Friday, October 30, 2015

Farm Friday

One of the farm-fresh breakfasts I made this week
Tomorrow is the last farmers' market of the year. As a result, I've been shifting my focus to my rapidly growing "winter" task list. So much gets neglected during the farmers' market season that I actually look forward to winter (did I just say that?). I've been scribbling lots of thoughts and plans into my journal and look forward to crossing off the tasks.

Here's some of what I've been up to this week:

  • Applied for a Virginia Green Travel Stars Award
  • Coordinated our feed order with some other farms that get feed on the same shipment
  • Picked up my Azure Standard order
  • Placed a Frontier Food Coop order (a friend ordered with me so I had enough to get free shipping)
  • Made a new dish - arugula pesto over pasta. I added some cheese and chopped tomatoes on top.
  • Baked a loaf of artisan bread (haven't done that in a while)
  • Ordered some tins and herbs to make salves for the craft shows
  • Ordered hardware to make key fobs for the craft shows
  • Made some individual granola bags for a bride to give to her out-of-town guests
  • Thrifted two nice cotton men's shirts for Bill to use as work shirts
  • Revived my yoga practice (it has been a LONG time). I felt so much better afterwards.
  • Started a batch of Fire Cider. I've been meaning to do this for a while but had a hard time finding fresh horseradish root.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wellness Wednesday

food 19
This week the World Health Organization announced that processed meat is linked to an increased risk of cancer. The New York Times reports on it here

Since our farm sells pork, which includes bacon and sausage, Bill wrote a response to this on our farm's Facebook page:
The fact that meat-based diets and processed food increase the risk of cancer is nothing new. The association has been long known and that's one reason we've stressed the importance of plant-based diets and moderation in eating meat, if you choose not to give it up entirely. What the WHO studies show is that eating processed meat (such as hot dogs, bacon and sausage) definitely increases the risk of colon/bowel cancer and possibly pancreatic and prostate cancer. They further concluded that eating the meat of any mammals (beef, pork, goat, sheep, etc.) in any form probably increases the risk of cancer. The risk is small, but it is real. The studies show that the more of this kind of meat a person eats (especially processed meat), the greater the risk. The bottom line continues to be that people should limit the amount of meat in their diets (or avoid it altogether), favoring instead plant-based whole food diets. If you choose to eat red meat, we continue to recommend that you eat it in moderation and source it from farms that do not use antibiotics and growth hormones.
As a vegetarian, I applaud anyone's attempts to go meat free. But I know most Americans will not do that. The reason I agree to raising meat animals on our farm is because I know this and I also know the conditions under which factory farm animals are raised. Our animals are raised naturally and humanely. Should Americans suddenly stop eating meat and we go out of the meat business, it would be fine with me. In the meantime, I encourage all meat eaters to do the research and spend the extra money to find humanely- and naturally-raised meat. This is still better for human health, animal health, and the planet's health.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Morning Amazement

Animals love their babies, too. This video of a mother bat finding her lost baby is beautiful:

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Quote for the Day

Old book
"Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled 'This could change your life.'"
~Helen Exley

Friday, October 23, 2015

Farm Friday

Yesterday, during a drive to a nearby town, I really noticed how fall is in the air. Both sides of the two-lane highway were lined with trees in various shades of autumn. Even though I'm not a cool weather person, I appreciate the beauty of changing seasons.

A little glimpse into my week:

  • Worked a craft festival (while Bill manned our booth at the farmers' market). Didn't do so well at the festival but connected with some people. (We did have a good turn out for the farmers' market.) Met a cute couple at the festival who crafted together: he makes jewelry and crochets; she sews. Bought this sweet little ipod pouch from her:

  • Friends visited on Sunday and helped with the sweet potato harvest. All the rain was bad for the crop and much of it rotted. We're curing the potatoes now and will see what is salvageable. I'm looking forward to making this lentil, Swiss chard, sweet potato curry.
  • Started prepping for two holiday shows.
  • Hosted a homeschool group on Wednesday - 44 people attended:

  • Did some thrifting and scored two sweaters. I'm low on sweaters (maybe because I remain in denial about cold weather) and have a hard time finding ones I like. In addition to the thrifted sweaters, I found two more at an outlet mall we visited during a day trip.
  • We continue to supply our local farm-to-table restaurant with some of our fresh greens.
  • Attended the Garnier-Thiebault warehouse sale. This was the first time for me and they had such beautiful linens and towels that it was hard to resist. But resist I did and I only bought necessary items such as a few white tablecloths to replace ones that got lost when they were used for an event. I also picked up a couple of beautiful, lush bath sheets plus a new bath mat. Now I know to save up my linen and towel needs in the future and only buy from this twice-a-year sale.
  • Two parts on my food processor recently broke and I finally did some research and found used replacements on Ebay.
  • Started working on my goals for next year. 
Have a great week!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

From a Woman's Perspective


Earlier this week I read an on-point article about being female in a male dominated world.  In the article, Alexandra Petri brilliantly illustrates the double standard when it comes to communication. Women must be careful with what we say and how we say it. Otherwise we are accused of being rude, angry, a bitch, not a team player, etc. Her examples of how a woman would have to deliver famous quotes are sadly true.

Orginal source unknown
Not only do women have to drastically soften whatever message needs to be delivered, we must also overcome being interrupted before we have finished sharing a thought. We also must navigate a world where our ideas are either ignored until a male voice expresses them or outright stolen from us. In this article, Soraya Chemaly talks about how "[m]en interrupt women, speak over them, and discount their contributions to a discussion with surprising regularity." She says we should start teaching girls to use the following expressions to overcome this problem:

“Stop interrupting me.” 

“I just said that.”

“No explanation needed.”

Unfortunately, even men who believe they are tearing down our patriarchal society 
are guilty of quieting female voices. Back in March, in a panel discussion on "diversity and gender inclusivity," Google executive Eric Schmidt constantly interrupted Megan Smith, the Chief Technology Officer for the United States. A woman in the audience finally called Schmidt out on it. Smith added that "because of unconscious bias, men often appropriate the ideas of female counterparts and get all the credit."

Even though much (but not all) of this behavior is unintentional and part of our cultural make up, trying to bring these biases to light requires women to continue the practice of softening the message. The very act of calling men out on rudeness is perceived as being rude. We are blamed when we point out the error of another. Yet how are we to move forward without clearly and succinctly expressing the problem - especially since the problem is we aren't allowed to clearly and succinctly express it - and without being interrupted?

Of course, I don't mean any offence by this post. I just thought it would be helpful to share. I hope readers don't take it the wrong way....Oh, no. Go ahead; I was finished speaking..,.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday Morning Amusement

Love these kinds of friendships:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Farm Friday

Has another week gone by already? We're starting to see signs of autumn around here, with more leaves turning and starting to fall from trees. The weather has been typical for this time of year - cold one day, warm the next. Sorry  no photo today; it has been a hectic week. Here's a brief recap:
  • Spoke about sustainable agriculture at a local church
  • Delivered an order to a local private school
  • Delivered an order to our local farm-to-table restaurant
  • Made more aprons
  • Prepped for market today
  • Prepped for a craft show today
Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wellness Wednesday

Priority Mental Health
The work of photographer Eric Pickersgill has reinforced my belief in the threat our "smart" phone (and internet) society is to mental health. Pickersgill took a series of haunting photos of people in a variety of social settings using their phones. But then he photoshopped the phones out of the photos. The effect is chilling. He was inspired by watching a family, most of whom had their phones out, interact while at a cafe:
Family sitting next to me at Illium cafĂ© in Troy, NY is so disconnected from one another. Not much talking. Father and two daughters have their own phones out. Mom doesn’t have one or chooses to leave it put away. She stares out the window, sad and alone in the company of her closest family. Dad looks up every so often to announce some obscure piece of info he found online. Twice he goes on about a large fish that was caught. No one replies. I am saddened by the use of technology for interaction in exchange for not interacting. This has never happened before and I doubt we have scratched the surface of the social impact of this new experience. Mom has her phone out now.
While I value the convenience and wealth of information that this technology affords us, we have become a society that is both connected and disconnected. We need to take regular breaks from the technology that is isolating us. Apps and social media do not equate to friends and relationships. If you're constantly connected, everything you read or discover seems to be urgent and require your immediate attention. That is a lie. 

Many productivity experts encourage busy executives and entrepreneurs to become less connected, to schedule specific times to check email and to make social media a quick treat instead of a 24/7 activity. Why not take a media fast once a week? Or even leave your phone at home. If you can't leave your phone behind, why not install an app that limits the amount of time you can spend on social media?  (You can do the same on your computer.) The truth is, you're not really missing out if you don't read that next comment or article.

While I was initially excited about the possibilities of the internet, apps, and social media, I've come to see how it disconnects you from life, how you can put priority on "connecting" with people you don't really know over those who are actually in your life. It's impossible to keep up with everyone's Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, Instagram pics, Tumblr accounts, and various other social media, blogs, and vlogs. Our brains aren't wired to keep up with that much virtual friendship. For the sake of mental health - yours and others - put the phone down and actually talk to the person next to you.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday Morning Amusement

Aw, Derbie wants to play, too:

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Quote for the Day

"Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you."
~Walt Whitman

Friday, October 9, 2015

Farm Friday

We're winding down our farmers' market season with just three more market days left this year. That doesn't mean the work ends! We'll continue with deliveries as long as our gardens produce. I'm also going to be working three events where I can sell aprons and other crafts, as well as my cookbook and Bill's book. 

A rundown of some of the things I've accomplished this week:

  • baked 6 loaves of bread
  • finished 5 aprons and have 3 more almost done
  • dried a couple of batches of shiitake mushrooms
  • harvested and dried basil
  • harvested and dried oregano
  • accompanied Bill to a local church where he spoke about his book
  • hosted a group of senior citizens on a tour of the farm
  • made a delivery
  • worked the farmers' market on Saturday
  • was supposed to work our area's CROP Hunger Walk. That got cancelled due to the weather. 
  • celebrated another trip around the sun
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wellness Wednesday

grnc 4
A family member was experiencing back pain last year. Trying to navigate the confusing world of health insurance was bad enough for her, but the worst was trying to determine which type of doctor was right for her condition. First she tried a chiropractor, then she went to a general practitioner physician. All she wanted was relief, hopefully long-term relief. What she got was confusion and wives' tales. Wives' tales? Yes, when she asked the medical doctor about using a chiropractor, she was told it is essentially quackery! So of course, out of frustration, she ended up not going to any doctor and just suffering. 

Not too long ago (1987) the American Medical Association was found guilty in court of falsely accusing chiropractors of quackery and trying to drive them out of business. However, that ugly scene is (supposed to be) behind us and physicians often refer patients to chiropractors. Plus, unlike earlier decades, many insurance plans cover visits to chiropractors. This New York Times article talk about how chiropractic medicine is now mainstream. Unfortunately, the author made it sound as if going to a chiropractor will blindside you when it comes to your bill. (As if no one has experienced that in a physician's office or hospital.) However, the point is that one need not fear the chiropractor. Just make sure, as with any doctor, you do your due diligence and check reputation, insurance coverage, and fees. 

I do think one reason chiropractors have gotten a bad reputation is that they are often the doctor of last resort, so they sometimes see the "incurable." Another family member exhausted her traditional options for a health issue and finally consulted a chiropractor. She said he was the first doctor who listen to her. He saw her health issues as a challenge and was able to pinpoint some of the causes which gave her long-term relief. Again, as with any medical treatment, consider your options and do research.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Quote for the Day

"This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."
~Walt Whitman

Friday, October 2, 2015

Farm Friday

Some of my artisan bread cooling on a rack
After a very dry summer, the fall has turned wet, wet, wet. Plus we have Hurricane Joaquin coming up the east coast. For now, the garden's are loving the cooler and wet weather. We have a crop of the prettiest greens we've ever had. 

A recap of some of this week's events:

  • We had a family wedding this past weekend so had lots of family and friends staying with us. 
  • We continue to add international flair to our farm and had our first visitor from Columbia. She even showed me how to make scambled eggs Columbian style!
  • Held our final mid-week farmers' market.
  • Attended a social media workshop
  • Started experimenting with the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
  • Began work on aprons for the upcoming holiday markets
  • Delivered produce to our new farm-to-table restaurant
  • Did a little bit of hurricane prep by cooking dishes to have on hand in case we lose power
  • Had a change in plans for our area's CROP Hunger Walk (I'm on the planning team) due to the weather. We've changed the venue so I had to get the word out to the media and on social media.
  • Ran my usual weekly errands
  • Learned to identify yet another wild and edible mushroom - puffballs
  • And a surprise:  Our farm will be featured in a calendar put out by a local non-profit. They do this calendar each year and this year's theme is local food! Can't wait to see it!
Have great week!