Last Autumn Hike Photos

A few days before we started having snow flurries we took a hike around the field. The field is about 7 acres. It provides a decent hike without even entering the woods, which can be a long and arduous hike for short legs. Autumn is on it’s way out. I’m glad to have gotten in another hike before the biting winds persuade us to stick close to home.

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Bees- Inspecting the hive

Every two weeks I check on my bees. My favorite part of a hive inspection is the smell of the smoker, a sweet smokey smell, reminding me of honeycomb and wood fire. Second to that is the walk to the hive through our hayfield. The variety of plants, insects and animals are endless. Third to that is finding the queen – a “find it” challenge not too unlike Where’s Waldo.

I took along my camera on the latest walk/hive inspection:

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Milkweed

And the purpose of this journey – the hive:

DSCN2458DSCN2451 DSCN2444You can see some of the larvae in this one (above). Especially in the upper left hand corner.

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DSCN2755 DSCN2754The Queen. Towards the top of the photo, look for the large body and short wings.

The hive is doing well. Inspections are starting to feel routine and a little bit like I know what I’m doing. A little bit.

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We’re Here!

We’re here! On our new farm!

Ah Vermont, I had forgotten how much I love your green mountains!

View from the back porch

So what’s going on now that we’re here? Well if you pulled into our driveway (you can’t miss it just look for the HUGE old barn) you’d likely be greeted by a child (or two or three) and a dog coming to see if you’ve got anything good. The goats are ever hopeful too.

Ms Ellie

The boys will excitedly tell you (after showing you how fast they can run/ far they can jump etc.) that we have a new baby goat. Our new farm’s first birth! So, of course we’ll have to show you just how cute he his and give them all a few handfuls of freshly picked grass to munch on.

One day old.

Then the boys will want you to admire the Freds. They certainly have grown a lot. All of our chickens, despite the fact they are ALL hens, are named Fred. The older two boys will likely catch a Fred (or at least chase the Freds around) which take us back out toward the hayfield.

The hayfield will lead a)to an invitation to play soccer, b)an invitation to check out the chicken campa, c) an invitation to make the rounds and check on all the apple trees and pick some blackberries and/or d) let’s chase some turkeys.

It’s sure to be a long busy day but at the end of it – it’s good to be home.

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Blueberries

In Downeast Maine just about every road has a blueberry field somewhere along it. In the spring the fields are green, in the summer a sea of blue, autumn brings reds and purples until finally, they rest under a blanket of white snow.

A really small part of a blueberry field.

The colors of autumn.

Fun Fact: Maine produces 99% of the countries wild blueberries.

Here’s a link to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension for Wild Maine Blueberries for more info on Maine’s wild blueberries and they have a short slideshow with some nice photos of the blueberry fields and a tractor harvester (blueberries are harvested by a tractor harvester or by hand depending on the field).

We love blueberries! The boys eat them everyday if they can. Last year we froze 40 lbs to get us through the winter but we ran out early even with rationing towards the end. Our favorite recipe using fresh blueberries is blueberry pie. Frozen they usually go into smoothies, muffins and of course pancakes.

Perhaps you already have a favorite pancake recipe but if you’re looking for one- especially one that incorporates real food (fresh ground flour, kefir…) and traditional methods (soaking) look no further!

SUSAN’S WHOLE WHEAT KEFIR PANCAKES

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, fresh ground if possible (you can use other flours as well if you’re gluten free or use sprouted flour if you don’t want to soak the flour).
1 1/4 cups kefir (can also use yogurt or cultured buttermilk)
2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon baking powder (heaping) (aluminum free)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon real salt

Directions

In a bowl, mix together the flour and kefir; add a bit more flour if mixture seems thin. Cover with a towel and let soak overnight, 8-12 hours. In the morning when ready to prepare, whisk in the remaining ingredients; mixing well. Preheat skillet over medium heat. Pour about ¼ cup of the batter on the skillet. When edges begin to bubble (about 2 minutes), flip to other side. Cook until both sides are golden brown. We serve with raw butter and maple syrup or honey.

These are delicious! I have found that the kefir can be substituted for by yogurt or buttermilk with fantastic results. I have also subbed maple syrup for the honey and almond or grapeseed oil for coconut oil in a pinch.

For blueberry pancakes I sprinkle a few on each one as I cook cause I like even distribution. If the blueberries are frozen I run them under water to help them thaw (no raw spots in the pancakes) and this also gets rid of all that blue that otherwise stains hands and the batter that not so appetizing blue-green color. This works for muffins too.

Enjoy!

If you try these and like them please follow the link to Susan’s site and let her know how great her recipe is.

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