Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

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Dinner Last Night

There is artistry in the food we eat. I realized this with last night’s dinner. I don’t mean in the way of how it is displayed on the plate, or the unique style in the craftsmanship of the porcelain it sits upon. More and more, thanks to the numerous cooking shows on T.V., I’m experiencing the depth of flavors one can create when the main seasonings go beyond garlic salt and pepper (that’s where I’ve been stuck for many years.) Even this, however, is not really what I’m talking about right now. Although spices add to the complexity and success of the dish, the main ingredients, the stars of the show, are what my thoughts have been focusing on.

OOOOPPSSS...how did those Little's get into the garden??

OOOOPPSSS…how did those Little’s get into the garden??

Dinner last night, the sustenance of nutrition, was completely grown, or raised, on this little beginnings of a farm…right here on Haveadane Hill. Okay, so the spices I used and the local honey were not…but….does that count??? Something to think about…can I grow my own cumin, how about ginger?? Something to definitely investigate!!

Baking chicken on the grill.

Baking chicken on the grill.

This beautiful bird (one of the roosters of the Littles, aka The Muppets hatching) was hatched, raised free ranging from day one, culled by Tony, cleaned and processed by my own hands, chilled in the fridge for a few days, and became the star of the show!!

Isn't that gorgeous??!!

Isn’t that gorgeous??!!

Rooster Aug. 2014

I made a rub of powdered garlic, cumin, ginger, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, and olive oil. This little bird was well coated and cooked up beautifully!!

Then I chopped up onion, crookneck squash, young yellow bell peppers, and zucchini…all from my garden…sauteed them in olive oil (well..no, I didn’t squish the olives hahaha)…cooking the onions first, sprinkled with cajun spices until well caramelized, then added the two squash.

August 2014 Saute

As the veggies started to release their juices, I added the wonderfully delicious local honey I discovered a couple of weekends ago (I was not at all fond of honey until I discovered REAL honey…not the junk sold in the grocery store.)

The end of the honey drizzle....who wants to lick the spoon??

The end of the honey drizzle….who wants to lick the spoon??

I thought that I had possibly cooked the veggies too much…I didn’t want mushy, but I wanted them to be cooked through. Much to my delight, they still had a nice crunch from their skin due to the just, picked, garden freshness. Next time for color, I may add some spinach at the end of the veggie saute. I think that would be good!!

My completely home grown dinner...delicious!!

My completely home grown dinner…delicious!!

The little rooster was really, really flavorful…and a bit tough. He was a very fit bird, with very little fat. Butterflying the bird and roasting it on the grill breast side up (thank you FoodNetwork – The Kitchen) allowed the spices and the small bit of fat from the skin to permeate the meat making it very moist. The veggies were outstanding, and the sweet honey added to the brightness of the cajun spices really complimented each other. The flavor that stood out to me the most, however, was how absolutely fresh everything tasted…really, it was amazing.

Making chicken stock.

Making chicken stock.

THEN….not wanting to waste one bit of this amazing little rooster, I added water (we’re on a well so again…straight from the farm), carrots and onion (from the garden) and made a wonderful stock.

Stock after sitting in fridge overnight.

Stock after sitting in fridge overnight.

There was so little fat that rose to the surface, that this is all I could skim off….

Rooster Stock Aug. 2014

I’m proud of my little rooster…he was one healthy bird!! He provided my family dinner last night, and will provide us broth for a great soup once the weather turns cooler.

Cooled, skimmed, and ready for the freezer...to enjoy as soup in the cool of a fall evening!

Cooled, skimmed, and ready for the freezer…to enjoy as soup in the cool of a fall evening!

Who would have ever thought that this city kid from the San Francisco Bay Area, who ate in restaurants more than she cooked, could move to the country and raise the meat and veggies entirely on the farm for dinner last night?? I’m so excited to explore what is next for the farm…I keep talking to Tony about a couple of cows…he keeps talking about a couple of pigs….bee keeping for honey is totally on the list…stay tuned, there’s more to come!!!!!

Thanks for sharing my dinner last night!! Have a wonderful, wonderful Sunday!!

Your friend,

Fencing and Biscuits

The work on the fencing….


…once again…NOT THAT KIND of fencing…..is getting closer to completion.

***RETRACTION FROM YESTERDAY’S POST…CREATING BOUNDARIES https://haveadanehill.com/2014/07/20/creating-boundaries/ … Tony has informed me that he is building 1,063 feet of fencing…not 367 feet …. a slight miscalculated reporting there…hahaha.***

Tony and the son, Will, took a lazy Sunday worked a little, came in for a country breakfast of cheesey, scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, biscuits….and…..Froot Loops…then lingered awhile. Worked some more….took a 35 min. drive (both ways) into a town with an open hardware supply store to purchase more fencing bolts. Worked about an hour more and ended for the day.

Farmer Tony

Farmer Tony

Fencing 2014

Poles waiting to become gradual fence corners.

Poles waiting to become gradual fence corners.

Breaking through this stuff was not easy.

Breaking through this stuff was not easy.

Luke 6:48
He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.

Fencing 2014

Sundays are lazy days around this farm, you didn’t hear my name mentioned on the fence line, did you?

Hey I did make the biscuits, from scratch, and they turned out a bit like hockey pucks…but they tasted okay….with butter, blackberry jam (not homemade…yet – still waiting on the blackberries), and a little local honey – which by the way tastes so much more wonderful than the store bought stuff.

Rustic, dense, hockey puck biscuits...I need more practice!!

Rustic, dense, hockey puck biscuits…I need more practice!!

This is the recipe I tried to follow… http://blog.williams-sonoma.com/brunch-101-how-to-make-tender-flaky-biscuits/ Although they are supposed to be rustic, I think I worked the dough a little too much. I am challenged to perfect my biscuit making!!

Have a very happy Monday…the start of the work week…enjoy the moments in your day, the weekend is just a few days away!!

Your friend from Oregon,

The Gift of the Vine – Oregon’s Wild Jewels

Who's picking those berries??

Who’s picking those berries??

Ever wonder where that purple mustache came from on your German Wirehaired Pointer’s mouth? Every wonder why your Great Dane runs an 1/8th of a mile down your driveway and stands staring at the bush growing by the pond? Ever wonder why you buy this product in the store when home-grown is soooo much better?? Wonder what I’m talking about???


The start of our Wild Blackberry season!!

The start of our Wild Blackberry season!!

While the neighboring honey bees were hard at work pollenating our wild blackberry bushes, my angst about very little bees in my garden grew. However, this year’s crop of blackberries is tremendous, even with the lack of water we’ve had this summer. No doubt their roots are tapping into the year round pond in our front pasture, and although the fruit is smaller, it is abundantly positioned on the vines and packed with berry yumminess!! We have so many yet to ripen….

Waiting on the precious jewels of Oregon.

Waiting on the precious jewels of Oregon.

Wild Blackberries still to ripen

Wild Blackberries still to ripen

This is why my dogs stare at the bush growing by the pond, and come back with purple moustaches…

The last couple of years, I’ve learned a few things about picking these gorgeous, yummy, jewels of Oregon. It is best to go berry picking in the evening as the sun is setting, or in the morning just as the sun is starting to rise. If you don’t, you’re going to be contending with honey bees, bumble bees, and wasps…none of which I want buzzing around my hands, arms, or face. Be prepared to pick more than you need, because half of what you pick won’t make it to the bucket…your mouth (or your dog’s) may exhibit a purple hew after picking. Wear long sleeves, as those thorns really do not want to give up the treasures within their vines. I’ve yet to find gloves that can really work for picking berries. Any suggestions?? Finally, make sure you remember what you were wearing when it comes time to do your laundry…you’ll want to pretreat those blackberry spots left on your clothes…or you can always tie dye if you forget. 🙂

Glad I was wearing long sleeves!

Glad I was wearing long sleeves!

Who's picking those berries??

Who’s picking those berries??

Penni helping to pick...Tucker is back there too!

Penni helping to pick…Tucker is back there too!

Not bad for 15 minutes worth of pain, scratches, and fun. This is true family bonding time… 🙂

The 15 minute bounty!!

The 15 minute bounty!!

Where Are the Bees??

It took three posts to do it, but I will be caught up-to-date with my garden’s growth chart at the end of this writing..hahahaha.

Water, water, everywhere water….and not a drop to spare. In a cruel twist of irony, this usually rain soaked portion of the Pacific Northwest becomes very, very dry in the two – three heated growing months. A common saying around here is, “Summer starts on July 5th.” From what I have seen, it also marks the end of any kind of rain (this year was about two weeks earlier) until fall. We’re on a well, and with the help of a water storage tank, it produces more than our daily needs. Water use and conservation here or in the Bay Area has always had to be in our thoughts, and habits…drought conditions are not uncommon in California. In par with that, watering the garden has to be adequate, but not over-abundant. To combat this, and maximize the watering, I try to build little mounds and tributaries around where I want the water to flow and stop. Nobody wants a stream running away from their plants. Sometimes I’ll give a shot of water…let it seep into the soil…then repeat several times for one plant just to maximize the concentration of water into one spot. It takes patience.

I’ve been noticing a real lack of honey bees visiting the flowers in waiting. My plants are really huge at this point, they have flowers, but barely a bee. I do have some beautiful gems that have started, and a few larger than that, but it is getting to the point that I might consider “artificial inpollination” (play on words here) to bring more for the harvest….Tony said all I would need is a cotton swab…I don’t know, it seems a little imposing hahaha. I hope they start showing up!!!

Whatever our difficulties, the earth is giving back!! Our plants are beautiful….take a look!! These pictures are the latest taken on July 20th…one month later from yesterday’s post.

Potatoes, Corn and Pumpkins in the background

Potatoes, Corn and Pumpkins in the background

Potatoes, Celery, and Corn... I did not expect the potatoes to get soooo big.

Potatoes, Celery, and Corn… I did not expect the potatoes to get soooo big.

Tomatoes, with Peppers in front

Tomatoes, with Peppers in front

One pot full of Watermelon, and Cantaloupe

One pot full of Watermelon, and Cantaloupe

Gourds in the foreground...Pinto Beans in the background.

Gourds in the foreground…Pinto Beans in the background.

Pumpkins!!  I've never seen pumpkins start out yellow instead of green...

Pumpkins!! I’ve never seen pumpkins start out yellow instead of green…

The strangest pumpkin I've ever seen

The strangest pumpkin I’ve ever seen

Taking my morning trek down to the front gate with Penni, I discovered where the current honey bee hangout has developed….they are all over our wild blackberry bushes!!! Blackberry jam is right around the corner…YAY!!!

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