Recipe: Apocalypse Pierogy Reverse Hash

Being that we have been casually referring to our current existence as The Apocalypse, we have started calling almost everything we do “The Apocalypse _____”. So now we have Apocalypse Beers instead of beers, we watch Apocalypse TV, as opposed to just watching boring TV.

This doesn’t change when it comes to our food. But we seem to get even more into it when meals are made up of random things we had sitting in the fridge and pantry, and sort of throw it all together. This Apocalypse Pierogy Reverse Hash is made with pierogies, protein, veggies, and an egg, and then we added cheese, sour cream, and sauerkraut on top. You can mix up what’s on it, based on what you have in your Apocalypse fridge. Or maybe in like six months, you will have a post-apocalyptic fridge? Who knows. We always have Mrs. T’s Pierogies in our freezer. They’re super easy to cook up, and can be quickly made into a meal. This is how I made this particular variation for the two of us tonight. I will add in ways to change it up at the end. Why is it a “reverse hash”? Because a hash usually has potatoes with stuff in it, this is basically stuff with potatoes in it. Pierogies are filled with potatoes (usually) so we’re making it sound fancy.

Ingredients

  • A couple tablespoons of rendered beef tallow.
  • 2 onions, diced
  • some mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 3 hot dogs, sliced thinly
  • a couple cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 pierogies, your favorite flavor
  • two eggs
  • cheese, sour cream, sauerkraut, as desired

Heat a large frying pan over medium. Add the beef tallow. Throw in all the onions and stir them around allowing them to sweat for several minutes. Once they are translucent and starting to darken, add in the mushrooms. Let them cook for a couple minutes, then add minced garlic and sliced hot dogs. Stir this together for about 30 seconds.

Take the pierogies and nestle them into the hash mix you’ve got going on. You will probably have to pile some stuff on top of the pierogies, but it’s fine, because you are basically steaming them while you brown the bottom. I know this isn’t how cooking normally works, but these pierogies are REALLY forgiving, and it’s going to taste delicious regardless. Flip the pierogies every few minutes until they are cooked through, and stir all the other goodies while you flip the pierogies, making sure they all have contact with the pan at some point to give them a little browning. If needed, add a little chicken broth or water to help de-glaze the pan. Sometimes, we pour a little beer in there to help that out. It’s the apocalypse, use what you have. Just think of all the flavors working together, and if it’s a beer you would drink with this meal, it will probably work. We usually have Stroh’s on hand, so that’s what we go for.

Once the pierogies have cooked through, divide the contents of the pan into two bowls or plates. Add a little more oil to the pan, and fry your eggs. We like them over easy so the yolk gets all nice and runny over everything. Pop one of those bad boys on top of your pierogies, add some shredded cheese, sour cream, sauerkraut, and salt and pepper as desired. I like some of everything, Robert skips the sour cream. Break that runny yolk and let it coat everything. Enjoy!

Because this is the apocalypse, and we want to avoid going to the store for anything that isn’t necessary, this is a very flexible recipe. I would strongly suggest keeping onions in there, because it is the bulk of the hash, but you could use a few different types if you like. We skip the potatoes in the hash because those delicious doughy pierogies are filled with them. But if you have a bunch on hand, or you’re feeding a crowd (of fewer than 10 people) feel free to bulk it out with some chopped taters. Add some grated carrots or other root veggies, diced bell peppers, a little bit of jalapeno or Fresno pepper if you want some spice, or any other veggies that sound tasty to you.

The protein can be just about anything. Leftover taco meat, some breakfast sausage, ground chicken, whatever. If it’s raw, cook it first, and then you may have to drain off some of the fat. You could also top it with fresh herbs, some hot sauce, salsa, or anything that makes you happy.

We really hope you are all doing well during this weird time we are experiencing. Sending you all good, healthy vibes.

Progress Amidst the Chaos

Farming doesn’t wait for anything. This is a fact we have been aware of from the beginning, and yet it is something we don’t always prepare for, or agree with. The first frost will come regardless if we’ve harvested the cold sensitive veggies. Birds will take the same amount of time to grow out, so if we have a deadline for them to be ready, we need to start them early enough. Eggs need to be ready for Saturdays, so I should wash them before Friday in case we have an overwhelming amount. And there are so many more lessons that reinforce this fact. Yet we still feel like we are playing catch-up frequently.

With Robert working from home, we both thought we would be progressing a little quicker on some of our projects. Eliminating his commute has given him two extra hours every week day, which has been wonderful for both of us, but we haven’t used it as wisely as we thought we would. We finally ordered our first two batches of meat chicks on Friday. Last year, we had great results with the chicks from Freedom Ranger Hatchery, and we decided to go with them again this year. They will be arriving in late April, and then in mid-June. Once we have our first batch started, we will plan when our third batch will arrive. We are beginning to run low on chickens for sale in our freezers. We will be setting some aside for ourselves, and sell the rest. Unfortunately, due to living in Michigan, we can only raise pastured poultry for three seasons.

In addition to the chicks we’ve ordered, we have a goose who has started setting a nest. She has eight lovely eggs under her, and we are hoping for babies in about a month! We also expect a couple other geese get nests going. The plan is to increase our flock by about 10 geese, sell a few goslings, and have at least five to process for holiday dinners next year. We will also be looking for turkey poults to raise for this year’s holiday dinners. Hopefully, we can do some broad breasted, and some heritage birds as well. Just need some of our girls to hatch some babies for us!

Our sheep are getting rounder and rounder. They were supposed to be shorn this past week, but that has been moved back to this upcoming week. We are really looking forward to this happening so we can see just how pregnant those girls are. With eight pregnant ewes, we would love to have ten healthy lambs. More than that would also be great, but we want all of our girls to raise their babies without too much assistance from us.

Things are moving forward here on the farm. It may be slower than we had anticipated, in light of current events, but there is still progress. Depression and anxiety run in this household, and we are working through that. I am an extrovert, and I love physical contact. Seeing our friends at the market day and not being able to hug them is really difficult for me. Robert is different than me, and prefers being by himself. But he has also been getting a little cabin-feverish. We will come out of this social distancing event as slightly different people. Who knows when it will end.

This post was sponsored by our Patreon supporter Doreen. You can find her lovely hand dyed, hand spun, hand carded, and other hand crafted fiber supplies on her website Goldfish Love Fibers. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and probably elsewhere, which I will add as I discover them.

How We Are Dealing With Coronavirus

To start, I want to apologize that we are adding one more thing to read about COVID-19. I promise this will be fun stuff, and not more PANIC or statistics or anything of the sort. This is just our plan for the next couple weeks. Please keep in mind that as things change, our plans may change as well. Our top priority is keeping everyone safe and healthy. In doing this, we also need to cover our farm expenses, and we will give you a few ways you can help us out!

The first thing we are doing is going to be a Facebook Live video on our farm page every day during this first week. It will be started at around 10:30am EDT. I will hang out with the animals and answer questions about them. Feel free to watch with your kids, or grab your cup of coffee and watch by yourself. If you have questions you would like me to answer, send them at any time and I will do my best to remember to answer them! You can also ask questions during the stream, and I will answer those as I see them.

We are also selling stickers to help cover the cost of feed while our sales are not going to be as strong. You can send us $5 if you are in the US, or $6 if you are international, and I will hand write a card and include a pair of stickers for you! We can take payments via PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, and all those other types of payment options. These are the awesome StickerMule stickers we’ve written about before. LOVE them!

We are also going to have a mini farmers market in our driveway on Saturdays, during the usual farmers market hours of 9:00-1:00. We did it on a whim this past Saturday, and it went well! We had a total of about 25 people come throughout the day. We will be offering mini farm tours so you can see some of the animals. They will be offered as we are able to do so. If Saturday does not work for your schedule, or you’d like a tour with just you and your kids to help keep the space between folks, you can reach out and we can do our best to fit you into our schedule. There will be Facebook events made for the driveway markets, which will last at least until the end of March.

I am doing my best to update our Patreon regularly. We have the new “Sponsor a Ewe” and “Sponsor a Goat” tiers, and most of the animals are still available to sponsor. Becoming a patron for our farm gets you some cool stickers and other farm products, and you get access to extra behind the scenes content!

One really easy way to help us out in a way that doesn’t cost you anything is to click through our Amazon links. Whenever we share products we like, such as this awesome tripod we just picked up, we include Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those, and make a purchase, we make a very small percentage of your transaction price. It doesn’t cost you anything! And it doesn’t matter what you buy, your entire purchase counts for us.

Finally, the biggest thing you can do to help us during this global hiccup is purchase a CSA card. We still need income to keep the farm running and keep everyone’s bellies full. We have shearing day coming up, a probable farm vet visit to make sure all the ewes are in the best shape possible before lambing season, and then we have to pay for fiber processing. These cards do not expire, and can be used on almost everything we sell. All of the details are in the post! We can hang onto the cards, mail them out to you, or you can pick them up at the driveway market.

We appreciate your support, humor, and kindness during this confusing and overwhelming time. We will all get through this together!

This post was sponsored by our Patreon supporter Melina. Find her gorgeous hand dyed yarn on FacebookInstagram, and Etsy, and find her knitting patterns on her website and Ravelry.
This post contains affiliate links. If you click them and make a purchase, we make a little money. Doing this helps keep our farm running.

Some Behind The Scenes Updates

As part of our 2020 Uberlist, we set ourselves a goal of putting up a profile for each of the animals on our site. This is a multipurpose goal. It will keep all of our relevant records in one place that is easily accessible, and it lets people find out more about their favorite critters. You can find that page here.

So far, today’s drizzly grey day has allowed me to get individual pages up for each of the goats. There isn’t much there yet, but as time goes on, I will be working on it. I am also going to attempt to get the rest of the animals pages made, but we shall see how much endurance I have for this, and how much other stuff I get done!

In addition to these profiles, we have added a couple more tiers to our Patreon page. You can now Sponsor A Ewe! For $25 a month, you can cover the cost of her care AND get a fun little package full of surprises, a letter about what she has been up to that month, and whatever else I come up with. I know we are going to have some fun with this one. We have also added a lower tier for folks who are indifferent about the rewards of the other tiers.

We are so appreciative of your support in every form. Without all of you, this farm would crumble. And we don’t want that to happen.

Supplementing Copper for Goats

Different species of animals have very different nutritional needs. This is why there are so many types of feed at local feed mills and farm stores. There are even different nutritional needs between animals of the same species being used for different purposes. For example, broiler chickens need more protein and less calcium than egg laying chickens. Dairy cattle need more calcium than beef cattle. Pregnant and lactating animals need more protein and fat than others. One of the big differences between animals housed together on our farm is that goats need copper, and sheep can easily experience copper toxicity.

First thing’s first, how do you determine if you need to supplement copper? Generally speaking, goats will always need some source of copper. Some of the symptoms goats will show when they are copper deficient are as follows:

  • Faded coat
  • Fish Tail (the tip of the tail loses hair)
  • Hair loss on the face
  • Fertility issues, both in males and females
  • Difficulty during pregnancy and labor
  • Increased susceptibility to parasites

On farms that raise only goats, or keep their goats separate from other copper sensitive animals, the animal caretakers will often give a them a free-choice mineral supplement that contains copper. This is the easiest way of supplementing copper, and can be sufficient for many animals. It is important to remember that these mineral mixes provide a good baseline for the animals, but will not fix a severe deficiency. If you are lucky enough to have a local feed mill, they might be able to custom mix minerals for you.

Another easy way to provide copper is through goat-specific feed. It has the right balance of minerals and vitamins to raise healthy goats. We don’t feed our animals grain regularly, and again we house our goats with our sheep, so we cannot offer the feed to everyone. This also wouldn’t work for people who are raising their goats in a grass fed situation.

Because we have our sheep and goats together, we cannot give them a feed or mineral mix with copper in it. So we go the route of feeding them copper boluses. Our bolus of choice is UltraCruz. They are available in 2g and 4g doses. The larger one is for adults, and the smaller is for kids or very small adults. We dose with the larger bolus about every 8 months. So far, this has worked for us.

To administer the boluses, we skip the balling gun that so many people use. It’s just one more thing for us to drop into the mud, or to shove into our pockets. Our method of choice is to handle the goats one at a time, and give them animal crackers. Most of our animals would sell their best friends for a single animal cracker. They get one cracker, and then we shove the bolus into the back of their mouth, and quickly give them more animal crackers, being sure they don’t spit out the bolus in the process. Of our seven goats we treated this week, we only had one of them spit the bolus out. Thankfully, it’s easy to find in the dirt, and just shove it back in there. The packages all say it needs to be eaten whole, however we have not experienced issues with them being chewed partially before being swallowed. You may have a different experience.

What is important for your animals is that you are aware of their individual needs. Find a local farm vet if you are able, and work with them to figure out what will work on your farm. Do the best you can, and your goats will live happy, healthy lives.

This post was sponsored by our Patreon supporter Melina. Find her gorgeous hand dyed yarn on FacebookInstagram, and Etsy, and find her knitting patterns on her website and Ravelry.
This post is meant to be informative, and is not intended to treat or cure a sick animal. It will not replace advice from your veterinarian.
This post contains affiliate links. If you click them and make a purchase, we make a little money. Doing this helps keep our farm running.

Recipe: Home Made Chili Powder

Picture this: A chilly winter afternoon, I decided to make a batch of turkey chili, with some of our delicious pasture raised turkey that we ground and froze. I get half the ingredients into the dutch oven, grab the container of chili powder, and it’s empty. SERIOUSLY? You can’t have chili without chili powder!!! What was I supposed to do? I was really looking forward to this chili. So to Google I went to see if I could find a substitute for chili powder. Lo and behold, I found several great recipes for home made chili powder. I combined them together, and made some tweaks, and came up with this deliciousness. It will keep for a long time if you put it in an air tight jar.

Chili powder ingredients

Ingredients
-1/4 cup paprika (regular, not smoked)
-1 Tbsp garlic powder
-1 Tbsp onion powder
-1/2 Tbsp oregano
-1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
-1 tsp cayenne pepper
-optional: 1/2 tsp Old Hickory Smoked Salt from Spice Islands (See note at bottom of recipe)

Combine all ingredients in a container that can be sealed. We put ours in a canning jar. Put lid on and shake to combine. Use like you would store-bought chili powder. Will keep for up to a year.

Note regarding Old Hickory Smoked Salt: This isn’t just your regular smoked salt. It contains cocoa, which adds an extra level of flavor. It can be omitted entirely, or replaced with a dash of smoked salt and a good sized pinch of cocoa.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click them and make a purchase, we make a little money. Doing this helps keep our farm running.

Marshall Farmers Market Bag Sharing Program

The Marshall Area Farmers Market happens every Saturday, year round, in the City Of Marshall. From May through October, it is in a parking lot on West Green Street, and November through April, it’s located within the Calhoun County Fairgrounds. We at Frontière Farm House have been vendors for three years, and we thoroughly enjoy the atmosphere, the vendors, and the wonderful customers.

Marshall Farmers Market Bag Sharing Program
This is the beginning of our collective bag stash! Take a bag as you need one, and leave bags when you have extras.

To improve the quality of the market, and lower our collective impact as shoppers and vendors, we have decided to start a Market Bag Sharing Program. Everyone is eligible to participate, all vendors will be a part of this if they would like to be, and there is no cost!

“What is the Market Bag Sharing Program?”
Many of us are familiar with the Have A Penny, Leave A Penny cups at cash registers all over the place. This is a similar concept, but for shopping bags. If you are like us, you have tote bags, and reusable shopping bags shoved in corners in your home and vehicles. Most of us have far more than we could ever need, yet we never have them at the right time. We will have a shared pool of market bags available to shoppers at the market whenever they are needed. Once you are done with the bag, return it. And you can return any extra bags you have laying around for other folks to use.

“Why are you doing this?”
We want to lessen our collective impact on the environment by lowering the demand for single use plastic bags. This will have the added bonus of lowering expenses for the farmers and other vendors.

“How much does it cost to participate?”
Nothing!

“How do I participate?”
All you need to is borrow a bag when you need it, and return it when you are finished! There will be a couple locations to acquire bags at the market. Grab one at the beginning of your shopping, and grab more as needed.

“I love the idea! I want to buy bags to donate!”
PLEASE NO! As much as we appreciate your enthusiasm, we are trying to lower the need for more physical items to be made. Please do not purchase bags to add to this program. There will be plenty of bags circulating, and we will put a call out for more bags to be donated if we start running low.

I am a participant at another market, can I start this program there?”
Please do! The more markets that participate, the better. We would love if you let us know about your market participating!

Our only requests when you participate is that when you return bags into circulation that they are clean and in good condition. We also request that you try to return as many bags as you borrow. We understand forgetting them occasionally, but we would like to keep the bags cycling as frequently as possible. In addition, please only return reusable bags into circulation, not single use bags. Our final request is that you keep this program positive. Don’t ruin the fun for everyone else!

The Frontière Farm House CSA 2020

In 2019, we had some amazing supporters for our CSA card, so we decided to bring it back again this year!

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. There is no expiration date on the card, and it can be topped up whenever is convenient for you, in those same amounts. 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.

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What do you get with the membership?
With this purchase, we are offering a bonus on loading and reloading the card. If you make the initial purchase before April 30, 2020, the bonus will be as follows:
$100 purchase gets you: $115 (an extra 15%)
$250 purchase gets you: $292.50 (an extra 17%)
$500 purchase gets you: $600 (an extra 20%)
After April 30, 2020, including any reloads, the bonus will be as follows:
$100 purchase gets you: $110 (an extra 10%)
$250 purchase gets you: $280 (an extra 12%)
$500 purchase gets you: $575 (an extra 15%)
This bonus amount will remain the same for all of 2020. We may change the bonus percentage in the future.

What can you get with the CSA?
In short, anything we sell! This year, we plan on offering: Chicken, duck, turkey, and goose eggs; and chicken, duck, goose, and turkey meat. We also hope to offer lamb this year, if all goes well with lambing season in the spring! In addition, we will have other sheep products at various times, such as raw fleeces, processed fiber, and yarn. We are dialing back our plant production, but we will have a small selection of seasonal vegetables, herbs, and cut flowers; our delicious spice blends and infused salts; and some of Nicole’s handmade items (at most markets). We will post a Facebook update with what will be available at the market weekly.

What can you not get with the CSA?
The only things that the CSA cannot be spent on are wholesale orders, deposits for pre-orders, whole or half lambs, and our Egg CSA. Basically, you cannot “double dip” the discounts.

If you are ready to jump on board, contact us here! We have also made e-gift cards available 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.

Knitting Pattern: Plush Junimo from Stardew Valley

As part of our 2020 Uberlist, I plan on releasing a couple free knitting patterns. Knitting is one of the many facets of what I do here on the farm, and bringing it all together in one place seems logical for us.
Robert has been playing Stardew Valley pretty consistently since it was released. He has a Nintendo Switch, and it was one of the first games he got for it. I love watching him play, and I wanted to knit him something from the game as part of his birthday gift back in December.

I whipped up this cute little buddy, and decided I should share the pattern with you in case you have a fan of Stardew Valley in your life! It’s a very simple pattern, and the extra details like arms, legs and antenna were made super easy by using pipe cleaners. If you want to have it be a little softer, feel free to knit a black i-cord in place of the pipe cleaners, and sew it on. Please keep in mind that this is not a toy suitable for small children.

Yarn
Any smooth worsted weight in the color and fiber content of your choice. I used some random blue acrylic that was sitting in my office.

Needles and Notions
US 7 (4.5mm) DPNs (Or size needed to obtain a tight fabric that doesn’t show stuffing through)
Darning needle
Pair of safety eyes (I used some of the second largest from this set)
2-3 black pipe cleaners
Something to stuff the plush

Instructions
Using Judy’s Magic Cast On, CO 8 sts (This counts as the first row)
Row 2, and all even numbered rows: Knit around
Row 3:KFB around, dividing evenly between four needles
Row 5: *K1, KFB* repeat around
Row 7: *K2, KFB* repeat around
Row 9: *K3, KFB* repeat around
Row 11: *K4, KFB* repeat around (total 48 sts)
Knit approximately 15 rounds, or until body is long enough to make a rough sphere once stuffed.

Place safety eyes. Junimo eyes are usually widely spaced, and slightly below the midpoint of the body.

Cut one pipe cleaner roughly in half. Insert each end through the inside of the body so they come out where the legs should be. This can be moved around until you find the right spot. Once placed to your satisfaction, fold back about ½ inch of each end, twist to cover sharp end, and bend to form the feet.

Stuff body about halfway.

Poke second pipe cleaner through each side to make arms. Trim a few inches off to desired length. Repeat folding, twisting and bending so as to form hands.
Add more stuffing.

Resume knitting top of head:
Decrease 8 sts every other row as follows:
*K4, k2tog* repeat around
Knit around
*K3, k2tog* repeat around
Knit around
*K2, k2tog* repeat around
Knit around
*K1, k2tog* repeat around
Knit around
Add more stuffing here if needed to form spherical shape.
*K2tog* around
Break yarn, using darning needle, thread through remaining stitches, add more stuffing if needed, and draw shut. Weave in end.

Top Leaf:
Using same needles, CO 2 sts
Knit across
KFB twice
Knit three rows
K2tog twice
Knit across
K2tog
Break yarn and draw through final stitch. Weave in ends.

Stick end of pipe cleaner left over from making legs through CO end of leaf. Fold over and twist to secure.
Fold up ½” of opposite end and bend and twist to secure. Place firmly through small BO hole in top of Junimo’s head, adding glue if desired.

There’s your Junimo! I would love to see your finished projects on Ravelry, or in the comments here!

This post was sponsored by our Patreon supporter Melina. Find her gorgeous hand dyed yarn on Facebook, Instagram, and Etsy, and find her knitting patterns on her website and Ravelry.

Ushering in a New Year with Ups and Downs

When we published our goals for 2020, I really wasn’t expecting to get started on them right on January 1. I was truly expecting to sort of lazily glide into the new year and start tackling goals by the first weekend. Unfortunately, that’s not the way life goes on the farm, and we lost one of our sheep overnight.

Verse was born on our farm on March 18, 2019 to Haiku. She was an adorable little lamb who was our only surviving lamb between the two ewes. For the last few months, she has been dealing with an unknown illness. We’ve had the farm vet out to take a look at her, Verse received some medication, and good food, and she continued to decline despite her extra TLC. Last night, she passed away due to an injury caused by the complications of the illness that she couldn’t recover from. I removed some of her wool to be used in a project in the future. It’s wonderfully soft.

We were both very upset, and sort of abandoned some of our plans for the day. However, as other farmers know, you can’t just give up when one thing goes wrong. We took care of some other chores, and then we headed north to another farm to bring a new ewe home. A Romeldale/California Variegated Mutant sheep fell into our laps recently, and we couldn’t say no to her. While picking her up from the farm about an hour away, she attempted to jump through a gate twice, and was generally quite rambunctious. That is until we got the halter on her and tried to lead her. Apparently, she forgot she has legs, and just turned into a bag of bricks. Robert carried her to the truck and loaded her in, where she happily rode the hour back home in a large dog crate surrounded by hay bales. When we got her home, we introduced her to the rest of the flock through a gate. The boys took an immediate interest in her, even though she should already be bred. We will see what happens in May when she is due! We named her Calypso, which follows our “hop variety” name theme for 2019. (We were supposed to pick her up in 2019, but scheduling just couldn’t work out)

As much as it hurts to lose Verse, she is no longer in pain. We need to continue to build the farm even when we suffer losses like this. We will continue to grow throughout this year, and we hope to share the ups and downs with all of you.