Wednesday, December 25, 2013

JUST WHAT ARE SUGAR PLUMS ?????

Christmas, Christmas time is here, time for joy and time for cheer. The farm has been bustling with preparations for Christmas. The market was filled with holiday treats, giving the visitors some homemade goodies to share with family and friends. The pralines, almond toffee and peanut brittle were a hit, and the caramel chocolate pretzel rods were sold out again. The Farmer and Son kept the hoop houses protected from the ice and snow, so that the precious strawberry plants had a fighting chance to survive..... which they have done. Yes, there will be strawberry shortcake for Christmas dinner. As the year comes to a close, we want to give thanks to all of those that have made our farming venture a success. It was a good year down on the farm. Heads are buzzing with ideas for next year to try new projects and blaze new trails. Have not forgotten the mushroom idea and the hydroponics are near the top of the list. The Farmers son promises a pumpkin patch come hills or high water. As we look around and marvel at the bounty of Gods goodness, we are careful not to take all for granted. It is understood that we will try our best to do our part in Gods Great Plan, remembering that we are stewards of the Earth, entrusted with land and animals to do our best to make the world a better place to live. Merry Christmas to all and may your New Year be happy and blessed. FYI.......Sugar Plums have nothing to do with fresh plums! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

ALASKA OR BUST!!!!

Seriously rethinking the whole idea of retirement in the Wilds of Alaska. Fishing for salmon, panning for gold, cozy log cabins, crackling fires in the fireplace, penguins, and the Aurora Borialis sounded adventurous and romantic. After three days of sub freezing weather, icy roads and slippery snow, the mindset has done a complete turn around. Contemplating not only the obvious problems, but the chain of events that would most likely take place after cabin fever sets in. The main one being whether or not the Farmer could stay confined for an extended period of time..... extended meaning about 24 hours, and pondering on just how long it would take to keep CRAZY at bay.  Obvious, after all suggestions of board games, snuggling while watching the Hallmark Christmas movie marathon, cleaning out more closets, organizing the pantry, painting the bathroom, were  met with rolled eyes and a snoozy head droop,  an impasse. After all of the milking and chores and refurbishing water and food for the animals, there are still a few hours left in the day. Staying home, cleaning, baking, puttering, undisturbed for several days, is one girls answer to a prayer. Not so for everybody.  Since the Farmer worked a double shift at the fire station he has to stay home for 24 hours. Meanwhile, the Farmer's Son  picked up the slack and has taken care of the obligations at the farm. With impassable roads, and no where to go, the chores need not be rushed.....one man can do it all in a days time. With not a furrow to plow, a field to mow, a seed to plant, irrigation pipes to attend to, the Farmer is in limbo. When the Farmer offers to help in the kitchen, with the Christmas baking, or help wrap Christmas presents,  the situation is dire. Nightly prayers ask for respite, not only for protection for the farm from the frigid temperatures, but clearing of the sleet and snow so that the Farmer can drive the tractor around and around the farm anticipating the coming Spring and make plans for the new planting season. Anything to keep him in the farming groove.  He has already been out in the snow measuring where the new hoop house will be. Alaska will be a faraway place that will be enjoyed while watching the National Geographic channel, ....... one night when a blizzard hits in North Texas, and the Farmer is snowbound again, and has no other option but to sit, relax and watch..... thankful that he lives in Texas where he can FARM, FARM, FARM,  most year around!! From our farmstead to your table, thank your for all of your support!!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

JAMMIES AND LONG JOHNS!!!

The storm has hit, the Farmer has reported to the Fire Station for an extra shift,  the Farmers Son is holding down the fort. The Farmers Wife has been in her flannel PJ's for two days, just throwing on extra layers to do the chores and check the animals. Feeling a little guilty,( just a smidge) lots of inside projects are getting done. The cupboards are getting a much needed cleaning, the closets some organizing, and boxes filled with unused items are loaded into the trunk in case a pass is made by the Good Will Store when the roads are clear. The strawberry hoop house is surviving the cold, with the help of a little heat. The MARKET will be CLOSED this weekend, due to the dangerous driving conditions and the frigid, icy temperatures. Unless you have access to a rolling army tank, stay off of the roads, they are treacherous. Milking the animals, feeding and watering them is the main focus during this inclimate weather. It is a struggle to keep the ice broke in the water buckets and troughs. The larger troughs have deicers, but the smaller ones have to be thawed by hand.  Milk will be available throughout next week for special appointments, for those that need to come before the market reopens next weekend. CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY treats and sweets will be available in the market. Almond toffee, Peanut Brittle, Turtles, Peppermint Bark, Fudge, and just a few of the selections to assuage your sweet tooth. MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. Call for special appointments for dairy pickup throughout the week. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

STRAWBERRIES IN DECEMBER, AS PROMISED!!!

The Farmer and Son have really done it this time! They took some straggly starts from some ever-bearing, day neutral strawberry plants and have produced some big, ripe juicy strawberries. These are under cover in a hoop house, sheltered from the wind, frost and rabbits. If I can keep the snitchers from sneaking a taste, we will have a few in the market this weekend. From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

WINTER MILK!!!

This is the time of the year when we would usually start winding down and preparing for the impending approach of shorter days and not so farmfriendly  weather. The dairy goats would start to slack off in their production, the cows would have been bred to be turned dry to prepare for early Spring babies, and the luxury of sleeping in for a few mornings was not just a pipedream. But as the demand for fresh milk does not just disappear with the warm weather, we have been anxious to see if our plan for winter milk was a success. YIPPEE!!! With our rotation breeding, and our plan to calve and kid  during certain months, and just bucking up and accepting the idea that we can milk when it is pitch black outside and when there is ice and snow on the ground, we have pulled it off this year. We will have milk on through the winter months, goat and cow. The quantity will be a little less than normal, but with careful preplanning, and calling ahead for availability, all should be able to get what they want throughout the winter season. MARKET HOURS : Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM . THANKSGIVING WEEK, CLOSED FRIDAY, OPEN SATURDAY. Also, for those that purchased cow milk last week, we have contacted most, but the Farmer has made a confession that will affect you. In order to make sure that the girls have enough protein and minerals in their diet, when the freezes come and all of the grazing is gone, we supplement their hay and dairy ration with mineral tubs. We obtained some from a new source, put them out, and within three days they were polished off. Normally they should be put out one at a time, over an extended period, so that they could lick and nibble on them. The Farmer wanted to make sure they got all they wanted. Our cows were like kids in a candy store. The little gluttons! I am sure it was the molasses that tempted them so.  Needless to say, it gave the milk an off taste for a few days. So Sorry, we will gladly replace it for you, now that all is back to normal. The Farmer has learned that all things in moderation even pertains to cows.  From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

OLD DOG WITH NEW TRICKS!!!!

Why have I not done this before???? A dear customer came for milk this past week, proud as punch that she had delved into the great unknown and purchased some suet for rendering tallow. The word suet just sounds fatty. Birds eat it in the winter,  the meat processor is told to trim it all off of any beef we have processed, soap was made from it in the "Olden Days". The early settlers made candles with it.  Why go to all of that bother for some thing to cook your French fries in, when you can buy oil at the market? Curiosity may have killed the cat, but fact checking was going to do be done, on what would happen to arteries and cholesterol if beef tallow was used instead of other cooking oils. SURPRISE!!!!  Am I the only nitwit that was under the impression that if you ate beef fat, you would shorten your life by years? Quite the contrary. Tallow is a healthy fat, with Omega 3s, that actually fights bad cholesterol, promotes good heart health and makes food cooked in it taste really good. The process to render the suet into tallow is quite simple, a bit smelly, but worth the time and effort. If you are not quite up to the task, there will be some jars of fresh beef tallow for sale in the market this weekend. MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

GHOST PEPPERS......BOOOOOOOOO!!!!

They look so innocent, so tempting, what harm could a small bite do? You love Jalapenos, you say, have even been brave enough to venture into habanero territory, so how much hotter could a pepper be? Well, let me tell you this. Unless you want your ears blowing smoke, your eyes and nose running a constant stream , your mouth paralyzed, you may want to pass on the Ghost Chili Peppers, or Bhuta  Jolakia . Bhuta, meaning ghost, describing the way the heat of the pepper sneaks up on you.  The Farmers Son obtained the seeds. After doing a little research on chili peppers, it was discovered that the Ghost Pepper is one of the highest rated for heat on the Scoville chart, coming in at a mere 855,000 points. A habanero is around 300,000 points. That is Hot! The Farmer has an associate at the Fire Station that has requested for the last several months some HOT, HOT , HOT, goat cheese. The Jalapenos, and Anaheims were just not doing the trick. The first of the Ghost Peppers were harvested. One pepper was chopped and mixed with the fresh goat cheese. Being careful not to touch any other body parts with pepper hands, even though gloves had been used, the cheese was sampled. Sampled was the word, a tiny tidbit on the end of a spoon...... just barely enough to taste. It was a mad dash, first for some ice, then a bucket of ice cream. Next a glass of cold milk, then back to the ice. Kissing the inside of the chest freezer, where the sides were covered in frost was not such a far fetched idea. Who in the world could eat these? I knew the headlines in the news would be about a local fireman that met his Maker under mysterious circumstances as he seemed to have self combusted while eating some goat cheese on a tortilla chip! The Farmer assured me that nothing would be too hot for his compadre, just plop it in a tub, snap on the lid, and he would make sure it got delivered. A waiver was going to be included that would release me from any liability if this takes a turn south and they wake up at the fire station and find nothing but ashes in his bed. Should anyone want to be daring, I have a couple of tubs of the Inferno goat cheese. The Farmers, fireman partner is now on his third batch. That is one tough dude! Have a safe and happy Halloween, and beware of ghosts hiding in cheese! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

MONDAYS MAKIN'S

The weather has cooled, the rains are here, the oven is in reboot. Fall on the farm is the best time of the year. Summer fields are put to bed, the greenhouses are closed up, in preparation for the coming frost. The hay fields are given a final trim, and bedtime is EARLY. Time in the kitchen is leisurely and productive. Breads and rolls are appearing in the market on the weekends, even a few caramel apples have been available. The Farmer and Son are getting a hot, home cooked meal now and again, grateful for the reprieve from the Truck Stop CafĂ©, and hot dogs. Time to start the lists for the Holiday Fare. The gift baskets will be available again this year, filled with home made jams, jellies, cookies and candies, breads and cakes and whatever else finds it's way into them. Requests have been made for certain items that have been enjoyed in past holiday seasons. BIG HINT: It is a standing joke in our house when home made treats are offered or one is sitting down for meals. If you are eating something you really like, enjoy every bite, you will never see it again, as the cook is notorious for pulling ideas for a new desert or a "delectable" dish out of thin air,( and whatever leftovers are in the fridge or goods pilfered from the pantry) and presenting them as an old idea passed down from bygone days when microwave ovens and George Foreman grills did not exist. ( Therefore, an explanation for the glassy stare given when someone asks for a recipe for a particular item.) On the flip side, if a dish is unpalatable, and believe you me, there have been a few of those, there is a sense of relief, knowing it will never pass your lips again. Sooooooo, in a nutshell, there may be something from previous holiday selections and then again, there may not! Since the pumpkin harvest was null and void, we are anticipating a strawberry festival as the strawberries are doing superb. The Farmer and Son planted one of the hoop houses full, anticipating berries in January. Another stab at trying to fool nature! Shall be waiting with bated breath! In all of our farm escapades, there is one concept we have taken to heart. If the Lord sees fit to bless you with harvests, you will have harvests. If lessons in patience, perseverance, humility or whatever else are needed, it won't happen at that precise time. God willing we may have strawberry shortcake for New Years eve! The milk production is keeping steady. To alleve any anxiety, we will have goat milk throughout the winter. Two beef went to the processor last week, so those addicted to the extra lean hamburger, will have some soon. The canner is cranked up every day, as the freezers need to be emptied of the summer harvest, to make room for hundreds of pounds of meat. Lots of honey this year, as well as plenty of goat milk soap and goat soap laundry detergent.... just a little of this and a little of that! MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. Special appointments can be made throughout the week for dairy pickup. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

DOUBLE, BUBBLE, TOIL AND TROUBLE!!!!

It all started with chigger bites, acquired from a trip to the corn patch, with clog covered feet. Normally, with skin like lizard hide, after years of abuse from work and fun in the sun, chiggers normally won't make the extra effort it takes to burrow down past the tough outer layers of an epidermis. Apparently these were relentless. Within hours, ankles and lower legs were covered with red, itchy speckles. Not ones to have many ailments or accidents, or run ins with bothersome critters, the medicine cabinet at the farm is pretty sparse and basic. As the itching sensation took hold,  the scratching and digging began, trying  to eradicate all traces of the chiggers. Supposing that these little pests had been around since the dawn of time, realization hit, that there had to be something the old timers did that was natural and effective to combat these little buggers. Now with the production of cold processed, homemade soap, made from the goat milk produced on the farm, a stash of herbs and essential oils is readily available, ..... often used to enhance the feel and smell of the soap. Digging through all of the natural remedy books,  collected over the years, some research was done. A new obsession!!! Not only relief from itchy bug bites, the soothing cool of a sunburn,  unclogging of the sinuses, enhanced hearing by clearing dust filled ears, assuaging sore, tired muscles,  and all with combinations of natural herbs and essential oils. This is what mankind did for ailments until the development of synthetic medicines in the early 1800's. Folks could not afford the expensive, artificial drugs and sundries developed in laboratories, so they used what was on hand, gathered from trees, flowers,  mountains and fields. Not so secret, secrets passed down through generations. There is help for just about whatever ails ya! Lucky you, I am going to share some of my concoctions, and others recipes, tried and true, blended from essential oils and herbs for your benefit and enjoyment. A small selection of these simple, some ancient, remedies will be available in the market. If you want to soothe some aching muscles, take away a headache, clear a zit , calm a queasy stomach, cure athletes foot, or just smell really good, try a small dropper of one of my age old potions. Along with the goat milk soap, there will be bath fizzies, liquid soaps, massage oils, bath oils, diffuser oils. Ever heard of Thieves Oil? Legend has it........... just come to the market and ask, the story will be shared. Just to make it clear, I am not a licensed physician, healer, herbalist, naturopath, alchemist, soothsayer, witch doctor, or shaman. Just a Farm Gal, wanting to share some of the wondrous, natural, bounties the earth provides to better our lives.  From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A SLIGHT SNAFU!!!

It is bound to happen, with all of the modern technology and Jetson's gadgets, our website and e-mail have caught a bug.....again.  Someone also hacked into my personal e-mail, and sent from my address promotional spam for  products advertising, cures for hair loss, weight loss, impotence, bad breath, low self esteem, and oh not to diminish the importance of curing ones self of nail fungus. So all of those who are on my mailing list, do not take it personally if you received a message from my website address to enhance your personal grooming.  I DID NOT SEND IT !!! For those that know me well, they know I would be very direct, but kindly discreet and tell you to your face!!! I will post it on the blog and facebook if and when the situation has been corrected. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!! PM  UPDATE: It has been fixed!!!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

ALL IN A DAY'S WORK!!!!!


We are hoping that our Canadian transplants will thrive in our Texas climate, taking root, flourishing, and producing big, ripe, juicy strawberries. The Farmer and Son have been busy preparing the beds, as the tender plant stock will need a little coaxing to settle into their new home. In Texas, the berry plants need to be planted in the fall, so that the plants have sufficient time to become established before they set blooms and produce fruit. Although a far cry from Canada, the cooler temperatures in the winter help them feel just like home! It's October, feels like July, and preparations are being made for the onset of the next season. After planting pumpkins three times, and watching the voracious grasshoppers destroy the seedlings, we decided to pass on the pumpkin patch this year. BOO HOO! We may be opting for a Strawberry Festival in the Spring. We will have some assorted pumpkins in the market, as we found a couple of farms in our local farm network, that had some success, and would like to trade for some fall tomatoes. Speaking of which, are starting to set fruit. Should have some in the market at the end of the month. If anyone needs a kitten, one that is a nightstalker, mouse killer, grasshopper pouncer, afternoon napper, we have a few. Bitty Kit has done a bang up job teaching her young'uns the ropes. We have happened upon her brood prowling the barns and fields at night, looking for any unsuspecting victims....... not saying that it isn't a little creepy,  but I am forever grateful for their efforts. Heaven help the field mice....... whose population is ever dwindling. No scratching noises between the walls will be heard THIS winter. The dairy animals are rewarding us with lots of good milk, as the days are cooling, somewhat. We will have winter milk, yes, goat milk will be available.  The chickens are laying a few more eggs, and a few more baked goods are appearing in the market. MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. 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, September 22, 2013

A TIMELY ARRIVAL!!!

Sadie keeps a watchful eye on her new baby girl. She waited until the rain came, giving the fields a good bath, with the weather cooling, for a more comfortable birth. Smart girl...... MORE MILK!!!! We may be able to lift the milk limit if Sasha decides to share her momma with us. Fall has finally decided to arrive, and none too soon. The much anticipated rain, even though just a drop in the bucket, was a welcome blessing. The Farmer had tried to plow the strawberry field in preparation for the October planting and the plow just bounced across the top of the parched ground. As the strawberry plants will arrive in a couple of weeks, with another rain expected this week, we should be able to prepare the beds in time to plant. Lots of new faces in the market, as the Buy From Your Local Farmer concept is taking hold. The crisp, cool, fall weather has snapped us out of the summer duldrums, and we are getting the market shelves stocked up for the coming season. The caramel apple sticks are on order! The Farmer and Son got the walk in cooler put together and running, just in time to salvage a good portion of the onions and potatoes from this years harvest. As the grasshoppers have wreaked havoc on our fall planting, and our fall harvest will be somewhat limited to what we are able to grow under the protection of the greenhouses, we have scouted around for some local farmers to share and trade with, that have been able to grow a few crops this fall. We hit pay dirt. Will have a little produce here and there. The common denominators in all of the farms are the hoop houses, like ours. With just a little protection from the outside elements, crops will thrive. Our hoophouse fall peppers and tomatoes are stellar! Hints have been dropped to the Farmer, that one or two more may be needed next year. The goat milk supply is plentiful. The blank shooting buck episode, turned out to be a Godsend. What a fluke! We will have milk throughout the winter, and into the next year, breeding a group of girls this fall to pick up any slack next Spring when the current milkers slow down a bit. With another cow due to freshen in a few weeks, and a new arrival from the Diamond B Cattle Company in October, butter may be on the horizon! MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. Special appointments can be made for dairy pickup throughout the week. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT....RAW MEANS RAW!!!

There is a new fandangled way they are abusing precious raw milk to satisfy.....I am not sure who it is meant to satisfy. It is called low temperature pasteurization. In the first place, pasteurization is just that, at whatever temperature you do it. Supposedly the milk is HEATED to 145 degrees and held for a period of time. For all those who are unaware at what temperature all of the good enzymes and bacteria are destroyed, it happens to be at 114 degrees! That is quite a stretch from 145.  All of the low temp advocates are claiming that the milk still has the raw milk benefits without the potential hazard. POPPYCOCK!!! This is just a way to market milk to consumers that are under the impression that they are getting something that is more wholesome and nutritious than what they may be buying in the grocery store. Milk cannot be almost raw, just the same as a person cannot be almost alive. It either is or isn't. You would be just as well off to save yourself the hassle of searching to buy low temperature pasteurized milk, by going to the grocery store and buying milk from the dairy section. I am sure it will be a lot less expensive. Or you can make a trip to a certified grade A raw milk dairy and get the really good stuff! Wish they would leave well enough alone, and not add confusion to the back to the basics food movement. Who comes up with these ideas? From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A HINT OF AUTUMN!!!

Yes, you can grow apples in Texas! They may be a little puny, but they will still make a tart! As the weather has cooled down a bit, we are winding down with summer projects and gearing up for the Fall. Out with all of the old crop beds, with preparations being made for the new. The market is in full swing, with not so much produce, but lots of dairy items. Yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, and goat cheese, have made a comeback. A word to the wise, as our supply has increased, for some reason, so has the demand, so it would be a good idea to call ahead and reserve what you need before making the trek to the farm. We have turned Poppy and Sadie dry to get ready for calving in a couple of months, but Clementine, Molly, Praline, and Zoey are doing their best to supply our cow milk needs. The dairy does are keeping the goat milk drinkers satisfied.  The oven will start heating up again, so there will be baked goodies in the market, also. I am having a hard time keeping the shelves stocked with home canned goods, which is a good thing, mind you, but it just means that I am going to have to get crackin' and get the fruits and veggies put in the freezer this summer into jars of jams, jellies, salsas, pickles, etc. MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. Special appointments can be made throughout the week for dairy pickup. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WE ARE STILL HERE!!!!

What an eventful turn of events we have had in the last three weeks! Bitty Kit had a litter of kittens, the goats that were introduced to the Buck at zero hour turned out to be primed and ready, so we have had an avalanche of babies. We will soon have goat milk everything in the market. We have a new addition to the EBMC, the Elite Bovine Milker's Club. Clementine has found her niche amongst the Divas and the Snooties here on the farm. She is a gentle, shy, Jersey from the Diamond B cattle company in Decatur. She is standing back in the trees in the photo. They have such great cows. No more limits on cow milk for a while. It will soon be time to turn some of the girls dry, to prepare for impending Spring births, so Clementine will help fill the gap. We hatched out some baby chicks, they all survived and are growing, as we lost some of our older hens in the heat, this should help our egg production this fall.  The summer crops are dwindling down, as the relentless heat and the voracious grasshoppers take their toll. Although we will be picking okra and black eyed peas" till the Cows Come Home" which will be each and every night for the next little while. We got snookered on corn and the watermelons, due to the late planting, and the bugs. Better luck next year. We have gotten a sweet surprise in the form of some peaches and pears in the orchard, as well as some apples. The honey harvest is progressing along, the bees have certainly done their part this year. We planted pumpkins, but the grasshoppers have eaten the seedlings as they pop from the ground, so pumpkin season will probably be a bust this year. We will try again next year. We have just put some of the best ground beef we have ever had in the freezer, so we will have it in the market for sale. Canning season is under way, so watch for pickles, jams, sauces, in the market, also. Most important of all, my search for a future daughter in law has been suspended as the Farmers Son may have found a candidate!...... She is pretty shiney, and lo and behold, her family are farmers. A very good prospect I might add.
 If he doesn't goof it all up, he may just have someone to be along side him in his future farm ventures.  MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. Special appointments can be made throughout the week for dairy pick up. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

WHERE HAVE WE BEEN ????

This is the time of the year when the days just blend together with continuous watering, picking, preparing produce for market, or CSA shares, sun up, to sun down a constant flurry of activity here on the farm. I have been spending a good share of the days, in my own make shift steam room and sauna, as I have 3 canners going to preserve part of this years harvest. I should have the softest, most supple skin! The berry picking season was a good one, we are making plans for next year. The self serve produce table has been great success, with the only big problem being keeping the baskets full for a good selection for those who stop to shop. The Farmer is preparing the soil for the pumpkins, soon to be planted. The melons should be on this week, there are so many that I am sure the Farmers Son will be wheeling and dealing. The sweet corn has taken a couple of hits from the grasshoppers and worms. We are just chopping off the top part with the worm so don't be alarmed at headless corn. The fall baby goats should be here starting around  August 1. Should be plenty of goat milk this winter.  The honey will be ready to harvest in the next couple of weeks. The animals are spending the days going from shade tree to shade tree trying to keep cool. As I go to the field this morning, I will update what is available in the market this week. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

LIFE CYCLE OF BLACKBERRIES!!!

One of our visitors sent these lovely pictures taken on a picking excursion last week. WOW!!! We are still picking blackberries this week, and will be picking for another two or three weeks. The mornings are the best time to pick, so we start at about 9:00 AM and pick until around 11:00, as the heat sets in. We are bustling here on the farm, still cutting and bringing in hay for the winter, the first basket of black eyed peas was picked yesterday, the corn is starting to silk, and the tomatoes are ripening by the bushel. The self serve table in the front of the market has kept visitors in produce when we are not able to be at the market. There is hope for melons, as we see the young'ins peeking out from under the greenery. The days are long and full, but we are so grateful for the blessings of the harvest we bring in each day. BLACKBERRY UPDATE: AS OF NOON FRIDAY, THERE WILL BE A LIMITED AMOUNT OF BLACKBERRIES ON SATURDAY, AS WE HAD A BUSY WEEK OF PICKING. MORE WILL BE RIPE NEXT WEEK!!! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

IT'S A HEAT WAVE!!!

Due to the sweaty, red faced, dehydrated pickers that did not complain or  succumb to the extreme temperatures the last couple of days, we are going to be magnanimous, and move the picking time to earlier in the morning. Also, we are wanting to avoid any unnecessary headlines in the local paper, PARAMEDICS REVIVE HEAT STROKE VICTIM IN BLACKBERRY PATCH !!! We will begin at 9:00 Am and will pick until around 11:00. No reservations will be required for Saturday, first come first serve. There are plenty of blackberries to pick, just dress for the occasion. Hats, walking shoes, etc. You are welcome to bring drinks, just bring your trash back with you and put in the receptacle. See you bright and early, from our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

COBBLER ANYONE???

Not unlike the shoemakers children that walk barefoot, or the dentist wife with a missing front tooth, the chance of the Farmer finding a blackberry cobbler in the oven is kinda remote. He usually has to wait until the busy season is over, the pace slows down a bit, and the overstocked freezers are relieved of their bounty of the summer. So he settles for a bowl of fresh berries with his yogurt. The bushes are lush with ripe and ready berries to pick with some of the later varieties producing. We are picking every morning for the next week or two, except on Sunday. As the heat sets in we will start a little earlier. 9:30 will begin picking time, and will continue until around noon. Just call ahead a let us know you are coming. There are plenty of berries, making your picking easy. Guidelines for picking can be found under blackberry scoop in this blog. For those that feel really ambitious, and want some green beans to can or for the freezer, we have some for you to pick, at a bargain price. Just a hint, the black eyed  peas are just around the corner, as well as the sweet corn. MARKET HOURS:  Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Friday, June 7, 2013

BLACKBERRY PICKING IN FULL SWING !!!

What is a little rain shower among blackberry pickers? Just a great way to cool off!!  Never let it be said that a die hard blackberry picker would ever be deterred by a little wind and a slight shower, when the main goal for the day, would be to fill a couple of buckets of plump, juicy berries. Umbrellas in hand, rubber boots on foot, no way would they go home empty handed. On the up side, the berries would have received a prewash, helping to rid them of a little sand and some pesky critters.  Far be it from us to stand in the way of this all important mission for the day.  Since there was nary a sign of thunder or lightening, we just let them have at it! As this weekend is completely filled with reservations, be not dismayed if you were not able to contact us in time for a spot. We will be picking throughout the month of June, as the different varieties of berries are ripening in sequence. Reservations for next week, will be taken starting on Tues. We are picking in the mornings, before the heat sets in, we may start a little earlier next week, as it is supposed to be hot. Will keep you posted.  The rain has been such a blessing, as we have not had to irrigate the row crops. Other news about the farm,..... we are still gradually adding to our goat milk supply with two new does this week, will have goat cheese this weekend in the market. We have just purchased a new jersey cow, to be delivered on Saturday. Our ultimate goal is to be able to provide a little cream here and there, as we have had so many requests. It will soon be time to harvest honey, good thing as we are dipping into the last bucket from last years harvest. The Farmers Son is harvesting tomatoes this week from the hoop house. The selection is astounding. The squash is plentiful as well as the beets and carrots. The CSA baskets have been overflowing. The tassles have appeared on the top of the corn plants, so should have some sweet corn at the end of the month. Keep in mind that we will have melons this summer, but due to the fact that they were planted three different times, due to our inability to outguess the weather, they will be a little bit tardy. The black eyed peas and okra are right on schedule. Now for the potatoes and onions, what can be said? The Farmer and Son and Sidekick, have used the new potato digger on 4 rows of potatoes, all of which have found a resting spot on the back porch, where they are protected from the elements. They cover most every inch of the porch. There are twenty more rows to dig. For anyone that has a shred of doubt about poop compost, let me just show you what a handful of cows, a few  goats, and a chicken or two can grow! We are cutting and hauling hay this month, in preparation for the lean winter pickin's. It takes a lot to feed these girls that are producing milk for our enjoyment. Got to keep them happy.  MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM . It is a good idea to call ahead to order specialty items like buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt, kefir. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

TAKE A LEFT AT THE CORN!!!

Blackberry picking has started, the first of the varieties are darkening the bushes, ready to be picked. As the first wave of pickers came, braving the sultry heat and relentless wind, buckets were filled to the brim with luscious berries. Picking will continue for about another month, with reservations being made for just about any time we are here for you to come pick. We start in the morning at around 10:00 AM and will pick until around noon, as the heat sets in. The afternoon heat takes a toll on the berries, so it is better to pick when it is cooler. A visitor requested information about the reason for bugs in the berries. We do not use any unnatural pesticides on our crops. Since it is Texas and bugs are just a part of life, it is suggested that rinse, rinse, rinse and rinse some more to rid them of the pests. Some have claimed that a brief soak in a little salt water, then thorough rinsing will do the trick. We just assume when you eat the berries, straight off the bush, or out of the colander, there will be miniscule critter parts in each bite. Posting a sign saying NO BUGS ALLOWED has not seemed to have much effect. The Farmers Son says that most bugs can't read. So, my advice if bug free produce is what you are seeking, go to Kroger and buy some chemical laden fruits and veggies and munch away.  And it will be a given, that the corn is going to have a worm or two. Brief rundown of blackberry tips, wear shoes, not sandals, it is quite a trek to the blackberry patch.....Bring a cooler for your berries, they like it cold..........Buckets are $18 for about 6-7 lbs.  we ask that each family or group pick at least one bucket........One adult for each child under 8.........Blackberry picking is the only activity we have at the farm right now, we are not able to give tours during our busy season, and believe me, this is our busy season...... reservations can be made over the phone or best to e-mail. Our days start at 5 AM and end around 10PM. Most folks do not like to be disturbed at 11 PM with a phone call, but I can certainly shoot an e-mail any time day or night. MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

BLACKBERRY SCOOP!!!

As promised the blackberries are right on cue. This is the first good sign of impending summer. The bushes are loaded with berries in all phases of development, assuring us that the season should last for several weeks. As with the strawberries, we are going to pick the blackberries by reservation, avoiding any grumbling about traveling from afar and going home empty handed. Reservations can be made starting on Wednesday for the following weekend. Call or e-mail with your name and the number in your group.   As an added bonus, for those that would like to take a stroll through the strawberry patch, chances are you will find some late comers. For those that come to pick, we have some tips and guidelines that will make your picking experience much more enjoyable. TIP: Wear comfortable clothing, closed toed shoes. TIP: We provide picking buckets and will bag them for you to take home. A cooler to transport is suggested. TIP: Berries are $18 for a level bucket, the buckets are 5 quarts. A minimum of 1 bucket per group or family is asked. We accept cash and checks in the form of payment. TIP: One adult per child under 8 years of age. The berries are easily picked, as we keep the patch mowed and trimmed. Some varieties are thorny, some thornless. TIP: Picking will be in the mornings, starting at 10:00 and going until around Noon, as the heat sets in. Special appointments can be made at other times, if we are here. TIP: The berry patch is at the far end of the farm, a good bit from the restroom, plan accordingly. TIP: For prepicked berries, a day or two notice, please. TIP: We use no sprays on our berries, but recommend that they be thoroughly washed before eating, as little critters and sand have found comfortable homes in the nooks and crannies.  TIP: No pets, unless you keep them in your pocket. TIP: We are a working farm, we are only picking berries at this time. We are not able to give tours or supervise your children while you pick. There are working beehives, electric fences, roaming animals, as well as blackberries. We appreciate your visits, and ask that your respect our livelihood. From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

MONSOON CANCELS BERRY PICKING !!!

 Since we do not have a kayak or a rowboat to use in the strawberry field, and the Farmer has only one pair of hip waders to loan out, we will not be picking strawberries on Saturday. Due to the continuous rain all of last night, the patch is a loblolly. Berry picking has been canceled. Not to worry...... With the onset of blackberry picking next weekend, there may be a chance that a few strawberries will still be available to pick just  to mix it up a bit. As we have become adept at flying by the seat of our pants, and taking whatever is around the next bend, those that have become regulars to the farm have come to realize that nothing is set in stone around here. What is planned for one day, may be a whole new ball of wax the next day. Speaking of blackberries, the picking season will begin this next week, with reservations being taken, starting Wednesday, for the weekend. Thursday morning, Friday morning and Saturday morning will be available for picking. As the heat sets in and the days become longer, all of the picking will be done in the mornings, between the hours of 10:00 AM and Noon. As we progress into the season special appointments may be made at other times if there are sufficient berries to pick.  As mentioned earlier, we have a bumper crop, so it will not take long to fill a bucket with the plump, black, morsels. The Farmer is grooming the blackberry rows, to discourage the invasion of chiggers, snakes, and fire ants. As of late, we have not had these critter problems, and want to keep it that way. More information will be posted later in the week. For the record, even though it put the kabosh on our berry picking for the day, we are so grateful for the good rain. We just love these mixed blessings!  From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

CALLING ALL JAMMERS!!!

The strawberry season is on the downhill slide, supposedly, but with the whacky weather the berries are more than a little confused. Some of the plants are completely played out, and some of them are still blooming. The most logical solution is to sweep through and pick everything that is ready and see what happens next. A big shout out to all of you jam and smoothie makers. Come pick and fill up your pantry and freezers. We will be offering a discount for more than 10 pounds of berries picked. Call ahead for an appointment, as we will be picking in the mornings as well as the afternoons playing  a guessing game to determine the temperatures for the day.  Picking days for this week will be Friday and Saturday. We will still be following our picking guidelines, so check the blog pot Strawberry Scoop if you have any questions. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

WHAT IS UP WITH THIS HEAT???

Every morning the Farmer asks me the same old question, just like a broken record, " Well my little Butter Bean, is today the day that you close the windows of the house and turn on the air conditioner?" And he hears the same reply "It is May! who closes their windows in May!" But I have to admit, come mid afternoon it has been mighty tempting. When the clothes start sticking, and the hair is all matted, I will probably capitulate. With the heat comes the bugs and flies. The plants and the animals are putting up a good fight against these natural disasters. On the upside, the warmth has encouraged the squash, melons, and okra to explode. The strawberries are winding down, as the plants do not do well in the heat, so we will probably pick for another week maybe two. On the berry upside, the blackberries are starting to turn. We are anticipating opening on Memorial Day. Due to the extreme heat, we will be arranging for morning picking, the earlier the better. I have not been able to anticipate with much success the day or the hour that the berries will be ready. One day there is nothing that looks remotely close to being ripe, the next day, the whole bush is loaded with ripe berries.  Midweak, we will post some information. The wind is blowing ninety to nothing today, and what peaches were left on the trees have been knocked to the ground. Better luck next year. The Farmer took out the first row of potato plants with the new potato digger direct from Italy. It was mesmerizing watching it gently burrow under the ground, raise the new tators up from the dirt, and gently shake away the soil and place them neatly on top of the fresh dug mound. Those Italians are wizards in the garden. Found another superb milking doe this past week, so our goat milk production is ever so slowly increasing. We have put Praline on the cow milk production line and she just fit right in with the rest of the girls. She is a little shy, this being her first time, but she will soon learn the ropes.  From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

IT'S A RAIN DAY!!!

We got good rain, Yaayy!! No berry picking today, Booo. We are full up for the weekend picking, another Boooo. Should have strawberries for another couple of weeks, we will post information on next weeks picking on Monday,  then the blackberries should start. Will keep you updated! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

PRALINE'S MOTHERS DAY SURPRISE!!!

Right on time, little Rolo made his debut, giving his momma a delightful surprise. This being her first calf, she was somewhat hesitant of the squirmy, slippery, mass of goo that caused her some discomfort as it popped out of her hind end! After she got a good whif and he looked up at her with a curious, and somewhat disoriented glare, it was love at first sight. She licked him clean and dry, nudged him up on his wobbly legs and while talking mommy cow talk, guided him to his first taste of warm, creamy milk. It amazes me how God got all of this so right. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!! Oh, and if Rolo will share with us, we will have a little more cow milk in the market!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

THE FARMER AND THE TOMATO STALK

Every morning I go to the pasture and make an inventory of my milk cows. I have this niggling suspicion that the Farmer has traded one of my girls for a handful of magic seeds. Every time I go to the hoop house it seems that the tomato plants have grown several inches. The tops are just a smidge away  from the highest peak of the center beams. It is just a tad bit freaky! With all of the freezes and temperature fluctuations, we were not anticipating a tomato crop this Spring. To our amazement, the plants are flourishing. The stalks are loaded with yellow blossoms and green tomatoes. Fried green tomatoes will be on the table of a few select visitors who were able to snatch up the first of the seasons pick in the market today. It must be magic!! The strawberry picking season is well under way. Lots of visitors today and it seemed to go without a hitch. Most all were able to fill their boxes with sufficient red, ripe berries. After the weekend of picking, we will determine when the berries will be plentiful enough to start picking again. Most likely this will be after Tuesday or Wednesday. Reservations will be required, as this seems to work best to make sure all will be able to get berries when they come. Going home empty handed is a real buzz kill. The CSA program will be starting the week of Memorial Day. All that are participating will be contacted the week before with updated information. For those that were not able to get enough milk for your needs this week, we should be increasing our volume in the next couple of weeks, with a new freshener and the possibility of a new member of our bovine club. The planting for the Spring is almost complete, the last of the blackeyed peas, okra, melons, corn, cucumbers, squash, pepper plants, eggplant, are in the ground. The Farmer says if it snows in the next couple of weeks, we will probably just plow everything under and wait until August and plant a fall garden. I am especially anxious to use the new tator digger to dig up the French fingerlings. First time we have planted them, and the bushy plants are divine. There are a few peaches on the peach trees, and some pears here and there and for the first time, some apples. The next big project is going to be cutting hay to feed all of the hungry mouths that call 40 crossroads Rd. home. I got a hint from the Farmer that for Mothers Day, all of us are going to get a new hay cutter. Never let it be said that the Farmer forgot all of the hard work the Mothers on this farm do, having babies,  producing milk, laying eggs, hatching brood to make honey, cooking and cleaning ( my contribution). He is going to make sure we have plenty to eat this fall and winter, when all of the grass is gone. We are all just tickled pink! I will make sure they all share my portion. The blackberries should be ready in about 3 weeks. If there are plenty ready, we will open Memorial Day Weekend for picking. This year will be a bumper crop. The vines are heavy laden with soon to be ripe, juicy, blackberries. MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

WHAT IS WORSE, BEING STUNG BY THE WEATHER OR A BEE?

We snuck in another weekend of berry picking before the night frost and cold hit again. We are getting pretty adept at basking in the sun during the day and hunkering down near the heater at night. We decided to plant some of the outside seedlings and they paid the price . Our biggest concern is how to explain to visitors that they may have to carve watermelons for halloween, as we may not get them planted in time for the 4th of July picnics if the weather does not cooperate. The strawberries have surprised us all by their resiliency. After being frozen out twice, the little plants have really made a bold comeback. As some of them are still putting forth blooms, we should have berries for another several weeks. The Farmer said I must have put the Fear Of God in our visitors, as all have been on their very best behaviour, adults and children alike, with not so much as one itty bitty incident. Thank you for making our job go so smoothly. All else on the farm is rocking along. Praline is getting ready to calve for the first time, more cow milk, less rationing. The dairy does are getting used to their new digs, feeling comfortable enough to lay down at night instead of pace the fencelines. Should be able to start making goat milk cheese this week.  The Farmer and Son split some beehives, more honey on the horizon. He received a bee retrieval call, went to check out the situation. Seems some workers chopped down a tree, housing a huge swarm of bees. After donning his bee suit, and upon approaching the area, he was covered with angry bees within seconds. He slowly retreated from the area, walking about a mile away, hoping the bees would return to their hive area, which was most abruptly disturbed. Several found their way under his glove and into his mask, they are relentless when angry. Needless to say he returned home with nothing but a few bee stingers under his skin. No mad wild bees wanted at this farm. The target date for the CSA is the week of May 20. All of those that have become members will receive a contact with more information. The blackberrys should be ready for picking at the end of May also. We project a bumper crop. The next round of strawberries will be ready for picking this week on Tues. Due to several requests to come throughout the week, we are taking reservations for afternoons Tuesday through Saturday. Picking starts each day at noon. Call ahead and let us know you are coming, we will watch for you. MARKET HOURS:Friday and Saturday from Noon until 4:00 PM. Special appointments can be made throughout the week for dairy pickup. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY.....FROST?

Dragging out the coveralls again for morning chores, just got them laundered and tubbed for the summer. If nothing else, we have not become complacent when it comes to preparations for weather change. We can whip those sides of the hoop houses up and down in no time at all. With all of this years previous fluctuations in temperature, this really comes as no big surprise. We were half expecting snow on the ground when we awoke this morning. Strawberry picking will be postponed for today, Thursday, as the forcasted winds and rain will make it a not too pleasant experience. Friday and Saturday should be much better. The market will be open regular hours, Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. The Farmer planted corn and green beans this week for the third time. He says practice makes perfect. If so, we should have the most perfect corn and green beans ever. I am going to share a little secret. We are hiding 5 foot tomato plants, loaded with blooms and small green tomatoes in the hoop houses. If  we can keep them from the icy Norther that is making its way here, we should have tomatoes at the end of the month. For those that have waited so patiently for goat milk and goat milk cheese, we have acquired another sweet doe to our micro-mini milking herd. She and the four other fresh(in milk) does we scoured the country to find, have set about the task of providing milk for all of the goat milk enthusiasts that have been faithful to us for all of these years. The waiting list is getting shorter and shorter. The remaining dry as the Sahara desert goat herd, just browse around the farm eating, drinking, napping, enjoying their brief respite from motherhood and all of its responsibilities. The Farmer is on the lookout for the studliest, most regal looking buck that he can find, to ensure a new crop of babies next Spring. You can bet your bottom dollar, his first trip in our trailer will be to the Vet clinic for a little zap and tickle, testing his swimmers before the check clears the bank. Meanwhile, the cows just do their thing, as do the chickens. The honeybees make their presence known in the water troughs and on the crop blossoms. We are forever grateful for what  our animals choose to share with us and we give thanks that we are so blessed. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

LESSONS'S LEARNED!!!

As the premier day of strawberry picking came to a close, we breathed a sigh of  relief that visitors came to the farm and picked all of the strawberries that were ripe and ready on the plants. There is always that niggling thought that what if we sent out an invite and no one chose to come. I have visions of picking by the light of the moon all night long, making sure none go to waste.  It was wise we chose to require reservations,  not so wise to accept last minute requests for " there are just a couple of us that want to pick, you won't even know we are there". That couple turned out to be 16.  We are grateful for all of those who ventured to the farm for a liesurly day of berry picking. For those who were not able to make it, we will be picking again this coming weekend, and will be accepting reservations again for Thurs. Friday and Saturday afternoons. For any that would like to come throughout the week after Tues, which should be time enough for the plants to recover and put forth the next wave of ripe fruit, call, and we will make room for you in our schedule to come and pick. A brief recap of the reason we have guidelines for guests at the farm. Due to some slight misunderstandings, we had a group ( small wonder, there were 16 in the group) that were asked to leave out of respect for the other visitors and because of the less than ZERO tolerance the Farmer has for persons that feel that it is their right to come to our home, having little regard for our guidelines for safety. He is not a stranger to farm mishaps. Just ask him about his bee attack, who thought a head could swell that big..... or our ornery rooster and the metal baseball bat. Can't begin to count the times he was whopped, only to come back ready for more. His timely end was a stew pot. The Farmers son  can tell you first hand how fast a calf can kick with its hind legs. He might even show you the knot on his knee. We were very specific about children, electric fences, boundaries, beehives, hay bales, equipment. Just to make it perfectly clear, we are at this time, a u pick strawberry farm. Next month we will be a u pick blackberry farm. Hopefully in the fall, we will be a u pick pumpkin farm. At that time we will host a fall festival for all of those that would like to come and see the nitty gritty of farm life, complete with tours and demonstrations of the workings of a dairy and farmstead.  For those that would like to wander around a farm to tour all of the crops and fields unattended, might I suggest a trip to Kansas where the cornfields are spacious and never-ending, wander to your hearts delight! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

FINALLY, A WELCOME SIGHT!!!

It took them long enough, but the berry plants are making up for lost time. Barring any unforeseen catastrophic acts of nature between now and Saturday, we should have pounds and pounds of big, red, ripe, juicy strawberries. We are taking reservations for picking on Thurs. Friday and Saturday. We will be picking from noon until 4:00 PM. The Cliff Notes version of the suggestions and guidelines for picking are: One adult for each child under the age of 8. Constant child supervision is necessary on our farm, and we cannot do it for you. Yes, an electric fence will shock you, yes the rooster will peck you, yes, the cows will chase you, looking for a treat bucket. We are still looking for the missing keys to a couple of our tractors from last u-pick season.  Our dainty strawberry plants love their nice comfortable beds. They would not jump on and mess up your bed, so please offer them the same courtesy. Light pink strawberries are sour and hard, deep red strawberries are sweet and juicy. Bugs and ants love ripe strawberries also, if you throw berries on the ground they will come. We do not want them to come. We are a u-pick strawberry farm. We grow berries for folks to come pick. We do not have activities or amusement rides. We do not have a picnic area, but we have lots of strawberries for you to choose from to put in your box. We do have a restroom for you to use, contrary to what you may hear, country folks don't always use the bushes. We will provide the box for you to put your pickin's in. We ask that each family, whether you are a family of 1 or 10 pick at least 3 pounds. The berries are $3.00 Lb. Yes, they are probably cheaper at Wal Mart, but Wal Mart does not offer fresh air and sunshine.  If it is sunny wear a hat or cap, if it is chilly wear a sweater or jacket. If you wear sandals, you will be shaking the sand from your feet, instead of picking strawberries. Speaking of sand, the berries will have plenty of grains in all of their nooks and crannies. Wash them before you taste them or you will be finding the sand in the nooks and crannies of your teeth.  If it is raining, you will have driven all this way for nothing. Plan on getting a little exercise, as it is a small trek to the strawberry field. Strollers are welcome, they seem to do fine on our paths. If you bring your pets they will stay in the car, unless you want to carry them the entire time you are here. That about sums it up! We look forward to sharing our final efforts with all of those who venture here to our farm. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

STRAWBERRY ADDENDUM II..... A BIT OF A SETBACK!!!

Those poor little berries just can't catch a break! The lightening and the thunder, not to mention bits of hail and the rain on our metal roof, got our attention. As we sat up in bed and pondered the outcome in the morning, we felt pretty sure that what was falling on the roof, was falling on the strawberry field and we were in for another little setback in the strawberry production. Lots of reservations were called in for Saturday picking. Be forewarned!!! The big, ripe berry selection will be meager. The mushed and mangled berry selection will be plentiful. We will be contacting those that left contact information to announce that their reservations will be honored the following week, as many of the red, ripe begging to be picked berries, took a battering in the storm. The not so ripe, still developing, greenish white ones, weathered the storm just fine, thankfully, there are lots and lots of them. We will be postponing the picking to the following Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 25, 26, 27, from noon until 4:00 PM. If you are totally confused by all of the changes, just call or contact us for clarification. Hopefully we will be able to announce open picking no reservation required,  after Saturday, April 27. Then again, this whole rigamarole may change again! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
                                                                                                                                                                        Again, No Berries Until Thurs of next week !!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

STRAWBERRY ADDENDUM!!!

Lots and Lots of calls for berry picking! As the berries are just starting to produce, after the spring freeze, we are going to allow a limited amount of pickers to come to the farm to start the season. Nothing worse than traveling a distance for zippo! As this Saturday is pretty well full up, do not despair. There will be bigger and better Saturdays to come. At the beginning of next week, the picking days for that week will be posted. As soon as there is open picking, we will make the big announcement. For now we will continue with reservations. There have been several requests to come pick in the mornings, so to whom this may concern......... we start our chores and milking at about 5:30 in the morning. After several hours of work, we finish.....for the morning We welcome pickers, but would have to start chores at about 3:00 AM to accommodate morning pickers. Sorry, no can do! We finish picking at 4:00 PM in time to start the chores for the evening. After a bite of supper, a little shut eye, we start all over again!  From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

STRAWBERRY SCOOP!!!

The dismal remnants of the hard freeze that blasted through here last month are quickly being overshadowed by new blossoms and red, ripe strawberries. We are preparing to welcome visitors to the farm to share the lush fruit that the hearty plants are putting forth. Our u-pick season will open this weekend as the berries are becoming more abundant each day. To assure that there will be plenty of berries for those that make the trek, we will have appointment picking, as we kick start the season. Here are some of the guidelines and basic information for those that will be coming to the farm for berry picking:* We welcome families to come pick, but we require 1 adult for each child under 8 years of age, and ask that all children be supervised at all times. We are a working farm and have electric fences, beehives, farm equipment, animals, this is to make sure that your visit is safe and enjoyable   * Wear appropriate clothing. Jackets, closed toed shoes, as we are in the sand, hats, etc. * Leave Fifi and Fido at home, we do not allow pets on the farm. * We do not spray our berries with chemicals, but there is constant blowing wind with sand. Do not attempt to eat the berries before they are washed, you will be spitting out grit for hours. * Pick only the berries that are deep red all of the way around, they are ripe and sweet. * Do not walk on the plastic beds where the berries reside. Underneath are the irrigation lines and they are difficult to repair when torn, as is the plastic.* We provide the boxes for picking. The berries are priced at $3.00 lb. There is a minimum for each family of 1 box . The box will hold about 6-7 lbs. level full.* We accept cash or check in the form of payment * Picked berries may be available in the market.  *Restroom facilities are available.* We do not have a picnic area, but nearby Lake Ray Roberts has picnic facilities. * We are not able to give tours during picking hours, so we offer an invitation to our fall festival, where tours will be given to all areas of the farm. Appointments for picking can be made by leaving a message on the answer machine, 903-429-2319 or by e-mail info@randcdairy.com. Just provide your name, the number of persons in your party, and a contact number or e-mail address. We will contact you to confirm your request. The first day of picking will be Thursday, April 18. The picking hours will be 12:00 Noon until 4:00 PM. We will also be open the following Friday and Saturday, the same hours. We are closed on Sundays and do not pick in the rain.  Additional picking days and hours for the weeks to come will be posted here and announced on the answer machine. We look forward to seeing everyone this year! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support !!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CAUTION: DELICATE SUBJECT MATTER, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!

The Farmer finally took matters into hand, as the prospects of goat milk seemed like wishful thinking. The swelling tummies and pooching udders had not produced anything resembling babies or milk. Time to go to the source of the situation. We had analyzed every scenario that could possibly exhist.... the courtship, the weather, the alignment of the stars, hormones, bad kharma. Why in the world did we not have any kids on the ground? The Farmer "smelled a skunk in the woodpile."  The most logical next step would be biology, and that if something does not seem to be working properly, figure out why and how to fix it. Since dairy goats are not as numerous as dogs, cats, horses and cows in veterenary circles, we were hard pressed to find a vet that would take on our situation. After a few referrals, we hit paydirt. As it was much easier to load 2 bucks in a trailer than 40 does, the fellows were soon taking a road trip to Van Alstyn. After a few pokes and prods, and a little electricity ( just let your imagination soar) the results were conclusive. Now, just let me say this. In the world of guns and marksmen, shooting blanks has its place. In the world of dairy goat breeders, shooting blanks is a travesty. Our newly acquired,  pedigreed, high dollar Stud Muffin did not have a tadpole anywhere near him. Who would have thought?  He had sired many offspring, or so we were told, so we certainly were not expecting this outcome. In our defense, the Vet said that this was very rare. Naturally, it would happen to us! Oh, and our good ol' boy Don Juan, who we thought was not up to the task this season, and lost his position as the number one Bad Boy, was so loaded with little swimmers, the vet cautioned the female tech to stand back for fear of exposure! In a nutshell, a goat dairy, with few prospects of milking does is a bit of a dilema. Not to worry! We may be down, but certainly not out. The Farmer had the forethought to introduce Don Juan back to the doe herd a couple of months ago, just to catch any misses ( if he only knew). And this is where the story takes a quirky turn. The farm that we got Mr. Fancy Pants from just happened to have a dire situation that needed our help. It seems that the little buckling that we swapped said Buck for, in order to switch bloodlines up a bit, happened to jump the fence one night and got into small herd of does, a fine group of girls that were going to be sold, therefore not bred this past year, due to an impending surgery of the owner. It seems that our little buckling had quite a time, as the goats are now kidding and it seems most all will be mothers. How much more bizarre can life get? It just so happens that some of these does will very soon be ours, the first to arrive in a couple of days..... and full of goat milk to boot! We appreciate everyones patience, we apologize for our ignorance. The appearance of fat bellies and swollen bags was brought on by very well fed goats . The supply of goat milk will be gradual to start, then should increase in the next few weeks as the new goats arrive. In the meantime we bid farewell, to the new and useless and welcome back to the old and invaluable. By the way, we should have a wave of babies in the fall,thanks to efforts of an old, reliable friend, who we refer to as the Clean Up Man, and that means winter milk! Yippee!!! The MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. Information on strawberry picking will be posted this weekend, as we are hoping to start u-pick next weekend. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

E-MAIL GLITCH!!!

Our farm e-mail has a glitch, not sure what it is, all messages have been returned as it states our box is full. The technical department, which consists of anyone here on the farm that knows beans about computors, and anyone who doesn't, like yours truly, and whoever else we know that might have a clue. Hopefully we will be up and running again soon. Meanwhile, pick up the phone, as I have paid the bill for this month and it still is working and call us at 903-429-2319 UPDATE::::::::: THE PROBLEM HAS BEEN SOLVED!!!! Thanks to an intelligent yakity parrot who squawks every morning "Take out the trash, take out the trash". Who needs a geek squad when we have Nicky. She was right, our trash folder was full of forms and files that were downloaded. It has since been emptied and the mail box is ready for mail! Also, thanks to Pam, our site sponsor.

A NICE SURPRISE!!!

Too wet to plant, to wet to plow, but not to wet to pick! The Farmers Son went to the new asparagus patch after the rain and WOW! Since it is mulched in bark chips, no mud, so he was able to take his special asparagus cutting tool, direct from jolly old England, and go to town. And what is even better than that is in a couple of days, he will be able to pick another bundle, and another, and another. This is definately an up in the farming roller coaster. Even though the rain has set us back a bit, we welcome every drop of it. It should be a shoe in for a great blackberry crop, not to mention the peaches.The row crops are off to a great start.  Have not yet been out to check on goat baby arrival this morning, I am not going to hold my breath. The MARKET HOURS have changed to Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00. Theoretically, we should be picking strawberries in the mornings. Not holding my breath for that either. Thankfully there are new blooms replacing the frostbitten ones, so strawberry season will probably overlap blackberry season this year. The chickens do not care if it is day or night, summer or winter, they are going to do just what suits them, as they lay when they feel like it, so we just try to keep them happy. The cows are still supplying lots of good creamy milk, grateful for the rain that entices the green grass to grow. We are still accepting applications for the pick up at the farm CSA, check the website for more information. Will post updates on strawberry picking when we get a little closer to opening week..... crossing our fingers there will be sufficient berries in a couple of weeks . From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

APRIL SHOWERS....A LITTLE EARLY!!!

With the much needed rain, we don't mind the fact that the every day chores involve wet animals, mud, soggy clothes and rubber boots. As we are well into the Easter weekend, there is a sense of fresh and new on the farm, with the trees all leafing out, the bees emerging daily from their hives, the spring grasses and wildflowers poking up from the dormant soil in the pastures. The girls make a beeline for the open gate at first light, hungry for a tender salad for breakfast, walking past the large rolls of dry hay in the hay rings, not even giving them a passing glance. As we patiently await the first of the goat babies,( yes, our vigil is ongoing) we are grateful that the weather has warmed somewhat and we can say with confidence that it is certain that none of the newborns will freeze to death. We are also playing the waiting game with seed planting. Next week it will be time to plant the warm weather crops. Watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers, summer squash, black eyed peas, etc. Our first assessment of the strawberry field after the hard freeze last week was overly optomistic. A good share of the little green strawberries that were doing so well, suffered as the frost and cold creeped in during the early morning hours. It is a sure thing that the little black nubs on the edge of the stems are goners. Not to worry, there are lots of new blossoms that should replace what was lost, and just like everything else this year, the season will be a little later than expected,  although maybe not as abundant as it could have been. If nothing else, the Farming profession is never ever boring and predictable, with more ups and downs than a Six Flags roller coaster,  and this is one of  the reasons we are Farmers..... this is our walk on the wild side! Our thanks to our Father in Heaven for sending His Son, our Brother, to make a huge payment for our sins and misbehaviors. May we walk this Earth with a consious effort to try and make it a much better place to live for all of those whose lives we touch. I just want to make sure He feels that the sacrifice was worth it.  From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

DODGING THE BULLET!!!

As we scrambled through the garden books and scoured the internet to find out how cold it could get before the fruit trees were nothing but a fond memory, the temperatures slowly dropped below the dreaded freezing mark. As with everything else in farming the stakes are high during the inbetween days marking the end of winter and the beginning of Spring. Will the blossoms survive the dip or will they succumb to the harsh bite of the last of the last frost days of the year. I read where some " know it all"  claimed that because of global warming, that the last frost date in our area would be at least a  week earlier than the accepted date of March 18. One word.... HOGWASH. There is another frost warning next week, well into the month of April. Upon inspecting the blossoms following the bitter cold morning, only a few seemed to have been affected by the freeze. Always the optimist, I rationalized that this is natures way of culling the fruit, so that the trees would not be overburdoned. Time will tell. If each peach tree has only 3 peaches, we will be grateful for those, and hope for a better season next year. The strawberries seemed to have accepted the cold with bold resiliance, as they continue to produce the soon to be ripe, little green gems poking out from the greenery. The fingerling potatoes have fallen over and are playing dead. Hopefully, with a little warmth and sunshine they will make another effort to sprout a little further through the ground, shaking off the shriveled tops that did not stand a chance against the sweeping cold. The corn and beans knew better than to poke their heads out of the ground until the danger had passed, and for once we were grateful that they had not yet sprouted . Thankfully, we did not give in to the temptation to plant melon seeds.  In the mean time, we trim back the frozen asparagus tops, snip the black tips off the berry bushes, remove the frost cover from the tomatoes in the greenhouses, which by the way, survived the cold with blooms in tact, and thank the good Lord that we don't live in the Midwest where ice and snow blankets the ground. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

WEEKEND UPDATES!!!

The latest and greatest theory on the dairy goats, due to the heat and drought last fall, they did not cycle until a month later than expected, so that would put the start of the milk production a month later. Makes sense to us! The strawberries are in full bloom and are making berries, hoping to start u-pick the second week of April. Will follow this week with more information and details. The Market hours will change the first weekend in April to FRIDAY AND SATURDAY FROM NOON UNTIL 4:00 PM. Picking hours and days will be announced as the picking season begins. The corn and green beans are planted, as well as more greens, onions, and we have finished off the orchard with the planting of more peach and apple trees. We are anxious to plant the cucumbers, squash, eggplant, melons etc. Contact us with questions concerning availability of products. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

CSA INFORMATION.....FINALLY!!!

As we prepare for the 2013 growing season, we are anticipating another sucessful year sponsoring a CSA on the farm. We have many of our participants from last year, that have already comitted to a share spot this year. All of our delivery areas are full, but we will be accepting applications at this time for picking up weekly shares at the farm . Our website has specific information on what a CSA is, and how our CSA is implemented,  for those that are wondering what in the world I am talking about. We have allocated so many shares for pickup on Fridays from 3:00PM to 6:00 PM. Contact us by e-mail or telephone if there are questions or more information is needed. There have been numerous calls wanting to be included, but we were not sure until this time, how many we could accomodate.  We will proceed with a first come first serve basis, until all of the share spots are filled. If you are not able to commit to a share, not to worry. Produce will still be available to purchase in the market on the weekends. For those who want to be included in our CSA family, fill out the application, and send or bring to the farm, a check for the said amount. This will not be cashed until the week that we begin the first share. We anticipate the target start date to be during the second week of May. More specific details will be given as we get closer to that date. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

WISHFUL THINKING!!!

It was extremely painful having to go to the grocery store and purchase strawberries for this cake order when we have the prospect of hundreds of pounds that will soon be ready to pluck from the plants, a few hundred feet from the back door. We retire in the evening with me wishing the strawberries were ready, wishing the goats would start having babies, wishing it would rain, wishing the cold weather away, after hearing me bemoan all of my wishes, the Farmer wishes that I would be quiet and be patient. For some reason unbeknownst to us everything is late this year. I am sure that the old timers know the reason, I just have not been able to find one to spell it out for me. Some of our dear milk patrons explained about the Spring equinox and the full moon that will follow, setting the seasons back a bit. I like that explanation the best. All of our breeding theories and planting schedules just flew out the window, back to following the moon, watching the birds and insects, as it has been decided by all here on the farm, everything good happens in God's own time, we are just here to facilitate all of the possibilities! Spring is coming, the fruit trees are starting to bloom, the bees are out full force. The Farmer has made inventory of all of the hives, adding some supers for the production of honey. We left plenty of food in them last fall to make sure they would not go hungry during their winter hibernation. All 18 hives are doing very well. The cows are finding the first Spring grass sprouts so the milk is going to start to change color, turning a little more golden as the grasses come on. Same with the chickens..... the yolks will vary. We promise goat milk is coming.....we just don't know when. We see saddlebags and waddlers, but have decided what will be, will be. The U-Pick strawberry season will be late this year,( what a shock!) We are anticipating the target date to open will be the second weekend in April. Next week the information will be posted here on the blog. The CSA  will resume in May this year. The Sherman group is full, the Colony group is full, There will be available shares for pickup at the farm on Fridays. Applications will be taken next week, more information will be posted here, also. NEWS FLASH!!!!!!! MARKET HOUR CHANGES: STARTING APRIL 5, FRIDAY NOON UNTIL 4:00PM AND SATURDAY FROM NOON UNTIL 4:00 PM. We will be picking strawberries in the mornings, hopefully.  From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

TOAST TOPPER!!!

Honey has been found in the burial tombs in Egypt, still edible, most likely a little chunky. As the last of the precious honey buckets are opened, the natural process of raw honey is revealed. If honey has not been heat treated, it will crystalize and solidify. In some honeybee circles this is known as creamed honey. More often than not, the creamed honey you see on the store shelves has been man made through a process of introducing a bit of pure creamed honey crystals to flowing honey and stirring until all of the honey is light, creamy, and thick, speeding up the process. Very few things that you put in your mouth will elicit the sensations that you will experience when you wrap your lips around a spoonful of natures perfect food. A little heated water in a pan on the stovetop will return it to its original flowing form, but why bother when it can be spread on toast, bagels, spooned in tea, or just scooped out of the tub and eaten as is. AS OF APRIL 5, NEW MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. No goat milk as of yet, the strawberries are blooming, the next couple of weeks will be spent planting transplants in the fields, and planting more seed trays for replacements as those are harvested.  From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

BLOOMIN' BERRIES!!!

The Farmers Son and the Farmhand have been working their magic on the strawberry field. The plants are coming out of dormancy and are putting on new growth and blooms. All of the dried, shriveled leaves have to be trimmed and weeds need to be pulled, so that the precious new greenery and blossoms will have room to thrive. The target date for the start of berry picking season will be the first weekend in April, give or take a week. ( a crystal ball would make it so much easier) It will be announced as we get closer to that time. The information, pricing, and guidelines will also be posted. We have all but given up on the momma goats. Each night as the rounds are made during the wee hours, they all raise their heads and look at us, as we disturb their cozy slumber, ( have I mentioned that goats snore?). With glaring eyes they speak volumes." CAN'T YOU SEE WE ARE SLEEPING???" On a positive note, if they freshen a bit later in the Spring, they will milk into the winter and we will have some milk on the latter end of the yearly milk cycle. Our only explanation for the delay, a young buck .... never been in the same pen with a girl, so a bit gauche and a little timid..... turned loose on a herd of lusty ladies.... all vying for his attention at once.... butting each other in fits of jealous rage as he runs around in circles wondering who to attend to first..... with no one getting any of his affections as he is befuddled with all of the attention and running for dear life as he waits for the "cat fights" to subside. How in the world  can he concentrate on his" blissful purpose for living?" as the Farmer puts it. Whew!!! I see a reality show in the making! We know he finally got results, as is evident in the pooching tummies and swollen udders, but WHEN is anyones guess!!! ANNOUNCING NEW MARKET HOURS: AS OF APRIL 1, MARKET WILL BE OPEN FRIDAY FROM NOON UNTIL 4:00 PM AND SATURDAY FROM NOON UNTIL 4:00 PM.  Special appointments can be made throughout the week for dairy pickup. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

R & C DAIRY AND POTATO FARM!!!

Needless to say, if each potato bit makes 3 potatoes, a root cellar under the entire farm will not hold all of the potatoes that will be harvested. It is a sure thing what will be in the bottom of all of the grandchildrens birthday goodie bags this year! The Farmer and Son and the new Farmhand ( yes, help has arrived, a true testament that all things come to he who waits. A new daughter in law should be just around the corner.) planted 37 looonnnnggg rows of tators. Next step...... a tator digger. I see something blue in color, bright, shiney, sleek, and of European,( Italian, if I am not mistaken,) design, perched on my doorstep on Mothers Day. You can bet your bottom dollar it will not be a Ferrari. The Farmers Son would disappear, never to be seen again if he had to dig all of those new spuds with a shovel. The carrots and beets are planted. Next project is to get the hoop houses filled. The tomatoes and pepper plants are ready. The barn has been prepared for the impending births of the kids. The stalls just need fresh water and hay for the new mommas. Lots of calls this past week for goat milk, it should be here soon. Meanwhile, the sun rises and sets on the farm, the days are getting a little longer, the chickens have decided to start paying for their keep as the egg production increases each day. The cows are keeping us in milk, and my stingy heart has been softened and it has been decided to share the last, which was the first harvested, bucket of honey. More on that later. The much anticipated strawberry season should start the first week of April. Exact dates will be posted as we draw nearer to that time. Number of shares for the CSA will be determined as we finish our planting in a few days. We do not want to overextend ourselves and promise what we cannot deliver. A word to all those who want to participate, be sure your family likes potatoes!  We will announce more information and when applications will be taken for the 2013 season on the blog. The MARKET HOURS: Friday from noon until 4:00PM and Saturday fron 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!