Monday, March 28, 2011

Sleepless Sunday

So I've done it again, brought in a new week by welcoming 12:00 midnight.  I should be sleeping.  
But the truth is I've got great news. 
I was able to snap a few pictures over the last several days, as you can probably tell. 
And while I won't divulge the boring details I will just tell you that it was on clearance, it was just like the old one I used to have, and unashamedly, I am in love with my little blue Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS Digital Elph.  It does everything I need it to and more.  It almost makes me appear as though I know what I'm doing!
As I said, ALMOST!
And oh my goodness does it feel great to be able to take photographs again!  It's like seeing good things come to life all over again!
*Yawn* and on that note, good-bye and good-night!

Friday, March 25, 2011

That Hen from Wordless Wednesday

 She makes no apologies for who she is and what it is that she does.
 She's content being content. In the moment.  Present.  
I just can't help it; I love her.  She looks so at rest.  I told her she was featured on Wordless Wednesday and she blushed.  And then Mrs. Feathers went to the beauty shop and told all of her friends she was famous.    

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thoughtful Tuesday

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I'm growing mushrooms!!

I had such a great time yesterday at the Mushroom Workshop and would like to send out a big thank you to Anne Pärtna, Hugh Martin and Greg Bender for being gracious and patient teachers.  

With me came home with seven small logs having drilled holes, inoculated with mushroom spawn, and sealed with wax.  I placed the logs on the north side of the house, and they will be fine there, for now, but when the days get longer I'll have to move them into a thicket of sorts so as not to expose them to too much direct sunlight.

In between arriving at the workshop and coming home, I met so many pleasant and interesting people, along with firming up bonds with people I've begun to know and enjoy.  

I can't wait to get together with some others who are going to continue with their mushroom growing and expand my little mushroom operation.  It is said, after all, that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 

This year is going to be a busy, productive, more-than-likely stressful at times and entirely fulfilling four-seasons of fun, food and fellowship.  

photo credit 

Friday, March 11, 2011

what I'm doing tomorrow

Because I know y'all have been waiting to hear....

I'm going to learn how to grow my own mushrooms!  More specifically, Shiitake and Oyster Mushrooms.  Sometime this fall I'll post an update, as it will take that long to follow and actually see progress. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rising Cost of Food

Is it just me, or does $2.59 seem a wee bit high for a head of romaine lettuce?   Neufchatel cheese has gone up .29 cents.  I can't stand the idea of a 10 for 10 deal on Hamburger Helper, so I grab the nicest looking head of lettuce and shove it in the plastic (what is that bag made of, anyhow?) bag and pretend I am NOT about to pay 3/4 of the price of a gallon of gasoline for lettuce.

The greenhouse can't go up fast enough!  Now, where is the Ag Review, it seems I saw a Jersey Milk Cow in there somewhere...

On the "to-do" list are all of my lofty goals and among the top 200 are:

grow the five basic ingredients to a lot of my favorite dishes:


I'll need help with the celery. I had absolutely no good come of my attempt to grow it last year so I'm looking for tips, tricks, trial-and-error journals, etc.

It's true, though, most things start with these five.

Chicken soup?  No problem, saute` some onions, garlic, celery and carrots in a little butter....add cut up skinned chicken from the barn, brown on both sides, add water to cover - bring to a boil, well - you get the picture.

Tomato sauce?  Same thing.

Vegetable Beef Barley Soup?  You betcha!

I have started in the cold-frame greenhouse so far:

onions (okay, they're not planted yet, but they're there, waiting...)

Although it feels like I'm off to a late start, I'll take it.  Considering that there will be a greenhouse on the property by summer, extending our growing season to YEAR ROUND, I can stand a little lateness.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Left Behind.

There is a responsibility we carry, as a species, to be conscious of the consequences of our choices.  While there are more than everyone's fair share of topics out there to be covered, I can pontificate on one close to my heart (and stomach).  Food.  Specifically, food that comes from a farm, and the farmers.There are small, medium, large and super-sized farms in our wide world, and from many of them come delicious nutritious food.  Some of them, not so much.

What  often isn't contemplated, is the farmer who got bigger and better and faster and more industrial in order to pay his mortgage and feed his family, who is proverbially and literally being left behind in this conundrum of politics vs. food vs. a higher consciousness of the people (which is a threat to the great food monopolies that be, and their astronomical yearly incomes!) (We won't mention ~ahem~ the political support they provide).

I'm guilty as charged.  I've often thought only of not feeding my family the anti-biotic laden, hormone-laced, arsenic fed and brutally handled animals that are now meats available in the local grocery stores.  I've not thought about the farmer who mortgaged his home, land and hence, his children's inheritance in order to build the housing for the aforementioned animals to be raised in.  I'm not thinking about the work he or she does daily in order to make the mortgage payment on that burden, so that we American's can eat large-breasted chickens.  

It became real to me when I heard a farmer say (after 10 + years of hard farming) that he still had over $90,000 to pay on his poultry houses and by that time, I figured in my head silently;  he'd probably have to spend $600,000 more to "upgrade" his houses, or be denied a contract.  

So, isn't it great that there is a food movement and a lot of us are cutting out High Fructose Corn Syrup and BHT and MSG and not using Baking Powder with Aluminum in it?  

What about the millions of people who are employed by the "monsters that be" and pay their bills from their week-to-week paycheck - do they have a voice?  Do they lead food-conscious lives?  Or are they left behind also, with their $56.88 balance showing on the ATM receipt, after a balance inquiry (which cost them $1.00, incidentally) to stand in the grocery store, choosing between a frozen pizza for $3.99 or a bag of apples for $4.29 knowing which is better, but what will fill the bellies of their children for now, until the next paycheck is cashed.  

It's a conundrum for sure, this 'movement', with a lot of variables and dynamics to be considered.

This is sometimes hard for me to process, and because of that, I revert back to a comforting saying, "If I don't help myself, I can't help others", and so it goes - with my sometimes overzealous and lofty goals of changing the world one bite at a time.  

In a sense, we've all been left behind some way, some how.  It makes a lot of sense to me that in our participation of this "food movement" that we consider the farmers of the "Factory Farms" and remember that they too have bills to pay, families to care for, and in a lot of ways, deserve as much respect as the organic, humane and certified farmer down the road.  

Friday, March 4, 2011

Is it wrong

to want a Basset Hound,  a Welsh Corgi, and a Dachshund simultaneously?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

all a-buzz about bees

As customary, all small-timey farmhousewives keep bees.  At least, that's next on the agenda here at Hope Farms.  We've wanted to learn about keeping bees and have consulted a well-respected and admired friend about bees off and on for the last year or so.  

As always, there is a time and a place for everything and we're almost at that junction.  I attended the local county Bee Keeper's monthly Association meeting last Tuesday and thoroughly enjoyed meeting all.  I'll be joining the Bee Keeper's Association and look forward to a long life of membership and learning with them.  Depending on the requirements and cost, I'm interested in joining the State organization of Bee Keepers as well.

Although we don't have bees yet, we'd like to think we're putting the horse before the cart in our commitment to educate ourselves, with the help of experienced mentors.  I'll be doing as much reading as I can on the subject(s) and am grateful to have two local libraries that keep a good supply of books, old and new, on bees and beekeeping.  

Because I began to contemplate the importance of bees about four years ago while planting our first garden here on this farm, I realize that without them, we have little pollination, and *gasp* no honey.  Both are equally imperative to farming.  Well, okay, the honey is not necessary for farming, but as natures finest and original sweetener, it is indeed necessary for bread baking, herbal tea drinking and peanut-butter and honey sandwiches.  

As I go about the farm putzing here and there, I wonder where these hives need to be located.  In the shade during the hot summer, in the sun while old man winter visits, and far enough away from the house so as not to interfere with their flight path.  

A lot to think about.  I'm excited merely about the thought of having bees, I can't imagine I'll be able to contain myself when the day comes that we actually place the hives and watch the bees begin to make themselves at home!  I'll have to keep my hands in my pockets to keep from wavin' at everyone!!  

For the Bees.

What is this leisure time of which you speak?

my grateful button