Three-Day Brisket

Brisket Sept 2017

Wait for it…wait for it. That’s the motto for our famous Farm Three-Day Brisket.

Day One

I give the slab of brisket a nice olive oil massage. After it’s feeling nice and relaxed, I follow up with an invigorating After Five Dry Rub. I double-wrap the meat in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to allow the oil and spices to fuse into the meat.

Day Two

The aluminum foil-covered brisket looks like a misshapen cake that fell on one side.  It takes up a whole rack in the refrigerator. It sits. And fuses.

Day Three

He starts the fire early in the morning. After about an hour, the smoker is ready for the brisket. He mops the brisket every 45 minutes with the After Five Smoker Mop – a thin sauce that keeps the meat from drying out.

After about five or six or eight hours – it all depends – the meat reaches a temperature of 185° F.  He wraps the brisket in aluminum foil and puts in a cooler with a tight lid for two hours. The last two hours allow the brisket to finish cooking, or soak up all the sauces, or just relax after the day in the After Five Sauna.

And finally – ready to slice. We enjoy our brisket with After Five Sweet and Spicy BBQ sauce, After Five Beans, and a fresh salad. Yum.

It was well worth the three days’ wait. Why famous? See that classic smoke ring? It’s the favorite of everyone who has tried it! Even the dogs get a taste or two. After all, they spent three days supervising the prep and smoking.


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Magical Farm

Morning Spider jpg Sept 2017

Every fall, our large spiders magically appear. They do a wonderful job of making all the excess flies and any other unaware bugs left over from summer disappear. They spin their huge webs overnight. Every morning there are new spiders with new webs in new locations everywhere. It’s magical.

That isn’t the only magic at the farm. We always walk using the farm shuffle to watch each step to be sure a stick doesn’t magically slink away or rear its head to warn us away.

In the fall, especially in the mornings, we also wave a wand – cleverly disguised as a stick – in front of our faces. We mumble incantations that might sound like spider curses while we shuffle through our morning chores. It’s a magical mix of Spidey and Harry Potter with a tip of the farm hat to Ron Weasley.

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Two Striped Walking Stick

Twostriped Walking Stick Sept 2017

This is a two striped walking stick. The female is over two inches long, and the male is one inch long. The male attaches to a female, and they stay together until one of them dies. In fact, a mature male will attach to an immature female to ensure he has a mate.

Besides being a “until-death-do-us-part” bug, the two striped walking stick has quite a potent defense mechanism. It has the ability to spray a smelly, irritating liquid from its abdomen. The irritant is discharged up to 12 to 15 inches with uncanny accuracy when threatened or disturbed, and the walking stick aims for the eyes. People who have been sprayed described it as feeling like “burning, molten lead” in the eyes.

Evidently, they weren’t threatened with having their picture taken. I wasn’t sprayed.

Living in the country is educational!

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Hickory Horned Devil

Hickory Horned Devil Aug 2017

This beautiful, five-inch-long decked-out caterpillar was strolling through the yard when we let the princesses out for free-ranging. Several of them checked it out and moved on. It is completely harmless but evidently a bit larger than our chickens wanted to take on.  It’s the larva of the Regal (or Royal Walnut) Moth. The Regal Moth is the largest moth north of Mexico.

I love the markings that look like sunglasses. This is one caterpillar that is ready for the bright Florida sun or even an eclipse!

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Sadie and the Girls

Sadie and the Buffs Aug 2017

Sadie and three of the Buff Orpingtons are catching some rays in the warm Florida sunshine. With all the hawks in the neighborhood, it’s nice to hang out with a pretty girl like Sadie who is scary to hawks.

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I Love Lucy

Lucy in the Bitter Barn Rework Aug 2017

Lucy is a 2-year-old Black Australorp and she is rocking a serious molt. And if that wasn’t enough, she is also broody, which is why she’s in the Bitter Barn. It is not easy to fluff up one’s neck and tail feathers when said feathers consist of two. Or maybe three. I’d say she’s a sweetheart, but that would be a lie. She’s a screaming, squawking broody girl.

And I love her! There’s something inspiring about a chicken with a naked neck and a bare behind who is confident enough to fluff herself up and scare the roosters.


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Florida Cottonmouth

Cottonmouth Snake July 2017

The snake is dead. It’s creepy and it’s dead. Now you can look closely at it.

See the egg? The snake was in the Castle, our largest chicken coop, this morning. While I was busy with email and writing, Farmer Man took over my chicken chores as a surprise for me.

Our usual chore division is that I clean the poop bins and he cleans the water containers and refills water and food. The chickens free-range in our yard, and the dogs watch.

Evidently, the cottonmouth crawled into the Castle sometime yesterday or this morning and grabbed an egg for a nice snack. After swallowing the egg, however, it was too fat to crawl back out. It hid behind the poop bins to digest.  When he opened the clean-out door to scoop the poop, Farmer Man saw the cottonmouth snake.

He said, “Stay there. I’ll be right back.” or something like that. He got his shovel and gave the snake a sharp stab or two or seven with the shovel. The snake’s neck is askew, if you look closely or you can take my word for it, and is about 3/4 severed.  Farmer Man is my Hero.

Cottonmouths are venomous but are normally not very aggressive. And with digestion in process, the snake would have been moving even slower than usual. Interesting herpetology science facts, but the chickens and I don’t care. We’re still nervous about the snake.


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