Jan 29, 2013

Tuesday EWESday: Champion Burgers

We eat quite a bit of lamb in our family. When you raise sheep and  love to cook you are always on the search for new recipes. This is a recipe that comes from the 2012-2013 Ohio Lamb and Wool Queen Mikayla Pitman. I have the privilege of coordinating this competition, one question that I always ask the applicants is to share their favorite lamb recipe. This is a great way for me to try new recipes from other sheep producers. Thanks Mikayla for letting me share one of your family favorites.
This recipe is easy, affordable  and most importantly it is delicious!

Champion Lamb Burgers
2lbs ground lamb
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
6 pita pocket halves
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup spring mix salad greens
2 large red onions thinly sliced
2tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1 ½ tsp sugar
1tsp stone ground mustard
¼ tsp mustard
¼ tsp pepper

1.      In large skillet sauté onion in oil till tender. Add vinegar rosemary, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes longer. Keep warm.

2.      2. Crumble lamb into a large bowl; sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper, mix well. Shape into patties. Grill burgers on each side 4-6 minutes or until they have an internal temperature of 160*

3.      Brush pita pockets with oil; lightly grill on both sides.

Serve burgers in pita pockets with lettuce and onions.

Jan 28, 2013

If you smoke you choke if you booze you lose

Some of my fondest memories, of course, involve farming. While my dad was a teacher, he also worked on the family farm. On that farm there was a rental house. I could not tell you the name of the couple that lived in the house, but I clearly remember that they were very nice and gave me treats when I would go farm with dad. One day while I was “helping” my dad on the farm, I saw the husband smoking. I was probably 5 years old, I marched over to their house knocked on the door and informed them, “If you smoke you choke if you booze you lose.”

I have no idea where this came from and I am sure my dad was mortified, though maybe a bit proud, when they told him what I had said. This is my first memory of being an advocate for what I thought was right. How do we learn to be an advocate at such a young age? I would be remiss if I didn’t say my upbringing played a huge part in how I became the person I am today. When I was 5 I was on an anti-smoking and anti-boozing mission...apparently.  

I think my real calling has more to do with agriculture, but I had a funny start. Growing up in agriculture and in 4-H and FFA and raising livestock prepared me for my adult role in agriculture. I think we are all constantly figuring out the different ways we contribute to society. Finding our voice and continually learning how to effectively communicate is an ongoing process.

I feel very confident that if I was not a cute little child, my dad’s tenant would not have reacted in the same laughing manner. Today, as an adult, I have learned when to say what I believe and know to be true. Other times, though, it is more important to listen and hold back to be a more effective part of the conversation. Sometime we can be most influential when we say nothing at all. So, whether you are five or 85, stand up for what you believe in and be a courageous communicator.

Jan 23, 2013

No matter what your age

Some things never change no matter what your age. Today, I had to make a special trip to my parents barn to go over some very important details on how to care for our animals while my dad is away on a business trip for a few days.
Despite the fact that I have been caring for sheep and working in the barn for almost my entire 30+ years of life, I was reminded, as I was many times when I was growing up, what it is like to be given instructions and directions from my dad. Growing up he was my Ag teacher but he was also the chore inspector. Things have to be done a certain way. I get my meticulous tendencies from my dad, and I am sure I will be the same way with my children. I care for the sheep on a daily basis, and I thought I had outgrown these chore talks, but today I was reminded you are never too old for a lesson from your father in the barn!

Joey (sheep dog): Feed him 3-4 times a day he likes to eat small meals. He likes to get two mini bones each time you go in the pasture.
Cats: Be sure they have warm water morning and night (in their heated water bowl).

Sheep: These chores are complex, but what is the most funny was the topic he found so important to go over. He wanted to be sure I knew how to properly scrub out the water tubs and rinse them thoroughly. We also had to go over Hay 101, making sure I know the different types we have and what the sheep prefer.  
Sometimes you have to laugh and appreciate even the most silly of times you spend with your parents. I have learned how to be a good steward of livestock and the land from my dad. Knowing him, he will not ever allow me to forget even the basics of bucket scrubbing!


Jan 8, 2013

Tuesday EWEsday: Lambing Time

You are my Shepherd, and I am your lamb. and You will be with me wherever I am...

We do most of our lambing in the fall. Our breed the Horned Dorset  is very versatile so they can even lamb two times each year. This is a photo of a ewe (girl) lamb born a few days ago.

Who could not smile when this little lamb is looking at you. She has a terrific mom and a buck (boy) for a  brother. She weighed in at about 15lbs and her brother was about the same size. This is a great size lamb to have and even better that it was a set of twins. It is our goal to get two lambs at least out of of our ewes each year.