Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Highlights

I thought I would do a top 10 list of things that we did or events that happened involving us in 2009. Most of these are good but some not so good.

10. Camping and hiking at the Buffalo River with friends (August). Specifically hiking the Goat Trail on Big Bluff.

9. Baby Goats (January). We had 12 baby goats born this year, they were a lot of fun.

8. Watching a Razorback baseball game from a skybox (May). It was very cool and fun times with our community group.

7. Dave Matthews Band and Willie Nelson concert (October). We got to see my favorite band for the first time in concert and they did not disappoint.

6. Second annual 4th on the Farm (July). We had close to 60 people and roasted a whole hog and had great fireworks. Fun was had by all.

5. Tornado in Mena (April). This is one of the bad things on the list but was a big deal to us. It destroyed a lot of my hometown and killed 3 people. It was terrible. They are still trying to rebuild.

4. Farm Aid in St Louis (October). Margo got free tickets and special exhibitor passes. It was a full day of music and I got to see Dave Matthews warm up before the concert.

3. College World Series (June)- The Razorbacks made it in so we went to Omaha and had a great time. Too bad they did not win it all.

2. St. Louis Trip (April)- We took a week long trip to St Louis. I had never really been there before. We really had a great time and it is definitely one of our favorite cities in the U.S. now. From the botanical gardens to the zoo, the restaurants, the arch, antiques, and City Museum; it was lots of fun.

1. Ice storm (January) - I think it is the worst weather related disaster I have ever been in. We did not have power for a week and there were downed trees everywhere. It took a really long time to clean up and get things back to normal. It was really, really bad.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas

We are a couple days behind but we wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. As some of you may know, and the lucky ones may have received, we send out a picture Christmas card every year. We try to make it interesting every year. Instead of just dressing up silly, this year we tried to be more creative. We turned a picture of us into a coloring book picture and I colored it with crayons and then scanned it and put it on our Christmas card. Here is how the picture turned out...

If anyone of you out there did not get one and wants one, send me your address and I will send you one.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Christmas Song

As is tradition on our blog for Christmas, I wanted to post a link to one of the funniest renditions of a Christmas song I have ever heard. Be sure and listen to it all because it just gets better the longer it goes. I also wanted to wish everyone a Happy Festivus today.

Just click the link below to listen and enjoy.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Gifts

I posted about this in previous years on the blog so you might remember it. I am getting around to posting this kind of late but I just wanted to give some ideas to all of you for Christmas gifts.

First of all, a great thing would be to donate to a non-profit that helps people in need like LifeSource here in Northwest Arkansas. Or you could donate to a non-profit in your area. Even if you can't donate a lot of money, you can donate your time which would be a great help. You could also give to a missionary to help them continue to be able to spread the good news. If you don't know any missionaries, we know several we can recommend.

If you have to buy gifts, consider purchasing fair trade products. For those of you who are not familiar with
Fair Trade here is a quick description....
Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based model of international trade which promotes the payment of a fair price as well as social and environmental standards in areas related to the production of a wide variety of goods. The movement focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts and agricultural products. Fair trade's strategic intent is to deliberately work with marginalized producers and workers in order to help them move from a position of vulnerability to security and economic self-sufficiency.

There are several websites devoted to selling these products. Some of our good friends Dylan and Molly have a company that sells some products from India online. It is called Asha Imports and they have products that are made by poor people in India to enable them get out of the slums and out of the sex trade. Their products are really cool. You should also check out all the fair trade product websites below and consider buying some of their products for your friends and family this Christmas.By purchasing fair trade products, your helping to free more and more people from impoverished circumstances. If you live in Northwest Arkansas, the gift shop up at the Mt Sequoyah Conference Center sells lots of fair trade items.




Another great thing you can do this Christmas is to give to World Vision or Heifer International. You can go on their website and buy practical things for impoverished individuals in other countries. Things like livestock, clothing, medical kits, etc. You can even buy a goat for an impoverished family, in honor of the Farm of Hale. When you buy something you can print out the "gift" certificate from their website instantly so it is perfect for a last minute gift.

For any of you wanting to get Margo or I a gift, these kinds of things would mean more to us than anything else. Why not consider helping those less fortunate this year for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lamb Recipe

It seems that a recurring theme on our blog these days is that we have nothing new to post about. We hate to lose all our readers by hardly ever posting anything so I think I will try to start talking about different things on here than just farm activities. Therefore, I thought I would share a recipe with you. We have had a couple meals so far using our lamb I butchered.

This recipe is for Irish Stew. I used just some random odds and ends pieces of the lamb to make this. You could use beef instead, or goat, or deer. I found this recipe online and adapted to fit the ingredients I had on hand. This is my altered recipe.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
  • I cup of Guinness beer
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 3 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots
  • Salt and Pepper


1 Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Lightly salt the meat pieces. Working in batches if necessary, add the meat (do not crowd the pan, or the meat will steam and not brown) and cook, without stirring, until nicely browned on one side, then use tongs to turn the pieces over. Continue to cook in this manner until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

2 While the meat and stock is simmering, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside until the stew in step one has simmered for one hour.

3 Add vegetables to stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and meat are very tender, about 40 minutes. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. Transfer stew to serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.)

4 Serve with a cold glass of Guinness

Serves 4 to 6.

It turned out really good. I am definitely going to make this again.

The other lamb eating I wanted to tell you about as well. It is not really a recipe but it was so good, I had to talk about it. When I butchered the lamb I cut the lamb chops off but instead of separating each one, I left them in rack form. They were not real big since this lamb wasn't very big. Well, last night I decided to cook them. I just sprinkled them with some greek seasoning and grilled them. THEY WERE AMAZING. I think this is the best thing from the meat group I have had since Adam's steaks he made us and some friends like 6 years ago. I don't know why they were so good, but these chops were awesome. I am sad no one else got to share them with me to see how good they were. Here is a picture of them after I grilled them.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Lamb Chops

I did my last butchering of the season yesterday. I butchered our ram lamb that was born in the spring. This was my first ever sheep to butcher. Even though it is a hair sheep, it's "hair" was really thick and wool like. I thought it might be nice to make a sweater out of it. But, I didn't. I decided to completely skin and gut it so I could cut it up into all the different cuts of meat. I found a pretty good descriptive slide show online that showed how to cut it up.



Since it was around freezing outside over the weekend, I decided to let it hang outside overnight and "age". Then, today I brought it in the house and cut it up on the kitchen island so I could look at the computer and the description of how to cut it up.

Here is some of the meat after being cut up and vacuum sealed

Friday, December 04, 2009

Learn to Farm/Butcher Day

Tomorrow morning I am planning on butchering a sheep. This will be my first sheep to butcher, but it should be pretty much like butchering goats. The only problem is that this sheep is kind of wild and I can't get close to it so I don't know how I am going to catch it and if I can't catch it, how I am going to kill it. I usually shoot them point blank but I may have to shoot this one at a distance. I am also going to try to cut this one up into individual cuts of meat which I have not done before. So, if any of you are looking for something to do tomorrow morning when it is below freezing, come on out and help. It should be fun as usual. Just let me know if you want to come.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Turkey Day

Margo and I had a good Thanksgiving. We spent some time at a few different places around the state. Our first stop was was on Thursday for lunch at my granny's (on my mom's side) house in Jacksonville. There was 32 people there, almost everyone on that side of the family attended. It was fun to see some cousins and family that I don't get to see very often. Thursday afternoon we headed to my parents new house near Waldron. All of my immediate family was there and some of my cousins were there visiting my aunt who lives there as well. We spent a couple nights with them. It was nice to see family and fun to play with our nieces and nephews. On Saturday we went to Mena to spend the day and hang out with some friends. Our good friends Walt and Annie are in town from Germany, Sarah and the new Audrey (she is very cute) were there, and my old buddy from high school Travis and his family were there. It was fun to hang out and catch up with all those guys.

Here is a pic of all the family at my granny's house

Here is my immediate family

This is me, my brother and sister, and a couple of my cousins, Tim and Cindy