Rustic Pear Tart


Ok, I am pretty sure I promised you all this recipe sometime last fall. Unfortunately 2012 was a pretty depressing year for fruit in our area and I was unable to get local, unsprayed pears. This year was a drastically different growing season and we have plenty of apples and pears available to us right now.

Ye olde family in the big house is pretty partial to my mom’s apple pie (a recipe that I am also getting pretty good at myself) and, if my math is correct, that we may have consumed- oh, maybe four times already this apple season. Well, I was looking for a change and a slightly easier (read, I was short for time…the pears were about to turn…and I needed something fast and not fussy) and I remembered the tart that I had thrown together, on a whim, a couple of years ago when I was sadly in the same dinner situation as previously mentioned. Will I ever learn to be more prepared when it comes to the dinner schedule? Probably not, at least not while the kidlits are little. Happily, my disorganization is your gain.

Anyway, I wanted to share it here with you because I am guessing that all of you wonderful, creative, busy and beautiful people sometimes find yourself short on time, big on hungry, looking for a tasty hassle free dessert that you don’t feel guilty about later. I mean, it does contain fruit that has to count for something, right? Right?

What follows is not much of a recipe, maybe more accurately a set of suggested guidelines that could easily be morphed into what sounds good to you on any given night.


Rustic Pear Tart

what you need:

  • 3-4 pears, or what ever fall fruit is sitting on you counter perched on the edge of turning. Apples and Quince would also work.
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon of wildflower honey
  • 1 small cookie sheet with sides

what you do:

  • Slice your fruit into 1/4 inch slices. I used a combo of red and green pears here just to make it extra pretty. Place in large bowl and toss with cinnamon and cardamom. Let sit while you prepare the crust.


  • Make your favorite pie crust recipe (my mom always used the Betty Crocker recipe or you could try this gluten-free one), enough for two 9” regular pie crusts. Roll out into a rectangle slightly larger than the size of your cookie sheet. Transfer to sheet.


  • Place fruit in two lines, long way on crust, with lines facing opposite directions. Sprinkle fruit with nutmeg and drizzle with honey. Roll the crust up and over the edges of the fruit. Place 3-5 pats of butter evenly over fruit if desired.


  • Bake at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Serve warm.


You can change this to your taste. Try switching up the spices, maybe allspice instead of cardamom? You could also play with the sweetener. Maple syrup is another one of my go-to substitutes for white sugar. Make changes, make it your own and definitely make it tonight. That sad bowl of forgotten fruit will thank you for saving them from a less desirable fate.

book review: Raising Goats Naturally


I know that many of you who stop in (whenever I finally get around to writing, as of late) are interested in raising your own food, maybe even homesteading, and when I found out Deborah Niemann  was releasing another book I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and then share it here with you.

I was first introduced to Deborah’s writing, back when we were preparing to move to the farm, through her book Homegrown and Handmade. It was just what I needed at the time; it boosted my confidence in the idea that yes, we could take on so many new challenges…and succeed. The book felt like a comforting and reassuring friend every time I curled up on the couch with it while dreaming of our someday homestead.

Shortly after acquiring our goats I found out that her new book Raising Goats Naturally: The Complete Guide to Milk. Meat and More was about to hit the shelves. It felt serendipitous to say the least. Being that we choose to raise all of our livestock organically, and as close to naturally as possible, this book was just what we needed. Rather than spending hours scanning the internet for information, and making one too many phone calls to our very patient and kind vet, the majority of answers to our (sadly frequent) questions can be found in this lovely resource.

The book is well laid out, covering a wealth of information in its over 250 pages. I love that it is filled cover to cover with scientific based information and that it also contains firsthand (often humorous) accounts of Deborah and her family’s experiences during their ten plus years of keeping goats on their homestead. (A little commiserating always goes a long way. Don’t you think?) She covers everything from breeding, kidding and pasture rotation- to milking, soap-making and butchering, along with recipes that she has created or tweaked using both milk and meat. The book also delves into feeding, parasite control, herd protection and fencing all while emphasizing natural practices. Helpful and informative pictures are also included throughout, especially in the birthing chapter, which is beneficial when you are in the midst of a birth wondering if what you are seeing is, well, what you should be seeing!

While the text is dedicated mostly to dairy goats, which is what Deborah’s herd is, I still found the book helpful in regards to our meat goat herd. The health, parasite and feed chapters are ones I will go back to, over and over, in the coming years. If you are interested in transitioning your current herd to more natural practices, are already keeping goats or are looking to establish a herd of your own this would be an indispensable resource to have in you bookcase. Once again, Ms. Niemann has provided me with reassurance and a boost in confidence…this time that we can give our goats what they need, and what will make them happy, while they reside here with us.

If you are interested in purchasing Raising Goats Naturally (or one of her other two books for that matter) you can do so here, straight from Deborah’s website. If you want to read more about all aspects of her and her family’s homesteading experience check out her blogs here and here.

**I am not receiving compensation from any sales that result from this post. I simply think it is a fantastic resource and wanted to share it with all of you! Now what are you waiting for? Go get a copy! 🙂




I don’t know about you but this year I am looking forward to winter. I am ready to tuck the animals into their winter pastures, tidy up the garden and close up shop until spring. The shorter days and cooler weather are just what I need and I am so ready to move our attention indoors and practice hibernating for a while. I know, I know- feel free to remind me of all of this in February when I am complaining about hauling another bale of hay or unfreezing another hose, all while wading through two feet of snow in below zero temperatures.




In the vegetable garden we only have the hardy crops left. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, collard greens, carrots, celery, beets, a couple of spaghetti squash and a few rows of tubers waiting to be unearthed. We lost our tomatoes (late blight?) but only after processing gallons of paste and dehydrating quarts upon quarts of cherry and pear tomatoes. I hope to harvest a few rows of carrots now and leave the rest in the ground, under cover of straw and mulch throughout winter, so we can pull them as needed. I am also contemplating doing the same with a few rows of beets as an experiment. The rest will be harvested and stored in our garage, layered between sand in metal garbage cans with the greens loped off. The remaining purple cabbage will be pulled out by the roots and hung, upside down, from our fruit cellar’s ceiling. The kale and Brussels sprouts will stay out until a nice hard frost to sweeten up and then brought in- the kale frozen for smoothies or beans and greens while the sprouts will be roasted and devoured immediately.



As far as berries and fruit go, we are still picking a few ever-bearing strawberries for a quick snack as we run past the patch and the littles continue to eat all the ripe raspberries before any can be picked and brought it into the house. I, myself, am most excited about our much anticipated apple harvest, we have stolen a few here and there as snacks and they are delicious. My Aunt and Uncle were kind enough to supplement our fruit harvest this year while we wait for our little trees, bushes and vines to grow up. They brought me apples from their garden to add to ours for sauce, juice and pies along with a crate full of grapes which I made into juice and canned right away.




Other than the goats, there won’t be much breeding going on this fall and the last of the pigs have been butchered, a huge relief as they were the hardest to overwinter. Over the next few months we will also be butchering some of the non-breeding sheep for meat, which will help get the herd number down to a more manageable number as we have not been able to sell anymore breeding stock.



Soon the fall routine will be in full swing, Kevin and Dad will spend more time in the woods as deer season will have begun, apple and pumpkin everything will be consumed, canned, dried and frozen. We will continue with a huge amount of celebrations, one birthday after another, sprinkled with a few anniversaries and, of course, all those autumn holidays yet to come. I hope to occupy myself with a lot of knitting, homemade chia and snuggling on the couch under cozy blanks, possibly in front of the fire, and waiting for winter’s arrival…a welcomed break after a particularly crazy year.


Are you looking forward to winter? What are your plans and must dos for autumn?