Wednesday, December 12, 2012

CSA Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden!  This box has salad, micro, and braising greens, the last tomato, Brussels sprouts, beets, carrots, rutabagas, potatoes, squash, black radishes, red onions, shallots, sage, and  garlic.

Field Notes.  Snow!  This is GREAT news for farmers.  We had warm temperatures and the ground was not frozen, so every drop of this moisture will slowly go into the soil.  The moisture and more moderate temperatures will promote microbial action in the soil.  In extreme cold the microbes, worms and every other living thing goes deeper or dies.  Snow insulates the ground so the frost doesn't go down so deep, and we can get into the garden earlier next spring.

Loyal has built a goat transport for his goats so they can journey to get bred.  The goats will be there a few weeks and return home.  If all goes well we will have kids and goat milk in spring.

Ken and Loyal have been wrapping up several outdoor tasks and getting everything off the ground before snow - otherwise we won't find it until spring!  There are indoor jobs as well - Loyal is shelling dry corn as I type and Ken is making a squash pie. 

 I have caught up the bookkeeping and next I do a seed inventory.  Then Loyal and I do the seed order.  He is already scouring catalogs for new, improved, and heirloom varieties.  The push is on as the catalogs have begun to arrive and last year my January order resulted in some back orders and other items were out of stock

Ken and I took a couple days off away from the farm.  It is great to return with fresh eyes and new ideas.  Thank you, Loyal!

From the Kitchen.  We are excited about the greens in your box.  We are experimenting with the various areas under plastic and micro greens and root cellaring cabbage and Brussels sprouts.  This year's Brussels sprouts and black radishes reflect the drought - they are smaller, but have great flavor.  I usually combine Brussels sprouts with carrots.  I cut carrots julienne or matchsticks and steam for about five minutes.  Then I add the Brussels sprouts and continue to steam for no more than four minutes.  Brussels sprouts are best al dente rather than mushy!  I top with butter and herbs like thyme or a cream sauce or a cheese sauce.

The small black radishes are known as the most alkaline food - they are really potent.  I often grate and add vinegar.  Ken uses them in kim chee combinations.  The black skin and white flesh is beautiful.

Sage is great when sealed in biscuits, stuffing, egg dishes.  Recently I made dumplings with sage and they were a real hit.  

Happy Holidays to you all.  Thank you for your support.  We welcome feedback.  We wish you a great year to come!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Textures of snow

With the first snow I see things in a new way - a pile of chains on the orchard fence has a new look.

The pig panels become a pattern of metal and snow 

Field fence is suddenly interesting

The garden rocks and trees have a new form

The pottery with snow have new color and shape

Old farm machinery has a new look
Even the buddha looks different
With the snow comes quiet contemplation and introspection.  And snow shoeing!  How I love winter.

Loyal's Hilton Junior

Years ago Ken built a structure I named the Hog Hilton as it was large, solid, windproof, and all a hog could ask for in accommodations.

A few weeks ago Ken and Loyal discussed how they were going to move goats to get bred and they came up with a smaller structure that could fit on one of our existing trailers.  Loyal did just about all of the building - Ken assisted a couple times.  So here he is with his "Hilton junior" as he calls it.

First Snow

Today we got snow!  I walked around and got some photos of our place in winter -

Ken believes in straw bale construction for winter dog shelters.  They round the corner out of the wind and have a cozy spot during cold weather.

The bees are ready for winter

The egg mobile has also been winterized.

Chains are now on tractor.

Harvest moves inside

and winter settles in.

First Snow - for the geese, it's a party!

Today we awoke to real, measurable snow!  It is amusing - when there's precipitation, the chickens usually head back to the coop, but the geese come out chatter and seem to be having a party!

And one of the turkeys seems to have joined them!

Clay on site

Ken discovered clay on our property during the excavation work to dam up water by the garden and deepen the irrigation pond by the mobile high tunnel.  He has started testing it to see how it will work and what may need to be added to work for his high firing temperatures.  Out the back door one sees several buckets on a pallet with a tarp covering them.

And inside is CLAY!