat melted you away.

It’s been a cold and bitter winter
My cheeks still raw with wind.
Nascent light, soon it will be spring.



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Above the song lyrics is a picture of the first farmer's market bouquet we've had all summer. I've always loved flowers; they brighten the home and add a softness to daily things. Blossoms for smiles, bright rainbow colors... who could be sad? Maybe it was a frivolous purchase, but I feel better for having brought them home and placed them on our table. It was also wonderful to help support local growers and the amazing work that they do. There is something about a beloved task, a toil accepted without remorse. I feel a kindredship with these people who kneel on the ground most days under a merciless sun, who plow their fingers into the earth and coax green things. How beautiful.


 - Jacinta, for the Meyers family

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hottest Trend?

We call it the Chicky Bonnet, but in some parts they just might call it the Chook Hat. ;)
Mother Meyers models it below.


Note the haylike tones in the hair. Yep, this look is definitely in for summer!


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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Coming Soon!

Meet the future home of our mushroom patch!


Hand cut from our own trees.
Doesn't look like much right now, but just you wait...


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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

NNY Nature Trails: the Chaumont Barrens

We recently visited the Nature Conservancy Park in Chaumont, NY, called the Chaumont Barrens. It's a beautiful park with a unique geography that is apparently very rare in the world. So, while the North Country has many wonderful walking trails and nature parks, this will be our first feature.


Accessibility: Medium-hard.
Pets: Not allowed.
Sites: Very good; many and varied.
Wildlife: Very diverse; birds, amphibians, small and large mammals, insects, flowers, mosses.
Others: Fossils, stone features.
Best time to visit: Late spring and early summer.

This is an excellent trail for older children and adults. Parts of it were somewhat difficult to access and the trail entrance itself is off of a tiny dirt road that is easily missed by the casual traveler. The countryside is beautiful, however, and it is well worth the drive.

Here you will find a wide diversity of sites spread over a small area. There are deciduous forests, a coniferous forest, and grasslands marked by post-glacial lichens and boulder erratics. The area also lies on an ancient fault line, so there may be some particular interest for geological enthusiasts. In places, the bared limestone offers glimpses of ancient oceans in the form of fossils. Hundreds of new species of snail have been discovered here; people have purportedly seen everything from small rodents to coyotes and foxes hiding among the stone crevasses in the ground. The forest floors and meadows are littered with any number of blossoms from May through July, including yellow lady's slippers, chicory, daisies, red columbines, and the very rare prairie smoke blossoms. Since parts of the trail are low enough for a little water retention, you may also find many different kinds of animal footprints after a rainfall.

Remember to wear long pants and sleeves whenever you venture into overgrown areas to protect against ticks and other hazards such as poisonous plants. Sun screen is also a good idea; especially for this trail, which crosses wide open spaces between forested areas. Always hike in groups and bring plenty of water. Take only pictures, leave only footprints.

Happy explorations!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hanging Out with the Cool Chicks


We've noticed that, during the hottest part of the day, even our chickens go into the barn to seek shelter from the sun. Just a few short months ago, they were going into the barn to huddle against the cold.

Funny how seasons work...

We would welcome a little coolness here in Great Bend right about now, that's for sure.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bleh Bars

You've been there before---not too hungry when you wake up, but knowing that you've got a long, hard day ahead of you and that you really should eat something to keep up your stamina through work. You look around for a quick but healthy fix. There are some options on the shelf---granola, trail mix, dried fruit. And protein bars.

Now, I hadn't had a protein bar in over five years. Back then, "protein bar" was the name given to a specific variety of foods that had the consistency of dry caulking paste and was about as flavorful as compacted poo. Since then, a whole new world of organic foods have hit the market and this country in general has become a lot more health-conscious in terms of what it's putting in its mouth. I thought perhaps the protein bars had evolved as well---into something not only tasty but healthier, too.

Turns out that this was wishful thinking at its most wishful. I chawed my way through about as fast as I could (and, yes, "chawed" really is the best word for this experience); which turned out to be not very fast at all because again, it was like trying to eat caulking paste. The flavor was supposed to be "chocolate and peanut butter." Last time I checked, neither chocolate nor peanut butter taste like childrens' vitamins (you know, the ones that are shaped like little characters from a favorite 1960's cartoon), which is exactly what this bar tasted like.

I wasn't batting too well and only looked at the package after I ate the so-called "food". At 310 grams of sodium (that's 13% of a typical daily value!), I feel like I'd be better off just throwing my head back and downing a shaker's worth of salt.

Next time, I think I'll just take the granola!

Does anyone have a recommendation for a protein bar that is actually good?
If so, we'd love to hear it!


- Jacinta Meyers for the Meyers Family

Friday, June 10, 2011

Jefferson Co. Historical Society Heritage Days

The Jefferson County Historical Society in Watertown, NY, is holding its Heritage Days tomorrow: Saturday, June 11th. There's going to be demonstrations, a classic car cruise-in, live music, and more!


So if you want to see how folks lived in the north country a hundred years ago and more, stop by!


You can also check out their Facebook page.


We're big fans of the historical society and have visited their museum in Watertown several times. The exhibits are always informative and they have quite an impressive collection.

Here's to our shared heritage!

Hot Legs


To all you barnyard beauty queens... we salute you!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Early Summer in the North Country



They say there's barely four seasons in the North Country:
Winter, Mud, Summer, and Almost Winter.



It already feels like summer; the late thaw caused a lot of long-lasting mud, but the land is finally dried out. Spring flowers have already bloomed, and now summer blossoms are opening up. Buttercups, daisies, goldenrod, chicory---they are in it for the long, hot haul, though they have been appreciating the rain. Everything is pointing to a hot, wet summer.

Well, we shall see!



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

To settle the question...

...once and for all:


 The grass really is always greener on the other side!



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Sign, A Sign!

We've got a new one for the end of the driveway:


This is exciting for us!

Our big black cat, Boomie, was excited too; he brought us a baby rabbit to mark the occasion. And he was pleased as a pea, scrambling in circles and meowing. "Look what I did, I'm so good, what a hunter I am, love me!" Luckily the little bunny was all right. We took him to the edge of our lawn and let him go and, when we checked later, he was gone. Hopefully he found his way back to the burrow. What an adorable little creature he was!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Crock, A Cock, and a Bunch o'Beer

A North Country take on a French Classic

You will need:

A crock (pot)
A coq (cock/rooster/capon)*
A quarter cup of catsup (ketchup)
Three bottles of beer!

You may also add some of your favorite barbecue (BBQ) sauce,
mustard, and/or French dressing to flavor

Put everything into the crock pot,
and cook all day.

VoilĂ !


*Only two roosters were harmed in the making of this dish.
But don't worry, they were mean old birds.

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The real coq au vin recipe comes from the French countryside. Farm wives would put the rooster into a wrought iron pot on the stove, along with various vegetables and a bottle of wine, and would stew it all day long. That way, when the men came in from working in the fields in the evening, dinner would be all ready for them. Rooster meat is pretty tough stuff. The acid in the wine (or, in this case, in the beer and the ketchup via vinegar and tomato juice) works with the heat to break down the sinews in the meat. Ours was falling off the bone! While it still remains a little chewy, the taste is fantastic. It's also very filling---great after a long day of work.

You really don't need a rooster for this dish; you can use a regular chicken. The softer your meat, the jucier and more tender it will turn out. Don't be afraid to add vegetables or even other kinds of meat, such as bacon or salt pork, for flavor and contrast.

Personally, I like mine on a sandwich of homemade bread ala pulled pork style with some pasta salad. And, since the beer was some of our own home-brewed stuff, it goes great with a big, fat glass of that, too! Ahhh.

How do you like yours?


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Wisdom from Walden

"Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars. I cannot count one. I know not the first letter of the alphabet. I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born. The intellect is a cleaver; it discerns and rifts its way into the secret of things. I do not wish to be any more busy with my hands than is necessary. My head is hands and feet. I feel all my best faculties concentrated in it. My instinct tells me that my head is an organ for burrowing, as some creatures use their snout and fore paws, and with it I would mine and burrow my way through these hills. I think that the richest vein is somewhere hereabouts; so by the divining-rod and thin rising vapors I judge; and here I will begin to mine."


---Henry David Thoreau, Walden 



Saturday, June 4, 2011

Duck Days of Summer

Our Swedish Blues; their pen got a cleaning and we took out their "pond" in favor of a brand new swimming pool, just in time for the hot weather.

These ducks are by far the pickiest of our fowl. They don't take too kindly to change and it didn't help that they don't like anything out of the ordinary venturing into their little area, especially humans. The pond's disappearance angered them---that is, until they discovered all the delicious little bugs that were hiding under it. Then we brought in the pool and filled it; they spent the first several minutes squawking at it and avoiding it at all costs.

Curiosity saved the day. In plopped the first duck and the rest was history! They spent the next two hours splashing happily around and around in circles---something that apparently still hasn't gotten old.

How nice to be a duck on those hot summer days!

 Stay cool.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Babies

We have some new faces here at the farm.

Fledgling turkeys...


Some even smaller turkeys...


 And Tuesday, Lily had her baby twins.


We were a bit worried for the smaller of the two, but it seems to be doing quite fine.



We believe there's time for all of us. <3

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Visitor

We received a visitor yesterday...


He could almost be from another planet. The wind was giving him a hard time (you can see it ripped his wing), though he could still fly all right. We picked him up and brought him to a more sheltered place.



Later, when the wind had died down, we went back to see if he was still there. He was not; we wish him fair sailing from here on out.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

We're Back

...and this place never ceases to amaze.


<3


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dreams of Spring

Today is bright and beautiful. Our thermometer in the sun is reading mid-50s. It definitely is beginning to feel like spring. It can't come soon enough!

We started our flower planters yesterday in anticipation for the first day of spring. Our herbs, which we started little over a week ago, are already peeking their green and white sprigs up out of their pots. Hopefully, it won't be long before we'll be able to place them outdoors.

We're growing thyme, cilantro, and basil this year. We'll probably be adding more to that list, too. For flowers, we planted lavender, sweet peas, some kind of English bell flowers, and some wild flowers. We'll probably be putting these up in the planter behind the barn, where the goats will stare longingly at the blooms from their fence.

It's been a really wet thaw this year, probably because of the great snowfall we endured over those long winter months. Large swaths of our land are currently underwater.


But soon, the ground will be dry. Soon.

Happy spring!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Good morning!

We woke up to a fresh dusting of snow on the ground.


Yesterday, we finished up our first batch of maple syrup.




 Poached farm-fresh eggs with crushed black peppercorns, homemade waffles, and our very own maple syrup! Ahhhh, Saturday.


Have a beautiful rest of your weekend!