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Archive for June, 2014

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I recently returned from a family reunion in Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ. The drive up from Phoenix, is incredible. You pass seas of saguaro, vast mountain ranges, and the mogollon rim.

Saguaros - Almost in Bloom

Saguaros – Almost in Bloom

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Damage from the Rodeo Chediski fire in 2002

Damage from the Rodeo Chediski fire in 2002

Mogollon Rim

Mogollon Rim

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I came up with this easy tomatillo sauce, which is very versatile, you can use it as a salsa, enchilada sauce, on eggs, or over chicken breast — whatever you can think of.

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Chop up Tomatillos, onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Add jalapeno depending on your liking. For this recipe I did 3, but removed all seeds and membrane. You can do a rough chop, since they will be blended later.

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Saute in a pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper until softened.

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Add chicken stock and simmer for 15 minutes or so (not an exact science)

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Put in blender or food processor and blend until smooth. At this point you are either done, or if it’s a little thin for your liking, put it back in the pan and cook some more (like I did) or too thick just add some more stock. That’s it, you’re done, a great tomatillo sauce in under 30 minutes.

On Saturday I used the sauce for Stacked Enchiladas.

I cooked up a pork roast with hickory smoked salt and pepper.

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I chopped up avocados, and grated some oaxaca cheese.

I also served this with a fresh chopped garden salad of tomatoes, corn, charred okra, and red onion dressed with olive oil and lemon.

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Here’s the finished product, topped with fresh duck eggs. I was pretty proud of how it turned out.

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Belinda's Dream

Belinda’s Dream

I finally got around to taking pictures this evening, so things are a bit dark.

Second phase from the rose garden

Second phase from the rose garden

Bulbine

Bulbine

Crossvine

Crossvine

Kumquat - last of the citrus to flower

Kumquat – last of the citrus to flower

Chili Pequins -- coming soon

Chili Pequins — coming soon

Pigeon Berry

Pigeon Berry

Turk's Cap

Turk’s Cap

Plumbago

Plumbago

Last of the Larkspur

Last of the Larkspur

Not Bat-Face Cuphea (as marked)

Not Bat-Face Cuphea (as marked)

Oregano

Oregano

Round 2 of the Columbine

Round 2 of the Columbine

Red Yucca - until the deer get it

Red Yucca – until the deer get it

Buttercup Lantana

Buttercup Lantana

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Shearing Day

Although my daughter has been shearing lambs for a few years, this was our first go at it.

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Her 2 lambs were already at the farm, and they have shearing stands and shears, so we loaded up our other 2 lambs and headed up to the farm.

Me, drying a lamb

Me, drying a lamb

The first step is washing and drying the lambs. The dirt in their wool, will dull the sheers, so they’ve gotta be clean.

"Wrangler"

“Wrangler”

It’s quite a task getting the lambs up on the stand, but once you have them hooked in, they are fairly content. You have to watch them closely though, as they tend to slip off every now and then.

Aspen, shearing one of our girls

Aspen, shearing one of our girls

Eric, shearing Wrangler

Eric, shearing Wrangler

Of course, Aspen was great at shearing, but who knew Eric would be such a natural? He was such a perfectionist, we had to pretty much pry the shears out of his hands.

Look how fluffy and white!

Look how fluffy and white!

Exhausted from a busy day

Exhausted from a busy day

Overall, we did pretty well. We washed, dryed, sheared, and cleaned up in under 3 hours. We definitely got a better appreciation of what my daughter has been doing the last couple years.

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Homestead Update

So much has been happening, I don’t even know where to start …

Let’s start with, I do have a queen bee. Yea! I opened up the hive on Sunday afternoon and found capped brood. This means that eggs have been laid, and covered up. Unfortunately, with the heat, a piece of comb about 2X2, containing capped brood, melted off and fell to the bottom of the hive. When I talked to my bee-mentor, she said that if it’s a small piece, leave it, and the bees will recycle it. Lesson learned — don’t go in the hive in 90 degree weather, things are too fragile. On the bright side, the hive is buzzing along nicely, with plenty of honey and new babies coming soon.

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Berm my daughter made to try and keep the rain away

Berm my daughter made to try and keep the rain away

Next up … 2 new chicks and 1 new duckling. This is good and bad. For the chicks, Maribel was one several eggs and only one hatched. The second chick I found under where the turkey had been sitting, but apparently she up and abandoned it. I gave the chick to Maribel, and she has accepted it as her own – good mama. We had 2 ducklings sitting on large clutches of eggs, but only 1 live duckling. Our Peking, got scared off the nest and got up, the few viable eggs (with pips) dried up and the ducklings didn’t make it 😦 Our second duck, the Lavender Peking lost 4 chicks in the 5″ of rain a few weekends ago. Luckily, one had hatched before the majority of the rain came in. The others sadly drowned. It looks like we may need to incubate if we are wanting ducklings this year.

On to a happier note, the garden is coming along great. I am harvesting tomatoes, zucchini, butternut squash, okra, jalapenos, green beans, and tomatillos daily.

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I made this caprese salad with cherokee purple, wyche yellow, and emerald evergreen – plus basil from the garden.

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I’ve also starting this year’s canning, tomatoes, salsa, sweet pickles, and dill pickles.

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Due to the new induction cooktop, I had to get a new canner. Considering my other one was just a not-quite-big-enough-pot, this was not a huge sacrifice. Canning was so much easier with the large canner, and water that boils in no time.

We also just redid our kitchen, new counter tops, brick backsplash, farm sink and the afore-mentioned induction cooktop.

Before …

Double sink, difficult to clean large pots

Double sink, difficult to clean large pots

Split-Level island and centered cooktop took away all of my prep area

Split-Level island and centered cooktop took away all of my prep area

Crappy tile, which made rolling out dough a pain

Crappy tile, which made rolling out dough a pain

After …

New Farm Sink

New Farm Sink

New Island with so much prep area

New Island with so much prep area

Updated computer area

Updated computer area

We also have 4 new lambs. My daughter got her 2 FFA lambs, 1 medium wool and 1 southdown. We decided to replace our Dorpers with Southdowns. The Dorpers just weren’t very friendly and considering we will need to take them to see a Ram once a year, we didn’t want catching them to be a monumental chore. Plus, it is fun to have lambs come up to you and eat out of your hand, rather than take off in the other direction. The one negative is that we will have to sheer the Downs, but I know people who can turn wool into yarn. This weekend is sheering day, I’ll have to update on how it goes.

Think that should about do it for today …

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