Where I've compiled loads of articles and tips that I've written to help you make the most of your grassfed and pastured meats.
A little reality check about the glories of the good life...
Featured on Northeast Public Radio
Featured on Northeast Public Radio
Featured on Northeast Public Radio
Finding, selecting, preparing and enjoying the most delicious and healthful meats for your body and the planet.
Shannon's latest grassfed meat cookbook. Nose-to-tail cooking for grassfed and pastured meats, plus the leftovers.
About this BLOG: This blog focuses on my farm and family life here in West Fulton, NY, with occasional efforts to promote my books and farm products. The sale of books and my farm products comprise the only compensation I receive for maintaining this site. For folks who like a more intense read, each Tuesday morning I put up the "Tuesday Post," an in-depth essay examining some aspect of farming, homeschooling, radical homemaking, or living sustainably. If you'd like a reminder, you can sign up for the weekly newsletter, under "stay in touch," listed on the menu at the top of this page. If you do, I will send you a link to each week's Tuesday Post. For those of you who like to breeze through on a quick visit, I try to post a photo and short entry every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, showing up-to-date glimpses of our life here. I hope you enjoy it, and that you'll come back often!
May 17, 2013
All right, some day, one of these blog posts will regale you with the littany of woes that have befallen me in my lifetime attempts to make personal friends with poultry. For those of you who have ever wondered if it is possible, it is. Chickens and Guinea Fowl can make charming, personable pets. But make sure they don't ever find your pet door, because you'll come home one day and find them hanging out and pooping on your couch. And then there are all the premature deaths that happen because the birds learn not to be fearful of potential predators...but like I said, those are stories for another time.
So what have I learned from my experiences? Apparently, not enough. For several years we've resisted the girls' pleas for their own personal flock of chickens. But Ula redefines the term
persistence, so here we go once more with the pet chickens...
May 16, 2013
Our farmers' market opens for the season this Saturday. Bob and I were down there a little over a week ago, cleaning up the booth my family has operated for over 20 years now. We decided that it was time to freshen it up a bit, so I've been working at making new tablecloths and a giant skirt for our meat display. Wish I'd thought of this last fall, when the urge to sew and stay indoors was more pronounced...I've got 10 blueberry bushes waiting to get in the ground while I'm tripping over the cord of my iron and trying to clear a path to my sewing machine.
May 15, 2013
I'm guessing we're about 80% finished with this year's lambing season. I chose to miss out on it this year. Before, when the girls were younger, it was easy to allow the demands of nature and farm life to supercede academic life. And while the pull to surrender to that once more is strong, I also see their need for the rhythm of my steady presence until our "deskwork" lessons are finished. Here is a time when my interest in unschooling conflicts with my interest in more formal work. The call of the grass, baby lambs and blue skies beckon us to abandon our school books, but at the same time, I can tell that all three of us are longing to bring our school work to some completion, rather than simply dropping our projects. Soon enough we'll be joining Daddy, Pop Pop and Grammie down at the farm. But for now, we need to focus on one last push. Then school will be behind us for another year, and our complete focus will be here.
May 14, 2013
If asked, I’d have to say that my spiritual education began somewhere down by the creek bed on the farm, where as a child I pondered the flow of water as I filled my palms to drink, or the miracle of the wild raspberries that hung over my rocky perch. But my formal religious education began in second grade, when I was first enrolled in a Sunday school at the Catholic Church for weekly lessons that would continue through my junior year of high school. At first I enjoyed going. We read stories from the Bible, talked about what they meant, and discussed how they might apply to our daily lives. We learned about different ways to pray, and I developed relationships with a number of community members from my church. The trouble for me settled in when I was 14, and my teacher for that year was particularly zealous in his faith. For the first time, I began to hear repeated references to “sinners,” “evil,” “the devil.” Indeed, this teacher seemed so obsessed with identifying the work of the devil, in hindsight I wonder if he placed more faith in Satan than God. He preached to us about the end times, which he felt would take place in March of that year, and about how he relished “the coming,” because the sinners would finally be sorted out from the “true Christians.” (more…)
May 13, 2013
Maine was fun, but nothing beats pulling into the farm, seeing that rooster weathervane, and re-aligning our thoughts and activities to all that is spring around here. There's lots of work to be done, now that the grass and leaves have finally emerged.
May 3, 2013
This original piece was a collaborative effort of Ula and Mommy, done under the artistic direction of Saoirse
Well folks, Grammie, the girls and I are headed up to Maine, where I'll be joining folks at the Nearing Center to give a talk at the Blue Hill Library on Monday night. If any of you are in the area, please come visit.
Seeing as how we'll be in "Vacationland," we're going to take a few days to enjoy some time away from school books and computers, and I'm going to work on upping my dietary intake of lobster. Bob and Pop Pop will stay home to take care of the farm....but there won't be any blog posts for next week. See you again some time around the 13th!
May 2, 2013
For the last three years, spring has been coming earlier and earlier....so this year, in an effort at increased climate change resilience, Mom and Dad decided to move lambing season up earlier. Of course, that means that spring naturally came late this year. However, as another part of our farm climate-change resilience efforts, we built this new open-air (hopefully hurricane-proof) barn that takes in full southern light. So, while we planned on pasture lambing, barn lambing this year has thus far been pleasant. And, naturally, Saoirse and Ula are thrilled, because they have a far easier time getting up-close and personal with the babes.
May 1, 2013
When I consider the concept of being "desensitized," I think in terms of violent movies, television advertising and intense cyber connectivity that upstages the real world. What I fail to consider is how I, too, have become desensitized to my own habitat. I might notice the first birds of spring, or rejoice in the bright red buds on the trees, or observe when the grass is green enough to warrant a seasonal raking of the dog droppings (ugh). And yet, by growing farther from the ground, and thinking of my outdoor life too often in terms of chores, I've become desensitized to a number of things, including the wonder of the first flowers that poke through on the sides of the roads. Since they will soon be eclipsed by a glorious show of windflowers, I have been unimpressed by their simple and heroic beauty, by their strength and vigor to bloom, even when the nights fall below freezing temperatures.
Thankfully, Ula has not become desensitized. She lives closer to the ground, and she has brought Bob and I there. This year, thanks to Ula, we've noticed these miraculous little jewels of color. Ula has kept a fresh supply on our kitchen table, and never fails to stop and wonder at them each time she finds them while out exploring. And now I, too, find myself repeatedly stopping on my path to marvel at their brave emergence.
April 30, 2013
It was less than a week after I’d defended my Ph.D. dissertation when I sat down in front of my computer to complete the school’s online graduate placement questionnaire. Supposedly, upon answering each of the multiple choice questions about my interests, experiences and coursework, the computer program would match me with any number of potential employers specifically in search of a Cornell Grad with my unique skills and talents.
After two hours carefully considering each response, I clicked “submit.”
Three days later I received my one and only career possibility.
After receiving a Masters and Ph.D. from Cornell University with a 3.9 G.P.A., where I had specialized in sustainable agriculture and community development, I was singularly qualified to apply for a job writing scripts for the World Wide Wrestling Federation. (more…)
April 29, 2013
It's great to have a true best friend...especially when you share a love for ancient mythology, which, of course, leads to a shared passion for archery. I hope these two have each other for life.
My thanks go to Ania's mom, Alicia Keenan, for supplying me with this photo from the girls' Sunday adventures. I would have loved to have seen it myself, but there was the asparagus to be dealt with...