Monday, December 29, 2008

Blogging the holidays...

This holiday season has just kicked my butt! Really. I am finally starting to breath, both figuratively and literally.

We started December by being gone for a week (9th - 12th) for the Great Lake Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Expo. When there we started to feel a little ill.

By Monday the 15th, with no Christmas tasks done (not even the tree) I was feeling well and truly beat. The wonderful flu kept me hacking all night, going to work on massive amounts of DayQuil, attempting to keep my voice from totally going out, coming home and right into bed. Monday, Tuesday, by Wednesday I was getting next to no sleep. I went to the doctor after work Thursday with a 103 degree temp and a cough that would NOT stop! Antibiotics and home to sleep for the next 20 hours, at least for the 10 minutes an hour I was not coughing

Friday I stayed home from work, and still no Christmas got done. By Saturday I was feeling a little better. Which is good because we cleaned ( a little) and put up our tree because my sister and her family pulled in at 5:00.

On Sunday we finally made some cookies, and my nieces helped. I started to feel better and the next week was the whirlwind that Christmas with family staying with you is. I worked Monday and Tuesday and we went to Stan Hewit, December Days at the Zoo, Christmas dinner for 8, and family over the day after, not to mention shopping, shopping and shopping! My 5 year old niece discovered the cookie boxes and until we found 4 cookies stuffed in her mittens no one realized she had discovered the cookie box.

But it explained so much! 6 dozen cookies into a 5 year old in three and a half days... No wonder her tummy hurt! And that was before her 13 year old sister decided to give her Mountain Dew...

Now that the holidays are over it is time to start thinking about our 2009 season! So much to do and the start of the season's work is only a couple months away. Seeds will be ordered in January and the first started in February!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Personally I'd rather not...

The FDA is getting ready to change it's recommendations that women and children limit the amount of mecury laced seafood they eat. Personally, I'd like to avoid bio-accumlitive neurotoxins in my diet, especially until we have our children. But maybe that is just me!

They say that the benifits Omega-3s and Selenium (among other trace minerals) found in fish may outweigh the damage from the mecury. But given that the levels being found in people are higher then once thought I think I will pass. There are other ways to get these nutrients!

One 3-1/2 ounce serving of tuna has almost 100% of the daily recommended selenium level at 63 micro grams. But just one ounce of Brizal nuts blow them away with over 700% of the daily remmendation!

For all trace minerals you are liable to found more in foods grown on farms that have not been in industrial agriculture for decades, like those grown by farmers you are likely to meet at your farmer's market!

And while you are there pick up some grass fed beef! While it is true that wild caught fish have Omega 3 levels that blow grass fed beef out of the water, most people eat mainly farmed fish! Micheal Pollan points out in Ominovore's Dialmma that it is not so much what you eat but what you ate - ate... If your salmon is feasting on corn you might as well be eating Chicken...

And while you are at it eat some flax seed every day!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And Obama will change...

Not food policy.

At least not as evidenced by his selection of Secretary of Agriculture. I read a great quote today by one of my favorite bloggers "Let’s see, rabid ethanol proponent…check! Enthusiastic supporter of GMOs and biotechnologies…check! Totally indebted to and under the thumb of agribusiness…check! Yup, it seems clear that Obama really took Michael Pollan’s “Farmer in Chief” piece to heart ;-P. Short of actually appointing, say, Monsanto’s chairman, it is hard to imagine a choice less likely to make real shifts in our food system." (from blog: Casaubon's Book)

Tom Vilsack will be our new Secretary of agriculture. A huge proponent of bio-technology (read GMOs.) While it may be true that he does not have much power himself, it does speak to the new administration's view of the future of American agriculture.

GMO foods, corn ethanol, and subsidizes for the industrial food system? Where is the change?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Such big plans...

Sorry I have not been posting as much recently! It seems like Christmas snuck up on me this year and now I am running trying to catch up! Cookies, decorating, and gifts - none of it is done, barley started!

In the mean time we are planning big things for next year! Some of which I have to be careful about blogging, but come April we will have huge news...

Stick with us and I will try to blog more, I promise...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Expo

We got back today from the Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Expo in Grand Rapids. We spent three very informative days learning lots of stuff.

We got into the city around 1:00 on Tuesday afternoon and went right to the expo. As we were walking from our car in the parking garage to go register we over heard the conversation of a couple in front of us. They were talking about a couple they had met who were talking about grass fed beef. They were doubtful of the economics of the system and the women said "I think they were ORGANIC PEOPLE." The husband nodded and the conversation was over, that explained all the strange ideas.

That about sums up our experience. We were "organic people." When you sign up they asked you to identify the type of farming you do and one of the checks was for organic. So our name tags said "ORG," and we were out of the closet as we walked around. Salesmen did not want to talk to us, people sitting near us at workshops ignored us, and we had a pretty strange experience all around.

We attended a lot of educational sessions and were able to glean a lot of information amongst the workshops geared at conventional farmers. The exhibit hall closed at 1:00 Thursday and all the organic sessions were held from 1:00 to 3:00 the last day when most of the people were gone. And that session was interesting! I will post more about that later. Right now we have hundreds of ideas swirling in our heads and it will take a couple weeks to process it all and integrate into our plans for next year!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Protecting us from dangerous criminals...

On December first a swat team entered a private home in rural north east Ohio and held the occupants of the home (adults and children) at gun point for nine hours. During this time they executed a search warrant and tore apart the family's house looking for contra ban. At the end of the day they left with about $10,000 worth of "evidence."

The Lorain county swat team assisted the State department of agriculture in this raid. Department of AGRICULTURE!?!?! Yes.

The search was not for drugs or guns or even counterfeit purses. No it was for food. The Manna Storehouse a local co-op in LaGrange, Ohio. The charge, as near as any seems to be able to figure out has to do with some meat that was found in a freezer at Oberlin college which was not properly labeled (meaning it did not come through a USDA licenced facility.) Although they are not charged it seems likely they will be with operating a retail establishment without a licence, a third degree misdemeanor. For that a Swat team?

I would point you to the following link for more information. The Bovine. Be sure to click on the links at the bottom for more information, there are four posts on this and links to other blogs.

In the end, I fear that this may be a case of the government protecting us from non-industrialized food. And that scares me. Our right to decide what we eat is under attack. Already raw milk, unpasteurized cider, farm processed meat. What is next? Veggies?

I will keep on top of this for everyone and post updates. Things like this send shivers up my farmer's spine.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Coming in January...

Starting in January we will be offering occasional classes at the farm.

There are so many topics, we are still working on ideas, but the first will probably be right after the new year, as my resolution is to start our classes this year I thought what better first class then...

Resolution: GARDEN!

Starting a vegetable garden in your back yard. Learn the steps you can take now to prepare for a garden in your back yard this spring. We will explore the three "P's" of gardening: planning, preparation, and planting.

Class Level - Beginning.

Tentatively scheduled for Sunday, Jan 4th: 1:30-3:30

Cost for class - $25.00

Please email us at if you are interested in the class. It will be offered if we receive enough interest.

Please visit our website for more details on classes. We will be posting these over the coming days. 2009 CLASSES

Monday, December 1, 2008

Would you like melamine with that?

The FDA sets limits on melamine in baby formula... 1 part in a million is OK...

When I first saw this article my attitude was "How horrible! The only allowable level of poisons in our children's food should be zero!" And that may be true. But what does that really mean?

I found this article when doing some more research, an opinion piece from the New York Times.

Like so many issues, it is more complicated then it may first seems...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Finally Eggs!

It has been a while since we have had our own eggs. And pretty strange to have to actually BUY eggs! But since around July we have started getting no more then one or two eggs a day. Then around September they dried up completely! NO EGGS AT ALL! Our old chickens are apparently getting too old to lay and our young hens were no quite ready yet.

We expected to have to make due with other farmer's eggs until spring. Then on Thanksgiving we found one pullet egg! (Pullet eggs are the first eggs a hen lays and are half as big (or less) then a "normal" egg.)

Today when I went in to give them food I found five more pullet eggs! We should be getting 10 dozen eggs or so a week from our hens when they get up and going, but that is still months off, for now, I am happy that we are at least getting our own eggs again, although it probably takes three of these mini things to make one normal egg...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Why confess...

I thought I would post my Thanksgiving diary because there is an important point to be made. While many ingredients we used were not local, at least they were bought and used with awarness of where they came from. When given a choice in the grocery store we picked Pennsylvania potatoes over those from Idaho and Michigan beet sugar over cane from South America. We did have some items where we did not know where things came from, a couple of them important, but for the most part we know what we ate for our Thanksgiving meal. And that at least is a step.

As I was going through our meal I realized it was a little more local then I had thought, but we are coming into a time of year when eating locally becomes a challenge. So take this challenge this winter, even if you cannot eat from within 100 miles of your home, eat with awareness of that distance. Every year we can get a little more local, with each other's help.

Know the map of your food.

Kind of Local Thanksgiving... Part 1

OK! I thought I would come clean on the origins of my Thanksgiving dinner. I would love to be able to tell you how we enjoyed a totally local meal only stepping outside for the rare item covered by the "Marco Polo Rule" for things like ginger and cloves. But that would be lieing, so instead I will give you the whole truth!

The first truth was that Thanksgiving this year was not planned. Yeah, we knew we were having it, but we really did not think about it much until the day before! It was only going to be five people and we did not expect to go through much food, so we were refusing to stress. (Maybe a little more preplanning would have been good!)

We woke up Thanksgiving morning and hubby said "You don't have to get up yet, I am just going to do the chickens." *make sure their food and water are good*

But I looked at the clock and it was 7:30 and I figured I should start the pies. Now, I GOOD Farmer wife would have done the pie the day before or the weekend before, or AT LEAST made the crust the night before, or AT LEAST picked the recipe...

So I go down stairs, grab the "New Best Recipe Cookbook" which is our standby cookbook and look at the pumpkin pie recipe... Quick math - make crust - refrigerate - blind bake - make filling - bake.... 11:00... SHIT!!! How long was that turkey supposed to bake? OK - dinner is at 2:30 instead of 1:30!

So I start the crust... Anyone who has tried to eat all local for any time has come up against FLOUR! This most ubiquitous and yet most difficult to find locally product. Well, not totally, we do have locally grown and milled spelt flour from the co-op we belong to, but I wanted a TRADITIONAL pie and was not about to try something crazy like a spelt crust for Thanksgiving... WHAT IF THE PIE DID NOT TURN OUT!?! So I improvised...

  • King Aurthur Organic All Purpose Flour

  • Butter - Amish Roll butter - I have no clue if this is really local

  • Lard - Purchased from Duma Meats - local

  • Sugar - Michigan Beet sugar - not organic

The filling was more embarrassing for a localvore farmer! You would think I would have thought of this meal in the spring and planted for it! But our squash did very badly this year. At least I could have thought of it at the farmers market and bought a squash to use... Yeah --- No... So the filling went...

  • Libby canned pumpkin - BPA and all - who knows where it comes from!

  • Brown Sugar - regular Domino from who knows where?

  • Spices - Marco Polo Rule - always

  • Eggs - Local and free range - but frustratingly not our own

  • Milk - Hartzler's - Local and pretty natural

  • Cream - Conventional and not local

Eventually the pies went in! They took a while to cook, I think I used a deeper then normal pie pan, but they came out great!

Kind of Local Thanksgiving... Part 2

So now we come to the star of the show! Mr. Turkey... I would love to say to you "I fist meet Mr. Turkey in April at a local farm where he was just a little poult! As the summer went along he wandered fields and enjoyed being outside, as his heritage breed should be." But alas, I cannot. A couple years ago we did have a heritage bird and it was fantastic, but for the crowd we were cooking for it was just not worth it, and the cost not justifiable for the little turkey people would be eating.

Every year my Sister in Law's company gives every one a turkey, so that is the one we used. A 11 pound conventional bird from...? We stuck it in our Romertopf clay roaster and did not touch it for the next two hours!

Then comes my favorite part of thanksgiving - THE STUFFING... Yum! We did a bit better on this although we could not find dried "stuffing" bread at the three local bakeries we tried so we started with...
  • Stuffing mix - again not local, not organic, just peppridge farms from Giant Eagle

  • Bread from Great Lakes Baking Company - but the flour... ?

  • lots of butter - again the Amish roll type

  • Onions - our garden's only contribution to this meal

  • Celery - we picked up at the farmer's market

  • Spices - Marco Polo rule again

The mashed potatoes were about the same, and while I would love to say we used all our own potatoes, the few we kept for this meal did not store well for us. I would love to say that we bought some other local farmers potatoes, but that would require thinking ahead! So we went to the Kreigers and did our best with...

  • Potatoes - from somewhere in Pennsylvania

  • lots of butter - again the Amish roll type

  • Cream - again conventional and not local

The cranberry sauce was equally embarrassing to someone trying to eat local...

  • Cranberries - from Maine (some day I hope to have our own!)

  • Sugar - Michigan Beet

  • Oranges - Florida

The corn came from a can with a Green Giant on the front. And we had no other veggies. Why spoil an otherwise perfectly unhealthy meal with green stuff?

The biscuits --- Lets not talk to much about them except to say they came more from a big yellow box than from anywhere else!

And that was my Thanksgiving meal...

I feel like I'm at an AA Meeting -

Hello my name is CSA Farmer Girl and I am not a locavore.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


On this Thanksgiving day we should all take a minute from our turkey induced coma to be truly thankful.

Thankful for those who are with us here to share new memories.
Thankful for the memories of those who are no longer with us.

As we face challenges in our lives and our families we need to be mindful of all of the blessings both large and small which we all have.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So much to learn...

The life of a farmer is one of never ending movement.

In the spring it starts with starting and planting. The summer sees weeding and harvesting. The fall sees field clean up and more harvesting. But the fall does not see the end of movement.

In the winter is the time to move our ideas. Once planting begins in the spring the plans have been laid the goals set forth and you move in as close to a straight line as possible.

But in the winter we can zig zag, go in a circle, or do anything else we want, IDEAS can fly!

An catalogues come and field layouts start the energy is as frenzied as the spring, just in a more cerebral way. The goal is always that the plan is set come March and we can make the best use of our resources (among which time is the most precious.) Not that it will happen, but we can try!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dedication to Local Food...

You can tell that the Local Food Movement has come a long way when people are willing to walk a quarter mile, uphill both ways, in 20 degree weather and ice to buy a couple heavy bags of produce which they then carry back to their cars!

And really it was uphill both ways to the market this morning because the path between the Happy Days visitor's center and the parking lot crosses under the road, so you go down and then come back up!

Many of the vendors too suffered for the food, pulling some of what was brought today up from under inches of snow in 20-30 degree temperatures.

All that being said we just about sold out! All our storage onions, pasnips, leeks, and butternut squash went. We had brought 4 bushels of onions, leaving the last one home because last week we only sold about a bushel of onions. Around 10 this morning we looked down and only had half a bushel of the yellow's left! So farmer hubby ran home (it pays to live close to market) and brought the last bushel of onions. We sold every last one of the storage onions !

We did come home with a bushel of red onions, which sold better last week, but that was all...

The customers came and bought! I think everyone had a good day at market!

Our leeks still in the ground froze solid in the 17 degree night last week so this market officially marked the last day of our 2008 season! Deep breath...

The seed catalogues for 2009 have started to come and we are planning big things for next year! Stay tuned for news...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Picking in the snow...

Tonight when I get home we are going to spend an hour or two picking for market on Saturday. We have Leeks and Parsnips to pull... Problem is, NOT ONLY is it cold, but there is 3 inches of snow left... But if we wait until tomorrow that total may be up to a foot! I may go out then and bank some of the leeks in tight snow, assuming they are OK!

It got pretty cold Tuesday night... it was 17 degrees when I woke up! Thankfully there was snow which acts a protective barrier against extreme cold. My very considerate husband bought me a set of insulated, rubber surfaced gloves... Hopefully next year we will be picking in the snow more often!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving next week!

Can you believe it! It is next week already!

Please visit us at the Peninsula Holiday Market next week...

If you mention this blog post I will give you a special deal if you buy 10 or more onions. Remember you'll need enough to last you until the next market the week before Christmas!

If you need more onions than that let us know, and we can make a special deal for you. Our yellow onions should store well into Janurary or Feburary... How many onions do you use in that time?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Holiday Market - One

Just home from market. It was a pretty good day, although we did not sell nearly as many onions or leeks as we expected. That being said, we sold A TON of parsnips. We didn't have honey, which was our savior last year at the fall market, there was very little honey this year, a testament to the problem with bees.

Maybe next week people will be more likely to buy squash and onions for storage, and people want butternut squashes for the holidays. This week it was kind of dreary and rainy which might of have kept some people away. Hopefully those people will come next week.

We only sold a bushel of onions, we brought 4... But we'll see, I still have hopes next week will see us selling bushels of onions.
We only had 20 bunches of carrots, they sold out (except for 1 bunch) within the first 40 minutes - that last bunch sat on the table until 11ish... One of anything always looks sad... I am sorry we did not plant a couple hundred more feet this fall, but it is on our list for next year.

All and all an OK day at market in sales, and it is always fun to be at market and talk with people... I am looking forward to next week, hopefully it will be even MORE successful, and who knows I may even find time to make honey caramels.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Distributed generation...

What would it mean to the national security and our environmental footprint if we had a network of distributed non-carbon based electrical generation? Small hydo on every watercourse, windmills on every hilltop, and solar on every roof...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day & Blizzard story

Everyone, take a moment to remember Veteran's day today. It is a holiday we so often forget, especially those of us who work in the private sector, where national holiday's are just the day the banks are closed and there is no mail service. Especially as the holiday is not conveniently held on a Monday each year, but tied to an important date, today November 11th, once Armistice Day, now Veteran's Day.

Take a moment today to thank a veteran, so many brave men and women over the years have put their safety and lives in the way of our freedom and liberty. And when they come home so often their sacrifice is forgotten. Let's show them today that we have not forgotten their sacrifice.

And on a lighter note a story for you about a blizzard on Veteran's Day. I found this story on Beginning Farmer's Blog, and it is worth the read.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Snow and Coming Out

My old car recently died. Well, not recently, at the beginning of the summer, but we spent most of the summer carpooling as we tried to decide what to get... Smart Car, Prious, Yaris

The Smart Car had a 12 month plus waiting list!
The Prius is more then I wanted to spend.
The Yaris is a nice car but as with all of them, do I want a payment? And will having a car payment effect farm decisions later?

Eventually I decided that what I wanted was a small diesel which are not available yet, maybe in 2010... So I needed a "till then car." Eventually we found a Saturn Vue which I really liked, a 2005 manual transmission. The car gets between 26 & 29 mpg and is still big enough to haul bags of feed. I am very happy with this car, and it's performance is not that bad...

Today I found the first thing I don't like with the car. (OK, SUV)

The antenna gets in the way of scraping the windshield, this has not been a problem with frosts so far, but today I had to scrape ice, LOTS of ice. The windshield is high and the antenna gets in the way!

I know, I know! That is what I get for buying an SUV! But I don't feel THAT bad, the mileage is good for a bigger vehicle, and we really do have the need for it. We will be getting a second vehicle which is a lot more efficient at some point, but for now, I love my car, except for the windshield thing!

(Now I've come out as a SUV owner, I feel better not being in the closet any longer!)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Holiday Farmers Market

Next weekend (WOW is it next weekend already!?!) we will be participiting in the first Holiday Market of the year, held by the countryside conservancy at the Happy Days Vistors Center in Peninsula.

We will have honey carmels, kale, onions, leeks, butternut squash, and a few other treats all of which will keep for weeks!

We plan on also being at the market on November 22nd.

We hope to see you there!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Recipie request...

If you are ever looking for a good recipie check out

Yummy fall foods...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My dream for our president...

We are facing a crisis in this country. A crisis of culture, of drive, of motivation.

To many of our young people are not motivated towards excellence. This is particularly true of under served minority areas, of our vast inner cities.

Education is not seen as the key it is; the key to a better life. So often the schools are a place for kids to be kept during the day, warehoused.

Some of this is the fault of under preforming schools and under preforming teachers. But often these schools are not the lowest funded, often their per student expenditure is higher then better preforming adjacent communities...

When we have a school system where not a third of students who enter 9th grade leave with a diploma, we have a huge problem. For these children it is not true that YOU CAN BE ANYTHING, if they are fortunate they will get a job with benefits, and that after struggling to earn that GED.

My dream for this president is that he hooks into the passion that won him the White House, that he says (probably unpopular) things that start to drive a change in the culture of our inner city schools and children. That the suburbanites who rallied to his cause rally to this one with tutoring services and other help as needed. That the change towards a culture of excellence starts in the next 4 years.

Perhaps a Presidential Academic Excellence Award to take its place next to the Presidential Physical Fitness Test so many of us took. But it will take a change in culture and it will not be easy, but perhaps, no one is better suited then a president who understands the unique issues of the community and whose own children go to an exceptional school.

It will take an exceptional amount of effort and an exceptional amount of commitment from our new president elect, but it could happen. It will take a change in the way communities function, and probably a strengthening of families to focus more on education. And what a difference would that make in the economy if for all these children who are now left behind came to a place where anything really was possible...

2009 Plans begin...

2009 catelougs are starting to come in and plans are swirling in our heads!

It is so overwhelming to look back over our season and forward to next year...
For an example, last year we planted 2 cases of onions/leeks (about 3600 plants.) Next year we are considering an onion/leek order of 6 cases! Add that in with some onions/green onions/leeks started from seed and we are planning about a 1/4 acre onion plot. (Are we crazy?)
If only our soil looked like the soil in this onion feild!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Leek and poatoe soup...

This is the best fall comfort food! I almost always double the recipe, it is so good.

3 T butter
  • melted in a 4 quart sauce pan (larger if doubling recipie)
  • add

2 large leeks (the white area cut into thin slices - about 2 cups)

  • cook slowly until transparent, stirring often
  • add

1 large garlic clove, crushed

  • cook for an additional 5 minutes on low stirring offten, not allowing onions to brown
  • in the mean time peel

1 pound potatoes

  • cut into 3/4" cubes
  • add to leeks with

2 - 13 oz cans of chicken broth

  • bring to boil and add

1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
pinch of celery seeds

  • cook until potatoes are soft (about 15 minutes)

    Either serve as is


    Use a stick blender to puree until smooth (this is how I serve it)


Monday, November 3, 2008

Election in the heartland...

I am sorry. I am ready for the election to be done.

Maybe if you don't live in Ohio or another "battle ground" state you do not fully understand, but it seems to be all anyone is talking about, caring about, seeing anything about. It is 24/7 and it makes me want to vote for either Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney, or Garfield (the annual stand-by in my high school elections.) Third Party Candidates.

Did you see Simpson's last night? Check this out... Hubby laughed out loud, which if you knew him you would realize is rare.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween tradition...

Two pumpkins... to bad we did not grow them... maybe next year.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

The eyes of others.

It is strange sometimes when you take a step back and look at yourself like others do. Yesterday I was speaking on the phone to someone from my mom’s hospice whom I have never met or talked to before. He said “I have heard that you are very type-A.”

I have never thought of myself of a type-A person, so I responded “I don’t think so, I’m just type-B, with focus.”

A while later when talking to hubby I realized just how very type-A that statement must have sounded.

Way back in high school I had a similar experience when a counselor told me I was an overachiever. At which point I told her that I did not believe in over achievers, because no one in the world was capable of achieving more than they were capable of. So there are two types of people achievers and under achievers and 99% of people are under achievers. All I was doing was striving to not under achieve.

It would be so strange to be able to sit back and see yourselves as others see you.

What would that tell you about yourself?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

First real snow of the year.

One year when we were little we tricked and treated in full winter coats and leg warmers hats and gloves... what fun is that?
You cannot see in this photo but it is snowing pretty hard!

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Missing Pollan...

I am sorry to say that last night I missed Micheal Pollan. How sad.

It has just been one of those weeks. Hubby is back today after being gone for a few days. There was some reason I needed to be home, something I had to do, so I told the friend I was going to go with to give my seat in the car away, I had to bow out.

Then yesterday, my mom's phone stopped accepting incoming calls. Of course she had no idea, so after work I had to run over (after going home to take care of the dog and chickens) to be sure they could call out (which they could). I then spent an hour and a half on the phone with Vonage before they figured out that it was an OHIO WIDE problem... Nice, I first noticed it at 3:30, it is not 6:30 and you are just realizing that no people in Ohio can get incoming telephone calls? (We may be switching phone service soon.) So after trying a couple temporary numbers which did not work they said the problem was "red flagged" and they would fix it in the next couple hours.

So I got home around 7:00, made dinner, straightened up, and sat there relaxing, glad I had not decided to drive to Oberlin. Then around 8:30 I had a sudden thought... THE LEEKS!

That was why I had bowed out. I had promised a local chef I would bring him some of our leeks to try out, I said I would drop them off on my way home from work on Wednesday! That was the "something" I had been supposed to do!

I decided I better get out there now, because it would be just as dark in the morning, colder, potentially snowier, and much earlier! Way to early to pick leeks at 5:30, there is a reason I will never do dairy! So out I treked into the cold, by then it had started the freezing rain... NICE!

So I picked a dozen leeks in the dark and freezing rain, holding a flashlight in between my teeth as I pitchforked them up and tryed to shake some of the mud off them. Then in the cold I washed them with the garden hose and trimmed them. It was 9:10 when I was done, which surprised me because I thought the process took longer then that, I sure felt colder then that...

At least I did not have to do it after getting back from Oberlin at who knows what time. So while I am sad I missed his talk when he was so close (and free!) I am glad I did not go because it was one more thing I did not need...

That thing came when I was falling to sleep at 11:00 and my phone rang an "unavailable" number (I always pick up in case it is something about my ill mom, and in the middle of the night what else could it be.) So my heart was beating as I picked it up, it was Vonage telling me that the problem was still not solved, but they expected to in the next 24 hours... Thanks for waking up me and the dog to tell me that...

I mention my Rottweiler only because if he is disturbed in the middle of the night when hubby is not home he goes on hyper alert and proceeds to bark and growl at any noise ALL NIGHT LONG!!!!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Will work for food?

I wonder if anyone would be willing to work for their share?

Maybe 4 or 5 hours one morning a week in exchange for their share of produce? Maybe someone who could not otherwise afford the share? Maybe someone like a stay at home mom?

Someone who wants to really know their food and their farmer?

I wonder...


My window at work... Can you see the sleet? It is there...

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Snow? Really?

I mean come on people. It is October. Snow?


They are saying an inch accumulation out east, of course it will melt almost immediately, but still... Snow. In October?

Trick or Treat?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lazy days...

Most people think of the lazy days of summer. For farmers the first lazy days of the year come in the late fall...

Today we spent the day doing exactly NOTHING! AH!!! So nice.

We got up late and went for a drive to spy on road side stands and get a couple nice pumpkins, as our pumpkins did badly this year. Later tonight we are going to Fire for a late anniversary dinner.

Tomorrow we have a couple things to do in the garden before the projected SNOW comes next week... SNOW??!?!? But no picking or pickup.

There will be a lot to do this fall and winter getting ready for the big steps we plan on taking next year, and we do have two more farmers market and one more CSA share around Thanksgiving to get ready for, but for now, I am enjoying doing nothing...

Now please excuse me while I go and play Spore.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Worst networker...

I am an awful networker and business card hander outer!
Yesterday was an unusual day for me and we had two big events.
The first was a group from National Parks all over the country. We gave them a tour of the farm, talked to them about how we got into the program, and feed them some Leek and Potato soup... We had 60 people in our barn, coffee set up for them, a table with the soup, and I did not put ANY business cards on the table, not one!
Right after that was done I drove up to Cleveland where I was sitting on a Green Building Panel at E4S. This even starts and ends with networking and I did not have ANY not even one business card. I do not know how many times I had to say "I'm sorry, I forgot my cards!"
No one tell my boss, OK...
Two big business mistakes in one day...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Week 17...

Week 17 share: 4 leeks, 1 butternut squash, 1 acorn squash, 1 red onion, 2 yellow onions, 4 bulbs baby fennel, a small amount of lettuce, and 8 apples... This is the last share of the regular season.

Week 18 will be a thanksgiving share...

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when a hard frost hits the peppers...


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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Keeping peace and being careful...

Going into the election I would like to take a minute to remind everyone to think twice about their words in both personal life and professional meetings.

Sitting in a meeting last week I actually heard someone say that if you did not vote for a certain candidate you were a racist. This was at a meeting with lots of different people including clients of the person who made the statement.

Regardless of your political beliefs (or mine) how fair is that statement, really?

A friend told me that she saw a person selling pumpkins at a stand make a statement that if the same candidate was elected she would have to close her business, her taxes would jump too high, and you were stupid if you voted for "that one!"

People, think twice before you speak... Broad brushes either way are wrong.

If you work at a place where 90% of the people believe one way, do not make life totally uncomfortable for the minority 10% for the next few weeks. Be considerate. Most people have made up their mind by now and brow beating them will not change their mind even if you call them racist for one choice or stupid for another...

If you ever want to check something either side says check this...
nyk logistics, "K"line, cai, seaco, triton, gvs, interpool, zim...

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My grandmother...

I think it might help to explain my previous and kind of rambling post.

My take on America and life here might be diffrent then many of my friends, colored by the fact that I am a frist generation American.

My grandmother (same grandmother) came to the United States by herself after the second world war. She left my father and aunt in Germany and came here, alone, to find a better life for her family. My father and aunt joined her a bit later, my father then in highschool and my aunt younger.

My father joined the milatary, as so many who are not native born do (says something, no?) And I grew up living life through the eyes of a first generation army brat. We did not live in a big subdivision, and none of my friends had parents with expensive cars, or got to go on annual expensive vacations. So none of that was put forth to me as "the goal."

It probably helped this that my mother was a little hippy dippy...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Amercian Dream

I heard a piece on NPR this morning and in the commentary about a forum on the middle class someone said that the "American dream is now about stuff."

So often it is, or seems to be, about just that. How big is your house, how many bedrooms, how new is your vehicle, and (even) did you go to the "right" school and do your kids.

I grew up thinking that the American Dream meant if you worked hard you could achieve your goals. But no one talked about what those goals were. For me they never about money and stuff they were bigger. When I was younger they were very much about being sure that your children have access to a better life then you. But what is better?

As I got older I though about it in relation to the Four Freedoms - The freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear... I think a lot people misunderstand freedom from want for freedom from wanting! It is not the BMW, the McMansion, the designer clothes, and elaborate vacations.

We may have a better "quality of life" then our parents, but what does that mean? I may have a Hi-Def flat screen TV (granted it is only 27 inches, how do we do it?!?) but does that help give me a better quality of life then my parents who had a big box color TV with just BASIC CABLE!?!

Quality of life does not come from stuff. It comes from within once the basic needs of life are met, and to be honest a majority of people reading this blog have all their needs of life met. It comes from a deep sense of contentedness and happiness. From joy in small things. From happiness in spending time with your family and in nature.

If I can teach this to our children they will have a better quality of life then we do, then I will have lived the American Dream, regardless of what happens to my 401k or if I can never afford a new vehicle or a designer wardrobe and if they never get to meet Mickey Mouse. If I don't they will never be happy regardless of ho much STUFF they can acquire...

Taking joy in small things is a part of the American Dream we all need to relearn...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

fall on the farm...

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the last good quantity of something in the garden... 1500 leeks wait for the thanksgiving markets and our last shares...

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Anouther visitor...

This time of year we see more catepillers as the foliage starts to disappear...

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Deer dinner...

Hello. wildlife... Our garden is not a salad bar!

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

October 7th...

This morning I was running a bit late, having stayed up to long last night, primarily because at 8:45 I decided it would be a good idea to make a pie with some of the crust I made this weekend. Pie was in the oven at 9:10, done at 10:10, cooled outside until 10:30, at which point we each had a piece, mine with coffee (hubby is smarter then that!) So I did not get to bed till close to midnight, so 5:00 am came awful early this morning and was followed by too many snoozes!

So at a couple minutes after 6:00 I made it to my car, without coffee or other warmy beverages, and sans-jacket, as this is the time of year I tend to leave them at the office as they are not needed in the afternoon!

I turned on my wipers and heard the unmistakable scraping sound that indicates our season is pretty darn close to being over! A couple tentative strokes of the wipers made it clear that I would have to scrape! Although my radio told me that it was 41 degrees "at our studios" it was clear to me as I pulled my emergency tiny scraper from the back of my vehicle, that barring some extraordinarily unprecedented meteorological (shifting the chemical composition of the atmosphere so that frost forms above 32 degrees) I was not enjoying the heat island effect that buffers the cities a little...

I would like to point out to those of you who are thinking now that "It's fall!" That our average first frost day is somewhere in mid to late October with only 10% of years seeing a first this early...

We will see what damage was done to our garden later today and tomorrow... But as we only have 5 more pickups scheulded this year, and some frost tolerant stuff in the ground, we should be fine...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Huge Toadstool...

8 inch toad stool found in a random place somewhere near our farm... wow is that one big mushroom!
Any identification anyone? Ed?
I have a sneaking suspicion I found it online...
If that is the case, I am glad we washed our hands after touching it!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It is the beginning of pickup, just 7:00 and already getting dark, more then that I am getting cold! I guess I should expect no less on October 1 but still... i enjoy fall i just want it to stay a little warmer a little long....

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Micheal Pollan speaking locally...

If you want to think about what you eat this may be for you...

Micheal Pollan is speaking
At Finney Chapel
Oberlin College
Tuesday, October 28, 2008, 8 p.m.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Today's share...

This week's share... about 1 lb beet roots, 1 lg slicing tomatoe, 4 plum tomatoes, a couple parsnips, 1 nice head of lettuce, 2 red onions, 1 yellow onion, 8 mixed sweet heirloom peppers, 6 apples, and 2 pounds of potatoes...

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Maple Syrup...

We are coming into, what I consider, maple syrup weather! The spring is great and the syrup fresh, but we so quickly go into warm days where the heaviness of it is almost (ALMOST!) to much. Plus right about the time we get our syrup is when we are usally to busy to make big production breakfasts, which is where maple syrup shines!

Why and I thinking this? Today I read that an estimated 90% of Americans have never tasted real maple syrup! 90%?!?! They don't even know what they are missing! People of North east onio do not be a statistic (although if you are reading this you are unlikely to be.)

Hubby and I go through over a gallon a year... That may seem excessive, but much of that goes into recipies for fall entertaining. Our use did spike two years ago when we found this recipie Cranberry-Maple Pudding Cake in Bon-Appeit. The tartness of the cranberries is a perfect balance for the maple, and this dish has become the "Impress the company" breakfast, so we made a double batch a few times a year and when using maple syrup a cup at a time it goes fast... ((Sadley this recipie is only good with cranberries, as far as we can tell, although we are meaning to try gooseberries!))

So if you don't want your family in other, deprived parts of the country, to be part of the 90% why not consider buying some bottles of maple syrup for christmas gifts. Now would be a great time of year to get them when you are getting apples and pumpkins this October...

Now excuse me, I have some pancakes to enjoy....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


what veggie will i grow up to be? If there is enough time...

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Here is a Great fall dish!

Onion Panade
(Heather’s Notes: This is one of our favorite winter dishes… It makes a hearty soup that is more like a wonderful casserole then a soup. Thick and full and perfect for a cool day. If you don’t make this recipe now, save it, it may become one of your winter standby’s as it did ours…)

1 1/2 lbs onions (about four cups, sliced), peeled and sliced
1/4 cup butter plus 2 tbsps, or olive oil
2 - 3 thyme sprigs
1/3 loaf day old country style bread, sliced
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 Gruyere cheese
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable, or beef broth

1. Heat oil in heavy bottomed pan and onions and thyme. Cook over medium low heat until quite soft, about 30 minutes. Turn the heat up slightly and cook the onions, stirring occasionally until a medium golden brown, about 15 minutes. Don't turn the heat up too high as onions burn easily. Add salt to taste.

2. While onions are cooking, place the slices of bread on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven until dry but not brown, about 5 minutes.

3. Grate and mix two cheese together.

4. Make a layer of bread slices in the bottom of a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Spread half the onions onto the bread slices and sprinkle with about one third of the cheese. Make another layer of bread slices and cover with the rest of the cheese. Make a final layer of bread slices and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

5. Heat the broth and carefully pour it into the baking dish without disturbing the layers, until the top layer of bread starts to float. Dot the top with 2 tablespoons of butter.

6. Cover and bake in a 350°F oven for 45 minutes, then uncover the dish and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crisp.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A couple ounces of basil, 4+ pounds tomatoes, 1 large lettuce head, two red onions, one white onion, 12 jalepenos, 2 horn of the bull peppers, 1 bell pepper, 1 yellow pepper, 8 small apples, and 3/4 lb of fingerling potatos...

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Let the winds blow!

Sunday was a windy pickup! Over a million people were left without power and four people died. In Ohio, not Texas! Winds over 60 miles per hour blew and trees came down!

We were pretty lucky, we lost lots of branches but no trees and no damage. We even kept power, which is a minor miracle, as our power comes up our road from the valley, through a windy wooded road. One of my coworkers, is still without power, as of Tuesday afternoon, they are saying it may be Friday before they get everyone back up, as his house has a well, that means no water either, and his kids are out of school...

We went outside and watched the trees blow and sway. It was beautiful... Of particular interest was a hornets nest hanging about eye level off a branch in the chicken yard. The thing was flying around, and I was just waiting for it to hit the ground. It came within inches!

I was keeping half an eye for it all the time, because I just knew that if it hit the ground all the hornets would bubble out and I would get stung, even if I was across the yard, they would find me... I have a fear of stinging insects which is pretty new, sense a bee sting sent me to the ER in a coughing, wheezing, and hive ridden mess in 2006.

In any case the wind was amazing, the power of nature, having traveled 1,400 miles and still bringing down tree limbs. It kind of humbles one (and reminds me NEVER to move close to ocean...)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Other's HFCS blogs...

HA! I am not alone in my grumpyness regarding the recent HFCS ads...

Read these if you'd like more info on the truth of HFCS...

5 minutes for going green blog
Mama K NJ blog

Sunday, September 14, 2008

after 4.5 inches of rain in 4 days picking is a muddy mess...

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