Welcome to The Pauley Principle!

The Pauli Principle, named for Wolfgang Pauli, deals with atoms and electron-sharing that results in new, stronger bonds. Think 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen, a shared delectable (!) electron and VOILA! Water!

Similarly, when you prepare whole food to share with family and friends, especially foods you've grown, something amazing happens. Meals become tastier and healthier. Your soul, not just your stomach, becomes fulfilled. You live life more abundantly as a result. During a shared meal, the bonds that people create grow stronger and become something new: GREATER than the sum of the parts! I give you The Pauley Principle.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Old Homestead Farm Market, one year down and counting

This year my husband Chris and I started on a wild new adventure, our own farm market. I enjoy a good laugh, and this brought several! Friends I never knew we had would come, shop our wares at our Airstream camper, and share stories. For this season, our farm market has come to an end but the memories and appreciation will long remain of the many people who came to shop and visit. 

What I learned:
  • produce safety how-to
  • cottage food laws
  • We have more friends than I realized.
  • Many people like knowing where the food comes from. Our customers got to tour the poultry area, the chicken condo, the hoop coop for the ducks, and our gardens. Little children seem to  be fascinated by it, as did many grown children. And any time we got some friends or relatives together, there was sure to be laughter!
  • Advertising helps. People get busy. No matter how pretty the baked goods look, no matter how fresh and nicely produced the eggs are, no matter how tasty the tomatoes and other veggies are, things don't sell if no one is there. Word of mouth advertising is best. 
  • There is so much need. We made a lot of people happy each week with donations we were able to give to local charities, fundraisers and emergency shelters.
What I suspect:
  • Some people don't want to know that meat comes from animals. (That's a pity because farm children who learn that also often learn to have compassion for the animals. Sometimes, so much compassion that they become vegetarians! A balanced approach might be better, maybe just eat less meat.) Likewise, I suspect that a whole lot of people either don't want to know or truly aren't aware that much of the produce that goes to supermarket and restaurant chains is harvested by slaves, much of it on American soil, an epidemic that grew rapidly in the 1990's starting in the tomato production industry and is just recently being addressed by the Dept. of Labor, the FBI, NGOs and local law enforcement groups. It's hard to see because when slave workers are used, they are kept hidden from view with no way to communicate. Most agricultural workers are NOT kept as slaves but slave labor does exist in the (mostly southeastern) U.S., where people are owned and forced to work in horrible conditions, so please be aware.
  • There is a group of people who, if they knew, would have more compassion for livestock animals than for human slaves who are involved in the production of food.
Would we do it again?
YES!!! This year would prove to be the start of something good for us and for the local community. In spite of drought, our gardens produced after depleting our well of its water twice. In spite of my flawed attempts at producing cottage foods, I had some loyal customers who appreciated not having to do the baking themselves to have dessert or homemade bread for their families. In spite of the depressed economy, we broke even I think. In terms of humanity, we came out ahead! Had we set out to make a lot of money, we would be disappointed. Instead, we brought something new to our local community in the form of fresh eggs from uncaged poultry, safely grown vegetables, and homebaked goodies that were made from the heart, often with fruit grown locally that we picked ourselves. Having a farm market was a lot more work than I expected when we started out, but this was a labor of love (no slaves involved!) for a community I very much love.
Look for our farm market next year when, again, I'll be offering Mrs. Pauley's pies!
If I limit my cooking to ten cottage food items next year, 
what should they be?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Smoking and Grilling Chicken

I love grilling all year round, lately working on developing different rubs to use with poultry, beef and pork using indirect heat and different hardwoods for smoking. Experimenting has been delightful and delicious!

I use indirect heat as often as possible when I grill out since carcinogens are linked with any grilling but it is particularly dangerous when direct heat results in charring. Also, any time a rub contains brown sugar, burning can be a problem but is less likely with a temperature-controlled indirect heat. The rub I used on the chicken in the photo is a sweet and spicy poultry rub, my unique mix, available at our farm market.The wood was from a downed apple tree. 

We all have to eat, so my approach is to make each meal a fun family time. Our family is planning a fun family grill-off before the end of summer, so I'm gearing up for it. I hope practice really does make perfect! With the grandchildren as judges and tough competition from my kids, the pressure is on!!! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Finding a Fun Way to Serve the Community

We are now in the middle of our first year with our farm market and no two Saturdays are alike. It began in March with eggs and some home baked items, pies, breads and cottage foods such as jams, jellies and fudge. From there we have added some fresh local produce. 
Lately, I've been mixing and trying out rubs for slow smoked and grilled meats over indirect heat. That has been so much fun because I really, really like to eat and, of course, I have to sample the wares!

  No matter what we offer at our market, there will always be pies. And, since I listen to what my customers want, I'm also making fresh fruit turnovers and special items for the gluten-free. 

Our primary goal is to bring a fresh and delicious food experience to our friends in this out-of-the-way and under-served community, as a way of providing a convenient service to these wonderful people. And it's working! 

Lately, as word has spread, more visitors from surrounding counties have come to our market. One poor fellow got lost and said he was starting to hear the banjos and almost turned around before he got here!  HAHAHA! It's really not that bad, but it might seem like it! We are located in the scenic rural hills of southern Ohio, and it can be a long winding drive. We try hard to make it worth your effort. The man who could "almost hear the banjos" left with two pies, peanut butter fudge, and brochures to share with his friends. He loved it!

Our vintage Airstream camper is set up on the small family farm my husband grew up on, where most of our gardens are and all our poultry live. You can come out and walk around the gardens, see the chickens and ducks, and in general reminisce about life on a family farm as you see the antique farm equipment Chris has collected and restored.

To add to our market's uniqueness, we have a drawing at the end of market every Saturday. The lucky winner gets to pick any leftover item for free! Everyone, including the children, gets a chance to win! If you're within driving distance, give us a try.

A refrigerator magnet will remind you that we're open on Saturdays, 12 to 5, at 2589 Blain Highway, Waverly OH 45690.  Come and get yours!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Barbecued Baby Back Ribs

Achieving the perfect barbecued baby back ribs is an accomplishment!  These were spicy, juicy and with just the right tenderness. Read on and find out my method.
I wanted a rub that would give me all the goodness of baby back ribs that I see in televised cook-offs. We had had a family cook-off, and I did OK, but now I wanted a rub that I could actually offer in my farm market, something yummy with just the right blend of seasonings. So I experimented and watched what others were using. I finally got the flavors I wanted but still lacked the cooking style.

What I've discovered in my trials and errors is that it's not just the rub, it's the technique. Using a sugar-based rub requires using indirect heat. The meat does not come into contact with flame. Thanks to my grandson Tyler who took the photographs for this baby back rib BBQ step-by-step.

Sprinkle your ribs liberally with the rub of your choice. Then allow to stand for 30 while you start up the grill and prepare your hardwood for smoking.
  Choose well-seasoned hickory, apple, or other suitable wood and give it a good soaking in water.
Then, when the temperature (220 to 250 degrees F) and the smoke are just right, add the ribs. Loosen the seal of the aluminum foil to allow plenty of smoke to permeate the meat. Check occasionally without disturbing the meat just to see that the smoker is doing its job and that it's not too hot. Allow to cook without intervention as much as possible over the course of 2 hours. 
After two hours, remove the meat and try twisting a bone to see if it has any movement (it should be able to twist a little), and then finish the ribs off in a pre-heated oven at about 250 degrees F for another two hours. Then take it out and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. The internal temperature should have reached 160 degrees F a long time before this, but the extra time allows the flow of good juices to tenderize the meat and give the rub and good feel to the teeth.

Cooking ribs this way is almost effortless once you get into the routine, and the result I think will please you!!!
And yes, I now have Rockin' Rib Rub to sell at our Old Homestead Farm Market.

(Photos for this post were largely the work of Tyler Oyer.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hay Rake Rescue

Total dis-assembly was necessary because of neglect over the years. Layers of metal were encased in rust. Chris said that without intervening, "the equipment would continue to rot down". Once he had the hay rake apart, it was time to evaluate and inventory each piece and then order any necessary new parts. He cleaned up all the useable old parts by sandblasting, priming and painting. 
He replaced the worn-out bearings and seals and straightened the stripper bars, put in all new spring teeth and added a hydraulic lift. He replaced tires and tubes. He hurried to get it all renovated in time to try it out for the season's haymaking. After a few late, late nights of working, the restoration was complete.

When Chris took it out for a trial run, he said,
"It worked quite well, just like it was supposed to!" 
I listened to the old hay rake while Chris did a demo for me. He hooked it up to an older John Deere tractor. That vision and the gentle hum and whir of the rake brought back memories of a bygone era. I am filled with pride that Chris saw the potential and did this renovation. He recently raked with it to make nearly 400 bales of hay. 
Sorry to admit that, when he first brought it home, I couldn't picture what it should look like. What a mess! I regret that I didn't get the photo before he took it apart. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gathering the Swarming Honeybees

In the spring, honeybees swarm as a colony of bees splits to make more room for the ones that stay in the hive. Around here, those that venture out of their old home to find a new one are good news for my friend Desiree. It helps her build her apiary!

Friends and neighbors watch for swarming bees. A quick phone call to Desiree and she flies into action, making plans to go to the rescue, a mission that has to happen within a time frame of 1 to 24 hours. After that, the workers who are out scouting for a new home will have shown the others in the swarm the way, and they'll be gone.

Look closely at this photo of a tree. At first glance you might think you see a hornet or squirrel nest in the center of the photo. It's actually swarming honeybees.

"A swarm is a big ball of bees, piled on top of each other," Desiree says. "When it's in a tree, the bees are all huddled together. We catch them and put them in our hive box, our super. If you can get the queen in, the rest will follow."

Usually, when there's a swarm of bees splitting away, and not an entire colony, the honeybees take a queen cell with them, an egg the queen has laid. The diet that is given to this bee larva determines what the bee will grow into, so when the workers are grooming a bee to become the new queen bee, she gets a unique queenly diet, "royal jelly"! Pretty cool!
Desiree says, "They only sting you when they feel threatened. When one stings, the pheromone (smell) will attract the others and they'll come after you. So, if you get stung once, it's best to leave."

The next day or later the same day, after the bees are settled in the super, Desiree takes them home to her beekeeping operation, Klover Hill Apiary, where she plans to build her bee numbers and continue trying new bee products, expanding from honey and lip balm into candles and soaps.
 I asked  Desiree where a person is most likely to find swarming bees. She says they can be in homes, barns, trees and mostly, around here, they seem to like lilac bushes. Since we have three large old lilac bushes at the farm, I invited her to investigate for swarming bees. None. Then we went to the barn, another place they might gather. Again, none, but that was a cool, rainy day. 

Apparently, honeybees like hot days because Desiree says she usually gets pretty sweaty when she has to put on all her gear to go after them! The last time she went to gather bees, it started pouring the rain, so she plugged the box, strapped it, and then heaved it into the bed of her pickup, getting hot, sweaty, and soaking wet! Then, when her son ended up getting a bee sting, she wondered why she ever decided to keep bees.

Like anything worth doing, if it were easy, wouldn't everyone be doing it? From talking to Desiree and seeing her photos, I know she loves the adventure of finding and retrieving swarming bees and she is dedicated to helping the planet. She will do this for many years to come. Thank goodness! Maybe she can help to increase the declining numbers of honeybees! 

The photos in this post are courtesy of Desiree Blaha-Poyner. To see more of her photos, you can Facebook "friend" her.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Connecting Past to Present in a Pioneer Cemetery

Jessi, making rubbings that helped to establish identity and dates.
My cousin Stephanie, her husband Dave, and my daughter Jessi recently went trekking to a grown-over pioneer cemetery. No road access meant we had a 3/4 mile trek through a soybean field up a knoll to the 2-acre enclosed cemetery. Not only was it fenced in, but totally surrounded by briars and thorny honey locust trees, like something out of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty.

Stephanie and Dave, capturing this moment in time. Me, capturing them.

Dave, unearthing a forgotten headstone.
I had wanted to find this place ever since I heard about it several years ago. The cemetery had been shrouded in mystery but would hold clues from our past that would give us a keener understanding of our ancestors' lives, and it was situated on the very land where they lived!
Some headstones were small but ornate.

Some of the monuments toppled from their own weight and the ravages of time and weather.

Some had writing that was still  somewhat legible.
This crag of a tree speaks to the long-forgotten area.

Around thirty of our ancestors found their final resting places there, where now it appears to be an abandoned flower garden, overgrown with Solomon's Seal, Wild Columbine, Day Lilies, Violets, and Nettles. More flowers, but I've forgotten them. Our focus was on finding downed headstones and monuments, covered over with moss, lichens and dirt, and then connecting that person with our lives, our family tree. 

Solomon's Seal was prevalent and, I thought, fitting since this was on the original 400 acre land grant that my great great grandfather Solomon Salmon received after his Revolutionary War service. I know, there should be 6 or 7 greats before "grandfather" but our family tended to have children later in their lives!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Two Brooding Hens and Maybe a Chick!

the hens in their culvert nesting boxes in the brooder
Update from last Thursday: We have two brooding Speckled Sussex hens! The one started again after abandoning her first nest. With ease, Chris moved their culvert nesting boxes into the brooder, apparently just in time. Look closely at the black nest on the right. Do you see the egg shell? On closer inspection there is a tooth mark on the inner eggshell! We thought we could hear a cheep-cheep-cheep. We don't know since we didn't want to disturb the hen. It may have been a killdeer out in the field. (?!)

We're excited and will keep you informed as soon as we know. The Speckled Sussex is a heritage breed that is "recovering" from having been "threatened", according to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

The brooder now needs a few basic pieces of furniture. First, a creep feeder for the chicks!
the brooder
A few hours later the very same day...
MAJOR UPDATE:  We have baby chicks!!!

Maybe more later. She and the other hen are still on their nests!

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sourdough Breadmaking, from starter to delectable finish!

I decided recently, for the benefit of patrons of my farm market, to revive an old skill: the making of sourdough bread. 

A stone jar works best for the starter that takes several days to prepare.

On baking day, a dough hook can save you from a labor-intensive task.

One day recently I made 8 loaves of sourdough bread. Some for the market...
      and some for me and my family. The experience is  something near heaven when you sit down after long hours of work to enjoy the ageless salty and somewhat nutty taste of a chewy sourdough bread along with a good aged cheddar cheese and your favorite beverage.  In this case, it's a glass of my grape wine, ready to bottle.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Broody Hen in her Culvert Nesting Box

This is our broody hen. We're edgy with anticipation. Others of our flock of 48 have tried but this one just might succeed. She has a certain stick-to-it-iveness. Her whole body says she's determined!

The year-old hen has made her nest in a culvert nesting box. She is not yet in her brooder, just across the hall from the others. When she moves, we're watching another broody hen that may join her soon.

Our hens have preferred these culvert nesting boxes over the yellow buckets that are on another wall. Moving her will be fairly easy, we think. Chris plans to slip a piece of plywood between the culvert and the camouflage wall to easily lift the culvert nest out of its slot, hen, eggs and all. We're hoping this won't upset the setting hen. Then, just a few steps away is the brooding room. He can then replace this nest with another piece of culvert and bedding. Again, Chris has put together a clever design. We're hoping it works. I would love to have hens raising their own Speckled Sussex chicks! When it happens, you'll know! She has been on her eggs for 13 days and somehow she has 10 eggs or so without any interference from us!

Several of you are already having chicks this spring from your own hens. 
I can hardly wait for your thoughts, experiences and words of advice!   

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Preparing Garden Spots for the Vegetable Starts

A brief moment of rest for Chris at our camper on the farm where we hold our farm market. He's been working night and day, growing the little seedlings that soon will go into the ground that he's getting ready. After all, if you're going to have a farm market, you kinda need to have some produce!!!
Chris is using a 1980 Gravely that can do ANYTHING!  We believe that was the last year the Gravely tractors were made in America. I have the utmost respect for his older machinery. The plow was made in the 30's. All his attachments were made from the early 30's to the mid-50's. It's really handy that Chris likes restoring things. These work well and help keep the cost down.

After all, Chris is the real force behind the farm market. He says it's me, but I know better. Sure, I love cooking and baking, but he has wanted to farm all his life, and what better way to serve the community than to raise fresh, safe, great-tasting produce?! 

During the day, the gardens are getting plowed and tilled while the little plants are getting much-needed sunlight on our deck at home. 

Then at night, all the little plants come back inside. After all, the babies need warmth to grow and, remember, we have no greenhouse yet so our home has to serve the plants' needs for now.

Some of these seedlings will be planted in our garden spots and eventually find their way to market.

Others will be sold as plants at our farm market to go into other people's gardens.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Restoring a Rusty Cast Iron Dutch Oven

wall hangers

more wall hangers

cast iron skillets that I use daily
I grew up with an appreciation for cast iron cooking, and began collecting new and vintage cast iron and  steel pieces at an early age. The secret to their longevity is in the seasoning. A cast iron piece that is well-seasoned will hold up to most cooking techniques without rusting. MOST.

Occasionally I have bloopers, but I can't show a picture of what I did to my 12 quart cast iron Dutch oven because I was so beside myself I didn't think to take one. I had prepared peach cobbler over coals, just like I had done many times before, but this time my cobbler had boiled over! We had eaten around a campfire after dark and I decided to wait until morning to clean it. To my dismay, the lid was stuck on. I meant to ask Chris to try to pry it off, but I forgot about it and then left it out in the rain. You should never ever EVER do that, and I knew better. Life gets busy and I totally forgot. My beautiful Dutch oven rusted. Badly. Normally, all you have to do if a piece of cast iron cookware has some rust is to gently rub out the rust and oil it, but NO! Mine was crusty rust!

Chris came to my rescue. Dressed in heavy gear, he took the first step in restoring my treasured piece. On the day he was rescuing the hay rake that he acquired, he took my dreadful-looking Dutch oven and also sand-blasted it. That is an extreme rescue, but by the time I got the lid off, it was so bad inside and out that it had been rendered useless. Cast iron is a good investment and should last lifetimes, so we both knew this piece needed intervention if it would ever become an heirloom.
my cast iron Dutch oven after sand-blasting

Then came my part in the restoration. It had to be seasoned. Otherwise, it would become a rusty mess and would be unsuitable for cooking. I used regular vegetable oil and a cotton cloth and simply rubbed oil all over the inside and outside of the Dutch oven and its lid. Then I placed the pieces in my gas oven at 200 degrees F. for 2 hours. To be sure it was covered completely with oil but with no oil pooling that would gel, I took it out and reapplied a thin coating of the cooking oil to the entire surface. Then, back to the oven for an additional 5 hours.

ALMOST fully restored

This is how it looked after seasoning, a darker patina, ready for cooking again. After the next few uses, I will oil it each time and place the Dutch oven back in 200 degrees F. for 2 hours to complete the seasoning process. Then, eventually, it will have the even black color of my other vintage pieces.