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Felted Dryer Balls

24 Feb

Windy Fleeces Dryer Balls are hand felted, no chemicals, no dyes….just natural, humanely raised wool. Order through our Etsy page: www.etsy.com/shop/WindyFleecesWoolery.

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Köfte with Garlic Yogurt Sauce

30 Mar

Sorry, don’t have any photos of these, but so delicious and easy we make them all the time. Great as part of a dinner with couscous and steamed veggies or as an hors d’oeuvre. This recipe is modified somewhat from an Epicurious recipe. I generally use whole wheat bread (that’s what we have in the house) instead of the white bread in the original recipe, and I prefer using ground mutton over lamb for a richer flavor. I’ve also used cilantro instead of parsley to change things up a bit.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

For sauce:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon minced garlic

For köfte:
2 slices firm bread, torn into pieces
1 lb ground lamb or mutton
1 small red onion, minced or grated
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon baharat* spice mix
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons salt

Make sauce:

Stir yogurt with garlic and salt to taste.

Make köfte:

Cover bread with water in a bowl and soak 30 minutes, then squeeze bread to remove as much moisture as possible.
Prepare grill while bread soaks.

Transfer squeezed bread to a large bowl and add remaining köfte ingredients, then mix well with your hands until thoroughly blended. Divide lamb/mutton mixture into 16 portions and form each into a ball. Roll each ball into a 4- to 5- inch “cigar,” rolling first between your hands and then on a work surface (be sure the köfte are thin enough for even cooking).

Place on an oiled baking sheet and broil under high heat until gold and just cooked through, turning over once, 4 to 6 minutes. Wrap in lettuce leaves and serve warm with yogurt sauce.

To cook over the grill, roll each ball into a 7- to 8-inch cigar, and slide a 10-inch wooden skewer lengthwise through the center of each köfte. Grill on oiled grill rack, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes.

*Baharat Spice Mix (my recipe):

6 Tbs paprika
4 Tbs ground black pepper
4 Tbs ground cumin seeds
3 Tbs ground coriander seeds
3 Tbs ground cinnamon
3 Tbs ground cloves
4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp cardamom pods

Blend together and store in an airtight container.

More spring photos of the Churros

28 Mar

First lambs of 2011

28 Feb

What a fuzzy little teddy bear face!

One of our foundation Navajo Churro ewes, Paz, and our East Friesian/Border Leicester cross, April lambed this week — April with twins and Paz with a singlette, and all three white ewes! These were sired by our Cotswold ram, Winston, who we sold three weeks ago along with our two purebred Cotswold ewes. The singlette carries his stamp in particular, while the other two are bit more mutt looking. The rest of our ewes should be having purebred Navajo Churro lambs, sired by our black fused horn ram, Payton.

E. Friesian/Border Leicester/Cotswold mutts

Sacred Sheep Revive Navajo Tradition, For Now

14 Jun

A wonderful article from NPR about the Navajo Churro – we love this scrappy little breed and love that we can share in protecting a little slice of American culture. Click here to listen to the story.

Our Churros, freshly shorn: Hernanda, Paz and Paz's lamb

Sacred Sheep Revive Navajo Tradition, For Now

by Hal Cannon
June 13, 2010

For as long as anyone can remember, Churro sheep have been central to Navajo life and spirituality, yet the animal was nearly exterminated in modern times by outside forces who deemed it an inferior breed. Now, on a Navajo reservation of northern Arizona and New Mexico, the Churro is being shepherded back to health.

The Navajo Nation is the size of West Virginia, and at last count, 175,000 people live here. Most people are spread out in small clusters that you see off in the distance from the highway. Amongst modern prefab houses and hogans, the multisided traditional homes of the Navajo, are often corrals with small bands of sheep grazing nearby.

“Sometimes you find me, and I just want to sit in the corral with them,” Navajo weaver Roy Kady says. “Just find a corner and I sit there. They motivate me, even just to see them; it’s that strong to me.”

Churro sheep are smaller than most breeds and have a long, wavy lustrous fleece that is valued by Navajo weavers like Kady. He lives near Teec Nos Pos, where he’s chapter president — sort of like being the town’s mayor. For him, this flock is part of something larger, something he calls “din’e bi iina,” the Navajo lifeway. “Din’e” is the preferred name for the Navajo, and “bi iina” means “lifeway.”

“Sheep is your backbone,” Kady says. “It’s your survival. It’s your lifeline.”

For centuries, the Churro was all these things, providing the Navajo with what they needed to survive in the stark desert: meat for sustenance, wool for weaving clothing and blankets, sinew for thread. It’s no wonder the Navajo are grateful, even reverential when it comes to the Churro.

“Sheep is a very important part of this whole cosmology to us,” Kady explains. “You know, there are songs to where it refers to ‘the first thing I see is the white sheep to the East when I wake up to make my offering. It stands at my doorway.’ And that’s how we know that the sheep is something that’s very sacred to us.”

Where The Churro Went

The Churro were the first domesticated sheep in the New World, and, by most historical accounts, were brought to the Southwest by Spanish Conquistadors in the 1500s. Over the next three centuries, Churro sheep and the Navajo wove a life together in a balance of nature. However, by the 1860s, America’s westward expansion collided with Navajo resistance. In a tragic move, Kit Carson and his troops were ordered to relocate the tribe and destroy their livestock.

Sheep is your backbone. It’s your survival. It’s your lifeline.

– Navajo weaver Roy Kady

“The eradication of this particular sheep breed — because we are connected to it with songs and prayers and ceremonies — when it was taken from us, that part of our life was also destroyed,” Kady says.

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