Happy Purim!

March 4th, 2015
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Sadie rolling out dough and adding the filling for the hamantaschen.

Sadie rolling out dough and adding the filling for the hamantaschen.

Purim begins this evening! It’s one of our girls’ favorite holidays, celebrating clever Queen Esther saving her people from the wicked Haman. It’s a time of celebration, festivity, and treats–in fact, one of the essential ways to celebrate Purim is by giving gift baskets of pastries, fruits and more to loved ones.

While we aren’t quite back in our own kitchen (this weekend!), Sadie and I borrowed the counter space at The Woods House to make hamantaschen, the traditional triangle-shaped cookies that are eaten during the holiday. Made with a buttery dough and dollops of preserves, the cookies are shaped in triangles to to remind us of Haman’s 3-cornered hat. Traditional fillings include poppy seed (mohn) and prune (lekvar), but it’s just as delicious to use jam. Over the years, I’ve used my own homemade preserves in the filling, but, truth be told, plain old Smuckers is just fine.

Hamantaschen

Makes 3 dozen

*

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

scant 1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs, separated

2-3 tablespoons milk or cream

Apricot (or other) preserves for filling

*

Preheat oven to 375.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, salt, sugar and butter and beat until just crumbly. To this mixture, add vanilla, the yolks of both eggs, one egg white, and a tablespoon of milk or cream. Beat on the medium speed until dough begins to come together, adding milk or cream if needed. Gather the dough and divide into three parts, making balls, and then flattening into disks. Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator to chill slightly if the dough is beginning to seem too soft to be workable.

Working quickly, with one disk at a time, roll the dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Using a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass, cut the dough into circles 3 to 4  inches in diameter (we use the rim of a sturdy pint glass). Place a small spoonful (approximately 1/2 teaspoon) of jam in the center of each round.

Folding can be tricky, and the first few will probably be a little misshapen–don’t worry, it happens to everyone! The shaping is not hard to do, but it is hard to explain. For a visual reference, check out this helpful step-by-step. For each circle, take one third of the dough and fold it toward the center, leaving the jam visible. Take the next third of the dough and fold it over in the same way, overlapping the first fold at the edge of the triangle. Finally, fold the last third of the dough over in the same way, overlapping the other folds. Pinch lightly to seal. Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Beat the egg white and brush it over the tops, then bake for 12-15 minutes, until jam is a slightly bubbly and cookies are golden.

*Warning: it is tempting to eat hamantaschen straight from the oven, but wait until they are cool. The jam can be scalding! After many a burnt tongue, we have finally learned to wait 15 minutes before sampling.*

Happy Purim!

Happy Purim!

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posted by cute kids, Recipes

Valentine’s Day Kitchen Update

February 14th, 2015
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The recently completed accent wall in the new kitchen will be a constant reminder of where this all started.

The recently completed accent wall in the new kitchen will be a constant reminder of where this all started.

The kitchen renovation project is proceeding beautifully, more or less on schedule, we think. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we thought we would share one of the more romantic details of the new kitchen. When we were designing the kitchen we knew that we wanted a fair amount of reclaimed wood incorporated into the room. One wall in particular, next to the stove, and on which pots and pans will hang from metal cross bars, was to be made entirely of reclaimed wood. But from where to reclaim it? We had a fair amount of old lumber that we had saved or collected over the years in the barn, but it wasn’t quite enough, or in good enough condition to make the cut. Then we learned that my (Karl’s) father was planning on replacing the wooden dock at “Camp Schatz,” our family summer house. Dad let us scavange the dock, which our contractor Steve Tesh dismantled and lightly sanded to let the warmth of the cedar show through the weathered patina from the years on the lake. The beautiful chevron pattern was all Steve’s doing. There will be enough of the dock wood for the accent wall, to wrap the soffit over the stove and sink, and also to wrap the non-cabinet sides of the new kitchen peninsula. Where does the romance come into this story? Well, it was on that dock at Camp Schatz, 11 years, 4 months, and 19 days ago that I proposed to Margaret. Thank you, dock, you gave me solid footing for the best decision I ever made. We’re so glad to have you as a permanent part of our home. Happy Valentine’s Day!

For photo updates of the new kitchen in progress, visit the Ten Apple Farm Facebook page.

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posted by Announcements

Urban Farm and Garden Show

January 21st, 2015
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Check out Margaret’s rccent guest appearance on the Urban Farm and Garden Show Podcast:

http://www.urbanfarmandgarden.com/031-margaret-hathaway-author-living-goats/

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posted by Announcements, Homesteading & Farming

2015: The Year of Order

January 16th, 2015
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The kitchen and dining room just post-demolition, soon to be rebuilt, better than ever.

The kitchen and dining room just post-demolition, soon to be rebuilt, better than ever.

If you follow us on Facebook, you’ve seen that the farm renovations we’ve finally undertaken don’t stop at the outside. We started the year by gutting the kitchen and dining room, a project we’ve been planning since buying the house in 2005.  After giving it a decade of thought, we’re changing pretty much everything about the flow and the feel of the space, though we’re leaving it two distinct rooms to keep the original farmhouse spirit. In these first few weeks of the project, we’ve discovered a few things about ourselves and our house:

1. In 10 years, we’ve become hoarders. I think any of our friends could have told you this, but it took the removal of all of our kitchen and dining room stuff for the scales to fall from my eyes. Karl assures me that this impulse comes from a good place–we recycle everything, and those bits of strings and bags of corks and schnibbly bits of fabric and paper have all been kept with projects in mind (curse you, Pintrest!). But, to paraphrase Allen Ginsberg’s beautiful poem, “Kaddish,” it’s the accumulations of life that wear us out. Do I really need to keep every bit of felt, every mismatched toddler sock, every receipt with my dad’s signature on it? Emphatically, no. If 2014 was the year of repair, 2015 will be the year of order. Transfer station, look out!

2. We’ve been insulating with squirrel fur and corn cobs. I wish this were a joke.

see what we mean?

see what we mean?

3. Home renovation is addictive. We’ve turned a blind eye to so many big things over the past 10 years that now, as we examine and make decisions on the minutiae, it’s hard to overlook anything. Some decisions, like what kind of drawer pulls to use, or the finish on the cabinets, were expected. But during the renovation process, we’ve also been looking at what we have, what we use, and where we can put it to make it most orderly and accessible. I am hopeful that this spurning of chaos will spread to all 5 of us, and many areas of our lives. But to be honest, if the kids start habitually hanging up their coats, I’ll consider it victory.

4. If the kids eat packaged fruit cups, squeezy applesauce, individually wrapped string cheese, store-bought bread, and juice boxes for a few weeks, they’ll probably be just fine. So far, their 2015 diets have filled me with shame, but they’ve suffered no ill effects. Yes, I’d rather they drink goat milk, eat the applesauce we canned in the fall, and take thermoses of curried lentil soup for lunch, but I also value my sanity. And the kids are in heaven with all these “treats.” As Bea said to me last week, “We finally have good, normal lunches.”

5. We are incredible lucky. That could go without saying, but it shouldn’t.

Happy 2015 to all!

With love,

The Ten Apple Gang

Found on a piece of old wallpaper that once adorned the kitchen... is that a goat?!

Found on a piece of old wallpaper that once adorned the kitchen… is that a goat?!

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posted by Announcements

Something to be Thankful for… Renovation Update

November 26th, 2014
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Big Red Barn: The barn has been completely and beautifully re-sided and repaired.

Big Red Barn: The barn has been completely and beautifully re-sided and repaired. Next up are new garage doors for the front, which we hope will be in by New Years.

There is so much to be thankful for this time of year — and even though the painters weren’t able to get the whole house painted before the onset of cold and snow, we are extremely thankful for the beautiful job that Rich Exterior Solutions did siding and repairing the outside of our barn and back of the backhouse. We’re not all the way there yet with all the renovations we were planning, there is still a bunch to do on the house, windows on the barn to repair, new garage doors to install, and the rest of the painting will have to wait until warming spring temps. But we’ve got some bright new colors on the outside of the farm to warm our spirits through the coming winter.  Happy Thanksgiving!

The backhouse and little house and porch are painted and looking great.

The backhouse and little house and porch are painted and looking great.

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The front of the big house will have to wait until spring for it’s coat of paint

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No more asphalt shingles on the back and side of the barn!

_MG_4070

The view from the back — looking good!

 

_MG_4075

The back of the backhouse — new shakes and a new slider!

 

_MG_4077

Repairing some rot around the back porch — soon a new kitchen window will appear here, too!

The goats still have their view, and some nice siding work around the barn cellar.

The goats still have their window to look out, and some nice siding work down below around the entrance to the barn cellar.

 

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posted by Announcements

A Welcome Renovation

October 10th, 2014
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The front of the Ten Apple Barn readied for new siding

The front of the Ten Apple Barn readied for new siding

Our 113-year-old farmhouse and attached barn finally crossed the line from weatherbeaten to eyesore. Maybe they crossed that line a while ago, but now we’re doing something about it! Rich Exterior Solutions did such an amazing job roofing the barn after the wind damage of Hurricane Sandy that we’re having them reside, paint, and install new, environmentally sound windows–including a big bay overlooking the garden. We’re looking forward to our first winter without indoor snowdrifts. Very exciting times on the farm–we’ll update weekly with a progress report!

Stripping the barn

Stripping the barn

The naked backhouse

The naked backhouse

Ladders only get so high

Ladders only get so high

So they brought in a cherry picker.

So they brought in a cherry picker.

_MG_4022

Which the chickens thoroughly enjoy…

 

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posted by Announcements

Common Ground Fair 2014

September 26th, 2014
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Our organic girls!

Our organic girls!

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posted by cute kids

Poor Old Maple Tree

September 13th, 2014
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Charlotte and Bea (and chicken) stand by the penultimate branch of our dear old maple. Later this fall we'll most likely have to take down the rest of this tree that has stood watch at the bottom of our back steps for years and years.

Charlotte and Bea (and chicken) stand by the penultimate branch of our dear old maple. Later this fall we’ll most likely have to take down the rest of this tree that has stood watch at the bottom of our back steps for years and years.

_MG_3989

A site that will soon only to be seen on this website: The maple will soon be gone, and barn that will soon be re-sided, and a house that will soon be re-painted.

 

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posted by Family

Goat Hikes are Back!

May 7th, 2014
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We’ll be heading out on a goat hike through the Ten Apple woods this Saturday, May 10, leaving the barn around 11am. The hike consists of an approximately 1.5-2 mile loop through the woods on generally well maintained trails. There is some steep terrain. Children must be at least 8 years old and accompanied by an adult. Along the way we’ll talk about goats as pack animals and you’ll learn a thing or two about raising and caring for goats. After the hike you’ll be able to try some goat milk and some of our Ten Apple Farm goat cheese. $10 per adult, $5 for kids. Minimum: 6 people; Maximum: 15 people. Contact us to RSVP.

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posted by Announcements

Signs of Spring

March 20th, 2014
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Margaret feeds Toka's new buckling, first kid of the Spring.

Margaret feeds Toka’s new buckling, first kid of the Spring.

It’s been pretty cold this week, and we got fresh snow last night, but there are signs of spring all over the farm. The sap is running and there’s a pot simmering on the wood stove. The fig tree, brought in for winter, is starting to bud in the cellar. The biggest sign that spring has arrived are the new goat kids bleating away for their bottles of milk in a big cardboard box in the “back house.” Two goats have kidded, and two to go. Toka gave birth to a boy and a girl early Sunday morning, and last night (at midnight!) Flyrod gave birth to a boy and a girl, as well. After several months of no milking, our hands are sore, but glad to be getting back into the rhythm of the season. The sun is out today and the snow is melting. It won’t be too long before these kids (goat and human) are running around on green grass.

 

Box of Kids: Toka's and Flyrod's kids hang out in their cardboard box in the backhouse.

Box of Kids: Toka’s and Flyrod’s kids hang out in their cardboard box in the back house.

Sadie meets the new buckling

Sadie meets the new buckling

Charlotte shows off Toka's doeling, born Sunday

Charlotte shows off Toka’s doeling, born Sunday

Charlotte introduces Toka's doeling to Uncle Godfrey

Charlotte introduces Toka’s doeling to Uncle Godfrey

Bea and Charlotte inspect the sap buckets

Another sign of Spring: Bea and Charlotte inspect the sap buckets

 

 

 

 

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posted by Announcements, Goats