Thursday, October 30, 2008

Peep Peep Update

Well, the peep peeps are almost full size now. Both of the colored ones ended up looking about the same - and oddly enough, not lavender. They have more of the coloring known as "pearl" - but with varying degrees of white on their breast. Not sure if that will ever change.

Here are the three we kept along with mom and one of their two dads. They are just now losing the feathers on their head - so deliciously ugly.

In other bird news, Harpo has gone broody. She sat on her eggs all day yesterday and only came off for a snack at dinner time. I never got a final count, but I think she may have 12 or 13 in there. Yay! The weather is getting pretty cold overnight, so I don't know if she'll actually hatch out any ducklings, but I have marked the date on the calendar and we'll start looking in about 26 days.

I had noticed on Sunday that there was a big layer of downy feathers covering the clutch of eggs, and thought that might be a sign was getting ready to set. ...getting ready to keep them warm. She has also been stupidly friendly for the last week or so - running up to us like a puppy, begging for food any time she saw us. I figured that meant she was fueling up for her long vigil. I suppose I could actually READ about ducks, but it's more fun trying to figure all of the behaviors out on my own. I'm a dork that way.

Here's hoping for ducklings. :)

Edited to add: I finally looked at the book. Muscovies incubate their eggs for 35 days. Better change my calendar!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mad Goat

One of our weirdest goats these days is Kelly. In the past year, Kelly has developed a bizzare pre-dinner ritual that consists mainly of her chewing her cud and salivating at a rate that leaves her foaming at the mouth.

Now ordinarily if your goat was foaming at the mouth, you ought to be concerned. It is a pretty good sign something may be seriously wrong; first on the list of suspects being self-poisoning from eating something on the verboten list.

But with Kelly it's just chronic weirdness.

This particular weirdness has earned her a new nickname: Kelliccino. Mmmmm...foamy.

FWIW, this was taken on a mild evening. Some days it's triple that or more in volume.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Another great tour

On Sunday we hosted a small tour brought to the farm by former Houston Dairymaid, Kendra Scott. She brought a group to Austin to visit some small dairies and wineries out in the Hill Country and they stopped by BHF on their way back to H-town.

It was a GORGEOUS day and the goats enjoyed being pet and loved out in the sunshine. We talked about all of the weird things we have learned about goats, including their lack of top teeth and the fact that they lose baby teeth after turning one. Here Christian shows off Carrie Underwood's decidedly messed up grill.

When the tour left, the goats came in to investigate the tent where we set up cheese samples. Them goats is crazy. And LeeAnne wants you to have no doubt which cheese is her favorite. (second pic)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Big, Fancy Farm Tour

Last weekend we participated in a multi-farm tour with a gourmet lunch at the last farm, cooked by celebrity chef, Randy Evans. The ticket price was a little steep, but for a good reason: in addition to providing people with a nice immersion in local food culture, we were also raising money for the Koonce fund.

Since that Sunday was also our monthly market at Home Sweet Farm, BHF was the first stop after breakfast at Sandy's.

ToD tried his darndest to impress every soul on the tour, and since he didn't try to kill anyone, I consider our part of the day a success.

After BHF, the crew went to a local winery in Waller and then to Animal Farm for the lunch and a look at the absolutely incredible work that Gita and Cas do in sustainable living, permaculture and organic farming. We had to miss that part of the tour, but went out to Animal Farm on Tuesday for a re-creation of what we missed. (Only this time the audience was Travel/Food writers in town for a conference) All I can say is wow.

I hope everyone who participated enjoyed the experience. We hope to participate in other tour/dinner events on a regular basis and will put details of new events up on this site as they coalesce. In the meantime, enjoy the photos.

Oh - and in crazy co-in-kee-dink-ees ... Gita has a dog that looks just like Goatrude.

Monday, October 20, 2008

100 Mile Harvest

Back in April when we first started at the Farmers' Markets, we met the Arroyos family. They had just started a project to eat only foods grown or produced from ingredients grown within a hundred miles of their home in Sugarland. A couple weeks ago they finally took us up on our offer to come out to Blue Heron Farm.

...and they brought reporters. :)

Here is a link to the really lovely blog entry the Arroyos wrote about us and their visit.

And here is the equally flattering article that ran in the Chronicle.

We are huge supporters of the Arroyos and their passion for the politics of food and the environment. I hope you will find some inspiration in what they are doing and use it as a starting point, if you have not already done so on your own, to learn more about the food you eat and the farmers who make it possible.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The great Trudini

Goatrude is a bit of an escape artist when she feels the need to be somewhere else. Fortunately her escapades are pretty much limited to:
1. Tunneling into our back yard and
2. Going through our back fence, around and through our neighbor's back fence to cruise his place along our shared fence line.

Yesterday I accidentally left the fence to the compost pile unlocked and she expanded her roam and came back with two, yes two, unblemished duck eggs in her mouth. Christian took them away and we took off trying to figure out where she found them. Fortunately she came along and led us right to the treasure trove where there was still one egg left that wouldn't fit in her big maw.

Harpo has started a nest! She dug under all of the chopped up cedar limbs that we haven't burned yet. And I guess now the burn will be postponed until there are ducklings.

Every morning, she and Karl waddle down the driveway, she enters her burrow and he stands guard. Too cute. I'll let you know when she goes broody. I hope we get a live hatch! :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Making room for piggy

I'm making room in the freezer. I cooked my first-ever ham tonight. If you're new to the farm blog, you may not know that I am both Jewish and vegetarian. I'm on totally new turf here.

Anyhoo-- I "steamed" it with the lid on for the first hour with a bottle of beer poured in the roaster to make the steam. Then I uncovered and basted it with a mixture of peach/jalapeƱo jam, dijon mustard, honey and minced garlic. I basted it every 20 minutes until it was done. According to the googler, taking it out of the oven at 140F internal temp is OK. I hope no one gets poisoned. Christian's parents are coming for dinner.

Anyway, there is a little more room in the freezer now. And I am now a cooker of many meats, ham being the latest in a line that includes ground lamb and whole organic chickens. Farming is cool.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bloody Ridiculous

As Fall arrives, so too do the days of lower milk production. It's the natural lactation curve in action.

As a result, there is no spare milk about. Usually when we start a batch of cheese there are still a couple gallons left in the fridge, from which we get our "house milk" and then start accumulating another two days' worth for the next batch.

Not today.

As 19 gallons were busy doing their thing in the cheese vat, I found myself sans milk for tonight's dinner: a farm-fresh quiche.

I actually had to go out to the field and hand milk a half cup into a cajeta jar from a confused, impatient Maybelline in order to finish dinner. In case you are wondering, goats don't "get" milking in the field. I had to enlist Christian to hold her still to get anywhere.

Ridiculous, I say.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Like Weeds

Our baby animals are growing like weeds.

T. Boone is a good two times the size he was when he arrived. He's still sick-cute, but he no longer can sit in one hand.

The guinea keets are getting huge, too. We gave two more away and so are down to three. I will try to get a better picture than this - but this gives you an idea of how big they are. This was before the last two went. They were getting their dog food on in Trudy's bowl.

They're great little fliers now and when the whole family flies in from the fields at once it is just awesome to watch. ...that, I will not likely ever capture on film. :(

Sunday, October 5, 2008

OITF Photos

Last night was fabulous. Honi & Glen's farm is absolutely gorgeous, the weather was perfect and the food was fabulous.

We arrived at 3, had drinks and hors d'oeuvres in the lawn of the farm house and then had an escorted tour of the farm on our way to the table which had been set up on a hill in the back acreage. It was - am I over using this word? - fabulous.

We picked a spot at the table and were lucky enough to get really lovely dinner companions where we chose to sit. And the view? Incredible. The table was most striking before it filled with people, so I included a before and after of our section as well as other random piccies from the evening.

And now, with the glitterati life behind us, I have to go make cheese. And cajeta. We may have hooked a few dozen people on the cajeta. ;)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Outstanding in the Field

We are super excited that tomorrow, at long last, Outstanding in the Field is coming to Houston.

We first heard about this event in a fabulous story on Sunday Morning that was a profile on Jim Deneven. Christian loves that he is a surfer, we both are in awe of his incredible art - and that he found a way to combine art, food and the idea of "eating local" to form the the OITF concept? Well, we are big fans.

We bought our tickets to the event back in April when we had just barely become legal. Now I am extraordinarily proud to announce we are being used as a provider at the event. Monica Pope is the chef, and guests will be eating Blue Heron Farm feta in an hors d'oeuvre of some kind and Blue Heron Farm cajeta as part of the dessert. I'll let you know how it goes. I am just so jazzed to be a part of this thing. ::happy dance::