Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Apple Picking with Irene

With the help of Hurricane Irene, I was able to pick my first crop of apples from our orchard - the 30 mile per hour winds definitely did a lot of the work!  

I will be peeling and freezing these apples for the approaching holidays.  Sister makes a mean apple pie!  

Thursday, August 25, 2011


We are pleased to announce our first set of twins at the farm. Although this is not a rarity we have not had any prior to this. Lowfields Lady Catherine de Burgh and her progeny are doing well!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Earthquake at Lowfields

All is well at Lowfields as we encountered Virginia's second recorded earthquake in 100 years and the largest on the East Coast since 1944.  
Registering a 5.8 magnitude on the Ritcher scale and only 40 miles from the farm, we did not sustain any major damage.   Only some content of the houses were shaken and one cow got sick in the middle of the night.   

Hoping our luck will continue with any after shocks and all will be quiet at Lowfields Farm once again.  

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gashouse Eggs

We love to share our eggs with our friends and neighbors in Raleigh. One week, one of  Charlie's partners Michael, picked up some eggs after he had been on call at the hospital. He sent us a picture of his morning breakfast with a nice thank you. 

Imagine my surprise when they were the most perfect Gashouse eggs - our family's breakfast staple!  My mother explained that she had seen these cooked in an old movie in the 1940's and from asking around, so had a lot of people!    

For those who don't know how to make them, here is the recipe: 

Take a piece of bread (whichever type you like) and cut a whole in the middle with either a cookie cutter or stamp it out with a glass.  Butter both sides of the bread and add to a heated pan.  Crack an egg (preferably fresh!) in the center. After a few minutes, flip over and cook to  your desired "done-ness" of egg.  We like ours a bit on the gooey side!

Michael's Gashouse Eggs - perfectly cooked!  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just Give Me The Warmth of the Sun

Living in the country, you get used to losing power… a lot. We started to think about how Lowfields could be more self-sustaining and besides installing generators; we decided to install solar panels. We have panels that run the farm complex and we have different panels that run the house complex. Now we produce 3/4 of the power we use at Lowfields - how's that for green?
Solar Panels on Main House
Solar Panels on Barn
On another green note, I am in the process of designing a drying pavilion for clothes. I only use the dryer in the winter, but a traditional clothes line is so awful looking. Stay tuned for the results!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer Cucumbers

This summer, we had an abundance of cucumbers from our garden.  We found that they are best when just done simply.  It helps that they are fresh picked but you could easily do this year round with store-bought cucumbers.  VERY EASY!

Score cucumbers with fork (run down the length of the cucumber)
Slice thinly
Add 1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
Chill; store in fridge

We put these in our salads and they are superb on pimento cheese sandwiches. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Make Hay While the Sun Still Shines

This is very true in May and September, they work until nightfall, always trying to predict the weather!

Why make hay? It is what cows eat when the grass is not growing in the winter or in extreme heat or cold.  Cows graze on grass every season except winter.  They eat lots of hay, the average cow eats 30 pounds of grass and they eat for 8 hrs a day! So you must always have plenty for them to eat and it always depends on the weather. It must be cut at its peak for good nutrition and maximum protein. The grass at Lowfields is particularly good as it has a great mixture of grasses which help avoid different diseases. In our fields we have fescue, clover, timothy, orchard and pearl millet, just to name a few. We also cut on several neighboring farms.

The process goes like this:
First, you tend to your hay all year round – seeding, fertilizing and digging up pesky weeds. Then at hay time, you cut, tedder, rake, bale and store. The equipment needed includes tractors, disc bine, tedderer, rake, baler, and plenty of barns to keep it in.
Cutting the Hay

Raking the Hay

Baling the Hay
Hay Bales once done
Hay Storage 
Hay Storage

We recently had Morton build us 2 new barns for hay storage in addition to our original Hay Barn.  
New Hay Barns being built!

New Hay Barn on the right

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saturday Night Supper

I woke up early this morning so I could weed in the garden for several hours before it got too hot under the August sun. Unlike most people (especially who work on the farm), I love to weed. Much to my surprise, I found these tiny little eggplants had just sprouted!  I just had to pick them immediately and make them into our Saturday night supper.  

Baby eggplants fresh from the garden
Here is what I came up with... Roasted Eggplant with a baked potato and Lowfields beef.  

I roasted the eggplant with some extra virgin olive oil - very simply - just wrapped it in tin foil after drizzling with olive oil and roasted in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.  As my french grandmother Bockie would say, you cook it until it's done.   Splendid!  
The perfect Saturday supper