Saturday, July 9, 2011

Very Busy 8 Months

Eight months and a lot of flour.....

Getting the rustic loaves down.

I'm now baking with a friend (the one who gave me that first batch of starter). We formed a company--The Bakery at Riverside Farm--and bake to order once a week. But with recent VA Dept. of Ag. approval we can now bake for resale to local businesses...which means adding a baking day.

Ahh, croissants.
Our home's cool winter climate was perfect for rolling out croissants. Summer croissants? Fahgetaboutit.

Rustic variations don't stop. Featured here is a Greek olive rustic. Also popular is a blue cheese and caramelized onion rustic.

Strawberry cakes.
When we started baking we decided to make seasonal treats, using only locally grown fruits and vegetables. These strawberry cakes were a big hit. I had to hire child labor for strawberry slicing to keep up with the demand.
Swarm in the fig tree. That's a column of solid bees.
Meanwhile, outside things heated up way, way too early. Bees started swarming. We had four swarms this year--caught three. The first, and largest swarm, happened while we were away. I received an interesting text message from my baking partner who happened to be collecting eggs that morning. The bees had landed on the chicken coop in what was the largest swarm we've ever had. Of course, the queen at the center of it all happened to be the one we bought last fall.

Below are bees from the fig tree swarm being introduced to their new home.

Future dinner guests.
Yes, we now have sheep. We started off with five--two ewes (the moms) and their offspring--but invited Lucy to be guest of honor at a Memorial Day dinner. Andrew and a friend helped dress her. Graham (future Top Chef contestant) also helped. Due to mechanical error with our thermometer Lucy was overcooked so wasn't so great.

The Twins.
These adorable little guys were a few days old when they arrived on our farm. They are now much bigger and not as cute. Once they hit 100 pounds they will head off to that cold place...

Stand off.
Rico (also known as Houdini Cow, Pig, T-bone) came to us from friends whose pasture couldn't handle him. He's a handsome Jersey that needed to gain a good 200 pounds. I really, really like having him. He's like a big dog. I just didn't realize that cows eat things other than grass...such as roses, grapevines, plum and pear trees, and whatever is growing in the garden. There is something special about watching a 9-pound dog chase a 300-pound cow Out of the Garden. Once Rico moves to our freezers this Fall, we'll let the pasture recover and then work on reinforcing the garden fence before letting anymore cows in.