Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas
Happy Holidays everyone.  Lots of new and exciting things happening...I'll show you in pictures...

Christmas Cow her name is Spirit
This is Spirit she is our new addition to the farm.  A beautiful Jersey cow that is so sweet and gentle...she has been very patient with me during our times together in the morning and evening...I hope to improve on my milking skills quickly to make it easier for her!

This is Spirit's companion.  This is not her calf, but they have been together since he was born.  We have kept them together as they enjoy each others company. 

A big change for us....and loving it!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Last market of the year....

Table at the market
This is the last table of the year...not too bad.  It was a great season and great experience and now some time to relax and plan for next year.  Thank you to everyone for their support and encouragement. 

We want to wish everyone a Happy Holiday season and we look forward to seeing you in 2013!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Market in December?

Our garden is still producing...of course the cold hardy stuff like kale, arugala, mizuna and we pulled out some of our carrots the other day.  Because of this, we decided to continue with doing local farmers markets and have found an indoor market run out of the Waldorf School in Blockhouse, NS.  It is only about 30minutes from our place and you can visit http://winterfarmersmarket.org to learn  more about the market and what is offered.  It is every Saturday from 10-2 and  it is in a wonderful setting with a great group of people.  We participated this past Saturday and offered carrots, kale, cabbage and arugala for fresh foods as well as some parsley pesto, salad h'hiver ( a recipe of K's mom), and some soaps, lip balms and bath fizzers.  We also made up some Christmas wreaths which was a great learning experience and a whole industry here on the South Shore.  We forgot our camera at the market so no photos of the table, but some photos of harvest and the wreaths...

K snipping off some arugula leaves for market
One of the wreaths we made for sale for market

Friday, November 30, 2012

New edition at HillTop

The suspense is over....here is the latest edition at HillTop...hard to take the smile off of K's face...

Harley Ferguson here we come!
It is a 1982 Massey Ferguson!  Perfect little tractor for HillTop's needs!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Edition to HillTop

We have a new edition coming to HillTop Farm....we should have her here by the end of this week...I am going to keep you in suspense until then and we are very excited to have her join our farm!

What could it be? (and no it is not a monkey)

The Day of Kraut

The sauerkraut that we made the other day seems to be doing its magic.  There is lots of brine so I think that is a good sign to a successful kraut making day. 

It was such a treat to have our neighbor (who has lived in the same house that he is in now, his entire life) come over with his wife and teach us the traditional way of making sauerkraut.  The cutter is handmade by his grandfather who was the original homesteader of our property..

Taking the outer leaves off of the cabbage and then cutting them in half and placing them in water is the first stage of the process.  You then take the cabbage and slice them in the cutter...this one being handmade with old scythe blades as the cutters.  After you cut up a good amount of cabbage you place it in a bucket or they would have used a stoneware crock or wooden barrel

The next step is to stomp the cabbage until you bring out the "juice"/brine that it will ferment in.  This is done with a handmade stomper from one solid piece of wood and carved out to fit into the crock...it is a beautiful piece and just think of how much sauerkraut this piece had a part in...I am thinking we can't go wrong
You know that you have stomped enough when the cabbage starts to stick to the bottom of the stomper.  Once you have reached this point, you place a plate with a rock on it on top of the cabbage to keep it submerged in the brine for the fermentation.  That's it...and you let it sit and do its business for a few days keeping an eye on making sure there is brine.  We had 70 pounds of cabbage all from our garden and it made a bucket and a half of kraut.  The buckets I got where from a local grocery store from their hot food section and they were free as they were going to throw them out.  They worked perfect for the kraut.
It was such a great day in many ways...the company, the weather and the opportunity to make the sauerkraut with a person who lived here all his life and grew up on our property and to learn this traditional skill.  We will definitely be doing it again next year and this time having a sauerkraut making festival!  Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Lunenburg County Sauerkraut

 The day in pictures...story to follow.
The gang getting the Cabbage ready for slicing

This slicer has been in use for generations...

Putting cabbage in bucket to be stomped

Stomping the cabbage to bring out the juice for fermentation

Monday, November 19, 2012

Putting the Garden to Bed

What do you do with

A large amount of bagged leaves.....


A big pile of seaweed from the beach
 You put it here
Garden emptying of produce and filling with mulch for the winter
 to get ready for it to look like this in 6 months.

HillTop Farm garden coming into its peak

Monday, November 5, 2012

Latest Creation...Goat Cheese Mozzarella

Yes...Goat Cheese and I would have to say from the feedback that I received, that it was a success.  A friend of mine has a couple of milk goats that she shares their milk with me and her Mom.  We have been making chevre and I have quite a bit in the freezer (it makes a DELICIOUS cheesecake!)  I also want to try to do some goat milk soap which I will attempt as the winter slowdown continues.

Anyway, I had some time the other morning and decided that I would give the Mozzarella a try. 

Heating up the milk
It was a fairly straightforward experience, just needed some time for the steps and making sure the right temperature is achieved at the right stage.

This is the milk and whey separating and forming the curds that need to be kept at a certain temperature for a certain time for the magic to happen.
Blob of curds
This is what the curds look like separated from the whey and draining..at this point does.not look very appetizing...

Me and my Mozzarella
They step before it is actually a solid cheese, I could not take a photo because it needed both of my hands to do it.  You have to heat up the curds in either water or the whey (which I used) to 155 and then bring it out and stretch and squeeze it so that most of the whey comes out to give you a mozzarella.  A little hard for a photo and stretching 155 degree cheese curds...K got home just in time to take the finished product...and taste some too!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Putting up the Garden

Research for latest experiement
This is my latest attempt at preserving some of our harvest...carrot jam.  I have never tried it and was chatting with a vendor at the West Dublin market and she mentioned she makes it, so I gave it a try...

Boiling limes, carrots and sugar
Finished product
The result in the jar looks great...I love the colour!  Now to see what it will taste like...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wrapping up Outdoor Season

Setting up for last outdoor market in Liverpool for 2012

It was a beautiful morning for our last outdoor market in Liverpool for 2012.  K took some great photos with excellent lighting.  We had a pretty full table with the last of the tomatoes, and cauliflower out for sale.  We even managed to have some pumpkins.  Thanks to everyone who supported us and chatted with us and we look forward to next Spring! 
Even Spart got in on the garden cleanup...
At the Petite winery it was harvest week also and I got the opportunity to be outside the shop and work in the vines and pick some delicious, beautiful grapes!  These are Leon Millot and yes, I did try some and they were good...can't wait to taste them in next years wines!

Leon Millot - Petite Riviere Vineyard

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Chanteclers at HillTop!

We are the proud new owners of 13 new chickens...the Chantecler.  These birds are a Canadian breed created in the early 1900's at the Abbey of Notre Dame du Lac in Oka, Quebec.  Our youngest editions are not sexed yet so the odds are pretty good that we will have a rooster in the bunch and perhaps increase the breed numbers of these birds.  
These are our 5 teenagers and 4 youngsters getting used to their new pen.

 This breed is designed to fit our Canadian climate so they have much smaller and tighter combs and wattles to avoid freezing and frostbite in the winter months.  Their white plumage covers them for insulation allowing the hens to lay eggs all winter long.  These are dual purpose birds meaning they are raised for both egg production as well as meat.  

We have 4 that are 1 yr old...this one is giving her new nesting box a try.  

The introduction of these new chickens to our existing flock went pretty smoothly.  They all seemed to have worked out their order and everyone is happy and healthy.  K and I were both a bit stressed of the introduction of the new birds wondering, will they all get along, hopefully they share, and can live well together.  They were perfectly fine...it is funny how we can impose our own insecurities and stress onto other things/creatures/people.  

Found these photos of some of the first rooster and hen...they are beautiful birds and we look forward to seeing what happens with our flock!

Rooster taken in 1926

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Whole Food Plant Based Diet....Hmmmm

We rented this movie from our library last night  http://www.forksoverknives.com/
and it definitely gave me food for thought...sorry about the pun.  The whole premise is that disease can be reversed and controlled by eliminating animal base protein and dairy from our diet.  I do agree that eating a healthy balanced diet is an extremely important factor in health, yet I am not convinced about the animal protein.  Can it make a difference if the meat is not coming from a factory farm and raised by someone you know or yourself and you know what is going into the animal?  The same I feel about dairy products...what are your thoughts on the matter? 
K and I eat pretty healthy I would say...we do eat meat on occasion and not in large quantities and we do love our potato chips.  How about the philosophy everything in moderation? 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Everywhere Tomatoes!

Well, our tomato plants definitely were successful producers this year!  Here are just a few ways that we utilized them for winter use...

From these....

1.  Famous Salad D'Hiver....a recipe from K's mom....yum yum
2.  Homemade Pasta Sauce...can't wait to try this!

#'s 3&4 are Salsa in the background and homemade sundried tomatoes and basil in olive oil...oh boy!

That's four different ways...any other suggestions?  Still have tomatoes coming off the plant! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Sweet Delicious Melons....who knew you could grow these...they are delicious!

Peanuts!  I am going to roast a batch and see how they turn out....again...who knew?
K harvested carrots for the market the other day and pulled these...nature at its best.
Things have been going well in the garden and in good in general.  It is a busy time of year with harvesting and food saving.  I have frozen alot of tomatoes and will be doing some sauce in the next few weeks.  Will also be recreating K's mom's famous chutney/relish recipe and am excited to see how it will turn out.  The markets have been good and we see alot of return faces and have lots of great conversations and laughs!  Thanks to everyone who encouraged us and support us along the way.
K is working on the roofing project and it is a bit challenging as we have had the most rain all season in the last two weeks...ever since we started the project.  I guess we should have done it sooner and maybe the rain would have been here sooner...it is like washing your car...as soon as you do it, it rains.  It will look and feel good when it is all done!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Projects Continued and Completed

Beehive Built waiting for bees next June

Cats Sleep Dancing

Mizuna Seeds waiting to be hulled

Picked a peck of peppers

Potatoes and Tomatoes, curing and ripening
Love this time of year...cleaning out parts of the garden and putting away foods like a squirrel.  Markets have been going well and there is still plenty in the garden...green onion, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, tomatoes, basil, parsley, cucumbers, delicata squash, butternut squash, pumpkin, storage onion and do not forget peanuts!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

One Hundred Feet Diet

A good portion of lunch from the garden

Lunenburg County Cucumber salad and delicious beet salad
Need I say more...Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Life at HillTop

Farmer Mo
Busy time of year....with lots to do!  Harvesting, planting, selling, building...I look forward to the fall. 
Here we are using our new seeder planting some more arugula.  Our neighbor gave this to us as he figured that we could use it to make our job a little easier.  It is a bit easier and does take a bit getting used to as I usually do the seeding/planting by hand.  We also planted more beans, carrots, swiss chard and I will be doing more cilantro and lettuce.  We will see what happens.

West Dublin Hall where market takes place
We did two markets last week...Liverpool and the West Dublin market http://www.facebook.com/groups/391351660878068/ which is just down the road from us.  It was fun to see our friends and meet some neighbours and for them to see why we have been so busy.  It has been a great experience doing these markets...this week we are back at the Bridgewater market http://www.facebook.com/bridgewaterfarmersmarket.  Take a peak at their site as we had some wonderful photos taken of our table.  This week is the Going Green festival so it should be busy with lots of good and positive energy.  

Our table at West Dublin
Our neighbour selling her low bush wild blueberries with her helpers.