Duck Egg Omelette with Herbs

No one has ever raved about my cooking with the exception of my dog.  Lots of love to Ruby…   I am a very healthy eater.  I love lots of herbs, veggies and fruits.  On our farm we have some of the cutest ducks which provide me with a yummy supply of duck eggs.  This is one of my favorite ways to prepare the duck eggs.

 

Duck Egg Omelette with Herbs

2 duck eggs (chicken eggs would work too)

1/4 cup almond milk or regular milk

Fresh basil to taste

Fresh parsley to taste

Dried lavender – heavy pinch

Grains of paradise (you can use ground pepper instead) – pinch

Dried aleppo – heavy pinch

Salt – to taste

coconut spread or butter for skillet

 

Beat the eggs and milk in a bowl.  Put the coconut spread on a 11″ skillet and turn store on to medium heat.  Pour the egg mixture onto the skillet and spread around so that it is even.  Put the herbs on the egg mixture and cook until the eggs are firm.  Enjoy.

Lilymoore’s Summer Breakfast Delight

 

Are you looking for a quick but delicious and nutritious breakfast?  My friend Michele introduced me to this great way to start your day!  It is perfect for sitting outside, watching the sun rise.  I love it when it is quiet out and you can hear the birds starting their day.  This recipe is gluten free and vegetarian.  If you go with non-dairy milk option then it is vegan.  You can always add nuts to change it up a bit.

 

 

Lilymoore’s Summer Breakfast Delight

 

1 peach or nectarine diced

1 banana sliced

Assortment of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries

handful of strawberries sliced

milk or non-dairy milk

Put all of the fruit in a bowl.  Pour milk or non-dairy milk over it.  Enjoy!

 

Note:  You can always change up the fruit in the bowl – add clementines, mangoes, or any other fruit you love.

Organic Coffee = Happy Farmer

It’s  3:40 am – my coffee is already in my hand as I write this post.  This is an early morning even for me.  I usually get an hour to an hour and a half more hours of sleep.  It’s Easter weekend, however, and there are a lot of things that have to be accomplished.  Coffee gets the morning started right.  It also helps me keep a smile on my face when things aren’t going perfectly.  There are a lot of things to be accomplished every day on the farm.  No time for naps!

I bet the word “organic” caught your attention for a moment when you read the title.  After all, I am an alpaca farmer, why on earth am I writing about organic coffee?  Well, as an alpaca farmer I hang out with all the other farmers and vendors at the farmers markets.  It is amazing how much I have changed what I eat and drink based off what they have told me.  The coffee people shared information about the pesticides sprayed on regular coffee to keep bugs away – gross.  I don’t want to drink pesticides on a daily basis.  Does that mean that I never drink non-organic coffee or never go to Dunkin’ Donuts?  Of course I do.  When I am traveling home from festivals I need my almond milk latte just you guys.  But in the morning my travel mug contains organic coffee. (Usually my 2nd or 3rd cup of the day.)   I just try my best to drink organic coffee as much as I can.  It is a small change that makes a big difference.  Little changes like this can really add up to improve your health.

Truth be told, I have learned a lot of amazing facts about food, tonics, coffee and even soaps and lotions from my fellow farmers that have made me a much healthier person.  They have helped me be very conscious of not putting chemicals in or on my body.  Next time you go to a farmer’s market, be sure to ask the farmers questions.  They are a wealth of knowledge.  The ones that I have encountered have been exceptionally nice and helpful.  They make a living growing your food and are experts at it.  They usually know quite a few wonderful ways you can cook their fruits and vegetables also.    When you stop by my booth I will even share with you why you should be wearing natural fibers instead of plastic if you ask.  (And yes, a lot of clothing is made of plastic!)  And of course, I will likely have a cup of coffee in my hand while talking to you….

Farming In High Heels

As much as I love my animals and working outside, I also enjoy a beautiful pair of high heels.   Many times when I am in a hurry the two become intertwined.  We have all been there – going out to dinner, going to a wedding, maybe even going to our own wedding J and the horses or other farm animals need hay.  Our hair and nails are done, heels are on and we are running to the barn to feed them.

We accomplish our chores, clean the mud off our heels, go to the event believing that no one will know that we were farming in this outfit.  Plop, out falls a chunk of hay from our hair onto the table.  Most likely we laugh at the hay knowing that this is not the first time nor will this be the last time that this will happen.  But, at least the hay is not in our bra.  Life is good.

If you are like me, you couldn’t imagine life any other way.  Women who farm are strong, both mentally and physically.  We have to be.  Animals depend on us to care for them.  Water buckets need to be carried and crisis need to be handled in an intelligent manner.  There is beauty in our strength.  We never have to worry if our arms are going to be toned for t-shirt weather.  Just muck another stall or field and you will be ready.  Owning the farm has taught me that life does not have to be nor should it be perfect.  With hard work, a little laughter and the right pair of shoes you can muck those fields and dance the night away later that day.

Nesting Material Is Important For Songbirds

 

I love having birds around the farm.  As you know, we have chickens and ducks who are adorable and very social. Our rooster Evan loves to go for walks around the farm.  Today we are expecting six more ducklings to join our family.  It has been a lot of fun having all of you help us name them.

Last year our cat Matrix noticed that a baby downy woodpecker had fallen out of its nest and broken its leg.  He yelled until we noticed it and we were able to take it to the special vet.  At our farm, even one of our cats loves birds.  Lucky for us we have great nesting material readily available to us – our beloved alpaca fiber helps these beautiful creatures flourish at Lilymoore Farm.

Many birds like to add fluffy material to their nest – alpaca fiber is a great choice.  It’s soft, water resistant and comfortable.  It provides the nest with great insulation properties.   Most importantly, it is safe for the birds.  There are a lot of household items on the market that people put into nesting balls that are not safe for the birds.  When you offer the birds alpaca fiber, you have peace of mind that you are giving them a safe option for their nest.

We offer a variety of choices in which to display your nesting materials, from little birdhouses to hanging whisks.  They are adorable, add whimsy to you garden and help the birds as well.  We also sell the nesting material in different sizes so that you can refill your houses.  When you purchase a raffia ball filled with nesting material, please note that the birds love to use the entire ball as nesting material.  But don’t worry, these are safe for them to use.  They are our only option that is not reusable because the birds enjoy using every last piece.

It takes a lot of work building a nest and raising nestlings.  It is much easier on the birds if they do not have to go searching for all of their materials.  They can’t order online and get it shipped to the house like we can.  Providing nesting materials saves them time and energy – we all can relate to that.  Remember the saying “it takes a village” – become part of the song bird or hummingbird’s village in raising their young and enjoy watching them all summer long.

The Art of …..Alpaca Farming

When people think of Dutchess County, NY they often think of scenic views with lush fields, deep woods, and babbling streams as well as its delicious restaurants and delightful specialty stores.  Few realize that Dutchess County also has alpaca farms where residents can interact with alpacas and buy goods made from their fiber.  Alpacas are adorable, friendly animals that resemble llamas.  They are fiber animals – their fiber is used to create a variety of products, including hats, blankets, sweaters, purses, socks and boot inserts.

Only a limited number of farms raise alpacas in New York.  Since fiber is particularly important, farmers need to be very selective when choosing alpacas to breed.  They attend shows all over the country to identify alpacas with the highest quality of fiber.  Alpacas come in 22 official colors although specialty colors, such as champagne and maroon, are also possible.  This allows for a variety of color options for products without having to dye the fiber.  The fiber from alpacas is hypoallergenic, warmer than wool, and odor resistant.

Alpaca’s have their fiber shorn once a year usually in the Spring.  The fiber is then sorted into categories and cleaned of all debris.  The fiber can then be used in a variety of ways – often to produce yarn and / or clothing.  The blankets (the fiber on the midsection) are used  in knitwear whereas thirds are used in items such as boot inserts or purses.  Typically, an average alpaca produces 5 – 10 pounds of fiber.

Alpaca’s generally give birth to one baby, called a cria.  Gestation takes 11.5 months.  Pregnancy is confirmed with a spit test.  When a female isn’t interested in breeding because she is already pregnant, she spits at the male to tell him to go away.  While they are not 100% accurate, they are a very good indicator if an alpaca is pregnant.  Cria usually weigh  between 10- 20 pounds.   In the Northeast, cria are usually born between May – September.  Ours are due between May – July this year.

Alpaca farmers provide their herds with grain, hay and plenty of fresh water.  They live in barns or run-in sheds and they enjoy spending time outdoors.  They generally prefer winter to summer – they need fans to keep cool in the summer.  Typically farmers have at least an acre for every  10 alpaca so they have room to graze.  Alpacas are naturally pack animals and enjoy being around other alpacas.  You should never have just one alpaca.

Alpacas are naturally docile and curious.  They can be skittish if startled upon encountering a large group or an unknown circumstance.  However, if they are worked with at an early age, most are very friendly and will even let people walk them on leads.  They seem to recognize repeat visitors and often come to greet them.

This article originally appeared in The Art of ….. digital magazine

Natural Fibers – How They Benefit Both You and The Environment

Quality matters.   If you state that something is of high quality you expect a degree of excellence, something superior.  In most cases, quality items are made to last or have some other redeeming benefit.  Natural fibers provide you with quality, help the environment, and help local farmers.

There has been a growing concern lately over synthetic clothing such as polyester and spandex.  Consider what synthetics are made of: polyester’s base is oil and spandex is a synthetic polymer.  Evidence is mounting that synthetic clothing releases plastic into the water supply through waste from the washing machine.  Not only does this plastic potentially harm marine life, it is theorized that it is also working its way up the food chain to humans.  No one wants to accidentally digest chemicals.  And let’s face it – no one boasts that their shirt is made of acrylic.

A natural fiber is derived from plants or animals.  Some common natural fibers are cotton (preferably organic), wool, silk, alpaca, mohair and jute.  They are what our ancestors wore (some fibers that we commonly wear today were reserved for royalty ).  Natural fibers tend to breathe more than synthetics.  While natural fibers may sometimes cost more than synthetic fibers, in the long run they are well worth the extra money. 

If you are environmentally conscientious, natural fibers are a great way to make both an investment in your wardrobe and your lifestyle.  The materials you purchase as a consumer help determine whether businesses are more environmentally friendly.  As more and more consumers see the benefits of sustainable products, more companies choose to produce them. 

There are many natural fibers, like alpaca, that are long lasting.  I have had customers relay to me that they have owned alpaca sweaters for 40 years.  Natural fibers are also very fashionable.  Long gone are the days of grandma patterns for natural fibers.  Many top designers are using them.

As an alpaca farmer at Lilymoore Farm, I see first-hand the benefits of natural fibers.  For instance alpaca is warmer than wool, hypo-allergenic, naturally water resistant, odor resistant, flame resistant and it is a renewable fiber.  Alpacas are shorn only one time per year.  Our alpacas are currently creating your next sock, or scarf or sweater.  Alpacas easily adapt to a large variety of climates, are gentle to the grass, and are lovely to look at.  They are a sustainable crop

For thousands of years, mankind has worn natural fibers.  Synthetics are relatively new in the clothing arena and  can take decades to break down.   Natural fibers, on the other hand, biodegrade relatively quickly when they reach the landfill.  If you are considering becoming environmentally friendly, natural fibers are a great way to start.  When you purchase natural fibers not only are you cutting down on carbon emissions, you are also helping support farmers that grow or raise these sources of fiber.  When you purchase them locally, you help farms in your area while supporting local agriculture. This creates sustainability in local area farms. Make a difference in your world, switch to natural fibers.