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Growing Season and the Spring Fling is Here!

Well it is official, the growing season has arrived. We are excited to have lots of baby chicks in our brooders, fresh sprouts coming up in our new garden beds and seed trays filling in with freshly germinated seeds.

We plan on having our broilers (meat birds) on pasture soon. Which means our first chicken harvest date must be fast approaching. May 3rd and 4th will be the first weekend our customers can pick up a fresh, whole, pastured raised chicken.

The day old chicks will be ready in 8-9 weeks.
The day old chicks will be ready in 8-9 weeks.

The Spring Fling is set for April 19th from noon till 4. At our farm in Poulsbo. 22119 Foss Rd. NE Poulsbo, WA 98370. We plan to have light refreshments, baby chicks and farm activities. See Spring Fling 2014 for more information.

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Deep Bedding

It is time to get some garden beds in the ground. We want to turn a weedy sodded area into our garden. Deep bedding, John Seymour style, seems like the perfect technique. First thing we did was delineate the beds and the gardens boundary.

We used our broad fork to peel up the sod flopping it over on the adjacent sod.

Lifting the sod with a broadfork worked very nicely
Lifting the sod with a broadfork worked very nicely

The loose soil from below the sod is then spaded onto a partial piece of wood sheeting, in this case particle board.

Sub soil is removed and placed on a board set near the bed.
Sub soil is removed and placed on a board set near the bed.

Soiled straw is put in the bottom of the new deep bed. This will help start the decaying processes.

The deep bed is re-filled first with poultry bedding (soiled straw).
The deep bed is re-filled first with poultry bedding (soiled straw).

Next the sod is replaced into the deep bed upside down, grass down. We wont see that weedy sod again.

The sod goes back in the deep bed upside down on top of the soiled straw
The sod goes back in the deep bed upside down on top of the soiled straw

A layer of Organic fish compost is added. Because we just moved here this “Olympic Mountain” compost was our best option. From now on we hope to only use our own compost.

Top Quality locally sourced Organic fish compost is layered in next.
Top Quality locally sourced Organic fish compost is layered in next.

The reserved loose soil is placed on top of the sod roots and compost. This should end up looking like a raised bed. Deep bedding in this matter creates a long lasting fertile, deep garden bed.

The reserved loose soil is then placed on top of the new deep bed
The reserved loose soil is then placed on top of the new deep bed

More fish compost will be hoed into this bed once it is complete. This was about one-fifth of one row. We have 14 rows planned each 4ft by 20ft.

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Its offical we have a new Farm!

We took possession of an old dairy farm in Pouslbo, WA. The land is good and the farm house old fashion, we are so blessed and lucky. It was a long hual since we started looking 12 months ago. We are busy getting the house comfortable after a few years of differed maintenance. More to come!

Narragansett Turkeys.
Narragansett Turkeys.

Wow, this is a 4 person hugger, that is it take 4 adults to hug it completely.
Wow, this is a 4 person hugger, that is it take 4 adults to hug it completely.

Coops at Sunset at the Smithshyre
Coops at Sunset at the Smithshyre

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Potateo, Leek Harvest & Soup

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
– Edith Sitwell

It was a delight to dig up some late Winter potatoes and leeks. The American Flag Leeks and Kennebec potatoes added such delicious fresh flavor to this winter soup. I also baked a Rustic Italian Rosemary loaf, this crusty loaf was a delight to dip in the soup.

Fresh from the ground potatoes.
Fresh from the ground potatoes.

Roasted Garlic & Potato Soup

1 large garlic bulb
2 tsp olive oil
2 large leeks, thinly sliced
1 med. yellow onion, finely chopped
3 large potatoes, diced
5 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2/3 cups coconut milk (light cream)
2 tsp nutmeg
fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper

1.) Roasted garlic in oven at 350 f for 20 mins
2.) Saute onion & leek 3 minutes
3.) Add roasted garlic, potatoes stock n bay leaf salt n pepper to taste cook 30 minutes
4.) Transfer to blender, blend smooth return to pot
5.) Add coconut, lemon juice and nutmeg
6.) Serve garnished with chives or parsley & nutmeg

recipe adapted from Carole Clements “Soups”

prepared leeks and skinned potatoes
prepared leeks and skinned potatoes
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Frozen Pizza

Baking is always a fun winter activity.

6 crust crust ready for the freezer, it is almost St. Valentines day.
6 crust crust ready for the freezer, it is almost St. Valentines day.

We love pizza and what is better then homemade crust, not much. We usually double our batches and freeze the extra pizza bases. On this night we tripled it, yep 6 pizza crusts. To freeze, simply make the pizza as usual, except bake it for just a few minutes, only long enough to make it set.

We like to use this recipe.
2/3 c. Water
1 7/8 c. Flour
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
2 tea Dry Active Yeast
1 tea Salt

Place yeast in warm water 90 F. Add flour, salt & olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the dough hook mixed in water & yeast on low 2 minutes. Then mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. Proof the dough for 1 hour or until it doubles.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Turn dough out onto slightly floured surface divide in half. Roll each half out to 12 inch rounds.

Top with your favorite toppings and bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Tip if you like your pie saucy bake the crust a few minutes before you top it. this ensures a crisp crust.

3 crust baking all together
3 crust baking all together
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Big day at the Shyre, pasta, bread and coyote!

Coyote Attack

And then there were 14….
Today we had our first lost of an “adult chicken”. We had a few not making it out of “chick-hood” and while it was sad, we would be too lucky to have not experienced I still think of Doris and Zeus from time to time….would she still be like the lunch lady, falling asleep at the trough. Would Zeus still have an attitude WAY bigger than he was? I wonder what our “free, exotic chick” would have been…a top hat perhaps?
Today was not just like any other day. It was cold and foggy. Syringa had her hackles up the instant we walked out the door. She knew something was not right. I noticed, I even asked her. She stayed close by as we let the girls out. I collected the eggs and fed Mondo her special bowl of goodies and headed to the turkey field. I was there long enough to get them out of the coop and scoop the poop – then all hell broke loose. Squawking – loud! I threw the bucket down and took off running. By the time I got there, the feathers were still floating, I could hear it running – I had the coyote on the run. Feathers lead me down toward the clear cut. I never saw it, but I could follow the trail of feathers all the way to the small opening in the brush – a perfect hole – perfect for a coyote.
I heard nothing. Then I thought of the other girls. I ran back up to the house and used the only trick I know – Henny Penny meal worms – they are totally addicted and I’ve got them trained to come running when I sing, “girls!!!”. It’s really one of those great moments that never gets old, ever. I gathered the girls -9 – missing 6! Gotta get them in the coop. Luckily, they follow me and after some coaxing, they are all in. Quick count – missing 3 lacedwings (which I already knew one by the feathers) and Puffin (one of the Ameracuans). I ran back down the drive with the jar of meal worms, shaking and singing for the girls – nothing. I take a real good look around – no other feathers. Back to the coop, get them all out in the run and count – 5 Lacewings, 5 Welsummers and 3 Ameracuans. “Man…I wish you were tearing up my strawberries Puffin”, I even walk over to the garden to make sure she wasn’t. I go back over to give the girls a talk’n and I hear the beloved “egg song” – what the heck?! Who is in the coop? To my jubilance – it’s PUFFIN!! She was in the nesting box the entire time – the whole 10 minutes of it. I was so excited – I tried to get her to come out for the nesting box for a cuddle – she was not having it. I had violated her privacy and she was going to tell me all about it.
So one, we lost one. And then there were 14. We’ve been real lucky up ‘til this point. I sincerely hope that was the last meal we offer courtesy of the Smithshyre. The girls will be in lock down until we can get a better “safety” plan – apparently, 50 dryer sheets do not ward off a hungry coyote.
Oh, and I’ll be sure to listen to Syringa next time
Roni of the Shyre

On a more upbeat note.

Roni and I are making fresh pasta here at the Shyre. Someday we hope to market these wholesome, delicious noodles from heaven. For now we are simply getting used to some different recipes.

Roni making Bucatini pasta.
Roni making Bucatini pasta.

Pasta doesn’t make you fat. How much pasta you eat makes you fat.

— Giada De Laurentiis

So fresh, So good, Bucatini pasta
So fresh, So good, Bucatini pasta
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Kiwi Harvest

Erin and Syringa harvesting our Kiwi.
Erin and Syringa harvesting our Kiwi.

We were lucky enough to inherent an established old vine Kiwi. Kiwi however require 10 days below 40 degrees F to fully mature. Yes we may have waited a bit late but these are sweet ripe beauties.

Fuzzy, Yummy, Kiwi.
Fuzzy, Yummy, Kiwi.

There are some fruits out there that are packed with natural energy that kids like, like kiwi fruit, … Kiwis are part of the super fruit category. One kiwi has all the vitamin C you need for the day.

–Robert Stanley

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Harvest Day

Wednesday is Co-op day. We market our surpluses with the Fresh Food Revolution. On Wednesdays Roni and I get up extra early to harvest, wash and package our surplus. Early in the morning when the dew is fresh and the air is cool and crisp the garden has a certain quality that is hard to describe. The soil gives off an earthy aroma; the air is sweet with the fragrance of the forest. Our connection to mother earth is affirmed and we are rewarded with nutritious and delicious produce. At least for now, we are still in a honeymoon period were the work while tiring is also enjoyable. Today we harvested 4 bags of Rocky Top Lettuce, one bunch each of Arugula, Rainbow Chard and Bloomsdale Spinach.

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Bean Pole Raising

bean poles assembled

Yesterday we raised some bean pole tepees. Roni made a few that were done in reverse with a large branched tree limb sticking up and spreading out. As we took care of this task, which seemed simple but wasn’t, I couldn’t help but think of all the millions of people over the centuries that had done a similar task.

Think about it how many kingdoms and empires were based on the productivity of beans. The humble bean has be co-evolving with humans since Mesopotamia. The product of just a few seeds can feed many providing a protein rich meal without the need to follow herds around. Amazing to think about really.

Beer Break

We planted 3 variety; Bolita, Cherokee, and Soy. Bolita is a high yielding brown bean. Cherokee, a black bean, is said to have been carried on the “Trail of Tears”. We got them from Baker Creek Seeds.

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