Sunday, September 30, 2012

Open Farm Day ~ Truelove Farms

We are fortunate to have a wonderful local farm that raises free range animals. Yesterday at their Open Farm Day, we had a chance to meet those animals and the wonderful folks that care for them. Click here to read all about it.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mini Pies

What do you do when you really love pie,  but there just aren't enough people around to eat a large pie?  Make mini pies!  I used apple pie filling for these, but I can't wait to try it with pumpkin pie filling.  Yum.  Here's how I made mine>>>>>    I hope you will enjoy your visit to Timber Creek Farm.  I love your comments and try to respond to each one.  If you like what you see, please consider joining the site.  As we always say, pull up a chair and grab a plate!

A little garden science

Fall is upon us and everyone is busy harvesting their gardens and enjoying the bounty they grew. But do your children (or you) ever stop to think about how amazing a plant is? How a plant grows? We did this summer and found a few interesting things out about celery. To try this garden science fun, read  How do plants drink? and try you own experiment. It is good fun and shhhh, they might even learn something!

 Mindie - MAD Family Fun

Friday, September 28, 2012

Smoked Cheddar Gougères

I am not the first person to write a recipe for gougères .   I am the person who will happily share this delicious recipe with you.  I have a feeling that you'll remember me for it.

The finished gougères look dramatic.  Yet the steps to create it are easy to follow.  Once you have mastered the recipe, you'll find yourself making them every time you have a reason to celebrate a special occasion.

I like to use a locally produced cheddar when making these gougères.  You can use your favorite bold cheese.  Then you can share these delicious little bites and their recipe with someone you know.  Believe me, they'll remember you for it.

Visit 1840 Farm to read the recipe for gougères and to learn more about our farm.

Decision Time- What Chicks Do You Take to the Show?


Showtime Series- Choosing Your Chickens.

Now that you're studying for the showmanship portion and having so much fun quizzing each other and learning about your chickens, you'll need to decide which chicken(s) you're going to show. You may only own one or two chickens and not have to decide but since chickens are like Pringles, I'd be suprised if the majority of you (especially if you're reading and following our blog) have just one or two chickens! Noone can own just one!  Read more...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chickens and Children

It is so much fun to keep a backyard flock of chickens, and we certainly enjoy the fresh, nutritional eggs they provide for our family.  Our grandchildren are especially fascinated with them, and it's a good learning experience for them. When it comes to chickens and children, however, it is good for us to be reminded of health risks and safety precautions.  READ MORE.

Reluctantly, I clipped some feathers....

Sometimes, when all else fails, you just have to clip some wings.  And if you are like me, you were TERRIFIED the first time you did it.  But it turns out, the hens survived and it didn't hurt them at all.  Now they are safe from predators, safe from falling off the fence and happy in their giant, fenced in pen.  Head on over to the handsome homesteader and find out how I gave the girls their first "hair cut".  Happy Homesteading! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chocolate Malt Cupcakes with Malted Buttercream Frosting

There's just something special about a great cupcake.  A cupcake has portability, diminutive size, and colorful wrapping on its side.  It's hard not to look at a cupcake and see that it is full of whimsy.

When my family requests cupcakes, they almost always ask for chocolate malt cupcakes with malted buttercream frosting.  They are a family favorite here at 1840 Farm.  The cake is moist and delicious.  The malted buttercream is good enough to warrant eating it straight from the mixing bowl with a spoon.

I hope that you will try my recipe and share it with someone special in your life.  If you already have a favorite cupcake recipe, then you can help yourself to my free cupcake wrapper template.   In mere minutes, you can make your own decorative cupcake wrappers using paper you have on hand.  It's the perfect way to dress up cupcakes for any holiday or special occasion.

Visit 1840 Farm to read my recipe for chocolate malt cupcakes with malted buttercream frosting.  While you're there, don't forget to print the cupcake wrapper template!

Katie's Kitchen: Farmer's Market Rice

I love to eat healthy foods, but I also want to feel SATISFIED after a meal.  This recipe scores high on nutritional value and heartiness, but the flavor is what keeps my family requesting it over and over again.  And since I love cooking meals that let me use my own homegrown ingredients (eggs from our chickens, vegetables from our garden) this is one of my favorites to cook and to eat...


A fall tradition - Apple Crisp

The leaves are turning and the air is starting to get crisp. I love this time of year the best! And my family loves it because I make Apple Crisp. This simple and oh so yummy treat is addictive. Find out how we here at MAD Family Fun make this fall tradition. Read more here

Have Fun!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A last glimpse of summer, first sniff of fall

I am a menace in the flower garden. Despite the generations of women before me and all that they have tried to teach me about flowers, my gardens are perpetually a disaster. So I was truly shocked to spot this lovely lady in the midst of this year's usual mess of a flower bed when I went out to clean the chicken coop this week. Isn't it beautiful! How did it manage to grow? Purely of it's own will, because I did nothing more than take a root that had been dug out of my husband's grandmother's old garden., dig a hole, and drop it in. I think this rose must have really wanted to grow- like a sign from his grandma from up above.... A really nice finish to the summer. And to welcome in the amazing scents of fall, we are making batches of applesauce that fill the house with delicious aroma. Click here to see how. 

Planting Garlic

It's that time of year again, when the gardens are completely harvested of their fruitage, the soil is amended and turned over in preparation for the spring's planting, and cloves of garlic are carefully sown.

If you haven't tried planting your own garlic before, why not TRY IT WITH US this year?

It'll be fun and delicious!

Sonja ♥

Monday, September 24, 2012

How to Build a Field Stone Walkway

They say that if you're in a hurry, a sidewalk ought to be smooth and level. But if you want to slow things down a bit, keep life simple and enjoy the view, a stone walkway can help you accomplish that!   Following is the tale of how we built our stone walkway with field stones we found on our property. READ MORE.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Make your own Apple Cider Vinegar

Did you know you can make your own apple cider vinegar?  And it's easy!  All you need are some apple peels and cores, water, sugar and a bit of patience....[read more]

The Coop-Scoopin-Boogie, Piccalilli and....Bieber??

OK-so today was CHORE DAY at the "Fresh From Home" household.  Yup, there was tub-scrubbin', floor cleanin' and dish washin'.  Not to mention, I began a first-time-ever journey that had to do with


and  LOTS OF THESE........................................

Can you guess what I ventured into today????  Oh yeah-and don't forget that we had some coop-cleanin'-boot-scootin'-boogyin' good times today all while jammin' to......Justin Bieber music.  Oh yeah-it doesn't get much better than this in the 'burbs!
Come on down and make sure you are subscribed to Fresh From Home so you can catch the rest of the story, learn about Piccalilli and how to make it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Canning Apples

One of the best things about the end of summer is knowing that we get to have a few apple pies over the winter! We prefer the apples that are grown around here rather than the kind from the store so we can our apples. All we need to do is add the little ingredients when it comes time to make the pie and the apples are all ready to go!

Click here to learn how to can apples and be sure to check us out on Facebook too!

Saving Tomato Seeds

If you have enjoyed heirloom tomatoes in your garden this summer, save those seeds so that you can enjoy them for years to come.  Read here to find out how.

Follow the Black Fox Homestead blog and our Facebook page for more gardening tips, recipes, and simple country living!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Very Best Apple Crisp Ever!

Around here, I’ll admit, apple pie takes first place when it comes to apple desserts.  Running a close second, though, is the Very Best Apple Crisp Ever.

I used to help my mom in the kitchen when I was small, but this isn't my mom's recipe, this is one I've tweaked and played with and finally perfected--at least we think so!

For the recipe and step by step directions, go here.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have a craving for chocolate? Try these Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies . They are filled with chocolatey goodness.

How to Make an Apple Wreath

Nothing says "Welcome" like a charming wreath.

In honor of  September's Apple theme at Farm Chick Chit Chat, I made a new wreath for our front door out of a dozen Granny Smith apples and some clippings from our garden.

For instructions on how to make your own apple wreath, click here and:
Step Into Our Garden.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brussels Sprouts: Fresh from the garden and into the kitchen!

Have you ever thought about where your food comes from, or even HOW it grows?  It's amazing to me how much I have learned in the relatively short time I have been experimenting with new gardening and homestead practices from my backyard-in-the-city.  Perhaps the best part is my new found respect for my food, where it comes from and what it takes to get it from seed to dinner on our plates .  Take Brussels Sprouts, for example: Anybody ACTUALLY thought about HOW these mini-cabbages grow?  I mean, have you ever REALLY thought about it?  Come on over to discover new things about Brussels Sprouts, from the garden to your dinner plate!  That's right, more tasty recipes!!

Apples from New York!

Courtesy of New York Apple Association
© New York Apple Association
September is traditionally the month that we drive to the local orchards with our bags, boxes and baskets and fill them to the top with the early apples that are ripening.  A second trip to pick late apples on crisp October days when the geese are flying south usually gives us enough varieties for cooking, freezing, saucing and eating.

New York State ranks number two in the production of apples in the United States—an average of 25 million bushels of apples annually.  According to the New York Apple Association, apples are the second most valuable fruit in the country.  Read more about our favorite apples here!


Pears and Apples share a season for a bit so why not combine the two tasty fruits into one recipe.  I had apples, pears and pectin in my kitchen.  All I needed was a recipe. I found an easy one from Recipes4Living and got busy cooking!  My family gave it a thumbs up!
Read more and get the recipe for a delicious Pear-Apple Jam here  >>>

Autumn Ham

Ham isn't just for Easter, my cozy Maple Bourbon and Brown Sugar Ham is the perfect fall dinner. It has plenty of warm, fall spices that taste great this time of year! Click here for the recipe!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Apple and Smoked Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich

The grilled cheese sandwich is humble and exquisite.  It can be as simple as two pieces of bread with a slice of cheese or as elegant as Croque Madame.  One bite of either will remind you that there's something comforting and satisfying about a great grilled cheese sandwich.

One evening, as I was preparing a grilled cheese sandwich, I wondered aloud, "could you make a grilled cheese sandwich without bread?"  I'll admit that it seems like a somewhat ridiculous idea.  I'll also admit that I had the very best reason for considering this option. 

My daughter has Type 1 Diabetes.  She matches every carbohydrate she eats with insulin.  This can be an extremely difficult task.  I spend a lot of my time in our kitchen trying to adapt our favorite recipes with this goal in mind. 

I reasoned that If I could remove the bread from a grilled cheese sandwich, then she could enjoy it without needing to think about carbohydrates.  Instead, she could savor the delicious flavor.  I believed that it was possible, I just didn't know what I should use to replace the bread.  It was time to head into the kitchen and begin a grilled cheese experiment.

I'm happy to say that the grilled cheese recipes that resulted were so delicious that we didn't miss the bread at all.  In fact, both recipes became family favorites.  Now that fall has arrived and locally produced apples abound at farmer's markets, they'll be back on our menu often.  I hope that you try them with your family and enjoy them as much as we do.

Apples, Sausage, Onions and Potatoes

When you hear "apples", automatically you think of pie. In this case, here is a savory dish the whole family will enjoy. Click here to read how to make this delicious meal.

Apple Pie Muffins: for Family and Flock

Earlier this week on Farm Chick Chit Chat, some inspiring bloggers had a showdown of the most delicious kind: Apple Pie Bake Off.  It started my mind (and my stomach) working on how I could possibly make something as wonderful as they had, but still find a way to share it with my chickens.  As of late, I've really enjoyed taking recipes and tweaking them so they are not only safe, but nutritious and tasty treats for the girls!  

But there is just no way I could do a traditional apple pie.  I fail at pie crust.  Even the store bought kind.  I normally wait around until my mother-in-law makes her FABULOUS dutch apple pie for holiday gatherings, which satisfies my sweet tooth but that isn't going to help me with an apple themed blog post.  What's a girl to do?  Well, how about some Apple Pie Muffins?

Click here to read more!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Showtime and Showmanship basics

My children were incredibly blessed recently to participate in a local Youth Poultry Show! As a mom, I was most impressed with the showmanship category the children performed in.  Over the next few weeks we're going to review how we began our journey in showing, how we prepared and performed for our first show, and what we're doing to get the kids and chickens ready for the next one!

Before & After

Living in an old farmhouse can be fun. It can also test patience, cause a lot of work, and yet, the rewards are distinctly unlike any other.  Let me show you some before & after photos of our farmhouse, built in 1890 - because, who doesn't love a before and after?


Click to

A Gallery of September Blessings

After our long summer -- and with highs of 100 degrees still predicted this week...sigh -- we impaitently await our best growing season.  We dream of filling pots and planting beds with fresh flowers and vegetables that will continue through May, and we celebrate many of September's blessings.  Step into Our Garden and take a peek.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Free-Range Rabbits

There has been quite a bit of discussion among some of the Farm Chicks lately about keeping rabbits, so I thought I'd join in the conversation and share with you my own exposure to and familiarity with these adorable creatures.  Please accept my contribution on this topic in the humor with which it is offered.

Apple Carving

My six year old would carve anything and everything he could get his hands on if I gave him a pocket knife! But alas, mean mom will not give him a pocket knife. So what is a kid to do? Carve an apple of course! Check out this great hands on fall activity for kids (and kids at heart.) And see just what happens when an apple is "misplaced!"

The Isle of Wight County Fair

This past weekend we went to the Isle of Wight County Fair.  The Grand Champion couldn't have been more impressive, although we were less than impressed by the Fried Oreo's.

Come visit the fair through my eyes and find out how to enter to win a Best of Show Shampoo Kit ....[read more]

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Winter Squash: Harvesting, Curing, and Storing

I love harvesting winter squash – as we’re rushing to get all the other garden veggies harvested and processed for winter storage; all the winter squash need is gathering, curing, and storing – chopping, cooking, canning or freezing not required! We’ve got a record batch this year too – lots of squash and pumpkin coming in.  To continue reading how to best harvest, cure, and store winter squash, click here.

Chicken Chili Day

With autumn approaching, fill your house with the delicious aromas of comfort foods. Click here for an awesome chicken chili recipe.

Sundays at the Stables

Sundays are usually fabulously leisurely here at Brighton Park, we go to Mass in the evenings and have a nice family Sunday dinner, but for the last two years, we have participated in the horse culture of the Southwest that is alive and well by starting each Sunday here...

 <<<Read More

A Stitch in Time ♥

Even though I do not often sew personally, I do appreciate beautiful things and the time, patience, and talent it takes to make them. Enter my good friend, Cherie and her love and talent for making beautiful quilts. Cherie has been creating beautiful quilts as gifts for special occasions for quite some time.
Which brings me to today's post. As alluded to earlier in the week on our blog, I have a special GIVE AWAY treat in store for you! Mrs. Cherie has generously donated this mosaic designed "lap" quilt for me to gift to one reader. The quilt measures approximately 5 feet square and is lined to add weight and warmth.

You can WIN this beautiful, home made, one-of-a-kind creation.

CLICK THIS LINK to see how!

Sonja ♥


Congratulations to Jackie Johnson. You won! Claim your prize HERE!

Rabbits: The Other Perfect Small Livestock

When it comes to small livestock, chickens are usually the first animal that comes to mind (and rightly so). But come take a look at the other perfect livestock that's suited perfectly for small or hobby farms, suburban and urban farms -- rabbits!

These gentle, earth-friendly and versatile critters can offer fiber, meat, manure, competition and companionship for the modern homesteader. Read more about why Rabbits Are the Perfect Compliment to Your Hobby Farm.

Photo by Robobo

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dried Apple Pie?

So, I'd love to say that I slaved away in the kitchen all day today, producing a wonderful apple pie like a lot of the Farm Chick Chit Chat contributors have, but alas, I cannot!

If you haven't taken the time to look at all the scrumptious pies and recipes listed today, do yourself a favor and make the time - it'll be worth it!  It will get you in the mood for Fall!

An apple-peeler-corer makes short work of the slicing and peeling.

A dehydrator is part of the steps, too.

What I can say is that what I did last week can turn into an apple pie.

Check it out here.

Cranberry-Apple Pie Crumble

It's that time of year!  Football and Fall; Apples and Pumpkins; crisp, cool Colorado air and PIE!  We recently gathered around the table with family and ended the wonderful day with this Cranberry-Apple Pie Crumble.  Sweet, Tart apples atop tradional pie crust and finished with a sweet and flavorful crumble topping.  Will someone pass the vanilla ice-cream please?
Click HERE to head over to Fresh From Home for the recipe!

Apple Pie the French Way

It's Apple Pie day at FCCC!!  I'm sure some of the girls over here have these AMAZING stories about making pies with grandma or mom and everyone enjoyed it.......Sadly, I am not one of these gals. You should know I am just about the worlds worst baker (I struggle with rice crispy treats). But my mom and my sister can bake and they shared their favorite recipe with me-so here ya go! Straight out of the McCalls Cooking School cookbook, Apple Pie the French Way-Happy Homesteading!!

Click HERE to get the recipe

Brandied Apple Pie with Cinnamon Sugar Topping

Fall brings foliage season to New England.  It also brings an abundance of fresh, local apples to our farmer's markets and family farms.  The season, like most in our region, is short.  We have to make the most out of the apples while they last.  We're New Englanders, we know that the long, dark winter is right around the corner.

It's hard to think about using apples in a seasonal recipe without immediately thinking of apple pie.  Is there any better way to celebrate the balance of sweet and tart flavors or their crisp, juicy texture?  If there is, I haven't found it.  

What I have found is a way to elevate those flavors by adding brandy to the filling.  Then for good measure, I forgo the top crust that typically covers the apple filling.  Instead, I top this pie with a cinnamon sugar mixture that develops a lovely, crisp texture as the pie cools after baking. 

Visit to learn more about how my grandmother fostered my love for the art of pie baking.  While you're there, don't forget to get the recipe for Brandied Apple Pie with Cinnamon Sugar Topping!

What people are reading