Monday, November 29, 2010

The wicked bite of frost!

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

A Heartfelt Thanksgiving

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

Is it a Yam? Or is it a Sweet Potato?

Chances are unless you buy your produce in West Africa, or Asia, or the Phillipines, you have not had a true Yam. Now some of the fancier markets may ship them in, but they only grow in tropical climates. If a local farmer tells you that he grows them, ask him for some pineapples and bananas also! Sweet potatoes are grown locally, as we have had several successful harvests. Some are dark orange colored and sweet, and some are more yellow and not so sweet.  A yam is a tuber that has very rough skin and is more round without the tapered ends. They also are generally very big, weighing several pounds. It is a common foible to call a sweet potato a yam as they are mistakenly used interchangebly by those that are unaware that they are not even remotely related botanically. So now when your "Know it All Uncle Jess" asks you to pass the candied yams near your plate, you can ingore him, as you know there are no CANDIED YAMS on the table!( That is of course unless you made a last minute trip to Tonga.) Our market will be open this Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

LuLu the Diva!

  Introducing Lulu, the Queen of R&C Dairy, her majesty and her little sire rule the roost here! Lulu came to us from a Mennonite farm in Dodge City Kansas, as she is a miniature Jersey, she has the first impression of a big barrel on sticks when you see her. She has absolute power here on the farm. She tells us when it is milking time, she tells us when it is supper time, she tells us when she is peeved about something, she ignores us when we want her attention, she comes from the far end of the pasture when we whisper her name, she gives us some "sugar" when she feels like it ..... We just love her to pieces. She gives the best creamy milk, and she knows it. She is going to have another calf in the Spring, and as always on a dairy, heifer calves are the wish, but we just hope for a healthy baby for LuLu. Little Lincoln is going to be our next herd sire, and as he has matured, our only concern is that we will have to get a step stool for him to accomplish his task! He is SHORT!!! But the Farmer assures me that where there is a will, there is a way, and lovesick bovine beauties have been known to "stoop down" a little, if need be, to do the deed, if you get my drift. Market hours are going to be the same through December 23, as we are preparing for the holidays. Thurs. Fri. Sat. from noon until 4:00 PM. Orders for holiday goodie baskets need to be placed by Dec 15th.  We will be closed through Christmas and New Years, more detailed dates will be posted. We are still harvesting the last of the produce, as a big freeze is expected next week, we are winding down. We will be closed Thursday and Friday, of Thanksgiving week, but will be open Saturday from noon until 4:00 pm. From our Farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support.                                                                                                                                                                              In

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hydroponic What?????

Look very closely, don't get excited, it's TOMATOES!!! My first attempt at growing hydroponics, ..... not bad, and if they make any tomatoes, the Farmer will sell them to anyone for just what we have invested in them, a real deal at $69.00 a lb.! Next, it will be lettuce, and spinach and maybe some cucumbers. I am on a roll with this project. The weather is holding steady, no frost, so we are still harvesting tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, broccoli, okra, and green onions. The market was busy this week, as everyone is preparing for the upcoming holiday. It is advisable to start stockpiling a little goat milk for those that need it, as the supply will be minimal through Jan. and Feb.. Heads up for Thanksgiving weekend as we will be CLOSED Thurs. and Friday, but will be OPEN Sat. from noon until 4:00. My very sweet, whacky sisters and their families are coming from far away, as my mother threatens them each year saying "You had all better come home for the holidays, as my days are numbered and I am not long for this world."  She is going to outlive all of us! With seven siblings, all having quirky, fun, personalities, bringing all of their children and grandchildren, a family get together is a big hullabaloo at Grandma Great's House! The bees are settling in for the winter, as we are finding a few drone bodies outside the hives. Rocky has checked their winter stores and they are pretty well stocked up. The fruit trees are loosing their leaves and I will start checking the chill hours update chart for our area, to monitor the hours the temperature dips below 46 degrees, as so many cold hours are needed for the fruit to produce next year. This farming gets a little complicated! The Farmer planted rows of elephant garlic, and it is growing, so we should have a good harvest next  Spring. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hubba hubba, what a hunk!!!!

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!

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

Will wonders never cease!!!

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!

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!