Made It!

Today’s Farming Update comes from Ben.

Should be warming up by the time you’re reading this. My mom’s mother’s birthday is February 8, 1899. (She died on February 8, 1990.) and mom always said, by her mom’s birthday you could tell spring was coming and the days are getting longer.

But boy, the wind on Thursday. Blowing out of the North and it’s COLD, yet the sunshine is so nice.

15° but there’s mud on the south side of the shed, and that’s what’s so cool about the weather. The sun sure is getting powerful as we move toward spring and April showers and it will be here before you know it.

We were at supper with friends the other night and comfort food came up. I hadn’t thought of an actual food to call comfort food and I was kinda stumped. Popcorn was a big one though. Lately I’ve been making coleslaw at home. Met a friend at the grocery store one day and he had a bag of cabbage mix in his cart, and I thought that sounded good. A little vinegar, sour cream, mayo, pinch of sugar, some salt and pepper, garlic and onion, and Kelly and I are really enjoying it. I can’t figure out why. I think it’s such a good mix of crunchy, creamy, with just a little ‘zing’ too it. Some of you that know your way around the kitchen better than us; should we replace the bay leave that’s been in our flour container since 1997??

Egg production is down a bit with these temps, but everyone is surviving. I’ve got my new hooded jacket, zak-traks for my new insulated boots, and wearing nitrile gloves under my regular gloves and were doing fine.

This cold weather has me thinking of watering calves when I was growing up. Baby calves were kept in the barn with the cows. (Which is frowned upon but now; too many germs spread from cows to the calves that the calves are not old enough to handle yet.) They were warm and I had a simple float on a bucket for their water. When they were about 3 months old, I moved them up to the other barn. They’d be about 300 pounds and boy, that was a rodeo. It’s only 50 feet from here to there, but they didn’t know where they were going, and after burning the horn buds off they were all riled up and it was all I could do to get them up there. It was uphill. Both ways. I just hung on for the ride and tried to head them in that direction. Course once in that barn, I still had to get the rope halter off them. I was younger then thank goodness.

And in this barn was an old metal water tank. 400 gallons or something. One of those galvanized oval metal tanks you’ve all seen. In the summer it was outside with a hose and a float to keep it full of water. In the winter, it was inside. Dad didn’t believe in electric waterers nor was there an outlet in the barn and the calves would have gotten into it and that would be a whole big thing.

Sometimes I would use a hose to fill the tank. And then drain the hose and it hang inside the feed room door, so it was on the warm barn side. But if I didn’t want to use the hose, I used 5 gallon buckets. Carrying those buckets of water built muscle and character. Carrying 2 did it even faster. Remember it was uphill. Depending on the weather, it might take 4 or 6 buckets to fill it. When it was this cold it all froze solid except maybe a depression in the middle so it would only hold 5 gallons. Eventually I’d have to knock out the ice to make more room. The calves, like any outdoor animal, is fine in the cold as long as they can get out of the wind, and they have enough food and water to keep their energy up. When it got to the point they couldn’t drink I could bang on the outside using the backside of an old axe, then chop out a bunch inside, then pound some more on the outside. Mind you, eventually I’d cut a hole in the metal. Sooner if I forgot to turn the axe around. Then it held less water…

As the weather got warmer, eventually Id be able to get the water tank out of the frozen manure, and flipped over all ALL the ice knocked out of it and those ice chunks would last a long time.

So now in winter I haul water in 8 quart buckets to the chickens. It’s downhill all the way to their pen. And a longer walk of 150 feet. (summer we use a hose and multiple buckets) I can carry two buckets in one hand, and corn and water in the other. I have strong fingers. Maybe from all those 5 gallon buckets?

Chickens don’t like bread crust either. But they didn’t eat the cantaloupe, which is weird. We’ve always said we have fussy chickens.

I’ve mentioned we have electric heat. When its below zero, it might cost us $12 / day and I have to think, how much is heat worth to me? Do I want to be cold or do I want to pay the $12.

Good thing this cold spell didn’t last too long.

What Is your favorite cabbage recipe? What is the longest cold spell you remember? What is your ice removal strategy? What do you do with old spices?

75 thoughts on “Made It!”

  1. i do a slaw off e op of my head
    cabbage (red and green if i’m fancy) carrots onion mayo vinaigrette honey maybe balsamic raisins throw it in the fridge and let it ripen
    lasts for a long time
    i’m the only one who eats slaw at my house

    i worked a couple years ago with an old german guy proud of his sauerkraut recipe
    a 5 gallon busker layered cabbage salt cabbage salt to the top then pu garbage bag full of water on top to seal the air out and wat until it distilled , simple as that
    i need to try it marne caraway in there too i ado just throw it in with stud on the stove onions and taters will find cabbage in their pan for egg bakes as do soups made from whatever’s in the fridge needing to jump in the pot with the beans and tomato sauce i am concocting , pasta yes or no ? he answer is correct either way
    i am terrible with time
    sometime around 2010 i think we had a winter where i didn’t get above freezing for i wanna say 60 days
    my house was built by mere mortals who didn’t take such things into consideration
    pipes in the carafe attic the were supposed to vent the furnaces froze up and being pvc they popped
    i learned about pvc plum in that winter
    saw glue pot and that electric cable made for putting in the gutters to keep it from freezing was all it took but unplug when not needed because my electric bill were out of sight
    lots of snow that go round too he snowblower got a work out too
    ice removal
    of he roof those electric cable and or salt in a nylon stocking laid up in the ice dam to melt a flow through trough so the water that melts o hecroofccsn flow through
    on the sidewalk sept or driveway i have a thing called an ice popper it’s a disc used in farming for turning over the soil and is put in the end of a handle likes rake with a thing on the end that allow you to bolt the disc together handle, you slide he disc under e edge of the ice and it lifts it up. particularly wonderful at popping i those ice tracks where he car tires compressed the snow so when you shovel the track is left
    i have a 6 foot long ice chisel that weighs about 2 lbs that’s great for getting through thatc4” stuff at the end of the driveway or wherever but you need to be careful because it leave pick marks in the concrete
    bay leaves are good forever i hav monster cupboards full of spices many are old but cloves anise dill cream of tarter cardamom cinnamon jerk sage thyme .. it all gets used
    my son buys fresh rosemary and thyme for his chicken to marinate in
    $2.50 for three sprigs of stuff naw… i buy m spices fron the coop in bulk and label jars and baggies for the spice shelves
    i’m a little concerned about the next house maybe i’ll have to buy a spice cabinet because not many houses have he cupboard space i have been able to commenter in these monster houses i’ve been living in
    how about a solar water heater on the roof of the chicken coop ben
    cheap and easy
    love these farm reports

    Liked by 6 people

        1. Don’t get me wrong, I love raisins. But I love them plain, unadorned, not cooked in anything, not plumped up by dressing in a coleslaw.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Speaking of sidewalk ice chippers, I needed one for a local theater. Couldn’t find them at Manyards, so bought a garden hoe, wedged it under something and bent it straight. If / When it breaks , I’ll weld it back together better than it is.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Wes, we all think that is a real video of you! I have repressed meeting you online at Steve’s Memorial, and I truly believe that is you.

          Liked by 5 people

        2. It makes me want to run out and get a bottle just to have it in the bathroom cabinet to take a whiff of every now and then.

          Liked by 4 people

  2. At our wild bird buffet, the ear corn seems to be their comfort food; that thing lasts about day. And with the price of corn, that’a lot of money! 🙂
    I got a nephew who’s an idea man like tim. He’s already working out how we can market ear corn. He doesn’t get the production side and issues, but he sure sees a marketing opportunity!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. tell him to start with a feeder and 12 ears of corn shipped out to a customer base that you harvest from the Internet and get their email address and put together a monthly shipment of ears of corn through SPEE Dash DEE delivery out of St. Cloud Minnesota at a vastly reduced shipping price versus USPS or FedEx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your coleslaw sound really good, Ben – do you find you have to chop the packaged cabbage smaller?
    I have a recipe for Red Cabbage that involves red current jam, and I spice it differently each time.. may make it today. But it calls for shredded cabbage – I don’t own a food processor – does anyone have a Vitamix? Can you use it to do things like shred cabbage? Closest thing I find in the instructions is doing nuts (with pulse) in the 20-oz. container.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have not chapped it more
      , it is the red and green cabbage mix, and what I’ve noticed is in every bag there will be just one or two extra extra large pieces. And I don’t think I want to chop it any finer than the rest already is.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    Ankeny, Iowa, where my mother lives in a Long Term Care Facility, is also the home of Tone Spices. Years ago in the winter, following an ice storm, the entire suburb smelled like garlic. The garlic salt manufacturing line experienced some contamination, leaving the company with tons of spoiled garlic salt. So they gave it to the city snow treatment department who spread it on the roads after several snow/ice storms. It treated the roads and smelled like garlic. THAT is what you do with old spice.

    I do not like cabbage much. I eat just a bit of sauerkraut, but my appetite that only extends to Reuben sandwiches and cole slaw with Jimmy’s cole slaw dressing. I do like stuffed cabbage, though. Go figure.

    Ice removal—whatever works is what I do. Sand, Ice Melt, kitty litter, tim’s grit. I have fallen on ice too often. The worst one was when I could not see the ice because it appeared the front steps were wet. I stepped out on it and was on my way down the steps way too fast. When my son was a tot, I had a bad fall, too. I was carrying him to the car on my day care providers driveway. My feet went out from under me and I was on my back with a 30 pound toddler on top of me. The fall knocked the breath out of me and it took a long time to recover as I laid there. Finally the tot said, “Mommy, we fall down. Mommy?”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    Ankeny, Iowa, where my mother lives in a Long Term Care Facility, is also the home of Tone Spices. Years ago in the winter, following an ice storm, the entire suburb smelled like garlic. The garlic salt manufacturing line experienced some contamination, leaving the company with tons of spoiled garlic salt. So they gave it to the city snow treatment department who spread it on the roads after several snow/ice storms. It treated the roads and smelled like garlic. THAT is what you do with old spice.

    I do not like cabbage much. I eat just a bit of sauerkraut, but my appetite that only extends to Reuben sandwiches. I do like stuffed cabbage, though. Go figure.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I wish all the roads smelled like garlic. The four bay leaves in the container in our cabinet, and a handful of other old spices aren’t gonna go far on the road. But kudos to Tone’s for doing that!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m struck by how little snow you have on the ground in those photos, Ben. Has it all blown away, or didn’t you get as much as we did here in St. Paul. All of our grass and dirt is under at least a foot of snow. I especially love the header photo with the hoar frost on the trees.

    I disagree with tim about how long you can use bay leaves. They don’t go bad, so there’s no harm done in using them, but I’d say that after a year or so, there isn’t much flavor left in them, unless you have stored them in the freezer. Even in the freezer they don’t last forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OK, so what was the point of putting them in the flour? It was to keep those little bugs away, right? So if this is an air tight container, do we need it in the first place? If it looses the flavor, is it still keeping bugs away??

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d say that if your bay leaves have no smell left, they are not going to be effective in deterring bugs in your flour. I suspect that if you store your flour in an airtight container, and don’t have it sitting around for years, you don’t really need the bay leaves. Since husband has started baking bread, I no longer use them.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Oh, the header photo was from a few years ago because I didn’t have anything good to use this week.
      The other photos are where I clear snow for the chickens. You should see the drifts along the road!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I buy my spices at the co-op so that I can buy little teeny amounts. A whole bottle of something that you pay a fortune for at the grocery store just isn’t worth it in my view.

    I have to admit that for coleslaw. I am extremely lazy. Bag of shredded cabbage, half a jar of Litehouse coleslaw sauce. Although it is better to wait a couple of hours before digging in.

    My favorite cabbage recipe. I think it’s probably Colcannon. It’s an Irish dish made with cabbage and potatoes and sausage. I have use vegetarian sausage. I don’t make it very often because it’s hard to get a smaller amount of cabbage and YA says it’s boring so if I make it I usually have to eat at all.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I love cabbage, and not just the white kind! Whether raw, steamed, stewed, braised, roasted or pickled, its such a versatile vegetable that it lends itself to so many different dishes.

    I love a good slaw with things like BBQ (we’re having BBQed pork tonight!). It’s great in soups: Borscht, Kapusniak, Shchi, Hungarian sweet and sour soup are some of my favorites. My mom being Irish, of course, I love it in Colcannon and with Corned Beef for St. Patrick’s Day.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. We mainly use cabbage for borscht and occasionally coleslaw but I’ll happily eat it in any form. I haven’t made colcannon, mainly because I don’t make mashed potatoes that often and I don’t often have a cabbage on hand unless I have a plan, but I had colcannon at a highly touted restaurant in Wales with some sort of fish. The colcannon was by far the more memorable.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Husband has grand plans to grow eight Alcosa cabbages this year. They are smallish, mild, savoy-type cabbages. I make a German dish (fischrouladen) with seasoned cod wrapped in cabbage leaves and baked in a mustard cream sauce. We also put the cabbage in minestrone, gulyas, and slaw. Those recipes use up about three cabbages. The other cabbages will go to the food pantry.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I’m not familiar with Alcosa cabbage, but have taken a liking to the Jaroma cabbage which many of the Hmong farmers offer at the farmers’ market. One cabbage, pointed cabbage, I have never come across in the US, but it’s very popular in Denmark. It’s milder in taste and the leaves are more tender than white cabbage, which is also true of the Jaroma cabbage. Those are both excellent for stewed cabbage and for cabbage rolls.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Last attempt! Word Press rejected a password that has worked well for months including a couple of days ago! Try sautéing cabbage with black mustard seeds and cumin seeds-delicious!
    I usually freeze herbs from my garden except mint which is better dried. Otherwise I get small amounts from the coop or occasionally get tempted by smells or interesting combos or sources when visiting Penzey’s.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. maybe i just don’t notice smaller flavors out of my old spices
    bay leaves in my french onion soup are delicious
    i also do the herbs in a strainer to soak in a soul or sauce before being ousted
    i tend to put in more rather than less so maybe i’m arriving at lots of stale flair rather than a little robust flavor
    i’m getting hungry

    maybe not the best but it’s familiar

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Making Maida Heatter’s Gulf Coast Chocolate Pie tonight, which calls for uncooked meringue in the filling. To avoid salmonella, I am substituting Italian meringue, as that has boiling sugar syrup poured into the egg whites, making it less likely to poison us.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I buy spices in bulk at the Co-op so that I can buy smaller quantities too. I used to buy too much but you can really tell the difference in flavor when you buy something fresh.

    I like cabbage sliced into 1/2” ‘steaks’, brushed with olive oil and grilled. I was invited to an Irish meal once that I wasn’t looking forward to. Corned beef and cabbage didn’t sound good to me. I was delighted to find out how delicious it was. I tasted the corned beef, mostly to be polite. Beef is just meaty and totally unappealing to me, as was this, but the cabbage and potatoes were really good.

    These farm reports are fun. The eggs from Ben are delicious. I always buy good quality, local, organic eggs at the Co-op but these are better. Thanks, Ben!

    Liked by 5 people

  15. I was mixing up more coleslaw tonight (and looking for the extra large junks 🙂 ) and I remembered mom growing cabbage in her garden. I don’t recall her making anything with it, but I sure loved using the power gun and dusting them for bugs. Suppose that had any harmful effects?? If two puffs was good, 5 or 6 puffs made a bigger cloud. 🙂

    And the core! Oooohhh..Yummy!
    I may have to start buying cabbage just so I can get the core to eat.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. OT – Don’t know how many baboons are familiar with Heather Cox Richardson’s “Letters from an American,” but I’m an avid reader of them. She’s a historian and professor of history at Boston College. Several years ago she started sending out daily letters analyzing current political events in the context of a historical perspective. In the midst of all of the craziness of the Trump administration, her daily letters represented a voice of reason and hope; they were a breath of fresh air.

    At any rate, tonight she posted a song by Dave Mallet on Facebook. I’m sharing it here because it’s such a hopeful song, and think we could all use a little boost to our spirits right about now.

    Hope For One and All

    If the morning star still disappears behind a sky of blue
    If people rise and go to work like they always do
    As long as young folks fall in love and kids keep growing tall
    With the earth below and the sky above
    there’s hope for one and all

    If the moon still moves the deep blue sea and rules the hearts of men
    If the world keeps turning quietly, here we go again
    If the winter grass turns April-green when the rain begins to fall
    If there’s water flowing from the stream
    there’s hope for one and all

    There’s hope for you and me my friend, with our backs against the wall
    If there’s water flowing from the stream
    there’s hope for one and all

    If a man still does the best he can, though no one cares
    If mother’s still rock their babes to sleep, and say a little prayer
    If the old car starts when the wind blows cold, way down in the fall
    If there’s one good spark in the falling dark
    there’s hope for one and all
    There’s hope for you and me my friend, with our backs against the wall
    If there’s one good spark in the falling dark
    there’s hope for one and all.

    ©David Mallett, Cherry Lane Publishing

    Liked by 5 people

  17. Not a fan of cabbage. Not sure why, just doesn’t float my boat – no matter how I have tried it. Except in kimchi – then I will eat it gladly.

    As for spices, I at least know I use them faster than my mom, and I consider that a win. When she moved to her apartment a few years ago she had spices still in metal containers from Red Owl. I kept the red pepper just for the container (probably Carter era – turn down your thermostat and don’t toss your spices…). I have a few that I bought for a recipe and then they sat – out they go after they sit, forlorn and ignored for too long. Cinnamon gets used quickly here – and at times I have more than one kind. Another current favorite is the Justice blend from Penzey’s. Sits on my counter with the pepper and the cinnamon…

    Glad my animals are all indoor critters so I don’t have to cart water too far for them, even in winter.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. I love cabbage, boiled or steamed, with butter and salt and pepper.

    Cole slaw is good, too. It doesn’t have to be shredded very fine, just chop it roughly, mix a dressing with Miracle Whip, vinegar, and a little sugar and celery salt. Slice an apple into it. The apple adds some color if you get a nice red one.

    Liked by 2 people

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