Foraging on Our Property

For the last couple years, we’ve been making more of an effort to forage food and usable products from our property. The amount of food we get isn’t enough to make a huge dent in our grocery budget, but it definitely adds some entertainment while the food is ripe, and it adds a little variety to our diet.

Starting us off in June, we get delicious mulberries from the volunteer trees along our fence lines. Some of the trees make really bland fruit, so we generally leave those ones for the birds. There is one specific tree we have that makes the most delicious berries, and we harvest from that one regularly. Our favorite way to eat the berries is just by the handful, or we will add them to oatmeal or yogurt. We also cleaned up a couple pounds this year and froze them to make something with over the winter. I am thinking a “wild berry pie” made with some of the other berries we’ve collected as well.

After the mulberries come the black raspberries. These plants are THORNY and spread like mad. We’ve mowed over some of the areas they grow in, simply because they were taking over. Wild raspberries are small and take some effort to collect. They do pop off the plant when they are ripe, but it takes a lot of them to get anywhere. They also have relatively large seeds compared to cultivated raspberries. We like mixing these into yogurt, or just eating them plain. We’ve also made some tasty desserts with them as well.

Blackberries we harvested today

This year for the first time we are harvesting blackberries from the roadside in front of our property, and our neighbors. When harvesting from private property always get permission from the property owner! And if you are harvesting from the roadside, keep in mind that some roads are sprayed with pesticides and herbicides, and you don’t want to eat those berries while you are harvesting. Get them washed first before indulging. Also it’s important to keep in mind that these plants are very thorny, and occasionally the thorns will pop off if you get stuck with them. Slivers from foraging are a real problem! Bob enjoys these by the fistful, and I want to try making some jam if we get enough!

Throughout the year, we find patches of catnip, chives, wild garlic, and chamomile that pop up in the pastures, the back yard, and just about everywhere. We allow the sheep and goats to eat what they want, and we harvest some of it. When foraging, it’s really important to leave some of the native plants behind so they can reseed themselves. If it’s an invasive species, and it’s your property, you can pull as much as you desire. We use these wild growing herbs to season our food, and the catnip is enjoyed by our kitties as well as our customers’ cats. We sell some of this catnip at the farmers market and in our farm stand.

A fistful of catnip

There is so much more available than what I covered here. We are just starting this foraging journey, and have started mushroom hunting with some friends. Make sure you can positively identify the foods you are foraging, don’t take more than you need, and don’t destroy the environment you are harvesting from. Nature has many gifts for us if we are willing to look for them!

The 2021 CSA: Better Late Than Never!

We have procrastinated on mentioning our CSA this year, because we wanted to make sure we would have enough meat for our regular weekly customers and anyone who wants to buy in bulk. So now, more than halfway through the year, here is the info for our CSA! If you don’t need all the details and want to get right to purchasing, you can find that link right here! The discount codes are below.

What is a CSA?
CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture.” Farming is an expensive endeavor that requires a lot of upfront investment, and the returns take a while to show. Having a CSA means that farmers can get an influx of capital up-front, and customers usually get a discount for making that investment early on.

What makes our CSA different?
We are asking for a purchase of a CSA membership upfront in a set amount of $100, $250 or $500. This will get you what is essentially a Frontière Farm House gift card loaded with that amount that you can use at any of our markets. We have plastic gift cards for anyone who is interested, or the link below is for e-gift cards. There is no expiration date on the card, and it can be topped up whenever is convenient for you, in any amount you choose. You can spend as much or as little as you want, when you want. You do not need to pick up weekly, and you get to choose exactly what you receive.

What do you get with the membership?
With this purchase, we are offering a bonus on loading and reloading the card, as follows:
$100 purchase gets you: $110 (an extra 10%) with the code ONEHUNDRED
$250 purchase gets you: $281.25 (an extra 12.5%) with the code TWOFIFTY
$500 purchase gets you: $575 (an extra 15%) with the code FIVEHUNDRED
Be sure to use that discount code here!

What can you get with the CSA?
The short answer to this is: anything we sell in person! Whether at the market, at our farm stand, or at another in person event, the plastic and digital gift cards can be used! Eggs, meat, knit items, garlic, yarn, soap, hats, stickers, and almost anything else we have for sale can all be purchased with the gift cards.

What can you NOT get with the gift card?
Our only restrictions are as follows: You cannot use the gift card to purchase items that are already at a discount. Whole/half pigs or lambs, as well as Egg CSAs cannot be purchased with the CSA card. We cannot accept the CSA cards as payment in our online store either, but we do sell the majority of those items in person. If you are confused about this, feel free to send us a message or an email, or give us a call to ask for any clarification.

If you are ready to purchase you can do that right here. To get the bonus for your CSA level use the codes ONEHUNDRED, TWOFIFTY, or FIVEHUNDRED for the respective amounts you’d like to purchase! Using the code will discount your card to the amount owed.

Sign Up For Our Mailing List!

With the way F-book and other social media sites have been lately, we are making the decision to move towards a little more in-house marketing by way of a mailing list! We know emails are clunky and annoying at times, but this is kind of the only way we can have any real say in who actually gets to see our posts! If you would like to sign up for our mailing list, we would be really appreciative!

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It’s Time For The Frontière Farm Stand!

We have been working away at an awesome new project with the farm for the last few weeks. Starting Tuesday June 15, and every Tuesday for the foreseeable future, we will have shopping hours on the farm!

An old photo from our first batch of chickens!

Visit us between noon and 6:00pm on June 15th to for our grand opening. We will have some of the goats near the farm stand area so you can say hello and take pictures with them. We will have treats for the poultry that you can feed to them. There will also be a few giveaways, special pricing on some items, samples of some of our meats, and more!

In addition to our regular market offerings, we will have some handmade artisan products, a few vintage pieces, maple syrup, and some other farming adjacent items for sale. This selection will be added to as time goes on. Support other small business owners in one easy place.

Here are the rules! They are quite simple, but we want to make sure everyone has a good time, and stays safe, including our livestock.

-Please park in the grass on the north side of the driveway (towards the cornfield), there will be vehicles to help guide your parking. The cornfield is not ours, please respect our neighbors and fellow farmers and stay out of it.

-We will have areas marked out where you can explore the farm. We ask that you do not leave those marked areas, both for your safety and the safety of the animals. Please remember that this is a working farm and you will see, hear, and smell things that are a normal part of farming.

-We will not be offering farm tours during the Grand Opening, however in future weeks, we may be able to accommodate small groups for tours. Please contact us in advance if you would like a farm tour during your shopping trip. We will do our best!

-We ask that you leave all pets at home. This is a working farm with livestock, and we don’t want your animals to scare our animals. Service animals are welcome.

We will be keeping this post and our Facebook event updated with all the pertinent information. Find the Facebook event page here! We are looking forward to offering our farm raised products for all of our customers twice a week to make things easier for you.

2021 Lambing So Far

Way back in early November, we put our breeding ram Limerick in with eight girlfriends. Seven Jacob girls, and one Romeldale kept him busy for some time. It’s now been over 147 days since we first put them all together, and we are seeing the results!

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Late at night on Saturday April 3rd, I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to go and check on everyone. Citra surprised me with a little ram lamb! I moved her and baby into the barn, gave her some hay, grain, and water, and let her bond with baby. When I went out in the morning, two little baby faces greeted me! I was quite surprised, as she wasn’t very large, but there were two babies in there! Citra and Limerick produced two brown eyed, four horned ram lambs. And they are already so much bigger than the other lambs, just being a week older!

Citra and her two ram lambs

We then had almost a week between births. Finally, on Friday the 9th, one of our other four horn ewes went into labor out in the pasture. I managed to catch that one on video! You can watch that here. Once Janus got that baby cleaned up, I could tell she had a second one coming. You can see the bag hanging from her in the video. I convinced her to walk up to the barn by carrying the little ram lamb in front of her, and we got the two of them settled. She wasn’t making any progress on her own, so I got some lubricant (we use vegetable oil) and helped the little ewe lamb out! Momma was very intent on keeping me as far away from her babies as possible, so once I made sure baby was breathing, I left them alone so they could get to know each other.

Janus is cleaning her ewe lamb who needed a little assistance. With the ram lamb nearby.

After two nearly perfect births, Cascade decided to throw a wrench in the gears. Last year, she had twins, and one was massive for some reason. That one didn’t make it. This year, she had triplets. The first one was a ram, and he unfortunately didn’t make it. The second, a ewe, came out with assistance, and she is doing well. The third, another ewe, was tangled up in her legs, and couldn’t get out on her own. She needed a lot of help, and unfortunately also didn’t make it. This was a huge blow to me personally, and even though I KNOW these things happen, and there was little I could do, I still felt like I failed my animals. Cascade will be retired from breeding, and live on the farm as a pet. I’m not sure why she had issues two years in a row, but after talking it over with our vet, it seems like she may have a narrow pelvis, making it difficult for babies to get out. After giving birth, Cascade was having issues feeding her single lamb. Her body was ready for three babies, but she only had one, and appeared to be over-producing. This made it difficult for the baby to latch on and nurse. We milked her out a couple times, and that seemed to help things. We are still cautiously optimistic about this ewe lamb, and keeping a close eye on her and mom.

Cascade and her baby girl, who looks and feels like a calf. Zero curl in that wool!

Yesterday morning I went out to do chores, and found Hallertauer with her baby all cleaned up and dried off. We like to give the moms and babies a little privacy, so we move them into the barn so they can spend some time without goats and chickens bothering them. This also allows us to check mom over to make sure she is doing alright, and we give her some extra nutritious food for the first day or two, to help with milk production. Her little ram lamb has quite the silly looking facial markings, but he’s cute as a button! They are back out on the pasture today, because Halle was tired of being apart from her friends!

Another ram from Halle!

We still have four girls to go, and we are looking forward to what those babies all look like! Keep an eye on our Instagram to see photos of them as they arrive.

We Hate F***book

Intense title? Yeah, probably. Is it needed? Yeah, definitely. We hate Facebook, and unfortunately, we need to use it to run our business. This post is not about farming specifically, but about the marketing behind it. There will likely be some “strong language” but if you know the two of us in person, this language is our normal form of communication.

This is my comment, on my friend Sara’s Facebook post about moving into a home that had a pool table. Her partner Jason commented saying he knew how to re-cover and re-level pool tables. Jason is wicked smart, and immensely skilled at like… a lot of things, including lasers. He is Canadian, as am I. Hence the comment! Sara is also immensely talented, and has written about me previously. Now it’s my turn to write about how absolutely infuriating Facebook is. I am not nearly as skilled a writer as Sara, and I am not following the “rules” of writing. This is off the cuff, unedited, and just being thrown into the ether.

After leaving this comment, I was informed it goes against Facebook Community Standards. Apparently, “fucking Canadians” triggers the bots to put me in jail. Previously, “all except the white dude are sheep” put me in jail. Never mind the fact that I was talking about LITERAL LIVESTOCK, referring to anything as “white” or “sheep” completely fucking breaks Facebook’s bullshit warning system. So now I find myself in Facebook jail for a week, and I have some time on my hands. Hence, this blog post. I have received death threats, been told to un-alive myself because I told someone to Google something, and been told to go back to where I came from. None of those people were ever suspended, or penalized. Does Facebook have it out for me? Seems like it.

So now, what do I do? I need to use Facebook to market the farm. We have over 2500 followers on our Facebook page, and over 2000 on Instagram, which is owned by the Zuckerberg network. Many customers find us on both of those platforms, and now I cannot use the one that drives the most sales. I can post as much as I want here on our blog, on Twitter, TikTok, or YouTube, but that’s not where our customers are.

I Want To Be Where The People Are GIFs | Tenor
I’m like Ariel

Facebook is unfortunately the main place MANY farmers and small business owners do their marketing. Unfortunately, that means we are at their mercy. Some know it all marketing “experts” will say “Use your mailing list.” Which is, to be honest, some of the dumbest fucking advice ever for micro businesses where one or two people are doing all the work. The industry standard email open rate is 18%, and click through is less than 3%. The amount of work involved in writing an email versus the number of people who will see it is just completely not worth it. (This is one of the reasons we send out very few emails). Facebook posts stay there, and can easily be linked back to. I can use a years-old Facebook or Instagram post to illustrate a point, share more information, or provide cute animals as entertainment. Unless I’m in Facebook jail…

So where do we go from here? Who knows. I am frustrated and worn out. We are heading into a season that is normally very busy for us, but we are dialing things back quite a bit this year. (There will be a post about this at some point) While we wait for my Facebook jail sentence to end, I’ll be scrolling through TikTok and sharing cute videos of our animals.

We Have So Many Fluffy Helpers

Our day started with a hay pickup to a farm about a half hour away from us. Fifty-some small squares were loaded up in the truck and trailer, and brought home. The farm we picked up from has some beautiful sheep that I had a chance to say hello to. Once we got home, our critters were happy to tell us what they thought of this new hay!

Hay gets expensive. If you would like to support the farm, purchasing one of these pins covers the cost of one bale. Limerick and all the other sheep and goats appreciate your support!

Freezer Sale! Build Your Own Bundle

Our freezers are still a little full, so we are running the freezer sale for one more week! Purchase 25 or more pounds of our meat, excluding bacon and ground products, and save 10%. If we can sell two more bundles, I think we will finally have space to get a batch of stewing hens processed. We would love if you can help us reach that goal.

If you would like to get one of these bundles, feel free to email us or message us on Facebook, and let us know what you would like in your bundle. We can be sure to have it ready for you this Saturday at the market.

Pre-Order: Limerick Enamel Pin

We have some exciting news! We are big fans of pins and buttons as accessories, and we decided to have our own made! Our handsome Jacob ram Limerick will be made into an enamel pin! Pre-orders are available in our online shop. The pins are currently in production, and will be mailed out as soon as we receive them. This could take a month or so, but I promise they will be worth the wait! They are made of a silvery metal, and four colors of hard enamel. This will give them a smooth professional look.

If these sell well (we are starting with 100) we may get other pins made of some of our other animals. We also have a few other items available in our shop, and we are considering adding my knitted items as well. Let us know if there is anything in particular you would like to find in the shop!

Recipe: Aunt Bea’s Baked Beans

This post contains affiliate links. Clicking those links means we earn a little money, which we use to help the farm grow!

Any time I start writing about a recipe, I convince myself I need to keep it short and to the point. I hate scrolling through pages of a back story to get to the recipe. I will be brief with this. Aunt Bea was my mom’s aunt, and she passed away in 2004. I don’t remember a lot about Aunt Bea, other than her kindness. One additional thing I remember is the baked beans that were on the hot plate at every family gathering. My Aunt Jan gave me the recipe for the delicious baked beans a couple years ago, so we could make them at an event, where they were very well received. I decided it was time to make them with our own pork today.

I did modify the recipe ever so slightly, and I hope my family can forgive me. I reduced the sugar, and used apple cider vinegar instead of plain white vinegar. I also modified the cooking method to account for how fatty our bacon is sometimes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound smoked bacon
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cans (15.5 oz each) white beans, we used Cannellini
  • 1 quart canned tomato sauce, we used home canned, but store bought is fine
  • ​1⁄2 cup loosely packed brown sugar, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard, to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
Obviously this isn’t all of the ingredients. But it’s a start!

To begin, open up that pack of pasture raised bacon you got from us (hopefully!) and enjoy that smoky smell. If you got bacon from elsewhere, you may find you need a little more of the seasonings to get enough flavor. Pre-heat your oven to 325F.

Notice that our bacon is not a weird, unnatural pink.

Chop the slices of bacon, and throw them in a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon for a couple minutes. If you got a particularly fatty pack of bacon, you can scoop out some of the fat and use it to cook something else in. This is totally optional. Add the chopped onions, and cook until softened slightly, just a few minutes.

Add in beans, tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, and some salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly so everything is distributed evenly. Put it in the oven, uncovered, for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove and allow to cool. Taste, and add salt and pepper if desired. If your bacon is not flavorful enough, your beans may benefit from the addition of a little bit of liquid smoke, or Worcestershire sauce.

Serve it in a bowl. Or portion it out and freeze it. These beans are incredibly easy to put together, and can feed a crowd. If you are on a budget, double the amount of beans, and it will still be just as good. Enjoy.

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