Brush and Trash

Just two days before my sons and I left for Scotland on 12 September, our area received over 10 inches of rain in about 12 hours!  What a nightmare!  ALL of our watergaps were washed out and in some low lying areas, fences were laying almost flat to the ground.  My husband and Christian got to stay home and do all the cleanup.

With that in mind, it is time I try to keep some of the big dead logs and rotted stuff from being washed down into a massive water gap that is on the eastern edge of my farm.  This ditch catches all the water from my place plus a good deal of the runoff from the row crop farmers to the north as well as runoff from Cotton Road.  My southern neighbour’s property also has a good deal of runoff in this ditch, so it doesn’t take much of a rain to really get things rolling, but 10 inches in 12 hours is a mess!

Burning the rubbish that had been pushing on the perimeter fence.
Burning the rubbish that had been pushing on the perimeter fence.
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My new pup, Red Wolf, an Australian Shepherd from Scott and Jennifer Allen’s fine stock dogs. Red is about 4 months old. He is not obedient enough to be allowed to run without a long lead. He needs a lot of training, but he’s learning quickly. Lots of distractions in the timber and we are working close to a paved road.
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These White or Paper Birch, or whatever they are called are pretty rare in north Missouri, so I’ve taken extra time to prune them to encourage better growth. Don’t know if they really have any other value other than to be extremely pretty. These trees are staying! We are making considerable headway in clearing away rubbish from the creek (or ‘crick’ as we say in north Missouri).
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Old growth timber that needs a LOT of TLC. My Grandpa Falconer raised sows and pigs in this 20 acre timber patch for years. I plan to lamb out my ewes in here this spring.
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No, not really! my little Stihl 211C is not designed to take down a tree of this size and my skill level is not either!
Dallas standing by one of the trees that is too old and ugly to have any value.
Dallas standing by one of the trees that I’ve been told is too old and ugly to have any value.

Dallas and I have been working at clearing this week and since there are very few days in north Missouri that the wind lays enough to start brush fires, we coveyed up and set three today.  Although it was a bit nippy and no sun, working in the shelter of the timber with no wind the temperature was about perfect.

Biscuit Topped Italian Casserole

Time to clean out the frig!  There were some leftover green beans, but i added another 10 oz bag, had some organic carrots that were starting to get soft, so sliced them thinly to steam.  Browned 1 1/2 lbs of home-grown grass finished ground beef, added about a cup of organic chopped onions and let simmer.  Earlier, I had thawed out an ice cream bucketful of cooked tomatoes I had cooked up from tomatoes friends and neighbours had given us last summer, so that needed using.  All the players fell into place to make this dish and it is one of our favourites.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 lbs grass-fed ground beef

1/2 cup organic chopped onion

15 ounces or so of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce or juice – whatever you have

20 ounces total of green beans or carrots, or okra, peas, whatever – although we don’t particularly like broccoli in this dish

Stir in about 1 cup of shredded mozzarella

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat together and simmer until thickened consistency, then pour into an 8×13 inch baking dish. After arranging biscuits and cheese on top, bake at 350ºF for 27 minutes.

Adjust ingredients to match your crews’ hunger level!

Biscuits

1 3/4 cup of flour

1/3 cup organic butter

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon Real salt

Mix these together, then add about 3/4 cup of milk from grass fed cows to make a soft dough.  Roll out thinner than usual, then cut and arrange on top of casserole as pictured (or just however you want to – make a smiley face!).  Then scatter another cup or so of your favourite cheese and sprinkle with oregano.

Biscuit Topped Italian Casserole
Biscuit Topped Italian Casserole

Scotland and Steak

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Orkney Scotland

“Scotland is a pretty country.  The roads are so winding that they seem designed to ensure a maximally scenic experience, and the fields are greener than in most other places by orders of magnitude.  They are also pleasantly irregular, having been parceled off in an age before right angles, and are separated by fences hewed out of rock or long and commendably trim hedges.  A knight in armor on horseback would look less out of place on a Scottish road than a car does.  But what would look most natural of all is a golf cart.  The entire country is a vision of the golfing afterlife, with epic stretches of fairway and rough, and the odd clump of forest for texture.  Fields stretch out to the horizon, covering the rises in the land the way a taut blanket covers an uprise of toes.  Looking skyward, you have the feeling that the hand of God might plunge through the cloud cover to stroke all that dewy pasture like an old woman patting a cat.”

an apt description by author Mark Schatzker in his book, STEAK.

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Orkney, Scotland
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Shetland Scotland
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Longoe Farm – part of the Castle of Mey estate, Thurso, Caithness, Scotland
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Shetland
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Kingston Farm – Dunlouise Angus – Forfar, Scotland