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Gatlin

Sunrising Kaboom Gatlin

Gatlin has been on the farm for nearly a week now.  He has settled right in to the routine and is really a pretty nice little fellow.  He enjoys interaction and I’m glad we have the wethers for him to socialize among.  They play and jump on the toys and have a grand time together.  He’s slightly larger than Bogart, but they seem to get along well.  A good thing, since Bogey is staying on the farm.

Gatlin has our routines down pat, he’s a quick learner.  He knows when to ask for his twice-daily milk bottles.  He’s the first to dig into the feed dish when I put down fresh food.  We have had to modify our hay feeders – he manages to just barely fit his head inside the slats and then get it stuck.  But only on the corner slats, so we’ve widened them a bit and there’s no problem anymore!

I’ve been working on his leading, and his manners are really quite good.  I want to make sure that as he gets older he’s still easy to handle.  I’m trying hard not to turn him into a pet though!

We dewormed him the day after his arrival, and also gave him a CD&T shot, so that he is current.  I didn’t want to over-stress him by doing everything the very first day he arrived.  At this point, my goal is for him to stay well mannered, grow, and thrive.  Then this fall, he’ll get to show his stuff. 😉

He’s a rather good looking addition to our little herd, don’t you think?

Off of the Rockfish Valley Highway in Nellysford, VA, in a small building toting a gas station, bakery, and natural foods store, is a little hole in the wall restaurant called Blue Ridge Pig. It’s easy enough to find if you follow your nose to the smokey goodness that presides.  Prepare yourself for something delicious.

Imagine from Quinn Creative

Before stepping inside, take a moment to enjoy the outside decor.  Summed into one word, I would call it “pigaphanalia.”  From the road sign (featured above) with a happy dancing pig touting “roasted … sophisticated … smoked meats and sandwiches” to the big pink pig made from an old gas tank over the front entrance, you know you’re in for something special.  Passing through the screen door, you enter the seating area surrounded by dark wood and a variety of tables and chairs.  Everywhere you look (and there is not a lot of space), you see business cards.  They are stapled to the walls, the ceiling, and the windowsills.  One wall is devoted to articles about the restaurant, articles from various newspapers and magazines (including the prestigious Gourmet) praising the food.

Behind the counter you will find “Strawberry,” looking like a wild mountain man (and I mean that adoringly) cooking up delicious creations of beef, pork, and chicken with a secret barbecue sauce.  In our household, barbecue is a special thing.  I’m from North Carolina, home of the vinegar-based sauce, while HB, being a Virginian is partial to a tomato-based sauce.  I’m not sure where the sauce at Blue Ridge Pig falls in to place, but it definitely goes under the title of “amazing.”

After driving by Blue Ridge Pig for several years now, this past Saturday we finally decided to give it a try.  We were not disappointed!  Eating an early lunch, we both ordered BBQ pork sandwiches with cole slaw and fresh squeeze lemonades.  The sandwiches came on a type of crusty roll crossed with a bagel.  The sauce, slightly spicy with a slight vinegar twist and maybe a hint of mustard was generously dolled out over smokey, slow cooked pork.  So good!

Aside from a variety of BBQ sandwiches and croissants, the Pig also offers BBQ plates that come with two sides, options including: baked beans, macaroni salad, and cole slaw.  With the exception of the ribs plate, most menu items can be had for $10 or less.

Blue Ridge Pig

2190 Rockfish Valley Hwy, Nellysford, VA 22958

(434) 361-1170

Open daily 11am to 8pm

Meet Olive and Squeaky.

Apparently, Gatlin isn’t the only new addition to the farm this week.  These kittens belonged to my neighbors and through a series of unfortunate/fortunate events (depending on which side of the fence you’re on), they are now residing in the barn!  Destined to be barn cats, for now these little guys are living it up inside the barn apartment.  I had forgot how much FUN it is to have kittens at home!

Both females, Olive is the tortoiseshell and Squeaky is the calico manx – yes, the little calico has no tail!  I took the girls to work on Friday for their first set of shots and deworming.  All my co-workers played with them.  They were a hit!  Although the consensus at work is that Squeaky should be re-named Feta, HB is adamant that the name not change. 🙂

I hope you enjoy the first of what I hope will become a regular series of posts.  In the words of my favorite lady, Bon Appetite! -Danielle

After a hot, busy Saturday we wanted something easy and fresh for dinner.  We pondered the contents of our fridge, reviewing the fresh fruits and veggies we picked up at the market today.  We did a few searches on the internet and came across this recipe for a crustless quiche with sausage and Swiss chard.  Perfect!

Sausage, Chard, and Chevre Crustless Quiche

Of course, we modified the recipe slightly, so here’s what we did:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pork sausage, medium hot; cooked and crumbled (from Rocky Top Farm, Appomattox)
  • handful Swiss chard (from Island Creek Farm, Huddleston)
  • 1.5″ spring onion (from Three Springs Farm, Lynchburg)
  • 6 eggs (from Rocky Top Farm, Appomattox)
  • 2T evaporated milk
  • 4T herb chevre (of our own making)
  • 1/4c grated Gruyere
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease casserole dish.

Heat small amount olive oil in frying pan.  Once warmed, tear up the chard and saute with the onion until the chard is wilted and the onion is slightly brown and translucent.  Remove from heat.  Add crumbled sausage and chevre.  Mix well.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and mix with evaporated milk.  Stir in the sausage-chard mixture.  Add gruyere.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour into greased casserole dish and bake in oven until the egg is cooked through.  In a glass dish, it took the original author about 20-30 minutes.  In our ceramic dish, it took 35-40 minutes.

Enjoy!

Our New Guy

Meet Gatlin. (who is green because he was just tattooed)

Yesterday morning I was up bright and early (oh wait, that’s nothing new…) to be on the road by 6am.  Destination: Columbus, NC – think west, then south, then spend a little time in South Carolina before going back into the great state of NC.  More specifically, destination:  Sunrise Farm.

A few months ago, when trying to decide on a buck to add to our herd we started seeking out various breeders in the general area.  With our does having a lot of Iron Rod and some Walnut Fork breeding, we wanted to expand our horizons and get a buck with great breeding, conformation, disposition, and with a good milking background.

So, let me introduce Gatlin, our purebred French Alpine buckling.  Sired by Nodaway Reprise Kaboom, and out of Oakmoon Oakmoon WVW Ganache.  We are very pleased with Gatlin’s manners and conformation and think he will be a great addition to our herd.

I’ll to get better pictures soon, but thank you very much to the Forsters at Sunrise Farm for this handsome fellow! 🙂

As an experiment this year, and partially for fun and curiosity, I have convinced HB to let me devote a small section of the garden towards a “three sisters garden.”

Image from Cordite Country Show Notes

The Three Sisters Garden is a method of planting seeds that has its base in Native American civilization.  Many Native American tribes adopted this form of agriculture, but it is said to have originated with the Haudenosaunee, or the “People of the Longhouse” also known as the Iroquois, of the northeastern United States.

The traditional Three Sisters garden, created by the successive planting of corn, beans, and squash, forms a beneficial mini-ecosystem where the plants rely on each other for nutrients, support, and protection.

From Renee’s Garden:

According to Three Sisters legends corn must grow in community with other crops rather than on its own – it needs the beneficial company and aide of its companions.

The Iroquois believe corn, beans and squash are precious gifts from the Great Spirit, each watched over by one of three sisters spirits, called the De-o-ha-ko, or “Our Sustainers”. The planting season is marked by ceremonies to honor them, and a festival commemorates the first harvest of green corn on the cob. By retelling the stories and performing annual rituals, Native Americans passed down the knowledge of growing, using and preserving the Three Sisters through generations.

A Three Sisters garden is made up of three plants, as previously mentioned:  corn, beans, and squash.  The corn (the oldest sister) provides a trellis for the beans to climb and grow upon.  In return, the beans fix nitrogen in the soil, not only adding to the soil, but also supplying a nutrient that corn relies heavily upon.  The beans also stabilize the corn plants, making them less susceptible to wind damage.  The squash, often in the form of pumpkins and other winter squashes, provide ground cover, helping keep the threat of weeds to a minimum.  Planting squash also helps prevent erosion, maintains soil moisture, aids in a cooler soil, and provides a ground cover that may help keep out predators (such a raccoons) that want to harvest your garden!  At the end of the season, most of the plant life can be returned to the soil to amend it for the following garden season.

Sounding good yet?  There’s more!

Nutritionally, this combination complements each other.  While the corn helps provide carbohydrates, the beans provide protein, and the squash provide vitamins and healthy oils.

Last week I set up a test plot in our garden, and planted corn.  Once the corn is about 4 inches tall, I will plant the beans.  Two weeks later, the squash (pumpkins) will go into the ground.  I’m very excited to try this!  But beware!  Don’t try to plant all the seeds at once, or else you’ll likely end up with a tangled mess of green growth, and probably not a lot of corn due to the competition.

Want to set up your own Three Sisters garden?  Renee’s Garden has the best format to get you started.

Want more information of the historical value of a Three Sisters garden?  The Bird Clan of Alabama has some of the legend.

Want to read more about how a Three Sisters garden can influence children and how they view the world?  The Center for Ecoliteracy has a beautiful, informative website devoted to this topic.

In late spring, we plant the corn and beans and squash. They’re not just plants- we call them the three sisters. We plant them together, three kinds of seeds in one hole. They want to be together with each other, just as we Indians want to be together with each other. So long as the three sisters are with us we know we will never starve. The Creator sends them to us each year. We celebrate them now. We thank Him for the gift He gives us today and every day.  – Chief Louis Farmer (Onondaga)

Can you spot the chick that’s different from the others?

Need a hint?

It’s not based on color (we have a variety).

It’s based on size.

If you picked this guy, who in the first picture is the one standing in the corner, you are correct!

When we received the latest shipment of baby chicks, it took a few days for me to realize that one was a little different.  As the others grew, this little fellow (hopefully, fellowette, as we ordered pullets — females — and not straight run — a mix) didn’t grow.  I’m not sure if she’s malnourished in some manner of if she’s a different breed of chicken. We’ll continue to watch her grow up.

The chicks are going through their awkward teenage stage – the one were as humans our hair would be straggly and we’d have acne and braces and that sort of thing.  Some of them are pulling through okay, like this silver-laced Wyandotte

or even this Columbian Rock is looking pretty good.  But the poor Aracunas and Red crosses are looking a little rough!