Easter on the Farm

What does a sustainable Easter look like around here on our farm? Beautiful and loads of fun, but definitely not perfect. We are taking steps to reduce our impact and we are getting better at it every year. Sustainability isn’t easy but small steps grow towards bigger ones.

We used a natural dye kit this year. I have made our own dyes before but we were in a time pinch this year with a busy lambing season so I was super excited to find a ready made natural kit. The kit came in a cardboard box but I was a little disappointed the inside baggies were plastic. However, they were little and I kept them to use for craft bead storage and things like that. Many natural dyes have more muted coloring but check out how vibrant these colors were! The kids had so much fun experimenting. We have some plastic cups we use for art that have been around a while and we just keep rewashing and using them. Better to use and keep them out of the landfill until the end. Glass jars work fine too but keep in mind glass jars are wider and use a little more dye for the egg to completely submerge than the tiny plastic cups do.

When we had finished, I kept the dye in glass canning jars to test out for doing some other cloth and wool projects with the kids later…

Felting eggs was also a new adventure and loads of fun! I’m planning on creating a brief tutorial post later so here’s one photo to get you excited!

And of course, on a sheep ranch, what Easter is complete without lamb on the grill! The smell of rosemary and garlic wafting up from the grill as the lamb chops sizzled was enough to make anyone’s mouth water in anticipation. I will be posting a recipe for our grilled lamb chops soon!

The crowning glory of every Easter around here is the egg hunt. We have a selection of plastic eggs we reuse over and over from the past and then we are slowly replacing them as needed with wooden and metal ones. We also made some of our very own papermache ones this year with tissue paper we’d saved. Watching the kids race around the place looking in every nook and cranny makes for great entertainment for the adults as well.

Easter wouldn’t be complete without an egg toss. Yes, one of those messy games where you toss eggs back and forth while getting further and further apart until someone’s egg breaks and they wear it. The dogs loved the event and lapped up every drop of broken egg on the ground. Everyone got egg on them but me…which means I’m either really good at catching or really good at jumping sideways. I’ll let you guess which.

Confetti eggs are the new thing in stores. I see them everywhere. What about a natural alternative that is zero waste? Yes! I’m all about that. Just make a small hole in the top and shake the egg out for cooking and then let the egg dry out. I started a month ahead of time so I had plenty of eggs. Then, the kids decorated some but mostly wanted me to leave them plain. Then, we filled them with bird seed but I’m sure they could be filled with native flower seeds if you want to throw them in a mountain field or grass seed for the lawn or even animal feed if you want to toss them in the barnyard! After all, what kid doesn’t love throwing things and watching them burst!

Happy Easter from our family to yours!

Grilled lamb loin chops recipe

Grilled Lamb Loin Chops make any evening into a special occasion every time. Delicious flecks of rosemary and garlic cling to the lamb chops and the fragrant smell of smoky garlic and lamb right of the grill is perfection. 

Lamb is also our family’s go-to for most dinners and Easter dinner is no different. One of the reasons I love grilling lamb chops for Easter and holiday dinners is it how easy it is to turn out an impressive meal in no time at all. 

What is a Lamb Loin Chop?

Loin chops are a meatier cut from the lamb‘s back, just behind the ribs, and are cut into thicker chops then the rib chops. They are a perfect choice for the grill because They are more tender, flavorful and they cook more quickly

Taste and Servings

Taste: if your put off by the very strong lamb flavor of leg of lamb the Loin chops would be for you. The loin area along the back has a much more mild lamb flavor because it doesn’t get worked as much like the heavier muscles. 
Servings: Plan for 2 loin chops per person for a dinner portion and for larger appetites.

Tips for Grilling Lamb Loin Chops:

The dry heat of the grill or oven creates delicious browned edges and renders the layer of outer fat in just minutes. Ideally, you’ll want to treat loin chops like a high-end steak and cook only to medium-rare for the best texture and flavor.

  • Treat like a steak. think of Loin chops as mini T-bone steaks—on one side of the chop is the lamb loin, on the other side is the fillet. The fillet side is smaller and will cook more quickly, so when grilling point your fillet side away from the hottest part of the fire.
  • Cook to medium-rare (between 130-135 degrees), and use an instant-read thermometer to test for doneness.
  • Always Let the meat rest for 10-15 minutes, before serving.

Rosemary and garlic grilled lamb loin chops

Serving Size:
6
Time:
About 20 minutes
Difficulty:
medium

Ingredients

  • 12  lamb loin chops
  • 12   cloves  garlic , chopped
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary , coarsely chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Season with salt, pepper, fresh garlic and rosemary, and drizzle with olive oil on both sides.
  2. Light a charcoal grill and once the coals are hot, spread on only one side of the grill to allow for an indirect cooking zone on the other side. If using a gas grill, light all the burners and heat grill to 450 degrees. Reduce heat to low before placing lamb on grill.
  3. Grill lamb over hot direct heat to sear the outside for 2-3 minutes on each side.
    turn down heat and Cook until medium-rare, 8 to 10 minutes total, depending on size. Once browned on all sides, check internal temperature.
  4. Remove from heat when the internal temperature in the thickest part of the meat is 125-130° for medium-rare, 135° for medium.
  5. Rest for 10 minutes, covered
  6. Serve with asparagus, potatoes, or your favorite side dish.

Sustainability in Agriculture

Sustainability is an important part of our world and of the agricultural industry. I’m a huge fan of sustainability, eco-friendly living, and ethical farming and ranching. It will take many posts to cover all this can encompass, but I want to start with a brief overview and then in future posts I will dive deeper into specifics.

Currently, in our country and throughout the world there is a lot of talk about the sustainability of farming and ranching. It is a difficult time with many opposing views as in many, many ways agriculture has come under attack. Agricultural producers and consumers need perspective and hope for the future. I believe firmly that the greatest voice for agricultural we as producers have is the consumers voice. Our consumers supports us and greatly determine the direction of our industries. These are some simple tips on being a supporter of sustainable agriculture.

Sustainable eating is local first.

Your local farms and ranches need your support. When your food travels short distances to get to you it has less impact on the environment, greater the nutritional value.

Be willing to pay more for your food!

Yes! I actually said pay more.

Sustainable costs more because it is worth more.

You’ve heard the saying, “you get what you pay for” and it couldn’t be truer than with food. I can skimp on lots of things and pinch pennies but when it comes to quality food I go all out. I want the health benefits from quality food for my family. Supporting a movement that chooses to not buy cheap and foreign but instead to buy quality and local is a deep value I hold. If you see food super cheap ask yourself “why?”. There is always a reason and it usually isn’t a good one.

Plan ahead and eat seasonal.

This goes hand in hand with supporting local farmers and ranchers. Meat, vegetables, and fruit are not in supply year round. Agriculture is dependent on the earth and her natural rhythms and cycles. Educate yourselves about the seasons and cycles of farming and ranching and plan ahead to buy and support local. I will give you two examples of how I personally do this. In the summer, I purchase my fruit locally as close as possible to my home as the fruit comes in season. In our part of the world, grapefruit is never as local as say peaches. Peaches can be a few miles but I would have to drive a day to get grapefruit. I don’t have to not have grapefruit but I try to purchase and eat grapefruit from the closest location during its natural season which is usually December. I try to avoid buying it from a foreign location just any time of year.

Sustainability can be overwhelming if you’ve never given it much thought before. However, with a few simple changes the joys of eating sustainably are well worth the effort. We will dive deeper in the posts to follow.

The wonder of Spring and the coming of new life on our ranch.

Fall Reflections

Fall is here. You can feel it in the air. Here in the valley on our farm we are picking the first pumpkins and preparing to open our pumpkin patch. In our ranches higher country, sheep are coming down from the high mountain pastures, the trees are changing color and the first tiny snow flurries float down to cover everything one day and disappear the next.

As I prepare for Mabon, Samhain, Thanksgiving, and all the fall activities, I find myself reflecting and traveling deeper into my inner world. It is the natural rhythm of the earth and of our spirits to do this in the fall. As I reflect, I remember that the motherhood time of small children is short like the waxing and waning of the seasons. Soon the leaves of childhood will fall to give way to the changes that bring on adulthood. There are so many ways I feel I fail to capture the wonder of what this journey really embodies and offers us. I don’t want to look back and say, “I wish ____________________”. 

If you are like me, you can get wrapped up in the plan of the holidays, and the execution of doing it all. My children can become little pawns in my big plans. I find myself trying to execute the picture perfect holiday and do all the top activities while falling short of capturing the spirit and sacred connection of it all. 

Inner growth takes time and it is an investment for more than yourself.  

However, when I pause in the quiet moments, I realize my children don’t care about how many things we do or how perfect the craft came out…they care about my presence. When my children say, “that was a great day mom” they say it based on how much our spirits connected and it has nothing to do with whether it was an instagram worthy craft or a messy table and floor I want no one to see. 

Connection with others springs from the inner growth of our own spirits. In motherhood time is precious not just in the sense of time with our children but also in the sense that there seems to be so much less of it. This is why I am choosing to make my festivals this year more simple. 

The more duties I assign to my motherhood the less inner growth I have time to nuture.  

I can pull off an amazing dinner, do the 10 top Mabon activities on Pinterest and exhaustedly orchestrate it all like a drill sergeant or I can do a few meaningful things while taking time to journal, reflect, touch the earth, speak to the divine, and nature the well of inner peace. It is from this well I can offer myself to my children after all. Inner growth takes time and is an investment for more than just yourself. 

This season I want to ask myself if my life about connection or performance? 

Do I listen when they speak…do I take time to understand and empathize… am I truly present while we celebrate this time of days and seasons… do I rush them or do I cuddle and ease them to sleep…are they a task for my day or a relationship…when they mess up do I express disappointment in them or do I share in their journey as a human who has been there before and knows human life is messy…do I try to show an illusion of perfection or do allow myself to be humbled before them…

What I can offer my children most this season is not in the perfectly performed festival. The greatest gift I can offer is myself living my own life in full connection to the spirit of the values I believe in.