Now that the harvest is rolling in, dinners get very easy. A few evenings ago I went out to the garden and harvested leeks, tomatoes, Swiss chard and basil. Along with our farm fresh eggs and a little feta cheese, I made lovely omelets. I used our favorite (and healthiest) cooking fat, coconut oil, and paired the omelets with a cold beet salad (our beets) with a homemade citrus vinaigrette. Yum. Fresh ingredients make simple meals so flavorful and satisfying. Low quality-processed foods make up for lack of taste with high amounts of sugar, salt, and fat.
The harvest is starting to roll in now. Summer squashes, cucumbers, herbs, tomatoes, blackberries, potatoes, carrots and more.
This spring and summer I have been jokingly calling our farm “the Body Farm.” I am referring to the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility called “The Body Farm.” It is a research facility for studying human decomposition.
Every year brings it’s share of dead bodies at Small Wonder Farm, but we are way over our quota for the year. We have had dead baby birds, adult birds, snakes, chipmunks, squirrels, moles, a young raccoon and a few chickens. Yes, sometimes it can be quite gross–especially depending on the state of decomposition, but you get used to it. One of the gifts of the farm is the lesson of death and decomposition.
This picture of Frida, from today, shows the latest corpse. Most of the deaths are from natural causes. Most of the moles, however, (like the one pictured below) are dug for and captured by the dogs who then play with them until they expire and then leave them all around the yard. Frida, in particular, considers a corpse a real treasure. Earlier this summer she made it in the door with one. Luckily I saw her scoot past me with it. This one she laid at my feet on the porch. Her contribution to the family stew-pot for the day? I doubt it. She does not want to share. She wants to gloat. When it became clear to her that we were going to strip her of her prize, she turned her back to Paco and made it quite clear she was not going to give in easily. Poor kid. Sometimes co-habitating with humans really stinks.
I am unapologetically declaring myself the 2012 Onion Queen of Westpoint, Indiana. My onions are big, beautiful, delicious, and plentiful. I have been harvesting over a month now and still have the majority to pull. I have potato onions, 4 kinds of storage onions, 3 kinds of bunching onions, 5 kinds of garlic, and Egyptian walking onions. Perhaps I got a bit carried away….Good thing I can send the surplus to the restaurant.
Frida is one now and enjoying her first summer on the farm. This is what she loves: strawberries, Tinsel (the border collie) chasing her, and picking up dead things and eating/toting them around (ugh!). A few weeks ago she came in with a dead mole.
She is learning to love swimming. She now willingly gets held in the water and will swim short distances.
Today’s survey of the main garden highlighted a little natural pest control. The first picture is of a Colorado Potato Beetle larvae. Potato beetles showed themselves early this spring and I have been battling to keep them under control. I squash all that I find, but was very happy to see a Northern Leopard Frog lurking in my potato patch. Nice juicy potato bug larvae are the perfect entrée for this frog.
Canning season is off to a great start. With inspiration from a friend who blogs at Creating Nirvana, I set out to turn the majority of 3 cases of strawberries into Strawberry Lemonade and Strawberry Limeade concentrate. I love that Crating Nirvana’s recipe is honey sweetened. One of the keys to canning is to can things you will really use. My daughter loves strawberries and loves lemonade. This year round occasional treat will be a big hit and a much healthier version than I could buy. In the end, I canned about 25 pints. The concentrate is mixed 1:1 with water, so we will have plenty of summer in jars. Some of the berries went into the freezer for smoothies as well.
I have already harvested some of my soft neck garlic and some of the garlic grown in the high tunnel. I decided to pickle this first harvest. I love the flavor, but wish it had not gotten so soft. I think I will try a raw pack next time. No recipe here–just wing it! Pickling brine is a combo of vinegar, water, salt, (if you want) sweetener, and spices to taste.
It was a wonderful Sunday on the farm. The weather was perfect. Paco and I got up early and focused on adding some functional scaffolding for the crops. We completed placing and securing our homemade welded wire tomato cages on all 29 tomatoes. We also used wooden trellises to create structures for the Zucchinno Rampicante. We have grown this behemoth for 5 years now and know it needs some serious support. We put in trellises for most of the cucumbers as well.
When I wasn’t helping the chef with architecture (yes that’s him in his Grinch pj’s), I was harvesting new purple potatoes, soft-neck garlic, and potato onions. I pulled all the pea plants in the main garden and the goats feasted on them happily. I also snapped pictures to give a visible update on the farm. Time flies in the garden and before we knew it it was 12:30.
I also dispatched about 60 lbs of strawberries this weekend. That’s a lot of strawberries. I will post separately about what happened to all of them, but there is a picture included here of a very happy girl enjoying some homemade strawberry lemonade.
I gave a new presentation yesterday about eating local and doing so on a budget. Here are links to the power point and the resource list. They are also at the top header bar of the blog.