About Joanna

Joanna manages many behind-the-scenes aspects of work on the farm, taking primary responsibility for vegetables & other cultivated plants; she selects varieties, develops and implements the planting plan, monitors and identifies problems, and saves seed. She also takes charge of recordkeeping, database management, scheduling, technical aspects of web development, and accounting. A geologist by training, Joanna enjoys landscape exploration in various forms, including hiking, canoeing, and nature observation, especially bird watching. She also enjoys cooking and eating really good food.

Cooking with kid: Goat loin steak

[Note: This post presents a meal from about a year ago as part of the Cooking with Kid series. My goal was to cook a whole goat kid piece by piece and “to reasonably document and blog about the process in a somewhat timely fashion.” I’m still finishing up the last few posts, but my geological perspective allows me to consider this “somewhat timely”, and this dish is seasonally appropriate.]

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Steak is a rarity in our house, because most of the time we prefer meat as a condiment to vegetables. Steak pushes the veggies into condiment status, so with meat taking on the lead role, it needs to be prepared just right. As an ex-vegetarian, I consider steak to be the most intimidating meal that I’ve tried to prepare as a part of this Cooking with Kid series, in which I cook all parts of a goat. The difference between perfection and chewy awfulness is a matter of perhaps a few moments coupled with inexperienced judgment. A rubbery result would be a very unfortunate outcome for the fanciest remaining cut of Crystal: one of the loins.

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Cooking with kid: Schnitzel

[Note: This post presents a meal from about a year ago as part of the Cooking with Kid series. My goal was to cook a whole goat kid piece by piece and “to reasonably document and blog about the process in a somewhat timely fashion.” I’m still finishing up the last few posts, but my geological perspective allows me to consider this “somewhat timely”, and this dish is seasonally appropriate.]

I didn’t have an exact plan when I pulled a “piece of saddle–deboned, 11 oz” out of the freezer. The saddle is from the hips/pelvis, an intermediate quality cut, not as high end as tenderloin or loin but way nicer than neck or sides. As one of the few remaining pieces from the goat kid Crystal, I wanted to check off a few more cooking techniques and at the same time produce a delectable result. I settled on schnitzel, as it would let me pound meat for tenderization, bread it, and shallow-fat fry it.

Schnitzel with lamb's quarters and oyster mushrooms

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Eastern Hognose Snake

In our first ten years here, we had only three sightings of these, and it wasn’t until the third sighting (in April 2016) that I had a camera with me. This snake announced its presence in an audible manner. I paused, looked around, and saw a patterned brown snake emerging from the vegetation where I had heard the rattling sound. From about 10 feet away, I strained my eyes to look at the tail. Then it puffed up its head, conjuring up a menacing cobra. Oh, relief: a Hognose Snake. I hollered to get Eric’s attention, and we enjoyed watching it for a few minutes. After its initial bluff didn’t scare us away, it shape-shifted its head to a triangular form, more reminiscent of the rattlesnake that I had initially feared. It even moved in a sidewinder fashion, a master impressionist. The one trick we didn’t get it to do was to play dead. The round pupil is absolute confirmation that this one was nonpoisonous. Certainly a really fascinating creature to have around, though they are predators of toads, and we like to have high populations of toads–which we’ve confirmed through observation to be predators of squash bugs.

Cooking with kid: Ribs

Even during my vegetarian years, I salivated at the thought of ribs. I didn’t really think about the kind of animal when I thought about ribs, but there’s a good chance I was thinking about pork or beef ribs. There’s a fundamental difference between pigs, cows, and goats. The fat of the former two tastes great. Goat fat? Not so tasty. And the trick with ribs is that they’re loaded with fat. That abundance of not-so-scrumptious fat can be dealt with using an ideal method for goat-rib cooking. Unfortunately, this blog post will not reveal the details of that method.

Now, I have eaten really amazing goat ribs, prepared by someone else. The method reportedly involved a spice rub and a long, slow cook in a smoker. I’m guessing a lot of the fat had a chance to ooze out, leaving great-tasting goat meat behind. Maybe I should try that approach sometime. But that’s not what I did in this case.

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Spring Beauty

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A wildflower of early spring, fairly common in the woods and along woodland edges at Chert Hollow Farm.

White Trout Lily

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A wildflower of mid-spring with colonies that are scattered in the woods at Chert Hollow.

Large Bellwort

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A wildflower of mid-spring that is scattered in the woods at Chert Hollow.