Jen Pietsch
Orcas Island, WA

I love spending time outdoors, gardening, running and raising my fleeced friends!
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

postheadericon New Chicks!

I had a couple of visitors the other day here on the farm who follow the blog and wanted to meet EVERYONE! So we went around the farm and met all the alpaca, dogs, Badger Bunny and the Chickens.

They immediately pointed out, and were frankly kinda mad, that I had neglected to post another chicken update introducing our three newest hens. The three were adopted in September from some friends on Shaw island.

Scrawny Greta is a Lakenvelder. She is all you could want in a hen. She has spurs and a comb like a rooster but lays great eggs! She loves to spend most of her time hunting for bugs and foraging around the yard. Brave Heart and Pearl are both Black Australorps and lay the beautiful brown eggs.

So without further delay here are the three hens that round out our dozen chickens.

Scrawny Greta (foreground) and Pearl (background)

Scrawny Greta strutting her stuff!

Shy Pearl hiding behind the bushes.

Ever broody Brave Heart (and Henrietta's bottom.)

Here are a couple of links to find out more about Lakenvelders and Black Australorps they are both wonderful breeds.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

postheadericon Pineapple-Upside-Down-Cake


Pineapple Topping
1 medium fresh pineapple
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened but still cool
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 egg white at room temperature
1/3 cup whole milk at room temperature

I use a 10-inch cast-iron pan but if you don't have one...lightly spray 9-inch round, 2-inch deep cake pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

2. For the pineapple topping: Combine pineapple and brown sugar in 10-inch skillet; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally during first 5 minutes, until pineapple is translucent and is light brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Empty fruit and juices into a colander set over medium bowl. Return juices to skillet, leaving pineapple in strainer (you should have about 2 cups cooked fruit).

Simmer juices over medium heat until thickened, beginning to darken, and mixture forms large bubbles, 6 to 8 minutes, adding any more juices released by fruit to skillet after about 4 minutes.

Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla; pour caramel mixture into prepared cake pan. Set aside while preparing cake. (Pineapple will continue to release liquid as it sits; do not add this liquid to already-reduced juice mixture.)

3. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

4. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with flat beater, cream butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, add vanilla, and beat to combine; one at a time, add whole eggs then egg white, beating well and scraping down bowl after each addition.

Reduce speed to low; add about one-third of flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Add half of milk and beat until incorporated; repeat, adding half of remaining flour mixture and remaining milk, and finish with remaining flour. Give final stir with rubber spatula, scraping bottom and sides of bowl to ensure that batter is combined. Batter will be thick.

5. To bake: Work fast to put cooked pineapple in cake pan in even layer, gently pressing fruit into caramel. Using rubber spatula, drop mounds of batter over fruit, then spread batter over fruit and to sides of pan. Tap pan lightly against work surface to release any air bubbles.

Bake until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on wire rack, then place inverted serving platter over cake pan. Invert cake pan and platter together; lift off cake pan. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours; then cut into pieces and serve.

Easy Peasy Chop, Chop, Chop
Cutting the Pineapple:

1. Cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple. Cut skin off from top to bottom.

2. Quarter the pineapple lengthwise. Put each quarter on it's side and cut out the core.

3. Cut each quarter in half lengthwise and then cut cross-wise into 1/2 inch chunks.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

postheadericon Dream Birthday!

Well, another year older and what did I wish for for my birthday? Fence of course! What a dreamboat that Jeff is. He got me three rolls of 330' wrapped no climb pasture fence, along with the t-posts to put it up! The way to a girl's heart is truly through the pasture.

Now all I need is enough time and dry weather to get it up before spring.

Oh this photo is my birthday cake of choice, pineapple-upside-down-cake! It must be made with fresh pineapple in a cast iron pan. I'll post the recipe.

Monday, November 9, 2009

postheadericon Blimey It's Limey

Well it is that special time of year again. Lime time. Last spring I limed all but two of the fields and this past weekend it was time to finish the job. Here in the Pacific Northwest we have a tendency toward moss growth especially in heavily grazed pastures. In order to keep the moss in check in my pasture I sweeten the soil with lime. This discourages moss growth and allows hopefully grass to grow.

In addition to applying the lime I also did pasture repair in the poop piles and over seeding in all pastures to promote spring growth.

I think if I could only stop the herd from grazing for a week or two all of the pastures would look great. Not likely to happen.

Sorry about the boring picture. You and try to make Lime look fun. Just wait until you see the pasture in the spring!
Thursday, November 5, 2009

postheadericon Autum Diva- a.k.a. Munchkin Martian

I thought I would post this just because she was so insistent on getting her photo taken. I went out to get a couple of updated pictures of the crias and Munchkin Martian kept getting her mug in the shot. Every time I turned around there she was.

Don't you just love her?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

postheadericon Halloween!

Here are some of our Halloween pictures!


Lifting and laughing

Pug Pumpkin

Spooky! Scary Yeti!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

postheadericon A day of Beauty

I used the extra hour of sleep to muster the energy to tackle a couple of my least favorite jobs. Nail trimming and medications. The weather was dry and these chores couldn't be put off any longer.

My boys, Garett, Kahana and Luke were my able assistants. Garett was the holder, Kahana assistant holder, nurse and occasional trimmer, and Luke chief herder. We warmed up with the boys and then moved on to the girls.

All animals had their nails trimmed, bodies scored for weight and winter preparedness and all animals treated for mites. I decided because we had animals traveling here from different farms and because our girls went out for breeding to do a preemptive treatment for mites which can become more active in the winter. The Frontline treatment I am using for mites is fairly new and requires that the herd be treated four times. Each treatment is given three weeks apart. (I will try to get a post up about mites, pretty interesting stuff.)

Three hours later all the animals were happy as clams bathing in the sun. We were happy to have the job finished and it wasn't even lunch time. I love daylight savings time!