Posts Tagged ‘farm’

Blackbelly Barbados Sheep and Hops

December 7th, 2015 by Susan Odom

The summers of 2014 and 2015 I had some interesting, unique and four legged, guests here at Hillside Homestead, Blackbelly Barbados Sheep. They ‘summered’ here along with the human guests, of course the sheep stayed outside. Hillside Homestead, located in Suttons Bay, Michigan, is a historic farm stay that creates a slice of farm life circa 1910.

The sheep proved very popular with my guests.

The sheep proved very popular with my guests.

Folks come here to reconnect with the past through farming and food, they experience the farm by spending the night B&B style, taking classes, attending farm dinners, field trips, free public events, etc. The sheep were here because I had the good fortune to be part of USDA grant project. I was just a small part of the project but I enjoyed the work and the chance to learn something new.

The senior partners in this grant project are Amy and Brian Tennis of New Mission Organics and the Michigan Hop Alliance both located in Omena, Michigan and Heather and Chad Jordan of Delight of Life Farm also in Suttons Bay. I meet these folks when we were all members of the New Farmers Program (began 2009) sponsored by Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center and Michigan State University Extension.

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Farmhouse Frolic June 22 from noon to 5pm

June 10th, 2014 by Susan Odom

You are invited to Hillside Homestead

The Farmhouse Frolic

Sunday June 22, noon to 5pm

Free and Family Friendly!

 

 

Hillside Homestead is a historic farm stay, offering overnight lodging, dinners, classes and free events

Hillside Homestead is a historic farm stay, offering overnight lodging, dinners, classes and free events

 

The Farmhouse Frolic is a time for anyone to come and visit the farm. All are welcome and encouraged to come. Bring your family and friends to experience this early 20th century farm. This is a great opportunity to visit Hillside Homestead and have fun doing it! Visit www.hillsidehomestead.com or www.facebook.com/hillsidehomestead for more info!

Activities at the Farmhouse Frolic will include:

  • Historic cooking demos and tastings in the kitchen focusing on food in season, eggs and early vegetables.
  • Tour the farmhouse and the grounds
  • Waxing eggs for winter storage and a discussion on historic methods of preserving eggs. Learn about raising chickens on a small farm
  • See the farm animals: pigs, chickens, chicks and ducklings and perhaps the itinerant goose, Gypsy, will even appear!
  • Games for all ages
  • Or just enjoy some porch sitting with your friends and relax!

 

wood cook stove

My wonderful wood cook stove, a Round Oak Range.

 

Pigs pigs pigs at Hillside Homestead

Pigs pigs pigs at Hillside Homestead

Proprietress Susan Odom feeding the chickens in the yard

Proprietress Susan Odom feeding the chickens in the yard

 

A little nap after lunch

A little nap after lunch

 

 

Preserving Eggs with lard and beeswax – success, failure and promise

November 22nd, 2013 by Susan Odom

On April 4, 2013 we, Maggie and I, coated four dozen of our hen’s fresh eggs in lard and stored them in a crock of oats. On May 16, 2013 we coated 3 dozen eggs in beeswax and stored them in another crock of oats. I wrote this blog post when we stored the eggs. This was done to preserve them from spring to winter. Fresh eggs are plentiful in the spring and on shortage in the winter.

Well it is winter time, so we opened up the egg crocks to see what we had! We had mixed results. Some of the eggs coated in bees wax had spoiled and I was afraid they tainted the whole crock. But the eggs coated in lard were good. I was a little disappointed, but not dismayed.

After some reflection on the results I think I understand why the waxed eggs went bad. I often took guests down cellar to show them the salt cured meats, the stored eggs and other intriguing food surprises that are to be found in our cellar.

Eggs coated in bees wax stored big end down in a crock filled with oats. A common way to preserve eggs

Eggs coated in bees wax stored big end down in a crock filled with oats. A common way to preserve eggs

I would open up the waxed egg crock, dig through the oats and pull out an egg to show. I even did some experimental techniques with the wax application; that involved wrapping the egg in tissue paper before dipping it in the wax. But I never opened the larded egg crock. I think my digging around in the waxed crock disturbed the eggs and exposed them to more temperature variation. And I think I found that my experimental waxing methods did not work. The larded eggs were just dipped in melted lard and cooled, no tissue paper.

As a test we fried one of the larded eggs. It did not taste very good, but I did not expect it too. Eggs are stored for baking purposes and not fresh eating. But we wanted to try it and we can report no ill effects.

Next we tried baking a cake. Maggie picked out a new recipe for Cocoanut Loaf Cake (365 Cakes and Cookies, published in 1904), which is like a pound cake with only eggs to leaven it, no baking powder or the like. We were very excited while it was baking and the results were amazing!!! The cake was delicious and the eggs had done just what they should do in the cake, raise it a bit, make it rich and lend a beautiful yellow color. The cake was baked yesterday (Nov 21, 2013) and we both ate some and can report we are in good health.

Cocoanut loaf cake made with eggs preserved with lard. Eggs put in storage on 4/4/13 and cake was baked on 11/21/13

Cocoanut loaf cake made with eggs preserved with lard. Eggs put in storage on 4/4/13 and cake was baked on 11/21/13. Eggs more than 7 months in storage!

Now we have eggs to use for holiday baking!!! Good thing too because my chickens have not laid an egg since November 4!

Next year we will do the experiment again, another crock of larded eggs and another crock of waxed eggs. I will stick to the plain method of coating the eggs with the wax. I think both methods, waxed and larded, hold a lot of promise. Most important I will keep my hands out of the egg crocks during the storage period! Perhaps I should make a demo crock with fake eggs that I can share with guests!

Now of course this is not USDA approved so I can’t tell you to try it at home. But It does seem to hold some promise for me and Hillside Homestead!

So bring on the holidays; I’ve got eggs!

Nice chunk of chicken fat.

April 13th, 2013 by Susan Odom

Last Sunday a pair of hawks was stalking my chickens and alas they killed one. But a friend was here and he saw it as it was happening and he was able to retrieve the chicken for me. The hawks took the head and broke the crop, but all the meat was still there.

Another friend plucked and cleaned the bird as I was busy making a dinner for 10. Today I’m stewing that bird. I hope to make Miss Parloa’s creamed chicken and a nice pot of chicken stock.

But the surprise was the fat inside the body cavity near the vent. This chunk of fat is about a cup in volume! Nice and yellow not white like store bought chicken. And this hen was almost 2 years old.

Chicken fat from the body cavity of a 2 year old Light Brahma hen

Chicken fat from the body cavity of a 2 year old Light Brahma hen

I’m pondering this fat and I’m going to render it in the eastern Europe/Jewish tradition of making schmaltz. I’ve never don this before! So to the internet I went and found the typical methods which includes onions. Sounds great. I will report back. Already smells great in here with the bird on the stove.

Light Brahma Hen at Hillside Homestead, busy laying eggs!

Light Brahma Hen at Hillside Homestead, busy laying eggs!

Pork Preservation Success!!!

March 10th, 2013 by Susan Odom

We’ve had a huge success here at Hillside Homestead with our historic meat preservation experiments. Hog butchering was Dec 13, 2012. Much of that meat was salt cured and some of it was stored in crocks in between layers of lard. And the larded meat has been a big success. Yesterday we opened the crocks and took out the first layer. One crock was packed with raw pork chops and another with cooked pork chops. All beautiful and good! A third crock with raw bratwurst in casings went   bad, I think that was because there was some air in the casings. More on that later and plans for butchering 2013

Packing meat in lard is a very old food preservation technique. This meat will stay good as long as they lard is cold and firm down in the cellar, i.e. probably till May. Here is the story in pictures….

putting meat into lard (4)

This is back in December. The cooked pork chops are in the crock on the left and melted lard has been poured over the first layer. The raw chops are on the right and again liquid lard.

putting meat into lard (3)And here is another cooked pork chop going in

larded meat openedand now for the beginning of the unveiling….. looks like and smells like fresh pork!

two of the raw pork chops excavated from their lard layer and ready for extraction!

two of the raw pork chops excavated from their lard layer and ready for extraction!

First beautiful pork chop comes out o the crock just as good as it was 3 months ago, without any electric refrigeration or freezing!

First beautiful pork chop comes out o the crock just as good as it was 3 months ago, without any electric refrigeration or freezing!

Here are two raw pork chops ready for the oven and two cooked pork chops. The lard only stuck to the cooked food and not the raw

Here are two raw pork chops ready for the oven and two cooked pork chops. The lard only stuck to the cooked food and not the raw

The 3 month old pork chops are dressed with my homemade kraut, caraway, sage, pepper and salt and a little lard. Ready for the oven

The 3 month old pork chops are dressed with my homemade kraut, caraway, sage, pepper and salt and a little lard. Ready for the oven

The final results! Yum! We forgot to take a picture before we helped ourselves, an honest mistake.

The final results! Yum! We forgot to take a picture before we helped ourselves, an honest mistake.

The pork chops were Delicious and preserved perfectly sweet! I feel a great success in recreating this historic food technique!

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