Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October is Here!

October is here, the best month, the time I wait for all year. I'm so glad he's back, you just can't know.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Two New Workshops Listed!

Wooly Weekend!
November 22nd 2014
Here at CAF

Join me at the farm this November for a comfy workshop inside by the wood stove. We will talk about all things sheep, wool, and spinning! The workshop will begin outside with the sheep and go over the basics of what Living with Sheep is like and what to expect along that journey. Then a sheep will have some wool sheared off and brought inside to begin the wonderful story of yarn! The wool we cut will be washed, dried by the fire, carded by hand, and spun with a drop spindle. Watch and help turn the hair off the back of an animal become a clean, warm, and beautiful piece of hand spun yarn.

Bring your knitting projects and share your own work with wool with other workshoppers. Try a spinning wheel out. Sit and listen to stories of my own flock, lessons learned (good and bad) and what having sheep in your life can mean and be to you! This is a workshop both for fiber fans who love the art of knitting as well as people considering adding a trio of sheep to the backyard.

I hope that Patty Wesner will join in with us as well, talking about her experiences with her first ever flock of sheep she raised as feeder lambs. She will be harvesting their fleeces, but as sheepskins for the farmhouse and not wool. Another approach, and one that comes with some amazing lamb masala in the end! So join us here in the farmhouse to get a broad introduction to sheep and wool production at home.

Yuletide Cheer
December 6th 2014
Here at CAF

This is a new event here at Cold Antler Farm, one I never thought to offer until my last two books came out. This is a workshop talking about farming within the traditions and mythology around the Wheel of the Year. The Wheel of the Year is a general term for the pre-Christian practices of agricultural Europe. In my case: the Celtic Tradition. Since it is so close to the Solstice and the farm will be lit with bayberry candles, fresh fir branches, and a small tree inside the window we’ll start at Yule and talk about each of the eight festivals of the Wheel and how the farm life dances along with them, in music, story, and myth!

This will be a workshop taking much on farming and faith, finding meaning in mythology and ancient traditions and why I chose this path. I hope that folks interested in the Wheel will come and share their stories. There will also be open discussions on spirituality and farming in general, the importance of feeling connected to your land, and how spiritual groups and communities in general are a part of life here in Washington County. So it’s a little deeper, a little more introspective. But if your faith and your farm are connected you may be interested in joining this discussion.

Win This Vintage Metal Lunchbox!

Five Vlog episodes have now been posted, and they have been a gas creating and sharing. In the last week my Youtube Channel's subscriptions have rocketed, and I am hoping to keep making these if you guys enjoy watching them and want to see more?

But, to grow viewership, I need help getting the word out. So I am hosting a contest. Share an episode of the Vlog on your social media of choice (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Emailing grandma, etc) and report back here with a comment. State how you shared it and that comment in this post is an entry for the lunchbox! Easy!

Yup, a vintage metal barn lunchbox I picked up from a local antique shop. I wanted to give away something special you couldn't get just anywhere. So start now and send out a Facebook post, share whatever episode you like or the channel link itself. You can enter Twice a Day, too. So if you share it twice, leave two comments here. A random winner of all comments will be picked on Saturday Night!

US and Canada only though, for shipping the box. Though any shares  are appreciated, regardless of your location. My goal is to reach 1k subscribers by end of October! Help a gal out and win some farm adorableness.

Monday, September 29, 2014

10 Reasons You're Crazy to Want a Farm!

Fall is Here. Come Join In!

Fall has arrived! At least in colors, as the temperature is a bit too warm to feel correct. But what a sight, no? Strong good dog, red barn, falling leaves! The place is humming with harvest goodness. I had a bowl of butternut squash soup this weekend that was made from a base of hand-stewed applesauce. Now, that's country!

Still have spots open for Antlerstock. Email me at Jenna@itsafarwalk.com to join us here at the farm. Two days of country living skills, campfires, friends, lessons, horses, craft, barter and fellowship. It's the weekend after Columbus Day, and I would love to fill these last spots! I can also squeeze one more in for Arrow's Rising, Columbus Day weekend if you ever dreamed of shooting in the autumn woods, your own bow in your hands, and the autumn light all around you. Come live like fiction with us, those weekends are available!

What We Can Be

This weekend was amazing. A real test of endurance, in all the best ways! I mentioned in the horse vlog about Patty's Dessert First Ride, if you remember? It happened and it was a real test of my ability as a rider. Eight miles on horseback around the backroads of Washington County. The event was one of the many the Washington County Draft Animal Association hosts, a club I've been a part a few years now. Members take turns hosting events that start with a parade of several carts and wagons and our horses and end with a huge potluck community meal. It's always a great time with great people. As far as horse people go, I'm not sure there is a more easy going and adventure ready breed than the horse people who hitch up their mounts to vehicles and hit the open road. We're goofy and irreverent, friendly and welcoming, but most of all - we are horse folk. The kind of people who can never turn back.

Merlin drives, and despite his recent hissy fits, drives well. But since Patty was offering to pick him up and bring him to her house in a borrowed trailer Friday night (for the Saturday ride), I wasn't going to ask her to come back after that favor and trailer my cart. A saddle fits easily into the cab of my pickup truck, along with grooming gear, saddle bags, and other tack. I would ride Merlin and Patty and the rest of the clan would drive their rigs.

Now, I was a little hesitant. I would rather be riding a horse than driving it, any day, but think about the position I am in. I am on the back of a horse, on public roads, surrounded by harnessed animals, cars, trucks, and pedestrians and EVERYONE is moving at a trot. If you don't ride you may not realize how uncomfortable a trot can be? Well, let me put it this way. Sitting a walking horse is easy, like riding a warm couch. A cantering horse is moving smoothly, like that warm couch is on a river, flowing and ebbing below you. But a trot is like the couch is being jackhammered. The gait is jaunty and you can either choose to sit it out (bobbing and bumping the whole way, which isn't good for you or your horse's back) or go up into a posting position. This means that as the horse moves you move too. You rise out of the saddle every time he lands or hover above the saddle using your thighs and heels to keep you stationed in place. It's a workout, and it's what Merlin and I did most of the trip!

I went from nervous and sweating at mile one, to burning thighs at mile three, to elated around mile five! My body just got used to it, as as I got used to it so did Merlin. We moved with the carts and wagons like the proper outriders we were. And with two loaded saddle bags of day hiking gear, a halter and lead rope, snacks, and horse stuff I felt like something from a story book. A hobbit on her laden pony. It's a feeling I try for every day. Some gals get up in the morning wanting to look like their favorite celebrity. Some get up hoping to beat their best run time. Others get up and want to be the best teacher, mother, or spouse. I wake up wanting to live like fiction, to feel like a heroine in her own story. Which is a very flowery way to say, love myself for being myself. That has been a struggle my entire life. Horses take me there.

We stopped for ice-cream at the creamery and Mark (Patty's husband) bought me a coffee milkshake. It was heavenly! I enjoyed it while sitting with new and old friends on the creamery's lawn and Merlin ate grass while we all enjoyed our treats. It had to be near eighty degrees, a fluke of warm weather here. To be out on a late September drive with horses wearing tee shirts and tank tops and sipping milkshakes was great. So much laughter, so many beautiful horses! I could not keep from smiling and as I looked around the crew I realized why. I have left all the miserable people behind, or they left me. I don't allow people to treat me poorly, including myself, anymore. Here on this sun filed day, with the fall leaves swirling at our horses feet I can see we are all happy because we WANT to be here. No one complained, gossiped, or had a harsh word for another. The people in my life are loving, supportive, and encouraging. To surround yourself (including your own brain) with folks who choose to be happy instead of angry, scared, resentful or jealous is a choice we can all make. It's freedom and paradise, and you don't need ice-cream or horses to get it. You just need to want it. We are all flawed, all imperfect, all having good and bad days. But what we can be is always happier, always opting for joy, and always in on the big joke. Which is to say, we all know it all ends in death and we're on borrowed time. You want to spend it being miserable, or sipping milkshakes with your pony?

We got back to Patty's farm and the potluck started. A dozen hungry people dined on homemade shepherd's pie, fresh breads, butter, squash soups and chowder and enough desserts to make the creamery seem like an appetizer. I noticed something fishy about the wild goose shepherd's pie and Patty announced that the base layer was zucchini. At this, several people got out their keys and pushed the lock buttons on their trucks. Mark crossed his arms (he's the gardener at Livingston Brook Farm) and smiled like a fox. "What makes you think I didn't already place them all" and we groaned and had our second helpings. There are worse rural crimes for certain.

It was a great day out, a truly Big Time. You can see more photos of the drive on my Facebook page, taken by (along with all the photos here) my friend Maria A. Patty and Steele were the only heavy horse team, as everyone else was haflingers or hackney ponies! So let's hear it for the little guys, who all did their part with their riders and drivers! You don't need to be a ton of horse to be a fine mount or draft animal. You don't need to be a celebrity to be a fine human being, either. But you do need to smile, and be around people who make you feel glad about the world, and occasionally accept the gift of a coffee milkshake.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Vlog 4: Talking Animals

Dulcimer Day was Beautiful!

A wonderful workshop was hosted here today! New dulcimer players got their start on this farm and I'm proud of them! The farm was filled with music, soft droning tones, and new friends. Always makes the day a little better to see someone play their first songs. Magic, that.

Friday, September 26, 2014

VLOG 3: Horse Before Cart



Here is my third vlog! This one isn't questions or comments, and it isn't a how to either. It's just a postcard of a Friday afternoon. I wanted to share the joy that is Patty Wesner, my great friend, mentor, and fellow equine adventurer. Tomorrow is the Dessert First Ride with the Washington County Draft Club and Patty wanted to do a test run on a new carriage with Steele. We sat down in the field to talk a little and then tacked up for a ride down the road. Darla, Patty's Old English Sheepdog, came along for the ride too. She may be the unofficial star of this episode, since she likes to follow draft animals around a lot!

Winner PICKED!!!


Hey there! Get a comment in here (or a second or third comment) and get entered again for this contest! Winner announced tonight!

Last Thursday, Othniel, Head Farmer at Common Sense Farm, delivered a flock right to my door! 10 hens, 2 roosters, and a free hen duck - driven in a small trailer behind his pickup. His son was with him, and together we moved all the birds into the coop to spend the night in peace away from the Antlerborns. This morning they were let outside in the 37-degree sunshine and made themselves at home. It's good having some fresh blood, since one very hungry fox took out many young birds (and the neighbor's as well) and to have these hearty gals here who just started laying join the flock was a treat. It's also a little bit of insurance. No matter how frugal, or how cold, or how deep the snow: this winter there WILL BE OMELETS!

So, fellow Chicken Owners. I ask you this: How many birds do you keep, and do you keep roosters? Share your chicken story (or chicken dream!) and one comment will get mailed a copy of Chick Days (my chicken care book) and Storey's Chicken Health Handbook!

WINNER PICKED: J.D. Collins! Email me, JD, for your prize!

Loving These Vlogs! Loving YOU!

Something special is in the air around here guys? Can you tell? Can you feel it?! I feel the way I did when I just started blogging, thanks to these new Vlogs. I can't tell you how much fun it is to sit down and push that record button! I am already toying with ideas of animal interviews, how-to shorts, motivational talks, and goofy things like "Gibson teaches the gaelic!" because who wouldn't want to learn conversational Scots from a border collie voiced over by a horrible, horrible, Scottish accent?

It's all so creative and fun. I have no idea if they will amount of anything, but I am having a blast and getting up every morning feeling like I'm going on a date to an outdoor concert. But instead of some guy getting me excited, or some band, it is just my own backyard and my silly head. I'm excited to see ME on that little screen, which surprises me because (as you may have noticed) you rarely see pictures of me on my own blog. It's because I'm very self conscious of how I look, being built more like a hobbit than a model. But for some reason the topics, my good dog, and the old-timey sepia tones makes it more of a "show" then something personal and it feels a little like putting on a small play.

So how does it all work? It's pretty darn simple. I bring out my laptop and set it on something (first episode my tripod was a rabbit cage), and just hit record on the webcam. I talk in short bursts, about a minute or two, and then hit stop. I bring the computer into my office and do the editing at my desk with the newest version of iMovie. So all the music is royalty free, all the sound work (which I am still learning) and cuts are done without any training or real idea of what's happening. I'm just basing it off the Youtubers I admire and laugh with, and so far you guys seem to enjoy it?

So I am going to keep making them, often as I can. I am so grateful you are watching them, and even more grateful when you comment here or on youtube. Thank you for doing that! Comments really, really, matter. To some folks it is a metric of the blog is popular, to others it is just a way to converse. I used to be scared of the comments and shut them off, then I just learned to delete anything shitty and keep anything kind, curious, or conversational. It is so encouraging to see the comments and interact this way with you guys. Do you agree?

It seems like another level of intimacy with a readership, turning readers into a viewers. I also think you will get a better sense of the farm and my world through the vlogs as well, since I hope to show them in different locations and with different animals. Today might be "Myths about owning a horse" or "small batch ciser brewing!" So let me know your thoughts? What you want to see? Try to think of it more as segments or topics and less of documentary? For example: it is easy to talk about my experiences moving around the country on camera, cause I can sit and just talks. It's a lot harder to walk around with a laptop and not look like the Blair Witch Project! So things like farm tours and house tours are possible, but probably a collection of cuts instead of walking with a laptop and tripping over geese? Anyway, you get me, you know me, so suggest away! You might find your comment in this post in a vlog soon!

Want new vlogs emailed right to you, before they are posted here or anywhere else? Click here to go to the channel and click the red subscribe button! It is free, helps the channel gain notoriety, and personally encourages me to keep making more!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Civil War Letter to Kale


My Dearest Kale,

The nights are growing colder, and the first scents of woodsmoke fill this mountain abode, and it is you that keeps me marching strong. My beloved, for your bountiful curves and succulent nature, it imbibes me with the most pleasant of feelings. I think of thee when I am toiling in field or at repose near slumber. To roast you under a chicken is divine in ways this mortal life does not understand, a taste of the hereafter.

Oh, yee of the crinkly leaf, of prehistoric splendor, without you I am forsaken. For you are stronger than I. I see the frost kiss your leaves, the cold come hard, and yet you remain. You are the original bulwark, the ever-going, the remaining life when all around you in the garden have fallen. I dream of thee. I find myself looking upward, the prayer on my lips not of salvation but of satiation. May I know your sweet taste again, with an abundance of butter and fat, the crispy joy of pork belly, and the   pleasures of a fine piece of toast. For you Kale, are what I miss the most of home.

In your service,
Captain Jennadiah Woginrichinson Boghadair the Third.
J-45th Tennessee Cavalry

Cold Antler Farm Vlog - Episode 2!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Cold Antler Farm VLOG is here!

Hey guys! So twice a week Gibson and I'll be posting these vlogs (video blogs) to answer your questions about my farm life (or homesteading in general) and talking real life homesteading, the down and dirty as well as the up and clean. Right now the plan is for new videos twice a week, the first one being a place to answer your questions and comments and the second one to be less about Q&A and more of a talk on one topic. Your suggestions for topics, your questions, anything you can suggest would be a help. So let me know what you want me to talk about!

The above video is just an introduction, but gives you an idea of whats to come. For my next vlog, let me know what questions you have? You can comment here or over on Youtube. You can also talk to me on twitter (@coldantlerfarm). As your questions and I'll pick ones to answer. Get excited for a whole new way of experiencing Cold Antler Farm! And expect the web show to be updated often if folks start taking interest. So enjoy!

Good Morning!

Good morning from the naughty ponies at Cold Antler Farm. They are enjoying their breakfast as the first bit of sunlight hits the maples, just starting to turn into their fall colors! I hope your day grants you a moment to pay attention, look around, and look up.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

ANTLERSTOCK!

Saturday will begin at 9AM, with introductions, farm rules, and sign in right in front of the farmhouse. At 9:30AM workshops will start. You will need to come prepared for an entire day outdoors, in all possible weather. (More on that below in the notes.) I suggest you also bring a notebook and writing tools, as there will be many topics covered and some speakers will not have hand outs. Cash is good too if you want to buy any vendor goods from various speakers and stations

Set up Time will also include barter blanket set up! Bring a blanket and homesteading/farming/hunting/etc related items you wish to offer for trade. The blankets will be on display all day and you can haggle with others, in a moneyless exchange of goods! A great way to meet new people and get acquainted. Small livestock is okay - I can provide water and shade of course - but confinement is up to you. So BYOC.

THERE ARE STILL SPOTS LEFT! 
It is $200 a person for both days, you learn a lot, meet a lot of folks, and help support CAF going into winter. Join us for all of this below in a small festival setting with plenty of teacher time to ask questions and interact with animals, tools, and gear.

UPDATED SCHEDULE!
Note: topics may be added or changed, but far as I know this is the most up-to-date list of events

9:30AM

Backyard Forestry and Traditional Timber Harvesting Methods: Brett McLeod
Brett will do a forest walk, and take down a tree with the help of some volunteers. Using tools such as the crosscut saw, axe, and removing logs by horse. Learn about why trees are harvested, how to fell a tree, and traditional woodland harvesting for fuel and lumber.

10:30AM

Harvesting Wool and Hand Spinning: Jenna Woginrich
We'll cut some wool off a sheep, wash it, dry it, and learn to hand card and turn it into yarn using a drop spindle. Meet the flock and Gibson!

11:00AM

The Blacksmith's Forge: Greg Clasby
There will be a blacksmith's tent this year, and greg will talk about his craft and how he got involved in the ancient art. He will have some wares for sale as well!

LUNCH BREAK 12-1PM
Head into town for cafe lunch or bring a packed lunch!

ALL DAY EVENTS INCLUDE: Pumpkin Carving station, Barter Blankets, Small Farm Stand of CAF books and gear, farm antiques and goods.

1:15PM

Frugal Kitchen and REAL Food Preservation: Cathy Daughton
A mother of four, homesteader, sportswoman and seasoned preserver - Cathy will discuss making your homegrown foods (and your budget) stretch farther. Great Q&A session for sure!

Archery 101: Jenna Woginrich Learn the basics of traditional archery equipment and techniques. Shoot at targets, and learn stance, instinctive shooting basics, and safety!

2:15PM Beekeeping 101: Meg Paska
Thinking about bees? Meg is an author, teacher and speaker about honeybees as well as an accomplished farmer in urban and rural environs. She will talk about getting into the honey business! She'll have her book for sale, and will happily sign it!

3:30PM Intro to Draft Horses! Patty Wesner
Meet Steele, a ton of horse! And learn about how one harnesses, works, and gets started in working with these gentle giants.

4:30 PM - Daily Wrap Up. Thanks! Everyone leaves Property for a few hours to relax, shower, eat dinner, nap, etc!

Return at 7:30PM for optional campfire and after party. It's not an official event by any means and meal is potluck! BYOB. Bring your instruments though and join in casual conversation and song, and reading of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow by firelight!

SUNDAY

8:30AM

Optional Yoga Morning with Jess Shepherd!
Come early if you aren't afraid of an October Sunrise. Morning meditation on the high pasture with Jess and a morning stretch. Bring your own Blanket, as yoga mats in a livestock pasture are a no go.

9:00AM

Chainsaw 101 - Brett McLeod
The basics for safety and usage, come knowing nothing about chain saws and leave knowing what size fits you, how to operate safely, and the pros and cons of different models.

Intro to Milk-based Soapmaking: Jenna Woginrich
Talk and demonstration of a simple soap recipe. Learn about safe practices with lye, simple hand tools for mixing, and adding herbs, oils, and fragrance. Soaps from the farm will be for sale. So thank Bonita when you see her!

10:15 AM

Herbalism 101: Elizabeth McCarty
Grow your own medicine cabinet! This is an introduction to using herbs in tinctures, salves, and more.

11:00 Sourdough Bread Baking! Kathryn Jones
The most intimidating part of making sourdough is learning to make the starter. Kathryn is a pro and has been doing this for years at WindWomen Farm! Learn this art and all about starting to bake bread at home.

12-1 Lunch

1:15 PM

Intro to Mountain Music
Get your hands on a fiddle, dulcimer, or banjo. Try out these instruments and learn how to teach yourself and get started on the dream of being a musician of this beautiful music of American Heritage!

2:00PM

Raising Pigs! Brett Mcleod
A talk about porcine 101 and some value-added ways to make a killing on pork. Brett knows about portable pig roasts, CSAs, and home use pork and will be talking about forest and barn raising of the mighty pig.

Livestock for Beginners: Jenna Woginrich
Thinking about the gateway livestock? It's time to meet a bird or two and see what it takes to go from egg consumer to egg producer! Will also cover meat rabbits for urban or small spaces.

3:00PM Prepping for The Rest of Us: Jenna Woginrich
A serious talk about being a more responsible citizen when it comes to your own safety in an emergency situation. Tin foil hats will not be worn, a real talk about reasons you should consider a preparedness lifestyle for storms, financial challenges (job loss, death of spouse), blackouts, climate change or even worst case scenarios.

4PM Afternoon Wrap Up, Thanks, Closing of Barter Blankets. That'll be the end of another great festival!

Rules and Notes:
No dogs or small children allowed at Antlerstock, for their safety and the safety of others and my animals.

No smoking on property, period.

Expect to be out of doors all day. The farm house will be not for public use, and there will be an outdoor porta-jon.

I tell folks coming to such events to back like they are going backpacking: bring a change of clothes, extra socks, snacks, water, and any personal medications or needs. Have good boots, pants that protect you from forrest stickers and thorns, and bring a chair to sit in. There will be bottled water and hay bales, but nothing beats your own stash of snacks and a good chair. Bring raingear! Umbrellas are not good for the woods or barns, so focus on a hooded rain jacket if you want.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Best Pizza!

If you have a large, cast-iron skillet and you aren't baking deep dish pizza at home, you are missing out darling. Truly. Here is how to make an amazing dinner for four regardless of your kitchen experience. You're going to need two skillets (one iron), some flour, yeast, salt, olive oil and honey for the crust. For the pizza you'll need sauce and cheese (store bought is fine), and some really good toppings. That is the true trick to this pizza. Any home baked crust will win out in the end, but the stars of this dish are what lives between the layer of sauce and cheese! I'll tell the story of my dinner last night and encourage you to try it as well!

In a large bowl place a few teaspoons of honey and a tablespoon of yeast. Add a cup or so of hot (but not boiling!) water and use a whisk to mix it up fast. Set it aside a few minutes, the yeast needs time to activate and turn that cloudy brew into living froth. If it doesn't look like beer foam in a few minutes, your water was either too cool or the yeast was dead. Save yourself the heartache and buy some fresh yeast packets at the grocer. It's near the flour, above eye level (usually).

When yeast is activated add flour, just half a cup or so and a few shakes of salt. Make a dough by adding flour a 1/4 cup at a time -until it feels like a non-sticky playdough. Knead it for a few moments and set it aside for a 20-minute rise.

While the crust dough is rising, preheat that over to 385 degrees. Set your cooking skillet on medium high heat and give it enough olive oil to swish around the skillet. I use a much-loved, second-hand (thanks Jim Kunstler!), wok. For this pizza I add a half pound of hot Italian sausage, uncased. It's from my own pigs and I am proud of it, excited by it. I chop up some garden kale and half some cherry sungold tomatoes from the last of the summer garden. They all get fried up together. use a wooden spoon or spatula to shuffle them around. You want soggy kale, browned meats, and roasted toms. Listen to music, sing along, crack open a home brew! Enjoy your life!

Now that the dough had some time to rest, get it and the cast-iron skillet and coat the dough in oil. I mean it. Then set the oily dough into the pan right to the edges. Sprinkle on some garlic salt and basil, if your nasty.

Now add sauce, all those toppings, and cover with a good mozzarella. Bake at 385 till cheese is turning golden brown and crust is golden, too. Take out, add fresh basil or dry basil to top. Let cool. Quarter and serve.

You will never eat takeout again.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Email Issue

Aol.com has totally rejected every email address I have, so if you are waiting to hear from me or trying to contact me and use aol, please contact me on Facebook or email me from another service. Tori, I am sorry but have no way to reply to your email about coming to Antlerstock! I put a ticket in to aol, but if they listed me as spam it could take a while. Please contact me through another means to reverse your spots!