Selling On Saturday

This Saturday began with an unusual event- I woke up before the alarm went off @ 4:50 am.  Usually, the alarm sounds and I feel bad for Tony being the one to get up and go to work.  Then the realization sets in that in fact it is I who must get up and get going.  I always enjoy my time at the market, I just don’t enjoy getting up at 5 am.  I know, for some of my fellow farmers and homesteaders, this is a daily time to rise.  But around here, our animals are trained not to even look for feeding until about 9 am.  I am usually up and about by 6:30 am but the feeding is done by the farm kids and they don’t rise nearly so early.

It was a good market at the White Rock Local Market, our weekly Saturday venue.  So many good folks come out to find real food and support local farmers.  Plant sales, as to be expected, are slow at this time.  Thankfully, the gardens are giving us lots of fresh cut herbs and extra produce to sell.  Any cut herbs that don’t sell are hung on the racks to dry and then to be sold as teas or seasoning.

I intended to take more photos of the market, but alas, I was busy or I was talking to my neighbors that I really like.  Maybe I will do better next week…

market july 20 2013Bell Peppers, Illini Gold Tomatoes, Tender Grey Zucchini, Yellow Crookneck Squash, Muncher Cucumbers, Sweet Banana Peppers, Matt’s Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, Lemon Verbena, Tulsi, Sage, Thyme, Garden Sorrel,  Lemon Basil, Salad Burnett were the produce taken and sold.

 

Faith & Farm

summer squash

As a blogger friend posted about the rain and hay making- which can be very dicey- it occurred to me that anyone who farms has so much to contend with on a day to day basis.  There is the weather, insects that destroy, insects that help, insects that are neither and the job of telling them apart, animal husbandry, fatigue and the list goes on.  Where do we find the strength to keep at it?  Where does one go for help for these things such as weather for which there is no control?

For me my faith in God and my Bible are my mainstays.  Many would scoff at this and that is ok.  I simply cannot deny what my Creator does for me in my life- I have seen to much to be dissuaded.  Some who may share my Christian faith will think what follows is mystical hog wash and that is ok, too.  Again, I have seen the proof in my life and on my farm, in my kids and  I know that this works.

 

 

It is all in our perspectives with which we view our world.  If we deny that we have an enemy- we see the world and what happens to us in one of two ways.

1. I must be blowing it- or

2. God is holding out on me.

Neither are true.  We were born into a world at war, good versus evil.  God versus Satan.  The good news is that God wins.  I have come to the conclusion that the enemy hates gardens and farms- especially organic ones that seek to steward this Earth the way God intended.  Just look at what Monsanto is doing to small farmers and our food sources and you will see evil at work.

So considering that I have this enemy who wants to take me down, I get up every morning and I go to battle.  I pray over my farm, my family, my marriage but I don’t just pray empty words or cliches, I use the Word of God as my sword.  You will find a scripture on any subject that you need  if you look, but for the sake of this discussion on farm life- I will stick to the ones I use over my farm.

Zechariah 8:12

For the seed shall be prosperous,

The vine shall give its fruit

The ground shall give her increase,

And the heavens shall give their dew-

I will cause the remnant of this people 

To posses all theses.

 

Proverbs 27: 25

When the hay is removed and the tender grass shows itself,

And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in,

The lambs will provide your clothing,

And the goats the price of a field

You shall have enough goats’ milk for your food,

For the food of your household

And the nourishment of you maidservants.

 

Deuteronomy 28: 11-12

And the Lord shall grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body,, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground…

The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand.

 

Each morning as I pray these words over my farm, I thank God that He has given me these promises.  As I pray I also remind Satan of these truths and tell him to take his curses- such as grasshoppers- back to hell where they came from.  Just as in any war, you win some battles and you lose some battles.  Regardless of the outcome of the battles I know who won the war and what the future holds- Victory.  So, when hardships do come I remember the promises and stand on those.  If I lose the battle of the squash to the squash bug, I thumb my nose at the enemy and replant.  Then, little by little you begin to see the shift.  You produce more, things come a little easier, and you see more of the promises show up in the everyday life.  With faith we can move mountains- or shift the mountain of high pressure off of us in the summer to let a little rain in.  Maybe there is not a huge amount of rain, but if by faith I can shift a 1/2 inch in to our skies that may make the difference between life and death of my gardens.  I will take that as a win.  Today as I write this, it never got over 83′ F  and we have received about 4 inches of rain over the past 4 days- in JULY in TEXAS.  That is nothing short of a miracle.  Oh, how we are rejoicing.

None of this means that life is just easy street, but it means that instead of futility I can see our farm advancing.  I have been praying like this for the past 15 years in regards to my children and my marriage and when the farm came along about 7 years ago I approached it the same way.  It took awhile for the gardens to build up some steam but finally I began to harvest enough tomatoes to make some sauce and put it up by canning.  Now, I am canning some every week.  These are victories.

Trust  me, you will be opposed when you begin to pray like this and to believe the promises of God.  This does not make the promises less true, to the contrary it means they are all the more real.

David Austin Rose

Our First Workshop

I love to teach classes on herbs, organic gardening, composting, and the like.  This summer we hosted our first workshops at the farm.  I sent out the emails, e-vites, posted on facebook, and hung up flyers.  I was so excited when Kathy, a sweet lady who heard me speak at the Greenville Farmer’s Market, emailed to sign up!  She also brought her sister, Judy, and we had a great time.

The first workshop was about making herbal oils and vinegar both for culinary and medicinal uses.  We took a tour of the herb garden and discussed the herbs at length.  When folks of a common mind get together time just flies by, we had so much to talk about and plenty to do.  At the end of the class both Kathy and Judy choose the oil they wanted to make, cut the herbs to make it and then put it together.  I hope they like the results in 10 days when the oils are finished steeping.

The following Saturday container gardens were the subject of the day and all manner of containers and soil were discussed.  Under the shade of the Sweet Gum trees we planted container gardens with herbs grown by us and chosen by Kathy and Judy.  After filling their basket with the planting medium the herbs were tucked in their new home, watered in with worm wine and went to their new homes.

I completely enjoyed myself and really like getting to know these sweet ladies.  More classes are scheduled and will be offered in the fall as well.  Some might be discouraged that only two attended, but I am not.  You gotta start somewhere and I couldn’t have asked for better folks with which to begin.  Now, when you see me with my own show just remember I started with two ladies at a workshop…

workshop

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Celebrate America! Happy Birthday!

With all that is going on in our country at this time, there is a lot to be said for how far we have fallen from our foundation.  I know that  many don’t believe that there is much to celebrate.  This Fourth of July, however, I choose to celebrate.  We are a great nation that is going through a rough patch, but I believe in our country, in the youth of our country, and my fellow Americans.  We will overcome and in the words of our great president,

Well I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — America’s best days are yet to come. Our proudest moments are yet to be. Our most glorious achievements are just ahead.

RONALD REAGAN, Republican National Convention, Aug. 17, 1992

Zavalla Willie Nelson washington_washington_monument_flickr (1) vintage flat summer 09 079 simple-church-house roses and herbs night at  the barn 025 oil Old country store old mill inn 2 patriotic-barn_~k4525677 redwood forest riogrande marshall courthouse Liberty Bell Kenneth_Farm grandmother and granddad in uniform grand canyon Golden Gate Bridge Effie the pig john wayne and flag flag and constiturion flag with marines first american flag boots and flag arlington cemetary

Thanks you to all the men and women who have sacrificed to make this country  a reality, who have died and fought to keep us free, and worked to make us great.  I want to dedicate this post to my friend , Stephane  @ My French Heaven, if France had not come to our aid during The Revolution, we may not have ever been The United States of America.  So, from our country to yours- Thank you.

Happy Birthday, America!  One Nation Under God, God Bless  America.

For the love of Salsa!

This is a post from the archives, but Cheyenne made a batch of salsa yesterday and she just nailed it.  That Salsa is so good, it needed to be shared again!

 

Me & Cheyenne (drinking bubbly apple juice)
Cheyenne and I share a lot of things.  For instance, neither one of us can hide our feelings very well, what we think is telegraphed on our faces, we love taking care of our animals, we are strong willed, and we love babies.  Also, we share a love of really good Salsa.  Mexican food makes us happy and we like a little heat.  She is her mother’s daughter, with just enough of her daddy mixed in to mellow her out in a nice way.
She has been making some noise about needing to make salsa with our bountiful harvest of tomatoes.  Apparently, Cheyenne has not thought that using the tomatoes to make tomato sauce was a very wise use of those beautiful ‘maters.  A love of spaghetti is not something we share.  So, I surfed the internet for a recipe and found one that was simple and looked promising. And yesterday we got busy over some tomatoes, hot peppers, and cilantro.
The recipe was simple and we followed it up until we tasted the salsa, then we went to tinkering.  Cheyenne is really good about making notes as she improvises so we were able to recreate the same flavor this morning, as we already needed more.
Below is the recipe- our rendition, not the one from the internet.  Before putting everything in the food processor, we cored the tomatoes and scored the other ends and dropped them into boiling water for about a minute.  The tomatoes are in the boiling water just long enough for the skin to start to curl.  Then the peeling just slips off, chop the tomatoes roughly and toss in the processor.  The longer you run the food processor the finer the salsa, so if you like chunky then just pulse a few times.  Also, for thicker salsa use paste tomatoes such as roma or Illini Gold.
Cheyenne’s Fresh Salsa
2-3 medium tomatoes, stems and peelings removed (see above)
½  onion coarsely chopped
2- fish peppers seeds removed- unless you want to up the heat then leave the seeds in. (if you don’t have fish peppers, jalapeno or any other hot pepper will work.
Juice of one lime
1 cup cilantro
1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
½ tsp of cumin
Put tomatoes, peppers & onions in food processor and pulse for about 2 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse till you are happy with the consistency.  Taste- if too hot add more tomatoes, if not hot enough, add more peppers.
Let set in the refrigerator for one hour to let the flavors blend- if you can wait that long, we just eat right out of the blender bowl.
ENJOY!