Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'm so tired!

I keep thinking-- "This is the hardest job (physically) that I will ever do." It wears me out--I am spent at the end of the day... I feel like a zombie. --a zombie with big new muscles though, yeah.... And I do love it. I really do.

Last week and this we have been reseting the High Tunnel. We tore out all the tomato plants. It broke my heart a little when I know so many are waiting patiently for their tomatoes to ripen. But it was time and the field tomatoes are coming strong now.
a new start..

Monday night I canned a bunch of the tomatoes from the High Tunnel that were left on those ripped out plants.
as well as made pesto with the basil plants we ripped out last Thursday
It feels good to have some food put up for the winter ahead.

Tuesday night I made a cheesecake and knitted and knitted and knitted in an after-work-zombie trance.... and I finished a little hat (for my niece of course.)
and her fall sweater is in the works
and here at the farm, there is more work in the works, because there is bountiful, beautiful food to harvest....
and I need to get more sleep.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I had so much fun today...

It was hard to hold it in, to keep my heart from racing, to stop the ideas from flowing.... after all, I am only renting, and I am very respectful of my landlords and their wishes--but I am so very, very excited!

The garden area is going to be huge--a welcome, slightly intimidating in size, but a beautiful plot--I'm ready for it and I'm sure I can fill it all... but can I keep up with it? I hope so! I'm going to do my very best.
I was envisioning Herb, a potential name for my future goat (short for Herbicide, since he and I will be the only weed-killers allowed...well, maybe a couple sheep too?) unless it's a girl goat--then I think Herbina is just as cute, if not more so... but anyway--I was lovingly picturing a goat, in the pasture and in the barn and prancing around the yard.
Can't you just see him or her out here?
And of course chickens--I can't wait to clean up the area around the coop, build a roost and some nesting boxes... this coop will be so wonderful for them, there's so much room, natural light and I can stand up in it! We even have a lead on some recycled siding to shnaz it up!
There are gorgeous, huge sugar maples in the yard. I hope to tap them next spring and use this old wood stove (found in the barn) to make maple syrup outside.
And there might be some walnut trees too! I love walnuts. And on that note...just another treasure we found in the barn....
It says "Hi. We are all nuts" I love love it.
But really, I will be spending most of my time this winter here. Cozy in the house with Buster planning for spring, doing any improvements that might need doing, and of course sewing and knitting.
I can't wait to get to work, get settled and fill this house with people I love to make it home.
I'm happy. And happy to be on the road home.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Week Recap

Tuesday night I spent the evening after work at the kitchen table with one of my oldest and best friends. Making dinner, sitting, chatting, recollecting, voicing, venting and giggling. Being out here on the farm, I miss this and need it more frequently--always! I really need to work on keeping my kitchen table full when I move to place where the kitchen is in the house.... yeah, that's going to be nice.

It's been a busy week... I have been:

Still preserving...
Pickles! An extra spicy jar for my brother, one without garlic for my Pa and the rest for the rest of us!

I've been watching and playing a little over-grown summer squash baseball...
and, as promised... finding crazy carrots:

Alien Squid Carrots!
Spooky Ghost Carrots
ummmm.... Peg-Arm Carrot?
Carrot Carrying a Sack of Potatoes? (how ironic--tubers...)
just a crazy bunch of Carrots
and a couple dancing....

I've been thinking about family constantly this week. As we move through changes....
The longer I live, the more I learn about love and loss. There is never enough time--I will always want more. I have to take what time I am given with the ones I have been given to love, to love them as much as I can. To soak them in, and make sure they are a part of me --that I share this wonderful world with them and share wonderful them with the world.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Alpacas! Sweet, Humming, Mop-topped, Fiber-bearing Alpacas

My fantastic Aunt (just a wonderful, wonderful lady--the best) took me to see some Alpacas tonight. It was awesome. They are such sweet, soft, funny creatures--cute on so many levels. My Aunt is friends with the couple that owns them and they are such neat people. They adore their animals and spin the most luxuriously soft, silky, beautiful yarn with their fleece. I can't wait to go back to visit again soon and come away with some of that gorgeous.
Here is their website: http://www.riverviewridge.com/
This little gal was born last week. Her name is Peek-a-boo. Adorable. A few of the ladies are pregnant and due soon so she'll have playmates to bounce around with. SO adorable. I learned last night that the momma's hum and cluck to their little ones--so very momma-like. Ridiculously adorable.

I may have to add a couple of Alpacas to my farm animal dreams, I may have already... maybe someday... soon?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August Weekend at the Farm

This weekend was mine to be on the farm --because someone's got to stop the zucchinis and the melons from exploding....

Saturday morning I hit the Eau Claire, WI Downtown Farmer's Market to scope out my soon-to-be stomping grounds' goods
It's a really nice little market, I filled bags with produce that we don't have on the farm,
like peaches
I spent a good portion of my evening tonight canning those peaches
and beets from the farm, since it's been on my to-can list, and the canner was already hot.
I did a mixture of red beets and gold beets--they're both so pretty. Beets and Peaches are two foods that my Grandma used to can that I know my Dad is a big fan of, so here's hoping I did them justice.

There is so much good food around here right now. These sweet, red Carmen Peppers are awesome (the little ones are hot Serranos) and I haven't gotten to make anything with them yet--there's just so much other stuff, it's nuts. I wish I had more people around here to share all of this with--come on over! Seriously. Do.
Some of the pumpkins here are starting to get BIG
And this is the biggest zuchinni I have ever seen
not the ideal size, it must have been a really good hider until, well, I don't know how you hide at this size. Not many want to eat giant zucchini--some will bake with them, but you know who loves to eat them?

The Chickens!
I decided I should try to take some video of them, as they are just so entertaining.
They really are good girls. And they are now Rooster-less. It's a little sad, but he wasn't a very nice Rooster and farm animals are bred to be functional, as fun as they are.... he wasn't very fun (at all really) and his aggression deterred his and our functionality concerning the ladies... so, Rest in Peace little guy.

I'll leave you with some sky pictures, because I love the sky so....
And also with this ad. As I skimmed an Eau Claire publication looking for jobs and community involvement opportunities, I came upon this. I love it--I may even check it out. Maybe I'll join. I always thought I might make a good crazy cat lady...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Fall-ish Farm Food Fun

It's cool and breezy and starting to feel ever so slightly quite fallish tonight.
It's perfect stew weather and as luck would have it I had fired up the crockpot the other day. I am diggin' it--and diggin' into it--with a spoon. In the first stew of the season:
There are:
2 pint cans of tomatoes--from last fall--time to use them and free up those jars for this year!
2 small onions
1 clove of garlic
1 lb of local ground pork
5 red potatoes
6 carrots
a hefty dose of Moroccan Spices
a little bit of olive oil
aaaaaand... yum.

I've loved it over bread (I love how the bread turns into a giant dumpling) with cottage cheese on top for dinner, and this morning it was so good mixed in with scrambled eggs. I can't wait to try it other ways. Yay for crockpots and fun with leftovers.

There are more carrot people on the way for you, but for now, I couldn't help documenting every single eggplant with a nose on Thursday while we packed up the CSA boxes.
Here they all are:
I enjoy the effect of hair their green tops gives them too--they kinda look like the Beatles to me--all mop toppy.

Sometimes, when the zucchinis get too big, we carve them into Zuke-people. The brilliant 9-year-old on the farm has joined in on the fun and shown us her talents, far surpassing my own.
Check out this Zuclear family she's made.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day Dreaming on New Beginnings

Last week I posted this picture
This, is the future residence of my future chickens. (just need to get 'er fixed up and painted...)

This is the coop that sits on the family farm that Buster and I will be moving to in November
And I can't wait.

Some 60 years ago, my Grandparents purchased this farm
They have told me so many stories about this farm and those from their childhood...about being stuck in a snowstorm and having to sleep in the barn with the cows to stay warm ...about feeding friends, family, crew and traveling strangers --all the love, laughs, warm meals, card games... and so much more I don't even know, and I never will know it all--but I'll take what I can get.

Growing veggies and raising animals, canning, preserving-- was all second nature to them.
A way of life. And I have so much to learn.

And I am learning all the time...

Grandpa's quiet, knowing, smiling spirit will be with us always --and Grandma still proclaims "You can't beat fun!"
They will always be in my heart and especially around the kitchen table at the farm, or really any kitchen table --sharing a meal or a round of cards.
And I hope to make my parents proud... in terms of elbow grease, organization and maybe even surprise us both by becoming "handy" (--you know, with tools and stuff.) We'll see... But I can't thank them enough for this good life they've given and inspired--it just isn't possible. I am just so lucky. I should really start letting them win at Pinochle again soon.

I will be renting the farmhouse from wonderful family --I thank them so much for their support. I hope they're ready for a farm fresh bounty delivered to their doors next year!
I can't wait to share it.

And the blogging will continue at the family farm--because I plan on getting a goat you know. I can only imagine the fun and hilarity that comes with a goat. And you know, you can't beat fun.