Thursday, April 4, 2013

   Okay so, not really a consistent blogger.... sorry!  Somehow feeding and caring for (and schooling)  a family of 7, along with a whole farm full of critters, planting and caring for a large garden and other misc. things all seem to take precedence.
  But, here I am.  You are not forgotten.
  So, what's going on down on the farm....
The goats are finished kidding, and the babies are growing well.  I took a trip over to Port Angeles with my good friend Julie and my sister Andrea to pick up a very lovely doe and her doeling from Lucky Star Farms (thank you, Don and Judi).  Julie and I went over to Rockin' CB Ranch just a couple days ago to pick up our two new herd sires (thank you Cindy!), who are also quite lovely.
  The house is over flowing with seedlings... we have moved the first round up to the greenhouse and have started another batch, also soon to move up to the greenhouse.  The addition on the greenhouse is complete, (actually 24' X20') the greenhouse is staying warmer at night with the end framed in.
  We have started planting in the garden, onion plants, the last three days, but soon it will be beets, swiss chard, spinach, radishes, sugar peas and more.... the Rhubarb is making a slow but steady seasonal appearance also.
  The Scotch Highland Cattle are looking roundish and pregnant, though the past couple years they"ve calved in June.  Can't wait to see the teddy bearish faces of all the babies!  We have an adorable little Red Hereford bottle baby calf that we purchased from a friend at church after her mom decided she didn't want her.  She's a lot of fun, and the girls are really enjoying bottle feeding her, and how friendly she is.
  The doe, Lexie, that I blogged about before, has made a nearly complete recovery, and is back out with the rest of the herd.  She will only ever produce on the one side...  she actually sloughed the other half during her recovery process.  But, her spirits are good, and she will hopefully go on to produce some nice offspring.
  The first batch of chicks from the incubator are fully feathered and nearly ready to leave the brooder.  The next batch is in good health and feathering out nicely, and there's another batch due in about a week.  We've got some buff laying duck eggs in there from a friend, also due in about a week; and also some Royal Palm and Narragonsett heritage breed turkey eggs.  I'm hoping to be able to put in some Guinea fowl eggs sometime soon.
  We started an addition (into the shop) during the winter, for a bedroom for the older girls....  our currently 1200 S.F. home is getting a bit snug for a family of 7.  It is on hold now, for our busy season, but hopefully we will be able to finish it this next winter.
  We are really hoping to be able get the barn up this year... Maybe we will hold an old fashioned barn raising! 
  Mark your Calenders.... the date for our annual farm campout is the second weekend in August!
  So, here it is.... the Quiche recipe I promised:
                                    Crustless Quiche for a crowd (or a well fed family of 7)
   You may use your favorite pie crust recipe, but for a gluten free version, simply ommit the pie crust, and grease the pie pans.
  Pre heat your oven to 325o.
                  This will make 3 - 4 pie pans of quiche (if you want to use pie crust you will need to
                   pre-cook it for 8 minutes or so at 450o).
                   1 lb. bulk Italian Sausage, or 1lb. sliced Bacon  (I prefer grass-fed, we have sausage made
                    with our home grown grass fed beef)
                  1 very large onion, chopped
                   Your choice of  1 lb. of sliced Mushrooms, 6 cups chopped fresh Spinach, or a large head
                     of Broccoli, chopped into small pieces and steamed lightly. (I love to use whatever fresh
                      greens we have in the garden right then)
                   3 Cups grated cheese, preferably Swiss, but mozzarella or even Cheddar or Colby
                    Jack will work (I enjoy making it with my homemade goat milk mozzarella).
                    10 Farm Fresh Eggs
                     1 Cup Half and Half (I sometimes use our goat milk fresh cream)
                     1 Cup Milk (I like to use our fresh goat milk)
                     1 teaspoon Real Salt or Celtic Sea Salt
If using bacon, cook it first in a large skillet, then put aside to cool and be crumbled, and use a couple Tbls. of the grease to cook the onions and veggies in.  Otherwise, use 2 or 3 Tbls. of butter in a large skillet, and lightly brown the onions, and the sausage.  When nearly done, add the greens, mushrooms, or broccoli, and mix all together.
  In the meantime, in a large bowl, whip the eggs, milk, half and half and salt together, then stir in the grated cheese.  Stir in the meat, onion veggie mixture, and bacon if it applies,mixing well.
   Scoop the egg mixture into the greased pie pans, taking care to get evenish portions of egg mixture and meat/veggie filling in each pie pan.  Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or till a inserted tooth pick comes out clean.  Cool ten minutes before serving.
  This will freeze well for up to two months, just thaw, bake at 350o for 25 minutes, or till heated through, and serve. Or, eat right away.  It makes a good breakfast or dinner.  Tastes excellent served with fruit.
  Well, enjoy your quiche!  I know we will  :-)  Blessings to you all!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Today, I have spent time on the computer, answering inquiries about the CSA; I think we need to update our website to include some FAQ's...
  Aloar is working on the addition of an extra 12 X 20 feet to our greenhouse, and preparing beds for planting (I will go up in the next couple days and seed some cold hardy greens).  The girls and I have been working in the house, seeding trays of warm weather crops, such as onions, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, herbs and more.  They will grow more quickly staying in the house for a time, before we move them to the greenhouse for continued growth.
  The doe, 'Lexie' that I blogged about yesterday is still doing well, it would seem.  We sold one of our extra little doelings yesterday, to a home where she will eventually grow to be used as a dairy animal.  Each sale of 'extra' babies leads to a little more extra milk for us... soon I will start making yogurt and cheese again!
  In a mostly self sustained eating style, you learn much about eating in season.... the hens are picking up again now too; after rationing  eggs all winter long, they are finally starting to pile up again.  :-)
  With lots of eggs and milk, I will be able to make a favorite of my whole family, quiche!  I will try to blog the recipe in the next couple days, so maybe you can make quiche too.
  I am working on getting another batch of eggs into the incubator to hatch, also working on getting the Buckeye chickens that I hatched last year (out of eggs I had shipped here from North Carolina) separated out from the rest of the flock so I can start hatching their eggs, too.  They are a dual purpose heritage breed, originally bred in Ohio by an american woman. (the olny heritage breed to be developed by a woman in the USA) they were one of the leading meat breeds before the cornish crosses came along, and also produce very reasonable amounts of big brown eggs.  They are large beautiful chickens, the roos are an almost mahogany color.  I am excited to grow our little flock more.
  Our family has Awanas and ladies Bible study tonight... We are studying the chapter of Ephesians; I think it will be good.  I love our church, and our church family.... It is the most loving church I have ever attended.  It's called Lake Spokane Community Church.
  Well, on a beautiful spring day like today, I have more to do than I have time to do it in, so I suppose I ought to get to it! 
  Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's a beautiful, sunny day... the sun is glistening off the snow outside my window.  There's still about a foot and a half of it out there, but the sun and the drips off the roof and from the trees make it possible to believe that spring is on it's way.  It's our anniversary today... 13 years!
  This is the first chance I've had this week to sit down and write; I've wanted to other times, but the needs of my children, my husband and my animals (combined with a need for sleep) have won out.
  This week my children are fighting a cold (one of the only ones to affect our family this whole season, thank you Lord) and I have 'upped' the normal amount of raw food we eat, in an effort to help them shake it faster.
  One of the baby goats came down with pneumonia, which we very unfortunately lost him to.... he died very peacefully, in his sleep, curled up with a doe of mine who had kindof adopted him.  In a way, I was happy for him... It's always a struggle to know what to do with all the little boy goats each spring, but without babies, the goats do not make milk for our family.  This is something it surprises me how few people stop to think about.... to make milk, a dairy animal (like any mammal) has to give birth.  This creates new babies, which keeps the species going, but in a world that desires milk, and therefore female replacement stock, very few male animals are needed to keep that going.  This creates a surplus of dairy, rather than meat type male animals, in the cow world and the goat world, the small farms and the big ones.
  Most of the ones on small farms, like ours, end up being meat animals.  Many of the ones born on  larger, cafo type dairies, would be lucky to end up so well.  Anyway, destined to become meat anyway, passing on as a little tyke, curled up close to someone you know loves you, without ever knowing any of the cruelties of this world, seems a bit like mercy.
  The doe who bonded to him has a bad case of mastitis.  We haven't had a doe with mastitis for years... but this sure has been a nasty case of it.  We're treating it soley with natural treatments, something that has been a bit of a trial, but also satisfactory in some ways.
  To start, I gave her options to eat that included Redmonds Real Salt, Azomite, fennel seed, rosemary, rosehips, licorice root, comfrey, stevia leaf, raw apple cider vinegar, some really good quality vitamin B sublingual tablets, and garlic.  I also am regularly applying lavender essential oil to her cornet band (the line where her hair and hoof meet, by her feet).
  She ate huge amounts of the garlic the first 2 days, along with stevia leaf, a bunch of fennel seed, a little comfrey, some rose hips, and some vinegar.  I also went out several times a day to massage peppermint and eucalyptis essential oils into her udder, milk her out, and put warm compresses on her udder.
  By day two and a half, I was sure I was losing her... she wasn't eating, was down, depressed seeming, and had a runny nose, too.  The morning of the second day, after doing some research, I took out several homeopathic oral treatments, which she readily gobbled.  These included Highlands Bryonia Alba, and Source Naturals Wellness EarAche.  The earache one may sound wierd, but it had several things in it I found indicated for treatment of mastitis, and several that were for treatment of fevers and general discomfort and pain.  Anyway, by that night, she was standing, eating, drinking, and begging for more homeopathics and garlic.
  Her udder is in bad shape, and I am convinced she will lose that side; although I have to wonder if that would have been the case had I given her the homeopathics earlier. Her nose has stopped running, also.  I am happy though that I think she could go on to be productive again in the other half of her udder, and still produce babies.
  This may seem like a lot of information for a blog, especially to those of you who aren't closely connected with farming, but I wanted to include the information in case it could help someone else, and because I think it is not bad for the 'non-farmers' to have a chance to see/hear what goes on 'down on the farm'.
  I love so much of our life as farmers....  the family togetherness, the garden, the sun, the animals, the wide open countryside, the option to chose how our food grows (both animal and vegetable), and the opportunity to share it with friends and community.  Sometimes, though, farming can be tough; it can be the decision not to use antibiotics, even though you know it would probably be a quick fix.  It can be the decision to put down an animal you believe to be suffering, or to butcher and eat a beautiful, perfectly healthy animal, because we are meat eaters.
  There is solid attachment to our food, all of it; but I do not tend to struggle with the decision to pick a zucchini.  The decision to not just go to the store and buy a neatly packaged little steak, which did come from an animal, but most likely one that had a much more unhappy life than any that live here on our farm. But to raise an animal, feeding it well, allowing it to be all of the animal God created it to be, loving it and watching it grow, and then eating it;  it is not a decision to make lightly, or nearly as easily as the one made in the grocery store...  it is a decision made only fully realizing the very personal impact you are making on the life (and death) of an animal.  It is a decision that makes me very greatful for the meat I do eat, and also causes a hightened awareness of what Christ did in His sacrifice for us...  The ultimate laying down of life, for ME.
  To all who read, may you have a blessed day!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

....Who am I?
       I am the spoiled rotten wife of one man for the last 13 years. I am a (unschooling)  homeschooling mom to 5 young children. 
I am a Christ - follower.  I am a daughter, a sister and a friend.  I love to make new friends. 
I am a garden/farmer. I am a 'goat lady'.  Someday, I want to own a Percheron horse, and a Water Buffalo.  I am a home-maker.  I love to cook; I do not love to clean.
I consider recipes to be a spring board for invention, but I might follow one if I really really like it.
   I love making real food, from real food, for my family and friends. I enjoy creating lacto fermented foods like yogurt, sourkraut, sour dough and more. Nourishing Traditions is one of my favorite kitchen reads, followed lately by  Ani's Raw Food Kitchen, by Ani Phyo.
   I have a life-long addiction to the outdoors and to animals.  I love raw goat milk, but even more, homemade goat yogurt and cheese. I love garden grazing, but am also a self confessed Chocoholic.
  I love Heritage, Heirloom, and Antique.  I love to plant a seed, and watch it grow into a beautiful, food bearing plant.  I find beauty in a bowl full of fresh eggs from our hens, or a mound of fresh corn from our garden.  I love to home can, I love to create.
  I love to read.  Since my latest child is still nursing, (8 months old) I have the opportunity to sit, nurse, and read, guilt free!  Some of my latest reads are:  One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp;
The Omnivores dilemma, by Michael Pollan; various gardening and crafting reads, also I am a chronic reader of the Bible, as well as, when it comes in my mail each month, Acres USA Magazine.
  During the summer, I don't read much.... You will usually find me outside, milking a goat, feeding something, or planting, weeding and harvesting in the garden.
  I love my little house (yes, it is in the 'big woods').  I love little birds... real or not.  I have them perched in various spots all around my home.
  I recently aquired an aucustic guitar, and am enjoying attempting to play it.
I do live in a real house...  there are toys on the floor, laundry on the sofa, kids don't always obey, and voices are occasionally raised. But, for all the real life, I love my kids, I adore my husband, and I live a rural dream that many do not have the chance to....  I am blessed.  I feel blessed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

So, what is a C.S.A?
   Wikipedia defines Community Supported Agriculture as "An alternative, locally-based
socio-economic model of agriculture and food distribution.  A C.S.A. also refers to a particular network or association of individuals who have pledged to support one or more local farms, with growers and consumers sharing the risks and benefits of food production.
...Members pay at the onset of the growing season for a share of the anticipated harvest; Once harvesting begins, they receive weekly shares of the produce."
Let's examine, for a moment, this idea of "sharing the risks and benefits" that a C.S.A. is based on.
  The original concept of a C.S.A. was a little different than it is today. Originally, a group of like-minded people would get together and pool their resources to purchase a farm and hire a farmer to keep and tend it, and each 'share holder' took a part of whatever the farm produced that year.  This meant that when the zucchini plants went nuts (as they have a way of doing....),
everybody froze zucchini and ate zucchini bread.  If the potato bugs ruined the potatoes, everybody ate barley and rice that winter.
  This arrangement itself leads to a community 'feel', a camaraderie, as the share holders all feel the loss of, say, the corn crop that year, but also all join together to cheer on the cabbage and winter squash.
  For many people, this sense of belonging to a place, and to a community, all linked to their farm, can be a gratifying and life sustaining experience.
  Through this design, the consumers have some unique possibilities opened up to them:
1. They have the option to have a voice in how their food is grown, processed and distributed, and in where their food budget goes.
2. They can be personally involved in a needs-based, (rather than a production-based) farm, reducing waste right where production begins.
3. They have the opportunity to express to the farmer what their food needs and desires are, and to help the farmer be aware of financial limitations.
4. They are enabled with a way to eat incredibly fresh, wholesome produce, while keeping their food dollars local.
5. They are given the opportunity to help their local farmer, by recognizing the farmers needs, (two of the major ones being (a) a market for their product, and (b) time to spend cultivating on the farm) there by freeing the farmer to better serve the overall community.
  Truth be told, most present-day farmers have no real connection with the people who eat the food they grow.  The C.S.A. model of an increased level of interaction between the producers and the consumers can create new possibilities for the farmers as well:
1. For the farmers to know the needs and desires of the community before they begin to work the soil.
2. Helps the farmer determine in advance what products and quantities to grow. (again, need-based, not production-based).
 3. The opportunity to consciously establish an agreement directly with their local consumers that works for both parties.
....This agreement basically consists of a consumers statement that 'Yes, I want to provide you (the farmer) with my food needs and desires, and I agree to take the food you produce, and to support you and the farm.'
  And the farmers statement that 'Yes, I agree to make every effort to fulfill your food needs and desires, and to actively care for and cultivate the gardens with the intention of providing you with the food you need.'
  Since farming is by default, a challenging and unpredictable profession, this agreement in and of itself is a huge help to the farmer.
  So, what is a C.S.A, really?  Community Supported Agriculture?  Yes.  A way to 'buy local'? Yes.
A way to be involved in your food production and source? Yes.   Is there more?  I believe there is.
  As a C.S.A. owner/operator, I have come to view it most as a way to know people....  the people that are our neighbors, the people that are the 'consumers' of our produce, the people who chose to seek us out; sometimes because of our locality, sometimes because of our choices in HOW we farm (no chemical input, care for the land that feeds us, heritage gardening...), sometimes because they agree with all that the name of the farm (It's the Lord's Farm) means and implies.
  I have met a lot of 'kindred spirits' on this endeavor... I have loved and enjoyed community - no, fellowship in the garden, working with, laughing with, getting to know these people that, in one way or another, share a like mind.
  There is a community to be found within the 'agriculture' - a garden community.

Thursday, April 28, 2011