Fox Trot Farm

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

Mr. Peacock at the front door

May 5, 2019
by Deborah Burgess
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We had a scary storm yesterday!

***No Farm Market or Guided Tour today due to the heavy rains last evening
and all through the night and early morning.***

The weatherman said we’d have a chance of storms yesterday afternoon, and boy, did we ever! The sky grew dark dark dark to the southwest while Farmer Bob hurried and got the feed and hay unloaded from his truck.  I ran outside to move my truck from under a tree to park it in its safe spot and, on the way back to the house, I stopped to take care of the bunnies. I laid my truck keys on top of the hutch while I filled up their waterers and topped off their feed. (Remember that!)

I had decided on making a boiled supper (ham, cabbage & potatoes, YUM) for supper, but looking at that sky made me think that we might not have power once the storms hit, so I got out the pressure cooker. I used to cook for folks in Charlotte as a personal chef, and years ago I’d purchased a Russell Hobbs 8 quart electric pressure cooker to speed up my client cook days. I guess I was way ahead of the Instant Pot craze. I actually love this pressure cooker. It’s like a big oval slow cooker, only it’s a pressure cooker. I got supper started and the storm hit!

Farmer Bob had put Cookie in the house and had just gone out to put the rest of the dogs in the kennel and feed the cats when the storm descended in all its fury. It was dark as twilight and torrents of rain fell with what looked like gale force winds, the way the trees were blowing. The house shook with thunder and Cookie was scared! I peeked out the back door to the cabin and took a picture.

Cabin in the storm
The rain was coming down so hard that you can barely see the trees beyond the cabin roof. Farmer Bob was in the cabin and he said that all the dogs were huddled around him. Then the pea size hail fell and it was loud in the cabin because of the tin roof, but with lumber and things in the loft, it wasn’t too bad. Farmer Bob said it was probably even more loud in the goat barn, hitting that tin roof with nothing to muffle the sound. 

Meanwhile, I decided to step out onto the front porch to watch the storm, and found Mr. Peacock at the front door. I swear, if I’d have opened the door and invited him inside, he’d have been a house guest! I decided to leave him alone, and I went back to cooking supper.

Mr. Peacock at the front door during the storm Continue Reading →

April 28, 2019
by Deborah Burgess
1 Comment

Even the ducks are sleeping in this morning.

Our farm market will be closed today.
Please text me to let me know if you’d like to pick up eggs or honey
at 803-804-3541.

Yesterday was a busy day on Fox Trot Farm. Even the ducks are sleeping in this morning! (It was the opening day of a quilting/sewing retreat that I facilitate at The Homeplace Bed & Breakfast, so I headed out early and missed all the action.) Our friend and farm helper, Ed, arrived to help Bob around 9:30, and they worked steadily all day. Something special happened at Fox Trot Farm yesterday, and even the ducks are sleeping in this morning!

Can you tell what happened at the farm yesterday? Take a close look at the picture below. Continue Reading →

dogwoods

April 14, 2019
by Deborah Burgess
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Tornado Watch all Day, so no Farm Market

The weatherman is telling us that we’re under a tornado watch all day today, so we will hold off on having the farm market and won’t be doing a guided tour, either. After yesterday’s rain, it’s far too muddy to enjoy strolling around the farm, anyway. But pretty…it’s oh so pretty here! There are a lot of puddles after yesterday’s rain.

Rainy Driveway

We love our porch when it’s raining. The rain washed the pollen off everything! Continue Reading →

March 31, 2019
by Deborah Burgess
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Guided Tour Fun with the Animals

Our visitors always have a great time on our Farmer Bob guided tour. He invites guests to enjoy his guided tour every Sunday afternoon (when we’re open and the weather is pretty) at 2:00, and by appointment for groups over 10 on weekdays. This past week we had a great group of students, teachers, and chaperones, and it was a PERFECT spring day for a tour.

Cookie greeted everyone as they got off the bus. She had a blast meeting all our visitors. She has a way of coaxing everyone to give her a belly rub or scratch, even people who are scared of dogs. She also accompanies the group on the entire tour, often times leading the way.

The tour started with Farmer Bob explaining about our predators, and a nice display of his skull and turtle shell collection. Our educational bee hive was out for everyone to explore. Continue Reading →

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:

Continue Reading →

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.
Continue Reading →

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