Wednesday, December 28, 2011

READY FOR CHRISTMAS!!!

Nothing like fresh ripe tomatoes...... in front of the Christmas tree. Since we had to pick all of the fall tomatoes, green as new grass, due to an early frost, these red tomatoes have been welcome during the chilly winter days, fresh salsa, creamy tomato soup, chili, grandma's goulash, and big fat BLT's. Now that I have you smackin' your lips, I am going to give a hint about one of our new projects next year. Tomato greenhouse, climate control, year round! The market is closed until January 20. Cow milk can be purchased by calling for a pick up time throughout the week. The mama goats are all out to pasture, awaiting the next few weeks before kidding season starts, concentrating on eating and sleeping, restoring their bodies and renewing their energy for the new milking season. We have a new heifer calf, born Christmas Eve. Her name of course is Noel. The new high tunnel greenhouse should be here in a couple of weeks. Santa Claus visited  the farm, he sure knows what us farm girls like! Pictures of his generous gifts will follow. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support !!

TOMATOES IN OCTOBER!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

THE TIME HAS COME!!!!

They held on as long as they could, proudly marching up the ramp to the milking stations, with their heads held high, until they dove into the treat buckets, chin deep, all the while knowing that the few little squirts of milk they gave, were more valuable than the market price of gold. I finally conceded to the fact that a pregnant goat is more concerned with nourishing her unborn kid, than satisfying the demand of goat milk enthusiasts, waiting in line for her meager offerings. For those that have been through the cycle with us for the last few years, here we go again, it is feast or famine in the goat milk business. With deep regret, I recall pouring a gallon or two here and there, to the chickens, the pigs, using it to spray for bugs, ( I read that somewhere) squandering it, thinking there was more than enough to take care of everyones needs. So now I am rationing it out, telling myself, next year it will be different. We will try a different breeding schedule, we will hold some of the girls until late Spring, so we will have winter milk. Knowing full  well that ain't a gonna happen! When the courting season starts in October, and that Buck is on the prowl, and all of the girls have the "twitch" better get the job done as timely as possible, because after making the rounds to about 40 does over a period of two months or so, he is done for the year, and do not bother to entice him for another go around in the Spring, as he is not interested! Period! Looking on the bright side, milking time will be quite a bit shorter, as we will just be milking the cows. We are closing the market for Christmas and New Years, and will reopen around Jan. 20th. Cow milk will be available, throughout this time, just call ahead and make an appointment to come to the farm.  From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

NOW "THIS" IS SNAIL MAIL!!!

If I had had to depend on the Butterfield Overland Stage for my Christmas card and package deliveries, I would have had to have them ready by the 4th of July. Noting my consistant procrastination in preparation for Christmas and its festivities, all of my recipients would be greatly dissappointed, especially if they were expecting greetings and presents at Christmas time! I am just now thinking about preparing to prepare for Christmas and it's celebrations. I am not a big one for lots of decorations, shopping frenzies, gala parties, but I do like the idea for using Christmas as an excuse to bring a scattered to the ends of the Earth family together to get reunited, reacquainted, catch up on family news, compare a years worth of wrinkles and weight gain. Not to forget the reason that Christmas is celebrated, as we rejoice in the birth of Jesus the Christ and the beginning of his life on the Earth. We are looking forward to a wonderful new year. The Farmer has lots of plans in the works.( Did I mention greenhouse? asparagus? grapes? figs?...... we are going to hold off on the rice paddies.) The market will be open this weekend Fri. and Sat. from noon until 4:00 pm. We will open next Fri., Dec. 23,  from noon until 4:00pm. We will be closed through the holiday season and will reopen around the 20th of January. Exact date will be posted. By the time we reopen, all of the fruit in the freezer should be in jars on the shelves of the market. Hopefully and new display cooler will be ready for the new year. I have been hinting for a new set of shelves to be built, but am not going to hold my breath.   The goat milk is nearing its last drop for the season.  The cow milk will still be available, call ahead for a pickup time. The meat availability will be a little sparse, as we just processed our last until early spring. Applications for the 2012 CSA season will be taken in January, more information will be posted . From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

SIGNS OF APPROACHING WINTER!!!

Now ain't that a dismal sight? One night of frosty weather and not a live tomato plant to be found! But being the eternal optimist that I am, I am looking on the bright side...... we can start racking up the chill hours for the fruit trees, specifically required  for them to produce next year. The animals are hunkering down for the cold weather as it slowly approaches. The cows look like Yaks from the North Country, the chickens are all fluffy, with frilly tails, as they don their winter feathers, the goats are puffing up in their impending pregnancies, and I am dragging out the coveralls and stocking caps, preparing for winter morning chores.  The farmer is contemplating several different greenhouses, soon to make his choice. The strawberries are going through a premature " Is it Springtime?" stage, blossoms are already apparent on a lot of the plants that have thrived in the warmer weather. We may see a few berries around Christmas. Go Figure!!!! We are preparing for the Christmas Holidays, with some extra goodies in the market again this year, we will have the Jar Breads, some candies, cookies, decadent caramel apples, the Goat Milk Caramel, candied jalapeno's, as well as the jams and jellies, pickles and salsas. And  ice cream! Homemade ice cream is so much easier to make when it is colder, freezes in a snap! This weeks flavors are Banana Nut, Mint Chocolate Chip, Pecan   Praline, Strawberry. It is sold in pint containers, at $4.00 each. Ben and Jerry lookout!! Our regular hours will remain until Dec. 23, then we will close for the holidays and will reopen sometime the middle of January, it will depend when I get my house cleaned! MARKET HOURS: Fri. and Sat. from noon until 4:00PM. Special appointments can be made throughout the week for dairy pickup. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

HOLIDAY SCHEDULE!!! (AND PINEAPPLES,("sigh!") )

I seem to have been in a thick fog this past few weeks, and as the haze has lifted due to the strong Northers that have started blowing in, I realized that it is nearly Thanksgiving, and Christmas is bumping along not to far behind. The days have just melted into each other as we bustle along with our farm duties. The Farmer is making plans for the new year, supper conversation centers around  fertilizer, irrigation, propagation, climate control, imagine my delight when he agreed to my proposal of a much expanded asparagus bed...... speaking of climate control, our winter project is going to be a high tunnel. What might you ask is a high tunnel? It is like a greenhouse or a hoop house, but it is on a much larger scale. You can drive a tractor through it. The Farmer is wanting to put a better handle on controlling the elements over some of our crops. I would just like to be able to get some red tomatoes in the fall!( it may be time to hit him up with my lifelong yearning to grow PINEAPPLES!). The market will be open this week on Saturday only from noon until 4:00pm. Milk orders can be picked up throughout the week, just call and let us know you are coming. There will be plenty of cow milk throughout the winter, but as always this time if year, the goats are winding down, so it may be a good idea to start stocking up if you have room in the freezer. Right now there is plenty if a little extra is needed.  As they near the early Spring kidding season, the milk supply dwindles.  The market will close the Friday before Christmas, and will reopen the first week in Feb. CSA applications will start for the 2012 year in December, more information on that will follow. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

END OF SEASON BONUS!!!

The first crop froze, the second crop slowly burned, and the third crop, put in only because there were some left over seeds, and hoping for a little folage to till into the ground , has exceded all expections. My Mothers Day present (pea sheller deluxe) has been going non stop for a week now.  I pick a bushel and say to myself " This should be plenty ." Then I ponder the peas that are still on the plants, I just can't let them sit in the field and dry up. That was 14 bushels ago.  I am headed to the pea patch for one more bushel, going to be good and ready for New Years Eve, just in case we have a great big party. There will be lots of good luck peas in a pot on the stove, in case you happen by and forgot to prepare some. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

CADDYSHACK REVISITED!!!!

  We are in the middle of an invasion! For the last month a colony of gophers have found our rich, sandy soil. Every morning we would wake up to several new mounds polka dotting the pasture, lawn, garden, vegetable fields. Coming and going to run errands within a several mile radius, we noticed other properties with the same condition, freshly dug dirt mounds popping up everywhere. Now, I have a deep respect for the natural order of things, but when one of my critters or myself is in danger of breaking a leg in a gopher hole, I feel it is my responsibility to take action..... and considering our farm does not have natural predators to gophers, the Farmer and his gopherliminator were called into action. For all intents and purposes, the idea behind it is simply brilliant. As a fireman, and an expert with hoses, he just simply hooked one end of a specially rigged hose to the tail pipe of our Poppin' Johnny antique tractor, inserted the other end into the gaping hole dug by the offending culprits, started the tractor and patiently counted about 20 minutes,  ( The wait is simply exhausting!!) Next morning we looked out the window, to see if there were any newly excavated mounds. If not, mission successful. As of this morning the ground around the treated area is flat as a fritter, it is possible the rodents are just in a deep sleep, should know in another day or two. If it was an irrefutable success, I will be hiring out the Farmer and his gopherliminator by the hour, will keep you posted! From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

HAPPY WINDS-DAY!!!

In the immortal words of Winnie the Pooh, what a blustery day was Saturday. Thank you to all of those that braved the elements and came to the farm for our picnic. Despite the wind and the cool weather, we had quite a day. To all that were loaded with pumpkins and winter squash, e-mail me if you have questions on preparation. One order of business..... our friend volunteered to help with the tickets for the days activities, she misunderstood the amount that we told her for the charge. Instead of $6.00 per adult, and $3.00 per child over 8, and 10.00 for a couple, I believe she may have charged 10.00 per adult. Please contact me and let me know if you were overcharged so that we can rectify the mistake. For those that come to the market, we will take care of it when you come, for those that may consider coming to the farm in the Spring for berries, we will credit you, with some berries or other items we have. We apologize for the mixup. Thank you again for coming. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

IT'S A FAMILY PICNIC!!!

The weather is going to cooperate for our fall family picnic tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 5. The picnic will start at 12:00 noon, with lunch being served  until 1:30 pm. It is casual dress, keeping in mind it may be windy, and walking will be involved! All those planning to attend, don't forget your picnic blanket, and maybe some camp chairs. You can come and stay or come and go. Tours of the farm will be given, with an insight as to every day farm life from milking goats and cows, to planting and harvesting fruits and vegetables. Tickets are $6.00 for adults, $3.00 for children, babes in arms are our guests. Entertainment will be provided so plan on hearing some toe tapping , foot stomping music, and don't be surprised if you leave wanting to learn the jig! The market will be open, with some of our products available. We got the freeze, so the produce is pretty well through for the season, but we have our honey, baked goods, preserves, dairy products. From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

BUT NOT ON THE TOMATOES, PEPPERS ,SQUASH, CUCUMBERS!!!

We saved the day for the CSA! The frost snuck in during the wee hours of the morning, but thankfully we were waiting will all barrels loaded, or in our case all rows covered. The Farmer and his Son, diligently covered what we wanted to protect with everything we could find. If you drove by the farm you would have seen the crops covered with tarps, bedsheets, plastic wrap, old coveralls, gunny sacks, garbage sacks, it looked like remnants of a tornado that dropped its contents in our fields. For their efforts, we should have produce for the CSA another couple of weeks, at least. Autumn is here, a bit of a chill is in the air and the farm is bustling. The breeding season is nearly over, the new pullets( young hens) are settling in, Ms. Dewey the duck has found the nesting box for her egg that she lays every day. We have a new foundling, a heifer calf with only three feet. She has found some playmates, lulu's calf Maizey May, and the boys, Rosco and Bosco. They are very patient with her,  they seem to sense her disability, as they let her eat first and make sure she is not left alone in the field. Animals are beyond amazing! Looking forward to those attending the Family Farm Picnic, looks like the weather is going to be fine. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

A BIT OF FROST ON THE PUMPKIN!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

FALL FAMILY PICNIC APPROACHES!!!

Preparations are starting for the Fall Family Picnic on Saturday, Nov 5. Those that have made reservations, we are looking forward to your visit! The picnic will start at 12:00 noon with lunch  being served until 1:30.  Come at your leisure, as we will continue the event until around 3:00 pm. Everything for the meal will be provided, but all are asked to bring a blanket or covering to spread on the grass for your family to sit on to eat. Camp chairs are also welcome. During that time, tours will be given around the farm introducing our farm family members( Lulu is anxiously awaiting your visit.) You will get an  insight as to what farmers do to be farmers. A wagon ride will be available to see how the watermelons, strawberries, pumpkins, and all of the fall crops are faring. Some top knotch entertainment will be performing for your enjoyment. We suggest that all dress for the occasion. This is a farm with plenty of dirt and poop. Closed toed shoes, long pants,( hay is stickly) and a jacket if it is chilly. Spiked heels will only be good for aerating our soil! Plenty of parking will be available. Tickets will be available at the welcome table.... $6.00 for adults, $3.00 for children. This will be a very casual event. Folks around here don't get in too much of a hurry, or make a whole lot of fuss. It will be an afternoon of family and fun, with a little education in the mix. We request that those that come, respect that this is a working farm and part of our livlihood. Children are the responsibility of their parents. Parts of the farm are not available to be toured, as we do not want any mishaps. Our bull is sweet, but we are not going to take visitors into his domain to pet him. The picnic is contingent on the weather. Since this is an outdoor event, we will postpone it if the weather is bad. An announcement will be posted early that morning on the blog and a message will be on the answering machine, 903-429-2319, if we have to change the date.....again.   The market will still be open for regular customers. MARKET HOURS: Fri and Sat from noon until 4 pm. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

FINALLY, SOME COW MILK!!!

Snickers is letting us have some of his nummy, and Lulu is giving us her all!  Finally some cow milk. Soon we should have enough to remove the cream, and hopefully, churn a little butter. It still would be a good idea to call ahead and reserve what you need, to make sure it will be available, as we have a waiting list. From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

AUTUMN UPDATES!!!

What a difference a week makes!! We have had rain, we have had a new baby calf, our barn is full of hay, and we have orange pumpkins! Best of all I can drag out the sweat shirts to hide those extra pounds that I did not quite work off this summer. First order of business is the fall CSA is going to start next Thurs. Oct. 20.  We will probably go for 5 weeks, unless there is a freak killing frost that shuts us down. Due to the fact our delivery person (Chris the # 3 son) is fulfilling another commitment through November, we are going to have all of the baskets picked up at the farm on Thursdays. When we begin the Spring CSA in 2012, we will resume the deliveries to Provident Village and Sherman. To participate in the CSA program, call or e-mail to reserve your share. Membership is not required for this fall. Reservations must be made by Tues. for pickup the following Thurs. We do have a limited amount of shares available so call early to assure there will be one for your family. Price per share is $30. This includes fresh produce picked from our farm, or a local farm that we barter with. Recipes and extras needed for those recipes ( herbs, spices, etc) may be included in your share. These items may not come from our farm, but are included for your convenience. Because raising crops is not an exact science, we reserve the right to include in your share other items from our farm if the weekly harvest is a little slight, to make sure you are receiving a sufficient amount for your investment. There may be honey, eggs, ground beef, preserves, or maybe some homemade bread or granola included in your basket.  Payment can be made when share is picked up, between 3:00pm and 6:00pm. The following weeks share can be reserved at that time. The first share will probably include the following: Watermelon, cantaloupe, yellow squash, zuccinni, cucumbers, okra, eggplant, black eyed peas, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, mixed salad greens, garlic, pears. Tomatoes, beets and peppers are coming along. Next on the list is the Fall Family Picnic scheduled for, weather permitting, November 5 from noon until 3:00 pm. There are a few spots still available, so call and reserve for your family. Later this week more picnic information will be posted . Godiva had her calf and Maizy May is headed across the street to hang out with Bosco and Rosco. There are going to be a few noisy, sleepless nights, as Lulu adjusts to an "empty nest". Long story short, we are going to have cow milk in a few days. Market hours are: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 pm. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

OUR VERY OWN!!!


                                                                                                                                                               Lots of different shapes and sizes, a fall rainbow of assorted colors,and our guaranty that they are our own home grown, by the gird of our loins and the sweat of our brows, PUMPKINS!!! It is like a treasure hunt walking through the lush folage of the patch. A lot of the bigger ones have a week or two until they are ready, so come to the farm, and we will go  pick you a fresh, never passed the through the doors of Wal-Mart pumpkin. This year, we are not going to do a formal pumpkin patch, as we were not sure of our pumpkin growing prowess, so we did a test run. And WOW!! Underneath the wide green leaves are oodles of the fall fruit. The only hitch is the timing, we may be having a special on Christmas centerpieces featuring pumpkins and holly! Next year, we will have a pumpkin patch, a maze, hay rides...... the whole kit' n kaboodle. We will have some pumpkins picked for the market starting this weekend. Besides the standard varieties we have grown some unique varieties for fall decorating. The price will  be $2.00 and up depending upon the size. There will be plenty of larger ones for decorating,or carving starting the 14th. Remember that a carved pumpkin will last about a week before going south, so don't get in too big of a hurry. Market hours Fri. and Sat. from noon until 4:00 PM. The Fall Family Picnic on Nov. 5 has a few spots left. Call and make your reservation for your family. More information is posted on the blog under Big Announcement. We will post updates as the date nears.  From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

BURIED TREASURE!!!!

Breathing a sigh of relief here, that the satellite did not fall on our heads last night, as it would have really put a kink in our day! As Autumn arrives, and the weather cools, there is a bustle of activity on the farm.We are busily harvesting the first of the fall crops and anticipating preparations for winter and early spring. It is time for the strawberry plants to arrive from Canada. Preparations need to be made for the large asparagus and garlic beds to be planted.  Romeo the Buck is patiently awaiting his reintroduction to the girls after a long respite of rest and relaxation. The next 30 days will be a flurry of lovin', lovin' and more lovin'. The Farmer claims this is the only time he wishes he were a goat! Silly Man.... Despite the dry spell we are having, we have been able to plant green beans, snap peas, carrots, beets, squash, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, spinach, chard, tomatoes and peppers. Hopefully by the middle of  October, we will be able to start the fall CSA. The melons have risen from the grave! There is a whole new crop of some of the sweetest watermelons to pass a pair of lips. The pumpkin patch is about 3 feet tall and completely covered over in folage. Haven't a clue as to the outcome of the pumpkin harvest, as we can only see a hint of what is underneath the leaves. It does look promising. The summer fruit harvest in the freezers seems to have multiplied, as told by the endless jars of jams and jellies that are passing through the canner. It is nearly caramel apple time, and the holidays are just around the corner. The goat milk supply is steady, the cows will freshen the first of October,  the meat and honey is still available, and as the early mornings are cool, the baked goods will start to appear in the market.Some hot young chicks have arrived at the farm, giving the roosters a reason to strut their stuff. Some of the old hens are none to pleased.They don't want them, but don't want any other fluff to have them either!  The Fall Family Picnic is still scheduled for Nov. 5, we have taken about half of the reservations we will be able to take. There is still some time, but when we reach our limit, NO MAS!! More information will follow as the date draws near. The market hours are Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 pm. Call for special appointment for dairy pickup through the week. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

IT'S PILES OF DIRT!!! SOON TO BE PILES OF POTATOES!!!

WE HOPE!!! Take some shriveled, past their prime, leftover from the spring crop, bitty potatoes, dig a hole in the dirt, drop them in, water and wait! I am in gambling mode, again, we will see if my risky move pays off! If little green shoots pop through the ground, we are winners! It is a flurry of activities at the farm.  Breeding season is looming near, we have three cows freshening before the end of the year (Yippee! plenty of cow milk for the cow milk diehards) Time for preparing the beds for the strawberries to be planted in October. The first of the fall crops are planted.  If all goes well, we will be able to do the CSA for several weeks starting in October. The sweet potatoes are ready to harvest, and the pumpkins are making progress. The Farmer and I and all of the critters are enjoying the cooler weather, despite the lack of rain. The water wheel runs round the clock in an effort to add some green to the pastures to keep the cows and the goats content. The old adage "The grass is greener on the other side of the fence" does hold true, us, being the other side of the fence for a change. Time to cull the laying hens, as we have about 60 and only a few of them are laying. There are quite a few that are about the age of Methusala's grandmother. A friend donated two roosters to the farm. As all of our hens are old widows, due to demise of our prize rooster last Spring, they have become set in their ways. The new boys are not having much luck in their arduous courting efforts.......... they are doing good to scramble to get something to eat, let alone a little lovin'. The Market Hours: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00PM. Special appointments can be made for dairy pick up through the week. Reservations are coming in for the fall family picnic on November 5. More information will follow as the date is closer. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

CHANGE IN THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

In my zeal for planning our First Annual Family Farm Picnic, I neglected to consult a most trusted friend. I have sought advice on when to plant, where to plant, what to plant, will there be rain, will there be snow, what will grow. I have lived my farm life according to the dictates of the  Farmers Almanac. Pish Posh you say!! Well more often than not it is right on the mark, or pretty darn close to it. The date of October 15 has an ominous forecast. Unless you are a family of ducks, it would  probably be a miserable day spent under severe thundershowers and cold winds. First rattle out of the box, we are changing the date to Saturday November 5, from noon until 3:00PM. The forcast for that day is dry and mild. We will plan accordingly. All of those who have already called for reservations, will be given a spot on the new date. If you are unable to attend, just let us know. All else will remain the same. Now if, by chance, we wake up that Saturday morning with grey skies, drizzle, or.....snow flurries, I will gracefully acknowledge that there is always a margin of error, and we will again reschedule. Updates and more information will follow, hopefully with only a minor change here or there. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A VERY IMPATIENT PUMPKIN !!!

Just couldn't wait until October, tis way to far away. This little guy wants to make himself known  RIGHT NOW!!! Hopefully he will have lots of brothers and sisters!!!                             

Thursday, September 1, 2011

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

We are finally making plans for our Fall Family Picnic here at the farm. The date will be Saturday, October 15, starting at 12:00 noon. We will continue the festivities until 3:00 P.M. There will be a charge of $6.00 for adults and $3.00 for children,( babes in arms are free) which will include a picnic lunch, of a BBQ sand or Hot Dogs, Veggies, chips, lemonade, brownies, going hand in hand with bang up entertainment, a wagon ride, farm tour and more! As our space is limited we will plan for a certain amount of  guests. We will take reservations before the date. Families can pay upon arrival that day. We are asking all to bring an old blanket or spread to lay on the grass, on which to eat your lunch and listen to The Full Quiver Bluegrass Band. Call or e-mail us to reserve a spot for your family. Let us know your last name and the number that will be included in your group. We will contact you with a confirmation of your reservation. If all goes well, the pumpkins will be ready. Fall treats will be available for purchase in the market.... popcorn balls, caramel apples, pumpkin cookies etc. More detailed information will follow! We are so excited!!! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

THE NEVERENDING GIFT!!!!

I am convinced that 4 good rows of okra will solve the worlds hunger situation. The rows can be picked clean one day and loaded with pods the next.....and it is 110 degrees outside, with not a hint of rain in sight! The farm is weathering the heat wave, one day at at time. Our days have become a routine, water the animals, cool a spot on the ground for the animals, water the crops, water the animals again, cool another spot on the ground, water the pasture, water the animals again. Our efforts have been successful, as we have had no heat related casualties.(not counting some of the tomato plants) Lulu gave us a scare with her heat stroke episode, but she has survived, and she is basking in the extra attention she receives to assure her comfort. The market has not had cow milk for a while, due to the extreme heat, we are letting the calves get all that they can get from Mama. The goats are carrying the load for milk production. The girls are doing a superb job of keeping up with the demand. The chickens are still iffy. They lay just enough eggs every so often to keep them from the stew pot! I have got to learn how to tell if a hen is past her production years. The last time we gave away what we thought were our old hens, our egg production dropped by half.  Today will be the first time I am not in the market ( except for the holidays) as I am giving a presentation sponsered by the Fort Worth Organic Garden Club at the Botanical Gardens in Fort Worth on the wonderful world of goats. A series of different speakers will be there on various subjects pertaining to sustainable living. It is free to all, starts at 9:00 am. I am looking forward to sharing with everyone our Caprine Connection. Mostly, since I have been blessed with the "Gift of Gab". I am excited about a captive audience that has to listen to me as I rattle on about one of my most favorite subjects! Our daughter will be in the market today, doing her best to assist any visitors coming for dairy, honey, meat, etc. Our market hours are Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 pm. Thurs. are still set aside for the CSA, and because that one has been such a hit, we will be opening another one next Spring. More information on that later. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

THE RAINMAKER!!!

The nightly rain dancing didn't do it! The scathing insults directed to the weatherman didn't do it! So remembering the principle that the Lord helps those who help themselves, we decided to "create" some rain so that He would help our crops and pastures to grow! Extreme circumstances call for extreme measures. Here you see my new SUV disguized as a Water Wheel! It may not get 34mpg, but it will sure drop an inch of " rain " wherever you want it to. The fields are dry, the crops are begging for more water, and the animals patiently await the daily water puddles. I would only feel guilty driving a new to me vehicle, anyway, knowing the dire need for water on every inch of the farm. ( I tell the Farmer, I just need wheels to get me from point A to point B without incident, doesn't matter what it looks like or sounds like, just let it get me to where I need to go and back!) I will put my fleeting desire for a vehicle with air conditioning, a CD player and windows that roll up, on the back burner, saving it for a RAINY day! Incidently, the market is open on Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 pm. The pantry shelves are getting stocked with pickles and preserves. The baked goods will be on the bakers rack again soon, and the honey is plentiful. The goat milk products and meat are still available. The produce and eggs are meager! The cows milk is nil! This is farming in Texas and we have learned to be inovative and patient. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

BIG PLANS FOR FALL!!!

We are psyching ourselves up for fall planting....and it is a stretch to imagine tender seedlings flourishing in 105 degree heat ! Our strawberry plant growers called to check on our order for October. They are in Canada and it made me feel cooler just talking to them from way up North where there are glaciers and iceburgs. The Farmer is not deterred by a little scorching drought, a few more feet of drip irrigation here and there should keep the crops green. Every living thing on the farm is moving at a slow crawl as the heat dome envelopes us day after day. Even the composting worms in the worm hotel only show signs of life when they are stirred with a stick. We are grateful to those who brave the heat to come to the farm for their supply of milk, eggs, honey, meat, soap, etc.  and the limited variety of produce we are harvesting at this time. Fall is just around the corner, and that will mean salad greens, green beans, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant. Our market hours are Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 pm. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support !!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

HOT? IT'S NEVER TO HOT FOR OKRA!!!!

How this heat resiliant plant just keeps on producing day after day, is beyond my comprehension!! It is take your breath away hot, even the Farmer says it is hot. He has been in blazing infernos with 100 lbs of bunker gear on, and does just fine. But this continuous heat wave is taking its toll on him and the farm. Our daily mission is to keep what crops we are growing watered, keep the animals sprayed down and watered, keep us hydrated and cooled. It is only July, we have yet to plod through the endless days of August. We still count our blessings, grateful that night time comes, and a reprieve, grateful that we had the forthought to drill a well for water, and ever so grateful that we do not live in New Jersey where it is 110 degrees! The dairy goats are taking the heat in stride. We spray them a puddle of water under the big oak trees in the morning and they all find a spot to wallow and laze away the day. The milk production is holding steady, as long as they can stay cool and drink all the water they want, it should remain so. The market hours are Friday, and Saturday from noon until 4:00 pm. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A SAVING GRACE OF A LONG HOT SUMMER!!!

Visions of desert sand, a palm tree oasis, Arabian Nights, swirl through my head during my brief summer fling with figs. They are a perfect fruit. Never a worry if they are sweet enough, never filled with worms or bugs, easy to freeze, dry, or preserve.  A perfect cure for a childs sweet tooth! Surprisingly enough a lot of people have never experienced the taste of a fresh fig. I had some in the market this weekend and asked several visitors if they liked fresh figs. The general reply was, " I don't think so!" ( Never confuse a fresh fig with Fig Newtons) So, I asked them to try one. " Oh, My!" was the comment that was repeated over and over. "I did not know that they would be this good!" Gratefully, with the heat, the fig season is upon us, I am gathering all that I can while the crop is flourishing. There will be more fig preserves in the market, as well as fresh figs for the snacking. The second planting of sweet corn will also be ready for this weekend's market. The crops that we are irrigating are holding their own, and we are still harvesting lots of melons, some squash and cucumbers, peppers, a few tomatoes, eggplant, the different varieties of peach trees are ripening sporadically, and of course the sweet corn. We planted pumpkins this week! If we can keep the maurading grasshoppers at bay, we may have some pumpkins this fall! The MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 pm. Special appointments can be made for dairy pickup through the week. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

MY POT OF GOLD!!!

Corn flakes, cornbread, corn oil, corndogs, cornpone, corn syrup, popcorn, and ever so yummy buttered, hot, sweet corn on the cob, and now fuel!!! What ever would we do without corn! Yes, there is a big controversy about feeding some animals corn, namely cows, but telling LuLu that she is not supposed to eat anything but hay and grass, is like telling a teenager don't use cell phones, or you will get a brain tumor! They are thinking, I think I will just take my chances. She loves her watermelon and cantaloupe. The heat is taking its toll, but we are keeping everything going that is on irrigation. This week we will be harvesting lots of corn, and it will be available for bargain prices.... by the sack full or the bushel. The watermelons have been small, but very sweet. The cantaloupe are just starting, and we will be doing taste testing on some of the odd varieties that I planted to see if they will get a repeat performance next year. The goat milk supply has slacked a bit, but we still have plenty. The cow milk is another story. We are going to turn Godiva dry to get ready for her calf in the fall, so we will have a trickle from LuLu. It is time to start putting up her calf, as she is getting the three gallons that we should be getting. She is not going to like it! MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00pm. Special appointments can be made at other times for dairy pick up. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

HOUR OF RECKONING!!!! WHAT IS IT?


Every year, as we are making plans for the seasons crops, the Farmer offers the same suggestion. "Let's plant just a couple of varieties of each vegetable, make a note when it is harvested, if it was a good choice or a BUST, then we will know what to plant the next year!" Every year I wholeheartedly agree, until I immerse myself in page after page of seed catalogs from countless seed companies. It is just too tempting to order burgundy okra, purple tomatoes, or banana melons. I convince myself that if it is in a seed catalog, then maybe I should order it, try something new, be adventurous, Needless to say, our basic variety of melons has become  an assorted variety of melons. As the Farmer was determining the ripening status of the melons, the gig was up! He has most certainly figured out that I have more that two types of cantaloupe and watermelon. I wasn't smart enough to order those with similar characterics, I had to order completely different colors and sizes! Just what they are, I am not so sure. To me there are really just two types, good ones and bad ones. The melons are being harvested, I have yet to determine the yays or the nays!  The corn is ready, we are picking this week and will have lots of sweet corn in the market this weekend. Nothing says 4th of July BBQ, like corn on the cob! We are still getting a few blackberries for the market, some peaches, plums and some summer pears! The only thing growing on the okra are the pods, the plants aren't any taller than they were when the first blooms appeared. I am still scratching my head about that one! It has been so hot and dry, the black eyed peas are having a struggle, they like the heat, but this may be a bit much! For some reason, my tomato, cucumber and pepper plants are faring pretty well, I am sure that watering twice a day doesn't hurt, either. MARKET HOURS: Friday, Saturday from noon until 4:00pm. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

KAPUT, EL FINITE', NO MAS!!!

The final curtain is closing on the blackberries. It was such a good performance, we hate to see them go, but with the promise that they will return bigger and better next year! Saturday will be our last picking day. There are still a few berries on the bushes, so we are TAKING APPOINTMENTS for pickers, as we want to make sure all who come to pick will be able to pick their fill. E-mail or call  by Friday, we will respond and confirm your appointment. Picking will start at 8:00 AM and will continue until 10:00AM. The MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00. Big news for the home canners and bakers, as the governor signed the Cottage Food Bill, which allows me to sell my canned goods and baked goods in the market legally. No more worries that I will get sent to the pokey for my pickles! The dab of rain we got gave the corn and the field peas a new burst of life. Irrigation is good, but there is just something about thunder, lightening and rain that rejuvinates the crops. What does not kill us, makes us stronger and all that! Summer is here, the farm is shifting into low gear, just watering and harvesting for the CSA and the market. For some reason, the goats have not been effected by the heat. Usually the milk production dwindles, as the temperature rises, but the girls are holding steady. The cows are a different story. Lulu just looks at us and smiles, as she loads up on sweet feed and alfalfa at milking time, and gives us a few squirts, here and there.  The sweet corn should be ready by the 4th of July. We are harvesting a few cantaloupe and melons. Time to break out the new pea sheller, as the black eyed peas are starting to bloom. We are dumbfounded at the production of our midget okra! It is not 12 inches tall, and all the plants are full of pods! Will wonders never cease! Speaking of wonders, The farmer has planted a very special melon species, that should be ready in about 2 weeks. I am sure no one in the state of Texas has ever seen one, let alone eaten one.  If the plants produce, they will be featured here at R&C Farmstead. We will keep you posted! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

HONEY, AS PROMISED!!!!

The honey is starting to flow, there is not a more perfect food. Right now after the pollination of the wildflowers and fruit trees, it is light and slightly fruity. We will be harvesting through August, and because the Farmer tended to the hives with extreme diligence, the honey crop is plentiful. We learned our lesson last year, he left the hives with a surplus of pollen and honey for the winter and the bees fared very well, even through the frigid snaps we had. Our honey is not heat treated, only put through a series of filters. There may be an occasional wax bit, or some bees knees, but not to worry, that is just part of raw, untreated honey! The honey is $6.00 for an 18 oz. container. We do have some comb honey for $10.00 per pt. BLACKBERRY UPDATE!!! It has been a stellar year for us with the u-pick blackberries. All who have came have been able to fill their buckets in no time at all. Thank you for supporting our venture into early morning berry picking. We will probably have just one more Saturday of picking, and will start at 8:00 AM. picking out at around 10:00AM. We will provide the buckets and the take home containers. Due to the relentless heat wave that we have been experiencing, our days constitute continuous watering of animals and crops. If we can stay a jump ahead of the grasshoppers, we should have sweet corn by the bushels. MARKET UPDATE: Our market hours are Fri. and Sat. from noon until 4:00 pm. Special appointments can be made for dairy pick up through the week. What we are harvesting at this time are, summer squash, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, black eyed peas, potatoes, onions, garlic, some peaches, (due to the untimely death of a certain squirrel in a motor vehicle accident), some apricots, green beans, cantaloupe, not soon enough, watermelon, eggplant, sweet corn..........., lots of good eatin'. The baked goods are minimal, as there is not much baking going on around here, right now, as the stove is covered up in jars and lids for canning. A special thanks to the special fathers in my life, my dear sweet Father, who helped to give me life, the Farmer, for taking in a woman with four little children, calling them his own, and setting such a good example as to what a father does for his family. And to my Father in Heaven, for all the the blessings he has given to us and our little farm, as we venture from one escapade to the next, in our sojourn into sustainable living. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

SUMMERTIME, SUMMERTIME, SUM, SUM, SUMMERTIME!!!!!


Nothing says summertime, like sweet corn on the cob and watermelons. Of course the 95 degree days are also a dead giveaway. Springtime was lost somewhere along the way, but we are making the best of it, preparing for the hot, dry days of summer. The okra loves it, the black eyed peas love it, so we just buck up and water on! I capitulated and turned on the air conditioner in the house.... it was so hard to close everything up, as I love the night breezes and the sounds of life outside the kitchen window. The farmer patiently waited until I gave him the signal to clean the air filters and batten down the windows. As I spend most of the day outside anyway, it is tolerable to be a shut in at night. I have been known to get up in the night, sneak outside in my gown tails, drag a lawn chair out near the kitchen garden and fall asleep listening to the crickets and the bull frogs. All is well here on the farm, we have had great success with the blackberry pickers. Every one seems to be getting the amount they need, the berries seem neverending, but that is a good thing! Some of the varieties are nearing the end of their production, as new growth is starting for the next year. We will be harvesting through June and possibly the first part of July. We will have OPEN PICKING on Saturday, starting at 8:00 AM. and will pick until around 10:00 AM. as that is the time the heat starts to set in. Special appointments can be made for other times. We have had pickers come as early as 7:00 AM throughout the week. Just call a day ahead and let us know you are coming! We are just starting the summer crop harvest, summer squash, peppers, cucumbers, green beans, still have beets, potatoes, onions and garlic. It will be a couple of weeks for the tomatoes and melons, closer to the 4th of July. The canner will be going, so will have pickles and preserves in the market. The hens have decided that it is entirely too hot  to go to the effort to lay an egg, so the egg supply is zilch! HINT! The Farmer promises some honey in the next couple of weeks! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

BLACKBERRIES APLENTY!!!

The blackberry bushes are loaded back up with ripe berries, in preparation for open picking on Saturday AM. We will start early, to beat the enevitable heat that will overtake us before noon. 8:00 AM will be the target time we will start picking.Pickout time will probably be around 11:00 AM.  Picking containers and take home boxes will be provided. We haven't had problems with chiggers or skeeters, but dress comfortably, We charge by the container pt. $3, qt. $5 gallon box $15. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

BOTTOM'S UP!!!

With the nectar in full flow, the bees are keeping long hours gathering nectar and pollen. Everyone has been so patient as we wait for the Farmer to start harvesting this years crop of honey. We will need to check all of the hives to make sure that there is plenty of reserve to feed the new brood that are hatching every day. It is easy to harvest the honey when the weather is warm, as honey flows much easier when it is around 90 degrees. We will have regular honey and some comb honey in the market. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

JUNE NEWS !!!!

New updates for farm goings on! Blackberry picking is trucking right along, we are open this week for special appointments. If you want to get up with the chickens and pick, just give us a call to make an appointment, we will let you pick. If you want to come early in the evening as it cools off, just let us know you are coming, we will be here! We will have open picking again on Saturday starting at 8:00 as it is getting hot by mid day. We will pick until around 11:00. Market hours this week will be Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 pm. Special appointments can be made for dairy pick up throughout the week. The spring produce is nearing its final hoorah, and the summer produce is in wind up mode to hit us full force in a couple of weeks. I am so ready for sweet corn and tomatoes. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

VAMPIRE FREE FARMSTEAD!!!

It's a sure bet that a vampire can not be found within a 10 mile radius of our farm! We also have plenty of  the Old World remedy for dropsy, hysteria, the vapors, and consumption! Not to mention athletes foot! I had no idea garlic was so versatile, and all this time, I was just smearing it on bread and tossing it in my pasta sauce. It definitly goes without saying that eating garlic is a group effort, if one in the group eats it everyone in the group had better eat it........ Well, we got lots, once again the Farmers concern that "maybe some won't come up, so lets plant a bunch" was unfounded. Gratefully enough, we should have enough cloves left over to plant for next years crop. All of you CSA members, better get ready for 101 ways to use garlic! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

IT'S...... RASPBERRIES!!!!!

It sure enough is a pretty as a picture, delicate, bountiful crop of ripening raspberries! What is even more amazing is that this overly zealous variety of berry has multiplied from 6 plants to two rows of berry bushes! Next year probably enough for some U-pick ! Well, we actually picked out of blackberries for the weekend. Still lots of red ones that will be ready for the next open picking days, which will be Thurs. and Saturday at 9:00 AM. The thornless variety are starting to ripen, they are a little smaller, but still yummy. The market this weekend will have some new veggies and fruits that we are harvesting. New potatoes, Sweet Texas Onions, some fancy, french variety of green bean that I planted, and just regular ol' stringless green beans, the tail end of the cabbage and broccoli, some blackberries, for sure, and some raspberries, and peaches,  if they haven't all been bitten into by this crafty squirrel that has learned to climb the trees knock one off, bite it to see if it is to his liking, if not he tries another one. We have dug some elephant garlic the size of a baseball. There are still beets and some baby carrots. I am catching up on the goat cheese supply, so we should have most of the varieties. The canning and baking are going to slow down because of the heat, so there will be a limited amount of preserves and pickles. The summer crops are progressing along, there are little cucumbers and melons on the vines. The corn is not quite as high as an elephants eye, but it looks very promising. The black eyed and purple hull peas and the okra are just enjoying the heat and are dawdeling along. I am anxious to try out my new pea sheller this summer, so there will be shelled peas in the market. And of course the tomatoes and the peppers. The anticipation is killing me! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

BEE BEARDS!!!!

A sure sign that it is hot! hot! hot! The bees congregate outside the hive, fanning their wings, clustering together, trying to keep each other cool. They take turns going to water, dipping their wings and flying back to the hive and fanning the queen and the brood, keeping a constant temperature in the hive at 91 degrees. If the farmer gets all of the potatoes, onions and garlic harvested and the sweet potatoes planted, we should start harvesting some honey in a couple of weeks. One good point about the unusually hot temperatures, is that it makes  for easy pouring of the filtered honey. We do not heat treat our honey. If it is very cold outside, it has to be warmed to the standard temperature of the hive(91 degrees) for easy pouring. Generally it is harvested in the mid to late summer, when it is toasty outside and perfect for honey pouring! It was a wild day for blackberry picking! The wind was blowing, the sun was relentless, but the folks just kept coming. Even the wee ones were little troopers, filling their baskets and enjoying the outdoors. We are going to be open MONDAY, MEMORIAL DAY @ 9:00 am. until pickout, which will be around noon. Maybe we will beat the heat just a little by getting an earlier start. There are still lots of blackberries for picking. Some of the later varieties have a week or two to go, but the earlier varieties are coming on strong! We provide containers to pick and take home. Pt. $3, Qt.$5, gallon box $15. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

TANTALIZING TATORS!!!

A direct quote from the Farmer " I've never met a French Fry I didn't like!" He would eat them with every meal, especially home fries from freshly dug potatoes. It doesn't get any better than this! ...... so he says. The potato harvest is great this year. We are just mowing the tops and letting the skins season a bit. We beat the potato bugs , they were just starting to hone in on the lush green leaves. New freshly dug potatoes will be in the market this weekend. NEW MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 pm. We will be closed on Thursday, as we prepare produce boxes for our CSA members. For more information call or e-mail us. U-Pick blackberry schedule : Open picking Thurs. Fri. Sat. 10:00 AM until we are done. We will be open for picking  Monday, Memorial Day at 10:00 AM until pickout. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

BERRY PICKERS.......MUCH THANKS!!!!!

Our fist week of blackberry picking was a whoppin' success, thank you so much to those who ventured to the farm in questionable weather and picked and picked and picked some more! We just love company, and hope everyone felt welcome and had a good time. For those that did not make it this week, we will have oodles of berries for another few weeks. We will be available throughout the week for call ahead appointments, or will have open picking again Thurs. AM 10:00 and Sat. AM 10:00. We are going to be open on Memorial Day for picking also. Give us a call, if you might head our way on that day and we will keep a spot for you! We will start at 10:00 AM, and pick until we get picked out or pooped out, whichever comes first! Our new market hours start this week : Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 or call ahead for an appointment for dairy pick up. Thurs. is CSA day. A CSA (Community Sustainable Agriculture) is a produce co-op we have started where each week a box of freshly harvested produce is prepared for pickup at the farm. The cost is $30 per box  for approx. 4-5 persons. Each box contains at least 7 items. This weeks box contained summer squash, new potatoes, fresh garlic, sweet onions, beets, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, lettuce mix, blackberries,  If anyone would like more information just e-mail me and more details will be given. We have a couple of spots open. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

BLACKBERRY PICKING INFO.!!!!

This is our first year of u-pick blackberries! Our bushes are young, but are proudly presenting an abundance of  beautiful, ripe, berries for picking. Boxes are provided, that can be taken with you. A box is $15, when level full it is approximately 7 lbs. Quart containers are also available for $5. We have baskets for children to pick into. As we have several different varieties of berries, they do not ripen at the same time, some are earlier producing than others. Some of the early varieties are ripening and ready for picking. This week, we are accepting appointments in the mornings for picking the first of the crop, just call and set up a time that will be convenient for you, we will be available. Berries are best picked in the morning or evening when it is cool! Friday, May 20 will be open picking without an appointment. We will open at 10:00 AM. until pickout. We will also be open Sat. May 21 for open picking at 10:00 AM, picking until pickout.  We will keep updated information on our answer machine, and continue to post on the blog.  Some guidelines for pickers: Wear appropriate clothing, jackets, hats, close toed shoes, as we are in sand. The berry patch is a slight distance from the market, so prepare for a little stroll .  Pick all around dark berries, as they are the most ripe. All berries you pick are keepers, so be selective. Children are welcome, if well behaved and supervised. We are a working farm, so there will be equipment, animals, electric fences etc. within our gates. We ask that you respect our home and our livelihood as we would yours. The season should last for about 6 weeks.  We look forward to your visit! We accept cash or checks in the form of payment. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

SPUDS, SPUDS, AND MORE SPUDS!!

Before the impending attack of the potato bugs and their voracious offspring, we are going to start harvesting the potatoes. It has been several weeks before the first ones have bloomed, we have taken a sneak peak, and there is a treasure trove of new potatoes in the soil. Yukon gold and a red variety will be available in the market this week. BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!! This week the CEO ( The Farmer) and the board of directors (me, myself and I) held a meeting. Our intern Danny from Ohio, is returning to his home after a year and a half of intense farm related indocterination. (He was to be here for 3 months). He now has an opportunity to coach soccer in high school. Hopefully learning how to milk cows and goats and drive a tractor will help him with his new occupation! We will miss him when he is gone!Soooooooooooo, we are going to regroup! The market will be open on FRIDAY & SATURDAY Noon - 4:00PM. Special appointments can be made at other times for Dairy pickup. New hours will begin May 27. Our family farm day is postponed until fall (maybe Danny will decide goat kids are more fun and a lot less trouble, than high school kids, and come back). Blackberry picking update posted tomorrow. HINT: We will be starting u-pick this week, by appointment, with open picking starting May 27, and will be open Memorial Day at 9:00AM for picking! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

BERRY NEWSFLASH!!!!

Come wind or rain, sleet or snow, frost or hail, blackberries are the stormtroopers of the garden. This is our third year for the plants, as they are so plentiful, we will be able to begin the U-Pick blackberries this year. Our target date is Friday May 27. We will open for picking at 9:00 am. The price for the berries will be $15.00 per level box. We will provide the boxes for picking and take home. More details will follow, as the berries ripen. Our family farm day scheduled on June 4 is going to be postponed. We have had a few sailors jump ship! Danny, our farm intern is going back to Ohio. Some of our family members who volunteered to help had conflicts in their schedules We will be rescheduling in the fall, when our pumpkins are ready. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

SAUERKRAUT SO SIMPLE!!!!!

Everyone needs to try fresh, homemade sauerkraut at least once in their lifetime. It is a completely different food from what is sold commercially in the store. You will be incredulous after sampling it, at how good it tastes and amazed at how simple it is to prepare. I am going to share with you the basics of making the best tasting kraut that you have ever eaten. First of all, a clean,  glass or ceramic crock works the best to ferment the cabbage in. Use fresh, trimmed of all the bad leaves, cabbage. For fresh cabbage from the garden, check carefully for crawly critters camping amongst the leaves, get them out. You can wipe the cabbage off, but the bacteria on the cabbage encourages the fermentation. I know it sounds kind of scary, but the ancient kraut makers knew what they are doing. And believe me, after the cabbage ferments for several weeks, nothing unwelcome will survive.  Quarter the cabbage and remove the core... slice the quarters into 1/2 inch shreds. Place the shreds into the crock sprinkling sea salt or canning salt over it. Apply generously. You may" stomp" on the cabbage a little with the end of a wooden spoon to encourage it to break down.  A wondrous reaction will occur and the salt will draw liquid out of the cabbage, making a brine! After about 2 hours the cabbage may be submersed in the liquid. If not make a little salt water brine and pour over it . Find a plate that will fit down into your crock without much room on the sides, and put something clean and heavy on top of it to squish the cabbage down into the liquid and keep it there. Cover it lightly with a tea towel or cheesecloth.  That's it! Now find a spot in your house that is cool, around 70 degrees, and wait patiently for about 4 weeks. A word of caution: There may be a little gunk growing on the top, that's ok. Just scoop it off. It may smell like something is a little off in the house, well that is ok too, just close that part of the house from company for a while! I promise that when it is ready, all of the odd smells, will be forgotten. Just scoop out the kraut, some rinse it lightly, some don't, and put it in the fridge. Enjoy!!! It is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. From our farmstead to your table,  thank you for all of your support!!

FEED MEEE!!!!!

Perhaps I am not really a cabbage? Perhaps I am a cutting from a quaint little flower shop on skid row named Mushnik's. Perhaps my momma's name was Audrey II? Perhaps I have a  real affinity for the Farmer and his wife that pass by me several times a day and smell so deliciously...... alive?                            I can just imagine what  is passing through everyones mind, and I realize that once again, I am really aging myself. That musical was from the 70's and most of you have probably never heard of it. I still dig out the cassette now and again and become reaquainted with the great doo-bop songs! And because I walk on the safe side of caution, if I ever hear singing coming from the field in the middle of the night and someone calling out FEED ME!!!, All of the cabbages will be harvested the next morning. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

MARKET HOURS !!!

The wind has laid down a bit, and the crops are breathing a sigh of relief! The melons are starting to bloom and the corn stalks are standing straight as little soldiers after being laid low by the storms. We planted the second wave of sweet corn this week.  We are harvesting broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, beets and salad greens for the market. Still a week or two for the potatoes. We plucked out all of the casualties in the tomato and pepper beds. Thankfully, we have a back up plan with about 60 plants in the kitchen garden. That should give us plenty for the market and the CSA. Fall tomatoes are much more my forte, anyway. Lulu will go to the milk barn this weekend, so we will have a little more cows milk. We share with Maizey, and after learning that she has to get on her knees to find her nummy, she has become a little glutton. Our market hours are:Thurs. Fri. and Sat. from noon until 4:00pm. The blackberries seem on schedule, so the U-pick will probably start the last weekend in May. More info as we get closer to the date. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

FIRST BATH!!!

Ms. Lulu and Mr. Colorado proudly announce the birth of their daughter Maizey, born at the height of last nights storm, (naturally) weighing approximatly 15 lbs and standing on wobbly legs, about 24 inches tall.  Mother and daughter are doing well! Lulu the doting mother, and Colorado thinking one more mouth to feed! Visions of fresh cream and butter are dancing in my head! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

LETTUCE BE HAPPY!!!!

MARKET HOURS FOR MAY!!!

Happy May Day!!! Market hours for this month will be Thurs. Fri. Sat. from noon until 4:00 pm. As we milk every day, special appointments can be made to get milk at other times.  Inquiries have been made as to the possibility of coming earlier on market days. Our milking and chores are done in the morning. As the competent staff is very limited ( The Farmer and myself, and sometimes our son) it takes us most of the morning to make the rounds and get all of the work done. Anyone is welcome to come earlier, but you may find yourself with a pitch fork and a poop scoop in your hand! The kole crops are still being harvested, the supply should hold steady, if the weather stays cool, for several more weeks. Several customers have asked if we have tomatoes......it is still early Spring. Tomatoes are harvested in the early summer, along with peppers, squash, cucumbers, etc. I refuse to go to the Dallas Market and buy cardboard tasting tomatoes imported from who knows where, and try and pass them off as home grown. Our customers are far to intelligent for that to work! Besides, that would totally defeat the purpose of our policy, "We Sell What We Grow". in some form or another...... with the slight exception of the Vanilla Beans for the vanilla extract....and the wheat in the bread...... and the chocolate in the cookies..... well, "We Sell What We Grow and Make! If you happen to see some limes in the market, they have come from my very own trees thriving in my kitchen garden, but I can guarantee you will not see coconuts and pineapple on our shelves. The blackberries are looking luscious and loaded.Will give plenty of notice as the picking time nears.  Should be new potatoes and green beans in a couple of weeks! Will keep you posted! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

FARM TAILS!!!

 Part of my youth was spent in Illinois, where our family had a farm upon which we raised fat, corn fed, Angus cows, and pigs. (this was way before the grassfed  movement began, at which time the herd was moved to Montana of all places), so I have very little taste for store bought meat. This is one of the main reasons we have decided to share our farm raised animals with others, giving them the chance to have some of the choicest of  meat. Each year we seek a source for calves to feed  if we have not been able to produce our own. It has been slim pickins here on the farm as our Herd Sire Colorado has produced all " She's" except for two, since he came to us four years ago. Great for the dairy business, grim for the meat business! Since the girls are spared the frying pan, we haven't had much to fill the freezers. In the local Dairy Farm network there are plenty of calves that are available from other farms to raise from birth for what ever suits your purpose, to nurture and care for them and control what constitutes their diet, keeping us with a constant supply....... And occassionally like pennies from heaven, we are blessed with friends like Walter! Now, Walter is a farmer from way back, whose farm is smack dab in the middle of  Denton Texas. His farm is surrounded by swanky subdivisions whose developers have offered him a pricey sum for his land. He has declined, as he would have to find a new home for his momma cows and calves. The Farmer got a call from Walter one morning, with a serious dilema. He had a momma cow that had given birth a few days before, who just up and died, leaving the little bull calf an orphan. Walter did not have time to feed it, would we consider taking it? " Sure, the Farmer said, I will come and get it with the cattle trailer." Walter claimed he had to come by our place later in the day, he would just bring the calf by.(I think it was free buffet for seniors day at the casino up the road) We prepared a stall, washed and prepared a bottle, and waited in anxious anticipation.  As I watched the road, I was on the lookout for Walter's pickup and cattle trailer. Not 40 minutes went by and  a brand new white Dodge Ram pickup pulled into the drive, my heart sank  as there was no trailer attached. Walter must have changed his mind. I noticed someone sitting in the passenger seat, so I decided to be hospitable and invite Walter and his companion for something to drink. Walter hopped out of the drivers seat, toodled around to the other side and opened the passenger door. Out jumped the purtiest little black calf I had ever seen. Oh, My,!! As I looked at the baby poop smeared on the interior, I looked at Walter, as he declared, "It'll all wash off!! Take good care of him, he will be real good eatin' one day", he called, as he backed out of the drive, waved and drove off! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

AFTER THE RAINS, A GOOD SURPRISE!!!

Some folks proudly display pictures of their children and grandchildren, I boast of pictures of cauliflower and broccoli! The crops have been rejuvinated after their three day Spa experience. Lots of  rain and mist, some occasional sun and wind. Even the weather beaten tomatoes and peppers have yielded new growth. The pastures are flourishing and the blackberries are heavy laden with little green fruit. The strawberries, whipped stripped, and beaten by the Spring winds and hail, have started to set new fruit! We may have berries in the market for a few weeks. Our market hours are Thurs. Fri. Sat. from noon until 4:00 pm. We have all but given up on LuLu. She waddles down to the pasture, finds a place to laze in the sun, and just lays there swishing her tail.... taunting us. Her belly and bag are so big, her top, back foot can't touch the ground! Our good friend Dairy Larry, calls her " Stumpy,"  we are just proud to call her ours. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

LADY IN WAITING!!!

There are no words to properly describe LuLu other than just how it is! A fat, short cow! She takes the term "How the Cow ate the Cabbage" to a whole new level. The cabbage, the apples, the pecans, the spinach, watermelon, not to mention the grass and hay. I realize she is eating for two, but she eats for two all of the time. What is truely amazing is that when she hears her name called, and sees a bucket, she flies across the pasture like she weighs 100 lbs. Quite a memorable sight! You can actually feel the earth move as she approaches. She is patiently awaiting the impending birth of her calf, we are impatiently awaiting for her fresh creamy milk!! At this time of year, we reflect on the season and the sacrifice that was made so that we can have redemption from our misdeeds. Thank you Father in Heaven, and a special thank you to Jesus the Christ. From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

NO RAIN? NO PROBLEM!!!!

Did I happen to mention that the Farmer is the handiest man that I know? All I have to do is mention that the dryer knocks, or the faucet drips, or that I would like another raised bed in my kitchen garden, or maybe a nice three compartment sink with a vegetable sprayer, in the market would be nice! And there he is.... Johnny on the Spot. Well I mentioned that since we haven't had much rain, it would sure be nice to irrigate most of the crops. TAH-DAH!! He rigged himself up a gismo that will lay the drip line under the ground! Now there will be some sweet corn, and some okra, and some black eyed peas, rain be darned! I admit that there is still nothing like a soft spring shower to leave everything clean and fresh. We were so grateful for that hint of misty rain and calm winds we got a couple of days ago, as we can now see evidence of new growth, after the beating everything took during the storms. The MARKET HOURS: Thurs. Fri. and Sat. from noon until 4:00 pm. By the way, one of our devoted customers put the farm on facebook. Due to my complete lack of the workings of cyberspace, I haven't figured out how to post the little Facebook logo on our blog to make a link. If you put our name R & C Dairy and Farmstead on facebook we should come up! I will continue my efforts to search the vast beyond for information on how to LINK??? From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

SHORT, BUT SWEET!!!

The Farmer has made an executive decision, after scoping out the strawberry field. We are closing the strawberry U-Pick for this year. We will have some berries in the market this weekend, but the plants are doing all that they can do to withstand the raging elements they have been exposed to. I actually saw a hail stone the size of a golf ball. It was a great couple of weeks and we felt the season was a success and we are going to plant them again next year, but will prepare with wind breaks, hoop houses or something to give them some protection. Onward and Upward!! The corn and the black eyed peas are poking through the ground, the tomato plants are looking slightly pitiful, but we have an optimistic outlook for them, and I am an avid believer in the miracle of resurrection. The market will be open the regular hours Thursday, Friday, Saturday, from noon until 4:00 pm. We will have cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, beets, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, onions, winter and spring, and of course some strawberries. Plenty of goat milk and not so plenty of cow milk, but we are anxiously awaiting for LuLu to come through for us. The blackberries should be ready in mid May. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

COMATOSE BERRY PLANTS!!!

The berry plants that have survived the elements have decided to put themselves into a deep sleep, I am sure they are hoping to awaken to calm winds, fresh air, sunshine with a hint of rain! We still have berries, but are watching them ripen very slowly. We will be picking again on Thursday morning, at 9:00am, if all goes well. Check the blog early in the morning for an updated post. The farmer says he has never seen the wind and drought like this in many years. Our hearts go out to those that are dealing with much more severe conditions than we are. The Farmers team at the fire station are helping fight the East Texas wildfires......I am not going to complain about a few dried up strawberry plants and blowing sand. From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

BERRY LULL!!!

Between the hail, the sandstorms, the hurricane force winds and the ardent strawberry pickers, we are giving the berries a little respite.We will not be picking again until Tues. morning at 9:00. We will again pick on Thurs. and Sat. at 9:00 am. until pickout. The cool weather at night is allowing the strawberry plants to continue to produce more blooms and set fruit. As a good share of them are bare naked due to the loss of their leaves during the extremes in the weather, we will watch them carefully to see what they do. In our guestimation, we should have at least three more weeks of production. Then on to the blackberries. They don't care what mother nature unleashes on them. They are the gladiators of the berry field and will stand tall and fully loaded, ready for picking mid May. The produce is slowly coming on, we have had cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, and onions, in the market. We are anticipating beets next week.Market hours are Thur. Fri. and Sat. from noon until 4:00pm. The supply of honey as dwindling, as we are playing the waiting game for the bees to nourish the new brood and start making honey for the new year. We will  probably start harvesting some honey the end of May or first of June. Bag check is done on LuLu each evening. She knows that she has everyone on the Jersey milk list anxiously waiting for the white gold she is toting around, and could not care less! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

SATURDAY PICKING!!!!

Up and at em! We will be picking this morning from 9:00 am until pickout which will probably be around noon. The next picking day will be Tues am at 9:00 . The market will be open today from noon until 4:00pm. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

PURTY,PURTY,PURTY!!!!!

The berries are gearing up for weekend # 2 of berry season. The cool weather has made it possible for the plants to keep setting fruit, as it looks, we should have berries for three or four more weeks! The schedule will continue with this Friday and Saturday picking, starting at 9:00 am. until pickout. The next picking day will be Tues. am at 9:00, as this will give the remaining berries time to ripen. We will then pick again on Thurs. at 9:00am and again on Saturday at 9:00am. Now if I have you totally confused, just call the farm, 903-429-2319 and each morning a current schedule will be announced. The market hours remain the same. Thurs. Fri. Sat. from noon until 4pm.  What seasonal produce and dairy that we have, will be available. Due to the odd weather we have had, cold, then hot, windy, then calm, rainy,then dry, our planting and harvesting is out of whack, so the produce will be available as soon as we have some to harvest. (We have planted our tomatoes three times, so much for being a gambler) As for the dairy, we have plenty of goat milk and goat milk products. The cow milk is still on rations, as we are waiting for Lulu the Diva, to decide it is time to help us out. She has always done things her way and whenever she feels like it. Poppy is a first time freshener and she is due a little later. As we leave the calves on the mommas, we may be lucky to get a squirt or two of what is left from her milk! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!