What’s new at Sakonnet Farm

It has been a VERY long time since I have written a blog post, hard to believe at one point I was posting every day. Now that there are no kids home with me, everything is different. We have been very busy on the farm this summer. We have new fencing, new animals, new plans…..
Please enjoy some pictures courtesy of Rick Barrette.

 Here is one of our Dominique chickens taking the stairs!

 Here is our turkey looking for lunch. They scratch out a spot then go back to look for what they have unearthed. This enables them to heat a healthy diet and therefore producing healthier food for us. It is also good for the soil, they are like natural rototillers!

 We currently have 8 ducks who all enjoy swimming in the pond we built for them.

 Rest time for the goats.

 This is Maggie, how could you not love that face!
 These are probably the most interesting flowers we have on the property, a poker flower. What an amazing picture of the hummingbird!
This was our herb garden just after Adam finished building it for me. We had much success with basil this year. We grew sweet, lime, and purple. We also grew catnip, lemon balm, thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary, parsley, and chocolate mint.
So there is a bit of catching up as to what we have been doing over the course of the summer. We also participated in the local farmer’s market and there are some wonderful pictures I just received. Maybe I’ll just have to post again tomorrow…..

Categories: Sakonnet Farm

Schoolhouse No. 1 Review

We had a fellow blogger (although I won’t even pretend to be on the same level as her) Sharon stay at our schoolhouse this week. She came down to Tiverton Four Corners as part of a blogger tour of the Farmcoast area. Since she was coming form NH, she was hoping to stay overnight- we were happy to be of assisitance. She just posted about our schoolhouse, with absolutely BEAUTIFUL pictures. Please go and take a look at A New England Life.

Tiverton Four Corners Schoolhouse No. 1 gets second life

Tiverton Four Corners Schoolhouse No. 1 gets second life

Categories: Uncategorized

Open house to celebrate completed renovation of Tiverton’s District No. 1 Schoolhouse

Open house to celebrate completed renovation of Tiverton’s District No. 1 Schoolhouse

Categories: Uncategorized

Tiverton Four Corners Schoolhouse No. 1

Old Tiverton Four Corners Schoolhouse No. 1 is located within Historic Tiverton Four Corners. Let your imagination wander back to the mid 1800’s as you pass through the proper boys or girls door into this fully remodeled structure. Ring the working vintage twenty-four inch, cast-iron school bell to gather your friends and family for an old-fashioned meal prepared with local produce and cooked in our gourmet kitchen equipped with the latest fixtures for your convenience. Marvel at our collection of period décor and historic schoolhouse memorabilia as you relax in the spacious living room equipped with comfortable seating, a large LCD TV, a working wood-burning stone fireplace, and central air conditioning / heating. Wide-plank pine flooring finished with an old fashioned and environmentally friendly Tung oil with citrus helps maintain the historic charm.

Tiverton Four Corners Schoolhouse No. 1 was built in 1800 by the Manchester Family, one of the original founding families of Tiverton. The Town realized the need for public education in the mid 1800’s, which at that time was typically provided for in private homes. In 1854 the Manchesters sold the property to the town for one hundred dollars with the right to buy it back when and if the town disposed of it. The Town of Tiverton used the Schoolhouse until 1925, a period in time when the advent of motorized bus transportation afforded consolidations to regional schools. Schoolhouse No. 1 was closed in 1925 when Nonquit School was opened and subsequently sold at auction in 1928 for one-hundred eighty dollars to Mr. and Mrs. Manuel Rego. The Regos converted it into a single family home where their family lived up until 2004. We recently had the pleasure to meet a granddaughter of the Regos who said the original belfry blew over in a storm. Much to our surprise, the original bell is alive and well in Maine.

The Schoolhouse has two bedrooms and one bathroom equipped with a Whirlpool tub. The master bedroom has a king size bed fitted with a luxurious ten inch foam mattress covered with Egyptian linens. A wall-mounted LED TV complete with cable access will help insure a relaxing finish to your day. The second bedroom is outfitted twin bunk-beds and an LCD TV to accommodate friends or family. WI-FI is provided free of charge for those of you who like to stay in touch while you are on vacation. A high-efficiency laundry system is available if you plan on an extended stay.

When you’re done exploring inside, take a walk around the five-acre grounds where you will find meandering streams, vegetable and herb gardens, plenty of chickens, a couple of goats, and a path through the woods. If your timing is right, you can help us gather a couple of eggs for breakfast, harvest some fresh herbs to complement your evening meal or perhaps pick some fresh vegetables for a garden salad. After you are done strolling the grounds, amble a short five minute walk north to visit the heart of Historic Tiverton Four Corners, a quaint three-hundred year old cross-roads village. There you will find unique shops, restaurants, Gray’s Ice Cream shop, an Arts Center, Art Galleries, and many other establishments. If you plan on cooking, be sure to visit one of the nearby roadside stands for some tender, sweet, fresh-picked corn.

Photos courtesy of Garrett Seiple Photography.
For further rental information, availability and rates see our VRBO site.

Broody Hens & Hatching Chicks

We have new chicks at Sakonnet Farm, hatched the old fashioned way. This is the second time we had the mama birds do the work for us, my post about the first time can be found here. When the chickens get broody, they spend all day sitting on their eggs, regardless if you go in there everyday and take the eggs out. Which, by the way, is easier said than done. My new twitter friend Renee wrote about it very nicely on Examiner.com. I want to thank her for helping me with my in my struggles to get our logo to fit nicely into the avatar box which is also easier said than done! Anyway, someone asked if I would write about having 3 broody hens at a time and how did we manage the logistics.
At Sakonnet Farm, we have a large coop that is split into three separate pens. The largest pen had all the chickens with roosts and nesting boxes. When we decided to let these chickens sit on the eggs, we moved some nesting boxes into another of the pens that was empty at the time. We then moved the chickens & their eggs. They had their own food & water- not that we ever saw them eat or drink. They hardly ever move! Although the kids told me that they occasionally would switch nesting boxes with each other.
At exactly three weeks, Jonathan went in to check on them and there were the chicks!
Over the next day or two, there were 16 healthy chicks hatched. But now they were up in the nesting boxes, couldn’t reach the food or water and there were three mama hens. How was this going to work? I gently transferred everyone down to the ground and there were no issues! The mama’s didn’t fuss with each other at all. The babies went right to the food and water following their moms. There were still a couple eggs left to hatch so at night the two black chickens would sit on them and this one tan chicken got the pleasure of caring for all 16!
Sorry about the quality of the picture, I only had my iPhone and it doesn’t take the greatest pictures in the dark. It is SO cute to see all the chicks peeking out from all under the mama bird. Sometimes they ride around on the mom’s backs, also very cute.
We have 3-4 other chickens who have decided they want to be mama birds. I was trying to break them of it by taking the eggs every day- we are trying to sell eggs here! But that wasn’t working, so yesterday I moved two of them and their eggs over to the nesting boxes with these guys. They went the boxes and there was no issue. Today I will see if the others are still in the nesting boxes and I will move them too. I’m figuing by the time these chicks are hatching the baby birds will be big eough to move in with the others. If not, we still have another pen we can use for one of the groups.
The downside to hatching chicks this way is that the numbers are smaller and you get more roosters than if you ordered chicks from a hatchery. But the upside is there is no labor for you. The chickens do all the work! It is also SO cute to see the mama’s with their babies and they are safer having adult chickens with them.
So that is how it’s worked over here at Sakonnet Farm. I’d love to hear about your experiences with hatching chicks.

Preserving Summer’s Bounty- Cucumbers

We have had a very hot and dry (not much rain, plenty of humidity) summer which began very early this year. This has put all the crops about 2 weeks ahead of schedule. My neighbor told me yesterday he was picking his sweet corn on the 3rd of July!! Strawberries came out when the kids were still in school, thankfully we were able to pick once before they were finished. Our first crop of raspberries have come and gone already and blueberries are in full swing. We still pick at Boughs & Berries here in Little Compton, and hope to get there this week. We do have our own bushes but this is their first year, and what they did produce the birds got.

What we do have a ton of right now is cucumbers! We love cucumbers, just cut up with a bit of Nakano seasoned vinegar- yum! But, one (or 6 in our case) can only eat so much, so I try to make time to get into the kitchen and can some for the winter. So far I have made bread & butter pickles and have plans to make sweet pickle relish, both from my tried & true Ball Blue Book of Preserving.
Cover of "Ball Blue Book of Preserving"
Bread & Butter Pickles
yield: 7 pints (you know I tripled it of course)
4 lbs 4-6 in cucumbers cut into 1/4 inch slices (about 7 med cucumbers, I leave the skin on)
2 lbs onions, thinly sliced (about 8 small, I found to be a bit much)
1/3 cup canning salt
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp mustard seed
2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp celery seed

1 tsp ginger
1 tsp peppercorns

3 cups vinegar

Combine cucumber and onion slices in a bowl, layering with the salt; cover with ice cubes. Let stand 1 1/2 hours. Drain; rinse; drain again. (keep going here- more is better) Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepot; bring to a boil. Add drained cucumbers and onions and return to a boil. Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust 2 piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Sweet Pickle Relish
yield: about 8 half pints
1 quart chopped cucumbers (about 4 medium)
2 cups chopped onions (about 2 medium)
1 cup chopped sweet green pepper (about 1 medium)
1 cup chopped sweet red pepper (about 1 medium)
1/4 cup salt
3 1/2 cups sugar (I try to decrease this by about 1/3-1/2)
1 tbsp celery seed
1 tbsp mustard seed
2 cups cider vinegar

Combine cucumbers, onions, green & red peppers in a large bowl; sprinkle with salt and cover with cold water. Let stand 2 hours. Drain; rinse and drain thoroughly (make sure they are really rinsed!!) Combine sugar, spices and vinegar; simmer 10 minutes. Pack hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust 2 piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

notes- I cannot stress enough the drain & rinse part of the recipe, nothing worse than too much salt.
If you have never boiled vinegar before, watch out for the smell, whew, it’s strong!
Put the water to boil for the canner on first. It always takes longer than I think.
Make time for this, I know there is nothing worse than a hot kitchen in the middle of the summer but what could be better than opening a jar of homemade pickles in the middle of the winter?

Since I have been away from blogging for so long, there has been some major changes over here at blogger central. One thing is the new share- it widget, I’m glad they finally figured that out. So please, share away. Also new was something called Zemanta assistant. It suggests pictures, links to other blogs and wikipedia in-text links as you go- what a huge time saver!! That is how I got the picture of my favorite canning book in here, and I will link to a couple of the blogs they suggested. As a funny side note, when I looked over at Simply Cooking’s blog, she linked to one of my favorites, Pam’s Sidewalk Shoes, even the blogger world is a small place!! It’s good to be back, but now I must go outside and give everyone a drink, it’s going to be another hot one!!

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Categories: canning, cucumbers

Wordless Wednesday- Liver for the Chicks

I have not done a Wordless Wednesday in a while, but this seemed appropriate.

I felt like I was part of one of those Friday night murder mysteries we watch on Dateline.

What was really going on? I was trying to help my poor chicks that had eaten some bad feed. See their poor crooked toes? Old feed= deficient in Vitamin B. Who knew?

Chicken Liver Pate and Real Food Roundup

The Real Food Challenge at The Nourished Kitchen has come to an end. Or it has just begun if you want to look at it that way, which I am. What were the challenges? Definitely the kid’s food. But, I think we made progress. Most of our dinners were “real” and I was able to work in some good lunches (for all except for my youngest who will only eat PB&J). Breakfast no longer consists of cereal- a big hit was fruit shakes with my homemade yogurt, frozen strawberries & blueberries (from last summer), raw honey for a sweetener and either milk or kiefer.

Where did we succeed? I made chicken feet stock, bought my first half gallon of raw milk yesterday, made my own yogurt , I have cut back a lot on the fake foods. I have switched us to whole milk, and have really started thinking about everything we are eating. BUT- here is the craziest thing I have done- chicken liver pate!!!

I made this early in February, for my husband’s birthday party. I figured the more the merrier. We had mixed reviews of the pate. My father liked it, my sister in law did too, but I think that was it. I was not a big fan. Having never had liver before, I don’t know what I was expecting but it was very rich and dense. It was also grainy, which is a texture I am not very fond of. It might have been partly because I had to use dry herbs. I think I will try it again in the summer when I have fresh herbs to see if that makes a difference. I’ll have to have Lisa over again because she was the only one really eating it…

I used The Nourished Kitchen’s recipe, found here. She talks about how what good stuff liver is- high in B vitamins, folate, Vitamin A, and micro nutrients. Here is how I had to adapt the recipe for what I had here in the house.

1 lb Livers from Pasture-fed Chickens (our own!)
1 Quart Milk
14 oz Butter
2 Large green onions, Finely Chopped
2 Tablespoons dried marjoram (was supposed to be sage)
½ Cup Sherry

Rinse chicken livers gently, drain them and set them in a bowl. They were remarkably clean and had no smell. I was shocked, I really expected them to have a strong smell.

Pour 1 quart fresh milk over the chicken livers and allow them to marinate in the milk for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
Drain the chicken livers and rinse them again.
Heat 4 oz butter in a skillet until melted.
Add the sliced green onions and brown.
Add the chicken livers to the onions and butter. They will release a significant amount of liquid.
Simmer chicken livers until browned through and until the liquid has largely cooked away. Most of the chicken livers will be falling apart on their own.

Add the marjoram and deglaze the pan with sherry.
Continue to cook until sherry is largely cooked away.

Allow the mixture to cool.

Add mixture and 8 oz of softened butter to your food processor and process until smooth.

Because everyone was here, we ate it right away. Jenny suggested putting it into the fridge for a few hours and then letting it come back to room temp. She also suggested pouring melted butter over the top which we decided to skip as there was so much butter already.

We had it with water crackers:

I already told you what we thought about it. If anyone has tried this, I would appreciate any comments/suggestion you have. I will try it again and I should try working it into some other recipe also.

How about you? Made any “real food” changes? Have any suggestions you think we should try next? Having come so far as to make liver pate, I’m thinking now I am open to just about anything. My sister in law and I were laughing as we were making this, how could I be in this place? When she first met me I could hardly boil water! Crazy- but in such a good way. I am very happy to be where we are now.

Homemade Yogurt & Real Food Challenge Week #3

This is my third week round up for Jenny’s Real Food Challenge from The Nourished Kitchen. I have continued with only some of the things Jenny has suggested, but I feel good about the changes I have made. Today I bought keifer, a fermented milk drink, for the first time. I haven’t even tried it yet, so I guess I should have held that off for another post. I also promised pictures & a post about my liver experience, but that is not going to be today either. I did upload the pictures though, one step closer. There are just not enough hours in the day!

One of the challenges of the week was to make homemade yogurt. I had been already thinking about it, as I talked about here, but this week I finally did it using Kitchen Stewardship’s directions. It was very easy and the end result was WONDERFUL! I would highly recommend everyone to try it. Here is what I did:

I used local, whole milk. Why whole? Read this; but if you don’t have the time, here are the highlights. 1. when the fat is removed from the milk, so are the fat-soluble vitamins. 2. dry powered milk is added to low fat milk as a thickener. They don’t have to list this on the ingredient list as this is a standard practice for the industry (leaving you wonder what other things we don’t know about that are “standard practice”) Dry milk is made by blowing liquid milk thru tiny holes at high pressure. This leads to nitrates being formed and the cholesterol oxidizing. Nitrates are carcinogens & the oxidized cholesterol is a huge factor in heart disease! Not to mention the disproportionately large percentage of protein that is in the milk. 3. historically, skim milk was the junk that the farmers would feed to the pigs!

Anyway- back to the yogurt….

Rhody Fresh Milk

Put a washcloth in the bottom of a pan to prevent the jars from wobbling in the boiling water. Put in sterilized jars (pre washed in the dishwasher) into the pot and fill with milk to within an inch of the top. Fill the pot with tap water. Heat the water until boiling. I put my thermometer and a spoon into the water, so they would sterilize. You can use any kind of milk- skim to whole, organic to conventional- what ever you prefer.

After the water boils, turn it down until the water is just boiling and heat the milk to 185 degrees. Since the milk is in a water bath, it won’t burn! No worries!!

When it reaches 185, cover the jars with sterilized lids (I ran those thru the dishwasher too) and cool. Here is where I got into trouble. The directions suggested putting them into an ice bath in the sink, which I did. But when I noticed the water getting cloudy, I knew I was in trouble and sure enough, one of the jars had cracked. BUMMER! So next time I will put the jars into cool water in the sink and gradually add the ice. Then the glass will not have such a dramatic temp change and hopefully stay intact.

Cover the pot with the hot water and place inside a cooler lined with a beach towel. Take out your starter from the fridge and let it come to room temp. This time, I used pain yogurt from the store. Just make sure it has active & live cultures. Next time I will use this yogurt as my starter.

When the milk cools down to 100 degrees gently stir in 2 tbsp starter into each quart. I let mine cool down a bit too much- I just put them back into the hot water for a couple minutes and heated it back up. To keep the thermometer and spoon sterile, I had ran an extra jar thru the dishwasher and I kept them in there.

Re-cover the jars and put them into the cooler. Wrap the towel around the jars, remove the cover to the pot and close the cooler tight. Let sit until your desired time anywhere from 4-24 hours. I let mine sit for about 11 hours. The end result was a less tangy yogurt than what you buy in the store. The shorter the incubation period, the less tangy. Next time I will try about 6 hours and see what that is like. A full 24 hours will eliminate most of the lactose making the yogurt easily digestible.

If you are going to incubate for overnight, boil some water in the teapot and add to the pot in the cooler. I did not do this and mine was fine at the 11 hours. After you take the jars out of the cooler, put them into the freezer for an hour. This will help improve the texture. I skipped this step and put them right into the fridge as I was going to bed. My yogurt was still very creamy.

End result:

Please try this, you will be so happy with the results! When you do, come back here and let me know what you thought. If I seem to have missed anything, please see the link to Kitchen Stewardship- she did a wonderful job making it so simple.