Happy New Year!

family photo 2013

For me, 2013 has felt like herding Curtis children and working with Brent on tasty beef and fixing the fencing and tidying the farm and meeting new nice people and enjoying life all at the same time. Meanwhile, the house disrepects us and stays a mess. It’ll be clean someday. Imaculate! And we’ll need to start some new projects that off mess.

I found a moment today and thought I’d take a family photo. I loved the one we took a few years back.


… or a few years back back

Yeah, I suppose I could have dolled them up a bit.  But no, I show it as it is.

family photo 2013


Otto spent his day moving his new herd of cows ( more on that later ) as well as helping Brent move the herd.

Minty ran around in her best winter summer dress and flip-flops.

Lucy worked with the new fluff ball.

Zelie did her own Hello Kitty make-up this time.  She’s fond of black.

Tosca was convinced to sit for a photo.

Fluff ball is still curious about what he signed up for.

This is how they rolled today.

As we ride out the rest of these glorious moments of 2013, the bubbles are chilling and the duck confit and foie gras are warming.  I’m very excited about 2014.  We have some wonderful new friends who love to help out.  We have new ideas and routine to support our farm.  We want to make it pertier.  We hope to feed more people.  We have a load of lovely beef getting ready.  They look great.

Last year I made the New Year’s Resolution to improve my French.  Total flop.  This year, I’m going to try again. I also will try to take advantage of Minty’s photo-bombing skills.

K. nuff said. It’s time to get that fatty liver on. I hope you have a great New Year. Make it great. You can do this!

minty photo bomb

Get Your Frites On

Sweet Potato and Potato Fries

I had some other HILARIOUS paronomasia on frites and / or sweet frites, but was completely distracted by Brent’s frites song of which I forgot. I’m sure it wasn’t “Get Your Frites On,” but it may as well have been.  He’s pretty good with music and random French cuisine.

beef bavette

We’re steak fingering our bavettes this evening and OH they shall be scrumptious. A bavette can be fried in animal fat with salt and pepper and enjoyed in a tender, tasty sort of way. I’ve also seen recipes that chuck an entire Saint-Marcellin cheese ball on top of a bavetter for kicks.  I’ve done that.  It tastes great!

I’d love to follow up with fluffed finish shots, but 1) I’m hungry and 2) I want to push that sappy kid post I did.  I totally said that out loud.




To Kid Or Not To Kid?


You are twenty-four, how many kids do you want?  NONE!?!?  Okay, you are now sixty-five, how many kids do you want? TEN!  TWENTY!

My mom had six and I think she’s reaping the benefits.


That is the question.

So much of life can be spent without children.  They are conceived and born and grow so quickly.  Those “old” people always say that, but it is actually true.  My little bubble is three.  Our last bubble ever.  She is SO cute ( and so horrible at the same time ).  Yet when you think of having kids, you think about the impact they will have on your totally awesome life.  It’s quite possible you will sit less.  You might have to put that book down and get a water bottle for them.   A hot dinner can be somewhat of a distant memory.  If someone on the internet is wrong, you’ll need to save that draft and carry on after bedtime.




These inconveniences are temporary.  Soon they will grow older.  As a lovely friend of mine described: as their age increases, so your I.Q. Decreases ( S. McM ).  “Mom!  You don’t know anything!” Family photo not into it

… Yeah, you are probably right.  Mum has a right case of the baby head.  It takes a few years to get over that baby-crawly-toddler deal.  I used to do math in my head.  Fuck that.


Kids are great.  I never thought I’d say that, but they are so insightful.  Completely raw with their thoughts.  Beautiful art.  Way too curious.  Eat WAY too much food.  Sleep WAY too much.  Loving beings.


Have you hugged a kid today?  

Boxing Day, A Day No American Understands nor Has Yet To Hear The Real Story


Until today …

We were kindly ( and perhaps finitely … so brave to invite four young kids and two adults to dinner ) invited to a Boxing Day dinner with “REAL” people who do Boxing Day and have done Boxing Day for their whole lives. I didn’t take any photos. Though I should have. All I have are pics of our Christmas day to fill in.


I have often asked of Boxing Day people, “what is boxing day?” in a similar way they ask of us, “what is thanksgiving?” To this, I get the same shrugged response, not unlike our own, “I dunno.”


Tonight, I was finally educated on all the fuss that occurs on the day after Christmas.  It turns out, when our host was young, after the Christmas celebration, she would chuck boxes of food and such down to the basement for the people who had served her.  They would enjoy lovely presents and food that was much appreciated during this cold time of year.  Seeing as we are but rural farmers, she took pity on us and continued the tradition.


Okay … just joking there.  That was the origin, but in this day and age, it seems that Boxing Day is a way to reach out to other family members and friends and have a good laugh.

We had an amazing dinner, with warmy roasting yum and mash and green and gravy.  I wish I could have stuffed more in, but I was waiting for “Pudding” … that’s Boxing Day People for “dessert.”


Giggles were had.  Stories were told.  Kids made a mess.  Bellies were warm.  It felt like Christmas.

So great, we left our kids, minus the wee one.  They stayed and played.  We put the wee one to bed.  Then we took a breath.

Happy Boxing Day to you people who celebrate Boxing Day!!!  Is it Merry Boxing Day?  Joyous Boxing Day?  Holy Crap the Shops are Closed Again Boxing Day?  Whatever it is, we had a great day and I hope you will too.

The Best Steak I Ever Ate


I love this question.  You ask a person to name the best steak they ever ate and they will give you an earful.  It might be full of what crap steak they’ve had.  Or you may hear a few tales of steak enjoyed on a trip where steak is great.  Or they will tell you about their conversation with customs about the curious incident of a bag full of beef. But, pretty much, everyone has a steak story.  Ask the same of chicken or pork?  Not so much.  There is something about beef that gets you excited.


Me?  The best steak I ever ate has been tonight.  Kids giddy yet asleep for Santa.  Presents wrapped.  Husband resting.  Cats and dogs and cows all good.  We did a mince sale, but aged the good cuts.  Though we would love to sell these beauties, we need to try them first.  Then sell. Us Grasspunks, we are extremely concerned with flavor and texture.  This girl … the mince … made great mince, but what about her steaks?  Well, the filet mignon was amazing.  Amazing!  The best steak I ever ate. Maybe it’s the set and setting.  Maybe I was super hungry.  No matter, I will forever remember the filet I ate when everyone was sleeping, Santa had come and gone and the flesh was fresh.  Such flavor.  Such texture.  I will help to repeat this.

Okay now, ssssh! Don’t wake them. I’m enjoying this little moment of steak coma and calm. Go to sleep or he’ll miss your house!


A Trip Down Memory Lane

Ken's Head Has Been Found


The kids pretty much laughed out loud at this dude … er .. dudette … er k. I dunno, but we all shared a smile and were relieved that Ken’s head was at last recovered.



This guy just sipped some Stroh 80.  It pickles your face, evidently.

Baby the Large Zucchini


Otto tucked in a marrow.



Our first Christmas tree on the farm.



Don’t drop that baby!



” Cotinbow. ”  One of my favorite Otto pieces.

retriever mind tricks


Somewhere, somehow a retriever is watching.

and the cow jumped over


We had Mirandaise!  They were spirited.



Heifer ” 33 ” is known as “shit-head.”  A classic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  She is a cow now how now?  And a great mum.

Kevin the Cockerel


R.I.P. Kev.  You were a good rooster.  A great rooster that delivered some lovely chicks.



The kids remembered, but I forgot about “Payback”  … we’ll finish up with that name.



Triangle North: a fertile paddock that keeps on giving.  LOVELY grass.  It’s happy to be alive.


Ho Ho, Merry Christmas, Bonne Fête à Tous and All The Rest


I have yet to write a Christmas letter.  I LOVE reading Christmas letters.  It is fantastic to see how well everyone is doing.  We once received a Christmas letter that was quite macabre.  I kept that one.  They totally said that out loud.

I’ve always toyed around with writing a Christmas letter that didn’t highlight the highlights of the year.  I was thinking something like a 2013 post-mortem listing all the ways we messed up throughout the year.   That’s not all that interesting for others.  Instead, I’ve done a review in pictures.  I suppose I’ll stick with that theme.  The cows have been well behaved minus a few advances to the next paddock.  We suffered from the one gastro bug ( Brent and Z excluded ).  My yuppie cashmere has finally started  showing fatigue … or is that patina.  I should be …uh …  Jean should be writing this in third person.  Jean took a few photos during deux mille treize that sum up our year.  Except for the part when Jean was dealing/raising a small dragon with her hunky husband.  Z is in school now, so we share training our dragon with the village.  Sometimes, it takes a village to train a dragon.


This barn cat is useless.  His fluffy, gray fluff will not distract from the fact that he is no mouser.  What a puffy gray fat pat!


Frites fried in tallow taste good. McDos was right!


This year, we used the big chain.  I don’t remember what for, but … we used the big chain!


An over-the-top solution to keep your fence up.  But isn’t it fun to drive the digger?


I discovered Madiran.  Yum yum Madi-yum.


The internet went down in 2013.  A few days ” offline.”  Crazy times.  Bumble bees were roasted.


It snowed!  And it was beautiful!  And then it went away!

Veal box!  So tender and so tasty.


We lost our happy neighbors to the great warm that is Australia.


We deliver to Bordeaux!


Bordeaux is beautiful!


It rained a lot.


The girls are loving the pasture.


This is breakfast.


The rye grass worked out well.


We have super cool new neighbors!


Z still loves her hats.


Our neighbors grow big lettuce.


I sat!

Lucy got really into cooking.


Kevin visit!  Oh the kids love Kevin.


Kids and Kevin do … Jean doesn’t know what they do.


Brent and Kevin test out the big frigo van.


Brent packs boxes for our customers.


The boys drink some hot cocoa.


My outdoor chair saw the light of day!


Minty stood still for her wax statue.


Z started school!  She can’t stop talking in French.  This is great for Jean’s French language education.
The family loves the siphon!  The tongue deal is not my line of genetics.


Nana cuddled with the girls.


Otto made a Tetris game with Lego.


Lucy is running the chicks.  Her forty beauties are laying well despite the cold.


Z helps in her super, wet barriered bear slippers.


Brent got a bit muddy.


Otto snapped this of Jean doing the Sunday sheet change.  You can tell Jean really loves the Sunday sheet change.


We set sh*t on fire.


Hunka hunka burnin’ love arrive.


This poor dog hit an all time doggy low with the floaty.


A new fluff-ball will arrive soon to start off our 2014.

A very merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year.  What are you up for next year?  Are you feeling calm?