Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

Our Thanksgiving Feast was small but festive.
Richard & Arlene were our guests. It seems so formal to call them guests because they are so much more than that, they are Family, Friends, and true comrades. It was 15 years ago that I drove with Betsy & Reuben to the Mercer Island Park & Ride and waiting for us were Richard & Arlene. They have been there for us every since. Bringing us into their home, their friends becoming our friends, Arlene sharing her family with us to the point that Franny was a "Mom" to me when I needed advice about "the kids" and Grandma to Betsy & Reuben.
Traveling to Arlene & Richard, for they were our true destination, was a wonderful turning point in our lives and I will always be grateful to them both.

Keith kept us entertain while we got the meal ready.Richard made the mash potatoes & gravy - his specialties!
Next year we hope I will be standing behind our own home-grown turkey!

We do love stuffing,and Keith loves carving the "Beast"!

The meal is complete with Franny's recipes of Cranberry Sauces, carried on by Arlene.
With the sauces, Franny is always at our table.

You know the meal is over when Richard retires to the couch, this year he had company.
Hank not to be upstaged by the little pooches sought out Arlene and had a lovely conversation with her.
Belated Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fletchers Day of Reckoning ( or Ours?)

Last Tuesday was our big day - the day we killed Fletcher.
Grant and Mary-Ann told us they would be here by 10am.
Keith & I were both a little anxious, not in a "Oh poor Fletchers" but more in a "what will the day be like?" state.
To pass the time I watched the bridge, and went to say good-bye to Fletcher, and Keith sang impromptu songs to the Steer.

Here they come!

Grant & Mary-Ann with the .22 rifle

Grant's aim was true, Fletcher fell immediately and was dead before he hit the ground.
They reckon he weighed about 900 lbs. He was a good size for his age.
I'm not posting the photos of the slaughter, but it all went well.
I was only taken aback for the first 3 minutes, after that I was fine.
The skinning and seeing the anatomy of the cow was fascinating and I had no problems being covered in blood and bits of flesh or holding onto innards while the stomach came rolling our when Grant slit the underbelly. Fletchers stomach was huge - about 3 feet in diameter.
I'm making a little photo book of the process, so when you visit the farm you will be more than welcome to look at them.

We are tanning his hide. This is the final rinse, the hide is now in the basement drying out a bit,
the next step is salting the hide.

Mary-Ann told me how to prepare the liver before freezing it. His liver is huge! I washed it 4x in cold water then 3x in salted cold water- to get all the excess blood out of it.

I also prepared the tail for Ox-tail soup and the tongue. Many of the other organs went to Mary-Ann's daughter. Not too much was wasted, the stomach and the intestines are out in the far pasture waiting for coyotes and the such.

This is our first Fletchers meal - Liver & Onions.

It was delicious! Keith & I both had images of Fletchers frolicking in the Paddock as we chewed, but it was a good thing, it just made us appreciate the meal that much more, knowing that the cow was well cared for when he was alive.

Today we are cutting & packaging half the beef, tomorrow the other half.
I think we will be having steak tonight.
We really appreciate Grant & Mary-Ann for taking us under their wing and teaching us the Ways of The Farm!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fletchers' Last Meal

This is Fletchers last meal, tomorrow at 10am the process begins
where he changes from a warm body to a hanging hunk of beef.

Saying Goodbye and Thanks.

Fletchers' will definitely be part of our Thanksgiving Gratitude Cheer!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This & That

Life on the Farm is moving along as fast as the Seasons are changing.
Our good friends Jeff & Sheryl along with their Kidd(pupp)lings - Olo, Inga & Marshell, came for a weekend stay & hunt. That same weekend Arlene and Kay dropped in.
Good walks, great food, playing music & singing & drinking were all the pleasures of the Farm festivities. One Dinner party included 7 human guests and 8 canine guests.
It was a hoot with no injuries, just one "time-out" for Cinder.
Unfortunately we didn't take many photos - just having way too much fun!
Our Big News on the Farm is that Fletcher's will become "Hanging Beef" on November 25 and then "Package Beef" on December 2.

Here are a few shots we've taken over the past couple of weeks:

The couch is just big enough for Jeff, Inga & Olo

Our house comes with it's own Art Work! While it was flooding on the "Coast" the Entiat rose and became muddy.Night-Time Fog,
and Night-Time Moon, followed by,

Morning Moon.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Playing Catch Up

There are a couple of Fun Farm Events from last month that I never did post about.
I think Friday's are a good day to get caught up on old, yet interesting news.
First on the List:

Moving Brandy-Wine & Daisy-Miller from the "Boy's Paddock" to the "Girl's Palace"

Lizzy & Franny sat in the "bleachers" for the best viewing,

while Spaetzle did her best "herd dog" impersonation,

First up was Brandy, just because she was easiest to catch,
let me tell you, those baby goats are heavy!
And it's not that easy to catch them - Arlene said it was like being at the rodeo watching the kids catch a pig - Lucky for me I was able to put them in the area that wasn't muddy.
Daisy was a little harder to catch - I had to catch my breath for a minute before going any farther. We did try putting her down to let her walk herself with me holding the leash, but she just jump around and ran in circles, back in my arms she went.

I had to ask Arlene to help me carry her, she got one end & I got the other.

If you look closely you can see her mouth open and her tongue out - she bleated loudly the whole way over!

Girly-Girl,Porkchop & Tuffy have accepted the girls into their group.
I think Daisy & Brandy are happy in their new home.

And the Fence is holding up Rob!

The other fun time didn't happen on the farm and it was the same weekend that Arlene & I & Richard moved the goats. Richard was the photographer of the goat move, though I didn't express my appreciation while the move was on the go- a belated Thanks Richard!

We went down the road to help friends press grapes for wine, how cool is that?
We weren't sure if we were going to be stomping grapes with our feet, so we all wore pants that could easily be rolled up and washed our feet extra good....but no, it was all be done by a press.

Alan's Set Up
Pouring syrah grapes into the press.
Catching fresh wine! Not pressed, just "run-off" the best of crop! Needless to say we all had many glass fulls while doing the "work"

It's getting full, time to press with our hands to make sure it is completely full

Look at our Preety Hands!

Now it's time to press, Susan does the first go by, then we all give it a try.

and then of course we have to taste the difference between "run-off" and pressed wine.
What a hard job!
Here are a few videos to better explained what went on.

Have a great weekend!