Five Good Reasons to Raise Rabbits

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Five Reasons to Raise Rabbits:

  1. Low Cost
  2. Great Manure
  3. Easy to Breed
  4. Taste Good
  5. It’s Legal!

If you ask me rabbits are second only to chickens in terms of the best livestock to raise. They are small and quiet and very inexpensive to house and feed. They only eat a ¼ cup of food each day. Another bonus is that rabbit manure is what you call cold which means it’s ready to go right into the garden with no composting time required. It’ll really boost the nitrogen level in your soil too without burning your plants.

Rabbits are relatively easy to breed. You will want to house your does separate from your buck. When you’re ready for them to breed, you just put a doe in with the buck and let them do their thing. Don’t put him into her cage though because does are territorial and she might try to attack. When the buck is finished breeding, he’ll squeal and fall off of the doe’s back.

After breeding, if all goes well, your doe will kindle in 5 weeks. Four days before she’s due, put some bedding in her nest box. She should begin to nest and you’ll know the kits are on the way when she pulls out the fur on her belly for them. This makes the nest nice and soft and makes it easy for the kits to find their momma’s milk.

Rabbits are a great source of lean protein. They should be prepared at about 5-6 weeks old. At this age you can expect them to weigh somewhere around 3 lbs, maybe more depending on the breed. Rabbit tastes wonderful when cooked in the crock pot, stewed with homegrown veggies or pan fried with a mustard wine sauce. I have a great rabbit recipe posted on my Real Food Recipes page.

So if you can’t raise chickens for some silly reason like its against the law or what have you, give rabbits a try. Just tell your neighbors they are your pets. Lord knows no one wants to live next door to a farmer!

This post is linked to Homestead Barn Hop

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Simple Black Bean Cakes w/Eggs

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This is one of my all time favorite winter meals. I hope you will give it a try!

Simple Black Bean Cakes Topped with Over Medium Eggs

This recipe makes about 12 bean cakes (6 servings).

Drain and Rinse 2 14 oz cans of black beans.

In a medium skillet sauté a handful of diced onion and two cloves of finely chopped garlic.

Mash the beans and onion/garlic mixture with a potato masher until smooth. Using a fork incorporate about ¼ cup of cornmeal. Form bean mixture into 2 inch balls and flatten into cakes.

Heat cakes in skillet over medium heat until brown on both sides and warm in the center.

Top each pair of bean cakes with 2 eggs fried over medium, a couple of spoonfuls of green salsa and some bleu cheese or feta crumbles.

Serve with a salad of baby field greens!

I’m linking this post to Real Food Wednesdays on Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

Password to Dressing Broiler Hens

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WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS PICTURES OF CHICKEN BLOOD AND GUTS AND OTHER GROSSNESS.

I am including pictures in this post for informational purposes only. The pictures were taken in a respectful manner and are not to be shared for any purpose other than as an educational tool for those interested in learning how to process  broiler hens for themselves.

If you think you are going to be offended, please don’t read it.

The rest of you are invited to read more. The password is Free2Farm. Please click here to enter the password. Thanks y’all!

This post is linked to Homestead Barn Hop, Hearth and Soul, Real Food Wednesdays, Works for Me Wednesdays, Simple Lives Thursdays, and Fight Back Friday.


Mango Lassi

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Here is one more fabulous real food recipe you can make with goat milk and goat milk kefir or yogurt:

Delicious (modified) Mango Lassi

All you need is …

  • 1 mango (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 cup kefir
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp honey –> more if you like it sweet
  • a few shakes of tumeric

Combine ingredients, mix in a blender and enjoy!

My friend Kristen recently turned me on to making mango lassis. If you’re like me, you’ve never heard of a lassi before so I’ve taken the liberty of providing some info about this amazing beverage I found on Wikipedia:

Lassi (Punjabi: ਲੱਸੀ, Urdu: لسی, Hindi: लस्स) is a popular and traditional Punjabi yogurt-based drink of the Indian Subcontinent. It is made by blending yogurt with water or milk and Indian spices.[1] Traditional lassi (also known as salted lassi, or, simply lassi) is a savory drink sometimes flavored with ground roasted cumin while sweet lassi on the other hand is blended with sugar or fruits instead of spices.

In Dharmic religions, yogurt sweetened with honey is used while performing religious rituals. Less common is lassi served with milk and is topped with a thin layer of clotted cream. Lassis are enjoyed chilled as a hot-weather refreshment, mostly taken with lunch. With a little turmeric powder mixed in, it is also used as a folk remedy for gastroenteritis.

This post is linked to Fight Back Friday on Food Renegade and Hearth and Soul. please hop on over and check out these cool blog parties for Real Food lovers!

Fried Morels

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Well I may be a little late with this post but all that talk of poke sallet got me thinkin’ about wild food and next thing you know I had mushrooms on my mind. I didn’t know a thing about mushroom hunting until I met my husband. His folks are from Ohio where wild morels are a pretty big deal. Each spring his family takes to the woods in Vinton County with hopes of discovering these tasty morsels. Morels can be found across the US from April through mid June. They like to grow at the base of certain types of trees including elms and ash or in old apple orchards.

Here’s how our Ohio folks like to cook up a batch of morels:

First of all you’ve got to quarter your shrooms and soak them in salt water for several hours to get bugs off.

Then you drain them, pat ‘em dry and dredge them in seasoned (salt ‘n pepper) flour.

Then you fry ‘em up in butter and serve with steak and mashed potatoes or just eat them right out of the skillet.

While fried morels are a tasty springtime treat, my favorite thing about huntin’ for mushrooms is getting outside with my favorite peeps!

I’m linking this post to Hearth and Soul.

Poke Sallet Scramble

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My friend at the feed store gave me this recipe. She and her husband drive around this time of year looking for wild patches of pokeweed. They love the stuff. She says the younger leaves make the best salad.

Oh, and I should mention that while pokeweed, including the roots and berries, has been widely used in folk remedies the entire plant especially the berries but also the tender greens, are considered toxic. That’s why you have to cook the tar out of it and drain off the water between boilings.

Poke Sallet Scramble:

Start with a mess of fresh poke greens

Shake debris from greens

Rinse twice

Parboil for 30 minutes

Drain

Parboil for another 30 minutes

Drain and squeeze dry

Heat bacon drippings in a skillet over med high heat

Add drained greens to hot bacon drippings and cook over med heat for several minutes

Lightly beat 12 eggs with ¼ cup sweet milk or goat milk

Pour egg mixture into skillet with greens and scramble until done

Here’s some more unverified info about pokeweed I found on wikipedia:

Since pioneer times, pokeweed has been used as a folk remedy to treat many ailments. It can be applied topically or taken internally. Topical treatments have been used for acne and other ailments. Internal treatments include tonsillitis, swollen glands and weight loss. Dried berries were ingested whole as a treatment for boils, taken 1 berry per day for 7 days. Grated pokeroot was used by Native Americans as a poultice to treat inflammations and rashes of the breast. Independent researchers are investigating phytolacca’s use in treating AIDS and cancer patients. Especially to those who have not been properly trained in its use, pokeweed should be considered dangerous and possibly deadly.

Ingestion of poisonous parts of the plant may cause severe stomach cramping, nausea with persistent diarrhea and vomiting, sometimes bloody, slow and difficult breathing, weakness, spasms, hypertension, severe convulsions, and death. However, consuming fewer than 10 uncooked berries is generally harmless to adults. Several investigators have reported deaths in children following the ingestion of uncooked berries or pokeberry juice. Severe poisonings have been reported in adults who ingested mature pokeweed leaves and following the ingestion of tea brewed from one-half teaspoonful of powdered pokeroot.

Pokeweed berries yield a red ink or dye, which was once used by aboriginal Americans to decorate their horses. Many letters written home during the American Civil War were written in pokeberry ink; the writing in these surviving letters appears brown. The red juice has also been used to symbolize blood, as in the anti-slavery protest of Benjamin Lay. A rich brown dye can be made by soaking fabrics in fermenting berries in a hollowed-out pumpkin.

 This post is linked to Hearth and Soul.

Farm Party Potluck

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The big day is almost here, my first ever farm party! At this point I am more nervous than excited but I keep telling myself to relax and have FUN with it because that’s the whole point right?

The purpose of the event is to bring our county’s farmers and small business owners together for an afternoon of music, games and farm fresh goodies. I got this idea about a year ago when I noticed in a local publication just how many small farmers there are in Hickman County. I thought how great it would be to network, share marketing ideas and customers, get advice and just plain get to know one another. Hence the farm party concept was born.

Here’s the picture I have in mind:

Yeah right.

At this point I am realizing how unprepared I am. With just a few days to go I still need to gather scarecrow making supplies for the children’s craft project, follow up with the bluegrass band (I’m beginning to fear they are unavailable that day), set up the horseshoe pit, decorate the photography area and touch base with the other farms to see who’s bringing what. Then there’s sprucing up the barn (hahahaha) and scouring the milk parlor. Last but not least I’ve got to set up a vendor’s area and create the backyard farming handouts for the info booth.

BTW, I’ll be serving radish leaf pesto, a recipe I got from Kris at Attainable Sustainable.

So there it is, my to-do list which was the main motivation for this post. Gotta go now, bye!

This post is linked to Homestead Barn Hop.

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