Friday, October 24, 2014

Photo Friday

We've been waking to frost covered mornings, but the smell of the woodsmoke and fresh brewed coffee warms the soul and gets me going in the morning. Over night it seems, the brilliant yellow and orange Maple trees have gone bare and the leaves carpet the ground like a jewel toned tapestry. I hate to rake them up...I think I'll leave them just a week or two more to enjoy the last bit of Autumn color and that satisfying crunch beneath our boots. The Oak Trees are now in their autumnal prime, boasting rust and burnt orange shades, deep browns and caramels. Many times the Oaks will hold onto their leaves until Spring.

Zach and I have been visiting our local orchards, just to take in the sights and smells of this too short season...I sometimes wish it could go on forever, but perhaps that would make it less special. We purchased a bottle of Apple Desert Wine and a jug of Hard Apple Cider from Spicer's Orchard down the road from us. They make the wine and cider on site and these two varieties are our favorites especially this time of year. The Apple wine is delicious with mulling spices.

Iron Oak Farm Acron T-Shirt
Iron Oak Farm Acorn T-Shirt
My mom and I spent Wednesday afternoon collecting acorns and hickory nuts for Fall decorating and nut wreaths. We were a little late in the season as many of the squirrels have scurried away with the nuts leaving only the caps. Some of the nuts have cracked open with growth and tiny Oak Trees are sprouting out the tip of the acorn. I think the acorn is one of the greatest examples of potential. A tiny nut that becomes a giant tree. Fascinating! 

We plan to carve pumpkins this weekend. Though, we have to grab a couple new ones since the turkeys hollowed out our two Jack-O-Lanterns on the porch. They pecked a giant hole in the side of each one and scooped out every bit of soft flesh and all the seeds...oh well. If it makes them happy.

Here''s some sights from this week. Hope you enjoy them.

Tight fisted Queen Anne's Lace withered blossoms covered in frost

Windmill at a local orchard in the sunset

Before the turkeys got to it

Butternut Squash and Jack-O-Lanterns

Frost on the Thistle down

Frost covered Autumn morning
  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Roasted Sweet Potato and Rosemary Pasta

This recipe is delicious! It's very warm and soothing on a cool Autumn night and I love the fact that it's a sweet potato recipe that doesn't involve cinnamon or brown sugar! 

1 large sweet potato
2-3 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper

1 lb angel hair pasta cooked in heavily salted water

2 tbsp butter
1 cup white wine
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pureed sweet potato from above
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup reserved pasta water (if needed)
salt & pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel the sweet potato and dice into 1 inch cubes. Toss the cubes in olive oil and spread out in a 9 x 9 glass baking pan in one layer. Roast in oven for 45 minutes to an hour, till soft and caramelized, turning halfway through.

Allow to cool to the touch then place the cubed in a bowl and mash with a fork or puree in a food processor with a bit of water.

Prepare pasta, reserve pasta water.

The Sauce
Melt the butter in a pan, allow it to brown slightly until it smells nutty, but don't burn it! Add the wine and rosemary and simmer until reduced by half and you can no longer smell the tang of the alcohol. Turn heat down and add cream, nutmeg and sweet potato. Whisk the potato until silky smooth. Stir in Parmesan cheese, if the mixture gets too thick add some pasta water to thin it out. Take off the heat and toss with the pasta. Season with salt and pepper.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Solway Bottle Holder Cage Watering Trough and a GIVEAWAY!!!

I'm excited to share with you the new Bottle Holder Cage Watering Trough from Solway Feeders. This cage waterer is super easy to install and even easier to fill and re-fill.

It will also fit any recycled bottle including a two liter pop bottle! I like the two liter option because it holds more water and requires less frequent filling. The small trough keeps the drinking water free from debris and the outside fill design gives the caged animal more room inside.


The cage waterer consists of three parts.


To install, simply slip the black trough through the cage wiring. The small design makes it possible to use with narrow spaced cage wire without having to cut the cage.


Then slip the red spacer wedge between the cage and the trough to secure and tighten the trough.


Then attach the bottle ring at the desired height for your bottle.

Fill your bottle and quickly invert it into the vacuum cup.

This design works wonderful for poultry that need to be caged either for quarantine or shows. For more on setting up a quarantine area for your flock check out my Community Chickens Post Quarantine Set Up.

The great thing is that two of our readers are going to win one of these fabulous waterers!!! To enter, leave a comment below with your name, e-mail and a bit about how this waterer would help make watering easier with your flock. I'll choose a lucky winner on Tuesday, October 28th, 2014. If you enter, be sure to check back after the contest to see if you won, if the prize is not claimed by November 4th, 2014 another winner will be chosen.

Can't wait to win? Or maybe you need two? three? The Solway Bottle Holder Cage Watering Trough is available for purchase in the US click here Water Trough. Check out all the great Solway products available for purchase at their website  http://www.solwayfeeders.com/. Solway is currently in the process of getting their US website up and running. Products purchased from the United States will be mailed from their Florida location. If you have any questions feel free to contact their US Representative, J.Richard Sabonjohn at rich386@windstream.net.

I was not paid to write this article. I only write reviews for products that I believe in and this is seriously a cool product! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Photo Friday

It was somewhat of a rainy week, but fall is in it's all time glory. The colors are amazing! We visited a local farm this week and I enjoyed photographing some of their animals. Oh how I wish the little lamb was ours!!! 

It's been a nice simple week, gathering firewood for the coming winter months, working with Oliver and his fetch game, planting spring bulbs with my mom and finishing up a crocheted afghan for a Christmas present. (I'll be sharing pictures soon.) I've been making hearty meals that stick to the ribs like Pork Roast and From Scratch Cream of Chicken Noodle Soup. The fall hunger has set in, that basic instinct to bulk up for the hibernation months.

Because of the rain, we have seen some beautiful sunsets and interesting skies. One night the golden hue was breathtaking and all the trees seemed to glow. I hope you enjoy this week's photos!

 
Three little pigs from a local farm
Sweetest little lamb. Such a face!
Isa Red
Glorious sky
The view of our porch
The fallen leaves seem to reflect the trees that they've fallen from
One of our Sugar Maples
The big Sugar Maple
The Autumn view from our porch
Oliver waiting for me at the top of the stairs. LOVE that dog.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Carnival Squash

So not technically a Pumpkin, but still in the Cucurbita genus this colorful Carnival Squash is similar in shape to an Acorn squash. The flesh is multicolored in creamy yellow, dark green and an orange mottled pattern. This pattern presents itself differently each year depending on the temperatures of the growing season. Hot weather creates more green tones. This year has been cool, which explains the orange coverge. The flesh is more fibrous than acorn and not as sweet. I personally prefer Acorn squash for eating, but you can't beat the fun colors of this Carnival Squash!

For more interesting pumpkin varieties, visit the Iron Oak Farm Pumpkin Page.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Heirloom and Hybrid Pumpkins

As many of you know I love pumpkins. Pumpkins, Gourds and Squashes hold such personality as far as fruit goes. And they are the quintessential symbol of fall, my favorite time of year.

Every year we grow a wide variety of heirloom and hybrid pumpkins here at Iron Oak Farm. This year, our pumpkin patch sadly took the back seat to our hay equipment restoration, and we simply ran out of time. We had a few vines with Sugar Pies and some Winged Gourds that did well, but other than that the field was rather pumpkinless. Next year will be different. I'm already compiling a list of seed varieties that I'd like to order to add to my own collection of saved seeds over past years. To name a few, I'd like to grow:

Biggie Howden: An X-Large traditional Jack-O-Lantern with deep orange flesh and nice deep ridges.
Wolf: A traditional Jack-O-Lantern type with large woody stems.
Triamble: A medium-small blueish gray pumpkin with three lobes that curl toward the stem
Polar bear: A large true-white pumpkin

I'm sure the list will get longer by next spring but pumpkins are definitely our focus for next year.

One of my favorite places to visit to view a wide selection of heirloom and hybrid pumpkins is a local Farm called Three Cedars Farm. Here is a collection of pumpkin photos I took on a recent trip.

Green and white Cushaw Squash on top of a Big Max pumpkin

Musquee de Provence Green

Red Warty Thing

Three beautiful Big Max

This is a Full Moon

The French Cindarella, Rouge Vif D-etempe

Wee Be Littles

Pumpkin tower of Jarradale Australian Gray, on top of Musquee de Provence, on top of One Too Many hybrid.

For more information about interesting Pumpkin varieties visit the Iron Oak Farm Pumpkin Page.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Photo Friday

Here's what we've been up to this week. Collecting images of fall, visiting orchards and pumpkin patches and enjoying the season.




Golden raspberries

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