Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Hello all,

Happy holidays to all.

Here at Bluebird Farm all the animals have been well behaved and healthy. In the winter we raise all the animals together to make caring for them easier. We don't rotate the animals like we do in the summer because the soil is frozen and biological activity has stopped. This means that if we add manure it will wash away, becoming a pollutant instead of a benefit. Instead of rotating the animals we add piles and piles of bedding. Straw and wood shavings serve as a kind of a sponge holding the manure in place. In the spring we can pile the bedding up for a great compost pile.

Another great benefit of raising the animals together is that they interact in mutually beneficial ways. For example, the pigs are very messy eaters, spilling food right and left as they smack their chops. The chickens come along and clean all that spilled grain up. The chickens also help the sheep, horse, and pigs with parasite problems. Sheep are especially susceptible to internal parasites. However, if a chicken unwittingly consumes a sheep parasite larva that is in the grass the parasite will die because it can only survive in a sheep stomach.

We are taking a little vacation to visit family. But believe it or not next year is already on our minds. January will be a busy month of planning for the garden and the animals. While we are busy planning and staying warm one of our favorite winter dishes is a Pumpkin Tomato Soup. Below is the recipe for this delicious easy to make recipe. I have also attached it.

Have a great winter!

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This is a delicious, easy to make, soup I discovered this winter. It can be made with pumpkin, hard sweet winter squash such as butternut, sweet potato, or any combination thereof. It is easy to make your own pumpkin puree. Just skin pumpkin, winter squash, or sweet potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes. Boil until they are soft. Puree in a food processor or blender. Once the puree is made the soup is extremely fast to make.

Making the soup

Ingredients

2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil or butter

1 large onion, chopped

4 cups of your favorite stock

4 cups fresh or canned pumpkin or butternut squash puree (up to half sweet potato is delicious)

1 can whole tomatoes with their juices, pulse/chopped medium fine but not pureed In a processor (a can of pre-diced tomatoes works well too)

1 tablespoon maple syrup, molasses, or honey

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Minced Italian parsley

Directions

Heat the oil or butter in a nonstick soup pot (more butter if it is not a non-stick pot). Add the onion, and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes

Add the stock and heat through. Add the pumpkin, whisking in. Heat again. Add the tomatoes and sweetener (maple syrup, molasses, or honey) and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve hot garnish with parsley

Adapted from Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon

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