Friday, April 4, 2014

We are still alive...on top of the mountain

Good Morning from the mountain, we have survived the night after having a wicked storm, with tons of lightening, strong winds and lots a scary sounds.  The main house did not seem to take on any new damage, we have not checked out the other buildings yet.  The wind out side is still fierce and as I sit typing this I can hear it roar across the roof and the trees outside.

We managed to get a lot of food in the ground before the storm, potatoes, onions, some more radishes and some lavender, plus butterfly weed or milkweed.  It was a amazing to let the seeds of the butterfly weed go, watching it float through the air, finding it's own new place to grow.  Most people do not know that not only it is a good plant for butterflys, but for people as well.

there are over 100 different kinds of milk weed in America, each has many uses as I have listed below, it is truly a wonderful weed.

In world war 2 it saved many people, just check out this link and learn more.  There is still a market for milkweed pods to be used in place of down and you can use it at home for you own sewing projects it makes great stuffing for pillows and quilts.

Milk weed has also been used as a food and to provide other fibers.  You can make cordage from it, just check out this neat link I found,

Here is a very general link about the plant,

You may wonder what we, here at the farm use it for.  First and for most butterfly food, Monarch butterflys can complete a whole life cycle on these plants, they lay there eggs on them, the young caterpillars eat the plant, and then become beautiful butterflys.  Monarchs, like bees have be in a steady decline since Mono cropping in the 1920's as well as pesticide use rose. Now with more modern pesticides, like Round up they may have few years left to share the plant with us. I hope to help them stay around a little longer.

Back to what we use it for, along with it's use as a butterfly food, it is a people food, the pods when young and green are pickled at our farm for winter use.  The young flowers we steam as many of you would broccoli, in fact it tastes much the same.  The fiber we will gather this year to make cord rope and the fluff we will save for quilting.  It is really wonderful plant to grow.

Below I have listed a few websites that have many ways for eating this plants, some recipes and help identifying it because like all plants it has cousins, one of it'snot so friendly cousins is Dogbane....not listed as good to eat thought we have eaten the blossoms before, steamed.

This site gives you great photos and cooking ideas:

Great video - I do have to say I do not like tomatoes with my milkweed, I prefer home made butter, a little white wine and some fresh garlic.

"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls." Proverbs 31:13-15

I am making Feta cheese today with my goats milk, it is a two day process but it is a start and with so many yummy greens ready to eat I can not wait for the feta to be done.  I like to fry up wild greens with butter, garlic and such and add the feta at the end, salt and a little ground pepper...yum, just can't wait.  About 25% of the green food we eat comes from foraging. More or less, depending on season and year.  In a good year it can be close to 50% or more.  

Along with foraging for greens, we forage for wild fruit, such as blackberries, roses, mushrooms, and herbs.  We also hunt, so much of our food is wild, with a good portion of what we raise on the farm.  Some of what we eat still comes from the grocery store, but it is less all the time and is mainly what I consider luxury items such as white sugar, coffee, junk food (hey don't judge), and such. We are very near to the point where we could do with out most of it.  

New other farm news, one of our new hives will be ready to bring home to the farm on May 16, which thank goodness is on a Friday so I will not have to take time off of school to pick them up,  the other hive, we are just not sure.

We have decided to eat our older milk goat, Rebecca, as she is now to old to breed. Putting food in her and waiting to find her dead is not a good game plan in my book, so she will go and be made into goat stew meat.  Moo cow too will go into the freezer and will give us many good meals.  Michael is worried she will run off again and take the bull cafe with her.  So after much talking we have decided to take her off and brand him.  We talked about castrating him, but do not really see the value and it will not stop him from running and that would be the only reason we could see.  He will go into the freezer in the fall.  So branding him to make sure if he does get out that we can find him again, since he looks like every other black bull calf out in our neighbors fields.  Branding is something we have never done, never had a reason before now, but I guess we will learn.  I bought a branding iron, the kind you put in the fire, the kind that most likely my family in France had used long before our time.  The brand is a large C for Camp, our location and a capital M for Mahanaim farm, nothing fancy, but no one else is branding cows, so it should be ok.  The brand was inexpensive and at a cost of just $8.00 with free shipping.  I will be going through old books here at the farm to learn the proper way to use this branding iron and for after care tips.  The bull calf is not exactly tame so I figure we are in for what could be a dangerous fight with him.  Much prep is needed before the day of the event, which I think I many have video taped for internet and to help others who may not have access to the kinds of books and knowledge we have.

Have to go for now dear ones, I have cheese waiting to be made...

Be Blessed and have a great day...


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