welcome, and thank you for joining me on my farm and studio in southern lancaster county, pennsylvania

Friday, March 25, 2011

farm city

Okay, I just finished reading this book and must say that it was wonderful! If you love small-time farming, urban farming, or farm animals (especially raising them), then I think you'll love it too. It's nearly enough to make me want to move to the city to start farming there. Nearly, but not really. I love the countryside too much for that, but if for some reason I found myself in the city, I also might find myself following a similar path.

Check it out...

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I lost my bees this winter. My first hive. From the looks of things, it seems to me they might have starved. There was maybe a cup of honey left at the very top. There also weren't many bees there. It's a mystery. This was in the top bar hive that I built last year. Perhaps they didn't store enough honey, perhaps the queen died and they lost their purpose? Who knows. All I know is I'll wait at least until next year to try again. I have to get my nerve back up. I'm still and probably always will be a recovering be-phobe. But a bee-phobe who is looking for all the pollination help she can get and who wants to eat her own honey. So give me a year and we'll have another go at it.

Now, about the top bar hive...
The idea is to allow the bees to build their own comb, hoping that they don't attach it to the sides, so the bars with comb attached can be lifted out. This is supposedly healthier for the bees. BUT - when I checked on the hive and found everybody dead, I took all the comb out and the girls had attached it everywhere. Had I wanted to harvest any honey while the hive was active, it would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible. So in addition to getting my nerve back up, I also have to re-think the hive situation and come up with a plan.

Friday, March 4, 2011

lamb stew

Can I just say that I am over the moon about this dish? Every January for years I'd go to the annual PA Farm Show and buy a container of lamb stew. I'd wait all year to be able to have a taste of this rich, hearty, and mildly spicy stew. Finally this year I decided to try to recreate the experience, and if I must say so myself, it's a success! Ah, joy, now I can have it any time I want. And I sure do want. So let's share the love, shall we?

Lamb Stew
  • Take one onion and three ribs of celery and chop them into small bite-sized pieces. In a heavy stock pot, saute them in a bit of olive oil just until soft, remove from pan and set them aside.
  • Now add a bit more olive oil and one pound ground lamb to the pot and saute until cooked.
  • Add two cloves of garlic that's been minced to the lamb and saute briefly.
  • Next add three tablespoons of flour and stir it around for a minute.
  • Add four cups of beef broth, one quart diced canned tomatoes, and some salt and pepper to the lamb mixture. Give it a nice stir, then cover and simmer on low for an hour.
  • Now you'll want to add your pre-cooked onions and celery, one pound of potatoes that have been cubed into large bite-sized pieces, two carrots that have been sliced, two bay leaves, two teaspoons of rosemary, one half teaspoon of sage, one half teaspoon oregano, and a half teaspoon thyme. Mix this deliciousness all together, cover once again and simmer on low for another hour (if you can wait that long). 

That's it! A one pot meal that is to die for. Thick, rich, hearty, and best of all, seriously tastey.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011