Tag Archives: Life

Feeling the Fall

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Here on the farm we have been really busy.  We wrapped up one CSA season with good company and tall cans, and rolled on into the fall season with more good company.  I tried to think about the number of people who have shuffled through our door this season with the WWOOF program, or otherwise…and I couldn’t get an accurate count.  To those of you who know that you have been here, thanks.  I’ve enjoyed feeding and gossiping with you all.  I’ve really been enjoying this fall weather here in Fayette-town.  So mild, yet not quite coat weather.  For me, this signals apple season.  Apple pie, apple crisp/crumble, apple turnovers, apple sauce, apple muffins, on and on.

 

Here is a recipe for apple turnovers that is easy, and delicious

Apple Turnovers

(Simply Recipes)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large tart baking apple (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 Tbsp dried currants
  • 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed OR 2 pâte brisée dough recipes (enough for a double crust pie)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, cut into bits
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon milk

METHOD

1 Put oven rack in lower third of oven and pre-heat oven to 400°F. Butter a large baking sheet (or use Silpat).

2 In a medium bowl, mix together apples, currants, and walnuts with the sugar, cinnamon, and corn starch, making sure the fruit and nuts are well coated. Mix in the apple sauce and vanilla.

3a Unfold the thawed pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Depending on the size of your puff pastry sheet you are going to want to cut the sheet into either four 5-inch-by-5-inch or six 4-inch-by-4-inch squares.

3b Roll out your pie dough on a lightly floured surface to a 16×11 inch rectangle. Trim the edges to 15×10 inches and cut into six 5×5-inch squares.

4 Divide the apple mixture among the squares, leaving a 1-inch border. If you are using an already prepared puff pastry sheet, dot the mixture in each pastry with a little butter. (If you are using a butter pie dough, you can skip adding the extra butter.) In a small bowl mix the beaten egg with a teaspoon of milk. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg mixture on the border of the pastry.

5 Fold each pastry into a triangle, enclosing the filling, and crimp edges with a fork. Brush the tops of the pastries with more of the egg wash. Cut 2 or 3 small steam vents in the top of each turnover.

6 Place the pastries in the oven and bake at 400°F for 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden.

Cool turnovers to warm before serving.

If you have extra time (because we all have loads of this right?) try your favorite apple recipe and fill your house with the smells of the season!

I Like Farm Friends

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The other evening, we were out, and when we came back there was a present waiting for us. A farm friend from down south in the land of Greenwood Arkansas swung by, waited, and left leaving a very nice present.

Thank you David for the home-made soap and the home grow loofah!  Are you trying to tell us something?  For any of you locals, David’s wife makes and sells home-made soaps at Ozark Natural Foods here in Fayetteville.  Her brand is called “Dixie Flower Soaps”  They are exceptionally delightful, for we have received some of them before.  So be sure to check out her products on the shelves.

10 Degree Drop in Temp = New Perspective

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The weather has cooled slightly, instead of being 100+ degrees, it has dropped into the 90’s!  Some people don’t feel a difference, it’s HOT any way you look at it, but for those who work out in it, it makes a difference.  Plants hae bounced back, insects are flying around again, and we even got a little rain.  We wasted no time and got back out into the field, prepping and planting.

 

Planting a salad mix, and laying the drip line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planting beans.

 

 

 

 

 

Covering the seeds up.

 

 

“Sweet Jane”, came to us all the way from the great land of Long Island.  When she left here the other day, she had to return to start school again.  I don’t think she was very excited about it, she said that she’d rather stay in the field.  I agree, since I too am in school, and would rather be in the field as well.

 

The chickens are feeling the difference in the heat as well, their egg production is back up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More, More, More

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More HEAT, means less harvest and more canning!  The ladies kept up their kitchen wrangling and canned more peppers.  This time we used what gloves we had, which were latex, and that was our fatal mistake!  Note dear reader, that when you can any type of hot pepper, you must MUST wear gloves!  But not just any type of glove I learned.  As we started to chop, we all got the tingles in our fingers, then the tingles turned to a burning sensation.  I said “Gloves OFF!” and we went to the store to buy some blue nitrile gloves, but the damage had been done.  I whipped out my handy iPod touch gadget and looked up pepper chopping and glove choice.  Apparently the molecules of capsaicin are small enough to transfer through the pores of latex gloves, so says the internet, and my burning hands.  So, keep that in mind if you choose to participate in the fun that is canning hot peppers.  Nitrile gloves, or rubber kitchen gloves!

Our method was to de-seed MOST of the peppers, so that there would be some heat in the jar, but that they wouldn’t be so hot that you can’t taste anything for a week.  They turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.  What’s that?  You want to know the method?  Alrighty, I too had to look it up and found an ever so useful blog, where the writer said that she has not worn gloves and been fine, but when her kids want to help, she does wear gloves.  Do yourself a favor and wear gloves.  We canned in half-pint jars, so adjust your recipe accordingly if you decide to go bigger.

For half-pint jars, pack the jar full of peppers, leave a head space.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of canning salt and fill with a mixture that is half white vinegar and half water.  So for a full pint, put in a full teaspoon of salt, two teaspoons if you are canning a quart.  You process in the hot water bath for ten minutes.  It’s the simplest thing I’ve ever canned, no cooking involved!  The prep is what will get you!  So remember the NITRILE gloves.

It seems like all I’ve done is take pictures of people working, but don’t be fooled.  I was in there, educating, chopping, and…taking pictures!

I recommend that you give pickling peppers a try, it’s so easy, and they turned out really tasty!

Ozark Alternatives

It Was a Scorcher Today

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Growing up in the Central Valley of California, where summer temps reach the 110° F or warmer, I thought I knew heat.  It was mother loving HOT today.  A friend said last night that when you have a fan going in a blistering hot house that you turn it into a convection oven.  Well, I believe I’m fairly well done now.  “They” said that the temps would be between 105°-107°F, yo no sé, all I know is….what was I just saying?  Sorry, I’m a bit sun-scorched.  One day, I’ll live in a house with air conditioning, but right now I’m putting in my time, on this whole homestead thing…I’m earning my stripes so to speak.  Chime in though, tell me I’m crazy.

See more pictures, of Heidi, Laura and I doing our thing at dusk, because that’s the way we do it around hrrrr.

Visit:  Ozark Alternatives

And thanks : )

2012=Sunset in the East

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This evening, something magical happened.  I’m just going to bombard you with pictures, because I couldn’t decide on the nicest few…I was so frantic in snapping them, that as a collection they are appropriate in giving you my experience, and also a sense of how quickly it came and went.

 

 

 

The Set-Up:  

 

 

I was in my front garden watering some green beans, looking west.  I just so happen to turn my head east, dropped my hose, ran for my camera and called to my son Oliver to come and see the sunset.  When he came outside, he looked west, and shrugged as if to say “so?”  I flipped him around.  He was excited about the colors, but wasn’t too excited about the fact that it was in the east.  Until I helped him put two and two together.  Fayetteville and the surrounds, if you were not lucky enough to see this magical sight, I hope these pictures do it a little bit of justice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what it looked like to the west…not quite as spectacular.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Weeding Stops Being Polite and Starts Getting REAL

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We have encountered infestation upon infestation this season, the first time ever for us to have to battle so many wars on so many fronts.  When things like this happen, and you grow organically like we do, you need to figure out some options.  What isn’t an option, is what most people would flock to, some Sevin dust, or some sort of Monsanto product.  Us fringe wackos use things like diatomaceous earth, or neem oil, or Pyrethrin.  Things that work, but aren’t a 100% knockout punch.  This morning, one of our WWOOF’ers, Heidi, and I were weeding in a bell pepper bed, and we had scores of uninvited guests also present with us.  These pictures I am about to show you are graphic in nature, and not suitable for all eyes.

These are Blister Beetles.  When squished, or if they get on you and give you a nibble, they have a defensive secretion that causes your skin to blister.  The chemical they secrete is harvested in certain species of beetles and used to remove warts.  I wasn’t expecting this kind of excitement at 6am, but at least I had on socks and shoes.   Poor Heidi had on shorts and flip-flops.  We soldiered on, the whole time thinking “NO WHAMMIES!!!”


Not only were the beetles on the pepper plants themselves, but on all of the weeds we were pulling.  I would sweep them to the side with my glove and then pull.  What’s the saying?  Hindsight is always 20/20?  Well, in hindsight, we probably should have got the hell out of there…it was like weed pulling Vietnam.  Poisonous bugs EVERYWHERE, that harbor a blistering agent…those sneaks.

The thing about these bugs, is that there are 7500 varieties of them.  These happen to be striped.  The ones we fought off in Big Poppa (Hoop House #2) were all black…they were goth blister beetles.  AND, these bugs were not there yesterday.  Ladies and gentlemen out there in cyber-land, if you know how to communicate with these devils, please let me know.  I’d like to make peace and show them some nice and tasty weeds to munch.  Isn’t that strange when you think about it?  Mammals and insects are no dummies when it comes to a tasty snack.  They wait until it’s practically ripe even…I just blew your minds, chew on that for a while.

It was definitely a party.  I went on one of those google searches to find a picture of a blister from a blister beetle.  I found the most gentle one to share, they can really tear a person up…so you’re welcome.


A Day of Firsts

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Yes, you’re right it is May 1st.  Happy May Day.  It was also DAY 1 of our CSA deliveries for the season (applause).  Thank you.  To top it all off, I got my first tick bite of the year.  I just found it and it was a MONSTER!  So much so, that it prompted me out of my blog slumber, to take a picture and tell you about it.

Terribly picture, my camera wasn’t focusing, and time was of the essece…and my computer stepped in.  Look at that BEAST.  It hurt pulling it out.  For all of you naturopath folk out there, would plantain help?  I went out with the flash light and picked some…someone chime in!  I have green clay on it right now, but looking for helpful remedies.

Cue the Banjos #2

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I just got back from the spot where the hoop stood.  There was a break in the rain, and I felt brave enough to see the carnage for myself.  It’s funny how you think you are prepared for things sometimes, I saw the images, I knew what I was about to see, but it still didn’t stop the fact of the gravity of the situation washing over me, and me weeping uncontrollably for at least five minutes.  I didn’t realize all of the attachments I had connected to that structure, and it all came out.

This is what I walked up to, snapped the picture, took a deep breath….trying to hold it all in, and sniff…you know the rest.

This is incredibly sad to me.

I knew the wind was strong, but to walk up to this and see the couplers twisted like this, it…..yeah.  WOW!

sniff sniff. : (

Incredible.

This image is of the pipe that anchored the whole ship to the ground, bent up, but the earth augur is still in the ground.

The North side hoop blown and twisted toward the east.

Mother Nature straight up body slammed this hoop!

The chard is still delicious!

I’d like to mention that when I said I cried uncontrollably, it was more like angry weeping, It sucked…it still does, but we must move forward!

Here is the Mothership in happier times! R.I.P.

She grew a lot of food last season, and she will be missed.

I would also like to add here some thanks: Roy, thanks for being here to be a chaperone for the kids, and you forgot the blood soup in the fridge.  Paul Z, thanks for coming over first thing and asking what do you need to do first, much appreciated.  Grace, thanks for taking pictures this morning and having nice hugs.  Cody, thanks for calling and lending your help when we need it…I’m thinking farm aid!

 

 

Cue the Banjo(s)

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Steve Martin said you can’t play a sad song on the banjo, so hopefully that sentiment will set the tone.  First let me mention that yesterday the Missouri Angels have left the farm to continue their adventures elsewhere, insert whatever sad breakup song here: __________.  There was also a system of severe thunderstorms that rocked and rolled through the heartland of America.  Here in Fayetteville, the front of the storm came through really strong, the winds were extremely high.  This morning, when Grace and Paul were doing the rounds, they came upon the mothership, our original hoop house, and what was left of it.  I must also mention yesterday that Alice, Grace and I were weeding and watering in the mothership, while the wind was whipping through it.  So….here you go.  Remember banjos!

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Paul told Grace that I get really upset about stuff like this, so she had open arms when she came in for breakfast.  Yes, I am upset, but in the same way, really relieved that it wasn’t my house, or any one else’s for that matter.  Maybe we can start a kickstarter campaign for a new one!  Brothers, I had all of these nice words to describe your time here, but I’m at a loss right now.  Dear readers, if you have a farm, I hope you can find quality help like the brothers Jones.