Duck eggs! Do they taste like chicken eggs?

Free ranging ancona ducks

Since I started working in the store, I have been bringing in duck eggs from my flock of Anconas. We fortunately have a dedicated following of customers looking for free-range duck eggs at a reasonable price ($8 dozen). The most frequent question is “what do they taste like?”

Short answer is ….like a chicken egg. Seriously though duck eggs are bigger, heavier and taste like an intense chicken egg. Duck eggs have a bigger yolk so they are higher both in fat and cholesterol. Ducks are typically foragers therefore their eggs are higher in protein as they eat all the bugs, snails, minnows, slugs they can find in my creeks/yard/garden beds. I’ve even seen them chasing each other on my property with a coveted frog or lizard. Nothing is funnier then seeing the winner waddle all over the property trying to keep their prize by swallowing it quickly. Secret though…..it’s usually a hen in the lead. If you are looking for a natural food with a higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, then stop by and pick up a dozen.

“What can I do with duck eggs?” Short answer is…everything you can with a chicken egg. Pastry chefs love duck eggs when making cream or custard fillings. Bakers love duck eggs because the higher fat content in the yolks and higher protein in the whites make cakes, muffins, quick breads and other baked goods richer and fluffier. I use the eggs for all the bread baking, waffles, pancakes and even just scrambled. Using them in an omelette or egg salad is great, too!

I don’t really enjoy hard boiled egg yolks, so I won’t use them for pickled eggs or a plain hard boiled egg. But you must try smoked hard boiled eggs and salt cured yolks. The salt cured yolks are then shaved onto pasta dishes, salads are any place you would use a shredded cheese for added flavor. Delicious!

The picture above is my flock being herded by my sweet Teddy who’s a farm dog (English Shepherd). My standard flock consists of 9 hens and one drake. I currently have 16 duck eggs incubating as we will be butchering the extra drakes in a couple weeks. Cooked duck sounds like another post for another day.

We are open today from 2-6 and fully stocked with your beef, chicken and pork needs for the extended holiday. Come visit and check out some of our new products and as always we have raw cow and goat milk available.

Hope everyone has a great 4th of July Celebration and stay safe!

New homemade product by the wee one

Wildflower in the kitchen
Wildflower in her natural element

My youngest daughter is our kitchen queen. She loves baking and making things. This of course started by helping mom stir the pot, licking the spoon, etc. But over the past few years she’s progressed from mommies helper to a bit of a force in the kitchen.

Fourth of July cake the Wildflower made by herself
The fourth of July cake, she made by herself.

She is very happy in the kitchen, happily working away, singing a song to herself. The only kid like whining you’ll hear from her is about the need to go get ingredients, and of course when it is time to clean up. She is only 10.

Wildflower with her final cake at baking camp
Wildflower at baking camp, with her final project.

Of course, SWMBO has encouraged all this baking, sending her to baking camp as you see above. But also buying her ingredients and even going so far as to make her the defacto party prepper for most anything that we attend. Need cookies for a get together, cake for a special event? Yeah, throw some flour and sugar at the wee one and see what she comes up with.

Wildflower with cupcakes she made for a party
Wildflower with cupcakes she made for a party

Not everything is a masterpiece, she’s still learning. But with Youtube and online recipes as her guide, she’s producing some pretty awesome stuff.

Gingerbread house
This one has as much fun as technique. We still encourage fun

So with these successes, I’ve gotten used to some sort of baking project ongoing at any point and time. They are as varied as whatever is on the internet and in the pantry. However some months ago, a new product started coming out of the kitchen. Slime.

You can’t do that on television – Nickelodeon

I don’t mean the kind of slime we grew up with on TV. I mean more like a stress ball, silly puddy kind of slime.

“Daddy, do you wanna see my slime?”

“Uh, ok honey. That’s really nice.”

The first few times she was making it, I really didn’t pay much attention. It was just the project of the week. But she really enjoyed playing with it. And she kept making more. And more. And more.

And then her sister knocked over a 1 gallon bottle of glue ( a main ingredient in slime) in the bedroom. After the cleanup, mom declared, “That’s it! No more slime.”

So much for slime.

Then I walked into this.

A sudden slime display in the store

Slime? Do people buy slime? Is it a thing? Does it have anything to do with farming? The work was already done, and this wasn’t leftover slime. She’d perfected her technique and had started making production slime for the store.

“It is ok to sell it daddy?” Big smile. Doe eyes.

“Uh, sure honey. Go for it.”

I figured it would collect some dust and that would be that. Then a mom with a little kid came in. The size kid that definitely couldn’t read. Did he want ice cream? Loco pops? Popcorn? Maybe just play in the kid’s corner? Nope, he had a crying fit because he wanted slime. Maybe she knows something I don’t.

All colors and consistencies

So stop by and get your kids some slime. They do seem to love it and there is nothing in the product that will hurt them. Plus, it will make my daughter amazingly proud that something she made on her own has sold.

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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.

Ever been stung by a bee?

Whenever I give a tour, and I get to our bee hives, I always ask the group if they’ve ever been stung by a bee. Usually a lot of hands will go up. Then I ask, was it a wasp? A yellow jacket? A mud dauber? I mean, have you ever been stung by a honey bee? All the hands go down except for people who are bee keepers themselves, or who were running through clover barefoot and stepped on a honey bee by accident.

My point is that honey bees are really chill. They just want to collect their pollen and do their work. They don’t want to mess with you and we should cultivate bees, not be afraid of them.

Nothing like 30,000 ladies all buzzing around your head

The other day our bee keeper was here working the hives. I stopped by on the way to the barn to say hello and catch up. Spork was with me and we chatted for a few minutes. I don’t walk right up on her, but I don’t yell from across the yard either. As we were chatting, I heard a bee that was none too pleased. You can tell by the frequency of their wings what their mood is. It buzzed Spork, so we both immediately started walking away, not swatting at it. That is the best thing to do. As we got about 50 feet away, I saw the bee arc around Spork and then zap! Straight to my face where it stung me.

I commenced to cursing, not because it hurt, but because I was REALLY busy and didn’t have time for this. Spork picked the stinger out of my face and we went about our day, with my face swelling up and smarting. I put some baking soda on it as Jennifer recommended, and popped an antihistamine as I thought would be appropriate. It was definitely better than last time as I’ve been stung in the face before and I know it is going to swell. When we finally stopped to get something to eat, Spork took this picture of me.

Stung on the left side of my face, just below the eye

Spork said I looked like the diet plan’s advertisement, with the pre diet and post diet on each side of my face. I thought that was pretty funny.

So I still say bees are very chill and you should respect them and help them whenever possible. Just don’t walk barefoot through clover, and don’t stand 10 feet from a bee keeper flapping your gums while she is working.

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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.

#83 had a little girl, #142

Just on the heels of our calf born on Thursday, we had a new calf born to one of our newer moms, #83. Another pretty little spring calf. This little girl should be here to stay as well, with a lifetime of being a mom herself.

A pretty little spring calf, #142
A pretty little spring calf, #142

As long as she behaves, that is. We do have some moms who haven’t been doing so well that will be culled next week. The younger moms especially seem to have the most trouble. But that is part of having cattle, sometimes they are excellent, and sometimes they struggle.

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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.

#61 had a little boy, #141

We’ve actually had a little lull in calves being born. You’d think all these moms who have babies in the winter would look towards the spring instead (yes I know they don’t choose).

Son with momma, having been ear tagged and banded

It is a treat to have a little calf on the farm, all fresh and cute. This little boy will be staying here his entire life, Lord willing.

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.

More honey bee swarms, and a reversal of fortune

So last time, we had honey bees swarming on a low fence and my bee keeper was out of town. I heroically saved the day by sidling up to the bees and knocking them into a box. It was an amazing bit of bee work, standing there on the ground with my box. I could have gotten a paper cut. Very dangerous.

The Mrs. and I had a meeting with two different companies in Myrtle Beach, SC. We drove down midday, met the first people, grabbed dinner, slept, woke, met the second people, then drove home. It wasn’t the most relaxing trip, but that wouldn’t stop me from rubbing it in in the below exchange.

Text conversation about a bee swarm

I’m sitting at a restaurant with the Mrs. We’ve just sat down when I receive the text from my neighbor with the picture of bee swarm. Like last time, I thank God that I have a bee keeper who takes such good care of us. But I’m wary, last time she was in Utah. Will she be there this time? Ahh, “I can be there in an hour.” Perfect, just what I wanted to hear, (Waitress! One more drink please.), especially since I’m three hours away at the moment. Then the next exchange happens a bit later, oh about one hour later when she arrives.

Text conversation about being at the beach

I am a bad person. Rather than just say no, I have to rub it in that I have a “tropical” view. I mean, she was in Utah when I needed her last time, right? So I owe her one. Plus it isn’t unusual that I’ll answer the “Are you around?” question with a picture rather than a statement. This is another answer I’ve sent to that inquiry.

View of left wing and the ground from a Cessna 172

A picture says a thousand words. Plus, I’m flying. I’m like…busy. I don’t have time to type out a whole message. Instead I have time to take a picture and forward it. Totally not the same thing. Stop looking at me like that.

So back to the bees. Apparently the lower branch, which was already 10 feet off the ground, wasn’t good enough for these overachieving bees. They’ve moved to another tree, and to a higher branch during the hour of transit time for Jennifer.

Bee swarm very high in a tree

Normally what we’d do in that situation is fire up our bucket truck and put Jennifer way up in the air to get these bees. It would really be easy, as they are sitting just above the drive way. All I’d need to do is to walk over, crank the truck, drive about 100 feet, set the truck up and raise her right where she wanted to be. I mean, she’s terrified of heights, so there is that, but overall not a lot of work to be performed. Instead, the guys are gone and I’m sitting in South Carolina. Jennifer had to adapt and overcome.

To be honest, I don’t know how she did it. She’s on the largest A frame ladder we have, and she’s not even half way to these bees. Maybe she levitated using some bee magic? Girl magic? Bee girl magic? I don’t really know how any of that works, especially the girl part, but somehow she captured about 1/2 of the swarm, 30′ off the ground, with a 10′ ladder and a stick. She managed to get the half with the queen because the next day, all the bees had decided to move into her hastily provided bee hive and were merrily going about bee duties enjoying the spring weather.

These bees most likely came from our hives. That means that in the end, this is kind of like picking your kid up from jail. You are glad to have him back, but all you did was get your own troublemaker back in the house, with no small amount of trouble for yourself in the process. Capturing someone else’s swarm, now that is a net add to your bee population.

But rather than having to do a split, these bees have made their own split so we have added two new hives to the apiary the past few weeks. With the spring weather, they’ll all be pouring in the honey as fast as they can go.

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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.

A sure sign of spring

Jennifer from Buck Naked Farms has blessedly been our beekeeper for years now. She tends to the girls and keeps things right, so I don’t have to.

So when I was walking back from the barn last Sunday and saw this.

A swarm of honey bees
A swarm of honey bees

I didn’t have that sinking feeling of, “Oh, not something else that needs to be done today. I have enough.”

Instead it was, “Oh, I’ll text our wonderful beekeeper and this can be her problem.”

Then this happened.

text message about being in utah
Who goes to Utah?

Um, she ain’t gonna be here in time to get these girls traveling from Utah. Ugh, I claim to be a former beekeeper on every tour I give. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t catch them. I also couldn’t face Jennifer, regardless of her permission to “let them go” if I didn’t try. I did say they’d be an easy catch.

I clopped back over to the barn, to uncover my beekeeping gear. It was conveniently located behind the paint booth, a shaper (weighs about 5000 lbs) that I was going to rebuild 10 years ago, and a pile of airplane parts I haven’t gotten to yet.

With bee gear in hand, I set about catching the swarm in a box I had laying about. Not a fancy beekeeper box, mind you. I’m talking a cardboard box that probably contained breakfast sausages at some point.

The bees were a bit more sprightly than I’ve encountered before with a swarm and I ended up getting Spork to help me because of course I’d not lit my smoker. In fact, I didn’t even have it with me. But with his help, we got some smoke going and the bees to settle down. I then rehived them in the box that Jennifer references in her text and everyone settled down for the night. Jennifer has already been by to check on them now and they appear to be moving in nicely.

Score one for the old beekeeper! I haven’t completely lost my touch.

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.

It is a bit dusty in here

cropped hand sweeping dusty room(sound of sweeping, coughing)

Oh hey, this thing still works. Whaddya know?

Yes, we are still alive and kicking. Unfortunately tax season has been kicking my butt lately. It is easy to start some new endeavor, but every year this time all those chickens come home to roost when all the paperwork has to be collated and consolidated into the individual returns.

Harried CPA: “You paid the kids their slave wages? Oh, we need records of all that. No not those records, you entered them wrong. We need to redo all those entries in Quickbooks so it comes out correctly.”

Stressed out CPA: “You bought an airplane? With four partners? It costs less than a used car for one person to own, why did you bring in four partners? Sigh. Now we need an LLC and the K1s for the LLC. Oh, one of the partners used his guy for the LLC? A guy who doesn’t own a computer? Or apparently fill out K1s? Yeah, you’ll need to go down personally, twice, and get the K1s.”

Incredulous CPA: “You started ANOTHER business? Oh this one is with your wife? I’m sure that makes things easier. Ok, well that will need an entirely new structure. You know what, while you are at it, we may as well change the ownership of everything and restructure the entire organization. Your insurance agent has been talking about you needing to structure differently for a while. Might as well do it all at once. That means new surveys, new LLCs, lots of lawyer conversations. Yep, this may take a while.”

Kids dressed up standing around a table at speech and debate
Some of the kids from Speech and Debate

And don’t even talk about the Speech and Debate tournament that my kids were in, which required not only their participation,

Walking into speech and debate
Walking into speech and debate

but the participation of both parents, and all my friends I could wrangle (Hi Dustin and Ron!)

The girls after their play
The girls after their play

Or the play that my girls were in, which ate up two weeks of time. Speech and debate and then the play were back to back events.

Or that the littlest of my kids has decided that volleyball is her sport. Since volleyball was my sport till I got hurt, I’m pretty excited.

Or that crazy schedule we’ve made for Civil Air Patrol events we have for 2019.

We’ve already been to Seymour Johnson AFB. That is my daughter in the fire truck, trying to hit us with water from the water cannon.

The kids listening to the pilots talk on the ramp at Seymour
The kids listening to the pilots talk on the ramp at Seymour

We took three van loads of people to the base on the field trip, with borrowed vans I had to pick and take back to various cities.

We also man handled a wrecked airplane off of the runway at Johnston County Airport WHILE simultaneously teaching 20 cadets how to navigate with a compass.

Briefing the cadets for the Orientation flights
Briefing the cadets for the Orientation flights

Or conducting orientation flights for 15 cadets with borrowed airplanes from across the state. That took a bit of coordination.

So it turns out it is possible to be unemployed, and completely out of time every day, at the same time. My mornings, where I used to sit and write blog posts, have been occupied with the never ending stream of emails that I’m two days behind on answering. But today is a new day!

No, none of that stuff has gone away. I’m still crazy trying to get caught up. But at least today I was able to squeeze out one single post to let you fine folks know that we are still alive and kicking. I have lots of material for more farm related posts, including an adventure with the below.

Jessie with the new calf
Jessie with the new calf

so I’m going to try and get that story out.

And thanks to the hard work of Jeanette, Miguel, and Vicente, the farm is running as well as it ever has. In fact Jeanette just returned from the Flavors of Carolina show in Concord this week.

Flavors of Carolina event floor
Flavors of Carolina event floor

She came back with a list chock full of goodness. She’s already requested a new freezer for the store so we have room for the items she’s bringing in so be prepared for some new stuff items to compliment your beef, pork, and chicken.

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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.

2019 produce CSA signups are available!

There are still a few spots available for our 2019 CSA. This is a repost of our earlier post about signing up. Click here to sign up for the 2019 season.

We continue to have great success with our CSA program here at the farm. As a reminder, this is simply a pass through program where we connect you, our customers, with a small, local, produce farmer. We don’t charge anything for the program and you sign up directly.

But you pick up your produce here at the farm each week, allowing you to get your veggies, your fruit, and your beef, pork, chicken, etc all at one place and at one time.

CSA vegetable box
An actual CSA box from last year

This whole idea was requested by multiple customers, and Jennifer has retained about 90% of her customers from period to period, meaning that she has a very high satisfaction rate. Something echoed by the customers I’ve spoken to when they stop by.

In fact, because of the high retention rate, I’ve not really talked much about the CSA because there hasn’t been any room for new people. But in 2019 Chickadee has been able to grow some and has opened up some more spots to us. For all of you who support local agriculture, this is exactly what you hope. We work together, support a small farmer, and they see growth and success.

As a result, there are more spots for more supporters. A win-win. Sign up today to get your name on the list for 2019.

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.