Tag Archives: Food

Beans! And fair…..

Happens every year.  End of July rolls around, and bam, it’s fair season, the beans are ready, fall planting needs to be done, and if it isn’t in already, it’s a really good time to get hay.  I don’t feel like I’ve slept in days, napped maybe but that’s it.  The beans always seem to be the more stressful thing for me.  Probably because they are a staple for us.  A 40-50 quart staple.  Plus all the ones we eat fresh in the summer.  And that’s just the beans.  There’s lots more that’s growing, it just seems to be the beans are ready when we don’t have time to give to them.  I even tried to get them in two weeks early this year.  Dry spell, and they seemed to creep out of the ground at a snails pace.  A second sowing is actually working out OK, as they are just now starting to set, and if we stay on top of picking them, we might get enough to put up for the winter.  Ah the unpredictability of farming/gardening/life.  Love it.

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Provider (our stand by)

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Soleil (new to us this year….)

What’s your favorite garden staple?

 

Success so far. …

 

Farming, really growing anything, even kids, is a gamble.  Ask any farmer, gardener, or parent.  I’ve had two perennial areas of frustration for me.  One is tomatoes.  We plow through loads of ketchup, tomato sauce and salsa.  We use LOTS of tomatoes.  Ripening them has been a bad bet (at best) for years for me.  Two years ago, we built a hoop house, and this year finally, I’m getting ripe tomatoes before they all freeze solid.  To say I was excited was an understatement.  I was showing people the picture like I had a new baby…  Pathetic. 🙂

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The other product has been cherries.  I planted 5 trees back in 2007, two died (I’m not nor have I ever pretended to be a orchardist), and any time there has been a hope, when I go out to pick, I’m greeted with bird poo in the trees, and no cherries.  This year, it looks like not only will we get a bunch of Rainiers but also Sweethearts.  I’m stoked.  We got about 3# off the Rainier tree and the Sweethearts look like they are ready to go now.

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No poison here.

That’s right.  We haven’t used chemicals on our property.  Ever.  Nothing with a warning label (except for beer traps for slugs, but that was when we first moved in.  Now we have ducks)  I’d rather see things like the bright pink wash of wild geraniums under our deck, or the insects (our farm buzzes with life, and not just from the bees).  Even tent caterpillars are spared the toxic bath.  How do we deal with them you ask?  We pull weeds before they flower (if at all possible) squish things like tent caterpillars and aphids (bugs don’t like to hang out near squished friends) and tolerate a little more ‘English garden’ look about the place.  Do we ever worry when we see one of the kids with a piece of grass hanging out of their mouth?  No.  Our biggest worry with them, is that they will not wash the mud from their hands before picking the wild salmon berries…

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Thant last shot is of a branch that was fully engulfed by tent caterpillars this spring, nasty squishie squishie by yours truly, and there wasn’t another tent in the orchard.  The alders around the place though?  Badly mangled.  Farmer win.

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Food. (what goes in, comes out, and gets eaten)

Food.  It’s what builds everything.  Plants, animals, fungi, even those little things swimming in the bottom of puddles we can’t see without a microscope. Like one of our favorite suppliers says, ‘you are what you eat’, and for us that extends to our animals. As a family, we have made some big changes to allow us to eat about 90% organically. There are a few treats, a tiny bit of dining out, and one or two quick meals that we are loath to give up, but in truth, 7 days a week we are scratch cooking out meals. Our meals come mostly from either our farm, or another in the area. It occurred to us several years ago that spending money on organic food, but feeding conventionally grown feed to the animals that make things we eat (milk, meat and eggs) was silly. Then we got to thinking about the few animals we don’t eat (pet bunnies, llama….) but who’s poop amends our garden, that grows food we eat… There is a point where this gets a bit crazy, as for us animal health trumps our desire to live ‘chemical free’. We will administer antibiotics to sick animals. Just like we do to ourselves and our kids. Cause we love them all.

So, on this vein, we have tried lots of different feeds in our animals. Our chickens get organic pellets, and scratch grain. Our other poultry also gets similar treatment. Last year our goats were a bit of a challenge. We had access to pelleted organic goat feed for a while, but then it’s availability became iffy. We ended up getting organic grain from a mill up in Burlington, which was cool, only that the milk goat was not fond of it. In fact, she didn’t like it. We tried mixing some watered down molasses, and that worked for a time, but in the end the go-to amendment for her feed was alfalfa pellets. We ended up getting Standlee alfalfa pellets (similar to alfalfa hay, but easier for us to handle), which are non-GMO (big plus) but were not certified organic. And that’s about the only rub with it. This year we picked up a bag of the alfalfa pellets just in case we ran into picky girls (we have three in milk this year, not just the one). We also were able to get reliable organic goat pellets. One of the girls isn’t a fan, but with a couple handfuls of the alfalfa she will suck it down (if their beet pulp was organic, we’d give that a shot, it would probably work better too). In fact, her milk production went up by about 10% when she started getting the pellets, so we added them to our older girls ration (we have to watch her as she puts all she has into her milk). We are happy with the results, but again, not knowing all that goes into it, once we don’t need the milk for the baby goats, we may drop it from their ration and take the cut in milk production that will follow. We also started adding a small handful of BOSS (Black Oil Sunflower Seeds) to each goats ration, and they act like we tossed candy on their plate, but it’s also non-GMO but not organic…. We’ll see how this all works out.

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Handful of food/milk/meat

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Our Turn!! Hooping it up at Adalyn Farm.

I got the coolest Christmas present from my wife this year.  The box was about 6×6 and an inch thick.  Inside were 12 flexible drinking straws and a chunk of plastic wrap, and a note.  “your own hoop house, just add water”.  I’ve been sinning thinking of the hoop house over at my folks farm.  Sin is bad, and with my wife’s help, I will overcome it 😉  I’ll try to remember to take some photos, but so you can see what we are in for, here’s the post from a couple years ago at my folks place…

August 2009
It was really fun last weekend!  My folks had some milestone birthdays and a whole pile of folks showed up for food fun and hoop housing!  Lots of people I didn’t know (that doesn’t surprise me) and lots of folks I did!  It was a great success!  I’ve managed a work party or two, and unless you are used to coordinating tasks and materials for 15-20 people it can be a bit overwhelming.  It really did go well, with all but the front door done and the plastic over the top!  Here are a few shots….

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“Dad, your weird” or “What’s on your Pizza”

Yep.  It’s the same thing I told my Dad.  And now it’s my turn to hear it.  It was ‘make your own pizza’ night.  We made the pizza dough by hand, and used some of our own cheese.  Most of the dough ended up with the normal cheese and olives and such.  I went with an egg.  I don’t remember where I saw it, some foodie site, talking about all the stuff the french put on their pizza’s…

It was also one of the first nights we were able to dine outside (or pik pik as the 2 years old calls it).   Good times.  Although I think if I put an egg on a pizza again, I’ll do it for breakfast.

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