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!