Category Archive:

Happy Independence Day

1840 Farm FlagI grew up celebrating Independence Day with sparklers and barbecue. We lived in Kansas and didn’t really need the guise of a holiday as an excuse to eat barbecue. Fourth of July parades and celebrations seemed to be as ubiquitous as sunshine on a summer day during those years.

There were opportunities for fun everywhere I looked. Children ran through neighboring yards while flags flapped on front porches. As darkness enveloped the neighborhood, fireflies were caught in jars and held just long enough to marvel at their luminescence before releasing them back into the humid, warm air. Those Independence Day celebrations were filled with family, food and the pride we felt in being Americans.

These days, I celebrate the Fourth of July with my family in New England. Our geography has changed along with the way I view this holiday and commemorate its meaning. Living in a farmhouse that has seen so much of our nation’s history has strengthened my connection to this day.Isis Candy Cherry Heirloom Tomatoes at 1840 Farm

In my opinion, every chicken keeper celebrates their freedom each time they collect an egg from their coop just as every gardener celebrates with each tomato they harvest fresh from the vine. Choosing to raise your own food rather than simply purchase it at the local grocery store is an epic decision. Every meal that consists of fresh food personally raised, harvested and tended is a celebration of an independent spirit and the determination to hold our food supply close at hand.

I don’t take my freedom to make this choice for granted. Instead, I celebrate the opportunity we have been given to live on our farm and learn the real value of the food that graces our dinner plates. Generations ago, Americans learned that lesson by working on their own farms. They had firsthand knowledge of the amazing effort required to raise a baby chick to the day it laid its first egg or tend a crop and bring it to harvest.

Chickens are an integral part of our nation’s long history. When our nation celebrated the first “Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America” in 1777, it was more notable to be an American who didn’t keep chickens. Chickens were easily accessible to the colonists and critically important to their daily survival. They were equally important to our Founding Fathers and the settlers who came before them.

BerthaChickens arrived in the New World after long voyages to Jamestown in 1607 and Plymouth Rock in 1620. Those chickens helped travelers endure long journeys at sea and set down roots in their new communities in the New World. In those settlements, a chicken was a prized possession and held the promise of the incredible ability to produce food for your family.

In the early 1800s, chickens were a common sight on large plantations, estates and even the yards of modest homes. They were likely to be seen strutting through the streets of the early cities and towns looking for food. In those days, chicken was rarely seen on the dinner plate of average citizens.

Chickens were instead kept for their egg-laying capabilities. An egg-laying hen could supply a family with many meals compared to the single meal a chicken dressed for service on the dinner table provided. The lacking nutritional quality of the bird’s diet was also a contributing factor. Instead of carefully formulated, complete chicken feeds, chickens were fed diets consisting almost entirely of kitchen scraps. While today’s chicks can mature to table weight in as little as 8 weeks, back in the Colonist’s day it could take as long as six months.

At that time in our nation’s history, chickens were kept by Americans of all classes and backgrounds. Slaves were often allowed to keep a few hens at their quarters to supplement their diets or to trade or sell the resulting eggs. Poor families kept hens loose in their backyards to help dispose of kitchen waste and to assist in turning manure piles. Only the wealthy could afford to house their birds in decorative coops within the confines of their manicured gardens and lawns.

Care of the family flock fell mostly to the women in the early days of our country. It was lighter work than tending to the larger livestock and a chore easily managed by a woman and her children. Even the youngest child could gather fresh eggs and bring them into the farmhouse kitchen.

George Washington kept Dominique chickens along with other heritage breeds of livestock at his estate, Mount Vernon. By all accounts, he was captivated by animal husbandry. In fact, he longed to leave both the military and the presidency to return to his beloved farm. Washington carefully selected the breeds of livestock kept on his estate and endeavored to make use of every single product and byproduct of their life cycle.Necessaries at Mount Vernon

Most notably, he aimed to incorporate their manure as rich fertilizer in the cultivation of his gardens and crops. In fact, he didn’t only collect fertilizer from his farm animals. He also constructed and located his “necessaries” within the aesthetic design of the grounds at Mount Vernon. Years ago, when I visited, I noticed these impressive, elevated structures with brick foundations and even photographed them. Only after reading Andrea Wulf’s Founding Gardeners did I learn that they were in fact the outhouses purposely located in the ornamental gardens at Mount Vernon.

Our second president, John Adams’ relationship with chickens was slightly different. Like Washington, he saw himself as a farmer. He returned to Peacefield in Quincy, Mass., after losing a bitter election to Thomas Jefferson in 1800. While he hadn’t left political life willingly, he consoled himself with the work of his farm and lived there happily until his death in 1826.

His wife, Abigail, so loved her chickens and ducks that she tended to their daily needs herself. In fact, she remarked to Thomas Jefferson after living in France and England as a diplomat’s wife that, “I seldom meet with characters so inoffensive as my hens and chickens.” She much preferred the company of her hens to that of the dignitaries in St. James’ Court.

MonticelloA discussion of our nation’s history of farming would be incomplete without mention of Thomas Jefferson. He loved agriculture and believed that its advancement should be our primary national endeavor. His affection for gardening and farming included an affinity for chickens. While living in the President’s House, Jefferson exchanged letters with his granddaughter Ellen regarding a pair of bantams he had sent her. It was his hope that she would have the opportunity to experience the joy of chicken raising.

By the time Jefferson left the President’s House to return home to his famed gardens at Monticello, America had been celebrating its Independence Day for more than three decades. The landscape of the country was expanding, as was its agricultural knowledge. Agricultural fairs began to gain popularity and provided an opportunity for farmers to learn about new techniques, show their prized poultry and livestock, and spend time with other members of their local farming communities.

1840 Farm has stood for more than 170 Independence Day celebrations. This year, we’ll mark the occasion by spending the day together at our farm. The flag will wave from its perch on the front porch as our day begins in the quiet of the barn and garden. There will be homemade food to enjoy for family dinner as dusk approaches.

We’ll attend our town’s fireworks display and then return home to put the farm to bed for the evening. In the end, it will be a celebration filled with family, food and the immense pride we feel in being independent American farmers. Somehow, I think it’s exactly what the Founding Fathers would have wanted.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/07/independenceday/

Make Your Own Canning Rack

How to Make Your Own Canning Rack from 1840 FarmNo Canning Rack?  No Problem!

Have you ever wished that you had a canning rack that would adjust to every pot in your kitchen? I did. I never seemed to have a rack that I liked or that fit very well into whichever pot I was using for canning.

Then I discovered that I could use my stockpile of canning jar rings to make a rack in any pot. Simply arrange the rings in a single layer on the bottom of a pot and proceed as usual. The jars sit on top of the rings and I don’t have to add another single use piece of kitchen equipment to our farmhouse kitchen. Problem solved!

How to Make Your Own Canning Rack at 1840 Farm


To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
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We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/06/makeyourowncanningrack/

1840 Farm Paper & Ink – Strawberry Season

1840 Farm Paper and InkMy family knows all too well the depth of my love of paper and ink.  They indulge me in this lifelong love, following along as I meander through fine stationery and paper shops like other women browse in jewelry stores.  They know that I love to look at every type of paper, feeling the thickness and gazing at the colors before selecting something to bring home and add to my stash of papers and pens.

I have loved putting pen or pencil to paper since I was a very young girl.  I love to write.  I always have.  As a child, I used to sit with a pencil and a notebook and watch as the words filled page after page with stories and poems.  When I paused to search for the words to continue, I often found myself doodling some sort of small drawing.  That habit has continued to the present, with most of my notes and lists including a few drawings and doodles.

I also love to send a handwritten card or note to friends and family.  There’s something magical about sending my heart and soul anywhere in the world for the cost of a postage stamp.  I love being on the receiving end of that equation every bit as much as I enjoy sending warm heartfelt wishes to someone I love.

My love for paper, ink, and embracing the art of handwritten correspondence have all played a role in providing the inspiration for our newest line of handmade products for The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop.  It’s time for me to introduce you to 1840 Farm Paper & Ink.  I hope that you will enjoy using these products as much as I have loved creating them.1840 Farm Paper & Ink Strawberry Season

The items in our Paper & Ink line will feature my original drawings and celebrate the seasonality of life here at 1840 Farm.  From the fresh produce we harvest from our gardens during the warmer months to the activities that keep us busy inside the farmhouse during the long New England winter, these paper products will reflect the beauty of every month and season.

The first member of our Paper & Ink Collection celebrates Strawberry Season. I worked with my original paper and pencil drawing of a berry basket filled with fresh ripe strawberries,  transforming each curve and line into a digital file.  That digital artwork was used to create both the signature drawing featured on the front of each card and the pattern used to line the envelopes. Each card and notecard will be printed to order and cut by hand.  Each envelope will be embellished by hand with a custom paper liner.

Look for the Paper & Ink Collection to be added to The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop in the coming days.  In July, we’ll be adding a new design to the collection.  We can’t wait to share and celebrate each season of our lives here at 1840 Farm with you through this new Paper & Ink Collection!


To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/06/1840-farm-paper-ink-strawberry-season/

Strawberry Syrup

Ripe Strawberry at 1840 FarmThe flavor of a ripe strawberry. is always welcome at our farmhouse table.  During strawberry season, we enjoy our strawberries eaten freshly picked from the berry patch, added to a few of our favorite baking recipes, and preserve many more as jam to last us through the long New England winter.  On a blustery snowy day, that burst of strawberry flavor is a delicious reminder that we’re one day closer to the next strawberry season.

Several years ago, I decided to try making a strawberry syrup that could be used to flavor cocktails, nonalcoholic drinks, and baked goods.  It was so delicious that we’ve been making it ever since. It’s not overly sweet, with just the right hint of tartness and a lovely earthy sweetness courtesy of the homemade vanilla extract.  It adds that wonderful ripe strawberry flavor to any dish it is paired with.  It’s also divine when drizzled over Great Grandma’s Daffodil Cake or vanilla bean ice cream.   I even use it to make my Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting.

This is such a simple recipe to prepare and keep at the ready.  It can be stored for several weeks in the refrigerator.  It can also be prepared for long term storage in a water bath canner.  I process this syrup in half pint jars with 1/4 inch headspace for 10 minutes.  While it can be stored for a year when properly canned, our jars never last that long.

Added to lemonade, it can transform an ordinary beverage into something extraordinary.  If you prefer your beverage to be carbonated, I have added soda water to lemonade concentrate and a healthy dose of this syrup to make a delicious bubbly strawberry lemonade that is always a hit with our friends and family.

I can’t wait to hear how you put this delicious syrup to use!

Strawberry Simple Syrup

1 pound strawberries, washed and stems removed
2 cups (384 grams) granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Slice or roughly chop the strawberries before adding them to a medium pot with the remaining ingredients.  Using a large wooden spoon or potato masher, crush the berries slightly.  Set them aside for 20 to 30 minutes in order to allow the berries to begin releasing their juice.

Place the pot over low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Simmer over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, approximately 5 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.  Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.  At this point, you can choose to strain the mixture or leave the remaining pieces of strawberry in the syrup.  If you strain the syrup, the berries can be added to a recipe or served as a topping over yogurt, ice cream, or a slice of cake.

The syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.  I like to store a batch of strained syrup in a clean, repurposed bottle with a pourer spout in the refrigerator for adding to lemonade or using as a base for cocktails.  Syrup with berries can be stored in the refrigerator in a mason jar or other glass container with a lid or canned as mentioned above.


To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/06/strawberry-syrup/

Oat Scones with Fresh Strawberries

SconeIngredieStrawberry Oat Scone at 1840 FarmntsWMWhen fresh strawberries are in season, we take full advantage and work them into a variety of baking recipes and canned goods.  These Oat Scones studded with chunks of juicy, fresh strawberries find their way to our breakfast table every year.  They’re delicious and a reminder of why we love strawberry season so much.  While the scones are always best if eaten the day they are baked, I find that any leftovers are great when used as a base for a strawberry shortcake dessert that evening.  Enjoy!

 

Oat Scones with Fresh Strawberries
makes 8 sconesStrawberry Oat Scone at 1840 Farm

I was inspired to add fresh strawberries to my family’s favorite scone recipe after reading Honey & Oats: Everyday Favorites Baked with Whole Grains and Natural Sweeteners by Jennifer Katzinger. The results were delicious. In fact, these scones were such a hit that they have become our favorite scone recipe.

I like to grate the butter for recipes that require butter to be cut into the flour. Using tiny grated bits of butter makes mixing the dough a breeze. It also yields an incredibly tender scone as much less mixing is needed.

2 cups (160 grams) old fashioned oats
1 cup (80 grams) oat flour
½ cup (60 grams) whole wheat flour
¼ cup (30 grams) All-purpose flour
¼ cup (48 grams) brown sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) butter, grated
¼ cup (2 ounces) heavy cream
1 large egg
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the grated butter and gently toss with your hands to fully coat the butter and evenly distribute it throughout the dry ingredients.

In a small bowl, combine the cream and egg and whisk to combine. Add the cream and egg to the bowl with the flour and stir gently to moisten the dry ingredients. Reserve the small bowl as the remnants from the cream and egg mixture can be used to brush the scones before they are transferred to the oven. Add the chopped strawberries to the batter and fold gently to combine.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Gently pat the dough into a circle approximately 8 inches in diameter. Cut the dough into eight wedges. Transfer each wedge to the prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, gently brush each scone with the remaining cream and egg mixture. Sprinkle a bit of the granulated sugar on top of each scone.

Transfer the baking sheet to the preheated oven. Bake the scones 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time. When fully baked, the scones will be lightly browned and firm to the touch.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven to a wire rack to cool. Scones are most delicious served the day they are made, so serve them immediately and enjoy every last bite!


To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/06/oat-scones-with-fresh-strawberries/

Helping our Hens Stay Cool in the Summer Heat

ThermometerHere in New England, we spend more of our calendar days with frigid temperatures than intense heat. Yet, we can count on several days above 90 degrees each summer and seem to see more of them each year. Today, our temperature is predicted to exceed 90 degrees and summer won’t officially begin for nearly a month.

On the first truly hot day of the year, we’ll be employing strategies for helping our animals to cope with the heat. We’ll make regular rounds to the coop, barn, hoop house and garden with fresh, cold water to help everyone and everything cope with the heat. We’ll also utilize the design of our coop and share a few helpful, cooling treats with our flock. Together, these actions will help them to deal with the high temperatures.The Hens at 1840 Farm using the BriteTap

The hens spend their days outside in their shaded runs.  We take full advantage of the cross ventilation we built into the design of our coop.  The back vent will be opened to the full position, the front window opened wide, and the side door secured in the open position to capture any fresh, cooling breeze that might pass by. On a day with temperatures in the 90s, even the slightest breeze blowing through the nearby maple tree is helpful.

On my regular rounds, I will replace the water that has grown hot in the goat stall and top off the BriteTap Chicken Waterer that keeps our hen’s water cool and fresh. On a hot day, the volume of water consumed by our animals is staggering. When I freshen the water, I can count on the chickens and goats to line up for a sip of cool refreshment. As they help themselves to a drink, I make sure that everyone is accounted for and not struggling too mightily with the conditions of the day.  When I visit the coop with frozen yogurt, fruit, and vegetables, the hens gather at my feet as if I am a rock star.

Frozen Berries and Yogurt for the Hens at 1840 FarmSeveral years ago, I discovered that these frozen treats could help our hens cope with the brutal heat. Since then, I keep a few freezer bags with frozen healthy treats in our barn’s upright freezer. Small berries, tiny cherry tomatoes, diced vegetable scraps, and cubes of frozen yogurt are at the ready and make a welcome snack on days when the temperature is uncomfortably hot. When I have healthy kitchen scraps to share with the flock, I simply freeze them, add them to the bag, and keep them for the next hot day.

As soon as the frozen pieces hit their bowl, our hens clamber for a prime spot to grab a bite. The frozen treats only last a few seconds. The girls happily help themselves to a bit of cool refreshment and then return to the business of scratching at the ground, making happy hen sounds, and patrolling their run. Cooling them down from the inside out seems to bring them immediate relief from the heat.

Summer will officially be here in less than a month. It’s time for me to restock my supply of berries, frozen vegetables, and yogurt cubes for the hens. If this spring is any indication, we’re in for a hot summer and the hens are sure to be looking for their frozen afternoon treats!


To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/05/hens-cool-in-the-summer-heat/

Lemon Drop Cookies with Lemon Buttercream

LemonCookieWMSpring couldn’t arrive soon enough for me this year. It was a brutal winter with snow piled so high that it was difficult to believe that spring would ever arrive to our snowy landscape. While I wait for winter to release us from its firm grasp, I find myself dreaming of the garden and the fresh meals that it will provide for our family table. That first harvest of crisp radishes and greens seems both close at hand and miles away.

The garden won’t produce anything for us to enjoy at our family table for a few more weeks. We’re still waiting for our last frost date to pass on the 29th of June. As I wait for the danger of frost to pass, I find myself craving something fresh and bright.

Enter the lemon, which is synonymous with spring in my book. First, there’s the striking beauty of the lemon’s yellow color. Then there’s the lovely punch of fresh flavor that a lemon brings to a recipe when its tart nature is perfectly matched with just the right balance of sweetness to highlight its distinct flavor. It’s no wonder that I turn to the lemon to help me bridge the gap between the end of winter and beginning of our gardening year.

This recipe is one of my favorites each spring. The bright, tart lemon flavor and earthy vanilla are delicious when combined with just enough sugar. The end result is sweet enough without ever masking the lemon’s lovely acidity. The fluffy lemon buttercream ups the ante and adds even more lemon flavor with a creamy texture that provides a lovely counterpart to the crisp cookie.

To be fair, we don’t consider this as a spring only favorite. We enjoy them year round and they never disappoint. I hope that your family and friends will enjoy them as much as ours do!

 

Lemon Drop Cookies with Lemon ButtercreamLemonButtercream
makes 2 dozen 3” cookies

You don’t need specialty equipment to make these beautiful cookies, but a few simple tools will help to make the job easier. While you can use a simple box grater to zest the lemon, a microplane grater/zester makes quick work of the zest. A set of inexpensive rolling pin rings will ensure that all of the dough is rolled to an even thickness. The resulting cookies will bake more evenly and have a beautiful appearance.

I reach for my WonderMix Kitchen Mixer when making this recipe in our farmhouse kitchen.  With two sets of whisk/whip attachments, I can easily cream the butter and sugar for the cookie and blend the buttercream into a perfectly smooth, satiny texture.  You can learn more about The WonderMix and get my recipe for Multigrain Brioche by reading my review.

Lemon Drop Cookies

1 cup sugar
Zest of one large lemon
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained to remove seeds and pulp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3 cups All-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Lemon Buttercream

4 ounces (1 stick) butter, softened
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained to remove seeds and pulp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar

ZestRubbedSugarWash and dry a large lemon. Using a fine grater or microplane, remove the zest from the lemon, taking care to remove only the yellow zest. Leave the white pith intact as it can be incredibly bitter. Place the granulated sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl. Mix the sugar and zest together by rubbing the grains between your fingers. Mixing the sugar and zest in this manner will infuse the sugar with the essential oil from the lemon peel.

Using a mixer or food processor, cream the butter and sugar mixture until it combines completely and makes a smooth paste.  Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Mix to combine.  Add the egg and egg yolk and mix until completely smooth.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the batter and mix briefly to fully incorporate.  Take care not to over mix as this will develop the gluten in the flour, resulting in dough that is chewy and tough instead of light and delicate.

Remove the dough to a sheet of parchment paper or freezer paper.  Cover with a second sheet of paper.  Using a rolling pin and rolling pin rings (if you have them); roll the dough in to a rectangle approximately 1/4 inch thick.  Refrigerate the dough at least 2 hours or until firm enough to cut cleanly using a cookie cutter or sharp paring knife.

When the dough has been properly chilled and you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line two baking sheets with nonstick Silpat liners or parchment paper.  Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and cut into your desired shape.  Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets approximately 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 14 to 16 minutes, rotating at the midpoint of the baking time, taking care not to overbake. TheWonderMix Kitchen Mixer cookies should be firm to the touch, but not overly brown. Remove the trays from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool completely.

To make the buttercream, combine the softened butter, lemon juice, and vanilla extract using a mixer or food processor.  Slowly add the powdered sugar and blend until the buttercream is completely smooth.

Buttercream can be piped or spread on the cookies as soon as they are completely cool. Two cookies can be held together with a layer of buttercream to make a delicious lemon drop sandwich cookie. Cookies and buttercream can be stored in separate, airtight containers at room temperature for several days.

Note:  This dough works very well when stored in the freezer.  Simply prepare the dough as directed above, chilling the rolled dough in the freezer instead of refrigerator.  Once the dough has frozen solid, it can be moved to a freezer bag for long-term storage.  When you are ready to bake the cookies, remove the frozen dough from the freezer and allow it to warm slightly as the oven preheats.  Cut the dough into your preferred shape before transferring them to the warm oven. Frozen cookies will require an additional 3-5 minutes in the oven, but taste identical to those made from freshly made refrigerated dough.


To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/05/lemon-drop-cookies/

BriteTap Chicken Waterer

BriteTapSpring has been slow to show itself this year.  In fact, we were beginning to believe that it might never arrive.  Then, without any gradual warm up, our temperature hit 90 degrees on Sunday.  While we were happy to have warmer temperatures, such a big leap in the temperature was very unexpected and certainly didn’t give our animals time to acclimate to the change in weather.

In order to help our animals and pets deal with the sudden heat, we made sure that they all had shade to take refuge from the blistering sun and plenty of fresh water to drink.  We also brought our BriteTap Chicken Waterer out of its winter storage and reintroduced it to our flock.  As soon as they saw me placing the BriteTap in their run, they were gathering at its base to help themselves to a cold drink of water.

We first began using the BriteTap late last summer.  ChickenWaterer.com promised that their system would provide clean, cool water to our flock even on the warmest days.  I will admit that I was a bit skeptical that the water would remain cool and completely clean.  I also wondered if our four year old hens could learn a new trick and begin using the system after using standard tray waterers their entire lives.

BriteTapWaterThe Hens at 1840 Farm using the BriteTapI was happily surprised on both counts.  The BriteTap did indeed deliver clean water even in the dry conditions of the outdoor run that is attached to our coop.  When dust covered the outside surface of the BriteTap, our girls were still enjoying crystal clear water thanks to the ingenious design that provides protection to the supply of water as it fills and is made available for drinking.  The BriteTap also kept the water cool even on very warm and humid days.  By employing a water cooler as its tank, the water remained cool instead of warming in the way our standard waterers do during the hot summer months.

My concern about our girls learning a new trick were completely unfounded.  Within minutes, their curiosity got the best of them and they were inspecting the red nipples attached to the BriteTap.  As soon as the first hen pecked at the silver protrusion and was rewarded with a cool drink, the girls lined up to have a go.  They stepped up one by one and even the most timid bird in our flock pecked fearlessly at the nipple and enjoyed a fresh drink.

The BriteTap is easy to assemble and simple to clean.  The waterer portion can be attached to a several different brands and sizes of water coolers.  For larger flocks, it can be installed on a cooler with a capacity of 10 gallons.  In our case, the 2 gallon cooler provides fresh water to our flock of twelve hens for several days even during the warmest weather.

We love using the BriteTap almost as much as our hens love helping themselves to a drink of fresh cold water.  Thanks to our sponsor ChickenWaterer.com, you can enter their “Everyone’s a Winner Giveaway” for a chance to win a gift certificate valued at $100 to be used in the ChickenWaterer.com online store.  Better yet, they’re offering the members of The 1840 Farm Community a special opportunity to win one BriteTap Waterer valued at $29.95.

To enter, simply click on the image below to visit Hobby Farms and enter the giveaway.  Be sure to tell them that you heard about the giveaway from 1840 Farm in order to be automatically entered into our 1840 Farm Community giveaway for the BriteTap waterer.  Once you’ve entered, you’ll also receive a code that allows you to enjoy a 10% discount on any purchase in the ChickenWaterer.com online shop.

chickenwaterer-810bnr

Everyone’s a Winner with this contest, especially the birds in your flock who will be enjoying fresh clean water all summer long!  If you’re lucky enough to win one of the $100 gift certificates, we recommend the BriteTap Automatic Feeder as highly as we do the BriteTap Waterer and Tank Combo Pack.  Good luck to all who enter!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/05/britetap-chicken-waterer/

How to Make Homemade Kimchi

Kimchi at 1840 FarmI don’t remember when or where I first tasted kimchi.  I do remember how taken I was with the flavor.  As a person who loves sauerkraut and spice, kimchi was the perfect marriage of the flavor and texture that I so enjoy.

The flavors were so interesting and complex that I assumed that making kimchi would be a time-consuming and difficult process.  Then Sasquatch Books sent me a copy of their new cookbook Fresh & Fermented by the founders of Firefly Kitchens.  The book is beautiful and contains a recipe for their famous Firefly Kimchi.  I read the recipe and was surprised to learn that making kimchi was no more complicated than sauerkraut.

In the past few months, we have been making a lot of sauerkraut.  You could easily say that I have a new found obsession with fermentation.  I have been adding our Classic Sauerkraut to everything and making a fresh batch each week to ensure that we always have a steady supply of its bright, crisp flavor in the refrigerator and fermenting away in the pantry.

Fresh and Fermented CookbookAfter making several successful batches of sauerkraut, I felt like I could attempt a batch of kimchi using the recipe in Fresh & Fermented.  The instructions were simple and the method was the same as those required for sauerkraut.  Suddenly, I believed that I might be able to make my own kimchi right here in our farmhouse kitchen.

 I mixed up a batch following the recipe to the letter.  I secured the mixture using my Kraut Source lid system and set it aside to ferment for a few days.  Five days later, I removed the lid to taste our creation.  It was fantastic and every bit as delicious as the kimchi I had first tasted and fallen in love with.

I have made a few minor changes to the recipe since then.  Through a little experimentation, I have discovered that I prefer to use a combination of green cabbage and Napa cabbage.  Using equal parts of the two different types of cabbage results in a kimchi with a lovely combination of textures that I enjoy.  I also love the zing of the fresh ginger, so I triple the amount of minced ginger called for in the original recipe.

This recipe is very adaptable, allowing you to make changes to the seasonings in order to suit your taste.  As long as the ratio of cabbage to salt is constant and the vegetables are kept under the brine as they ferment, the results will be delicious every time.

This kimchi is so delicious that it has inspired me to create meals around it.  Just last week, we enjoyed burgers topped with kimchi and a fresh quick pickle.  That dinner was preceded by an evening’s dinner of dumpling soup filled with delicious fresh vegetables, brimming with flavor, and topped, of course, with our homemade kimchi.

Dumpling Soup with Kimchi at 1840 Farm    Burger topped with Kimchi and Pickles at 1840 Farm

Sriracha Seasoning BlendMy recipe uses one pound of green cabbage along with one pound of Napa cabbage.  I find that a half of a large head of green cabbage and one head of Napa cabbage usually delivers the amount I need.  I experimented with several different types of red pepper and red pepper blends when fine tuning this recipe.  My favorite was a McCormick Gourmet Sriracha Seasoning Blend that I found at our local grocery store.  You can certainly use all of one type of cabbage or a different red pepper to make your kimchi.

I use the remaining green cabbage along with a small head of cabbage to make another batch of sauerkraut.  Yes, I’ve become the person who routinely adds three heads of cabbage to my cart at the grocery store!

I hope that you’ll join me in making your own homemade kimchi.  In minutes, you will have a batch fermenting in your kitchen.  In mere days, you’ll be ready to taste your homemade kimchi.  I’m willing to bet that you’ll take the first bite and wonder why you hadn’t made your own kimchi sooner!

Kimchi
adapted from Firefly Kimchi from Fresh & FermentedIngredients for Kimchi at 1840 Farm

Lacto-fermentation takes advantage of the beneficial bacteria (including Lactobacillus) that are naturally present on the surface of fruits and vegetables. When held at room temperature and submerged in brine, these healthy bacteria convert the natural sugars in the  fruits and vegetables into lactic acid. The lactic acid will naturally preserve the kimchi and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.

Much like canning, fermentation requires clean tools and surfaces to safeguard against potentially unsafe bacteria. Simply washing all the tools and equipment along with your hands with soap and hot water before beginning the recipe is sufficient. This will ensure that you have begun the process with the clean environment necessary for successful and safe fermentation.

2 pounds cabbage (I like to use one pound of green cabbage and one pound of Napa cabbage)
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) sea salt
2 green onions, trimmed and sliced thinly
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Sriracha Blend Seasoning (or cayenne red pepper)
brine as needed (1 teaspoon sea salt dissolved in 1 cup cold, filtered water)

Quart-size Mason jar
Kraut Source Unit or Mason Jar Lid

Rinse the cabbage in cold water. Quarter each cabbage and remove the core before finely shredding. Place the two pounds of shredded cabbage in a large bowl. Add the sea salt, tossing to evenly distribute. Allow the cabbage and salt to rest for 20 minutes.  This rest will allow the salt to begin to draw the moisture out of the cabbage.

Massage the sea salt vigorously into the cabbage for about 5 minutes. Working the sea salt with the shredded cabbage will help to draw more liquid out of the cabbage and begin the process of breaking down the fibrous nature of the cabbage.  As you are working the cabbage, it will begin to shrink and release more of its liquid.  At the end of the 5 minutes, mix in the onions, ginger, garlic, and red pepper to the cabbage, stirring to work them into the cabbage mixture.

KrautSourcePack the cabbage into a clean quart-size, wide mouth Mason jar. Use a pounder or wooden spoon to really press down and pack the cabbage in to remove any air pockets . The top of the mixture should be even to the shoulder of the jar. If there isn’t enough liquid to cover the cabbage by one inch, add enough brine to cover.

Secure your Kraut Source unit or lid on the jar. Take care not to tighten the lid too tightly. As the cabbage ferments, carbon dioxide will be released. If the carbon dioxide is not allowed to safely escape the jar, it can cause the jar to break or the lid to be forced off of the jar.

The innovative Kraut Source unit contains a spring and a press to hold the cabbage underneath the surface of the liquid while allowing the carbon dioxide to escape. If you are using a standard lid, a piece of the cabbage’s core or a small weight can be used to keep the sliced cabbage below the liquid .

The lid can be removed every few days and replaced to adequately vent the excess carbon dioxide. During fermentation, the cabbage must be completely submerged in the liquid to prevent spoilage. Additional brine can be added as needed to completely cover the submerged cabbage.

Allow the kimchi to ferment at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 5-7 days or until it develops the desired flavor. After 5 days, begin tasting the kimchi every few days to determine if the flavor is to your liking. When the taste is agreeable, transfer the covered jar to the refrigerator. Any lid, weight, or cabbage core used to keep the kimchi submerged can be removed and discarded at this point.  Kimchi can be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months.

How to Make Homemade Kimchi at 1840 Farm


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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/04/kimchi/

Repurposed Gardening – Seed Starting Containers and Feed Bag Weed Barrier

I love to find a new purpose for materials that would otherwise be discarded.  I enjoy the challenge of re-imagining the use of items found in our recycling bin or stored in the old hay loft of our barn.  I also much prefer using materials that I already have on hand instead of buying something brand new.

A few of my favorite repurposed materials are put to use here in our gardens at 1840 Farm each growing season.  We have found them to be incredibly effective and cost saving.  I hope that you will enjoy using these no cost, repurposed materials in your garden this year.

Dairy Carton Seed Starting Containers

 Recycled Seed Starting Containers at 1840 FarmWe give our garden a head start by planting seeds indoors long before the weather outside would permit us to plant directly in the garden beds.  Here in New England, our growing season is painfully short, averaging about 120 days from start to finish.  In order to have a successful harvest, we need to give our heirlooms a good start inside the farmhouse.

In the spring, we plant our seeds down in the old root cellar of the farmhouse.  With enough light and attention, they grow well and ensure that we will be able to harvest our beloved heirloom tomatoes before the first frost occurs in fall.  Because we grow our plants from seed, we are able to purchase a diverse variety of heirlooms.  For less than the price of one healthy seedling from a nursery, we can purchase a packet of heirloom seeds to grow at least 20 seedlings.  We also love having the ability to seek out extremely rare and interesting varieties that are not available at our local garden center.

We use many of our seed starting supplies year after year.  No matter how many trays and containers we have, we always seem to need more.  We discovered last year that we had the perfect containers for our tiniest seeds right in our recycling bin.

We like to broadcast plant the tiny lettuce, herb, and onion seeds and then divide them by hand as they are added to the garden.  We find that this saves time by allowing us to tend to the young plants for several weeks without needing to thin them or move them to larger and larger containers.  The resulting plants are strong and healthy with well developed root systems.

We discovered that paper dairy cartons made ideal containers for these seeds.  By removing the top surface of the empty cartons, we create fantastic seed starting containers for these crops. The money we save by using these containers easily covers the cost of the seeds we plant in them.

Simply rinse out the used paper container before removing one side of the carton with a sharp knife or scissors.  Fill the container two-thirds full with your favorite seed starting mix.  Scatter the tiny seeds over the top of the mix before covering the seeds with more seed starting mix.  Label the container and tend as you would any newly planted seeds.  After moving the healthy plants to your garden, the container can be added to your recycling bin.

Creating Repurposed Seed Starting Containers at 1840 Farm  Recycled Dairy Carton Seed Starting Containers at 1840 Farm

Paper Feed Bag Weed Barrier

I love to spend a summer day working in the garden.  We plant close to 100 heirloom tomato plants each year along with cucumbers, squash, peppers, eggplant, lettuce, and countless other crops.  With so many plants, there is always something that needs to be done.  I enjoy the work, knowing that my efforts will produce delicious, fresh food for our family table..

One garden job that I could do without is weeding.  I know that weeding is necessary, but I want to spend as little time as possible pulling weeds.  Weeding our raised beds helps our plants to have all of the soil’s nutrients instead of sharing them with the weeds that will happily take over.  Yet I find weeding to be my least favorite chore in the garden.  I love sharing the weeds with our hens as a fresh treat, but I can find plenty of fresh treats for them from the garden without spending hours pulling weeds.  I also find the prospect of spending a large portion of my gardening budget on weed barrier to be rather unpleasant.

Luckily, we have a steady supply of weed barrier materials thanks to our chickens and goats.  Our animal feed is packaged in paper bags that make a fabulous weed barrier.  I stockpile them all winter long in the barn for this purpose.  When planting time finally arrives, I can transform each large bag into a flat piece of paper weed barrier with a few snips of my garden shears.  Using landscaping staples, I secure each piece to the soil, covering all but the perimeter of the beds where I will plant onions, herbs, and zinnias to attract beneficial pollinators.

Using my shears, I cut holes exactly where I want to plant,  I then tuck the plants into the soil warm soil.  When we mow our untreated grass, I collect the clippings and add them on top of the paper surface. With very little effort and little to no expense, I have added an effective weed barrier to our garden and made use of materials that we have on hand.

The paper and grass mulch help our garden beds to retain moisture while minimizing weed growth.  Over the course of the growing season, both the grass and paper begin to decompose.  When we clear the beds in the fall, we simply remove the staples, reserving them for the next season, and add the paper bags to our recycling bin.

We also use this paper feed bag mulch for our garden paths.  We cover the paper bags in the paths with untreated wood chips and have a weed free path all summer long.

Empty Feed Bags at 1840 Farm  Empty Garden Bed at 1840 Farm

Feed Bag Mulch at 1840 Farm  PlantinginBagMulch

I’ll be sharing a few other tricks for using repurposed materials in the garden in the coming weeks.  Until then, you can take a photo tour of  the gardens here at 1840 Farm.  I’d love to hear about your strategies to use repurposed or recycled materials in your garden.  I’m always looking for new, great ideas to use in ours.

Repurposed Gardening at 1840 Farm

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/04/repurposed-gardening/

Book Review – Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide

Clean SlateWhen Clean Slate:  A Cookbook and Guide from the editors of Martha Stewart Living arrived in my mailbox, I couldn’t wait to give it a read.  Once I had, I couldn’t wait to get in the farmhouse kitchen to create a few of the delicious recipes it includes.

This book goes far beyond the reach of a standard cookbook.  Instead, it is a comprehensive primer on integrating fresh, whole foods into your diet.  The first section of the book contains nearly 70 pages of information about specific ingredients, suggestions for healthy flavor boosters, and detailed menu plans.

Once I progressed past that extensive information, I found myself at part two which was filled with more than 160 recipes.  The recipes were well written, easy to follow, and accompanied by gorgeous photos.  They were also clearly labeled with regard to four key categories:  vegan, dairy-free, not-free, and gluten-free.  As a person who cooks around food allergies every day, I appreciated these designations.  Each recipe looked more delicious than the last.  My biggest struggle was trying to decide which one I should try first.

I can’t wait to try the recipe for Poached Eggs with Roasted Tomatoes this summer when we have fresh heirloom tomatoes in our garden.  Until then, I decided to begin with the recipe for Swiss Chard Salad with Poached Egg.  Armed with a beautiful bunch of swiss chard from our local market and eggs fresh from our hens, I headed to the farmhouse kitchen to make myself a delicious and healthy lunch.Swiss Chard with Poached Egg

The recipe was easy to follow and included instructions for poaching the egg.  In less than 30 minutes, I had a beautiful plate of swiss chard ribbons topped with a light vinaigrette and a beautifully poached fresh egg.  It looked so amazing that I couldn’t wait to take the first bite, digging in without remembering to take a picture.  The salad was bright and fresh, perfectly paired with the richness of the fresh egg.  This is a dish that I will turn to often when our swiss chard is ready to harvest in this year’s garden.

I can’t wait to try another handful of recipes in this book.  Cauliflower “Rice” is intriguing and sounds delicious.  Roasted Mushroom Tartines with Avocado will be lovely when served with alongside our Sliced Radish Tartines this spring.  As soon as local strawberries are in season, I will definitely be making a batch of the No Bake Oat Bars with Strawberries.

You’ll find Clean Slate:  A Cookbook and Guide listed in our Amazon Affiliate shop along with a full collection of my favorite cookbooks. You can also learn more about the book and its author by visiting the publisher’s site.  If you’re on the hunt for a new great cookbook, you can read more of my cookbook reviews and recipes inspired by my favorite cookbooks.


The product reviewed in this post was sent to me free of charge by the Blogging for Books Program in order to allow me to evaluate its use here at 1840 Farm. The book that I reviewed was sent to me at no expense in order to allow me to evaluate it. The framework of our review process does not guarantee a positive review in exchange for the product provided. Our product reviews contain both facts about the product and my personal opinion of its performance while it was used at 1840 Farm.

Product reviews include my honest opinions about the product(s) reviewed. Products that do not meet our standards of daily use on our farm will not be reviewed. It is our goal to provide you with our personal experience using a product in a positive and informative manner so that you can determine its usefulness in your life. It is not our goal to negatively review a product that while not an ideal fit for our farm, might perform very well on yours.

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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/04/book-review-clean-slate-a-cookbook-and-guide/

Cast Iron Skillet Pork and Potato Hash

Cast Iron Skillet Pork and Potato HashWhen we sit down at our farmhouse table to enjoy a meal featuring Beer and Brown Sugar Braised Pork, I can count on someone to ask if there will be enough pork to make Cast Iron Skillet Pork and Potato Hash for dinner the following evening. I have come to expect that question, so I always buy a cut of pork that is large enough to ensure that there will be plenty of pork to make this hash.

Leftovers often get a bad rap, but this preparation can change that with the first bite. This hash is a star main dish in its own right. It is delicious, comforting, and full of flavor. Leftovers never had it so good.

This is one of those recipes that welcomes interpretation and substitution. You can add other vegetables to the mix or substitute another cut of meat you have on hand. No matter the ingredients, the results are always delicious.

Hash

 

 

 

 

Cast Iron Skillet Pork and Potato Hash

This recipe makes use of one of my favorite pans: a cast iron skillet. I like to use my Lodge 12 inch cast iron skillet when preparing this hash. If your skillet is smaller, you can reduce the proportions to fit your pan. I love to use the reserved cooking liquid from the Beer and Brown Sugar Braised Pork Roast, but an equal amount of bone broth or a good quality stock can be used.

1 Tablespoon butter
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ pounds potatoes, washed and cut into ½ inch cubes
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
12 ounces reserved cooking liquid from Beer and Brown Sugar Braised Pork or bone broth
8 ounces shredded pork
2 ounces heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces smoked cheddar, grated

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the butter to the hot pan and swirl to coat the bottom surface. Add the onion and cook until almost translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook one minute before adding the potatoes to the pan, stirring to combine.

Add the thyme and reserved cooking liquid or bone broth to the pan. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes undisturbed.

Remove the cover and stir the mixture. The potatoes should have begun to soften and absorbed some of the liquid. Add the pork and heavy cream to the pan and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Press the mixture firmly into the pan and top with the grated cheddar. Transfer the skillet to the warm oven.

Cook the hash for ten minutes. Check the potatoes for doneness before turning on the broiler. Broil for two minutes to brown the top surface of the hash. Remove from the oven and serve hot.  We like to serve this hash with a side of Classic Sauerkraut.

 

2015_Spring_Post_FOOD

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