My Hen Turned into a Rooster!!???
4 years ago I bought 25 Production Red hens from a mail order hatchery. They have been faithful layers and bug catchers. Over time their numbers have dwindled due to old age and the occasional predator but a few of the matriarchs are still around.
I was watching them scratch and peck at bugs the other day and I noticed I had what seemed to be a Red Rooster, with small spurs crowing and strutting around but something about its feathers didn't look quite right!?
Perplexed I did what any rational person would do and went to Google and typed in the words "Can a Hen Turn into a rooster?"
I found out that a hen can in-fact turn into a rooster
Certain medical conditions can cause a chicken's left ovary to regress. Without a functional left ovary, the dormant right sex organ may begin to grow, and then hen will appear to turn into a rooster, but from my research they will remain sterile.
Happy New Year!
I am not a superstitious person in general but I can’t pass up an opportunity to eat some good pork on a cold day. My go to New Years Day meal is simple but satisfying and good any cold winter day!
Ham, Black eye peas & Cabbage Stew
2 Tbs Rocky ridge farm Lard
1 package of Rocky Ridge Farm Ham Steaks chopped into ½” cubes
1 whole Large onion
2 cups shredded cabbage
3 cloves garlic
3-4 bay leaves
2-3 tsps dried thyme
½ - 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes depending on how much spice you like..
2/3 cup dry white wine
3 cups frozen or canned black eyed peas, rinse if using canned
6 cups Rocky Ridge Farm Ham stock or chicken stock
Salt and pepper to tasted
3 tbs Butter
3 tbs flour.
1 . Add 2 TBS Lard to a large deep stock pot add the cubed Ham steak and cook until it starts to brown and smells fragrant.
2. Add onions to skillet and cook 3-5 minutes until starting to soften and turn translucent add lard as necessary to keep from sticking.
3. Add Garlic, bay leaves, thyme, red pepper flakes and shredded cabbage. Cook a little longer until cabbage is slightly wilted.
4. Pour white wine in and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom on the pot.
5. Add in the black eye peas and enough stock to just cover all the ingredients
6. Simmer for 30-45 minutes until cabbage is tender and beans are flavorful.
7. To finish salt and pepper to taste. If you like a thicker stew at this point you can make roux and add it to the simmering stew until the desired thickness is achieved.
Serve with your favorite corn bread!
I've lived in Colorado for over 20 years and somehow never tried Chokecherry jelly. I guess I thought of sour crab apples but this stuff is nothing like that. It tastes amazing and instantly I knew it would pair perfectly with our pork.
Here is my adapted recipe.
I don't have a picture for you because the day I made them I didn't have my good camera with me so you'll have to try it and send me a picture of yours!
2. Sprinkle generously with Himalayan salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of lard or bacon drippings in a large sauté pan until very hot. Add the chops and brown on both sides over medium high heat, about 3-4 minutes on each side until medium rare.
4. Place pork chops on a platter and cover with tin foil to keep warm.
5. Add remaining shallots and garlic to pan and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes until she shallots soften.
6. Add red wine and boil until reduced by half. It will take just a minute or two. Add jelly and cracked pepper and stir until jelly melts.
7. Take the pan off the heat and add the butter and gently swirl the pan until all the butter is melted
8. Place the pork chops back in pan and turn to coat both sides with glaze. Remove from heat. Serve warm chops with creamy parmesan quinoa and sautéed greens (recipe for those to come soon). Makes 2 servings.
Is all raw milk the same and is raw milk safe?
Recently one of my customers asked if I pasteurized my raw milk for safety before I drank it. I told her I did not, because I have confidence in our milk production and handling procedures and feel that our milk is safe to drink raw.
So, is raw milk from all producers the same and is all raw milk safe?
That is an excellent question and the answer is simple but not so simple
Raw milk directly from the clean teat of forage and grass fed, disease free cows is safe and free of pathogenic bacteria. That is where simple ends.
From the teat to the bottle there are hundreds of chances for contamination of your raw milk.
Therefore, it is important to know your farmer and their milking procedures if you are drinking raw milk. We go to great lengths to make sure that our Raw milk is extremely clean and confirm the effectiveness of our procedures by testing our milk with an independent lab at least once a quarter. In 2019 we will be implementing on farm testing as well.
We meticulously clean our cows and their teats before milking, and all our equipment is double washed and sanitized before milking. Then your milk is filtered and flashed chilled after it is bottled then kept extremely cold to preserve its quality till you serve it to your family.
So how do you tell your milk is clean if you aren’t part of Rocky Ridge Farm’s herd share. Honestly the only way to know for sure is to get milk from a herd share that tests their milk. If you can’t get milk from a farm that tests here are some signs that your milk is produced cleanly.
1. Fresh sweet taste. Quality milk should never taste cowy, or salty. It should be sweet and creamy
2. Long shelf life. Quality milk will last over two weeks without tasting off if it is produced well and kept cold. If your milk goes bad in a week or less that is a sure sign it was contaminated.
So check out your farm, and enjoy quality Milk.
Over the last couple of months, I have learned some important things in life. First make sure everyone in your boar is rowing, not drilling holes when you aren’t looking, second let go of the things not meant for you, so you there is room for the things that are, and Third you have more friends than you realize if you let them in.
When I shared about my divorce I was touched by all of the support and positive messages I received from my farm followers. Since then so many doors have opened up for me and the farm. After years of struggling the right people have come into my life and turned things around. Farm projects that have been on the back burner are being completed and many opportunities have opened up to expand and grow in many ways.
Just a couple small thing that are happening now.
The North field is being transitioned to back to productive pasture. The first step was planning a cover crop to help heal the soil. We used a mix of oats, barley, teff, pearl millet and clovers. When we were planning for this crop we found out using cover crops in our area and climate is sort of a no mans lands and very few people have experience with it so we had to wing it.
It grew well despite our drought and is providing good grazing for our new American Wagyu cattle. We will be taking deposits on our two steers in the next couple weeks. We also added a beautiful Red merle Border Collie to our family to help with the livestock. Her name is Dixie!
Here she is bringing the cattle in off the pasture.
We have started remodeling the little shop into a milk room and farm kitchen. So I won't have to haul my very heavy milk bucket to and from the milking barn. Making things just a little bit easier on the farm.
Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas
Spring is in full swing, for this farmer/farrier/horsewoman, That means long days and not a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Still everyone is starving at the end of the day and feeding them is my job too.
Here is one of my favorite go to recipes for fool proof pulled pork Carnitas. The secret is in the cooking method! Get it ready the night before and then pop it in the oven before you leave!
4 -6 lbs Rocky Ridge Farm pork shoulder or Boston butt roast
1-2 Tbs salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tbs dried Mexican oregano
2 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs chili powder
1 large red onion sliced
8 cloves garlic, smashed
2 limes sliced
2 large oranges sliced
12 oz Mexican Coke
3-4 bay leaves
unbleached parchment paper
heavy duty foil
Additional limes, jalapenos, avocado, red onions, sour cream & Cotija for serving
TO CRISP IN THE PORK
Transfer the pork to a baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking oil spray (or lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper).
Pour one ladle full (about 1 cup) of the liquid from the slow cooker over the pork to season. Broil for 5-10 minutes on high heat until the meat becomes golden browned and crispy on the edges.
Season with a little extra salt and pepper if desired. Pour over more of the slow cooker juices once the meat has crisped for added flavor. Set out limes, jalapenos, avocado, red onions, sour cream & Cotija
I love cooking with the seasons and this recipe is perfect for the last peaches of the year. It is simple, easy, delicious and can be on the table in 30 minutes!
4 Rocky Ridge 3/4 boneless loin pork chops
2 tablespoons butter
2 large shallots, Halved and thinly sliced
4-6 fresh preferably tree ripe large peaches, washed, pitted and sliced
2-4 tablespoons Rocky Ridge peach jam (you can use any Jam but I prefer ours)
1. Season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Melt 1 TBS of butter in a large skillet over medium high heat, when the pan is hot add your pork chop and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until they are medium rare to medium. DO NOT OVER COOK! Then remove from pan and set aside in a warm oven
4. Add Shallots to the pan and saute until tender and caramelized. You can add more butter as needed. I love butter so I use tons!
5. Add peaches to your skillet salt to taste turning to cook evenly, cook until tender.
6. Add the peach jam and stir until melted. Plate pork chops and spoon peaches and shallots over the pork chops and enjoy!
The chill of fall is already in the air, all the fruit is ripening making me think about pie and when I think about pie it must also have a perfect crust to enclose the wonderful fruit of the season and for that you need lard! Thankfully with our pigs I have plenty of fat to render for this purpose and it is super easy to do. For the best quality lard for pastries always start with the leaf fat from around the kidneys, you can use back fat as well but it won't be as high quality.
5lbs of fat
1/4 cup of water
Cut your fat into chunks 1/4" cubes or smaller, making sure to trim any meat or blood spots out, (This is essential to reduce any porky flavor or smell) alternatively you can put it in your food processor to grind it into a paste, this will also increase your yield. I don't have a food processor right now so I choose to cut my fat up.
Place the chopped fat into a stock pot or dutch oven add 1/4 cup water and put it in the oven at around 200-250 degrees, allow the fat to melt. Stir every 10-20 minutes. after the fat starts to liquefy, skim it off with a ladle and pour through a sieve lined with cheese cloth or a clean paper towel into clean jars. Continue to drain off the fat till all you have left are crackings. Cool and freeze. You can also can it, so it is shelf stable but I haven't tried it yet. Continue to drain off the fat till all you have left are crackings.
.And simple as that you have healthy pastured lard for all of you cooking and baking needs! I hope this will helpful if you have any questions leave them in the comments below!
Last Month I posted two pictures on my facebook page asking what pork of people preferred, Mangalista cross, or lean Berkshire. Almost 80% of the people who answered preferred the lean Berkshire. That was what I had expected. It confirmed my suspicion that the majority of people still think fat is bad for you and doesn't necessarily taste very good and if we are talking cafo pork they are right. The fat from your typical cafo pork is tough, chewy, gristly, greasy, and well honestly it tastes rancid. So of course, who would want that? I know I certainly wouldn't. But over the years of raising pastured pigs I have learned a few things about what quality pork is, and it doesn't even come close to what you have been buying at the supermarket.
So you ask," Why do you raise these "Fatty" pigs?"
Well I'm glad you asked!
I never set out to raise fatty pigs. I was on a quest for flavor and healthier pork. I sought out the best of the best. Berkshire's are known for the quality of their meat, and Mangalistsa's the quality & health benefits of their fat and the quality. So why not pick one? Well neither had exactly what I was looking for. Modern Berkshires are too lean, and pure mangalista pigs are bred to have 70% fat. Which is far too much. So I set out to try and breed the best qualities of these two pigs into one animal.
The first cross of these pigs I raised were a 50/50 (in the freezer). I agree they had a bit too much fat. I think I over supplemented them with grain at finishing. I have a second batch of 50/50 pigs and I am experimenting with them. They are on 95% forage/pasture and are being finished on a much smaller portion of grain. These pigs should have significantly less fat that the first ones I butchered.
Even though these pigs have a little bit more fat than most of you are used to, I encourage you to give it a shot! It is amazing and you will never look at pork the same. Below are two videos with more information on the qualities of Mangalista pigs and why I had to include them in my pastured pig program. And unlike any other producer in the us our pigs are raised almost entirely on green feed!
I knew the day I drove by my farm it was perfect, and by perfect, I meant cheap and bank owned so I had a prayer of being able to get into it! Now that was probably a mistake but you live and learn. My options were limited being young, without any credit, or anyone to help me get into a house, let alone a farm. So I took the plunge and bought my place.
My first spring here, I was so excited that I finally had a pasture to irrigate and that quickly turned into a small nightmare. The antique irrigation equipment on my large pasture was temperamental and leaky. The first week the motor on my side-roll, refused to start. I took it off and took it into a shop and had it repaired and it would run for a week and have to go back. After the second time I took it to a different shop and discovered I needed a new motor. So I ordered that and then something else broke on my mover. That was the last straw! I put all of my old irrigation equipment up for sale to switch to hand move pipe! At least it would start everyday! Being late in the season I had to wait till the next spring to order my new pipe! So year one with little grass in my big pasture, thankfully I was able to irrigate my cow pasture with flood irrigation to keep it producing grass.
My second spring I joyfully ordered my brand new irrigation pipe, which quickly turned into another nightmare! The company I ordered from kept delaying my delivery date then they installed the wrong fittings but finally at the end of summer I had irrigation pipe for my big pasture. I have never been so happy to see all the little sprouting grass.
The Third spring began with Promise. We had our irrigation pipe! We had irrigation water and soon We hoped to have grass in our big pasture. As the season went on I was so proud to see all of my grass growing and thriving with the water, till one awful morning! I looked out and my field was heading out all of the beautiful grass I was growing was fox tail. The whole pasture was nothing but foxtail and horsetail milk weed. I was disappointed to say the least but what can you do but Bloom where you are planted. I will make due with my small pasture for now and save funds to replant and rehabilitate the big pasture.