Sunday, September 30, 2012

For the love of Pears..............

The universe finally allowed time for some canning today! Our Sand Pear was the only one that bore this year due to the weird winter but she bore a phenomenal number of pears. My beloved Ball Book had a syrup recipe using Honey so that is how the batches started, when the honey ran out I replaced it with Agave, then added vanilla and cinnamon to the third Agave batch, finally ending with a brown sugar batch when the Agave ran out.

Fortuitously Erin over on the Polyface Hen House Blog  posted a nice Plum Cake recipe today that I stole and used pears instead of plums, it was a huge hit! So I thought I would share it here too. Just a note on using pears, I cooked mine in agave syrup for about five minutes before adding them to the cake.

Pear  Cake  (or other fruit of choice)
3 eggs; 1/2 c. butter, softened; 1/2 c. sugar; 1 t. lemon zest; 1 c. flour; 1/2 t. baking powder; 1 1/4 c. plums, pitted and sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease and flour one 9 inch tube pan.  Separate the eggs.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.  Beat in the egg yolks and lemon zest.  Stir together the flour and baking powder and then beat the flour mixture into the creamed mixture.  Gently fold in the egg whites.
  4. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.  There will only be a little over an inch of batter.  Arrange the pears, attractively over the batter.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes or until cake tests done.  Allow to cool before serving.
*** Recipe courtesy of Polyface Hen House Blog

Thursday, September 27, 2012

We are still here.........

It has been seven weeks since my last post. The farm is doing well although it has been largely in coast mode because of school. I have been in school for quite some time but until this semester it was pretty laid back and really didn't compete with the farm for my time. That all changed this semester when my actual RN classes started. The first three weeks went by in a mad whirlwind of being in class all day everyday trying to absorb everything we needed to know before we started our first round of clinical rotations. We are now in our second week of our first clinical rotation and are finally starting to get into a more regular predictable rhythm. I finally feel like I can take a deep breath and devote a little more time to the farm.

First day of clinicals

Last weekend we sorted out 25 pullets from the grow out tractors and set them up in a grow out tractor being converted to a layer tractor and encircled them in a fenced "learning yard" so they can get used to the new tractor as home base. They new girls have learned the routine quickly so their fence will come down this weekend and they will have true free range during the day. The new ladies are from two age groups about three weeks apart. They still have a bit before they start laying. Our original laying flock of ten are finishing out a molt and starting to lay more consistently.

We have a few stragglers from the last batch of broilers we processed that will be processed this weekend. Once these are done we only have one group left that will be ready in another 2-3 weeks.  I would like to try a small batch of Peking Ducks. Erin posted on the Polyface Hen House Blog back on the the second about a trial run they are doing raising ducks in tractors on the same schedule and feed as broilers and they are doing well. Her post gave the little shove I needed to brave a batch myself. Now I just need to talk Rick into it :)

Roasted Duck for Christmas Dinner Sounds Amazing!

Until next time, may your gardens be green, your larder be full and your family happy!