Brooding On

In a Hole With a Goat

John dug the hole with the tractor.  Then, together we hoisted her down into the grave, careful to keep her head from lolling back as we maneuvered her limp body.  She was dignified in life, we would see to it that she was dignified here, too.  


I went down into the hole with her. First, making sure I liked the way her legs were arranged — comfortably, like she might lay in the field on a cool, sunny day.  Then, I turned my attention to her face and stroked it as I repeated to her the things I’d whispered to her only an hour before as she fought for her final breaths.  


Nutmeg.  You are a good goat.  A strong goat.  An amazing momma.  Thank you for the gift you were to this farm.  


And so on.


I fussed with her eyes, as I had done several times over the past hour when I thought no one was watching me.  I wanted them closed so badly, but they would not cooperate.  I knew that in a few moments we would scoop ceremonial shovelfuls of earth over her body before John finished the job with the tractor, and I couldn’t stomach the idea of tossing dirt onto her still-damp eyes.  


Of course she would be stubborn about this.  Of course she would demand to have it her way.  She was always endearingly stubborn.  And, horse of a goat that she was, if she wanted to go left despite my leading to the right, left it always was.  When Zander was young, this stubbornness got Nutmeg into trouble in the field.  Despite his urgings, she cared not a bit about hanging with the herd— she and her babies off doing their own thing. Zander would nip at her heels, urging her to join the herd, but she would have things her way, putting him in his place with a powerful swing of her head.  


Let it go, I tell myself, and move my attention from her still open eyes to her ears — her beautiful, floppy ears.  They are frosted like the rest of her body.  John knew she was beautiful from the beginning.  When she first came to the farm, an anniversary gift to me, in perfect keeping with the traditional gift of fur given on a 13th anniversary, I loved her for the milk she would provide, but I didn’t yet see that she was beautiful.  She was the largest goat I had ever seen, and why did a female goat have a beard?  But, her quiet, strong demeanor and her tolerance of my affection despite her independent spirit won me over quickly, and I began to see her as beautiful.  I would trim that long beard in the winter to keep it from becoming an icicle when dipped into the water trough, but in the spring, for our young field trippers visiting the farm, I let it grow and used her beard as an example of how each goat is unique and beautiful.  I told them, too, about how she marched to the beat of her own drum, not needing to follow the crowd, but content to spend time alone and how that is different for goats but okay.  


I feel as though John is ready — ready to pray a prayer of thankfulness from up there on the edge of the hole and finish our little ceremony.  But, I am not ready to leave this place — not ready to leave her. I want to lay my head down on her chest and rest here in this moment like I used to nap with the goats out in the field on a fall day, using her as my pillow.  


I want to rest here in this hole.  But, I know I can’t — because Nutmeg isn’t the only one.  There is an entire herd.  And, in this heat, they need water.  And the eggs need to be gathered, washed, put away. The garden must be weeded — and today, if the cucumbers are going to have a fighting chance.  The heartbeat of a farm is unrelenting.  It doesn’t stop for me to lie here in this hole.  


Just a few more moments here, please.  I know how it will go when I climb out.  I will pull Elijah, the only child of the three who has been here today for all of this, close and remind him of the circle of life — how in the spring, the farm was bursting with life as we welcomed all those bouncing babies.  And that this stillness is a part of that circle, too.  He already knows this, of course.  Farm kids learn these things early.  We will pray our prayers and each throw a shovelful of earth into the hole.  For my part, I will be careful not to get any in her eyes.  Then, we will get back to the work of the farm.  The coming week will be a tough one.  I will struggle to revise the milking schedule, filling in the hole Nutmeg leaves by moving her daughter Mrs. Hughes to earlier in the rotation.  But, when she enters the barn, stout and strong, I will cry for what I’ve lost even as I see before me what is ahead.  And, when milking is complete, and I release all those babies from their field to reunite with their mommas, I will weep again when Jake and Charles wander aimlessly, crying loudly as goats all around them pair up — mommas with their young.  But, with each day, her absence will sting a little less, for me and also for them.  I know this, of course, because this is not my first time in a hole with a goat.  


But even as I am here in this hole, the lifeblood of this farm is ever flowing.  The goats are grazing, making milk even now.  The hens are in the nesting boxes, producing.  The bees are buzzing around the zucchini blooms, planning tomorrow’s fruits.  And, I don’t want to miss any of it. I can’t.  I love it all so deeply.  And, I will take the bad days, if I must, because the good ones are oh-so-very good.  Thank you, God, for all of it.


So.  Deep breath. Final caress.  Goodbye, Sweet Meggie.  And I rise.  

Fall Harvest Pizza with Butternut Squash and Apple

Are you ready for a taste of fall?  This meal will have you reaching for a mug of apple cider and a fuzzy sweater as it bakes and sends the smells of fall wafting through your house!

At each Brood Farm Cheesemaking Workshop, I serve a few creations using the cheese so that folks can taste and see how to use it in their cooking.  This was one of the dishes I put together for last night's Fall Cheesemaking Workshop.  Attendees requested the recipe, so here it goes!

Photo credit:  Lauren W.

Photo credit:  Lauren W.


·         2 Tbs. olive oil

·         4 c. butternut squash, cubed

·         1 Tbs. honey

·         1 tsp. chili powder

·         8 oz. raw goat milk mozzarella, grated (or some other lackluster store-bought substitute ;)

·         2 Tbs. preserves (I used coffee jelly, but that is hard to come by.  I’d recommend molasses as a substitute.)

·         1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced

·         ½ c. Parmesan cheese, grated

·         3 oz. bacon, cooked and crumbled

·         Pumpkin seeds, toasted (optional for topping. I forgot to put these on!  They’re still in my pantry!)

·         ½ tsp. thyme

·         ¼  tsp. sage, ground

·         1 tube Pillsbury thin crust pizza dough (or make your own, you over-achiever!)


1.       Preheat oven to 450°. 

2.       Spread butternut squash out in a single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, honey, chili powder, salt, and pepper; stir to coat.  Roast until squash is tender, 20-25 minutes, stirring mid-way through.  Remove from oven.  Using a potato masher, smoosh up the butternut squash a bit for easier spreading later and set aside to cool a bit.

3.       Reduce oven heat to 400°.

4.       Referring to the package directions on your chosen pizza dough, prepare your pan (I use a spritz of olive oil and a toss of cornmeal to keep the crust from sticking), roll out dough and place on the prepared pan.

5.       Prebake crust for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven.

6.       Spread/brush preserves on to the crust.  Spread butternut squash evenly.  Add the apples, mozzarella, Parmesan, and bacon.  Sprinkle on thyme and sage.  Salt lightly and add several cracks of fresh pepper. 

7.       Return to oven and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes or until cheese has melted.

8.       Remove from oven and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds (or forget, as I did, and it will still be super tasty)

9.       Slice and enjoy the taste of FALL!


Summer Fritters

If you are eating seasonally, then you are eating a fair share of squash and zucchini right now.  Our garden is producing SO. MANY. SQUASH.  They are delicious.  My kids love squash if it is fried.  But, then, they'd probably eat toenails if they were battered and fried.  Finding more wholesome squash/zucchini options that the kiddos will enjoy has proven to be a bit of a challenge.  But, with these fritters, we have found SUCCESS, so I thought I'd share it with you in case you have some persnickety eaters at your table and would like to give this recipe a go.

This delectable Desi Squash is an heirloom variety with a slightly nutty flavor.  It's an excellent choice for fritters because it is not as wet as most squash/zucchini.  It makes an excellent fritter that is light rather than soggy. 

Here's the recipe . . .

Combine all of the following:

  • 1.5  c. shredded Desi squash (I peel it and scoop out the seedy center before shredding)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. cheese (your choice -- we've used both mozzarella and Monterey Jack, and both turned out great)
  • 1 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped (or 1/2 Tbs. dried basil)
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Drop mixture onto baking sheet by the heaping Tablespoon and flatten slightly.

Bake until golden (about 20 minutes), then flip and bake another 5 minutes.   

So, what squash/zucchini recipes have you found to be crowd pleasers?

Heirloom Desi Squash is available at Brood Farm (by appointment, you may come and pick your own! - text 870.834.5315).   This recipe works alright with zucchini, so long as you wring out the shredded veggies and dry them well with a paper towel before adding additional ingredients. 

That Parched and Weedy Little Patch We Call the Soul

"We read to know we are not alone." The quote is credited to several different folks, so while I cannot tell you with certainty who originally said it, I can tell you with certainty how quite true it is. Perhaps that is why I am so drawn to the "farmoir" genre now experiencing a surge in popularity. These true tales of folks finding themselves in the dirt speak to my soul.  I've managed to amass quite a collection of these types of books. Here, are some of my underlined sections from a recent read: Kristen Kimball's The Dirty Life . . .

"I've learned many things in the years since my life took this wild turn toward the dirt.  I can shoot a gun, dispatch a chicken, dodge a charging bull, and ride out a runaway behind panicked horses. But one lesson came harder than any of those: As much as you transform the land by farming, farming transforms you.  It seeps into your skin along with the dirt that abides permanently in the creases of your thickened hands, the beds of your nails.  It asks so much of your body that if you're not careful it can wreck you as surely as any vice by the time you're fifty, when you wake up and find yourself with ruined knees and dysfunctional shoulders, deaf from the constant clank and rattle of your machinery, and broke to boot.  But farming takes root in you and crowds out other endeavors, makes them seem paltry.  Your acres become a world.  And maybe you realize that it is beyond those acres or in your distant past, back in the realm of TiVo and cubicles, of take-out food and central heat and air, in that country where discomfort has nearly disappeared, that you were deprived.  Deprived of the pleasure of desire, of effort and difficulty and meaningful accomplishment.  A farm asks, and if you don't give enough, the primordial forces of death and wildness will overrun you.  So naturally you give, and then you give some more, and then you give to the point of breaking, and then and only then it gives back, so bountifully it overfills not only your root cellar but also that parched and weedy little patch we call the soul."

This winter, the fully weaned baby goats are enjoying running with the big girls in the big field.  

This winter, the fully weaned baby goats are enjoying running with the big girls in the big field.  

"A farm is a manipulative creature.  There is no such thing as finished.  Work comes in a stream and has no end.  There are only the things that must be done now and things that can be done later.  The threat the farm has got on you, the one that keeps you running from can until can't, is this: do it now, or some living thing will wilt or suffer or die.  It's blackmail, really."

The chicken wagon has been winterized with its tarps to block the wind. Super classy looking, huh? 

The chicken wagon has been winterized with its tarps to block the wind. Super classy looking, huh? 

"It's never the way you think it'll be, Mark used to tell me.  Not as perfect as you hope or as scary as you fear.  A man we know bought up a big piece of good land nearby, a second home, and once, at a dinner, I heard him say, 'In my retirement, I just want to be a simple farmer. I want . . . tranquility.'  What you really want is a garden, I thought to myself. A very, very small one.  In my experience, tranquil and simple are two things farming is not.  Nor is it lucrative, stable, safe, or easy.  Sometimes the work is enough to make you weep.  But most days I wake up grateful that I found it -- tripped over it, really -- and that I'm married to someone who feels the same way."

Free Bird continues to roam and has discovered the farmhouse porch. She has taught the cats to leave her alone and has the run of the entire farm.  

Free Bird continues to roam and has discovered the farmhouse porch. She has taught the cats to leave her alone and has the run of the entire farm.  

"This was not what I had pictured, when I had yearned, from my East Village apartment, for home.  If I could have glimpsed it, I'm pretty sure it would have frightened me off, which is a good enough reason to be thankful for the veil of time.

December 17, Sunny celebrated her 11th birthday. She celebrated with party hats and presents in the company of all the folks who love her most. Oh, and, she is now an inside dog. Not just sometimes. Not just in the cold. Always. As Esther would say, "Don't judge!"

December 17, Sunny celebrated her 11th birthday. She celebrated with party hats and presents in the company of all the folks who love her most. Oh, and, she is now an inside dog. Not just sometimes. Not just in the cold. Always. As Esther would say, "Don't judge!"

"And this is the place where I'm supposed to tell you what I've learned.  Here's the best I can do:  a bowl of beans, rest for tired bones.  These things are reasonable roots for a life, not just its window dressing.  They have comforted our species for all time, and for happiness' sake, they should not slip beneath our notice.  Cook things, eat them with other people.  If you can tire your own bones while growing the beans, so much the better for you."

If this is the first time you are seeing any of these photos, then you are not following us on social media!  Search for Brood Farm on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more Brood Farm pics and happenings.

A Farewell to Market

Saturday was our final market of the year.  And, this week, I've been working at cutting the milking does back gradually in an effort to have them dry by Thanksgiving. Where does the year go?!

Saying goodbye until next season to our market and milk customers is always a little sad for me.  Sure, market customers can still get our eggs via front porch delivery or purchase soaps and lotions online or in our retail locations.  But, there's just something about that face-to-face interaction that is so precious. 


Saturday morning was so much colder than I'd anticipated.  It had been cool as I'd gone through my morning chores at the farm, but I guess since I was moving, I'd misjudged how cold the market would be.  It was pretty clear as we set up our booth that my little helper and I were terribly under dressed.  One of our dear customers took note, went to his car for a back-up jacket, and handed this warm buffalo-checked jacket over to me, saying, "you know where we live.  Just drop it back by sometime."  It warmed me right up and kept me smiling all morning.  THIS is what market is:  customers are friends. 

Market is endlessly entertaining to me.  The live music and bustle of shoppers and other vendors keep things lively, and there is nearly constant conversation to be had.  Our first year at market, I had a gentleman saunter up, look over our soap bars, and ask me if I had "anything with peanut butter."   He thought the soaps were candy!  A few months back, I had a delightful conversation with another fella who asked, "so, you gotta milk them goats to get the milk outta 'em?"  I've had wonderful conversations with folks who want to talk about goats.  He had goats as a child. She was raised on goat milk.  His grandmother used to make lye soap with their goat milk. 

And, just Saturday, there was the man who came up, read our sign, and lit up with recognition.  "Brood Farm?  Have you ever met the lady who makes this stuff?  I've heard she does it all herself -- start to finish.  Milks the goats, makes the soap, packages it up -- all herself!"  I told him that I'd heard she peddles it at the market herself, too.  We both got a good laugh out of it!  And, it was a good note to finish the market season on, too.

Until next year . . .

Raw Goat Milk Mozzarella Workshop

You guys,  I've been toying with mozzarella since I first began milking!  But, goat milk is so unique that it has taken me awhile to fine-tune a recipe so that it is fail-proof with our delicious milk.  Now, that I've hit on a winner, I am so excited to share it with you!   Just like our other cheese classes this year, this one will begin in the barn as we milk the goat.  Then, we'll walk up to the farmhouse and turn that precious milk into AMAZING mozzarella.  This is a hands-on workshop.  Everyone gets to pitch in, and perhaps most importantly, everyone get to sample the cheese!

Visit the Brood Farm Etsy Shop for all the details and to register for the Friday, OCTOBER 28th workshop.

Fall Open Farm

I <3 Open Farm!  So, I am pumped to be announcing the date for our next one!  Our Fall Open Farm will feature all of the Brood Farm critters, hayrides, and PUMPKINS!  We can't wait to welcome everyone to the farm, Saturday, October 8th from 2:00-4:00 PM.


If you'd like a copy of the flyer above (so that you can print out copies for students, friends, co-workers), comment with your email address, and I'll send you the file. 


Some Schoolwork Worth Sharing

I love how very techy our Cave City Schools are these days!  When Esther has completed a piece of artwork, I get an email and with one click, I can view her latest work as well as her own description of it.  If I were so inclined, I could, with but one more click, have that same artwork printed across a coffee mug or t-shirt.  Wow.

So, here is the latest artwork I received an email about. It was done for her 7th grade art Memory Collage project.  Below is her description.

My project is over one of my memories, when we got our first chickens. This memory is important to me because getting chickens led to getting goats, then moving to the farm where I live now. You will notice that there is a chicken outside of the pen. This did not actually happen in my original memory. The chicken is representing how we were new to the whole farming thing. My dad is the main caretaker of the chickens, even now. I remember one time when I went in the chicken pen with my good shoes on, never doing that again. Once my mom wore opened toed shoes with bright toenail polish into the chicken pen and they thought it was food.
In this memory you can only see five chickens but we originally had eight. Now we have about 150 chickens at our farm. We also sell our eggs that the chickens make. My job is to raise the chicks until they are old enough to lay eggs and go to live with the bigger and older chickens.

DIY Succulent-Topped Pumpkin

As I'm writing, it's Labor Day.  Therefore, I am declaring it "fall" here on the farm.  The past couple of weeks, we've been harvesting pumpkins and enjoying cooler temps, and it has made me oh-so-ready for fall.  So, today, I got craftsy and put together this cute little pumpkin for the coffee table. 


I love this project for several different reasons:

1.  It's different.  Until I saw a pic of this on Pinterest, I'd never seen or heard of it, but I liked the idea of trying something different with pumpkins this fall.

2.  It incorporates succulents, which are really having a moment right now, are super easy to care for, and I already had on hand (as seen in the pic below, they had previously been a part of my sugar mold table centerpiece).


3.  To create it, you don't have to cut into the pumpkin, so it's supposed to last all season.

4.  Supposedly, the succulents will root down into the pumpkin as they grow.  Then, at season's end, you can just cut off the succulent-covered top of the pumpkin and put it in a new pot. 

5.  It's so very easy!  Equipped with a hot glue gun, this project took me 5 minutes to complete!


What's your favorite way to use pumpkins for fall decorating?


As I pile the barn full of pumpkins from the field, I had half a mind to take some to this past Saturday's market.  To his credit, John didn't call me crazy out loud, he just gently reminded me that it wasn't even Labor Day yet, so I decided to leave the pumpkins in the barn.  Though, in my defense, I have had a few milk and egg customers purchase pumpkins while they were here, so I'm not the only one thinking fall!

Anyway, at our next market, September 16, we will definitely arrive with our pumpkins in tow!

Here's the link to the article I used to create my succulent-topped pumpkin, complete with step-by-step directions:

4 Reasons to Set Your Alarm for Tomorrow Morning

Tomorrow morning from 8:00-12:00, we'll be set up at the Main Street Farmer's Market in Downtown Batesville.  And, via social media, we've been revealing over the course of the week 4 great reasons to come on out and see us.  Just in case you missed that, here's a recap. ;)

1.  Brand new foaming hand soaps!  The formula is slightly improved and the scents are DIVINE -- new ones include HIM and CALM (made with lavender essential oil).  $6 each.


2.  BLACK and BLUE.  This is our foraged blackberry jam.  Berries combine with organic blue agave nectar for a sugar-free, organic jam.  I love the name of this stuff because it hints at the labor of love it is to produce a jar.  The entire Brood was involved in the foraging.  Elijah's specialty is "burrowing tunnels" so that we can get through the brambles to more choice berries (trust me, this is quite entertaining).  Millie is a quiet picker who is likely to sneak off with her fishing pole if you look away for too long. And Esther is the constant measurer.  She knows exactly how many cups it takes to make a batch of jam, takes the measuring cup with us, and is constantly collecting from the pickers to add to the cup and then reporting back on our progress.  Then, of course, she's figured up how much of the cut of the profits each person should get.  ;)  Jars are $7 each.


3. This is the third year our market has been in existence, and we have been a part of it from the get-go.  The first year, I kept waiting for one of the produce vendors to pull in with some Cave City watermelon, but it never came.  And, it never came the next year.  The Batesville market is 15 short miles away from the world's sweetest watermelons, and we aren't selling them?!  We decided to take matters into our own hands this year.  So, tomorrow, we will have the bed of the farm truck full of Cave City Watermelon. Pricing will vary based on size. 


4. And, finally, to show our customers some love we are giving away a FREEBIE!   Customers who buy 3 dozen eggs and a soap (bar or hand soap) will receive a FREE Brood Farm t-shirt.  That means spending $16-$18 on some goodies and then getting a $15 t-shirt thrown in!   Obviously, this offer will only be good until the eggs run out, so there's some incentive to set that alarm and get to market early tomorrow!


So, those are some great reasons to visit the Brood Farm booth at tomorrow's market.  But, there are countless other reasons to show up for our neighboring vendors, too.  Have you ever tasted a Cherokee Purple tomato?

We hope to see you there!

The Magic of Drip Line

About three weeks later than I'd planned, the pumpkins have finally been planted.  (Where did June go, y'all?!)   While our cousins were with us this week, we crafted a bit and made these plant markers to keep the varieties clearly marked in the field.  We used old canning lids, the seed packets themselves, some Mod Podge, and scrap wood for the stakes.  Pretty simple.


Meanwhile, I sent out an all-call on Facebook for old feed bags and my AMAZING Facebook friends gathered ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY of them for me.  Oh. My.  Assembly-line-style, the kids and I pulled the strings out of the bottoms, slit them down the sides, and opened them up flat to use as mulch/weed barrier in the field.


We laid them out, covering the walkways.  We used these last year with great results.  I actually used a combination of old carpet, feed bags, newspaper, and cardboard last year.  The newspaper didn't do so well, but the other three worked great.  I'm not as big a fan of the carpet, though, because it doesn't compost.  We topped the bags with enough old hay to hold the bags in place.

Then, we assembled the brand-new-to-me drip line system.  I'd been nervous about this and allowed a lot of time for figuring it out.  But, after watching a quick YouTube installation video, we put the whole thing together in 10 MINUTES.  For those who (like me) are relatively unfamiliar with drip line, what you're seeing below is the header line running from the spigot and along the top of each row.  This is basically like a hose.  Then, the drip lines are connected to the header line and run down each planting row.  We used drip line that has a hole every 12 inches because we intended to plant our seeds 12 inches apart.  In fact, to plant, we turned our drip system on for 10 minutes, then planted seeds in all the wet spots it had created.  Easy peasy.   Sunny approves.


Here's an up-close view of where the header line connects to a drip line.  We used stakes to hold our lines in place.  So far, the system is working smoothly and watering evenly down the entire length of our 100-foot rows.


And, I saved the best part for last.  Yep, that's a timer.  As in, I watered the pumpkin field IN MY SLEEP.  I set it for what time I wanted it to come on, for how long I wanted it come on, and how frequently I'd like it to repeat the watering.  Then, I went to bed and woke up to a freshly watered pumpkin field.    All the other stuff extending from the timer are, in order, a backflow preventer, in-line water filter, pressure regulator, and hose fitting/header line adapter.  It sounds complicated, but I'm telling you -- 10 minute set-up!  Plus, several drip line vendors offer complete kits to get you started so that you don't have to have a complete understanding of all the parts up front. 



By dripping water directly where we need it rather than broadcasting it willy nilly with a sprinkler, we will be saving SO MUCH WATER this year!  I'm telling you, this drip line stuff is a game-changer!  So, how could I not share with you, dear friends, the magic of drip line? 


(That said, if any of you knew about the magic of drip lines and have been keeping it from me, you'd better just keep your mouth shut now.  Anyone who's whispering about drip lines behind my back while I'm hiking my hot self out to the pumpkin field every 30 minutes all summer to move sprinklers around, is no friend of mine!)  

DIY Outdoor Pallet Buffet Cart

Last week, my schedule was absolutely insane.  And, I did not have time to be piecing together furniture down at the barn.  But, piecing together furniture is just such good therapy when life gets crazy.  So, I carved out a little time for creativity and built this buffet cart out of pallet wood and construction scrap and thought I would share it with you.


If you have yet to discover the magic of pallet construction, you are missing out!  I set out with a rough drawing, but I really make most of my construction decisions as I go.  I know that would drive a lot of folks crazy, but it's just my process. 

I needed this piece to sit between the two windows on the screened porch.  It would serve as a buffet area. The curtain was made from fabric I found on the $1 table (I <3 Marshalls!), and I added casters so that it would be more portable and easier to clean around/under. 


The curtain serves to hide the trashcan and extra bag of charcoal, while the other shelves keep a serving tray at the ready and hold other supplies (currently dog treats and insect repellent).  We even mounted a flyswatter hook to the side to take care of those pesky guys who sneak in the screen doors. 


Once the project was complete, I noticed that the cut ends of several boards and even a few complete boards were a bit too pristine looking to go with the rest of the piece.  So,  I turned to my handy-dandy jar of aging stain.  If you like the rustic look, you should have one, too.  Just submerge a piece of steel wool in some apple cider vinegar and keep stored in your project zone.  When a project is in need of some aging, wipe on as you would any stain and enjoy the nice gray look it provides!

This piece makes our screen porch much more functional, and I love it! 

What summer projects have you got planned?

DIY Mosquito-Repellent Wine Bottle Torches

It's mosquito season, but I refuse to let those little buggers win the battle for the back porch.  Thanks to these Pinterest-inspired homemade torches, I've been able to hold my ground!


Ready to get started?

Step 1:  Enjoy a bottle of wine . . . preferably with friends . . . and preferably on the back porch.  Then, every time you light your torch, you'll have a fond memory of when you popped the cork. 

Step 2:  Gather your other supplies.


I was able to find my Tiki torch fuel, electrical tape, brass coupling, and replacement Tiki torch wicks all at my local Home Depot.  The only other supplies needed were a funnel and some gravel. 


To find the brass coupling, head to the plumbing section.  It's a 1/2"x3/8" reducing coupling.

Step 3:  Fill your bottle with gravel.  I filled mine up to about the top of the label.  If you do not live on a recent construction site with a gravel pile out back, you could also use aquarium rocks.  The idea here is to keep from wasting torch fuel (the wick won't reach to the bottom of the bottle anyway) and to weight the torch so that even though kept outside they will remain upright. 

Step 4:  Thread your wick through the coupling.


Step 5:  Wrap the larger end of the coupling with the electrical tape.  I actually used a friction tape that helped provide some grip.  How much tape to use depends on how large an opening your bottle has (corked bottles tend to have a smaller opening than twist-topped bottles).  Just wrap the coupling a time or two then test out the fit in the bottle.  You want it to be snug enough that it won't fall through but loose enough that it can be easily removed to refill the fuel. 


Sunny was obviously super into this whole process.  :)


Step 6:  Using your funnel, fill your bottle with fuel.  Give it a shake once you've got it nearly full to allow the air down in your gravel to bubble out. 


Step 7:  Insert wick and allow to soak up the oil for at least 30 minutes.


Step 8:  Light up your torch(es) and enjoy a mosquito-free evening!

Mexican Baked Eggs

Here at Brood Farm, eggs are not reserved for breakfast alone but are served up all day long.  Here's a glimpse of how we ate our eggs for dinner last night. The mild poblano peppers and queso fresco in this baked egg recipe make it palatable for kids.  We served it up alongside corn tortillas, fresh guacamole, raw veggies, and cheese dip (to further appease the little ones). 


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet.  Add 3 thinly slice poblanos and 1 Tbs. minced garlic.  In an oven safe skillet, cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Stir in 2 c. tomato sauce, 2 c. halved cherry tomatoes, and 1 tsp. dried oregano; cook over low heat for 10 minutes.  Crack 5 large eggs into the sauce, top with salt and pepper and  1 c. crumbled queso fresco (or goat cheese) and transfer to the oven to cook until set, about 12 minutes.  Garnish with cilantro and sliced jalapeño. 

And, as we gathered to eat and shared our highs and lows for the day, nearly everyone's "high" was the same:  Tabby had her kittens-- six of them!  The tiny ones are doing well, and Tabby seems to be a great mother so far. 


She gave birth in pretty much the most quintessential spot possible: tucked into the hay next to the barn.  Because we were worried about predators and our new lab's inquisitive nature, we moved Tabby and the new gang up to the farmhouse and got them all situated in a cardboard box in the outdoor shower. 

One Final Cheese Class for the Season!

The April cheese class was so much fun!  And, since then, I've probably had about 20 folks ask whether I'd be doing another one.  So, here you go!  Thursday, June 9th at 6:00 PM, we'll milk Razz then head up to the farmhouse to make our beautiful cheese.

This will be the final class this season, though, so enroll NOW as the 12 spots may fill quickly.  Visit our Etsy shop to get registered. 

And, PLEASE, help us spread the word so that everyone who'd like to take the class has a chance to hear about it.  Thanks, friends! 


Soaping in the New Kitchen

We are now basically settled in to the new farmhouse.  And, pleasantly, I am finding it even more functional than I'd imagined.  Of course one wants her home to be lovely, but when it comes to a farmhouse, function trumps form every time.  The house is a workplace.  It has to support and process all the goings on of the rest of the farm.  And, I am so pleased with how this is going so far. 

I love being able to eat my lunch and watch my goats all at once!

I love being able to eat my lunch and watch my goats all at once!

I've now made lotion, lip balm, hand soap, homemade pizza, bread, jam, and lots more and the kitchen has earned my official stamp of approval.  It has handled each job beautifully -- even the most intense kitchen undertaking, soap making. 


I've actually been able to up my soap making session production by 33% without adding any additional time.  This is due solely to the extra space I have in this kitchen and the DISHWASHER. 


Just look at all this soap . . . and the sink full of dirty pots.


All of this adds up to lots of gorgeous soap bars on the drying rack in the keeping room.  This next week, I'll be getting them all gussied up with packaging -- just in time for the first market of the season!  Please make plans to pay us and the rest of the vendors a visit next Saturday, May 7th at the Pocket Park on Main Street in Batesville. 

(Teaser:  There will be Live Well soaps and lotions there!)  ;)