Monday, January 31, 2011

Brave little Blossom!!!

After several days of balmy, pleasant weather, we are battening down the hatches in preparation for the next arctic blast! I am sure all of the trees and plants are a little bit confused as to what is going on. Thankfully the strawberries like the cold weather, as long as it isn't sub-zero and doesn't last for days and days. The Farmer would much rather see 100 degree days as 28 degree days. He claims it is much easier to take clothes off, than pile clothes on. I grew up in Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah, I will take THIS cold any day of the week. Hopefully the 5,000 onions that we planted will agree with me. The girls are all coming along in their pregnancies, as we are noticing the "saddle bag" look and the telltale waddle. We are making progress in our preparations to open the first weekend in March. We just had a beef processed and the meat is wonderful, so we will have ground beef in the market, we are also going to have our first round of pork.  Delicious smoked bacon and several sausage varieties will be available. I am coming near the end of fruit in the freezer, so there will be a selection of preserves. A hint of things to come on the farm.....Spring festival in May, fresh fruit ice cream, berry picking, bigger assortment of homemade baked goods, and much, much, more! For the record, we only sell what we make, bake, or grow  here on the farm! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Logs with Polka Dots?

If all goes according to well laid plans, by summer, these logs should show signs of tiny little mushrooms bursting forth from the white polka dots ( wax splotches protecting the mushroom spawn). This is one of those maybe it will and maybe it won't experiments. We followed the directions to a tee, and if we are successful, the whole farm may be covered in polka dot logs! The weather has been tolerable, so we have been able to make some progress in planting preparations.  The starts in the greenhouses are poking up from the seed trays, the Farmer was able to start planting onions in the field. The strawberries are starting to set green leaves and we are so excited for a great picking season. Our target date to open the market is the first weekend in March. From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Goat Milk Soap....Fit for a Queen!!!

It has been told that Cleopatra took baths in goat milk because of it's undeniably beneficial qualities that enhanced her complexion and made her luminous skin the topic of conversation at every dinner table in Ancient Egypt. At $9.00 per gallon, that would be a pretty pricey extravagance today, so here is the perfect alternative. Goat Milk Soap. This soap is made the old fashioned oils and lye method, curing for a period of time then packaged and labeled according to the essential oils and herbs that are used in each bar. Goat Milk  Soap is nothing short of amazing in its ability to clean skin without irritation or excess dryness, leaving it soft and supple, while the hidden ingredients of cocoa butter, shea butter, almond, avacado,and grapeseed, and olive oils, vitamin E and honey, combined with the coconut oil and palm kernel oil, work deep under the surface to nourish, hydrate, and repair. Only essential oils and herbs and spices are used as fragrance. Nothing artificial!!! The soap is reasonably priced in the market for $3.50 -$4.50 per bar, depending upon the size. Several selections include Tea Tree Oil, Oatmeal & Honey, Citrus, Lavender, Vanilla Bean, Rosemary Mint, Unscented, Patchoulli, just to name a few. Relief from assorted skin conditions can easily be had. As it takes 5 - 6 weeks for the soap to cure,  these bars will be ready when we open the market  in March. Try a bar and see what great skin  really feels like! From our farmstead to your table, or bath tub, thank you for all of your support!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tomatoes picked from dead plants hanging upside down in the barn!

This was certainly a first for me! Everyone had heard you could do it...... they knew someone, who knew someone who did it, but no one we knew had actually done it themselves! Well, I am here to tell you it works! These are tomatoes picked from the vines we pulled before the big frost last fall, that we hung from the rafters in the barn.The vines are deader than dead but there are still bunches of green tomatoes, still turning. I will probably still be canning last years tomatoes when our this years summer crop is ready to harvest.  We are just as busy as we can be getting ready for spring planting. I have been planting starts of lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, in the cold crop greenhouse, and cucumbers, squash, in the hot house. Our pluot trees should be here this week, and it is time for pruning and planting other fruits and berries. For those of you who have fruit trees, remember the dormant tree spray they need before blooming. If you have berries, and you need to divide and conquer. Now is the time for that, also. Dig up any errant shoots and transplant them where you would like for them to grow. Remember that  raspberries and blackberries can be invasive, so find a spot that they can multply to their little hearts content. The opening date for the market is going to be pushed back until the first week in March, as we will not have much that will be available until then. Unless everyone wants to come for green onions. The goats milk will start flowing again, and by then we will have some of the additions completed to the market. We will be selling heirloom vegetable starts, onion sets, seed potatoes, among other things for your garden. A word to the wise, and not so wise, PLANT A GARDEN!!! With the price of gas going through the roof, and the fact that truckers will not be able to afford it, grocery prices are going to be ridiculous. If you need some help come ask me, I can give you a few pointers from my successes and my foibles. And if you bring an empty bucket I can fill it up with poop to get you started. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Little Hut in the Arctic?

Not Quite!!!! It's a little Greenhouse in Texas! Brrrrrr.... it is cold here on the farm. We are all in survival mode. The animals get up from their burrowed spots to get a bite to eat and an occasional drink. The farmer has spent the last few days breaking ice in water troughs and replenishing hay and feed mangers. I keep telling myself this is good, be thankful for the chill hours so that we can have luscious fruit in the summer time. Maybe the bugs won't be so bad this year. The snow will melt and penetrate the ground slowly and deeply. Best of all, I can wear my flannel jammies all day long, as chances are not a soul will be stopping by for a visit during this arctic blast. There is an air of anticipation for the coming spring, as we are pondering over the seed catalogs and gardening magazines.  We have ordered some Pluot trees ( nixed the pomogranate idea, as we need an arid desert climate), and another cherry tree.Trees do best when planted when they are dorment. All of last years trees are doing well during their deep sleep. The berries are flying under the radar and are just biding their time. This should be a great strawberry and blackberry year. And as I mentioned previously the raspberries are flourishing.  For those of you who garden, this is a reminder to prepare to plant onions, asparagus, and then potatoes. Some farmers plant onions late January, we usually plant mid February, as the ground is usually soaked from the January rain AND snow. It is now time to start seedlings indoors, as they can be transplanted 6 to 8 weeks after starting. The last frost date for North Texas is around March 17, but mark my words, there is usually one more frost that sneaks in sometime in early April. Easter is late this year, so schedule your transplanting accordingly. As for me, I wait until at least two weeks after the frost date, and hope for the best. The Farmers Almanac has weather information, although not always right on, it is pretty close. For those that want to plant according to the moon phases, the almanac has information and the dates for you. The Market will reopen in Feb. The exact date will be posted as Feb. approaches.  From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fruit of the Loom....Move Over !!!!!

I have come to the very obvious conclusion that this is the reason that the North won the civil war! These have been a basic necessessity in the Farmers winter wardrobe since their discovery at Tractor Supply ( for the extremely reasonable price of $19.95). This timeless, form fitting gem has been on battlefields, treked across the plains, moved herds of cattle on horseback, not to mention weathering blizzards in the Rocky Mountains.  Back then, at 80 cents apiece, they were a bargain. Notice the finished neck and the pearl buttons. You could wear these under a business suit and be just dapper!  Did you know that they were first designed for women? I must say that despite the lack of 21st century coiture, the Union Suit Rocks! What might you ask does this have to do with a Dairy and produce farming? Well, not much, but it sure makes it a little cozier going to the milk barn when the ground is frozen and the wind is howling, or plowing the fields when your breath swirls around your head in a cloud. No drafty, open gaps anywhere. And might I add, they are just a little bit sexy! Now it can be said that this bright red, 100% cotton, all button, easily accessable, ( get one, you'll see what I mean) versatile garment, has done the chores at R&C Dairy and Farmstead, and will do the chores for many more winters to come! Take my word for it, it will be 20 bucks well spent! And yes, I have one too! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Winter Greens!!!

My little indoor salad crop is making enough lettuce for a couple of BLTs and 2 dinner salads! Which in my estimation is a huge success compared to none at all! Along with  Mother Nature we have  made a judgement call and  have turned all of our expecting does dry, as they were very steadily decreasing in their milk volume as they prepare for their new babies in early March. We are still milking the cows, as their time is not until early summer. The farmer is chomping at the bit in anticipation for the new planting and milking season. It will soon be time to plant onions, and then potatoes. I am taking this down time to catch up on decluttering and downsizing. So far, I have gone through three rooms and have collected a shoe box of junk to haul away. I rationalize that almost every thing that passes through my hands will eventually be needed at one time or another,(or so I keep telling myself). I have a hard time turning loose of treasures that have served me well, but may be a little worn and out dated. My 30 year old Maytag dryer started complaining, very vocally, and I laid awake at night worried that it was on it's last legs, it was like a good old trusted friend that was about to give up the ghost!..........  But thanks to my persistance and a penchant for penny pinching ,and complete faith in the healing powers of  a very reluctant husband who just wanted to" kick it to the curb" and buy a new one, he took it apart, oiled and cleaned it, fixed some hoses and now it is as good as new, at least for another day or two!  Our market is closed until the first weekend in February. Special milk orders for the cows milk can be made, just call ahead and we can schedule a time for pick up. Valentines Day is approaching and we will be doing special gifts and treats, dipped strawberries, chocolates, baked goods, etc. More information will be posted at a later date. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!