A small, family farm in Wisconsin

Archive for the ‘farm’ Category

January 2020

I’m not sure how much blogging I’m going to do going forward, but the mood struck me today so here’s my first of the year.

Our lives have changed so much in the last year. Lee tore up his rotator cuff and had unsuccessful surgery. He had to sell all of the hogs because they’re just too much for him now. We have our small flock of sheep and the 2 remaining elderly ponies to care for.  Lee has a lot of time on his hands these days….eeeek! I bought a couple of jigsaw puzzles to hopefully give him something to do on the cold winter days. So far we haven’t had much snow, so no snowmobiling for him yet.

wp-1578524934015.jpg  I made a delicious cream of mushroom soup. Rich and satisfying. I adapted a recipe from eatingwell.com, but mine doesn’t resemble the original much. This is made in the slow cooker and takes about 5 hours.
1. Sautee 2 cups of diced shallots and 2 cloves of minced garlic in olive oil.
2. Add a little more olive oil and add 1 1/2 lb sliced mushrooms. Any kind you like. Continue to sautee until mushrooms are slightly browned and softening.
3. Add 1 cup of sherry and bring it to a simmer to burn off the alcohol.
4. Add 4 cups of beef broth. Pour soup into slow cooker vessel.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste, and 1 1/2 tablespoon of fresh thyme.
6. Mix 1 tablespoon soy sauce with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and add to soup.
7. After 4 to 5 hours on low, add 1/2 pint of heavy cream. Bring to serving temp and serve.

 

The End of This Summer

It’s been a long and difficult summer. We did have some high spots, but also several lows.
HenryOne of the highs was the unexpected birth of our little kitten Henry. He’s been so much fun to watch and play with. The kids love going to the barn to play with him. He’s a barn kitty, but tame and not afraid of anyone. I plan to get him neutered when he’s old enough.
My daughter Kay, and granddaughter Regan were here for a week. They hadn’t been back to Wisconsin (they live in CT) for 4 years so it was great to have them. Our visit was a good one. Their trip was not so good as Kay’s suitcase was lost and never found. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures! I have no idea why I didn’t.
The summer has been long and hot, and humid. We’re now into mid September, and still dealing with temps in the 80’s. That’s not normal for Wisconsin. On August 28 Our area of the state was hit by a crazy storm system. When all was said and done, the weather folks counted 19 tornados in this area. One of them hit our farm and we lost lots of trees. An ancient black walnut, and an equally ancient giant maple tree. Several pine trees that we planted 30 years ago. Too many trees to count. The property looks so changed and because it’s been so hot, we sure miss the shade.


Oh my gosh, the mosquitoes! I’ve never seen them so thick. They rise up in heavy clouds with each step across the yard. The bites are numerous and itchy. We’ve found that the only relief is a 40% DEET spray. The regular 25% spray does nothing. We’re waiting for some cold weather to kill off all the nasty bugs.

mosquitoes
Our old mini horse stallion died in July. He was nearly 31 years old and had lived here for 25 of those years. He choked and although we (with the vet) worked on him for over 2 hours we just couldn’t resolve it. He was also suffering congestive heart failure and our efforts to break up the choke just became to hard for him. We made the decision to euthanize him. It was a very hard day. Our vet was amazing. Artie was loved by all who knew him

artie

 

2017 Village Photos 

I decided that I’m done expanding my Christmas village. I have filled my available space. Merry Christmas !

Farm News October 2013

We had a fun and busy summer here on the Zills Farm.  We did some traveling, and had a wonderful time at the wedding of our granddaughter in Oklahoma City.  Most of our family was there and it was a renewal of our family bonds.  I’m so proud of my family and what good people they are.
We’ve been fortunate to be able to spend lots of time with various family members this summer.
Lee has been busy and even managed to get a new roof put on the old farm house.  His next project is replacing a couple of windows in the farm house, and most of the windows in our house.

 

Corn is not dry yet.

Corn is not dry yet.

Actual farming has been delayed due to the weather.  The soybeans and corn have been slow to dry so are still waiting to be harvested.  We had a very wet spring so the fields were planted later than normal.  Consequently the late harvest.
Here’s something new.  Lee found an enormous Giant Puffball mushroom.  I’ve never cooked or eaten them, but he really wanted to try it.  I sautéed some for him to put on the pizza we were having for dinner and he liked it.  I did not.  I thought it tasted like soggy bread.  I’m going to try cooking it differently by slicing it into “steaks” to fry in butter. See the picture below.
The hummingbirds are gone.  Most of the sandhill cranes are gone.  We have a robin and a couple of kildeer still hanging around and I’m not sure why.  I hope they get moving soon.

I’ve been trying some new recipes, so stay tuned!
Have a happy fall!

 

Giant Puffball.  This one was as big as a soccer ball.

Giant Puffball. This one was as big as a soccer ball.

May and June Catch-Up

blossoming treeIt’s been a crazy spring.  Cold and wet.  We’re closing in on the middle of June, and  the fields are not fully planted yet.  Lee has been planting as the fields dry out, but he still has to plant around the wet spots.  It’s raining again today so no planting for a few days.  We just haven’t been getting enough time between the rains to let the ground dry off.  We just have to be patient and wait and see how it all works out.  Lee’s definitely feeling the pressure.

The good news is that the rains have brought lush growth to the pastures.  Too lush for the minis, but the sheep are benefiting from all the lovely grass.  Of course we went from seldom  mowing the dry, brown grass last summer to frequent mowing this spring.

It’s been fun watching my bird feeders this spring.  So many colorful birds.  I had two indigo buntings coming to the feeders for a few days.  They must have been just passing through because I haven’t been seeing them lately.  I saw at least half a dozen orioles in a tree just in front of the house.   It was before the tree had fully leafed out so it was a gorgeous riot of color in the tree.  The orioles have been using the nectar feeder I set up for them.  Lee’s favorite birds are the cardinals and he also likes blue jays.  I think because he can easily identify them.  We’ve had lots of turkeys, our sandhill couple is back to nest here again, and we’ve been seeing deer come out of the woods every day.  We can sit at the kitchen table and enjoy seeing the wildlife while we eat a meal.

charlie collarCharlie has a new collar, which has a QR Code tag.  It can be read by any smart phone that has a QR Code reader app.  It also will send you to a website if you don’t have a reader.  On the website is Charlie’s ID page, which has contact information and health history.  It was very inexpensive.  The collar with tag was $10.99, I think, and you can get just a tag for less.   Just go to FurCode.com, or they also have a Facebook page.

Charlie is 10 years old now and he’s begun to have some health problems as he ages.  Recently he injured his back, but healed quickly, thank goodness.

We are going to Oklahoma in July, and we’ll have to board Charlie at a kennel.  He’s only been boarded a couple of times and the last time was a bad experience so I’m  nervous about doing it again.  We’ll be taking him to a different kennel this time and I got references from the vet, so I’m really hoping it will be okay.

The family are all doing well.  We’re so excited to be going to OKC for Leah and Craig’s wedding.  It’s turning out to be a wonderful family reunion too.  I just can’t wait to see everyone, and this will be the first time in years that I’ll be together with all 3 of my kids at once.  It’s going to be fun to have Lee coming along.  It’s so hard to get him to leave the farm.

Here are fairly recent pictures of Carys (at her archery lesson), Payten at 3 years old, and Noah.

Carys archeryPaytenNoah

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