Sunday, October 31, 2010

Poor Tent!

Last spring we set up a tent that we had bought for hay storage back before we built our barn. We used it all summer for our Farmer's Market. For the most part it worked great. It was a little loud on windy days, but at least it kept most of the wind out. Fortunately it survived all the storms that passed through this summer. Many times we thought the high winds would destroy it, but it held steady.
Unfortunately is was not strong enough to withstand our last storm. With sustained winds of 30-40 miles per hour for TWO DAYS, our poor tent lost the battle. :( It is pretty much unrepairable. Thankfully the season is almost over. We held our market last Friday in our garage.
So when you come for turkey pick up and wonder where we went, just come to the garage. Looking forward to seeing and serving you for two more weeks! :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thanksgivin' Turkeys! by Emily

The turkeys are sure growing big and fat for your thanksgiving dinner! All summer they have been eating lots of lush grass and bugs.... one customer told his wife as they drove past the turkey pasture "now THAT'S the way turkeys should be raised!" :)

Mindy writes:
We butchered our first group of turkeys last Friday. It sure was cold out, but we managed just fine. We did have some trouble with our equipment due to the cold, and the process took longer than we would have liked, but all's well that ends well!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Free Time

In my free time (yes, I do have some :) ) one of the things I enjoy doing is quilting. I have never really learned to quilt properly. Some day I would like to take a class. Many years ago, when Brandon was just a little tike, I made him a quilt for his bed. I just kind of guessed at how to do it and it turned out OK. Since then I have made many quilts, mostly small table runners or wall hangings. I like to experiment and be creative.

Here is a picture of a quilt I recently made as a birthday gift for a good friend. I cut the felted wool leaves and acorns in the center out and sewed them on by hand. I had so much fun making it......but probably more fun giving it to her! :)

Friday, October 22, 2010


This time of year my kale is growing beautifully in the garden. We planted Red Russian Kale this year, actually we've been planting and replanting it all summer. Greens are something we always try to have on hand for our customers, so it seems as though we plant them all summer long. :)

Kale is very rich in antioxidants, which are, as I tell my children, the good guys that fight all the bad guys in our body. Kale also has more beta-carotene than any other vegetable. Not only does it help regulate estrogen levels in the body, but it also fights colon cancer! Another one of God's perfect (and natural) remedies for our bodies. :)

The Red Russian Kale that we planted grows well in the summer months, but it can also tolerate extreme cold, which makes it a great choice for a cold frame. And that is exactly where we have our kale growing now. Last year we picked our last garden salad from our cold frame in the first week of December. I am hoping to beat that date this year! :)

(This is our cold frame made from glass patio doors. The greens that look like oak leaves are kale.)

There are many ways to eat kale. You can simply add it to a salad, which we have done, or you can dry it and then add it to everything. I dry my kale in a dehydrator at 125 degrees. It only takes my dehydrator a few hour to dry the kale. Once it is dry I just crush it an put it in a glass jar. Kale is wonderful in soups or hot dishes. I even added it to the egg bake I made for breakfast this morning, which everyone loved.

(Dried Kale. This picture is not very good...the kale is much greener than it looks here.)

If you attended either one of my herb classes, you have the recipe for "Herb Chips", this would be another great way to eat kale. For those that didn't/couldn't attend, the recipe is simple:

Coat the kale leaves with coconut oil, sprinkle them with garlic salt, and bake for 10 min. in a 350 degree oven. They are soooo good! In the class we used parsley and basil leaves, and they are almost as good as potato chips, in my opinion......well, not Emily's homemade potato chips! :)

If you are interested in ordering some kale for your garden next year, we got ours from Seeds Of Change. The kale actually comes in a mixed greens pack called Mesclun Salad Mix.


Go Greens! :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jonny!

On Saturday we celebrated Jonny's birthday. Birthdays in our house always start out with breakfast in bed, with the recipients choice of food. When breakfast was over we went to the flea market, a fun place for boys! Jonny found a toy gun that shoots plastic BBs and a holster that he liked, so that was his gift from Dad. After the flea market we all went to a coffee shop and had a treat. Then we headed home to make a picnic lunch and go on a hike. The place we hiked was gorgeous! We ate our lunch on a high hill overlooking the countryside that was blazing with color. Then we hiked the trails, which looked like paths of gold. Jonny had fun shooting his gun at everything. :) After hiking we headed to the bowling alley, which provided lots of fun and laughter. We finished off the evening with a campfire. Roasted hot dogs, chips, root beer, and cake were Jonny's choices for dinner. Yum!! It was a great day celebrating our youngest son's birthday.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Great Customers!

One day at the dinner table, our family was talking about what great customers we have. Sure it's fun to make money selling things you produce, but we are also blessed by the friendships we have been able to make through our market. It's so much fun to see your smiling faces every Friday! You encourage and inspire us to keep doing what we are doing, and we appreciate that!

I have posted pictures of some pumpkins a customer brought us one Friday. He carved each of our names into a pumpkin while it was still green. As the skin grew over it, the scar made the names "permanent" in the pumpkin. The pumpkin for Mike and I reads, "Mom & Dad". We were all so blessed by this thoughtful gift! :) Thanks so much, Steve! :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Most of the people I talk to are disappointed when the weather starts getting cold. They wish that summer would last longer. I have always enjoyed the season changes here in Minnesota, and they seem to come at just the right time....well, for me anyway! When I've had all I can take of processing food, Jack Frost is a welcomed friend in my yard. :) If I had to survive on the food that I grow, I am sure I would not feel this way, but for now, we are ready to be done gardening.

We considered not covering anything in the garden, but then decided we'd keep the basil and the cherry tomatoes a little longer. We still have some of the cold hardy vegetables in the garden - beets, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, and lettuce. We also have bushels of peppers, squash, and some cucumber in the cellar for the market. Since our Farmer's Market runs through October, we will continue to sell vegetables and then store what's left in our root cellar for the winter.

We will be butchering on the next six Fridays. I sure wouldn't mind some warmer days on those dates! :) We have decide to run the full market for those two Fridays in November, since there will be so many people coming out. So Friday, November 12th, will be the last day that you can visit the farm this year. Then it will be time to relax and get fat........I wish! :)

Once the market is over for the year, we'll have time to get our butchering done. We will process some of our ewes, a pig, and hopefully some deer. Then I will be busy rendering lard and tallow, and making soap. :) We should finish everything just in time for the holiday season! :) .....then we'll relax! :) January and February are usually pretty quiet on the farm, other than getting seeds started. In March we start making maple syrup, and after that it's "hold on to your hats, here we go again!!!!!" Do I sound like I am complaining? :) I'm really not (although I do that sometimes), actually I am feeling quite optimistic (probably due to the recent frost). :)

I've reasoned that I love the farm so much because I am a person who likes change. The mundane is always interrupted with the unexpected on the farm. That's exciting! It may be that an animal is going into labor or an animal is outside the fence, either way, you stop what you are doing and change course suddenly. Nothing stays the same for too long....keeps life interesting! :)

For now I am working on getting my last batch of pesto made, canning pumpkin butter, making elderberry syrup, and some tinctures and salves. Soon we will be picking apples, some we will store in the root cellar, and the "not so beautiful" apples will make great applesauce. After that, we will look forward to a freeze! Then we will hit the books hard and enjoy some ice skating! :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Brandon!

Well, Brandon turned 18 today.... wow! Time goes fast. We celebrated it the Saturday before and, of course, the day started out with the traditional breakfast-in-bed. Brandon had buckwheat pancakes, bacon, and a nice hot cup of coffee for his breakfast. Yum! After that, he and Mom went out for coffee and went to the flea market, Brandon's favorite shop. :) While they were gone, me (Emily), Ben, and Jonny made Brandon's cake and made our cards for him. :) After Brandon and Mom got back, we had some lunch and then opened gifts. Then we were off to the gravel pit to do some shooting, which was lots of fun, of course! After a few hours of that, we came home and had a delicious meal of brats roasted over the campfire.... and some root beer. :) We usually watch a movie on Birthdays, and so this time we watched an old movie..... Brandon's Birth! It was so fun. By the time the movie was over, it was really late, so we all went to bed. But the next day we continued the celebration after church. :) I made some pizza and wild grape juice and we watched another movie.... "Brandon's 1st Birthday Part". It was great. Then we wrapped it all up with some chocolate cake.

Brandon is really something else. :) Our family just wouldn't be complete without him. :) Here is a poem I wrote for his Birthday:

In 1992, On October 5th,

There was born a little boy,

20 inches in width.

Cute and Charming,

Cuddly and Sweet,

Before Mama knew it,

He was up on two feet.

Cowboys became his passion,

He loved to play with guns,

Cowboy hat, boot, chaps and all,

It was so much fun!

Then he started a business,

"Brandon's Eggs" it's name,

Everyone loved the "egg boy"

and everywhere spread his fame.

As Brandon grew his interests changed,

Soon it was small engine repair,

He fixed up junk, ran in derbies,

And very well did fare!

Now it's Brandon's Birthday,

2010, October 5th,

He's not that charming baby anymore,

He's now 6'3 in width!

From cowboy hat to welding mask,

He sure has gotten old,

And where he will end up next,

Is yet to be told!

No longer does he don,

His chaps, boots, and cap,

But today he's turned 18,

And wears a birthday hat!

So Happy Birthday Brandon,

I hope you have a fun day,

And may God send many, many blessings....

In your way!