Friday, October 22, 2010

October, closing Red Canoe Cafe

Chilly October days and every morning, bright and early we head for Wilno for the final transformation of our beloved Red Canoe Cafe and Wilno Station Inn into a prosaic rental dwelling. I am cleaning grease from the top of the kitchen cupboards and cursing several of our unmotivated cooks and kitchen preps...I am folding bedspreads and thinking of our many inn guests who became friends. I am removing the paintings and the books and the giftware and thinking of all our openings and soirees and events...the patio with white twinkle lights on a sultry August night, those magical musical evenings with Ian Tamblyn and Cara Luft and Sneezy Waters...the Film Festival...Philosopher's Cafe...poetry afternoon.

November 1, we'll lock the door for the winter and our new tenants will take over the residential part of the building. I will be writing 50,000 words as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel WRiting Month) and I will be bringing home 30 East Friesien dairy ewes as part one of my new life as a cheesemaker.

In the meantime, come on out to our farm on Sunday afternoons from 1-4 pm for a visit, a farm tour if you wish, and a snack of some kind of homemade tasty treat. Our farm shop and freezers are open for business for orders large and small. We have organically raised lamb, pork, beef, chicken and eggs...local eating at its best!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Navajo-Churro ewes for sale

Must sell some of my flock as we will soon be taking over a 30 ewe flock of East Friesien dairy ewes.
For sale:
Alexandra: 18 months old. Cream coloured. Lovely horns. Mother is Dorset/Navajo/Jacob
Had twins this spring.

May: Two years old. Navajo/Jacob cross. Brown with black face.
Single lamb this spring.

Brownie: 18 months old. Blondie/russet fleece. Navajo/Jacob. horns. Beautiful fleece.
One lamb this spring.

150.00 each delivered within an hours drive. 613-628-9986. Ask for Joanne

Saturday, October 16, 2010

end of an era, end of the summer

It is eight pm on Saturday evening and I am sitting here at my kitchen table in my pj's and bathrobe amidst the following items. Aprox 12 bags of organic chicken feed piled in the sunroom, six boxes of kitchenware from the Red Canoe Cafe, all the pots from our five ayem perogie-cooking marathon for Taste of the Valley,coolers, bins, a pile of sweaters and mittins and scarves (it is very cold at six ayem at the Cobden Fair Grounds). The old Belanger kitchen range is toasty warm, the sheep and hens are safely in their beds and I have had two glasses of "girly wine" and a hot bath. I am celebrating the end of one life and the beginning of another.

This weekend marks the official end of the Red Canoe Cafe and the Wilno Station Inn. I will be exploring a lot of my ambivalent feelings into my novel when one of my characters, Orleen,decides to close her diner and take off in her RV for parts unknown. In the story, she hooks up with a band of lesbians called the Van Dikes and tours off to New Orleans, but that is a future plot development.

We were up at five ayem this morning, preparing for the Cobden Taste of the Valley. We boiled and fried up about 300 perogies,loaded the travelling freezer with pork, beef, lamb and chicken. In the past two days, I have roasted and pureed pumpkin and baked scones, biscuits and pumpkin loaves from morning till night. All this was piled in the truck and the trailer. We fed the chickens and threw hay to the sheep and dressed in about four layers of clothing, set off for the Ag Hall in beautiful downtown Cobden.

I love Cobden. I love Cobden's hearty plaid shirt farmers, I love their sweet small town main street, I love the view of the lake as you hurtle down toward highway 17 and I love the Cobden Sales Barn and my teenage excitement sneaking out of Opeongo High School to see Pierre Fontaine....another story for my novel...

My visit to Cobden today was more prosaic with a full day of selling meat and baked goods and perogies at the last and final Taste of the Valley for 2010. Despite early morning clouds and a brisk wind, we had a goodly number of buyers and potential buyers. Finally, at three pm, chilled to the bone and weary, we packed it up and headed home. No more early mornings for farmers markets, no more late night waiting for inn guests, no more dinner rush or lunch groups...much as I loved it all, it is now over. Tomorrow morning I am mistress of my own destiny!!! After I weigh a half a pig worth of pork,clean up todays kitchen mess, deliver a twig settee and a painting to Barrys Bay, take two sheep by trailer to Silver Lake and attend to my writers group the rest of the day IS MY OWN!!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What's for supper? New organic family packs.

At the Red Canoe Cafe, we were never in a quandary as to "what's for dinner?" One had a menu, one shopped and prepped and prepared that menu and the entire issue of last minute choice was neatly avoided. It's much like wearing a uniform...less spontanaity but much less last minute agonizing.
With that in mind, Donegal Heritage Farm has organized the month long "Organic & Local Family Pack" complete with recipe and menu suggestions. Follow our plan and feed your family of four at least three hearty organic meat-based meals per week. Growing kids need the protein and energy and even the natural fat which comes in lean pasture raised meat. And tired moms will be surprised how energy returns when a little red meat becomes a regular feature at the dinner table. As for Dad...most Dad's are all too happy to sit down to a juicy pork chop or a succulent burger.
So here's a sample pack priced at 100.00.

One large roasting chicken split in half= Two roast chicken dinners and leftovers for chicken fajitas, chicken sandwiches, chicken salad and chicken soup.

Four pork chops: grilled pork chop dinner. Add potatoes, rice or vegetables.

One smoked pork hock: bake with baked beans. Throw left over bone into pot of split peas for soup.

4 lb beef roast: Pot roast dinner, beef tacos or stir fry, sliced roast beef sandwiches.

4 lb lean ground beef: Burgers, shepherd's pie, meat loaf.

1 Pkg lean breakfast sausage: Sunday breakfast or a stir fry.

1 Doz organic brown eggs: Omelet, quiche, egg salad sandwiches, deviled eggs.

Fill your shopping cart with a large bag of onions, a bag of rice, a bag of pasta, a bag of yellow split peas, a bag of dried white beans, a bag of carrots and a bag of potatoes. Add garlic, couple cans of stewed tomatoes or use fresh from the garden, a bag of flour tortillas, cheese, your favorite herbs, a couple of loaves of your favorite bread, mustard, pickles, sour cream, ketchup. Put bread produts in freezer to stay fresh and stash the rest in the cupboard and fridge. You probably already have cooking oil and flour and sugar and all those staples on hand.

Week number one: Sunday Dinner: Saturday night: Thaw one half roasting chicken: Sunday afternoon brush thawed chicken with oil, sprinkle with herbs such as oregano, rosemary. Set chicken in roast pan. Add 1 cup cold water. Surround chicken with onions, potatoes and carrots, cut in fairly large pieces. Roast, UNCOVERED, for about two hours or until internal temperature indicates 180. Remove chicken and veg from pan, add another cup of cold water. Bring to a simmer and loosen up bits from bottom of pan. Strain into a smaller pot. Add one heaping teaspoon flour or constarch to a half cup cold water and stir with a fork until lumps are gone. Slowly pour flour mixture into gravy and whisk until smooth and simmer for a minute. Serve gravy over chichen and veg.

Remove left over chicken from bones and store in fridge. Put bones into plastic bag in freezer or fridge until needed for soup. Don't throw out left over gravy...add it to fajita mixture for extra flavour. You get the idea!!!!