Acorn has been a canning fool! If it stays still long enough, she will plop it in a jar and pop a lid on! Garden bounty has been most wonderful and ratatouille has filled the shelves.
Goats have been checked and dewormed if needed, cow herd now combined back into one group. The comet has gone and rain finally arrived. Acorn talks about the garden, missing IKEA, why travel for this pair of farmers is best done in December, and about a special goaty friend.
Episode seems short but sweet- it has been a busy couple weeks and Blind Hog and Acorn are ready for an “easy day…” Wait? There are “easy days” on a farm?
This has been a killer week on the farm- working the goats (did a headcount and we have 100 exactly) more about THAT on the next podcast, weeding the garden, planting the Fall veggies, canning, cutting firewood. ALL THE CHORES!
Blind Hog came in for a break and Acorn set him down at the microphone. “A farmer’s work is never done…”
Blind Hog talks about his Grandma Phifer and her garden when he was a kid back in the 1940’s and 50’s. She would trade eggs with the rolling store in exchange for dry goods and things she could not grow or make herself. Her older sister “Tennie” had married Rom Dodson in 1905. In 1913, Tennie died. Shortly thereafter, Grandma Phifer took her youngest child of eight (Blind Hog’s dad), left her husband, and moved in with “Uncle Rom.” They lived together for almost 50 years and never married. The more you know…
Acorn wants YOU to bake your own bread- sourdough bread to be exact and yes- it is just that easy. Think of it as a science experiment! No yeast is needed- just flour, water, salt and your sourdough starter. Here is Chef Roland’s recipe for catching your own wild sourdough starter, well-loved and stained from Acorn’s archives:
“After the starter is made, Chef’s flour and water proportions for making sourdough bread are similar to mine, but I use a wet hand to mix the dough, not a mixer, and his sourdough bread recipe calls for the addition of yeast, mine does not. I also bake the loaves in preheated Dutch ovens with the lids on at first. It is how the Acorn do.”
Making a dough, working it into loaves, and baking the bread is truly a rewarding, multi-sensory experience. Whatever you do, do NOT cut into a loaf before it has cooled. If you understand the science of why grilled/roasted meat needs to rest for 20-30 minutes after cooking, then you will understand why bread must completely cool first before cutting. Moisture needs to slowly even out through the cooling bread, under the protection of the crust. Cutting into the hot bread releases too much moisture, changing the texture. Blehhh.
And what to do with the leftover starter/leaven you made the night before? Mix in a beaten egg and add another 100 grams of flour of your choice (all purpose, whole wheat, spelt or buckwheat) and a splash of milk. It’s Waffle Time!
Cookies you ask? Yes- BY ALL MEANS make the cookies dough but who says you have to bake it all at once? Save 2/3 or more back and freeze the dough!
Now that the bread is baked and cool, put some honey on a slice . As you enjoy the treat, think back at all the bee effort that goes into making that honey:
The 21 day-long drought is about to break, Saraha dust and all. Acorn tells about the goats and the particulars of “working the kids.” Find out how kids are managed and what happens when livestock misbehave.
Acorn will also talk about exotic delights- like elderflower cordial and syrup, and the joy of growing pineapples.
Visit with Acorn as she gives her version of the geologic formation of the Ozarks, describes what is going on in the garden, and shares her experiment using the tops from the Brussels sprouts (yes- you ARE supposed to prune them!). Recipe to follow.
Acorn is also planning the Fall Garden… Just deciding where and when to plant the seeds.
The Badger also pulls a hat trick, leaving Acorn in stitches. Enjoy!
Brussel Sprout Tops Kimchee
4 tops cut from Brussels Sprouts, halved and soaked in brine made from 1 gallon of water with 1 cup salt, dissolved. Brine a few intact large leaves with the split tops.
2 carrots, shredded
1 lb of any bolting green from the garden- bok choy stems and tender leaves, Swiss chard stems-chopped to bit size pieces.
1 onion, sliced
2 beets, cut into matchsticks
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 “thumb” of ginger root, peeled and minced
1/4 cup hot peppers
1: Soak Brussels sprouts tops and large leaves for 6 hrs, drain but save the liquid.
2: Gently knead up the other ingredients, then add the drained split tops- you can cut these into smaller pieces too.
3: Pack everything, once combined, into a crock or jar, leaving 4″ headspace. Pack it tight.
4: Place the whole brined leaves on top to cover and pour more brine up to cover the leaves.
5: Weight the veg down with a gallon zip bag, half filled with water to “seal off the top”
6: I like to cover the top of this with a cheese cloth.
7: Keep out of the sun for 1 -2 weeks ad the kimchee ferments. Should be ready for tasting after a week, and ready to repack into smaller jars once you think it is “done.” By all means, please refer to a good book for more substantial instructions- I like “Fermented Vegetables” by Kirsten and Christopher Shockey
Neighbor Herman is putting up hay and Blind Hog and Acorn will buy all he will bale. Find out about haying, grass, grazing and everything that can go wrong. Blind Hog and Acorn know first hand.
Acorn will also talk about her annual wildflower outing that she does on Midsommar’s Day. The following were found on the 2.5 mile gravel road between the paved road and the mailbox: American ipecac, black eyed Susan, brown eyed Susan, butterfly bush, cat’s claw brier, chickory, common hedge parsley, daisy fleabane, daylily, elderflower, flowering spurge, goat’s rue, heartleaf four o’clock, honeysuckle, hop trefoil, narrow-leafed plantain, oxeye daisy, queen Anne’s lace, prairie coreopsis, prairie phlox, prairie rose, purple milkweed, red clover, robin’s plantain, spiderwort, white clover, white sweetclover, wild blue larkspur and wild hydrangea.
And finally, why did Grant Wood of American Gothic fame destroy one of his own paintings?
Where did the saying “Even a blind hog picks up an acorn every now and then” come from? Inquiring minds want to know.
Also, how do euphemisms describe life, and death, on the farm?
Finally, Acorn will ask where do you get your food, and just how comfortable or close do you want to get to the source? People have picked out lobsters from tanks at restaurants for years, but could you look your burger in the eye?