Earth Day Food & Wine Festival

Let me begin.

Last weekend we had a big event, Earth Day Food & Wine Festival. We were to give out samples of our ice cream and bring a couple ewes for people to see, pet, and to show people that we really do have sheep not goats, and that there really is a difference between the two species. Then Wade was to give a milking demonstration. Ok. So that Saturday morning when we woke up it was already 75 degrees out. We milked, loaded up the milking stand, loaded the sheep in the trailer and packed up about 8 gallons of ice cream.

We arrived at the winery where the event was held at about 9:30 AM. The sheep un-loaded from the trailer and set up was a breeze. We were off to a great start! People started arriving at around noon-ish. We were the hit of the party..let me tell ya! With the temperature being in the high 90’s, ice cream was on top of everyone’s list. At about 3PM Wade gave his milking demo. It went well! He even got a couple ladies from the crowd to hand milk the ewe.

Then we had an escape. Um, not really so much an escape but rather Wade being “over-confident in his shepherding abilities” (his words exactly). He went to let the ewe off the milking stand and OFF SHE WENT! Wade thought the ewe would head toward the other ewe in the pen, but she took a left turn. Let me tell you, quite the show. Wade had his lasso in hand trying to capture her, now it was about 96 degrees out and people were staring. And this was not a 100 person event. There were over 1200 people there. Yup, we got lots o’ stares.

Finally we corralled her back in the pen.

{Please excuse my shiny, sweaty face. It was almost 100 outside…}

The rest of the event was amazing. And was a blur (don’t even remember how we got the ewe back in the pen). We gave out a heck of a lot of ice cream and received so many compliments. I can’t tell you how much the positive feedback means to us. I had one man tell me that we were “the best vendor here. seriously. this is an amazing product.” And I told him that meant more to me than he knows. It’s why we get up, milk in the dark and chase sheep around in 96 degree weather.

We got home at about 6:30 and milked and went to bed.

On Sunday we moved the sheep to another pasture and had another tasting in town. At one point I actually looked at Wade and asked, “what did we used to do on the weekend B.S.?” I was serious. I still can’t remember what we did BS. Before sheep that is.

Next year check the event out. (link below). If you don’t go for the great food or amazing wine, go for the “run of the sheep”. We might just make it an annual thing.

http://www.earthdayfoodandwine.com/

Alexis

it’s all good

My babies are growing up…tear..our oldest is almost two months…sob… (I must be more like my mom than I thought….)

{thank you to my sister Jessica for this great photo}

Although the babies are getting older, I have to say that lambing season is my favorite time on the dairy. It’s also the craziest. I have a thing for chaos I guess. When we start to lamb it’s the epitome of Spring for me. Some people say the new year starts on January 1. For me the new year starts the day the first lamb is born. New life, new milking season, fresh ice cream. Above all it is the excitement of what the year will bring.

I have to say that this year, which began on February 24th when our first twin lambs arrived, is the best one yet. Our ice cream is taking off, our dairy is almost complete (new stands and ice cream machine arrive next week) and all our animals are happy and healthy. Above all Wade and I are just a couple months short of celebrating our one year anniversary. Where did the year go?

Thank you to all our friends, community folks, neighbors and family for your support and love. Our dream is coming to life and we know we couldn’t do it without you.

It’s all good.

Alexis

{salted} Five Egg Brownies

We have 15 laying hens. 15 Hens + 1 egg each = a heck of a lot of eggs each day. I have been forced to get clever with our egg consumption. Hard boiled eggs for snacks and salads, egg sandwiches, fritatas and quiches.

And because fifteen eggs a day isn’t enough, I bought four chicks the other day. My explanation on buying more chickens to Wade: they’re Araucanas honey! what? It’s the breed that lays green and blue eggs …I don’t have any Araucanas. I need blue eggs! I HAD to buy blue egg laying chicks… Wade had no response.

Aren’t they cute?

Back to the eggs. Here is a recipe for brownies. By making these I hoped to redeem myself and prove to Wade there are tasty ways to use eggs other than omelets and boiled eggs. I think my strategy may have worked…

These brownies are moist, tasty and above all use a whopping FIVE eggs!  Try these. You won’t regret it. And I serve mine with our Vanilla Bean ice cream. Is there anything better than warm brownies and ice cream? Oh, and the salt on top makes these like, the best dessert ever!

Please note: while melting the butter and chocolate in a saucepan, do not attempt to multitask and feed your dogs. The mixture will burn and you will have to start all over again. This is only hypothetically speaking of course.

{salted} Five Egg Brownies

Ingredients:

1 3/4 sticks butter (salted)

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 c sugar

5 eggs

1 t vanilla extract

1 c flour

1/2 c cocoa powder

1 T instant coffee crystals (optional but recommended)

1/4 t sea salt (plus more for sprinkling on top)

Make It:

Preheat oven to 350

Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with parchment paper (make sure paper goes up all four sides).

Melt chocolate chips and butter on med-low heat in a saucepan. Don’t walk away- it will burn! Once mixture is melted and smooth, set aside and let cool for a few minuets until it reaches room temperature.

Once at room temperature mix sugar and vanilla into chocolate mixture. Whisk in eggs (one at a time) and mix well after each egg. Now add in the flour, cocoa and salt (and coffee crystals, if using). Whisk until smooth.

Bake for 25-30 min. They are done when middle doesn’t jiggle (technical I know). When you pull them out of the oven (still hot) sprinkle with a pinch or two of sea salt. Let cool and enjoy!

Click brownies for a printable version.

The last three days…

The last three days have been filled with: excitement, worry, joy, stress, family,  love, ice cream and craziness.

It all started Easter morning. We woke up Sunday morning to go milk, looked out in the field and saw a little lamb running around. We went to investigate. Upon closer inspection saw this….

A little spotted lamb. Like a spotted Easter egg; the perfect Easter lamb! Here he is with his mama…

Do you recognize that mama ewe? That’s Dottie! She was our lamb from last year. This is Dottie as a little lamb last February…

It’s really magical to see our lamb from last year give birth this year. And spotted lambs are just too dang cute.

Back to the story: we settled the new guy in the barn, fed, and milked. At this point we were running a mere two hours late to Easter breakfast.

Even with delays, Easter was amazing, always nice to see family and spend time visiting. Little did I know how much I should have been savoring those relaxing moments…

As we were leaving Easter dinner I received a call from our neighbors informing us that two ewe lambs (twins) had just been born. We hadn’t had lambs in weeks and now three in a day?! We rushed home to make sure everyone was OK. We milked, vaccinated, docked tails and cleaned pens. Our Easter day ended at about 11 PM.

Then Monday rolled around. I spent the day getting ready for ice cream making, moving lambs, labeling about 300 ice cream containers and getting everything together for our Earth Day Food & Wine event (if you don’t know about the event HERE is the website…food + wine, how can you go wrong?). Check out the shirts I ordered for the dairy…

At 3:30 I went to go make ice cream. Wade brought me dinner and at 9:45 PM we finally finished the last batch. We made over 200 pints of ice cream. After the long day (started with a 5:30 AM milking)…all I wanted was to go home and crawl into bed. But no. I come home to find that Vivian (our little Shih-Tzu who thinks she’s a ranch dog) was missing.

The the rascal herself.

We live in an area with foxes, mountain lions and coyotes. All of which would love to prey on an appetizer-size shih-tzu. I drove around for about an hour. Calling for Vivian. Panic in my voice. After waking up all the neighbors, and still no Vivi, I went home. I was hysterical. Where was my baby?! And yes, I am one of those crazies who calls her dogs her babies. I guess my body had finally had enough (I must have passed out) because next thing you know it was 5 AM. Still no Vivi.

No Vivi but do you know what there was? ANOTHER lamb. A healthy, beautiful ewe lamb. They just keep coming! We did our morning routine and Vivian still wasn’t showing up. Even Wade was worried at this point. Wade went to work and I was on the hunt for Vivian. Not five minutes after he left I hear his truck. Out pops Vivian. She looks at me with a  no worries mom…I was just cruisin‘ look. I was overwhelmed with relief. And overwhelmed with the urge to strangle her. How could she have put me through this?! The little shit. I love her to death. And could kill her for running away. But that little rascal is my baby, and I love her. Even if she causes anxiety filled nights.

Oh, and it’s only Tuesday. Four lambs, a lost and found dog, late night ice cream making, and a couple sleep-deprived nights. You want some good news? We are back in stores today! Making our first delivery of the year this afternoon.

Who knows what the rest of the week has in store (no pun intended….)

Running on 4 hours of sleep,

Alexis

2012. the year of my garden.

(RIP seedlings of 2011)

Last year I really, really wanted to start a garden. I had hopes and dreams of growing my own food, canning my own tomato sauces and making pesto from the basil I had grown. And my dreams started off with a bang. Wade constructed two beautiful raised beds, lined them with chicken wire (to keep gophers out) and filled them with rich soil. I started seeds, and they grew! Then a little thing called our wedding distracted me. The seedlings almost died. Post wedding I nurtured those little seedlings back to health and I was on my way to my first real, grown-up garden. But then we built a dairy, got really distracted, and the seedlings died. My big bang start had fizzled out. But…but….my intentions were so good!

So this year I am going to have a garden. Really, I am! I have thumbed through my 2012 seed catalog and the planning has begun. I have already planted some butter leaf and galactic lettuce. Guess what? They are growing! Never-mind that about 1/3 of the seeds I planted actually grew, I’m thrilled!

Inspired by my 33.33333% success rate, this weekend I decided it was time to get going on my garden. (It’s about time seeing it’s already April and this is supposed to be the year of my garden). With the help of my nine-year-old neighbor Justin, I cleaned up my garden area. See the photo below? That is less than HALF of the weeds we pulled.

But one girl’s weeds are another lamb’s salad…

They loved it!

Now that my garden is looking a little better, and has a whopping two varieties of lettuce growing, I am excited to get my Spring/Summer seeds started. But between milking, lambing, making ice cream and delivering ice cream….I have every intention of having manageable garden. Note: I am not good at starting out “small”. It was about year ago we had our first three sheep. Now we have over twenty-five and lambs will continue to increase that amount…What I want to plant this Spring: jalapeno & bell peppers, heirloom tomatoes (all kinds), basil, yellow squash and zucchini, sweet peas, black beans, butternut squash, onions, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots and melons. Like I said, I’m starting small.

But you know what? I will be happy if half of the that list grows; I will be thrilled just to have something other than weeds thriving in my raised beds.

Wish me luck!

Alexis