It is the simple things that make me happy. A beautiful sunrise, a newborn calf standing for the first time, Butler the dog digging and catching a gopher, Jackson the other dog stopping his frantic ways long enough to lift his paw for a handshake, and even Mike mucking out the barn.
The mucking barn is a necessity as well as making me in a better mood. Walking into the mid-section of the barn where the hay and equipment is stored while on either side of me has been cleaned out, refilled with a scattering of lime and a layer of fresh wood chips gives me a much better outlook on the whole day. The tidy barn makes the cows look better to me and it makes me happy. Continue reading
Out of the long row of ‘tired’ potatoes (the potatoes that I grow in tires instead of hills) that I planted in the garden in the spring, finally the last few batches have been harvested. At the beginning of the row, I had harvested the russets and Yukon gold spuds. Now that I am at the end of the row I finishing up with the reds and blues or purple potatoes.
I try to save the purple ones for the end of harvest because I enjoy making potato salad for the fall and winter time with the deeply colored spuds. Boiling prior to making them into the salad changes the color from deep purple to more of a lighter blue color that stays true rather than coloring the white mayonnaise-based salad, unlike the red cabbage that turns coleslaw into a pink swirly concoction. Continue reading
With the woods full of newly emerging Chanterelle mushrooms it seems appropriate to share a few recipes.
Chanterelles are a heartier mushroom than the small white buttons you purchase in the store but can be sliced, diced or minced and added to soups, stews and casseroles just like the buttons. I love to dice up a couple cups of Chanterelles, add a good mix of minced garlic, chopped onions, butter and pepper or smoked paprika. Saute until moisture from mushrooms has cooked off and pile on the top of a grilled steak or baked potato. I have been known to saute this Chanterelle mix a little drier than for steak, and spread it warm on toast points, hearty crackers or to top a baked brie. Continue reading
The garden had gotten out of hand early this year, I believe it started way back when I began planting.
For some unknown reason the spaces between rows just seemed off. I always try to think as I plant and space things according to how they grow. For zucchini plants that grow tall and round with those huge leaves, I like to give them a wide berth so they don’t feel cramped. The lettuce on the other hand can be squished and even planted along with the seeds of something like radish and can still produce an abundance. Continue reading
Visitors to the farm are asked to the garden. We love to show off the variety that is being produced from a small plot of land. But the ultimate goal of enticing folks into the area is to get rid of as much produce as possible so the plants will continue to produce. I box, bag, dry and cook and send off loads each day.
The transparent apples have already turned soft and so any stragglers that finally fall from the tree become munchies for the cows in the show barn or the bulls in the bullpen.
The strawberry patch has been tilled under since the season for them is done. The ground will sit for a couple weeks, then tilled again with several more repeats. I’m trying to kill off all the buttercup roots that turn up with each tilling. The roots are so dense that they like to wind up around the tiller tines and I spend more time unraveling the bound-up mess than actual tilling, but each time should get easier.
The earliest of the plums are just starting to ripen. They have a wonderfully sweet taste even at this stage with a bit of crunch to them.
The cabbages are out of control and I have a hard time giving them away fast enough before they split wide open. I have lost three heads so far to this process but the cows are not complaining about the addition to their meals.
I noticed while walking past the garden that a couple of the cauliflower heads were sticking right out there in the sunshine. That is not a good thing. The heads like to form in the dark, all nestled inside the big green leaves. I tried to plant the seedlings close enough together to help hold the leaves tightly bound around the heads but I erred in distance. Continue reading
It seems like most of the day-to-day normalcy of farm life goes on hold as soon as hay season begins. It is a scramble just to do enough laundry to get by as the fields take center stage. The lawn does not get mowed, the cows only get a cursory glance every now and then just to make sure everyone is still hanging around and the garden is dismissed entirely except for a quick vegetable grab to make salads.
I finally got the chance to do some weeding in the garden. Over the last couple of weeks my radishes went to seed, the peas filled the pods and the plants died, I have so much lettuce that I filled a wheelbarrow and fed it to the cows in the show barn and the strawberries are kaput.
But on the good side the green onions are now ready to eat, there were a few ripe cherry tomatoes, the potatoes are blooming, beans are setting on and should be perfect sized for eating by the end of next week along with zucchini and hopefully a cucumber.
And then I got over to the kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, red and green cabbage area of the garden. While most of the cabbages are starting to form baseball sized heads, one oddball is not conforming to cabbage standards.
This one red cabbage plant is making several flower bundles where a head of cabbage should be forming. I broke off the middle one and ate it finding the familiar cabbage taste in flower form. Perhaps this was a hybrid seed accidentally slipped into the packet during packaging. It reminds me of the broccolini that is long single strands of broccoli so I think this should be called cabbagini. I may even try to let it go to seed to see if I can harvest this goofy looking cabbage.