Welcome to Painted Hand Farm

Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

5th Annual Labor Day Goat Roast

Yes folks, we survived yet another goat roast here on the farm. Over sixty of our family and friends turned out to wind down summer and share the fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products of our labors. That's Ian Dietrich and Mark Cochran slicing up the roasted goat. There was also BBQ pulled pork and smoked turkey for those not brave enough to partake in the most widely-consumed meat on this planet. Believe it or not, more people eat goat meat than beef, pork, fish, poultry and game.

This year we went island-style instead of Mexican. The goat was rubbed with Jamaican jerk spiced, stuffed with chunks of fresh pineapple, papaya, oranges and cilantro and roasted on a spit over hot coals while basted with crushe pineapple, orange juice, crushed garlic and olive oil. The result was stunning. Out of a 40-pound goat, we had a one-quart container of leftovers.

The assortment of goodies laid out on the buffet table was overwhelming, but my all-time favorite is the home-made ice cream. For the last few years, we always did fresh peach with goat's milk, but sadly this year our wonderful milk goat, Liberty passed away. Breaking from tradition, I procured a few gallons of very fresh, whole Jersey milk. First, I let the luscious thick cream float to the top and then skimmed it for later use. The 'skimmed' milk was mixed with fresh pastured poultry eggs and turned into a custard. When the time was right, I put the custard, fresh cream and a thick syrup made from reduced wild black rasperberry juice and sugar all into a White Mountain Ice Cream Maker and plugged it in. In 20 minutes, we were treated to the most incredible, berry-flavored, silky home made ice cream I've ever done. I made sure everyone got a scoop, but I got my favorite part--to lick off the beaters!

As requested by several folks, here is the ice cream recipe.

Wild Black Raspberry Ice Cream

1/2 gallon whole milk (use creamline if you can get it)
1 pint fresh cream
4 large fresh eggs
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
2 cups raw sugar
1 pound black raspberries

Beat 1 cup milk and eggs on high until fully mixed and frothy. Put into a heavy-bottomed pot with the remaining milk, 1 cup sugar and vanilla bean scrapings. Slowing bring to a light boil while whisking constantly. Cook 3-5 minutes until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat and continue to stir for 3-5 minutes. Let cool further, transfer to container and refridgerate.

Berry Syrup
Puree berries in a food processor until mushy. Drain in cheese cloth so there is only juice--no seeds. Squeeze as much juice as possible and discard solids. Tranfer juice to sauce pan and reduce by 1/3. Add sugar, bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Cool and refridgerate.

Making the Ice Cream
In a six-quart ice cream maker, put in custard, berry syrup and cream and make according to manufacturers' instructions.

Friday, September 01, 2006

It's raining....

Ok, so I rarely post. Think of it as a mechanic whose car needs fixed, a plumber with a stopped up toilet, a seamstress with hems too long, a hair stylist who needs her roots covered....you get the picture. But here I sit with Ernesto bearing down on us, a chicken in the oven, okra waiting to be fried and me killing time until Jess gets home from work. Ralph is happy on the couch with all the pets camped out on top of him.

As the rain finally arrives after a most dry summer, I thought I'd share the latest of farm gadgets (pardon the lack of pictures). After five years, we finally had rain gutters installed on the barn. Not wanting to squander all that wonderful rain we had been dancing for, we plumbed the downspouts into a stock tank to capture the runoff. Our 100-gallon Rubbermaid said idle for several weeks until we were blessed with 3/10th of an inch of rain last week. Starting out dry, the tank was millimeters from overflowing when the rain stopped. So we can officially say that 3/10" rain on half our barn roof yields 100 gallons.

Recently I was awarded a Project Grass Grant to increase the fencing on my farm for rotational grazing and the big question was how I was going to provide water to my stock. So I put Ralph to work with his creative ways. For those of you who remember the stories of the fish boxes, they are having yet another iteration. He plumbed the 100-gallon tank at the barn with a ball-valve leading into a collapsable irrigation pipe (which he had to encase in PVC & drainage pipe to keep the more gregarious critters from playing with it) and down over the hill (gravity feed) into the famous fish box. If you've ever watched any of the newer Star Trek series, you'll recognize them as a staples of the cargo decks. They are 300-gallon poly-boxes that can be picked up with a fork-lift and they have flat lids that snap on so they can be stacked.

This particular fish box had functioned as our quasi-hot tub for many years out west (and for a while here) before being plumbed up for a water storage tank.

We've had about a half inch so far and the system is working well. Water falls from the sky, hits the barn roof, is gathered by the gutter and directed downspout to the 100 gallon tank. When it reaches capacity, water then flows through the irrigation pipe approximately 300 feet down hill to the fish box tank where it has a hose fitting to supply water to assorted water barrels for the goaty girls.

And when Mother Nature doesn't deliver, there is always the well.