Friday, February 3, 2012

Seeber Farm: Bag Balm not just for Cows

Seeber Farm: Bag Balm not just for Cows: I don't need to list all the battles we have with Old man winter, just how we can win arguments.Winter is tough on our skin; inside the hous...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Keeping Christmas Special

The first Christmas that I can remember was when we lived in an apartment in Brooklyn. My mother took my little brother and I into Manhattan to window shop. The most popular store was FAO Schwartz. Their store window was elaborately decorated with miniature villages with trains, Santa's shop with elves making toys, animated woodland animals. With my nose pressed to the glass, breath fog obstructing my view, a couple of swipes with my mitten to clear the glass, was Santa leaning on a big sack of toys with reindeer moving across the star glittered sky. It was a wonderful sight. 
Christmas morning, we woke up to a magical Christmas tree. The tinsel shined in the light, the half eaten gingerbread men still gave off a spicy note to the air, and big colored lights glowed red, blue, orange and green.
My parents still sleepy, were just as excited to sit with us and stare at the newly appeared presents under the tree. We just couldn't believe Santa found our apartment? How did he get by the doorman? Did he take the elevator? Did he come through the window? Without asking anymore questions, we ripped through our presents. Without disappointment, I got my first doll, one that I was wishing for, and my brother got a fire truck. We didn't have much else that I remember. Our stockings were filled with oranges and candy canes. Later that evening we had a nice turkey dinner and sang Christmas songs with help of the record player.

My favorite Christmas song The Holly and the Ivy

To keep the Christmas spirit alive it is essential to attend social gatherings. There are always events in your community; tree lighting, craft sales, church and school concerts; it adds to the heartfelt part of Christmas.  For our location we are blessed to have many events that capture the essence of Christmas. It has become a tradition to go the the Cooperstown Farmers Museum. For information Candle Light Tour at the Farmers Museum
Click here for a beautiful site.
Another local festivity is the Victorian Holiday in Sharon Springs, NY. It was brought about by The Fabulous Beekman Boys. Dr. Brent and Josh Purcell took a fall excursion for fresh apples and stumbled upon the quaint town of Sharon Springs. They passed by a farm/mansion that was for sale, and the rest is history. They have kept the ball rolling by establishing a store in town, (The Beekman Mercantile) which sells an assortment of high quality items ranging from homemade soaps to cheese all made by their beautiful goats. They also have a wonderful cookbook that serves as a keepsake for good cooks to pass down to their family. Farmer John Hall takes care of the farm and goats. Victorian Walk Sharon Springs
Brent Ridge arriving by horse and carriage
Josh, fashionable lady, and Dr. Brent
Fashionable Ladies

Monday, November 28, 2011


Popovers are tricky to make by some of the recipes that I have seen. They don't tell you some pointers for 100% success. Follow my recipe and you will have wonderful results. Amazing-no leavening agents or yeast, but they pop right up and are light and fluffy.

1 cup of all purpose flour
1/8 t salt
1 cup of whole milk
2 eggs
1 T of canola oil
 Pre-heat your oven to 400 with a cast iron griddle smooth side up on center rack.
In a large bowl Whisk eggs until a little frothy 
In another bowl sift your flour and salt.
Add milk that is room temperature to your eggs.
Whisk eggs and milk together. Now add 1 T of oil. Slowly add your flour and beat with a whisk or break out the rotary.
Grease generously, a muffin tin every other one with shortening enough for 6. You can buy a popover tin which I highly recommend. popover tin
Whatever you not disturb!
Spoon batter about 1/2 way or a little better until 6 are filled. When oven beeper says your ready, wait another 5 minutes, this assures that your oven is completely hot. Now carefully set your tin on top of the cast iron griddle. Close oven door and do not disturb for 30 minutes. Watch and make sure the tops aren't getting too brown. When all looks done (golden brown) open the oven door and prick the center of the popovers to let the steam out and then turn off heat and close the door for another 2 minutes. There you have it! Popovers are great for soaking up beef juices from your standing rib roast, or a bed for your chicken salad, or for breakfast on cold winter mornings. Enjoy.
Cast iron grill

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Garlic Harvest

Last October I planted garlic for the first time. All it takes is one clove, buried 5 inches in the dirt-planting at least 20 cloves this way, then mulch by covering with a layer of clean straw. I used a 4x8 raised bed, only because my soil is heavy clay and does not allow for good drainage. This worked out better than expected, and was easy to keep the weeds in check. Today, I carefully dug the garlic plants/bulbs one by one, shook off the dirt off, and couldn't help having a great big smile on my face; after all, I have waited a long time for this moment to arrive. The entire garlic plants are now hanging in my barn to cure and dry.

Cool recipes are great for the hot month of July

Garlic Basil Pesto
A nice appetizer for summer barbeques.

3 cloves of fresh garlic (chopped)
1/2 cup of Basil leaves, more or less
1/4 cup of pine nuts
1/2 cup of extra Virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp of lemon juice
1/4 cup of dried tomatoes (chopped)
In a food processor add everything except the dried tomatoes, pulse a few times, now add dried tomatoes.Store in the refrigerator for and hour before serving...serve on sliced toasted baguettes. Serve with a chilled white wine.

Chicken and White Bean Salad
 Works best with left over grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken from the Grocery store.

1 lb of chicken, more or less, picked off bone
2 cans of navy beans (drained and rinsed)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
2 Tbsp of olive oil
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
1/2 cup of basil (chopped)
1/2 cup of parsley (chopped)
2 plum tomatoes (chopped)

In a large bowl mix together all ingredients and chill for an hour-serve on baguettes. A white wine or Zinfandel wine is good to compliment.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

You Can Call Me "Honey" Any Time!

At the DMV in Maryland, I was behind a gentleman that called the clerk, "Honey." "Honey, can you process this for me?" he asked, with a little wink. The clerk's lips retracted and disappeared, her face got red, her eye brows were convoluted, and she replied, "Don't call me honey!" The gentleman leaned forward and said, "Well, you ain't gonna like the next thing I call ya!" So much for chivalry at the DMV!

Honey, is a compliment to sweeten life's daily food. It has many health benefits as well. If you have allergies, a tbsp of honey (60 calories) might help immunize you against the flowers that make you sneeze. Honey will also sooth the throat when you have a cold. Another benefit is if you have a cut or wound on your skin, honey may help prevent a scar.
Honey has been used for over 10,000 years; the Chinese domesticated bees with using hives. Honey was probably used more during the early colonial days, because of the expense and availability of sugar. I won't tell you that honey is nectar from a flower that has been regurgitated a few times before it can be processed in the hive, regurgitated? Did I say that?

Judy Janowski, author of  " Life is a Garden Party" was kind enough to let me know that you can substitute honey in a recipe in baking; reduce the liquid 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used and add 1/2 tsp of baking soda for each cup, also reduce the temperature by 25 degrees. So give it a try in your next cake recipe.

Honey Nut Oatmeal Bread (for the bread machine)
For a one lb loaf
Add in order.....
1 1/3 cups of water
2 2/3 tbs vegetable oil
2 2/3 tbs of honey
1 1/3 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups of oats                                                                
2/3 cups of whole wheat flour
2 cups of bread flour
1/4 cup of nonfat dry milk
2 1/2 tsp of yeast
Set bread machine for medium brown crust. Press buttons.

French Honey Bread (for bread machine)
A light crisp sweet bread....nice with smoked ham or sharp cheese.
For a 1lb loaf
In order....
1 1/8 cups of water
1 tbs of honey
1 tbs peanut oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3 cups of bread flour
2 1/2 tsp yeast.
Set machine for light crust as the sugars will brown the bread quicker.

Beehives; we get 8 gallons of honey each summer

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Mozzarella Cheese

The origin of making cheese had to be invented by a shepherd on his 'whey' to work one day; he put milk in a goats stomach sack and during the day it turned to cheese. Rennet is found in a goat stomach, and that's what makes the cheese separate from the whey.
I wanted to learn how to make cheese since we are surrounded by dairy farms and that I love to eat cheese. I headed out on a venture that took me door to door asking Amish women if they made cheese? Unfortunately the youth might have skipped a generation on this process, because they shook their heads and acted a bit insulted that I thought they could make cheese just because they were Amish
It wasn't until one September day, that I saw Rachel on her scooter, and asked her about making cheese, and she said, "My mother makes cheese and she is coming up to visit next week, so why don't you talk to her!" Linda, Rachel's mom, a past generation, did come up to visit and shared her Colby cheese with us; and it was delicious. She sent me all the information, and with that information made some hard cheese. Linda broke the mystery of making cheese for me, and after that I tried making all kinds of cheese.
The one cheese that gives me the greatest pleasure to make is mozzarella.
Mozzarella is a very easy cheese to make; it takes maybe 30-45 minutes and gives you instant gratification. I have debated whether to give everyone the recipe for this because it is a bit lengthy  and decided to just link you to Riki "The Queen of Cheese" because that is where I learned the recipe.... 
If you go to this website you can find recipes, troubleshooting, and everything you need to get started.
Whole milk works best
I use whole milk that is only one day fresh. Sometimes raw milk. Just don't use ultra pasteurized milk.
Fresh ingredients
Make sure you use up to date ingredients they can be found on web The New England Cheese Co.

Mix thoroughly
Make sure your utensils are clean and place them in a clean container while working.
Adding rennet
Rennet can be vegetable or animal and can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 years. A package goes a long whey! And don't throw that whey can be used for bread recipes instead of water-just don't add salt to the recipe, marinade for chicken, and can also be tossed in the garden.
1 gallon of milk makes 1 lb of cheese

My hope is that you give it a try. Once you make it you will be hooked!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

We Eat Chicken-what else can I tell ya, okay this....

I can't apologize for raising chickens to eat, because most everyone eats chicken, just ask my foxes that have dined on most of them this spring! They are the Blue Plate special, the white meat and not the other. Raised for centuries, and now perfected meat producers in a short amount of time.
It's basically how they are raised that might bother our conscience. When I lived on the Del Marva Peninsula, they had long houses set up by Purdue to raise millions of chickens. Thousands of chickens in one house, ready in 5 weeks time; little fresh air, hot weather, pumped with food, and in confined spaces small enough to turn around. After passing a farm on the bicycle in July, it is well, not appetizing.

I had a chicken tractor built with skids so that it can be moved around, and I use it mainly in the summer to raise 50 chickens; 25 at a time. That is enough chicken raised to sell to some people that like old fashion raise chicken, and the rest is put in the freezer.
They have fresh air, a lot of space, and I make sure they are in a clean environment. And when that day comes, we usually fast them off the night before, and humanely butcher them (if that isn't a contradiction) It isn't pleasant, it isn't fun, but it is something we want to do- to get it behind us. And after that day, (chuckle) we don't feel like eating chicken for a week. But when we do eat our chicken it is a feeling of self-sufficiency. Knowing how they were raised compared to industrial farming is a much better thought as well. Don't get me wrong, I have remorse, and saying grace might have originated from trying to feel better about a sacrifice to feed our bodies.