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 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!