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Farmette1769's Blog

by Monica Melograna-Ward

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My father lived in a two room tenement apartment in Philadelphia, PA until he was 8 years old. He shared it with his parents and eight siblings. His parents had come through Ellis Island in their twenties (to the best of my knowledge). Deep poverty had struck Italy. They were looking for greener pastures and America promised a land of opportunity. The US needed workers at the time, so they were able to emigrate.

Then the Great Depression hit. It started up in 1929 when my father was six years old. In late 1931 my grandmother died of meningitis (carried by influenza) on Christmas Eve. One baby sister had died by then. The four older children stayed and supported the home. The four younger children, including my father, were sent to a Catholic orphanage just a few short weeks after the death of their mother.

My father had limited contact with his family during those years. But somehow, he came out of it with the family recipe for meatballs and spaghetti. He did not learn how to make pasta, but he did know how to make the red sauce and meatballs (the meatballs will have to be a later MWR blog article).

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It’s Father’s Day. My father taught me how to make the well-worn ancestral marinara. My husband adores this sauce. He calls it my healing sauce. This weekend’s edition of MWR is dedicated to both my husband, Jamie Andrew Ward, and my father, Armand Melograna Senior. These are favorite photos of mine (albeit they are low quality screen grabs of them).

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Since this is an extra special family recipe, due to it’s history, I am willing to give out the ingredients, but not the amounts. I’ll also not describe the process in strict detail. You must make it yours.

It has morphed over the years in my hands. I don’t cook it on the stove, as my father did. I use a crock pot and cook it slowly for about two days. Sometimes the setting is merely on keep warm, and sometimes the heat is set for full speed ahead.

  • Tomato Sauce
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste

All of these come canned. I may add some fresh diced tomatoes from our garden to this batch today.

  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Oregano
  • Basil
Note: Sometimes I use fresh Oregano and Basil. This time, I did not have any on hand.

 

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Coat the bottom of your crock pot with Olive Oil. Add all of the Tomato Ingredients. Then add Olive Oil to the surface of it all. Add your Herbs and Spices onto top of the Olive Oil. Let it float and simmer there for a long time. At some point, mix it all in together.

Whatever your choices are on the amounts of the ingredients, it will be destined to come out well. Trust your instincts. Enjoy the art of making a never before special red sauce creation of your own. And then please pass it on to the children in your life, and/or your friends too, to enrich future generations of Italian Food Lovers.

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Well, it just keeps getting later and later. It’s been extra busy here for personal reasons.

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But, better late than never, so, a day late, here’s this weeks rendition of FNB @ Farmette 1769.

The following two videos show our thriving honey bee hive. The population seems stable. The extra super is still empty, so I think that I’ll add back in the queen excluder tomorrow. Maybe they don’t want to venture up there and temp the queen to move from the well-protected hub of the main hive.

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Newly-Hatched Duckling Today
Sunday, June 10, 2018

I finally invested in a second unit, which allows a much higher success rate for the hatching process. The second incubator is still air (no fan) and does not have an automatic egg turner. This is due to the fact that for the final 3 days of incubation, you don’t turn and you raise the humidity. It was half the price of a full service Styrofoam incubator, since the turner and fan elements are somewhat pricey additions. I procrastinated anyway since everything adds up quickly. I try to keep costs vs. chick sales somewhat close.

The duck egg was moved from the long-term incubator to the brooder incubator earlier today, since it is day 25. Ducks normally take 28 days to create. Most people fill their incubator all at once, but since we have a small flock, I add two or three eggs at a time. This one is a lone egg, since I was testing to see if our new drake was fertile. Apparently he is, so no roast duck for dinner!

When I picked up the egg for transfer, I held it up to my ear. Peeping already? Usually you can hear a rustling, slightly crunchy noise when they start to activate for hatching. I’m not sure why this one is so early. It may be breed specific or maybe my incubator is running slightly higher that the thermometer is reading. Either way, the first duckling in a long time has just hatched on Farmette 1769.

All of our ducklings are/will be 1/2 Khaki Campbell, 1/2 Welsh Harlequin. Both breeds are prolific egg layers, sometimes besting chickens that are bred for the same thing. Our female Khaki Campbell duck lays an egg each and every day.

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I’m the only early riser in our household, other than work/school for the others. Here and there, I make myself a healthy, gourmet-style, breakfast. I’m not a trained chef, so this is as good as it gets.

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First off, gather your ingredients:

Artisan Roll
I want to cut down on carbs for myself, so this is 1/2 of a lovely chunk of bread.

One Duck Egg
They are really good for you (more Omega-3 fatty acids than chicken eggs), but the down side is that they are higher in cholesterol. In this instance I used one egg, as opposed to two. Chicken eggs are a perfectly acceptable replacement for this meal.
Our birds get to run around eating fresh greenery and insects, in addition to their grain-based feed. If you can’t keep your own flock, farmer’s market eggs are your best option. It is worth the extra money/time/energy. If you crack open a store-bought egg and one from a non-factory environment, you can see the difference. The color of the yolk is darker and richer in a home-grown egg, letting you know that it is packed with nutrition.

Note: If you are worried about the $$$, just think of how much $$$ you’ll save in health care costs. If you are worried about the time and energy it takes to go to the farmer’s market, think of all the health benefits you’ll receive from getting out walking outdoors.

Onion
Health Benefits Raw or Cooked
Whatever kind you have handy. I’m not sure what this one is called. My daughter offered it up and it looks to be high quality. Knowing her, this onion was also organically grown.

Fresh Parsley
Highly Nutritious
If you purchase parsley as a garnish, that’s great, but if you eat it too, you will benefit greatly from it.

Hot Yellow Pepper
Good for You and Taste Great Too!
This one is from my daughter’s garden. That guarantees that there are no pesticides in or on the pepper. The plants in her garden are also being boosted with kitchen-composted soil. I’m thinking that it’s going to be really yummy!

Spinach – Frozen or Fresh
I normally keep frozen handy, but, as I always say, fresh is best. Spinach is an extra healthy green vegetable: vitamins / antioxidants / minerals / vitamins A, B2, C and K / magnesium / manganese / folate / iron / calcium / potassium

Cheese
Again, anything that strikes your fancy will do well in a concoction like this. This happens to be a Monterey Jack/Cheddar mix. It is tempting, but I try not to use a lot. Cheese is highly caloric. Once I crossed over age 50, my ability to eat like a horse and remain lanky disappeared, hence the low carb, low fat approach.

Butter
For frying your egg.
Everything is always Better with Real Butter!

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This is a small cast iron pan. Iron will be released into your food. Iron is especially good for Women’s Health. The pan also allows for nice, evenly-heated cooking. I keep my cast iron oiled up with canola oil, since it doesn’t add a particular flavor to a meal. I then add something appropriate to actually cook with; butter, olive oil, ghee, sesame seed oil…

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You can mix everything (except cheese) up in a bowl, or throw it all right into the pan.

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Add cheese right at the end when everything else is fully cooked. This will melt the cheesy goodness onto the rest of your ingredients, without it getting dried out.

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Bon Appétit
Via a Real Chef Wanna Be

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I flaked on my Friday Night Bees – June 8, 2018 Post Article. So, here is a video that I took the other day. It shows our Honey Bees having a party with one of the sugar water drinkers.

 

In order to encourage kept honey bees to produce honey, you make your mixture 2:1. They seem to like this the best, since they actually compete at the jars right now. You can boil it or just add hot-ish tap water to your container and shake it a lot. Either way, let it cool down before you put it in your feeder(s).

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This is my container. I wrote the different concentrations on the side with a sharpie marker. 1:2 for Comb Building, 1:1 for Brood Laying and 2:1 for Honey Storage (Sugar comes first in the ratio.). Neither the jar or the sugar are high end. You can use something that you would normally recycle, like a plastic orange juice container. And, store brand sugar is fine. Organic sugar would be nice to use, but it is cost prohibitive ATT, since the volume at which approximately 50,000+ honey bees consume it is too great.

Hope to see you for the next edition of Friday Night Bees –
which will hopefully happen on Friday the 15th of June!

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I recently added a few knives to our set. We own a J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL or two. KitchenAid and Chicago Cutlery are plenty good though. They are all treats to me. The Henckels especially, are pricey, but well worth it. All of these have a comfortable grip, sharp blade and will last for many years to come.

If you love to cook, there’s nothing like a well made knife.

From Left to Right

  1. Bread Knife
  2. Pizza Cutter
  3. Cleaver
  4. Chef Knife
  5. Nakiri Knife
  6. Slicer Knife
  7. Utility Knife
  8. Parer Knife
  9. Kitchen Scissors

If you want to turn “I like to cook, sometimes.” into “I Love Cooking!”, maybe you just need the right knife.

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Even $2 plastic feeders have a straight tube leading to the pressure held sugar water. Hummingbird beaks are plenty long enough to get a drink from them. Ours is on the right and survived the honey bee assault.

But, this is what happens when you put up a homemade hummingbird feeder with an easily accessible delivery system, and you happen to keep a honey bee hive around in front of the house.

They drank the whole thing!