I live on a sustainable family farm and work for a humanitarian aid organization. My goal is to have a simple beautiful life. The Quaker acronym SPICE (simplicity, peace, integrity, community, and equality) guides my life.
I keep thinking I'm making a dent in my "To Do" list but then when I write out a new one, it's as long as the previous one. We had a busy day at the farmer' market on Saturday. We saw lots of our regular customers and met some new ones. We continue to make our CSA deliveries three times a week and have gotten great feedback from members. Yesterday was particularly busy. We had several visitors to the farm store, then I had to do our CSA delivery alone while Bill went to the Southern Virginia Meat Goat Association meeting to speak about our philosophy and vision for sustainable farming and living. We were both scheduled to be there but were afraid, with the delivery, that we would be late. I ended up making it right on time. One of the members wrote a nice article about us that was published in the Lynchburg News Advance. While on the topic of our philosophy, I want to share a book that is on my bookshelf (still waiting to be read):
Of course, the topic is not new to my readers. However, what is surprising is when this book was published (sorry about the poor quality photo):
It was originally published in 1960! Surely people thought the author, Mr. Longgood, was a crackpot. However, time has proven him to be correct. In fact, skimming through the book, I see how much worse it is today than it was when he wrote the book - they hadn't even invented GMOs! I'm slowly working on getting the farm house ready to be a weekend "farm stay" in the fall. I've been planting more flowers and herbs to go with the flowers our previous tenant planted:
And this is what we did Tuesday evening:
Yum! (And this is just the beginning!)
I should be publishing much better photos in the future - I got an iphone! Due to many things, including needing better portable internet access for my job, I finally broke down and got a new phone. Have a great weekend!
I don't know about you, but hiking in a pristine area and then finding someone's empty plastic bottle discarded in the bushes really ruins the experience for me. The folks behind the Story of Stuff are campaigning to get the director of the National Park Service to ban bottled water in the parks:
I think bottled water should be banned, period. We seemed to do just fine before it became popular in the 1980s.
This year we're growing a few new things. One is a green called mizuna. It is similar in taste to arugula when eaten raw, such as in a salad. But when cooked, it has a mild taste. Here's a recipe I tried last week and it's now a new favorite:
Mizuna in Korean Dressing
1/2 a colander of mizuna Greens (cut off the bottom stems as they can be stringy) 2 tsp. soy sauce 2 tsp sesame oil 1 clove garlic 2 tsp. sesame seeds
Boil the mizuna in a roomy pan until it turns bright green and is just tender, drain. Meanwhile in a serving bowl mix the soy, oil, and garlic together and set aside. Put the sesame seeds in a heavy frying pan and heat until they are toasted shaking the pan to make sure none of them burn. Take the mizuna and gently squeeze out any excess water you should have a sausage shape of green stuff lay it on a chopping board and slice it. Put the mizuna into the serving bowl and toss gently to cover in the sauce. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve.
Summertime and the living is...hectic. Happy Summer! I love that it's summer but am a bit sad because the days will now begin to get shorter. I know it will take a while, but I love having these long daylight hours. However, these long hours of sun also tend to coincide with long hours of work when you live on a farm. We spent the morning at the farmers' market so I'm going to give a quick rundown of some highlights of our week, along with some photos (many of which I've stolen borrowed from my husband and our facebook page). We've had a total of 5 kids born on the farm this week. Here's Wendy with her triplets, all female:
Holly had a single female:
The baby seemed to be having problems nursing so we milked Holly a bit so that her milk bags weren't so large. All seems well now.
Bella also had a female yesterday:
Her baby was born while we were busy doing this:
It's hay season (a bit late this year due to all the rain). Bill cut, raked, and baled the hay. Then I drove the truck pulling as trailer while he loaded the bales:
Then we drove back to the barn where he unloaded the bales while I cooked dinner (we went back out to do more after dinner):
We ended up with close to 400 bales. Earlier in the week we had to move our two "portable" chicken coops. Portable is a relative term as it took all we had for the two of us to move them. We moved the large one first so by the time we got around to the smaller one, it was "light" in comparison. We had to find a better spot for the coops because a hawk was slowly picking off our poor girls, one by one. We lost 15 our of 26 hens. We combined the remaining chickens into one coop and turned the smaller coop into a maternity ward so that our sitting hens could get some privacy. Here's the new location for the flock:
They're now behind our house and will help fertilize the gardens there when we let them lie fallow. In the meantime, they'll graze the grassy areas in between the two gardens. Hawks dislike being around people, so the girls should be safe near the house. (We suspect we have two roosters in the bunch so they're not really all girls.) We hosted a small church camp group Wednesday afternoon. The kids got a hay ride and then had a picnic lunch on the back porch of the farm house. They seemed to enjoy themselves, and especially loved the new baby goats. A bird has built a nest on the rain gutter outside my bathroom window and I've been trying to identify it (I'm still learning about the different species in the area). I've seen the male and the female. Here's what the male looks like (not the best photo):
Is that an Eastern Flycatcher? Lastly, I finally broke down and decided I needed to replace my current phone with a smart phone and picked out the one I wanted. Got to the store to be told they were out of stock. Maybe next week I'll have the new phone and better photos! Have a great weekend!
It has been a while since I blogged about Haiti. I can't believe it was almost 4 years ago since that first life-changing visit. I started out as a visitor, became a child sponsor, got involved as a volunteer, and ultimately became a staff member. Although many people understand my desire to serve the people of Haiti, I know there are plenty of others who don't. They're usually too polite to say anything about it but I do catch them occasionally making comments about how we have hungry people here and why are we sending money overseas, yada, yada, yada. Karris, one of the long-term missionaries at Danita's Children (she's been there over 10 years), just posted a blog about a woman and her child that will just tear up your heart and maybe make you understand why I do what I do. Read her post here. And yes, we do have hungry people here - and I do volunteer work to reach some of those people. But the poverty in Haiti is on a whole 'nother level, something most of the poor in the US don't come anywhere near. Instead of people asking why we help people overseas, I think we need to turn the conversation around and ask them how could we not?
Let Evening Come by Jane Kenyon Let the light of late afternoon shine through chinks in the barn, moving up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing as a woman takes up her needles and her yarn. Let evening come. Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned in long grass. Let the stars appear and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den. Let the wind die down. Let the shed go black inside. Let evening come.
To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop in the oats, to air in the lung let evening come.
Let it come, as it will, and don't be afraid. God does not leave us comfortless, so let evening come.
In this video, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse spells out the reality of climate change for those who are in denial:
My two cents worth: We need to stop this deep party divide in the United States. Rather than being about principles, it has become a game where we choose sides and dig in our heels, often despite evidence and truth. We should not be afraid to counter the claims of party leaders when they are wrong. And this applies to both sides.
Seems like we can't catch our breath around here lately. We started our summer/fall CSA season on Monday so we've more than doubled the number of customers. We met some new people who are customers through word-of-mouth and they seemed happy with what we delivered. Last Saturday was the second week of the farmers' market and we had a better turnout than the previous week. Slowly but surely we're developing a very loyal customer base.
Despite the poor weather conditions (rain, cold, more rain), our gardens are producing and this one is the best we've ever had:
Our collard greens looked like they were on steroids and I made several delicious raw wraps with them. All I had to do was remove a good portion of the thick stem and then shave down the rest. Delicious! We also opened the farm store again on Thursday. Unfortunately, we had a severe storm come through that prevented one of our customers from picking up her order. Instead, I met her in town today so she didn't miss out on the yummy vegetables. We're hoping to get our hay in sometime this week. Bill is out mowing the fields as I write this. This is a several day process and all should go well as long as it doesn't rain. Rain will ruin it because we make square bales that we put up in our barn loft. We can't use the hay if it gets wet and we'll have to wait for the fall cutting to get hay for the winter. On a sad note, we lost several of the new chickens to a hawk. These girls are so sweet and tame it's so hard to have them picked off one by one. We haven't had a problem over the last few days so maybe said hawk has moved on. It was just one of those weeks. My clothes dryer broke, as well. The worst part was it's a front-loading machine and it stopped working with wet clothes inside and the door was locked! Thanks to Google I was able to find out how to remove one of the panels to pull the release for the door. I also researched the cost of the parts that I knew we needed - the entire control panel and user interface - and calculated that by the time we had our repairman out, it wouldn't be worth fixing. However, I decided it was worth looking into doing the repairs myself - what did I have to lose? I found a YouTube video that showed how to make the repairs on a similar model. Here's what I took off the machine:
Other than removing several screws and releasing the user interface from some brackets in the control panel, all that is required is to connect the plug at the end of the blue wires to another panel. Not rocket science! (Or electrical engineering!) So I ordered the parts from a site that allows returns in case these parts are not the problem. Keeping my fingers crossed!
We're enjoying these long days - the sky still had light in it as late as 9:30 last night. Here's a peek last night's sunset:
God Says Yes to Me by Kaylin Haught I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic and she said yes I asked her if it was okay to be short and she said it sure is I asked her if I could wear nail polish or not wear nail polish and she said honey she calls me that sometimes she said you can do just exactly what you want to Thanks God I said And is it even okay if I don’t paragraph my letters Sweetcakes God said who knows where she picked that up what I’m telling you is Yes Yes Yes
Since Monsanto has been in the news a lot lately (hello GMOs), I'm using this opportunity to point out the kind of company we seem to have entrusted our food supply to. The following list of Monsanto products is from the June/July issue of Mary Jane's Farm:
Saccharin (the company was founded to produce this artificial sweetener for soft drinks)
Atom Bombs/Nuclear Weapons
Bovine Growth Hormone
Kind of makes you lose your appetite, doesn't it? I'm thinking if I want to stay healthy, I better avoid consuming anything this company produces.