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.

Hermit Sphinx

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I found this on wild bergamot (Mondarda sp.) while moving fences for a goat paddock in late September 2015; the black spot made it look like an empty hollowed-out shell of organic matter, and only with a second look did I realize it was a caterpillar.

I brought it inside to raise the caterpillar in a jar, but it turns out that it had been visited by a parasitoid wasp, possibly Cotesia congregata.

Kentucky Warbler

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A migratory bird that nests at Chert Hollow Farm. They generally arrive in April, and we routinely see them through the early summer months.

Osage Copperhead

Although I don’t have a photo to prove it, we saw an Osage Copperhead on June 22, 2015 in the growing area south of the house. This is the only definite sighting on the farm since we’ve been here, though I briefly saw a snake with copperhead-like patterning in the same general area near dusk on a summer evening in 2014.

Cooking with kid: Hocks in groundnut stew

This is the time of year to use meat as a condiment to vegetables. Produce is abundant, but as cooler weather sets in, hearty soups and stews begin to to return to our menu. So, for my most recent “cooking with kid” meal, I decided to use one of Eric’s favorite tricks: add meat to a beloved vegetarian recipe. (By the way, check out our new “Cooking with Kid” index page to learn more about this Joanna-cooks-a-goat project.)

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Cooking with kid: Stir fry with tenderloin

Tenderloins are lovely pieces of meat, as tender as the name implies. They are located along the backbone, internal to the body cavity, so you can’t reach around and feel your own like you can loin/backstrap. Removing this cut from the carcass is a bit awkward, and sure enough when butchering the goat kid featured in this cooking series, I managed to put a big knife cut through of one of them. The tenderloins are long and skinny, and those from a kid are on the small side: Crystal’s were about a half pound (including two thin strips, not photographed, that may or may not “officially” be tenderloin). What would I do with smallish pieces of meat, tender and suitable for quick high-heat cooking, with a pretty bad gash though the middle of one? Stir fry seemed a sensible answer.

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Cooking with kid: Loin #1, grilled in celebration of spring

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Loins  are the muscles on the sides of the spine. Yes, go ahead, reach around to your back, find your backbone, and feel the muscle on either side. That’s the piece. This is one of the high-end cuts from any mammal. For example, from a pig, it can become a pork chop (if sliced through the bone). In deer, it is often called backstrap. From a goat, we just call it the loin, and in our butchering style, we generally carefully cut it off of the spine, resulting in a nice boneless piece of meat. This a cut that is suitable for quick, high heat cooking. We like to make a point of doing something nice with the loins.

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