Thanksgiving, 2016

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Here is this year’s bird coming out of the oven, a Narragansett that lived its entire life at Silk Tree Farm. It had a good life, feeling sun and rain, scratching for bugs and flocking with other turkeys.

As a heritage breed the body is much more naturally proportioned than a supermarket bird, you can see the breast is relatively small compared to the thighs. The meat is flavorful, very tender and very moist. We soaked it in brine for a couple of hours, and then cooked it in a relatively hot oven until it hit 180 on the meat thermometer. Heritage birds tend to cook faster than supermarket birds. It was served with a sausage and walnut stuffing, the sausage also came from Silk Tree Farm. Perfection!

In the background is a freshly baked apple pie.

Turkeys are sold out for the year. There is good availability for the sausage and other pork, including:

Chops

Ribs

Country ribs

Sausage

Roasts

Ham (no nitrate added)

Bacon ( no nitrate added)

 

 

 

 

July Update

I haven’t blogged in a while, we’ve been busy on a big project, so today I thought I’d take a tour and snap some pictures of what’s going on at the farm.

The old cow pasture is divided by temporary fencing, on one side are three chicken tractors:

 

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On the other side are the younger Spanish does:

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Sasha, the livestock guardian dog, is over there as well:

 

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Malbec, the herd sire for the Nigerian Dwarfs, has been a bit of trouble lately by escaping, so he’s off by himself in the winter pasture:

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There is a stone wall that stretches between the cow pasture and the winter pasture, the Spanish does are working that wall inside temporary fencing:

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While on the other side of the wall is Buck, the herd sire for the Spanish, along with a young Spanish buck and a wether:

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The Corn Crib is being used for incubating right now, there are three batches of chickens in there:

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Plus a batch of turkeys. Some of the hens have taken to mothering the turkey poults.

P1070722In the kidding pens are the pigs that were born this spring:

 

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Their mothers are nearby, the piglets were only weaned about a week ago.

 

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Also in the kidding pens are three Nigerian bucklings. The black ones are polled, which means they were born without horns, which is a prized genetic trait.

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Plus a Tom and a turkey hen:

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In the summer pasture are all of the Myotonics:

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Plus the Black Jersey Giant chickens:

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And this tom:

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In the northwest field are all of the Red Wattle pigs that were born last fall. They’re a rambunctious bunch of adolescents now.

 

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The new pasture in the west field has all of the milkers.

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There’s a fenced off area in the middle where Tom and Cathy have set up a portable milking station:

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Plus a few more turkeys:P1070686

This is my favorite new goat this year. She’s a doeling, born on the summer solstice. Her name is Full Moon Solstice.P1070691

Wilbur, the herd sire for the red wattles, has an area to himself to the north of the new pasture.P1070693

On the duck pond is the Muscovy duck, who just showed up uninvited. She must have heard we had a duck pond.P1070699

 

 

Finally, this is the project that has been keeping us too busy to blog: we’re building a greenhouse. It’s enormous, 96 feet long, 30 feet wide and 15 feet high. I’ll be blogging soon about it.

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I hope you enjoyed the tour!

Wilbur

This is Wilbur, the boar for the red wattle hogs. He sired two litters that were born in the early fall and two that arrived this month, so there are about twenty-five of his offspring on the farm right now.  As you can see, he is a handsome fellow:

 

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His offspring have shown excellent genetics, and a couple of his male progeny have been sold as boars. As a breeder, he’s kept leaner than animals being raised for meat.

These pictures were taken the day we moved him onto his summer pasture.  Once his work is done he needs to be kept away from the sows and piglets, so he’s off in a corner by himself where he can’t see the other pigs, but he is around goats, turkeys, chickens and people. Most people don’t think of pigs as grazers, but they will greedily eat anything green, and given the chance he will eat every bit of plant in the pasture, including the roots.

As pigs go, the red wattles are gentle and good-natured. They are smart, and they have an almost superstitious respect for electric fence. As you can see here, all it takes to keep him in is a single wire at about snout height.

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Of course, the wire is running 5,000 volts and packs a wallop!  While we were moving Wilbur I forgot myself and touched it; I won’t be making that mistake again soon. The pigs tend to hit the wire with their snout or ears, which gives a lesson that doesn’t need to be repeated.

I like to think that Wilbur is named for Hezekiah Wilbor. As is typical of Little Compton Wilbur’s, he doesn’t seem to mind if his name is spelled Wilbur, Wilber, Wilbor, Wilbour, Wilbore or Wilboar.

Pastured Heritage Chicken Braised In Milk

This is one way a dairy farmer cooks a pastured chicken. I love this recipe the chicken comes out tender and juice every time. The added herbs give it a warm savory flavor and the lemon juice and zest really brighten up the dish. Once the sauce is strained you have a lovely light sauce to drizzle over you chicken and potatoes. You can find the full recipe here. Enjoy!

Meet Almond and Joy!

Our Spanish Doe Mounds gave birth to these two strong kids last month. You can read about Mounds here. Usually the Spanish goat kids are a lot more timid than our other breeds. These two are very friendly. I believe this is because their mother is so friendly. This is a perfect example of how these animals learn from their mothers. Both Almond and Joy see that mom trusts us and so they know we are safe.

Almond, Mounds’ little buckling is all boy trying to head but us within days of his birth.

Joy her doe is as sweet as can be. She takes after her father with the little wattles on her neck.

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