Sunday, December 26, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
As long as I have been part of the older Country Folk Genre, I have closely observed the way most do business with their fellow men. A hand shake is THEIR WORD.They are bound by their word. If you don't have enough money in your pocket to pay for what you are buying, just bring the money around next time you are in the neighborhood. When they borrow something, it is in better condition when they return it, than it was when they took it! That is just the way it is!! Most deal in cash, and reluctantly adhere to the modern practice of credit and debit cards. A checking account is complicated enough. The Farmer carries a credit card for farm purchases. Tractor parts, feed, diesel, tools, etc. I must admit, it is convenient for the bookkeeper. Imagine my surprise when I received his last credit card statement, and found airline tickets to London England from Houston, by way of San Francisco. Not only that, but tickets to Univeral Studios in both Florida, and California, as well as a couple of X boxes, whatever they are, and movie tickets from a place called Fandango! Whew, I thought, he certainly covered a lot of ground in 8 hours, which is the amount of free time he would have between morning milking and evening chores. I was flabbergasted that someone had invaded our world with thievery and deception. I was going to demand justice and an explanation of "How could this happen to us?" First of all the credit card company was very complacent about the whole matter, as if it was an every day occurance. Of course we would not have to pay for the excess charges. As I asked the representative to look at our statement, I asked him if he noticed the obvious. Tractor Supply, Lowes, Smith Feed Store, Dennards Farm Store, Home Depot, Red River Farm Co-op,M and S Dairy Supply..... CONTINENTAL AIRLINES? Ding Ding Ding! Hello! Needless to say, I told him that if ever there were any suspicious charges on there, it would be to a fishing resort on the White River in Arkansas, or tickets to the Grand ole Opry in Tennessee! I hope whoever took advantage of us and the credit card company had a miserable time, I have complete faith in Karma, and that what goes around comes around, and hopefully justice will be served, it may be at the pearly gates, but I am sure it will be served. It is such a shame that we have to be on the lookout for the riff raff that makes us have to be on our guard. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
It is a necessary "evil" for the cycle of life here on the farm, but there is nothing more depressing than seeing lush, blooming folage bit to the ground in a matter of hours, by a swift winter frost. We spent hours in the days ahead of the nipping cold, pulling up tomato and pepper plants, and hanging them in the barn. The tomatoes are ripening nicely. And yes, it looks like green tomato chow chow will be in everyone's Christmas stocking this year. Most farmers in the "Off Season", relax and enjoy the down time, catching up on time with friends and relatives, doing piddle projects around the house, sleeping in, organizing the shop. Our farmer fidgets! He plans what he is going to do as soon as there is a break in the weather. He is trying to devise a way to install huge arena lights in the fields, so that he can extend his working day. He grumbles when it is 8:00 pm, supper is over, the dishes are done, and there is nothing to do, as he has never been a TV watcher. I tried to entice him with a game of Scrabble the other night, he looked at me like I had asked him to swallow a frog. It is going to be a very long winter! Me, I am enjoying the slower pace for the moment, having fun canning and baking for the holidays. The bees are settled in for the winter, the animals have found themselves a spot in the barns where they retire each night and snuggle. The fields are plowed and resting until Spring, The strawberries, asparagus, blackberries and fruit trees are sleeping. Our Market hours are THURS. FRI. Sat. from noon until 4:00pm. We will be open through Thursday, Dec. 23. We are offering Holiday gifts and treats from the farm Kitchen. Orders for Holiday Gift Baskets should be placed by Dec. 15. The milk supply is holding steady. We will reopen after the holidays on Thursday January 6. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Thursday, November 25, 2010
We would like to thank all of you who have made our adventure into the vast world of sustainable farming such an eventful experience. We are grateful for the advice, the support, the continued patronage, the chit chat, and most of all the friendship. Our Father in Heaven has truely blessed us and we acknowledge his hand in our every day lives. We thank Him for bringing you to us! From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!
Monday, November 22, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Well, Here'Tis, my premier attempt at picture posting! Naturally, it is a rump shot, but I am sure with a little practice on my part, you will be introduced to some faces!
Now, NOTHING here on the farm is sacred! You all will be privey to some of the best kept secrets in Grayson County! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Now, NOTHING here on the farm is sacred! You all will be privey to some of the best kept secrets in Grayson County! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
You say potato, I say potahto, you say tomato, I say tomahto, however you say it, in the market this week we will have it! The weather has been balmy, and the fall crops are making a final stand. This week, we will also have some squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, green onions, broccoli, lettuce, peppers and more peppers! Oh, and fresh herbs! The milk supply is holding steady this week, as the girls are all enjoying the grazing weather. Unless the sun decides to pull a fast one, and starts to come up at 6:00 AM. the egg supply is still going to be meager. Yogurt smoothies will be offered, made to order. As far as the cookies, breads, and other sweets, on the shelves there will be whatever I am prompted to bake at 4:00 AM, as I am rambling around, grousing about the time change. MARKET HOURS: Thurs. Fri. Sat. from noon until 4:00PM. or call for another time if that is not convenient. Keep in mind the upcoming holidays, custom made Fruit/Gift baskets will be offered, and don't forget the yummy caramel apples. Since the weather has cooled, and it is not as humid, the selection of goat milk soap has increased. To keep your skin smooth as a babies butt, you need to try some! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Monday, November 8, 2010
Who would have guessed that some wrinkly, dirty, scrubby looking, leftover in the bin because no one thought they were pretty enough to buy, POTATOES, would produce such beautiful, perfect, delicious to the taste, buttery jewels! When I told the farmer to plow up a spot to give the shriveled nubs a second chance, he just shook his head and smiled, "Sugar," he said, you realize this is like "spitten' in the wind, those taters are too far gone to do anything but shrivel up more, and feed the moles and gophers under the ground for the winter". But like all dutiful husbands whose main lot in life is to pacify a headstrong partner, he just went and got the tractor, dug some furrows, plopped the potato chunks into the ground, carefully covered them over, and was thinking what he could have been accomplishing, instead of wasting his time on this dead end, hair-brained notion. As the spindly plants sprouted above the ground one by one, I was reveling in my anticipation of bushels of fall potatoes. Needless to say, as we dug up the plants one by one , my triumphant "I TOLD YOU SO's" could be heard in town! Now, we don't have bushels, but we have plenty to sell in the market, share with some of our family, and prepare home grown mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner. The moral of this story is, no matter what the effect of hard times, being neglected and dejected, passed over and scorned, it is possible to have a second chance, and with a little love and nurturing, emerge smelling like a........ "New Potato!" From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Thanks be to those who e-mailed to empathize with my mouse drama. I am enjoying a full recuperation and so far, a mouse free home!(Just wait until I tell you about the raccoon in my back pantry!) And a special thanks to the Man up above who took sympathy on all of my family, kept the temperature above freezing, knowing that if it frosted last night, everyone would be getting a case of Green Tomato Pickles for Christmas! Market day is today, HOURS: 12:00 until 4:00pm. I now have running water in my Super Duper sink. Next week I am going to start making the yogurt/ fruit smoothies on demand. I did spend last evening covering up crops, as we are still harvesting tomatoes, squash, greens, eggplant, herbs, and will have more broccoli, green beans, and some new potatoes, oh, and lots of green onions. Due to popular demand I am still dipping caramel apples. Order some for the holidays, as they are a perfect little gift. Also we will be doing fruit/gift baskets. Call or e-mail for more information. Update on the wonderful birthday gift from my wonderful man. He settled with the little old farmer, apologizing profusely for the oversight, so now I can proudly display my newly painted, refloored, greased and oiled, poop spreader, to the envy of all! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Friday, November 5, 2010
Living in the country has a few teensy, tinesy drawbacks that manifest themselves every now and again. One of those being field mice! Now, when the weather is warm and pleasant, they are very content to take up residence in the barns, the sheds, the chicken coop, under the hay feeders, only making their presence known when the barn cat struts across the yard with a tail hanging out of its mouth. BUT..... when the weather starts turning nippy they scramble for a warmer place to shack up, and if there is food and water available, all the better. The first sign is some slight scratching in the walls, the freaky pitter patter in the ceiling as they race between the rafters, then, the tell tale gross out clues are" tracks" in the drawers or cupboards. Those little buggers can find their way into a house if the only opening is on the roof! To me it is one of the mysteries of the universe how a mouse the size of a golf ball can fit through a hole the size of a pea, but they can do it! Well, now we have the basis for my tale. The Farmer and I are sitting down to a quiet evening meal. The topic of conversation happened to touch on some Ghirardelli chocolate squares I had put on the stove the previous evening in preparation for some brownies I needed to make the next morning. I asked him if he had sneaked some bites of chocolate, as several of the bars had bitemarks in them, little bites and big bites. I showed him the telltale evidence that I just happened to have saved and told him that if he wanted chocolate, I had plenty of bars that he could have and could eat the whole bar all by himself. He strongly denied any wrongdoing, claiming that he had lived with me long enough to know that the area around my stove is like hallowed ground, that nobody messes with. I examined the dark clumps in the pot a little closer, and to my horrification realized who or WHAT the perpetrator was! " Rocky, we have a mouse in the house!!!! and he ate my chocolate!!!!! " I jumped up and flew through the drawers and the cupboards, trying to find any signs, I made him pull out the stove and the refrigerator to look for a secret passage into my kitchen, after an exhausing search, he just shook his head and said, " I'll just get a trap, get me some peanut butter". My mind is swirling with thoughts of where was the mouse right now, needing to get up and clorox everything in sight. As we settled down to finish our meal......." Sugar! ," I hear from the other side of the counter. " Go and get my BB gun". " Rocky, what for?" I asked. " Well, if I am not mistaken there is a mouse walking across the backsplash behind the kitchen faucet with something in his mouth....looks like chocolate! " As I live and breath, the situation couldn't have been any more bizarre, but wait, I am not finished. " And what, might I ask, are you going to do with a BB gun?" Well darlin' just go and get it and I will show you". Like a sleepwalker in a trance, shaking my head from side to side, I go and get the BB gun....picturing little holes in my kitchen wall, shattered glass over the sink, the water faucet spewing water, not once imagining a furry little rodent, paws up on my kitchen counter.Talk about Blind Faith ! I'm a dyin' if I'm a lyin'! As that brazen mouse was traveling across the backsplash, stopping to take a nibble of my chocolate here and there, Rocky patiently pumped up the gun, aimed and fired!!! Now, I had covered my ears and squeezed my eyes shut, and when he asked me to run get him a rubber glove and a sack, I nearly fainted from shock.
Good Golly, I am married to Wyatt Earp reincarnated! They say that truth is stranger than fiction and I for one will attest to that. My only regret that I have is that the little interloper will not be able to spread the word to the other would be interlopers" Don't go into that house or your life will be cut short by the best darn sharpshooter that ever lived". Oh, and rest assured, for all of you that eat my brownies, the nibbled chocolate went into the trash! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Good Golly, I am married to Wyatt Earp reincarnated! They say that truth is stranger than fiction and I for one will attest to that. My only regret that I have is that the little interloper will not be able to spread the word to the other would be interlopers" Don't go into that house or your life will be cut short by the best darn sharpshooter that ever lived". Oh, and rest assured, for all of you that eat my brownies, the nibbled chocolate went into the trash! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I love these crispy mornings! The Farmer grumbles in the mornings as he gets out of bed and claims the house is "so cold you can hang meat!" Could be because all of the windows are wide open and the fans are going. It gets the juices flowing, I explain to him. That is impossible, he says when all of my veins are frozen solid! Yes, but a cold house is condusive to butter churning, soap making, bread baking, cheese curding, and yes....meat hanging. (I promise if you visit, there will not be a side of beef hanging in the laundry room). He just grumbles to himself, and puts on another shirt. Today is my birthday, the Farmer surprised me with a new implement to add to my farm machinery menagerie. I now am the proud owner of a genuine, only a few years old, bargain of the century, owned by a little old farmer that only took it to church on Sundays,( I think he made that part up) New Holland, poop spreader! Every girls dream! It needs a little paint and a new floor, but everything else is peachy. Believe me, I am so relieved that I am not going to stand on the trailer of poop with a shovel in hand, scooping it out bit by bit as Rocky drives along.Such a perfect gift! That man of mine is so thoughtful!!!! It is a canning day today, lots of okra still being picked, and time to start picking green tomatoes for chow chow. Remember the new species of blackberries that were supposed to produce in the spring AND the fall, that were blooming? Well lo and behold they are making fruit! The berries are about the size of a peppercorn, but it is still fruit! We will continue to harvest veggies until it frosts, before which time, we will dig up the struggling new potato patch. Will have a few tomatoes this week. The milk supply is very slowly slowing down. We will be milking through Dec. at least, and will stockpile goat milk for the months of Jan. and Feb. for those that will need it. It may be a good idea to get some in your freezers while the supply is still good, as we will probably be rationing it, before the new season begins in March. MARKET HOURS: Thurs. Fri. Sat. noon until 4:00pm., or call for an appointment. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support! Just in!!!!!!! a new development in the heartfelt birthday gift! I just received a call from The Farmer who is doing his 24 hour stint as The Fireman. When he was putting his 10 dollars in the lunch money pot, he noticed a wad of bills that should not be in his money clip. Needless to say, my poop spreader may be repossesed before I am able to use it. I am on the lookout for a little old farmer with a big hitch! I think I will just move the tractor in front of it shut and lock all of the doors and not answer the phone or door until Rocky settles this dilema! I cannot imagine my life without my new to me farm implement!
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Jack Frost was busy elsewhere and decided not to pass through R & C Farms Thursday night, thank you , Jack. It would have been a long night picking green tomatoes. I think we have a reprieve for a few more days. The Farmer has been busy wrapping up odd projects to prepare for the onset of winter. Filling the barn with hay, topping off the silos with feed, and hauling poop to the watermelon patch. We got the last of the mushroom logs inoculated this week, so we will sit back and wait for the "magic". ( not to be confused with magic mushrooms). Still waiting for water in my fancy sink in the market. The Farmer has gone through two sets of faucets, and no matter what he does, they leak. He has hinted that in the shallow well out front it shouldn't be to hard to rig up a bucket, a rope and a crank . Ha! Ha! That's what we get for trying to save a few pennies and go for an off brand. I have been up to my eyeballs in caramel apples, I had several orders this week, and they were such a hit, we are going to be doing them through the holidays. The Turtle apple, Almond Joy apple and the M&Ms apple are at the top of the list. They make a perfect "for whatever reason" gift. It is time to drag out all of the holiday baking recipes. All sense of healthy eating goes right out the door at holiday time around here. I love to make candies, cookies, breads, cakes, and anything else with lots of fresh butter, eggs, and sugar. Luckily for this calorie challenged household, I sell it in the market or give it away.Gift baskets are going to be available again this year, filled with all sorts of goodies. Details will soon follow. The MARKET HOURS:Thurs. Fri. Sat from noon until 4pm, or special appointment if that is not convenient. We will keep these hours until Christmas, at which time we will close for a period through the holidays. A few crops are coming on , as we are harvesting yellow squash, broccoli, green tomatoes, soon to be red tomatoes, eggplant, some greens, lots of herbs. Soon to come are green onions, new potatoes, green beans. The milk is holding steady, the chickens are a loosing proposition right now as they just eat and sleep. Five eggs a day from fifty hens is a dreary ratio. But I look on the bright side...... thats almost three dozen eggs a week! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Don't throw those pumpkins away! If you did not carve them up and put candles in them, and they are not full of dead moths and melted wax, prepare them for your pumpkin recipes and WOW everyone with the knowledge that you used real, honest to goodness, straight from the vine, pumpkins.Chances are they will be drastically marked down at the markets, so get some. Here is what to do: One of several methods used to get pumpkin for cooking.... Take a pumpkin, if it is big, you can do this in sections, if it is small, cut it in half. Some pumpkins are grown small for the pie purpose,they tend to be sweeter and a little less stringy, to me a pumpkin is a pumpkin, which is really a squash!I will use whatever I have. Rinse it off, to get any dirt or bug pooh. Half or section it, and scrape out the seeds and stringy stuff. Save the seeds for roasting or planting. Rinse the sections or halves and place face down on a large baking pan .It must be tall enough on the sides so that you can add about half an inch of water in the bottom. Bake/steam in the oven slowly, I use a 350 degree oven and check every 30 minutes. The rind will turn darker and pucker a little. To test pumpkin meat, turn a piece over and prick with a fork, it should be soft to the rind. When thoroughly cooked remove from oven and let cool slightly. I use an ice cream scoop, and scoop out the pumpkin meat into freezer containers or baggies. If it is watery, you can let drain a little through a seive. Viola! To make puree just put in the food processor. Freeze until needed. Sweet potatoes are also available now, you can do a similar process with them. Wash thoroughly, spray lightly with a little olive oil, place on a baking sheet, bake slowly in a 325 degree oven. When completely done, almost squishy remove from oven and cool. Slice in half and scoop out the pulp and put into freezer containers for use later. If you want slices, peel with a sharp knife and slice. Your sweet potato casserole or sweet potato pie and muffins, will be heavenly! More Bee News.... The newly adopted hives all stayed, the Farmer is elated. They will need to be fed through the winter, as they may not have enough honey stored for their colonies. Now is the time I would not want to be a drone, as they are soon to be doomed. As the bee undertakers are removing their bodies from the hives, we are noticing some of the unfortunate ones on the ground at the entrances. For those who are unaware, the drones are "done in", as they are totally useless to the hive through the winter, as all they do is eat, and take up space. The execution squad takes care to rid the hive of any freeloaders. What lesson can we learn from this???????From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
"When you're all alone in the Country and the night is dark as pitch, don't shout out because you know there's no such thing as a Witch! When you hear a howl in the Country and you're hiding in the ditch, shout OH- HO!! because you know there's no such thing as a Witch! If anyone was up this morning and outside about 5:30, and looked to the western sky, you beheld the most beautiful Halloween moon, setting on the horizon, thus inspiring me to remember the words to a song I learned when I had my first experience with trick or treating as a youngster. Funny how some things hide in the back of your mind, and something like a Halloween moon at 5:30 in the morning triggers sweet memories from way in the past. Halloween is just around the corner, we wish we would have had all of our projects finished so we could have had a bang up fall festival, but for sure next year, as the pumpkin patch will be all composted and we will plant oodles of pumpkins. The team of mules and the plow I mentioned previously are more of a reality than I had hoped, as the Farmer wants to build a hay wagon for rides through the country. No tractor driven wagon will do, it needs to be Clip and Clop in a harness with reins. I wonder if there is a mule driving school????? I am one step closer to my ice cream machine, as The Farmer got the sink put in the market, no water yet, but a great big stainless steel sink with a fancy sprayer, to wash the fruits and vegetables. Fresh strawberry, blackberry and peach ice cream will be served up early next Spring. The newly adopted beehives seem to be settling in. From all indications, the queens were in the massive bundles of bees, so everyone stuck around. For all of those who have asked for green tomatoes, we have picked some for the market this weekend....still waiting patiently for ripe ones. The fall pickings will soon start of cucumbers, peppers, squash, green beans, and greens. The chickens are on strike, they are picketing for longer days before they will lay again.(it takes about 14 hours of light for egg production) We will probably put a light on them in November, that will turn on at 6:00am and see if that will increase our meager egg supply. The milk supply is still holding steady, cows milk and goats milk. Our MARKET HOURS are Thurs. Fri. Sat. noon until 4:00 pm. or call for a special appointment. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
How can something bring such joy and ecstacy to someone(namely me) and such fear and misery to another( namely Rocky)? It is the substance that will endure the ages(they have found it in the Egyptian tombs) it will make anything it is poured on taste good( aka my sometimes doughy pancakes) it prevents sneezes, watery eyes, and stuffy noses in the Spring ( a teaspoon a day) not to mention it's use as a salve for boo boos and burns. I have seen this fearless man, who goes into burning buildings without a moments hesitation, put his gloveless hand down a spider and snake filled well to check the water level, ride an unbroke horse, bulldog a calf, be brought to his knees by sticky honey fingers! He cannot stand anything sticky on his hands, and for a beekeeper that is quite a predicament. We have been in the process of adopting a hive from a barn that is going to be demolished. It is a several days process, following steps to secure the queen, the bees, and retrieve any salvagable honey and honeycomb. After setting the queen, and her court in a new home, all of the honey and wax comb that was left was put into a cooler. Now during this process, Rocky had on his protective bee garb, so honey and skin were layers of leather and cloth apart. All of which can be thrown in the wash machine. He brought the cooler home plopped it on the back porch and called Randy the Bee Man to find out how to get the honey out of the comb, as it was random chunks and could not be put in the extractor. A most horrified look crossed his face, as Randy explained that the honey would need to be squeezed out by hand, chunk by chunk. I just giggled!" Oh, Rocky, we can have a date night and squeeze honey all night long!" I couldn't wait to plow my hands into the cooler and start squeezing the liquid gold from the wax comb. With an ashen pallor and glazed eyes he shook his head and said " Carol, please, please, please will you do it? I will do anything else, just don't make me touch that honey with my bare fingers, I will use a fork, some tongs, wear gloves, anything, just no sticky fingers." LEVERIDGE was shamefully my first thought, but as good sense took over, I agreed to knead what honey I could from the wax chunks, and let him breath a sigh of relief. Now let me tell you, he will be the first one at the table with a hot roll in one hand and the honey dipper in the other, scooping up glob after glob and drizzling it over the top, but heaven forbid any should accidently plop on his thumb, it is straight to the sink to wash it off! I am trying to think back on all the chores that I did in between the honey squeezing, and what I touched with barely rinsed, still a little bit sticky honey hands. Let's see, I drove the E-Z go, checked the animals at night with his flashlight, went through the dairy barn front door, answered the phone, drove his pick-up to the dollar store, opened the refrigerator, flushed the commode......... and I won't even mention caramel apples! From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Ho Hummm....it seems that I have come full circle and I am spending a good share of my time waiting and watching for tomatoes to ripen! Weren't we in this same spot a few months ago? They aren't turning red any faster now than they were then! I keep telling myself that patience will be rewarded in the form of spicey salsa and chunky chili sauce! Since the pace is slowing down at the farm and our activities are limited by shorter days, all will probably get a more intimate glimpse of a more personal nature of the inner goings on here on the farm, as if all of the shennanigans with the cows and the bull, the does and the buck, the hens and the rooster, aren't intimate enough, you are going to learn a little more about The Farmer and the Other Farmer.(the terms that my young neice uses to describe us) The motivation behind this tell all, is to help you better understand our dedication to our land, our stewardship over our animals, and our devotion to each other, and why we have chosen this age old profession to wile away the hours, when we could be fishing, golfing, playing tennis, or traveling the world, enjoying any number of activities, instead of toiling daylight til dark intent on making a success of this small 40 acres we have been blessed with. Rocky was raised "Old School", doing farm chores since he was a boy. A man's word was binding, an honest days work, for a fair wage. Play hard, work harder....he is no stranger to a 16 hour work day.... so it is second nature for him to rise at the crack of dawn and work until the last glow of light dims, when the sun goes down. For those unfamiliar with country life, there are very few things that can be put off until tomorrow. If it doesn't get done today, usually... well, it MUST get done today, thus the long days. Now if you can imagine pairing this rough and tumbling country fella with a city raised, hoity toity, teetotalling, fashionista, you would have a clear picture of spontaneous combustion! We were like oil and water, the only thing that we had in common was that we had NOTHING in common! He was used to country raised, fun loving, wild living gals, and I was used to solid, serious, business minded, boring, guys. For some reason, I just could not stay away from him. I was hooked! Bait, line and sinker! We are the poster couple for "OPPOSITES ATTRACT". Now almost 20 years later, the rest as they say, is history. He took me in, a divorced woman with 4 very small children, a yankee, no less, and taught me what a pinto bean and okra were, showed me how to cook turkey fries, a best kept secret to say the least, let me help dress a wild hog ,( after he explained to me "No, Carol we country folks do not put clothes on pigs") explained the difference between fried chicken and chicken fried ( who would have thought!) Let me practice driving a standard shift in his new pickup, and most of all gave me a whole new perspective of what I wanted to do when I grew up. I taught him that" Gone with the Wind" is not just loosing your hat during a Texas gale, Spinach salad CAN have nuts and fruit in it, and even though bluegrass music is the original country music, a fiddle player and a symphony violinist are truely not very different. Oh, and contrary to popular belief, religious girls most definitely can be fun. And yes, in a family, the more the merrier! So on our story goes, I will share some of the highlights and the lowlights, letting you get to know us a little bit better, and give you a more personal glimpse of one of the most fulfilling ways of life that exhists. More of the R&C Saga to come! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Monday, October 11, 2010
The strawberries are all nestled in the ground! We will pray for a mild winter, with sporadic rain and plenty of sunshine, but realize that here in Texas you get what you get and hope for the best! Rocky has gone crazy with the onion bulbs and garlic. Watch for a buy one get three free sale in the late Spring. The tomatoes are slowly making progress. We are picking one or two each day, waiting patiently with our bushel baskets in anticipation of plenty to can for tomato sauce. Lo and behold, the new variety of blackberries that we planted, that produce late Spring and Fall, are now blooming again. We are going to have a few blackberries later in the season. As we are doing caramel apples for the holidays, I purchased the neatest gadget that everyone probably has, but I have just discovered. As I once had a catering business, I am the gadget queen. It really has nothing to do with carmel apples unless you like to dip slices into caramel, but has everything to do with apples. It is an apple pealer, corer, slicer all in one. It is amazing! I went through a bag of apples just to watch it do its wondrous deed! After every single apple I would look at it and just go WOW!!! Rocky is so grateful that it takes so very little to really impress me, but is a little tired of applesauce, apple butter, apple crisp, apple muffins..... The MARKET HOURS are Thurs. Fri. Sat. from noon until 4:00pm. We dug up the sweet potatoes and if you are looking for any the size of a football, here is the place to come. ( we also have regular size) We never quite know when to dig them up. The milk supply is still steady for now, but as the winter approaches the supply will lesson. Even though we will continue to milk, as the girls near the end of their lactation cycle and get ready for the new milking season the production will slow down. It may be wise to stockpile some just in case, as we will be closed some for the holidays. There is a spot still available in the canning class Oct. 19. Check the blog on Sept 23 for information, or e-mail or call . From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Farming 101( with a little help from the Bible!) For everything there is a season and as much as I would like to claim that I can grow anything, anywhere, anytime, it just ain't so! We have had several calls this week inquiring if we had fruits and vegetables to pick, and aside from an abundance of okra, and a leftover squash and cucumber plant, the fall crops are just a smidge from being ready to harvest. The tomatoes and peppers are just setting fruit, the squash and cucumbers are just blooming, and the beans are about the size of an inchworm. We have had to replant the carrots and the beets, as it was too hot. Since the melons have been protected by the sweet potatoes, they have continued to produce, but as we are digging up the sweet potatoes, cantaloupe and honeydew will soon be a sweet memory. Thankfully the greens are finally making a show. Rocky is on his way to Arkansas to pick up the strawberry plants, so this weekend will be a swirl of planting activity. Approximately 12,000 plants will be put to bed for a winter of rest and relaxation, in preparation for an abundance of production in April. Love is in the air, that and the smell of a Buck that has had to practice a summer of celebacy. We are careful to stay upwind and heaven forbid we should touch him for any reason! He is just "deeelirious with deeelight", as he is now with his harem and he has no competition for their affections. ( remember the other buck that got the Big Head?) There are a couple of spots still open for the canning class on Oct. 19. E-mail me for more information or check the blog a couple of weeks ago posted on Sept. 23 for details. Caramel apples are now available in the market, some are just plain old big, gooey, caramel only apples and some are just plain FANCY, covered with all sorts of decadent goodies, apples. Prices are $4.00 and up.We will have pumpkins, but they are pie pumpkins, and will produce through Thanksgiving. FALL MARKET HOURS: Thurs. Fri. Sat. from noon until 4:00 pm or special appointment throughout the week. From our Farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
This is why we love Texas!!! The air conditioner is off , the kitchen windows are open, and the quilt is back on the bed! It has been a hoppin' week here at the farm. We are getting ready to plant the strawberries next week, we got the blackberries all trimmed and cleaned out, we are preparing the logs for the mushroom spawn, Poppy is getting ready for her honeymoon, ( our animals practice Big Love here on the farm) and Lulu got bit by a snake! No more lazy days of summer for us. I find myself going from project to project wondering which to tackle first, and all I can see are the cobwebs and the dust in my house, accumulated throughout a summer of outdoor labors and activities. I tell myself that the first rainy day, I will tackle the household chores and catch up on the ironing. No more wrinkly shirts for Rocky! The novice canning class is filling up, there are still a few spots left. I realize it will be a while before some know what there schedule is, so just e=mail if you are interested in signing up.The information is in last weeks blog. The MARKET HOURS will remain the same until further notice: Thurs, Fri, Sat, from noon until 4pm and by special appointment if that time is not convenient. We are harvesting a few vegetables right now, but the tomatoes will not be ready for a couple more weeks. The heat put a kink in our schedule. The milk supply is holding well. Rocky is in the process of adopting a couple of errant honey bee colonies. Both of them have squatted in local barns, and the owners do not quite appreciate their"this is now our territory" presense. Next week we will have some harvest treats in the market. Yummy caramel apples, honey taffy, popcorn balls, pumpkin bread, to name a few. For those of you who were anticipating our fall festival, it is now going to be a Spring Festival, and it will be happening around the opening of the u-pick strawberries, in April. Footnote: Lulu is recovering from her nasty snake bite, and is getting back to her old persnickity self. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Ta Dahhhhh! Announcing the date for the first and hopefully not the last scheduled evening for our first Provident Living class. The class will be a beginners tutorial on canning, using the water bath method. We will save the pressure canner class until later, after the novices have had a little experience and I feel confident we won't blow the roof off the dairy barn! We will be preserving two different items, we will be jam or jellying something, and we will be pickling something. What fruit or veggie we use will depend upon what is being harvested or what I have saved through the summer, I promise we will not be doing sunflower jelly or pumpkin pickles. All materials will be furnished. Just bring an apron, if you want or ....not. The classes will start at 6:00 pm and will go approx. 2 1/2 hours. We are going to have the classes at the dairy barn, in the front vestibule. There are rest room facilities, a light snack and beverages will be provided. 8-10 students will be the number attending the class. If there are more that are interested, another class or two will be added at another time. October 19 is the date of the first class, the cost is $30.00. This will cover canning materials, instructional handouts , light snack etc. Registration is not complicated. Just e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and leave your name, and phone number, and state that you want to attend on Oct. 19. It will be first come, first serve, I will return your request with a confirmation through e-mail that you will be on the list to attend the first class. If that class fills up, I will post the date for the next class, which will most likely be the following Thurs. Oct. 21. The fee for the class can be paid the night of the class, but we ask that you not request a spot unless you are sure you will be able to attend. More detailed instructions will be given as the date draws closer. Now on to bigger and better things. I learned a new word today..... LOCAVORES! I'll just bet all can guess what it means, and I am just hoping that we will be blessed with many of them in the coming months. Thank you to all of you who searched us out in your quest to find local sources for your food needs. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
One of the great advantages of being married to a true, country bred farm boy is the never-ending supply of quips and quotes that have been passed around by the throngs of old timers that mingle in the early morning hours, or at lunch time, at the local gas station/coffee shop/ grocery store! Today it was" hotter than two mice making whoopee in a wool sock!" A couple of days ago, he would rather have "ironed all day in a pair of high heal shoes", than go with me to Hobby Lobby! And heaven forbid I get "nibbled to death by a duck"! He loves elderly people and could sit and listen all day to their stories about when they were younguns......I keep telling him he was born about fifty years to late. He has an old "Poppin Johnny" Farmall tractor that he would rather use, than his modern day, air conditioned, air ride seat Kubota. He would use a pair of mules and a walk behind plow if he could find one! Me, I am not quite that Little House on the Prairie. I could have turned cartwheels when he presented me with an electric butter churn and we retired the hand crank paddle churn. I would be hard pressed to give up my gas powered mini tiller, as I am not a big fan of the hoe, and there is nothing more daunting than to look at 3 bushels of black eyed peas that need to be shelled. Theraputic my foot! I just want to shove them through the pea sheller and be done with it! Lucky for us opposites attract and so far the head butting has been minimal. As I am getting older and more rickety, I have decided that manual labor is for the up and coming whippersnappers. Give me automation! That is why I have an automatic sit down planter and a weeding machine, a lay down produce picker, a special mulcher that makes beds and lays irrigation tape, covering it all with plastic. Now if someone would just come up with something that would pick off the grasshoppers, tomato horn worms, squash and potato bugs, without disturbing the plants, I would have it made. All is well at the farm..... so from our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
What is with the bugs? It is like the first, second and third generations of skeeters, cutworms, grasshoppers are having a reunion at R & C Farms! Rocky says its because we lay out such a "good spread" for them to eat. When we plant, we plant to share with the interlopers that call our place home for a spell, but I am of the opinion that they are taking advantage of our hospitality, and need to move on. I am not wanting to share my little bean and sweet pea seedlings, and certainly not the tomatoes that are in such a demand for this fall. How is it that they know the difference between spinach and nutgrass? I have to shamefully admit that I have been so tempted to exact my revenge for their slow destruction of my tender sprouts , by purchasing a can of RAID and wielding swift justice! But, I think that the cool weather, and the flock of gulls that visit the fields in the mornings and the evenings , should take its toll on their numbers. We are patiently awaiting the fall crops, we will have some young sweet potatoes in the market this week. Not sure about what else, but whatever we can find to pick, we will! The milk supply is doing well. We will have goat milk this winter, as we rotate our breeding schedule. Next week I will post the information on the first class we will be offering. It will be a beginner canning class. FALL/WINTER MARKET HOURS:Thurs, Fri and Sat from noon until 4:00 pm or special appointment if that is not convenient.We will be offering fall treats in October, caramel apples, popcorn balls, pumpkin bread, etc. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Living in Texas guarantees that everything is done in no small measures! When it rains, it isn't just a little here and there, it is usually a gully washer! When the summer sun shines, it's not the balmy, tropical warmth that exhists in Tahiti, it is the scorching, simmering, heat that takes your breath away when you step outside from air conditioning! So isn't it a puzzle that the hordes are moving here to find their niche? Possibly it is because you can play touch football in shorts on Thanksgiving day, or grill on the patio at Christmas, or pick a basket full of strawberries in April. How many yankees do you know that plant onions and potatoes in February? It would take a pick ax to make a hole in the ground up North! Don't ya just love it here? I never get tired of watching things grow. This last rain was a doozie, but all of the crops we planted the week before are just jumping out of the soil. The fruit trees got a real good drink as they are preparing to go to sleep for the winter..... even the asparagus has decided to produce a little before "calling it a day." Some of my extended family in the Northern midwest are on frost alert! Mid October should see the baskets in the market full again, unless of course Old Man Winter decides to pay us an early visit, but like it or not, that is just part of living in Texas! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
There is just something about Autumn that gets the juices flowing! After the sluggish pace of a sweltering August, it is a pleasure to work outside! I am perched on my band box this morning and I am going to encourage all to consider planting some edibles this fall, so that you can enjoy fresh herbs and greens throughout the winter. If you do not have an area in your yard, any kind of container or pot will do just fine. You can even take a bag of all purpose potting soil, lay it flat on the ground, cut away the top of the bag and plant directly in the mix.Put it in a spot that gets sunshine, add a little water and you will be pleasantly rewarded and .....quickly! Our lengthy growing season allows us to enjoy fresh produce for most of the year, as a lot of the vegetables love the cold weather, like lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, beets. Almost anything that will grow, can be grown in a container, so there is no excuse.Your neighbors will be all a-twitter when they see you carrying pots or dragging a bag of dirt, from the the east of your house in the morning , to the west in the evening.....following the sun, wondering just what are you doing! If you need compost, just bring a tub or a bucket, come to the farm and we will scoop up all that you need free of charge. If you need some pointers on how and what to plant, just call or e-mail and I will be happy to share what I have learned. Not that I don't want you to come buy the fruits of MY labors, but I feel a need to encourage all to at least give it a try. Gardening is no longer just a hobby option, it is going to be a necessity for those who want to eat, which is pretty much all of us. MARKET HOURS AND INFO: Thurs. Fri. and Sat. from noon until 4:00 pm. We are still harvesting a few summer veggies, and are waiting patiently for the fall harvest which should start about the second week of Oct. with spinach, collards, lettuce, green beans, sugar peas, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, squash, and hopefully lots of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, just to name a few. Still plenty of goats milk, cheese, yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, some cows milk and cream, soap, delicious honey, homemade preserves, soon to come also, caramel apples , butter toffee popcorn, and honey taffy. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Friday, September 3, 2010
Monday we celebrate Labor Day! And Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday, and Friday.....and EVERY DAY! Luckily we see the fruits of our labors each day so our work here on the farm pays big rewards in the satisfaction department. At the end of the day Rocky will ask "Are you tired?" My reply is usually "Yes, but it is a good tired." The market will be open this weekend with our FALL/WINTER HOURS: Thurs, Friday, Sat. from noon until 4:00pm. Special appointments can be made if the time is not convenient. If you happen to come and no one is in the market, we have a radio on the table that will notify us that you are here when you push the call button, we will be with you promptly as we are not far away. We are still harvesing a few melons, some cucumbers, squash, assorted peppers, okra, herbs. We still have some of the sweet onions big and small. The garlic is still plentiful and we are getting a fall crop of asparagus. The greens are loving the cooler weather, so next week we will probably have lettuce and spinach and soon more swiss chard. I harvested the fruit when it was ready and packaged blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, peaches and froze them . Quart bags of frozen fruit are available. Also we are getting a little extra cow milk, so there is a limited amount of cream. Plenty of ground beef, ground goat meat, honey, assorted preserves, and Sloans Creek select cuts of beef and pork. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I am not going to dance a jig around the pecan tree, or silently snicker at the misfortune of the large egg producers, but I am going to say" shame on you" for not taking care of business! More and more we see signs and symptoms of greed and neglect in our food sources. Without jumping up and down on my band box, I am just going to quietly comment on buying from the first link of the chain and having first hand knowledge of where your vittles are produced. I won't say that you won't get an egg with a little red in the yolk, or Kefir that may be a little sharp for your pallet, or a worm in your lettuce, but sure as the sun shines you can bring it back and get a replacement. Here on the farm the crops are for all to see, the chickens roam where they may, the cows and goats can be called up so that you can make sure that they don't have the mange, or weepy eyes, or body sores. You can see the dairy barn where we milk every day, to make sure there is no icky smell, follow the food from the beginning to the end, sitting in baskets or on the shelves or in the coolers or freezers in the market.....most within a 12 hour time period. I acknowledge that we may not be convenient for some, so do a little scouring around and find someone close to you, it will be well worth it! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Monday, August 30, 2010
Fall is just around the corner and as the thermometer is slowly creeping its way down, all on the farm are rejoicing that we made it through the seemingly endless heat spell. The critters are much more active throughout the day, we can get back to harvesting the honey, the egg production should be on the upswing, and it is time to start thinking of breeding season again to prepare for next springs milk production . Most dairy goat breeds start thinking about doing the "hanky panky" when the weather is cool. The bucks will start doing the strutting dance and begin to enhance their scent to attract any or all willing females. To do this they tinkle on their heads and their beards. It just drives the girls wild! I told Rocky not to get any ideas, as that does not quite do it for me! For those who have asked if they should start stocking the freezer with goat milk, we will be milking through the winter, as we have a rotation breeding program and will have goats that will be fresh at that time. We have planted some green beans, snap peas, carrots, beets, broccoli, cabbage, salad greens, spinach , as well as the tomatoes, peppers, and some potatoes. The sweet potatos should be ready to harvest in a couple of weeks, they are shading the cantaloupe.... and the pumpkins are making little pumpkins! The MARKET HOURS: Thurs, Fri. and Sat. from 12:00 noon until 4:00 or call and make a special appointment if another time is needed. Our cow milk production has increased a little, so some may be available after our standing orders are filled. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Some Nitty Gritty on the upcoming preparedness classes that are going to be offered. I was raised in a Mormon family. One of the basic principles of our upbringing was to have the know how to be able to sustain your family and if necessary your friends and neighbors, using the resources given by the Lord, and making them work for you to accomplish this. A little bit of knowlege, and a lot of elbow grease can go along way to ensure plenty of food for now and some for later, on a frugal budget.At our house we call it Provident Living! No matter how much money a person has, it would not be worth squat, if there was not one loaf of bread or carton of milk on the shelves at the grocery store! I am certainly no expert, but I can certainly share what I have learned and hopefully motivate and educate about learning tasks towards self reliance during these trying economic times. At some point, food and its availability is going to be an issue for all of us, as for me, I am going to go out to the hen house and gather a few eggs that may have a little chicken poop on them, but I know after they are wiped off, can be eaten without a moments hesitation. The classes will start near the end of October, the dates will be posted. The fall harvest should be in full swing and there should be tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, cabbage, etc. to work with. I have spent the summer harvesting and freezing strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, pears, so that jams and jellies can be made. Canning, dehydrating, breadmaking, sprouting, cheesemaking, kitchen gardening, making your own peanut butter, sausage, granola, all sorts of back to basic foodstuffs.These will be just some of the lessons taught. The classes will have a maximum of 10 persons. All ingredients and supplies will be provided. All of what is done in the class will be shared by participants. Around the middle of September, I will post the date and time and fee for the first classes. Our e-mail will be means of reservation/confirmation. For future reference, there will be no chicken plucking classes, that's where I draw the line! Our MARKET HOURS: Thursday, Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 pm and special appointments can be made at other times, just call or e-mail. From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I have spent most of the morning patting myself on the back, as I have soared over a modern technology hurdle! I have retired my walkman, ( that was still working perfectly well) and have hooked myself by the ears to a sleek little device called an Ipod. I am probably the last person on the face of the Earth to have one, but along with my '92 Toyota beater, and my 300 plus VHS tapes that I still watch, I have a hard time jumping ahead with the times. Rocky got me this little gem for Christmas last year, it has been sitting in the box, alongside a spiffy little camera since that day, just waiting for me to overcome my slight paranoia and venture forth into new and unchartered territory. I would pass by it every day thinking " one of these days I am going to figure out how to use that!" I love to listen to music while I am doing my chores, weeding the garden, cleaning the barns, gathering the eggs, picking vegetables, etc. Many an early morning or late evening has found me waltzing through the blackberries or bopping through the okra, to tapes of old showtunes or Bon Jovi. My only regret is that my old cassette tapes will be retired. I do have some CD's as we have a player, so I will be able to listen to them anywhere I want to! I am still trying to figure out how in the world I am going to watch videos on the tiny little screen, while milking LuLu, or hoeing the beets! The next big step will be the camera. Soon you may be able to have visual images of what I am telling you through my words, but that will probably have to wait a day or two, as the excitement of the Ipod has given me heart palpatations and I am going to have to let the uphoria subside a little! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
The Blessed Rain has come! We are in the middle of a beautiful lightening ,thunder and rain storm. We can now get the fall crops started, plant the tomato plants and finish plowing the strawberry field that was too dry and hard. As we went to the dairy barn to milk in the early light of dawn, the animals were frolicking in the pastures. Even the chickens were out bathing in the rain puddles. Thank you dear Lord for this timely gift. Rocky has asked that since it has cooled off a bit will he start getting a hot supper again. Explanations are in order. This home grown, corn fed, country bred, sausage and gravy lovin' man who lives on a farm that produces some the the best meat, milk, eggs, and produce in the county, in the summer time usually ends up eating chips and salsa or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for supper, or whatever can be cooked and eaten off of the BBQ grill, as the chief cook has much more pressing chores to do, other than cook meals. It is about supper time(in the summer that is when the sun goes down) when the temperature cools a bit that the canner, the steamer/juicer, the lid and cap sterilizer etc. are on the stove or the oven is turned on to bake the breads and cookies for the market. The soap pot is filled with oils and herbs for goat milk soap, not one thought is on meatloaf or lasagna. The boys at the fire station comment to him that it sure must be nice to have a wife that bakes goodies, makes cheese and homemade jelly, and all of that good stuff, Rocky just nods his head and silently tries to remember the last homemade cookie he ate! and hearing a voice in his head " Now don't touch those, those are for the market!" My sabatical from meal cooking is nearing its end, and tonight we will celebrate with country ribs, red beans and corn bread, creamed new potatoes, steamed squash, and some peach cobbler. Hopefully Rocky will forget all of the cold, quick, nightime nibblings. And for the record the salsa, and bread, and the fresh ground peanut butter and the jelly were homemade! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Monday, August 16, 2010
I cannot begin to imagine what the early homesteaders did to beat the heat! My guess is that they were not used to air conditioning, so they were able to tolerate the soaring temperatures. We had to put baby Praline under a mister and some fans last night, as she got so hot that she could not even lift her head to nurse. She is doing much better this morning. Even the bees and the dog are taking respective turns at the water tubs. Tip has learned that you approach the water with caution, as the edges of the tubs are covered with honeybees taking a sip! We can look back on these days come January, when we are scraping the ice from the windshields! As the farming is tapering off, and we are preparing for fall planting, winter projects are in the works. Rocky is finally going to get the tin put on the front of the market, I am getting a new sink installed so that we can prepare for the ice cream machine next Spring( in time for berry season). We have had new visitors to the market each weekend, and we are so grateful for all who come to see what we have to offer. I am reminded of a particular visitor that came from the "city". She was very attractive, had perfectly coifed hair, her summer dress was stylish and sassy, she even had little jewels on her painted toes. I reminisced about the days gone by when I had time for a pedicure, a haircut, a trip to the mall, and a soak in a bubbly bath. Now I am doing well to take a quick shower, shave my legs now and then, hide my washed, wet hair under a cap, throw on something that I know will soon have mud, manure, or milk all over it, hide my feet in socks and tennis shoes, and hit the ground running. She was fascinated with what she saw here in the market, which is really nothing to write home about, it is just what we do every day, She wanted to know all about the farm ,and details about producing healthy nutritious foods, what should she do for her little family to get them started on a healthier lifestyle. After spending quite some time answering her questions and explaining what we did here on the farm, she made the comment, " I wish that I had your life!" That made me smile. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Saturday, August 14, 2010
About the only things thriving in this heat are the swarms of grasshoppers that have settled in to eat what green crops that are trying to survive the glaring sun and the blasting heat. Not even the chickens are motivated to eat the hordes, as they themselves do not stray too far from the water tubs and mud puddles we make for them. The weather man forcasts some cooler temperatures the first of next week, so maybe we will get some relief! The summer harvest is nearing an end and we are still anxiously awaiting cooler weather, so we can plant the fall crops. The sweet potatoes are flourishing, and provide a canope for the cantaloupe plants that are still producing. Rocky is mowing the watermelon patch to start preparing the soil for next year. It was a steller watermelon season for us. The dairy is holding it's own as far as production. The goats don't stray too far from the water tubs, so they keep hydrated, and the milk supply remains steady. The heat wreaks havoc on the hens, as some of them are old and frail. I don't have the heart to send them to the guillotine, so they just kind of keel over dead when their time is up. Of the 60 plus hens we have, probably only 1/2 of them are able to lay eggs. Oh, well, I just hope that when I am old and wrinkly, have lost most of my "plumage", and just want to laze around and eat and sleep, I am not sent to the chopping block....what goes around comes around, and in my book that goes for critters also. The canning of summers bounty is going well, I try to do at least one batch of something each day. As of Sept. the market hours are going to change a little bit for the fall and winter. We will still be open Thurs, Friday and Sat. , but the hours will be noon until 4:00 pm each day. As the days are getting shorter, we will be starting a little later in the mornings, thus a little later for the chores to be completed. Baby Praline is doing well, her momma has just about licked all of the hide off of her, bathing her about 10 times a day, I am sure that is to help her keep cool also. Godiva waits patiently each evening for her watermelon treat. She loves watermelon, so we have found a gracious recipient of all of the over ripe melons. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Monday, August 9, 2010
Godiva decided that she couldn't wait until the weather cooled, so she found herself a tall shade tree, laid down, and in about 10 minutes Praline was born. There is nothing prettier than a newborn jersey heifer calf. As a first time mother, Godiva is learning the ropes quickly, baby is active and curious and momma follows close behind talking to her, as she explores her new home and meets all of her pasture mates. Needless to say our cow milk supply is going to increase, so as soon as we start milking her for the market, we will notify all of those that have been asking about it. We will share with Praline, but there should be plenty left for us! It is going to be another hot week, so we will continue in keep things alive mode. We are going to hold off for a week or two to plant as the tender seedlings will not survive the heat. Thank you to all of you who have been patient and understanding, realizing that our summer harvest is slowing down, so our supply of some produce is small and of some things, like tomatoes, nonexistant. Thus we use the term "seasonal". I would love to have a climate controlled greenhouse, and grow all year round, Rocky says that dream will have to wait a year or two. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Saturday, August 7, 2010
I may not be seen for a day or two, as Rocky has decided to clear the lower fields of what crops are left, and to pick anything that is at least a half an inch long, and so my canning nights are going to take over my "piddle projects" days. There are only so many things you can do with peppers and onions, so I will be scouring the internet for new recipes and inovative ways to use them up! We cut all of the grapes from the vines, so next week we should have white grape jelly in the market. The sweet plum and the strawberry jams have been a hit, even the okra pickles have found some takers. One of my patrons brought me a jar of pickles that she made, and great day in the morning, they were superb. I am going to try her recipe. I canned some honey peaches, never done that before, but they were actually very tasty, and as our peaches are still making for another couple of weeks, I am going to make another batch or two. If you drive by the farm and notice an odor that begins about 1/2 a mile north of us or 1/2 a mile south, Rocky is just finishing up his poop hauling project( about 200 loads). Our neighbors are just luvin us right now! And in this heat, it reminds me of the feed lot smell in west Texas that you can smell miles away, but we just remember it is for a higher purpose, plug our noses and go on about our business. It could be worse, we could still have the skunk family in our barn! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Picker by day, canner by night! There is such an abundant harvest this year, I just cannot pass up the opportunity to can and store for the winter. Our home is small, so any excess heat can be felt at every corner, so me and the old classic movie stations are becoming fast friends..... in the middle of the night. I have had many inquiries about canning and preserving fruits and vegetables, so I have decided that in October, I am going to give some classes on canning, dehydrating, fermenting(like saurkraut), sprouting, cheesemaking, and whatever else, I can share with you to help you in your quest for healthier, more natural food products, for you and yours. The classes will be on a weeknight, and will last about 2 hours. Each class will be enrolled seperately, so you may learn whatever interests you the most. All materials and ingredients will be provided. The fee and more detailed information will be posted, along with enrollment requirements, which will basically be if you can get yourself to the farm and back home again. There will be a limited number in each class, but if necessary I will add more classes. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Remember the snow last winter? Remember saying"I wish it were summer time and it was one of those sweltering, hot August days" well, here we are! Everything on the farm slows to a snails pace in the heat. The animals find a shade tree and sleep all day, the crops just sit and wait for a drink everyday to survive, not even trying to produce anything, the chickens all but shut down the egg production, and the bees go back and forth to water, trying to keep the hives cool so the new brood thrive. We count our blessings, grateful for a well to keep the water tanks full, and the crops watered, and appreciate the age old oak trees in our pasture that provide much needed shade. Rocky's watermelon patch has produced a bumper crop of melons, we are selling them by the truck load, to several markets in the area, as well as our own. We are still harvesting squash, peppers, eggplant, some peaches, cucumbers, field peas, okra, and a spattering of tomatoes. We pulled all of the old, icky fruit from the tomato vines, cleaned them up a little, and they are producing another round. The fall tomatoes are about ready to come out of the greenhouse and into the field. We are looking forward to beets, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, greens, to be planted in a couple of weeks. The milk production has remained constant. Godiva is making a beautiful bag, but is just waiting for the right time to have her calf. I think my calculations were a bit off! Our bull is a night breeder, and as I fully respect his privacy, I did not try to sneak a peak in the night to see if he was having a midnight rendevous with his lady. Our MARKET HOURS: Thurs. and Friday noon until 5pm and Sat. 10am until 4pm. We are still holding off on the serve your self produce table until it cools off a little. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Monday, July 26, 2010
What a whirlwind week! Our daughter married in Montana a couple of weeks ago, and as we were not able to attend, we had a get together this week for local family and friends...and a chance to meet the in=laws. Rocky is not a social butterfly, and it took having some good friends of ours that play Blue Grass music, perform to get him to participate . He is an accomplished banjo ,fiddle, guitar player, and he will not pass up an opportunity for a "pickin". It was a smash! Lots of city folks came to the country to get a taste of the slow lane. Rocky's first question when I asked him to contribute, was " Do I have to wear Pants?" He has discovered farm coveralls and he wears them everywhere except bed and the fire station, which if he could, I know he would wear them there. Well, he wore his pants, played his banjo, schmoozed with family and friends, and made our daughter proud! We are planning an end of harvest gathering which we will be inviting all to attend, and you will hear the Grubbs family perform, as they will knock your hat in the creek! We are preparing the fall tomato beds, we are still harvesting even though the summer heat has been relentless. The plants have slowed down a little, but are still putting forth a good effort. The market hours are still the same, Thurs, and Fri. 12:00 to 5:00 and Saturday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. We are in full production of black eyed peas and purple hulls, okra. Pick your own is still an option. Godiva is still holding out and is waiting for cool weather to have her calf .Our goat milk supply remains steady. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Under all of this sweltering Texas heat lies field peas and okra that are experiencing sheer bliss! I am sure that when the Good Lord made all of the varieties of plants and trees, he decided he had better come up with something that would produce in the heat, so farmers in the South wouldn't get discouraged and quit. We have been selling peas by the bushels....another lingering Southern tradition, shelling peas. It can be theraputic or punishment, I hear comments from pea shellers that puts shelling in either catagory. We are cleaning up the old tomato vines, as they are starting to produce a new wave of growth. We will be planting the fall tomatoes the first of August. We ordered our strawberries for our u=pick next spring. They come from a huge farm in Canada and will be planting them in October. Also we will be expanding our blackberries, which will be ready for u-pick next year, and are working on our raspberries, which will probably take another year before we will have u-pick on those. It is said that raspberries do not do well in Texas, well I beg to differ, as we had plants that were loaded! We suspended our serve yourself produce for a little while, as everything we placed out was cooked by noon, as soon as it cools down a little we will continue. Biscuit had a buckling yesterday, he was about the size of our miniature ponies "OUCH". She is doing well, but he is having a hard time eating as she has that mammoth size bag that barely misses the ground so we have to help him a little to find his nummy. He may have to learn to eat laying flat on his belly. Rest assured that we will have winter milk so long a Biscuit is around. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I love the early mornings! It is cool, all of the animals graze the pastures before settling under a shade tree for the day, there is a light dew on everything and all of the plants that droop under the days heat and sun, perk right up! Today is market day, and we are going to pick the first of the watermelons. They may not taste like squat but they are sure big and purty! Watermelons and cantaloupe are the hardest thing to sell, as it is a crap shoot as to tell when they are just perfect to eat. Everyone has their method of ripeness detection, are the tendrils curled and dry... does it thump just right..., is the underbelly yellow. The only sure fire way I know to do it is cut it open, and taste it, but I doubt we could sell many melons with a chunk of the middle missing. We have one last doe to kid. Her name is Biscuit and she has the "Dolly Parton" syndrome. If I didn't see her every day, I would not have believed a goat would have a milk bag bigger than any of our cows. She just straddles it and travels very little in a days time. Rocky threatens to give her to a third world country where she could single handedly feed all of the babies! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Remnants from the skunk saga remain in the form of an unpleasant odor wafting from the barn. We breathed, no choked a sigh of relief knowing that next spring we wouldn't have an entire colony living there. We just won't dilly dally as we are getting feed and hay at meal time! Quick in, Quick out! We have enjoyed the rain as it has come, getting a reprieve from watering the crops. The only drawback is being able to get to the fields through all of the mud, to harvest. Out come the muck boots! The market has been busy, we are still picking plenty of squash, okra cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and cantaloupe. The watermelons are getting close to pick. The chickens have slowed their production in the heat, and now that we have rid ourselves of the maurading, black and white striped culprets, the egg count may go up. Godiva has yet to calve, and Lulu is on her second honeymoon with Mr. Colorado. She acted a little peeved with him when they were reunited, and I know she was upset that she was left raising Little Lincoln on her own, but as it wasn't really his fault that he was moved to another pasture, she got over it quickly. I am sure that the nuzzles in her ear and the licks on her bum didn't hurt either. We are still picking black eyed and purple hull peas on the u-pick. We still are getting blackberries for the market. I am trying to psyche myself up to gather wild plums for jelly, as it is TO DIE FOR JELLY! Oh, the white peaches are getting ripe, we still have some yellow ones and the nectarines are about ready, will keep you posted. As of this week our hours are still the same, Thurs, Friday from noon until 5 and Saturday from 10:00am until 4. We are still providing produce on the honor system when we are not open. That is working out great! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
If any one has watched Bambi, and seen how cute "Flower" is I am not going to invite you to our house for a day or two, as we have just "deflowered a family of skunks that were living under a hay bale in our barn. You cannot imagine the odor of 7 angry skunks ! If it wasn"t so unbearable, it would be hilarious. It is going to take several days and a very strong northerly wind to whoosh the smell out of the barn. I am not going to declare the squatters fate, as someone may call the ASPCA on us, but let me just hint that they will not be setting up residence any where near here. Now the mystery of my headless chickens, and disappearing eggs, has been solved! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Monday, July 5, 2010
As we are well into the summer harvest, one comment comes to mind, and that is "POOP ROCKS!!!" We have been working on our soil for a while now, trying to incorporate organic matter, as it is the key to growing great fruits, vegetables, herbs, ....anything. We have a few beds that we piled it on and the result is nothing short of amazing. Rocky purchased a "dump trailer"(no pun intended) to haul our composted manure from the barns and sheds to the fields. He was so jazzed about the project that he visited every horse ranch and farm in the vicinity offering to clean out their barns and sheds of unwanted poop mix. He is bound and determined to turn our sandy, so-so soil into rich, black gold. We have come to the conclusion that there is a method to this madness of farming, and we are going to figure out what it is. I also decided that the Good Lord likes watermelons, as he has chosen to bless Rocky's watermelon patch with some rain, and as it looks right now we will have some nice watermelons in a couple of weeks. The coyotes will be the judge, as they are experts at knowing when the melons are ripe. We are already preparing for fall planting, cleaning out the old, and getting ready for the new. The market has been busy, we have the tables outside laden with an assorted selection of fruits and veggies, with our honor system money box. These can be purchased when we are not available. It is such a comfort to know that people are honest. We are u-picking black eyed and purple hull peas, the berries and still holding on and we have a few in the market. The peaches are ripening at different times, according to the variety. I planted a fancy french melon that was purchased by the seed. They should be ready in a week or two. We will see if I got ripped off! We have a heifer that should calve in a couple of weeks, so we will have a little more cow milk. The goat ladies are just doing their thing! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
The rain came! It was just a dose but we are grateful for every drop that we get. Rocky's watermelon patch might just make it. We are in full swing of picking black eyed and purple hull peas. Being a girl from the North, it tickles me to sell "Southern Food". I had never seen okra until I moved to Texas. We are selling about as many green tomatoes as we are red. And hats off to all of the fellows that come to the market to buy goods. I love to hear " What have you got that I can throw on the grill, I am cooking tonight!" The peaches have been heavenly we still have several trees coming on, and those blackberries just won't quit. Our Thurs and Friday noon until 5 , Saturday 10 am till 4 pm market time has worked out well. We have a table set out front with produce already prepackaged to be bought after hours. Rocky made a little money box for payment and so far everyone has been completely honest. The way I look at it, if someone needed the fruits and veggies and could not pay for them, they are welcome to them any way. A patron asked me if we were going to be open for the holiday, I told her we usually close on Christmas. She said she meant the 4th of July. Oh, is that coming soon? For farmers it is the day that you have your pumpkins planted by. Not that I do not appreciate this wonderful country and all of its benefits, but we think about that every day, and do not need a parade and fireworks to remind us. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The TOMATO FAIRY finally arrived and gave the plants a splash of red color and now we are finally picking tomatoes fresh from the vine! We have been a jump ahead of the heat and the bugs, so we should have a pretty good crop this year. We are also harvesting some of our honey, so there will be wildflower honey this week available in the market. Our days are spent trying to keep the crops and the animals watered. Rocky made a mister for the cows that he stretches out in the pasture. They all line up side by side basking in the cooling mist as it sprays from the pipe. I have been known to take a spot in between the bovines and enjoy a moment or two of refreshment. If you drive by and see a cow, a cow, a calf, a lawn chair, and another cow lined up with faces turned to the sky, tucked between two tall oak trees, you will know what is happening in the pasture. The blackeyed peas are making a good showing, we will have the u-pick for several weeks, as we staggered the planting. We still have plenty of squash, potatoes, onions, eggplant, peppers, okra, as well as blackberries and some peaches. Again our market hours are Thurs. and Friday, noon until 5:00pm. , and Saturday 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support
Sunday, June 20, 2010
I feel like I have been stranded on a desert isle for several days, communicating with no one but sand crabs! For a gal that is so techno challenged, I sure have gotten addicted to my computor and the internet. I hope I don't have to go through that again for a while. We are back and going with a whole new system thanks to Wal-mart and it's 24 hour open door! We are just truckin' along here at the farm. We have had the last of the baby goats this week, we are letting their mommas raise them so the automatic baby nurser is going into storage until next year. We are going to change our hours again, and I promise one of these days we will stick to what we decide on. As there is so much to do here on the farm in the mornings, milking, feeding, picking, etc., even though we start at 5:00am., it is so hard to be ready with everything by 10:00am. during the week. We are going to open on Thurs. and Friday at noon and stay open until 5:00pm. Rocky put a little air conditioner in the market, so the afternoon heat is tolerable. The hours on Sat. will remain the same, 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. I just don't go to bed Friday night! We will be starting the u-pick on the black eyed peas this week. The peas are $25.00 for a bushel if you pick them, if I pick them, you will have to mortgage your house! Actually, if you give me a couple of days notice, we will pick them for $40.00 per bushel.Call for an appointment, the early mornings are best, as it is not so hot. We should have many more than a handful of ripe tomatoes this week, as they are finally starting to turn. The blackberries are still making , but not enough for u-pick. We are already making plans to enlarge our blackberry patch as they are growing so well. It is getting close to honey harvest time, so we will soon have fresh honey. Since it is so hot, we are still in survival mode with the crops, making sure everything gets a drink now and then. It will soon be time to plant fall crops and order strawberry plants for this Oct. Time sure flies! We still have a good assortment of produce in the market. If anyone is an officianado of eggplant, have I got a deal for you! With 5 assorted varieties, they look beautiful, but WHAT TO DO WITH THEM? From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!
Sunday, June 13, 2010
It is hot as Hades outside and we are getting ready to plant pumpkins! Hopefully we might get a splash of rain to help the dry ground loosen up a bit. We are now in survival mode with all of the heat and dry weather. The okra and the black eyed peas are in heaven, the tomatoes are in stall mode,the peppers and eggplant are in high gear, and the squash and cucumbers are trying to decide to keep producing or just call it a day! The blackberries are providing plenty for the market, but not quite enough for u-pick. We are getting a few raspberries and the peaches have been delicious. Did you know that the cling variety are the first to produce? The freestone peaches are later in the season. All of our white peaches, like the Georgia Bells are a couple of weeks out , yet. The melons are coming along and we should have a good crop of cantelope and watermelons in July. Our market hours are 10:00 until noon Thurs and friday, and Saturday from 10:00am until 4:00. We now have some of Sloans Creek farms heritage meats available in the market, beef and pork. We have our own ground beef and ground goat meat also. The bees are in full honey production keeping all of the fruits and veggies polinated. We should start harvesting this years honey soon. Speaking of bees........ on hot summer days the girls find a favorite watering spot. I have a small fountain in my little garden that is the watering hole of choice for many of them. Mid day will find hundreds covering the fountain getting a drink. They cool off a bit then go back to the hive and fan the queen with their wings, the hive is kept a constant temperature of about 91 degrees. For those interested in picking black eyed peas, they will be ready in about a week, so gear up . We will pick by appt. so just give us a call. Early mornings or later in the evenings before dark are best as it is cooler. The peas will be $30.00 a heaping bushel if you pick . I will post when the snaps are ready. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!