Fox Trot Farm

Grass Fed Lamb, Fresh Eggs, Honey, Soap, Tours, & Farm Fun!

March 17, 2019
by Deborah Burgess
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Spring Blossoms Survived the Cold!

We’re so excited that our cold nights didn’t destroy our blueberry blossoms! For the past four years, we’ve had several nights in a row of ambient temps below freezing when the blossoms were tender, which resulted in barely a handful of blueberries in the summer. One of Farmer Bob’s goals is to offer “pick your own” blueberries to our visitors. We’ll see if this is the year!

Here are some more spring blooms on the farm:

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March 10, 2019
by Deborah Burgess
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It’s a good thing we have Muck boots!

It’s a good thing we have Muck boots, is all I can say! Yesterday Farmer Bob took me on a soggy, muddy stroll to see all the work that’s been done while I was recuperating from my wrist/shoulder injury. Wow! I ended up amazed by not only the changes made, but by all the water flowing. It was a gray and misty day, but I loved our walk and took a lot of pictures. Take a look.

This is going to be our new hog pasture. Look at all the piles of brush and trees that have been cut down! There are many piles of 4′ long hardwood trunks, just perfect for inoculating to grow some shitake mushrooms! That’s one thing that’s been on our list of things to grow.

Just look at this branch flowing with clean, clear water! I just love all the moss on the banks.
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Chicken in Seasoning Mix

February 24, 2019
by Deborah Burgess
11 Comments

Creating our own seasoning mix

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is how to season our lamb legs and chops and I know that a lot of folks would like to have a jar of a ready-made seasoning mix they can grab from their spice cabinet. I’ve been working on creating a mix of seasoning blends that reflect our favorite flavors for our lamb, and yet is versatile enough that you’ll love it on chicken and pork, too. It must have a good balance of herbs and just the right amount of salt and black pepper. Here’s my latest creation:

Seasoning Mix

This is a mix that you combine with olive oil (or your oil of choice), 1:1, to make a paste. In the above picture you can see the dry mix on the left, and then the paste on the right. This particular mix is full of dried herbs, and the oil and marinating time rehydrate them to release their flavors. 

Chicken in Seasoning Mix

Since we’re sold out of lamb, I used boneless chicken breasts yesterday. I coated the chicken, then covered it with plastic wrap and stuck it in the fridge till I was ready to fix supper. 

I made a roasted cauliflower salad for supper, and grilled the chicken breasts on my grill pan. Since I’m still favoring my right arm due to shoulder pain, Farmer Bob tossed the salad and plated it, then sliced up the chicken to top our salads. 

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Grilled Chicken Breasts
We devoured our salads and the chicken was delicious! (We are obviously not food stylists, right? hahaha)

Roasted Cauliflower Salad: To make the salad, cut apart the head of cauliflower into florets, toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on a sheet pan at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. (If you coat your sheet pan with some oil, then preheat it in the oven till screaming hot, but not smoking, before you add your cauliflower florets, they won’t stick. Good rule of thumb for roasting all veggies!) Meanwhile, combine 3 tablespoons of sherry vinegar, 1 1/2 tsps. Fox Trot Farm Granny Bee’s Pure Raw Honey, large pinch of salt and ground black pepper, about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and 3 tablespoons of raisins. (If too tart for you, then add some more olive oil. Add more salt if you wish.) Turn the florets to brown the other side, then scatter one large onion, sliced thin and tossed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, over the top of the cauliflower. Roast for another 15 minutes, then scrape all the veggies into a large bowl on top of lightly chopped fresh spinach from a large bag. I use the entire bag of spinach. The heat from the cauliflower slightly wilts the spinach. Drizzle the dressing over and toss a handful of shelled roasted pistachios into the salad for some great crunch. Toss again to coat, then plate. 

Soon we’ll have our seasoning mix available to buy at our farm market, and we’ll let you know as soon as we do. In the meantime, we need a name for our seasoning mix, so if you have any suggestions we’d love some help with this! If we choose your name, you’ll get a free bottle of our seasoning mix! (You MUST comment on this post to be eligible.)

While we’re sold out of lamb till September, we have an ample supply of Granny Bee’s honey, honey & beeswax soap,  and our fresh blue and brown chicken eggs for sale. Come see us Sundays from 1:00-5:00 or by appointment during the week. It’s too muddy for our guided tours but there is plenty to see up close to the backyard. Just make sure you wear your boots!

EIEIO!
Debbie

 

 

 

February 19, 2019
by Deborah Burgess
5 Comments

It was a dark and stormy night…

It was a dark and stormy night….

Well, it wasn’t stormy, and the moon was bright, but it ended up scary nonetheless! Cookie came outside with me when I stepped out on the deck to check on the temperature in the greenhouse, and she shot off the deck, hysterically barking! Something was out there! Thelma in the sheep pasture raced the fence, barking furiously. I got nervous about Cookie and called her back into the house, and she came flying, her hackles up. (Thank goodness for all our training with her to have her come when called!)

I peered into the night and then this sound ripped through the air! It was coming from the shadowed edge of the forest where it borders the back yard!

And just like THAT I was frozen in place by some forgotten primal instinct of all prey animals. I listened and THERE it was again! I got my feet moving, headed for the back door, and quietly but urgently told Farmer Bob to come hear this terrifying sound. He was on the couch dozing and he moved more slowly than I wanted, but he finally stepped out on the deck and, of course, the night was silent. Ugh! 

And then, from a bit further back in the woods came the growl again, and Farmer Bob growled back! Hahahaha! He said it was a bobcat, and IT ANSWERED HIM! They growled back and forth at each other several times, the bobcat moving farther away each time, until it didn’t answer anymore.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about bobcats, and here is a picture from pixabay.  This sounded like a BIG cat, and I have seen a really big one that had been killed on the road. They are not cute little house cats, most certainly!

I’ve heard bobcats screaming in the night my whole life. This is what they sound like when they scream. I’ve NEVER heard a bobcat growl like that one did last night. I’m okay not hearing that again anytime soon, but I am glad that we still have them in our area, in spite of the predation danger to our farm animals.

I have suspected that the increased coyote population had rendered the local bobcat population extinct because I haven’t heard one screaming in quite a number of years since the coyotes came. Farmer Bob saw a red fox stroll across the front yard a couple weeks ago. Maybe the return of native predators means that the coyotes are hunting elsewhere, or perhaps our local hunters are becoming successful in keeping the population down.

And then, there’s always the black Carolina panther of lore here in our area of the South. The SCDNR continues to poo-poo sightings of the big black panthers, but just ask our son if they’re real. (THAT’s a story for another day.)

It’s wonderful that there are still mysteries in the deep, dark forest on a moonlit night.

EIEIO!
Deb

February 17, 2019
by Deborah Burgess
2 Comments

More Featherweight Lover’s Retreat Fun!

One of the MOST fun things that I do is facilitate a couple quilting retreats each year, and I got my cast off my wrist just in the nick of time to host our third annual Featherweight Lover’s Retreat at The Homeplace Bed and Breakfast. In case you don’t know, a Featherweight is Singer’s very first portable sewing machine. The original vintage model is all manual, and does require cleaning, so we each do a “spa” treatment first, oiling, lubing, polishing, and setting tensions. It’s not nearly as complicated as you might expect.

Featherweight Maintenance

My cousin Jenny comes from New Jersey for a week and we have fun!

Jenny at Featherweight Retreat

My old friend Debbie and her sidekick Nelly come up from Florida. They are my table mates every year. Nelly is a rescue who wandered up to Debbie & Greg’s country house on death’s doorstep. Now she’s become our retreat’s mascot and is spoiled rotten by us all.

Willie at Featherweight Retreat

See? At her first retreat, she was too scared to come out from under Debbie’s chair. Now she visits everyone for treats and hugs.

Eileen with Nelly  Susie with Nelly
There’s lots of sharing and help from other retreaters.

And sometimes there are visitors from the bed and breakfast.

Some multitasking too!

Sheranna at Featherweight retreat

The large windows let in lots of cheerful light, and that helps to create a joyful atmosphere. (We keep our group small so we can each have a window table.)


We make ourselves at home. Look at Dee Dee in her cozy corner.

Dee Dee at Featherweight Lovers Retreat

Seatta is working on a tiny, intricate design that Janet is teaching her.

Intricate work at Featherweight Retreat  
One of our favorite things about the retreat is the home cooking at The Homeplace B&B! This lady in the middle is the innkeeper and she makes our delicious suppers. 

 
Dianne makes the BEST old fashioned banana pudding, with homemade custard and meringue on the top. It’s always served warm, too. We request it every retreat.


We all sit together at antique dining room tables for supper, and the room fills with laughter as we enjoy all that great food.


Here are a few finished quilt tops made at the retreat.

 

   
And here’s our annual group picture. (Minus one of our friends who couldn’t be there the last day.)

Featherweight Lovers Retreat Group Picture
We never know what to expect in the coming year and, in the past, we’ve weathered lots of health and other personal and family storms. Some may skip a year and we miss old faces as we welcome new, but we are always grateful for this gathering of friends and look forward to the next retreat!

Farmer Debbie taking a break from Fox Trot Farm…..
EIEIO!
Deb

 

Double Yolker

February 17, 2019
by Deborah Burgess
3 Comments

Chloe’s Stuck! And what I’ve been doing.

Oh my! Did Chloe ever get stuck!

Chloe Stuck in the mud

Here’s another picture. Chloe is very old and her hind quarters are weak, anyway, so there’s no way she could free herself,

Dog Stuck in the Mud

and there was no way I could get her out. My wrist is still healing from the break and my shoulder has been affected, so I’m “farm work challenged.” Farmer Bob was on his way home from Atlanta, so our friend Ed and his son came to my rescue. Chloe was relieved and so was I!

Dog stuck in the mud

We’ve had so much rain that everything is muddy. The soil in our area is classified as “silt,” so when it gets saturated, it’s slick! Our creeks are running, though, and that’s so pretty!

Creek Running

The hens are laying again, after the short days of winter and molt happening at pretty much the same time. Thank goodness! Some of them are over-achievers. Look at this big double-yolked egg in my frying pan. Some of the eggs are too big to fit into our cartons!

Double Yolker

I’m still treating Rosie for mastitis. Ugh. It’s been a year of struggles with her, and I should be an expert by the time we get this kicked. Lots of trips back and forth to our vet’s farm, which isn’t all bad because…..

Milking Rosie

I get to see precious things like this:

Cow & Calf

While I can’t do any strenuous activity with my right arm, I am sewing again! Farmer Bob helped me remove one of my vintage machines from its cabinet so I can clean it, replace some electrical cords, and get it all polished and running smoothly. I LOVE my vintage machines! This one is a 1948 model and in excellent condition, except for being dirty and the cord looks like a puppy chewed it. I am grateful for that puppy, because it seems that the owner just never used the machine after that happened. And now she’s mine! One day when I have an actual store building on the farm, I plan to display my collection. They are so pretty!

1948 Model 15

Life is good and busy on Fox Trot Farm! We’re selling our honey, eggs, and soap at the Waxhaw Farmer’s Market every other Saturday during the winter, and here at our farm every Sunday afternoon from 1:00-5:00 and by appointment during the week. We work around the weather, of course, so we don’t always have Farmer Bob’s guided tour on Sundays if it’s rainy or too muddy. Be sure to call or text me at 803-804-3541 to check if we’re open before you head our way.

EIEIO!
Debbie

 

 

Holly blooms

December 21, 2018
by Deborah Burgess
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Holly isn’t just for Christmas; it’s for chickens, too!

blooming holly with chickens

This season when everyone’s crowing about holly, our chickens are especially happy because their big holly tree blooms just before the hard freezes set in. It’s the last flower that our honeybees forage, too, before retreating into their hives for the winter. These flowers are just beautiful, and their aroma is strong and floral. The bees go crazy over them!

Holly blooms

It’s unusual for the chickens to hang out in the tree when the weather is sunny, UNLESS they are stealing honeybee “snacks.”

Chickens in the holly

The blooms are gone now and the honeybees are tucked into their hives for the night. The chickens are roosting in the holly tree, and Farmer Bob and I are bottling honey and making Christmas treats.

Soon we’ll say goodbye to 2018 and welcome the new year. I’ll be getting my cast off, there will be retirement for Farmer Bob, new buildings on the farm, a new companion pony for Clarence, a new batch of laying hens, increasing our honeybee hives, and we’ll be adding hogs to our farm menagerie. I’m looking forward to fun retreats with my quilting friends, old and new, family vacations and a bit of exciting travel with Farmer Bob.

We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a new year filled with many blessings. We look forward to your visits to the farm, too!

EIEIO!
Farmer Bob & Debbie

Peanut Butter

December 5, 2018
by Deborah Burgess
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Don’t forget to close the barn door before the goats get out!

barn door

We’re so excited to have a barn door now! Didn’t Farmer Bob and our friend Ed do a fabulous job? You should feel how heavy this door is, and see how straight it is hanging!

Now the goat barn is finished and Farmer Bob can move forward with his next project. 🙂

EIEIO!
Deb

PS: Peanut Butter is still missing. Please call or text if you have any info, and please keep a look out for him.

Peanut Butter

Cotton Bowl Wreaths

December 2, 2018
by Deborah Burgess
3 Comments

A fun day in Waxhaw with a good friend!

Farmer Bob and I LOVE Waxhaw. We love the shops, the restaurants, the natives and newcomers from all corners of the world. You already know that we love the Waxhaw Farmers Market, too! I also love spending the day in Waxhaw with girlfriends, strolling through the historic railroad town to shop and have lunch and explore the galleries. So, when a long time good friend from Greenville came to spend the day with me Friday, of course we went to Waxhaw. I just had to take a picture of Gail on the railroad bridge. 🙂

Gail is a gifted potter, although she would never say so. I was surprised and so very happy that she brought me one of her beautiful creations.  I’m going to use it to hold my tools when I quilt on my Q20, so it will sit right next to it in the sunroom where I can see it every day. Continue Reading →

Labeled Honey & Beeswax Soap

November 30, 2018
by Deborah Burgess
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New Soaps for Christmas Shoppers & an Outing with a Friend

Oh my! I have wrapped and labeled 48 pounds of fresh honey & beeswax soap and will bring it all with me to the Waxhaw Farmers Market on Saturday! Get ready….one…two…three….

Ta Da!!!!!!

Labeled Honey & Beeswax Soap

Oh my goodness! We’ve got four of our most popular: the manly, spicy Country Gent, fresh as a spring morning Country Clean, nourishing to the skin Goat Milk & Oatmeal (let’s thank our Nubian dairy boat Trist for the milk!), and Achiote, which is naturally exfoliating and leaves winter skin feeling so clean and lovely without any added scent.  New for this season are the gilded bars of Spiced Pumpkin (wait till you see the shimmering swirls!), the bright Berry Luscious, whose very aroma will make your mouth water, and the very rich and subtle aroma of Midnight Pomegranate, which is absolutely beautiful with its dark green and burgundy swirls, perfect for the holiday guest bath. We KNOW there is something in this selection for everyone’s taste. I’ll even put your soaps in one of our pretty gift bags so you don’t have to wrap your gift!

I was able to get these bars all labeled this afternoon after my good friend, fellow farmer and soap maker, and neighbor Beth treated me to a fun outing for lunch and shopping. (I have orders from the doctor not to drive so I appreciate my friends taking me out more than they can imagine!) We had lunch first, then I introduced her to two of my favorite shops. (More details later about the first shop.) Continue Reading →