Cooking with Annie: Episode 12 – Chicken Broth

Homemade chicken broth is one of those magical flavor boosters that just isn’t replicable with base, paste, or even store bought broth.  While those all work well out of necessity, once a taste of homemade chicken broth has hit your soup, it’s hard to go back.  Or at least hard not to notice the difference.  In this episode, we show you how to make broth from bones that were part of a chicken dinner and in a future episode, we’ll talk about what to do with any leftover meat to make a third meal.

If you missed the two soup episodes using up leftovers, they are here:  Carrot, Coconut, Ginger Soup and Creamy Potato Soup.

We’ve already talked about how to roast a whole chicken, and the next step is to take those leftover bones and all of the innards from the chicken – heart, liver, and gizzard – and add them to a stew pot.  Add a carrot, an onion with the peel, and a stalk of celery and cover everything with several inches of water.  Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer for at least 45 minutes to an hour.  This sort of broth doesn’t take as long as full on chicken stock made with a whole, uncooked chicken.  The bones have already released some of their flavor and if you cook the broth too long, it begins to loose some of it’s wonderful flavor.  Lastly, strain the entire pot in a colander set over another pot and let drain.  Discard all of the bones and vegetables and store the broth in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer (labeled and dated please!) for upto 6 months.

Annie
Happy cooking!

Cooking with Annie: Episode 11 – Irish Soda Bread

Hands down, my favorite meal to have with this bread is New England Boiled Dinner, an absolute classic.  Next would be a beef stew or other hearty soup.  It makes wonderful toast the next day and doesn’t last long in our house at all.  For those of you having a hard time finding yeast, this is a good one.  No yeast required.  Also, no rising time.  It’s an easy one!

It does call for buttermilk, but don’t fret.  If you don’t have that on hand, combine a bit more than 3/4 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes or so.  Presto!  Buttermilk is made.

Irish Soda Bread 
This is another recipe passed down through the women in my family. I’ve used dried apricots or raisins in place of the currants. The caraway seeds are traditional, but also optional. My grandma favored currents and caraway seeds and my mom made it unadorned. Either way, it’s a versatile recipe.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
1/2 cup currants
3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk (maybe a little extra)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar, and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the milk. Stir until a ball just forms, adding a little extra buttermilk if needed to get everything to come together.  Turn onto floured board and knead until just combined, about 5 turns. Cut the dough in half and shape into two 6-inch round loaves. Place the loaves on a baking sheet. Make two perpendicular cuts on top of the loaves in the shape of a cross. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 1 loaf

Variations
Fennel and Raisin – Add 2 tablespoons fennel seeds and 1 cup raisins.
Caraway and Currants – Add 2 tablespoons caraway seeds and 1 cup currants.
Whole Wheat and Flax Seed – Replace 1 cup all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. Add 3 tablespoons whole flax seeds.
Stilton and Chives – Reduce the buttermilk by 1 tablespoon. Add 1 cup crumbled Stilton and 1/2 cup minced chives.

Cooking with Annie: Episode 8 – Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables

To help stretch the groceries in the house, this meal turns into three meals with a couple of simple techniques.  The roast chicken is one meal.  The broth that gets made with the bones can become soup.  And any leftover meat can become a third meal.  I’ll share the broth and the leftover meal in future episodes, but for now, roast chicken is one of the simplest meals that we love to have over and over.

If you are in a hurry, butterfly or spatchcock the chicken by cutting the chicken through the breastbone and laying it flat on a baking sheet. It will reduce the cooking time by about 45 minutes.  The herbs in the variation are a classic blend, Herbs de Provence, but not always the same.  The ones I like to use are thyme, rosemary, basil, savory, and lavender buds.  Others I’ve seen added are fennel, marjoram, and mints.  Most grocery stores carry a pre-mixed version, so it’s not necessary to buy each herb individually.

Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetables
1 (4 1/2 pound) whole chicken
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus extra for the vegetables)
several grinds fresh black pepper (plus extra for the vegetables)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices (or 3 cups baby carrots)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°F. Rub the chicken outside and inside with the paprika, salt, and pepper and place on a roasting pan with the onion, parsnips, and carrots. Drizzle the vegetables with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 1 1/2 hours or until the legs feel loose in the joint and the vegetables are tender. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Whisk the mustard into the pan to make a pan sauce, adding a little water if needed to loosen the sticky bits on the bottom of the pan. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Variations
Lemon Garlic Chicken
Follow the instructions above and stuff the chicken with one whole lemon cut in half and two heads of garlic. If butterflied, place the chicken on top of the lemon and garlic, then roast.
5-Herb Chicken
Follow the instructions above and add 2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence to the paprika, salt, and pepper.

Serves 4 to 6

Annie
Hang in there!

Cooking with Annie: Episode 7 – Maine Blueberry Muffins (with and without eggs)

So you’re jonesing for a baked good, but you don’t have any eggs (or couldn’t get them at the grocery store this run).  No problem.  There are some handy substitutes for eggs that work almost as well as the eggs themselves.  If you are a vegan, same goes.  No need to go without baked goods, there are some pretty great substitutes out there which will have your non-vegan friends fooled.

To be sure, there’s a decent amount of talk around substituting ground flax seeds or chia seeds, but to my taste, these always end up tasting “healthy”.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  However, when I want a seedy breakfast muffin, I’ll ask for it, not make it by default.

The other direction when substituting for eggs in baked goods is some kind of mushy fruit – either mashed bananas, apple sauce, or stewed prunes.  All of which work wonderfully for making moist baked goods, but don’t do so much in the leavening/rising department.  These subs tend to make for flatter baked goods without that nice dome on top.

There are two substitutions which I’ve used consistently over the years which work beautifully and are nearly imperceptible from the baked goods with eggs.  They are either carbonated water OR a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.  Both create a wonderful rise and crumb without taking away any level of moisture.  That said, this substitution works best in quick breads, muffins, and cakes.  Not so much with say, eclairs or some other egg dependent confection.

In the latest episode of Cooking with Annie, I make Maine Blueberry Muffins with both of my favorite substitutions and show you the difference in the end result.  As they come out of the oven, the lighting in the video begins to change (thanks so much Maine weather) so it may be a little tough to see 100% clearly, but the carbonated water muffins have a perfect dome and are a little lighter in color.  The baking soda and vinegar muffins didn’t rise quite as much but have a more golden color.

Substitutions for eggs in baking
1. 1/4 cup carbonated water to 1 egg
2. 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 egg
3. 1/3 cup mashed banana, apple sauce, or stewed prunes to 1 egg

Maine Blueberry Muffins  
This recipe is actually my basic muffin recipe from which I make dozens of different kinds of muffins.  On the Riggin, to save time in the morning, I make a huge batch of dry ingredients and then measure out what I’ll need for that morning’s muffins.  Each day is a different muffin with dried or fresh fruit, different toppings, and/or spices.  It’s excerpted from the Red Book, At Home, At Sea: Recipes from a Maine Windjammer.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/3 cup canola oil
2 large eggs OR 1/2 cup carbonated water OR 2 teaspoons baking soda and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup whole milk
1 1/3 cups fresh (or frozen) Maine blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners. Sift the dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the oil, eggs, and milk. Stir until just combined. Gently fold in the blueberries. Fill the muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the muffins spring back when lightly pressed. Remove the muffins from the pan to cool on a wire rack.

Makes 12 muffins

Variations
Pumpkin, Honey, and Walnut
Reduce the milk to 1/3 cup, add 2 tablespoons honey, and 1 cup pumpkin puree with the other liquid ingredients. Stir in 3/4 cup chopped walnuts instead of the blueberries.

Other Variations
Replace the blueberries with dried cranberries or apricots; raisins; or chocolate chips.
Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with granulated or coarse-grain sugar.
Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with streusel.

Cooking with Annie: Episode 6 – Roasted Tomato, Pepper, and Onion Omelette

Yesterday I spent the day outside in the light and warmth – listening to the birds and breathing fresh air.  While I was in the garden, walking wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of wood chips from the large pile out in the front yard to the walkways in and around the garden out back, I found myself repeating a mantra to myself.  As there is so much that is not within my control right now, my mind moved to all of the things of which I am in charge and do control.

I am in charge of the food I choose to eat.  I am responsible for how I move my body each day.  I can choose to be outside no matter what the weather.  I am the one who chooses what I buy or don’t buy.  I am the one who is in charge of how I treat my family, the kindnesses I offer others, the way I greet my fellow humans.  I can choose to wait before I speak.  I choose grace.  I choose intention.  I choose surrender.

The word surrender has a connection to the phrase, “I quit”.  But that’s not what I mean.  I surrender to the things I cannot change.  I surrender to peace – in my mind and in my space.  I surrender to something greater than myself.

And I felt better.  And continued to walk the heavy wheelbarrow of wood chips to the garden – creating new pathways and adding a layer of freshness to the already worn paths.  And I felt better.

Annie
safe, calm, kind

Cooking with Annie: Episode 4 – Using up Leftovers = Potato Soup

Since we are all cooking at home more, there’s got to be some leftovers happening in those kitchens of yours.  Before they get shoved to the back of the fridge, become a science experiment, and then head to the compost pile, what if we talked about how you can turn those little bits of this and that into another meal?

Now, more than ever, being creative with what we have on hand makes good sense.  Maybe you lost your job and you need to be really frugal about what’s happening in your household right now.  Or maybe you’ve got more people or fewer people in your house than normal (more if your kids or parents are with you, less if you are social distancing by yourself).  Perhaps you are only going to the grocery store once every two weeks.  Probably more than one of these is true for you.  No matter how the corona shutdown is affecting you, the practice of using up leftovers is a good one to bring back or begin for the first time.

How to actually accomplish using up leftovers without having the same meal again and again, is a little bit of an art, but also there are some basic guidelines.  In this episode I talk about a couple of basic steps for making soup.

  1. Pick three things in your refrigerator that you think will go together in a soup and cut them up into soup-sized pieces.
  2. Dice and sauté about 1 cup of onions unless you have leftover onions in the fridge and then use up those first.
  3. When the onions are soft, add the cut up leftovers.
  4. Add about 4 cups of water or broth to the pot and bring to a simmer.
  5. Check for salt and pepper and either serve as a chunky, rustic soup or puree in a blender for a more elegant result.
  6. Add any garnishes that will go – think leftover fresh herbs, stale bread for croutons, a few minced nuts, or some kind of dairy like grated cheese or creme fraiche.

In our family, even BC (before covid-19), we would do this once every week or every other week.  When the girls were little and taking lunch to school, we’d heat up some broth and add leftover noodles and veggies with perhaps a little chicken and this would be their lunch soup.

In any event, this is just one of many ways to use up leftovers and over the next several weeks I’ll be sharing more.  Hope you find it helpful!

Annie
#staysafe #becalm #bekind

Cooking with Annie: Episode 3 – Traditional Boston Brown Bread

With all of the comments about folks not being able to find some ingredients (and wanting to stay away from the grocery store in general), I thought perhaps this recipe would be a good one to share.  It’s one of my favorite and is super traditional New England.  It uses whole wheat flour, which for some I’m hearing is easier for people to find than regular white flour, and NO eggs, which I’m also hearing are sometimes tough to come by especially around these Easter days when everyone is dying eyes with their kidos.

On the Riggin, I often serve this Boston Brown Brea with homemade butter, fresh garden radishes, an assortment of sea salts as one of many appetizers.  Here at home, we had it with lamb stew and then snacked on the remainder.  It’s delicious toasted with cream cheese or a little pat of butter.

The first recipe works well with either rye or whole wheat flour, but again, I have a hard time getting rye flour in ‘normal’ times, so wrote the recipe with whole wheat in mind.  If you don’t have buttermilk, it’s easy to make.  Combine just over 3/4 cup milk with 1 or 2 tablespoons of white or apple cider vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes or so.  The result is usually just a little thinner than store-bought buttermilk, so I just end up substituting a little less than 1 cup of homemade buttermilk for 1 cup of store-bought.

Hope you all love it!

Traditional Boston Brown Bread
1 cup whole wheat or rye flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup raisins

3, 14-ounce cans
waxed or parchment paper
foil
string

To prepare the cans, trace the edge of each can on waxed paper and then cut out 3 rounds. Liberally grease each can and place the waxed paper round in the base of each can.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the buttermilk, molasses, and raisins and mix until just combined from the center out to the edges of the bowl.

Divide the batter equally between the three prepared cans, cover with tin foil, and use string to keep the tin foil ‘lids’ in place.

Transfer the cans to a medium pot of simmering water. The water should reach just about half way up the side of the cans. Cover and simmer until the breads are set and gently pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 35 minutes.

Transfer the cans from the pot to a cooling rack, remove the foil, and allow the bread to cool. Run a knife along the inside of the cans to loosen the bread and then invert the cans into the cup of your palm or rap firmly on a work surface to dislodge the bread.

Makes 3 little loaves

Mom and Grandma’s Brown Bread 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons molasses
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch bread pan. Cream together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon in a medium-sized bowl. Add the milk, eggs, and molasses and stir until just combined. Stir in the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Pour into the prepared pan, and let it sit 20 to 30 minutes. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the center springs back when lightly pressed. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing.

Makes 1 loaf

Annie
#staysafe #becalm #bekind

Cooking with Annie: Episode 2 – How to Use What You Have

I’m hearing a number of people talk about not being able to find one or more ingredients at the grocery store these days.  This makes menu planning, something I highly recommend for all sorts of efficiency reasons, difficult.  Does one still plan and then change the plan according to what is available?  Or does one go to the store without a plan and then create a weekly menu once the selections are made and purchased.  Well, I’d propose that both could be true. The question really becomes, HOW to be flexible and HOW to think creatively about what’s on hand.

This has always been true for those of us who have gardens or buy from a farmer’s market.  Sometimes certain ingredients are just not in season, in stock, or ready for harvest just yet.  Even with that, our current challenges are causing us to exercise our flexibility muscle even more than usual. In this latest video, I talk about what we picked up from our farmer this week and how I think about creating a menu around the fresh ingredients we were lucky enough to bring home.  Here’s a list of what we got and then some of what we ended up making through out the week.  While they aren’t recipes, per se, they are guidelines and ideas.  Have at ’em!

Large yellow carrots
Carrot Salad – Grate and toss with diced tomato, some radish micro greens, a minced green onion, some minced sorrel from the garden, evoo, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Sliced Carrots – Serve with preserved lemon hummus made with garbanzo beans.
Steamed Carrots – Toss with a little butter and fresh dill.

Baby Orange Carrots
Pan-roasted – Sear in extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.  The leftovers became a carrot, ginger, coconut soup.
Fresh – As a snack with dip or not.

Rutabaga
Mashed – Peel and cut into chunks just like for mashed potatoes.  When tender, drain the water and mash with a little butter and creme fraiche.  To be honest, I didn’t have high hopes for this dish and I was wrong to be so skeptical.  They were delicious.

Daikon Radish
Radish Salad – Grate and toss with garlic, ginger, lime zest, lime juice, sesame oil, and tamari.
Radish Pickles – Slice thinly and toss with salt.  Let rest for at least 30 minutes and then add apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Greens
They all got sauteed in extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper and then became a part of other meals.  I’ll often use greens in place of the carbohydrate at the meal.  So for example, if we are having lamb stew with mashed potatoes, I’d skip the potatoes and substitute the greens.

Pea Shoots
Pea Shoot and Quinoa Salad – Mix with dried blueberries, spiced pecans, crumbled feta cheese, and tangerine balsamic vinegar.

The list above is just an example of what could happen in your kitchen.  It was based entirely on my pantry and ingredients we already had on hand.  Yours might look completely different, but hopefully this gives you a starting point from which to begin creating in your own kitchen.

So what do you have in your fridge that you don’t know what to do with it?  What recipe do you want to make with an ingredient you can’t get right now?  Ask away!  I can help.

Annie
#staysafe, #becalm, #bekind

Cooking with Annie: Episode 1 – Crusty Peasant Bread

It seems just right that my first foray into the YouTube world would be about yeast bread.  Especially at this time of uncertainty when cooking and baking at home feels and is one of the most comforting things we can do – nurturing for the maker and those on the receiving end.  There is so much right now that causes concern or worse, and yet, I find myself looking for and appreciating the little things even more than usual.  The big things are BIG!  And out of my control.  What I focus on and bring my attention to, however, is in my realm of control (to a greater or lesser extent depending on if I’ve just spent any time on the internet), and therefore, what I can do something about.

As I, like many of you, am also home with my family, I’m noticing that we are settling into a rhythm and a routine.  The first several days were a bit rough with all of us emotionally and physically bumping into each other a bit.  Now, although our house, just like the boat, is small, we seem to be finding a good balance between together and alone, even in the same space.  This piece feels familiar, as on the boat, this sort of mental distance is needed at times even when we are all in the same cabin, nearly right on top of each other.  I am also grateful for cooking and baking right now.  There’s something so primal about being able to feed your family – both the actual doing of it and the ability to have actual food on the table.  What a blessing.  Never have I loved being outside more.  In Maine right now, the wind is howling and it’s been raining off and on for two days, but I just don’t care.  I dress in my foulies (foul-weather gear that we use on the Riggin) and step out to breathe fresh air and somehow it’s never been more precious.  I’m sure many of you feel some of the same things I am.

And that gets me to, “Why a video series right now?”  Well, there’s so much I can’t do.  I’m not a medical professional.  As our business is travel, money couldn’t be tighter, so donating to one or more of the many worthy causes is not on the list.  But cooking?  That I can do.  So if there’s something you are struggling with or something that you’d love to see me make, let me know.  It’s my hope that these videos can be a way of connecting even though we aren’t together on the deck of the Riggin just yet.

I chose the Crusty Peasant Bread recipe because it’s one I use again and again on the Riggin and at home.  It’s on page 140 of At Home, At Sea: Recipes from a Maine Windjammer 2nd Edition.  All of the variations are there too.  Now, just to switch things up, as I do, I used a technique to make the bread which doesn’t involve kneading, but instead involves turning the dough several times.  Please forgive our first attempt at using the video function on the camera.  Toward the end we ran out of battery.  We’ll get better as we go along!

Crusty Peasant Bread
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons table salt
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
cornmeal for dusting

Turning Method (as shown in the video)
Combine the yeast, salt, and flour in a large bowl. Stir in all the remaining ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup water. Mix thoroughly and add the reserved water if needed. Turn the dough 10 to 15 times, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.  Repeat 3 to 4 more times, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

Kneading Method
Combine the yeast, salt, and flour in a large bowl. Stir in all the remaining ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup water. Mix thoroughly and add the reserved water if needed. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes or until smooth. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and set aside in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, divide the dough into the number of loaves you plan to make, and shape them into French-style loaves. Dust a baking sheet with corn meal and place the loaves onto the sheet. Cover and allow to rise again. When the loaves have nearly doubled, make three diagonal slashes on each loaf with a very sharp knife. Place the pans in the oven, throw a cup of water over hot stones set in a pan in the bottom of the oven to generate steam and quickly close the oven door. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until an internal-read thermometer registers 190°F.

Makes 2 large or 4 small loaves

Variations
Caramelized Onion Bread – When shaping the dough, divide and shape the dough into 4 rectangles.  Add 1 cup of caramelized onion to the surface of each rectangle and roll up into a log.  Pinch the ends and place onto a baking sheet.  Rise and bake as above.
Roasted Red Pepper and Rosemary Bread – Add 2 cups roasted red peppers and 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary to the dough.
Kalamata Olive and Roasted Garlic – Add 1 1/2 cups pitted Kalamata olives and 1/2 cup roasted garlic cloves to the dough.

Stay safe, be calm, be kind
Annie

Hot Composting Chicken Manure

This winter while the snow was 2 feet deep and the green garden was only a dream that would come eventually, I read about hot composting chicken manure.  While I’ve always composted our chicken manure, which turns into garden gold and keeps our plants super healthy, never had I used it in the same year.

Chicken manure can be extremely “hot” or nitrogen rich and, if used too soon, can burn tender leaves and even more established plants.  To protect my garden plants, I’ve always waited a full year for the manure to “mature”.  This spring, based on my research, I thought I might try a new technique to speed up the process and see what happened.

To begin with, my coop is layered all winter long with pine wood shavings.  I try to keep the bedding fluffy and never really let the manure matte into a pile, but rather continuously add more bedding.  This encourages scratching which helps reduce any matting and also allows me to occasionally go out, when temperatures are above freezing, and clean off the horizontal surfaces and nesting boxes without doing a deep clean in the middle of winter.  Instead I schedule a major clean out twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.  Continually adding bedding also warms up the coop just a tiny bit as the decomposing of the bedding continues all winter long.

I learned that hot composting requires a 30:1 ratio of shavings to manure, i.e. carbon to nitrogen.  This is, it turns out, also a healthy ratio for the hens, as breathing in the toxic ammonia from their waste is not good for them.  If the ratio is off,  the compost pile (or the coop) begins to smell of ammonia/urea.  Adding more bedding is nearly always the answer.

Once the coop was cleared of all of the winter manure and bedding, I created a compost pile 4 feet by 4 feet with wooden pallets that I just tied together.  Hot composting requires that the pile be big enough to build up heat in the center.  Each day the pile needs to be turned and then covered with a tarp to keep the nutrients from leaching out due to any rain.  Conversely, if the pile should be moist, so in the beginning it may be necessary to add water.  By the 18th to 24th day of turning, the pile should be smelling like hummus.  Once earth worms appear, it is ready to go into the garden.  They are the indicator that the pile is now safe for plants.  If it was still too hot, the worms would not find the pile hospitable.

 

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Pallets assembled and ready for chicken inspection.
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In the beginning, the pile was all the way to the top of the pallets.
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The actual work of turning the pile is a real workout. No need to go to the gym for Rebecca (last year’s outfitting crew).
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Turning into pretty rich looking compost.
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The turned pile covered with a tarp for the rainy days.

Annie
Worms arrived!