Butternut Squash Bisque with Goat Cheese

Are you ready for round 2 of Winter Blast?  Farmer’s Almanac told us this would be a brutal winter and they were not lying. In the depth of the cold, comfort foods and soups call my name.  “Lucy, we’ll keep you warm and cozy.” Ahh warming soups, just a bit of added spice to warm you up after the outdoor cold.

Butternut Squash Bisque is a classic bisque. Thick, velvety  and nutritious for you as well.  The past few weeks I have stared at this squash on my counter, now it is time to cook it. The twist is I’m adding Celebrity Dairy Goat Cheese to the mix, sold in the NCF store for $5 a tub.  The nice thing about Butternut Squash, is that you can mix it up with just about any of the Celebrity Dairy savory goat cheese flavors and it will turn out delicious. I definitely would not do the chocolate or mango though.

For added texture I with the bisque,   I recommend  Accidental Baker Crackers. The NCF Store Carries them in 3 Flavors Garlic & Rosemary, Sea Salt, and Black Pepper and Salt.  These crackers are locally made and taste great.


Store Manager and resident chef at Ninja Cow Farm LLC

Lucy lives and works on Ninja Cow Farm. Most days you’ll find her tending to the garden or working in the store. She’s cooked in restaurants and as a Personal Chef.


A boring shop project, making a wire wheel grinder

Sometimes I have really cool projects that I’m working on. For instance the golf ball cannon we made for Christmas, along with the brass monkey shot holder was about as cool as it gets. Or the hydraulic lift/drop trailer that we made for moving pigs around the farm. Those are fun and exciting projects.

But sometimes you just need to knock something out to get it off the list.

Old original GE motor
Old original GE motor

I had this really old GE motor hanging around the shop. I don’t recall what it came off of, but I think it was from my dad’s time. Based on the name plate, and the condition and type of cable attached to it, it’s really old. Like 60s or 70s.

Step 1 was to find out if I’d been keeping this motor around for all these years and it didn’t even work. Luckily I had a cable in the shop already so a quick rewire and test.

It works!

For all the grinding stuff I have in the shop, the one thing I don’t have is a wire wheel. Wire wheels are great for cleaning up rusty metal, or cleaning up uneven surfaces. They don’t remove metal, just polish it, which is perfect for when you are welding something made from scraps and cut offs. Something we do all the time here.

piece of metal with rust on it
Metal in its natural state after hanging around the shop.

The above is a good example of what we deal with. This is a cutoff from a previous project. It’s perfectly good metal, once all the surface rust is taken off. Normally we’d use a hand held grinder to clean this up for welding. However with a wire wheel, and about 20 seconds of work, it can look like this.

Metal cleaned up with a wire wheel.
After about 20 seconds on the wire wheel.

This is really handy when you are putting together quick projects. But despite having two belt grinders, and a bench grinder, I didn’t have a wire wheel grinder. But I did have an old motor that ran 1750 RPMs on 110 volts.

Step 2, after figuring out that the motor worked, was to make a shaft that would extend the short stub from the motor out about 8″ so there is room to work around the wire wheel. That is important when you are trying to clean up all sides of something oddly shaped.

Shaft and collar for wire wheel.
Shaft and collar for wire wheel

This was a fun little lathe project. A few pieces of scrap metal and some lathe work and we go from scraps to something useful. First I turned down the larger coupling you see on the left. Once I had it the correct size, I broached a keyway so that it could mate to the key on the motor. Then a different piece of metal is turned down to the extension. That’s the shiny bit. Then I TIG welded the two together and turned the extension to final size, truing it up on the lathe in the process.

Wire wheel with keyway
Wire wheel with keyway

This end of the shaft had a keyway cut on the mill. That’s the slot you see cut into the end of the shaft on the top. I hand filed a keyway into the wire wheel, attached two locking collars purchased from Agri Supply, and fired it up.

Wire wheel grinder
The finished project, ready to go to work

The intent of this project was to get it knocked out quickly. With that in mind, I purchased a stand from Amazon.com. Of course I ended up having to fix the machining mistakes on the stupid thing, plus deal with the fact it was too short (missed that in the description). I also had to redrill the holes in the “universal” mounting plate, because of course they didn’t line up. I could have built a better stand in the time I spent fixing this one but oh well, it’s done now.

I already had a switched outlet at this location so it’s simply walk up, put on safety glasses (wire wheels are scary), and flick the switch for a quick clean up. Easy. Total direct cost, about $15.00 and about 4 hours of labor. Everything else was scrounged around the shop.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter

Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he’s a farmer.


Jeanette is working today

The girls have the day off today, which means no cookies. But instead, you have Jeanette working along with Crystal. For those of you who haven’t met her yet, Jeanette is our newest employee and is covering either Wednesday or Friday shifts for us, depending on the schedule. Today is a great opportunity for our regular Saturday customers to get to meet Jeanette and see what a wonderful and knowledgeable person she is.

It’s also a rare day off for the girls so send happy thoughts their way and hope they are enjoying their day off.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter

Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he’s a farmer.


Last hay for winter

135 bales of hay for our cows
135 bales of hay for our cows. We’ve already fed this much by January. 

This past week I finally received in the last hay for the winter. I switched hay farmers this year because my new farmer would deliver the same hay, for the same price, as I was picking up hay from my old farmer. Since it takes an entire day to haul three loads of hay (51 bales), and we go through about 250 bales of hay per winter, that means it takes me 5 full days of hauling hay to get all the hay here. When the price is the same and I get 5 days of my time back, I switch.

Except that’s not how it worked out. Last year my new hay guy delivered like magic. All I had to do was send a text and hay was here the same day or at the latest the next. New equipment, nice people to deal with. It was all good. This year, the first few loads showed up, and then it stopped. And then things got flakey. He kept promising to call, but never did. Over and over again. He threw on a delivery charge when I finally receive the bill I’d requested a couple months before. A delivery charge I’d never paid before. It took several months to finally get one more load of hay and then things fell completely off the rails and he stopped responding completely. Not, “I’m sorry I can’t bring you more hay like a promised”, just stopped talking leaving me high and dry with promises broken. Sigh, I hate relying on other people.

Luckily, the old had farmer I had used for years had a SNAFU of his own and hadn’t sold any of the hay he normally reserved for me. The property owner (the actual land owner, I deal with the farmer who cuts his hay) called me about this time and asked why I hadn’t been by to pick up my hay this year. I explained that I’d told the farmer I needed it delivered and the farmer couldn’t do that, but if my normal allotment of hay was sitting there in his way, I’d come and get it. Since I had about four days of hay left at this point, this was an extremely lucky turn of events.

Three days of hauling hay later and we have the rest of the hay we need to get through the winter. Of course, I had plan B, and C, but I sure am glad it worked out that I was able to go back to my original hay farmer. I think next year I’ll keep him and just find time to haul hay.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter

Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he’s a farmer.


Egg Drop Soup

Whew, that cold snap was a doozy. If you have never had to worry about keep animal waterers free of ice let me tell it is not fun. We are all thankful it is over. However it is only the 2nd week in January which means after a short reprieve we will be back to cold weather before long.  And that is where Egg Drop Soup comes in. It is plentiful and warms the body from the inside.

There is only a single photo of my dish. I simply threw it up on my personal facebook wall and poof lots of folks wanted the recipe. My message box blew up. I figured I probably needed to put it on here for our clients.

With this being such a simple dish I recommend using the best ingredients meaning homemade broth. Try out Farmer Dan’s recipe.  And of course use Farm Fresh Eggs just $4.25 a dozen.

Store Manager and resident chef at Ninja Cow Farm LLC

Lucy lives and works on Ninja Cow Farm. Most days you’ll find her tending to the garden or working in the store. She’s cooked in restaurants and as a Personal Chef.


A Christmas adventure

We have a lot of family and friends who follow us on this website. So please indulge me while I share something that is pretty much a family story but obviously wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t farm and farm the way we do. Plus folks seem to enjoy more than just pictures of cows so here is some behind the scenes views of what we do on Christmas here at Ninja Cow Farm.

Not long after Wildflower was born, our neighbor Dustin came up with an idea for a Christmas present from him that would be for all the kids. He decided to keep all his pocket change over the year, and then wrap it up as a treasure for the kids. But just giving them a box of coins was kind of boring, so he decided that the kids could find the treasure on a treasure hunt. This was a hugely successful idea as what is better for little kids than having a big pile of loot to sort through, and a fun adventure to go and find the treasure made it all the more special. The fact that is was pennies and nickels mattered not one bit.

The first few years, the kids were way little so the entire event consisted of a treasure map created by Uncle Dustin, and a treasure “hidden” right behind the house, under a bush, etc. You know, kind of like an Easter egg hunt where the eggs are pretty much just laying on the grass so the little kids can just walk up and find them? Yeah, like that.

The treasure maps were a thing of beauty though. Dustin has an art background and he’d draw them, scorch the edges, have funny sayings on them, etc. They really were over the top. To this day, I believe every single map is hanging in one or the other kids rooms for every year we’ve done this.

Like most things, the event grows over time. In 2016, the kids had gotten old enough that we felt that the adventure could get a little more, say, challenging. I checked in with SWMBO, who is in charge of safety and the kids well being (I’d dangle them by their ankles over alligators, safely of course but you know, dads and whatnot.)  She was ok with ramping things up!

Dustin and I set about building some items for the adventure that were beyond the norm. I went in the shop and built a grappling hook, and Dustin and I built a fire trough from some metal channel and a model rocket igniter we had laying around. Dustin turned his treasure map into a treasure journal and we turned the simple Christmas adventure into an hour long trek around the farm.

To give you some idea of what I am talking about, here is the family video we sent out to our friends and family from 2016.

Last years adventure was a huge hit. The kids were scared, excited, and had a grand time marching around the farm following clues and tackling the challenges. The Christmas adventure has now become a solid part of our tradition and a welcome part of Christmas day.

The way we schedule Christmas is to split it into three parts. One, we get up and open stockings and a couple of presents. Wildflower and I would start at 5am. SWMBO would start at 9am. We compromise and start about 7:30am. Then usually about 9am or so, we pause Christmas and Spork and I go and feed the animals. There are no days off on a farm.

When we get back, we meet Uncle Dustin, usually at our front door, and he delivers the Christmas map/book/journal/clue/whatever. Then the entire family treks off on our adventure for an hour or so.

When we get back, we get something to eat, then continue with the rest of our Christmas. It ends up taking nearly all day and we move at a very sedate pace, opening a few presents and letting the kids play with them before we move on. At this point, I cannot imagine a more enjoyable Christmas day, unless maybe it was this.

Christmas on a sailboat
But only if we still have a treasure hunt, just in shorts and flip-flops.

Since last year went so well, SWMBO allowed that we could step up the level of difficulty again for the kids this year. Instead of small fires, we were thinking explosions and whatnot. Several nights of planning (read drinking) went into this years plans and both Dustin and I spent several days working on projects. And the result? Well, before you can watch the video, I need to explain a few things.

One, I need to explain who Bill is. I don’t know how it started. At some point Spork was doing something, and I made the comment about his older brother. I’m always messing with the kids, telling them things that aren’t true, mainly as a source of humor to them and to me, but also for a lesson on occasion. For example, how many times have you witnessed a parent scold children who were misbehaving in public? When my kids get rowdy in public, assuming I’m not the ring leader of the misbehaving (it happens) then I’ll say in a bad stage whisper, “Hey, we are in public. Remember to pretend you are normal!” Being home schooled they are very aware that we are different from “normal” people. They smile, quiet down, and behave for at least several minutes. It gets the point across, but with some self-deprecating humor instead of a red faced parent yelling.

So back to Spork misbehaving. Spork looks at me innocently and asks, “Older brother?”

“Oh yes, your older brother…..Bill.”

Now my oldest brother was named Bill, maybe that’s where the name came from. Who knows why I picked that name, it was just random.

“I have an older brother?”

“Oh yes. Had actually. He’s not…..here…anymore. And he was bad. Actually he was doing just what you were doing just now…and that was the end of him. That’s why we don’t talk about him anymore.” A smile to let him know I’m kidding. And a crazy look in my eye to make him question if I actually was.

Message delivered.

Over the years, Bill has been killed in numerous way. Not cleaning up your room, dating girls, giving your mother lip, hitting your sister. Every way you can imagine, Bill has met his untimely demise. It has become a running joke over the years and Bill quickly became like Kenny. You know, this guy?

However, I can mention Bill, and the kids get the point quickly. Better straighten up. Well after all of our planning, we thought that this year’s adventure should be the search for their long lost brother Bill.

Also, being the mean ogre that I am, I’ve made it very clear that I don’t like our dog Ruby. I try to give her away constantly to customers, threaten to eat her, you know, the normal stuff. In the second part of our adventure, Spork has to shoot a target with a rifle, which explodes. What isn’t explained in the video is that we’d put an effigy of Ruby in a cage. She could only be “released” by a shot on target, which of course Spork had to perform.

Except the target was an explosive that blew Ruby up. That’s why you see The Princess carrying around a stuffed dog for the rest of the video. That was the blown and up and rescued Ruby dog. When we got home, and Christmas was over, the girls raided my boo boo box and had a few days of pretend vet hospital time getting the stuffed dog back to full health. I’m happy to say the stuffed dog has made a full recovery and now resides in Wildflower’s expansive collection of stuffed animals, living the high life.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter

Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he’s a farmer.


Rabbit Cassoulet

Rabbit is becoming more of a mainstay among the American diet. I have started seeing several friends posting that they are having rabbit for dinner. When my family dines out we are seeing it on the menu more often. Why? Rabbit is a great hardy animal to raise for meat. The best part is it’s the healthiest meat & most environmentally friendly meat you can buy.  We just have to overcome the idea of what is in your head.

Cassoulet comes to use from France named for its cooking vessel.  You can use any meat to make this versatile dish. Duck, Rabbit, Chicken , Beef, & Pork can all be used. (If using red meat switch to Pinot Noir and add 2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste).  If you need to make it fast use 2 cans of beans and lower the amount of of liquids to 1 cup wine & 1 cup broth. If using chicken then use chicken broth instead of beef.  If I was only only allowed 1 meal it would be Rabbit Cassoulet. The scent of this dish stayed in my house overnight, making me wish I had more of it to eat for breakfast.

Rabbit runs in the NCF Store for $10.50 per lb. Each rabbit weighs between 2.5 lbs and 3.5 lbs.  If we hadn’t had friends over for dinner this easily would have fed our family for several  meals. In this dish we also use NCF Italian Mild Sausage which sells for $10 per lb.  The rabbit and sausage pair perfectly together giving a great flavor profile.

Store Manager and resident chef at Ninja Cow Farm LLC

Lucy lives and works on Ninja Cow Farm. Most days you’ll find her tending to the garden or working in the store. She’s cooked in restaurants and as a Personal Chef.