Sunday, November 25, 2012

Love one another. . .

. . . and keep them warm, too.

This year we have a lot more cut and split firewood than we expect to need to heat the house through the winter.  Fortunately, our farmhand Jason was aware of a local church that collects firewood and distributes it to those in need.

One recent Saturday morning a caravan of trucks, some pulling trailers, arrived at the farm as men from Integrity Church in Burlington came to collect our excess wood.  As the temperature dropped into the twenties last night, we were grateful to know that Wings of Dawn Farm wood was keeping warm folks who might otherwise have been very cold.  Thanks to Integrity Church for this community effort.  Great teamwork!

The first load, soon to be on its way.
Volunteers formed a line and passed the wood along, filling each trailer and truck.
Backing up one more trailer to fill it with firewood.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Goodbye Barn!

Our remaining barn pieces
Several years ago we pulled down a dilapidated barn on our property, fearing that it might fall down. (As difficult as it was to take down we doubt it would have ever fallen over.) It sat in a pile until recently when we had the remaining materials taken away.
Pushing and hauling away the barn

And now there is not a pile of old barn pieces blocking our view of the pond! The soil where the barn was is also very rich from all of the hay and likely manure that was stored in the barn. We are planning to expand our asparagus bed into the former barn's location.  We've removed a lot of rocks from the soil and planted cover crops in preparation for planting asparagus.
No more barn! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fig Recipe

Figs cut on the top, ready to be stuffed with cheese
Last year we did a post about collecting figs with a few links for recipes but did not take any photos to show how we use figs in recipes. This year our fig harvest has been late because of heavy frosts in the spring.  Compared to last year, the trees are producing fewer figs and we suspect the two late freezes could be the reason.
Figs cut and in the pan
 Our favorite recipe is to stuff figs with goat cheese or cream cheese and then roast them in the oven. You simply cut a cross-shape in the top of the fig (where the stem has been removed), place them in a greased pan, and then put small dabs of goat or cream cheese (or both!) inside of the figs. We roast them at about 350 degree Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes until bubbly and they are DELECTABLE!
Figs stuffed with cheese

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Surfing Heron

Small green heron floating on the island of debris

We had a lot of rain the other week and it seems to have churned up debris from the pond that has settled on the surface. This has created a few small islands that our resident green heron has taken to surfing on! It will ride on the small islands and the wind pushes the island of debris and the heron around the pond as the heron hunts for fish! Seems like a relaxing way to spend your day, floating around on the pond.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Chickens!

Newest baby chick
We recently had five baby chicks hatch under the care of Harriet, a Buff Orpington hen determined to be broody so we set her on some fertile eggs. Here's a photograph of one of her babies, enjoy!

Broody mama hen sitting on all of the babies.  
Notice how fluffed up she is as she tries to appear formidable lest we dare take away one of the chicks.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Green Heron

Heron on left side of photo along the bank of the pond
We have a small green heron living on our pond. It is likely living a pleasant life feasting on the bounty of fish and frogs in and around the pond.  Occasionally, Sofie has chased away the Great Blue Heron with its loud call but she doesn't seem to perceive the green heron as a threat.
Closer view of the heron
It is hard to see sometimes when it is crouched along the bank as its neck is not usually outstretched as it is in the photo. It uses its long neck to snatch fish or frogs out of the water. Check out this link to learn more about green herons and their long necks!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Roasting Peppers

Roasting peppers
When blessed with a bounty of produce, one has to find a way to process everything that does not sell. Processing in an efficient and less time-consuming method is greatly appreciated when there is too much going on! We hunted down some recipes for roasting peppers in the oven, but many of them specified that when broiling peppers in the oven they should be split in half and the seeds removed. However, recipes specified that when roasting peppers on the grill the peppers can be left whole. So we decided to go with broiling the whole peppers, which worked out fine.
Blister forming on a pepper below the broiler
We placed the peppers stem down on a tray and put the tray below the broiler. After about 5-10 minutes we flipped the peppers over with tongs to roast on the other side for 5-10 minutes. The entertaining part that is perhaps missed when you split the peppers before roasting them is watching the skins blister and pop beneath the broiler.  Fun to hear and see! Some of the peppers were charred on all sides after this, so we placed them in a pan with a lid, then flipped the remaining peppers until all of the sides were charred. When the peppers were sufficiently charred we placed them all in the lidded pan for an hour or so until cooled, rubbed the skin off and removed the seeds. Having the hot, charred peppers in a lidded vessel seems pretty important because they retain a lot of moisture, and this helps with rubbing the skins off. Our modified method worked out really well and we made delicious pimento cheese with some of our freshly roasted peppers!  Some went in the freezer.  The plants are still producing so there will probably be more pimento cheese very soon.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Water, water everywhere

Thunderstorms this afternoon have brought a lot of rain in short periods of time--a total of 3 inches so far.  Here's what some of the farm looks like.
 Normally this is a small wetland area from which peepers sing in the Spring. 

This is the outflow through 2 culverts under the farm road.  It is roaring!
This side is the inflow for the culverts.  The water is running so quickly that it created a whirlpool.  See it swirl!

Here's the view up the hill of the path we take to reach hen-a-bago 2.  Wonder when I'll get those eggs gathered today?

Below the solar charger mounted on the fence post in the center of the photo is a green box containing the battery.  It's all underwater.  Hope the box is waterproof.  Fortunately the fence is not carrying a charge right now.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Broody Hens!

Broody hen in a nest box with a baby chick

We had been hoping for months on end for our hens to become broody so that we could hatch more chickens. In the last couple of months we have had success!

Baby chick among the eggs
We started finding chickens in the nest boxes that would not get up off of a clutch of eggs and rather than discouraging their broodiness we encouraged it and designated particular boxes for the broody hens. Once the chicks hatched we moved them into the brooder house.
Minerva Louise with baby chicks
Much to our delight Minerva Louise, one of our "yard chickens," went broody and not only hatched out 5 eggs but also adopted a number of other chicks from a different flock, kept them warm, and tended to them! It was always a delight to see the babies climbing all over Minerva Louise and peeking out from beneath her.

As Minerva Louise protected her brood she was not always so gentle with older chicks in the growing mixed flock in the brooder house. Once her babies were big enough we removed Minerva Louise and now she watches over the young chicks along the outside of the fenced run.
Minerva Louise longingly following the babies

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Catching Up!

Tomatoes have taken over our house!
The summer has gotten away from us! We have only had time to post photos and a few highlights here and there on our Facebook page lately and are sincerely apologetic for not posting more on our blog! We have been inundated with tomatoes up until we had a lot of rain about a week ago. Now we are suffering some blight and losing some of our plants. Feast or famine!
Our booth at the Burlington Downtown Farmer's Market
We have been at the Burlington Downtown Farmer's Market since early May. It has been great to meet people interested in eating fresh produce and learning about other local farms in the area.
Josh continues to grow.  He is almost the same size as Sophie and still has more growing to go!
Concrete pad for the basement and foundation walls going up! 
One of the more time-consuming projects we have been endeavoring has been the construction of our future home. It will be very exciting to share the development of this project with you in the future!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

It's tomato time!
The tomatoes are really beginning to come in now which is one benefit to the hot weather we've been having.  Seeing small okra on the plants is another.  I've already dehydrated some Principe Borghese tomatoes and now I have pot of mixed heirlooms cooking down to be processed through the food mill for juice or tomato puree.  A pot of tomatoes is a pretty sight!  We'll enjoy them all winter long!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Moving the Hen-a-bago II

Hen-a-bago II attached to the tractor
You might have read about our newest Hen-a-bago II being built and then moved out to pasture. We relocate  Hen-a-bago II once or twice per week to a new section of pasture.  Changing pastures often improves the health of our chickens by giving them new grasses in which to forage for insects as well as "salad" greens.  Rotation also is a form of parasite control as it disrupts the life cycle of many naturally occurring yet undesirable organisms seeking to find a host site in the guts of our chickens.
Chickens riding in Hen-a-bago II

Friday, June 22, 2012


Cleaned up suckered base of the tomato plants, keeping fruit up and leaves off of the ground
We are firm believers in suckering tomato plants. Some people are not so prone to the practice. In observing plants that have been suckered and those that have not been suckered we have come to find that suckering keeps limbs from touching the soil, which keeps the leaves from contracting soil bacteria and other things that harm the tomato plants. It also keeps our tomatoes from forming low on the plant where it has the likelihood of resting on the ground as it develops, which could lead to rot, or allow a ground insect to devour it.
This is what suckering gets rid of, yellowed leaves and contact  with the ground
Tying up the tomato plants keeps them from falling over and turning into gangly out of control messes. Here's to hoping for a good crop of tomatoes!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Little Luck

We have a friend who visits us from time to time.  He's a dear soul and one of those people who has the good fortune to find four-leaf clovers.  During a recent visit he even found a 5-leaf clover!  We are blessed not only by his friendship and his help during visits but also by the luck he finds growing freely on our land.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bitty Figs and Bitty Grapes

Small figs growing on the tree
Our monstrous fig tree has begun to produce little bitty figs! They are very sweet looking and we are sure they will produce sweet little fruits this summer!
Small figs growing on the tree
The grapevines have also begun to produce small bitty bunches of grapes. It is always amazing to watch plants develop and create fruit and vegetables.
Small grapes
This time of year I become very hungry for home-grown fruit so these figs and grapes beginning to grow are very exciting developments!

Friday, June 8, 2012


"Here's looking at you!" Spider in the iris
The warm weather this spring has given us some early blooming, beautiful irises in our flowerbeds. The previous owner of our farm planted beautiful flowers all around the property.

We have many varieties and colors of irises. With some cooler mornings and a few days of rain here and there, the petals have been really beautiful to capture beads of water in the morning!

Here are some more photos of our irises:

The irises have finished for the season and the gardenia are now blooming.  About time I published this blog post!  Memories of cooler days and a season that will come again.