Dana's Articles

Holy Kisses. Ten-Years-in-Tibet, 52.7

Yesterday we had the privilege of joining the Elderberries Class for a luncheon at our church.  Mark was the speaker so Ellis and I went to listen and fellowship with the older-souls.  A certain scene keeps repeating.  A white haired gentleman beckoned ten year old Ellis over to where he was seated at the dining table.  Without solicitation Ellis gazed in his eyes not two inches from his face.  I thought she was going to kiss him but then she gave him a tight hug.  The look of sheer delight on his face while Ellis was holding his neck.  That's where the ten second clip ends and then replays.  Incidentally the following pictures have been flashing on our screen saver for the last couple of weeks.  One of them appeared a few minutes ago and that was my prompt to write this blog.  No need to search the picture archives.  I'm just going to call this holy kisses and leave it at that. We lived across the street from an old folks home.  We got to know ...

This is Love! Ten-Years-in-Tibet 52.6

Take the money and run? Yes, it's a Lunar New Year tradition to shower kids with red envelopes (like Valentines) containing crisp bills.  During the fifteen day celebration every host and adult party guest comes with a pocket-full of stuffed envelopes or loose cash to bestow on the little ones as they appear.  We noted this tradition from our first year and prepared ourselves to imitate.  This haul was at midnight on New Year's Eve, celebrating at the home of our close, like-family friends.  David had been awakened just before the countdown.  And this is before we found out that you are supposed to wear brand new, unstained clothing, symbolic for "all things new."  Hahahaha! With every passing year we learned more about the intricacies of bestowing the gift.  Just because someone gives big bucks to one child and not to another isn't necessarily a measure of affection for the child or representation of how much he has to spend.  There may be unspoken expectations of ...

Take the Money and Run! Ten-Years-in-Tibet 52.5

Start the one week count down to Tibetan Lunar New Year!  February 8th is fast approaching so  take this picture of Ellis as a teaser for what comes next!


While in the USA there is a certain sigh and new year calm when January gets underway, in our old hometown on the Tibetan Plateau things are just revving up for the Lunar New Year Festival.  For weeks before the holiday every household prepares - cleaning the dung burning (or if you are a townie, electric) stove, smudged windows, and dirty-dirt floors.  Traditional cooking for hours and days (special dishes like chicken feet, pig head, varieties of fish if you're Chinese and yak and lamb-meat dumplings if you are Tibetan).  Shopping for or making the one new outfit each man, woman, and child will don for the year.  Everything must be new including your underwear if you can afford to buy.

Seeing. Ten-Years-in-Tibet, 52.4

I just can’t.  I can’t do this.  Every Sunday morning I get lost in pictures.  I know you understand this phenomenon.  When you start looking and an hour passes and suddenly you realize you have had no idea where you are in the present because you are somewhere lost in the past.  It’s not much for me to confess that I have cried every time I choose a picture for this blog.  “Not much” because I cry for a lot of things.  But I can’t choose just one picture anymore.  It’s not fair to the stories I want to tell in images.  One photo can’t say the same thing as two or three.  Or this time as I give up on choosing a single picture for the week – I am blowing it BIG and adding photos galore.  After all, who made this rule that I can only choose one photo per week?  Yeah, I did.  So I am breaking my own regimen and I’ll probably do it again.  And again.  And this man, “aYungBu ...

Ho-Hum Day. Ten-Years-in-Tibet, 52.3

We lived a few kilometers from the northern shore of the largest salt water lake in China.  Every fall it freezes solid so that you can drive a car across the surface.  In late spring it melts so that by summertime you can swim in it if you dare (still cold-cold water).  Inspired by this morning's snow blanket covering NOMAD Farms (kids disappeared to sled at breaking dawn), this is a photo from from a ho-hum afternoon on the other side of the world.  On the far right is Bowen, Scottie, David, & Ellis' Tibetan brother, "DD" (November 2012).  

Playmates. Ten-Years-in-Tibet, 52.2

As I select the second photo I realize a resolution to post one picture a week is more ambitious than I imagined.  This morning I am overwhelmed by thousands of pictures from the Tibetan Plateau, each one a part of a decade-long story.  I could make a picture book to portray highs and lows, miracles and tragedies but I can hardly choose ONE picture for every week.  I look at the photos and marvel that we were actually there with naked eyes and watched it all unfold in living color.   This picture was taken in February of 2006 on our first scouting trip to the wilderness town where God paved the way for us to move a few months later.  Little did we know that Ellis would grow up with the fellow six month old boy she is meeting here and that the great grandpa who is introducing them would become a beloved friend.  This could be first in a time line of pictures showing these two children together.  Notice how Dorjee has a rope tied round his waist - this is the standard guard ra ...

Dung Stove. Ten-Years-in-Tibet, 52.1

Dana's Resolution: to more integrate our life among Nomads on the Tibetan Plateau with our life here at NOMAD Farms by sifting through and describing one picture for display every week.  Duration: one year /  fifty-two weeks.


Lambing season.  I love this image for the dung burning stove and feeding prep in the background.  There were always some livestock abandoned by their sheep (or goat) moms and the Tibetans gathered in and bottle fed them through infancy.

Nomad Tibetan Mastiffs 2015 Litters Just Born!


This was a big weekend for NOMAD Farms and NOMAD Tibetan Mastiffs. 


Many of you know that when we moved to North Carolina after a ten-year tenure on the “Rooftop of the World” in “The Land of Snows,” three beloved Tibetan Mastiffs boarded the plane for America with us.  It had taken more than two months of standing in China lines for physical exams, permission slips, stamped papers, and dog passports to pull off this immigration.  So August 7, 2013 was a fine day when we let the dogs out of travel crates to potty on American soil in the RDU Airport cargo terminal.  From Tibet to Tobaccoville, Nora Sangje (red dam), Earnest Shackleton (gold sire), and Burleigh Heads (traditional black sire) were beginning life in their New World.  Earnest’s sister, Jashie (name means “blessing” in Tibetan), had flown ahead of the other three five months earlier and was waiting at NOMAD Farms on the day we drove from the airport to take residence. 


Fast forward to the present.  Based on our first sight of Nora and Burleigh’s “getting together” and by my calculation, Nora’s puppy litter was due last Friday.  We could not be so sure about Jashie’s due date as Burleigh chose a more private time for their rendezvous.  Friday passed without signs of labor but Saturday morning we awoke to find the first three of Nora’s pups already born and tucked in the back of the dog house.  With gentle coaxing, Mark was able to lead Nora into the whelping box (a kind of crib that Bowen and David had built for birthing and nursing puppies under the house) and this just before number four emerged, sealed in her amniotic sac.  Nora methodically tore away the sac, carefully snipped the umbilical cord with her teeth and began cleaning the next of what would be eight healthy pups.  Nora’s mothering instincts are sharp.  She labored long and then napped and fed her babies for the rest of the day.


Late afternoon we discovered Jashie had started labor.  Pheromones are for real!  Jashie settled in her personal whelping box where she would deliver her first litter of five thriving puppies.  Nora’s eight plus Jashie’s five equals a proud papa of all thirteen puppies.  Burleigh says, “ Cigars to all hearty congratulators!”


A year ago we were delighted to welcome Nora & Earnest’s first litter of eight pups.  These TMs are now spread out across the USA (+1 in Canada) where, by all reports and pictures from nurturing families, they have grown to an average 125 lbs of world class splendor.  It is awe-inspiring to see how such a tiny bundle can grow to lion-stature in a year’s time.  Cells multiply, manes and tails grow, colors change, and distinctive personalities develop in just a few months’ time.  In the winter issue of Modern Farmer I read an interview with B.J. Novak, the actor who plays an intern on the sitcom, “The Office.”  Well, the guy is moving to a farm in real life and said this about it: “A friend of mine has a theory that those who live closer to where food is grown are more religious.  Because when you see how food is actually created, instead of just seeing it in a package in a store in a city, it gives you a real sense of awe.  And I love that and would like to be closer to that.”  This observation may resonate with visitors to NOMAD Farms.  And the same sentiment expressed about the source of food can apply to the untrained and intricate knowledge of a mother dog to care for her pups and the transformation of these from birth to adulthood in less than a year’s time.   Awe-inspiring.


The same pup from four days to eleven months old





 If interested in pup for purchase, write  


Weeknight Bird is Guests-Worthy

On Saturday Mark & I took the children for a spontaneous “night out on the town.”  We ended up at a joint called Barnes & Noble.  The diversion was for all of  us to fan out and select books on topics we were interested in studying.  Then we would meet back at the store lounge and spend the evening reading together or at least getting overviews of stuff we may like to put on our “to read” lists.  Well we all ended up in the farming section of the store where Bowen found some provocative pig books, Ellis found berry books galore, Mark found new releases on the evolution of the American food industry, and I found a few unfamiliar farm biographies, my favorite genre over the last few years.  David couldn’t find a thing on sheep so I took him over to the magazine section hoping there would be a title like “Mutton New” or something like that.  But the magazine that winked at me was “Cook’s Illustrated.”  Because, guess what?  This season’s special issue is called, “All-Time Best Chicken Recipies.”  It features at least 46 different recipes that have been tried in kitchens across America.  That every recipe has been tested and retested for success in the average stripped-down kitchen set-up is good for me as I have never been one to luxuriate in fancy kitchen provisions.  You should have seen my kitchen cubicle in China.  How about the yak dung burning stove that had to be used for cooking whenever the power went out (which was a regular occurance)?   But I digress as the point of this blog is to share my first personally tested recipe from this impressive collection.  So here you go:


It’s called, “French Chicken in a Pot” (Cooks Illustrated, 2014) and it was SO EASY and SO DELICIOUS!  Chances are you already have every single ingredient to prepare this weeknight or having-guests dinner (that is, if you have already stocked up on NOMAD Pastured Poultry).

“Use a Dutch oven that holds 6 quarts or more for this recipe; the pot should have a tight-fitting lid. . ."

1         whole chicken, giblets discarded (the bird we sell at NOMAD is perfect)

2         teaspoons kosher salt

¼        teaspoon pepper

1         tablespoon olive oil

1         small onion, chopped

1         small celery rib, chopped (I skipped this)

6         garlic cloves, peeled

1      bay leaf

1      spring fresh rosemary (clip from our herbs at NOMAD Farms if you like)

½-1 teaspoon lemon juice

1.  Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, tuck wings behind back (NOMAD chickens are already perfectly positioned), and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until just smoking.  Add chicken, breast side down, and scatter onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary, if using, around chicken.  Cook until breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Using wooden spoon inserted into cavity of chicken, flip chicken breast side up and cook until chicken and vegetables are well browned, 6 to 8 minutes.

2.  Off heat, place large sheet of aluminum foil over pot and cover tightly with lid.  Transfer pot to oven and cook chicken . . . 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 50 minutes.

3.  Transfer chicken to carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, strain chicken juices from pot through fine-mesh strainer . . . discard solids.  Let juices settle for 5 minutes, then pour into small saucepan and set over low heat.  Carve chicken, adding any accumulated juices to saucepan.  Season jus with lemon juice to taste.  Serve chicken, passing jus separately. 

We just finished this meal and it was splendid.  Take it from a provincial girl (when it comes to cooking, that is) – you can’t mess this one up!


Farm to Table food on your menu for this weekend!

Having dinner guests?  Hosting a party?  Wholesome sit down (or on  the fly) family meal?  Come to NOMAD Farms this Friday or Saturday for fresh, never-frozen Pastured Poultry!  After you taste our flavorful chicken for the first time, you may determine that one is not nearly enough.  Are you going to eat mostly factory chicken with a wholesome chicken every once in a while or mostly wholesome chicken that you can feel good about feeding your family on a regular basis?  Would you rather risk eating the cheap chicken and wait decades to determine the impact or go ahead and invest in the toxin-free, nutritious alternative?

True, it's a decision that may affect your budget but could you consider eliminating a couple of splurge items to make even the trade-off for good health?  Skip one package of cookies or a bundle of sodas and you've made up the difference.  Besides, isn't the extra cost worth the avoidance of factory meat that was injected with antibiotics to keep it alive in toxic conditions?  For years you've been talking about animals pumped with steroids to speed growth and production and how our ingestion of all that can't be good for the human body.   NOMAD Farms is making it possible for you to DO SOMETHING about that atrocity!

Come on out for a NOMAD Farms educational tour!  There's a BIG GROUP with children (young and old) gathering this Friday at 10:00 am.  Bring a picnic lunch for afterwards.  Mark makes the learning FUN!  Your young'uns will be primed for a solid nap on Friday afternoon - dreaming of sheep, chickens, cows, horses, pigs, and their pastures.  You'll have fresh chicken in your frig and peace in the initiative you've taken to care for your family's health.  Maybe you'll consider a transition to 100% straight up local meat products.  Okay, okay.  I'll not insist on such a sudden revolution.  "Man, man lai" (lit "Slowly, slowly come along," as they say in Chinese).  Not this time, but next time we'll talk about investing in a deep freezer.  He he!

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  1. Re: An Eye-Opening Comparison

    good post

    -- replica Cartier watches

  2. Re: NOMAD Farms Chicken has a New Look

    "Pastured Poultry" I love it! Continued best wishes to you guys.

    -- DC

  3. Re: An Eye-Opening Comparison

    Wow thank you for sharing this comparison. Very eye opening and disturbing!!!!!!!

    -- Tina

  4. Re: Why Does NOMAD Charge $18 per Chicken?

    Great article, Dana! You really broke things down well!

    -- Denys