Tag Archives: cooking

Tasty Thursday #2

I have been waiting for a couple of reviews to come back on this sauce. But the overwhelming majority love it…with a few minor tweaks to the original. When I first made the sauce, I just kept adding ingredients until I thought it tasted right…never did get it perfected but I knew I was close to have a really good all around sauce that could be used on beef, pork and poultry.

The original recipe is:

3 cups Ketchup
1-1/2 cups Chive Vinegar (follow the link for instructions)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup honey
3-4 tbs. black pepper (use less for fresh ground)
2 tbs worcestershire sauce

Blend all the ingredients over low heat and allow to simmer until the sauce thickens. Once it starts to “stick” to a wooden spoon, it’s done.

The feedback is that it has a little too much vinegar (which you could allow to cook out for a little longer) and that it’s a got a little too much pepper. I think it depends on what meat you are applying it too. I like a little more pepper when dealing with beef, but ultimately, the taster (you the cook) can decide.

All feedback is always welcome! Enjoy!

Farm Visitors

Every year, during the time when the local kids have spring break…we start getting visitors. Friends and family members bring their youngsters out to play with the cattle, chickens and turkeys. This is always the time of year that reminds me of the biggest reasons why I raise, care and tend for animals the way I do.

Two days, two families. Smiles and laughter shared that no amount of money can buy.

Our first visitor that came this week was Sue and Ava. If you follow this blog on and off, you will know that Ava came out last year and the year before. Ava is a favorite, loyal visitor.

Ava loves spending time with the youngest calves.
Ava loves spending time with the youngest calves.

Last year, one of the calves kept trying to eat her hair. So this year…she was worried about her hair and kept telling them all “Please don’t eat my hair.” It is really amazing to watch kids with the animals though. This is what makes my job working with the cattle so important.

Not only with the kids…but with the adults it’s important too. You have no idea how many adults want to get “cow kisses”! It’s strange…but I get it. It’s that moment when you feel special with an animal. It’s that much greater because it’s a cow!

Cow kisses
Cow kisses

The following day after Ava came, we had new visitor for this year. A father (Pat) and his two sons (Logan and Connor). I didn’t know who was more excited when they pulled in…Dad or boys.

I haven’t seen smiles so big and so full of joy as when the calves started licking fingers and trying to get rubs on the head.

Pure Joy and Excitement
Pure Joy and Excitement

To those that don’t know me…this is the most important thing about what I do. Yes, I love raising our own beef, dairy and poultry. But, I LOVE sharing my passion for farm animals with KIDS! It’s an experience that I feel every kid should have.

There are really moments sometimes that almost bring a tear to my eye when I watch animals that are fearful of everything, nose up to a child. It’s one of those things for me.

To anyone in our area reading this…you are more than welcome to come visit, anytime. We love to have people stop by, young or old.

In the meantime, I will be out working (more like playing) with the cows…gotta get that next generation trained for cow kisses!




A Little Help

I have to say, I am amazed at how much just one extra pair of hands to help around the farm makes a difference. Typically, it’s just me for morning chores. But this week I have some very special helpers! All the way from Texas.

Mr. Farmer’s youngest sister and her family are here visiting for a couple of weeks. This visit, her two girls are working at “Farm Camp”. This is a whole new and not so welcome camp for them. The oldest is very much a city girl and is afraid of the cow, that the calves are going to bite her and is scared of the chickens pecking her when she gathers eggs. The youngest is doing better but, I think that’s because she loves animals.

Day one involved a long pasture walk in wet grass that came up to nearly their waist and it was so foggy, it was hard to see the cows 50 feet in front of you. Needless to say, wet pants and socks are not the most comfortable thing in the world. Then I demonstrated milking the cow and the feeding routine for the calves. Daughter #1, the oldest, was extremely fearful of the calves biting her fingers. We carefully explained that they only had bottom teeth and they were really interested in suckling on her fingers just like they would a mother cow.

On the evening of day one, they watched Mr. Farmer as he milked the cow, they gathered eggs and yes, got pecked by a broody hen or two while attempted to get the eggs from underneath a sitting hen.

On the morning of day two, Daughter #1 did a great job putting the milking machine onto the cow. It only took one reset of the small vacuum pump we use. She even managed to share a smile or two at her accomplishment! Getting up early is not something either of these girls really enjoy.

Morning two, I headed out to the barn at normal time….to find that most of the animals were already fed. The scratch grain for the chickens was already out, the cow’s grain was ready and waiting, and the smallest calves were nibbling on their grain. After getting the cow from the pasture, in the rain (again) and helper #1 doing such a great job….literally, the only thing I did was a little instruction and dispense milk into buckets for the calves! The girls even fed the calves their milk. It almost seems to easy!!

Day number three started the same way with all of the grain out and fed. I even left eggs last night for the girls to gather up this morning…which went without a hitch and helper #1 is an old pro with the chickens now! Helper #2 did milking this morning. After a bit of an issue with getting the milking machine hooked up…she managed to milk her first cow! Smiley face and all!!!

Three days, four times assisting with chores and I see a HUGE difference in them already! Helper #1 was allowing one of the calves to suck on her fingers this morning and she gathered eggs without too much fuss. Helper #2 stated that farming was harder than it looks but still enjoyed learning.

Mr. Farmer and I discussed last night about getting them some shirts that say “I survived Farm Camp” with a picture of a cow and a chicken that says Barrows Farm under that for the back and then on the front put their names…Farmer Ashley and Farmer Autumn.

I do have photos to share, that I will tag into this post in a revised addition tomorrow morning…but I had to share this. It means so much to me to experience first time farming with the next generation! It means the world to me to know that even if they don’t become farmers, at least they know what goes into different agricultural production.

I am off for another busy and hectic day! Take care and God Bless!

Chive Vinegar Follow Up

Since many have been asking….”how’s the chive vinegar doing?”

Here’s the answer!

Two weeks brewing…

We still have one more week to go. I will be posting another update sometime around the 20th of the process of straining and making of the actual salad dressing. I am excited to try it! I have been tempted to pop open a jar now, just to see how flavorful it really is…but I am TRYING to be patient! 🙂

Time to Garden

I am excited to say that now it’s time for us to shift into the gardening mode! We are running about a week or so behind but we will still be good for the stuff we plant on growing days.

Yesterday we picked up about 1/2 of our tomato plants. Typically, we plant 36-42 Roma tomato plants. When they bear fruit, we make sauce and more sauce. There is nothing like a huge pot of sauce simmering on the stove! The smell is one of the best in the world!!! Then we plant plum tomatoes for using fresh in salads but the majority of them will be peeled and make into stewed tomatoes!

We also plant peppers to freeze and to use in our sauce. We upgraded from just three plants last time to six this time. I might even attempt to get some additional ones that aren’t just the green ones this year too. I think I need some yellows and reds in the freezers too!

Last time we did tomatoes, we ended up with 32 quart jars of sauce and 21 quart jars of stewed tomatoes! For the two of us, that’s enough to last about a year and a half! Oh, I do love to can! Every time I walk to the pantry, it gives me such a sense of pride knowing that we planted, grew and harvested that delicious portion of our food!

We will also be planting cucumbers for pickles, squash, watermelon, peas, carrots, radishes, potatoes, lettuce, spinach, beets, hot peppers, eggplant, cauliflower, pumpkins, two types of squash, and probably a few I have forgotten.

I have my herb garden started. The chives in the raised bed outside my front door are HUGE! The green onions that are in the same bed are also growing well and have been since February…which is unheard of in NY! I picked up my parsley, rosemary, mint and thyme yesterday. Now I just need to get my basil seeds planted and see what else I can find! 🙂 I am actually thinking of planting a bunch of lavender to place in all of the house windows…wouldn’t that smell great as the breeze comes through during the summer! Then we can’t forget the dill, cilantro, coriander, fennel, majoram, oregano and sage!!! I am slowly working on building up an herb garden. I really want to be able to supply ALL of my own! I will get there, at some point!

Any way, I am off now to go in search of more plants and then to work getting the garden all planted today! BTW…did I tell you our garden measures about 50 feet long by about 25 feet wide! Our composted manure is all tilled in and sits there waiting for us to get moving!!! Photos to follow soon!