Saturday, August 13, 2016

A SONG IN THE NIGHT ~ Week 11

Greetings!

Another week has flown by, and here I sit again! The quiet of the farm on Saturday mornings is almost "deafening"! Everyone but my youngest (who is reading quietly, and also soaking up the stillness) and I are serving you at a Farmer's Market somewhere in middle or east Tennessee! 

These few weeks in August are our hardest times of farming. Your shares only contain the basics this week. We'll soon be transitioning into the (prayerfully) bounty of the fall crops. I can feel fall in the air most mornings lately here on the mountain, and seeing the first signs like, the tall purple Iron Weed is beginning to bloom here in the higher elevations. So God is sending me messages of the changing seasons. 
Your shares this week contain:
Tomatoes
Yellow Squash
Zucchini
Lettuce
New Potatoes
Okra
Basil

I'm about to fly north to New England with my daughters for our first vacation together in 14 years. Since my oldest daughter is 15, you can understand our need. I'll not be posting the blog during that time. I don't anticipate any new challenging vegetables coming in during this slower time...thus our choice of our getaway! Keep on enjoying your vegetables, experimenting with them in different ways. I'm including a few links to blogs today that I want to try possibly while we're away. There are many food bloggers out there that experiment full time! Here are the links to a couple of my favorites.

I make a chocolate zucchini bread that is fabulous. This is a gluten free version that is double chocolate! I really enjoy Nicole's energy in the kitchen, and want to give this a try. I'll substitute Trim Healthy Momma's Super Sweet Blend of Erythritol &Stevia. for the sweetener in the recipe.

I've tried all kinds of healthier pizza crusts. We enjoy using my fermented dough that I use for the market's French Baguettes, but when zucchini is in season I like to use it in many different ways, as you can tell from my past few posts. This "pick up the crust" vegetable/zucchini pizza looks amazing, and I hope to make it while I'm on vacation. All of my other vegetable pizzas are only fork friendly. The picture of this zucchini pizza gave me a pizza craving!

Again, I'd like to say that I don't earn anything for recommending products or websites to you. I feel that if I've found something helpful, I should pass it on. 

This is the site where I've been learning to culture
vegetables this summer. The recipe on this page is for Tomato Bruschetta, and is VERY similar to what I've been doing without knowing it was a real recipe!
I'd encourage you to snoop around this site a bit for great ideas to make your healthy vegetables healthier!


We've been busy about the farm as usual. In the farm's kitchen this week we put up corn, (16 quarts) and made about 3 gallons of lard from our own pork. You can do this too! It is soo easy! This next link is to one of my blogs I've made just to teach you to make lard out of fatback. We have an ABUNDANCE to sell, so go by your farmer's market and pick some up to try!  I love the convenience of having jars of lard in my pantry. I keep large quantities of the healthier oils such as, coconut, lard, and extra virgin olive oil for our family and farm's use. 

This week the Lord brought back an encouraging story I'd read about Mrs. Charles Spurgeon, wife of the famous evangelist. It gave me purpose for the lessons He is bringing into my life, and He prodded me to share it with you...

Mrs. Spurgeon spent many years confined to her
couch, living in pain. Life went on as usual for the folks outside her door, not knowing, or possibly even caring for her confinement. 

One long night, as she laid on her couch before a fire she heard a trill of a song, like a Robin that used to sing outside her window. But this was nighttime, and not the season for a bird's song. Where could that beautiful song be coming from?!? She decided to enjoy the gift of music in her night. Soon afterward it was learned by a servant that the notes came from a log on the fire.  The fire was releasing the "imprisoned music"!

She pondered, as she laid in pain on her couch that evening a lesson from the Lord. Was it possible the wood had soaked up the song
years before when it had stood strong in the sun and a bird had sung among its branches?

The tree had grown old since then, with ring after ring of knotty growth which had sealed in the sunshine and song. The flames that night were burning away years of callousness and releasing the long-forgotten song. 

Do you have a song hidden by pain and hurt within you? Allow the Lord to burn away the calluses of your heart, and let the song out. ONLY through HIS touch can this happen. Echo my prayer this week, "Lord, enable me to [sing in the fire] for Your glory!"



Abundant Blessings!
The Farmer's Wife
Val



Saturday, August 6, 2016

Aprons


Week 10 is here for our CSA, and the "dog days of
This week's shares contain:
Basil, Yellow Squash, tomatoes,
New Potatoes, & Red Summer Crisp
Lettuce
summer" are in full swing. Google defines these sultry days as, "marked by lethargy and inactivity". Here on the farm we are busy busy, so any inactivity occurs only in our minds! 


The guys have been planting row upon row of seeds for fall crops. (See a great picture of Isaac seeding over 2 miles of crops on our Facebook page.) I love the fall harvests the best. It's the only time of year I get the tender spring crops mixed with my favorite summer vegetables. The almost daily showers have sure been a blessing to help grow them. I'm praising God again for His "showers of blessing"!

Destany is Isaac's new wife and is his helper at Market Square Farmer's Market
in downtown Knoxville.
 I want to thank my daughters-in-love that work alongside their husbands and our family packing and selling at markets. They are a big blessing to us all!
Allison is Adam's wife and is his helper at New Harvest Park and Franklin Farmer's Market.

I've added a "gadget" to the sidebar of this blog.
Luke is really growing up
and is a great help
on the farm this year!
Thanks for all your
hard work son!
There I can highlight an old post that may have a recipe you can use with the vegetables that are in your shares this week, or a word of encouragement that may help you. As I was looking back at my old posts, one stood out to me that I wanted to repost here. The message is still needed today in every home in America. So I've fixed my atrocious spelling and updated the recipes a bit for today. I pray it's an encouragement to you or your wife. Share it with anyone you think that could use a bit of     encouragement in their calling.


Farmer Steve and Daddy to the crew is a great example of
serving to us all. I want to thank him for his example and hard
work!


August 2011

Greetings from our mountain farm! I've been contemplating what to write to you this week...when after a busy day of baking the bread shares and packing vegetables it hit me! I love it when the Lord directs in answer to prayer! This is how it happened...

Life in a packing shed after a long day of picking and packing usually ends with everyone being jolly and jostling for a position in line packing shares. Yesterday (Friday) it was packing tomatoes...there were about 160 quart cups lined up on tables to be filled with tomatoes that had JUST been picked. Several of us had flats of ripe tomatoes (not green and gassed) and were filling the cups "until they looked good". To me, pretty looked good...to the boys big looked good. Hmmm, well, the flats fit under the men's arms better than mine so I was balancing mine on the edge of the table and knocking the empty cups on the far back of the table off on the ground. It was some "handsome" son's job to pick them up....then I had to have someone with longer arms fill the last two cups on the far side of the table. (None of my children have inherited my "petite" genes...so whoever is closest at the time is called handsome and asked to pick up the fallen empty cups. They "melt" when they are called handsome, and are ready to do what I need done. I hope none of them read this and catch on!) After being alone in the packing shed most of the day it was a sweet blessing to be joined by 7 of my sons to finish up the work.

When the tomatoes were taken care of and the last of the thyme was bundled they begged me to begin supper...it was 7 p.m., and they were having hunger pains. I was ready too after packing potatoes, onions, yellow/zucchini/patty pan squashes, green beans, thyme, and tomatoes I was ready to retreat to the hominess of the farm kitchen. I had been wearing an apron made from the skirt of an old jumper which protects my clothes from the mud, water, and blossom ends of vegetables when as I scooped it up, my post idea came! As I held out my ample apron I had different boys scoop up potatoes, squash, onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables to carry down to the house for supper. I made a "goulash" as an elderly friend calls that type of a meal, from all that was in my apron.

The last generation of mountain women all wore aprons. Recently I inherited three of my mother-in-love's aprons as she cleaned out her home. She and many other ladies wore these aprons everyday as sort of a uniform. It was a mark of pride that they were wives, mothers, and homemakers.

I have fond memories of farmer Steve's Aunt Glen who took me under her wing and taught me many of the skills I needed to provide for my family...she cooked, sewed, canned, gardened, quilted, along with the many responsibilities of being a farmer's wife. I've stood by her side canning peaches...not just a few...but BUSHELS of peaches on steamy August afternoons. When the Preacher or a neighbor  stopped by for a minute on an unplanned visit she would quickly change her work apron as they got out of their cars, into one of her company aprons. Aunt Glenn then greeted her guest at the door looking fresh, and ready to entertain. Her days were filled with nonstop duties that ministered not only to her family, but to the widow down the road, friends who owned farms in other states, and of course the newest member of the family who knew nothing about rural farm life...ME! She "wore her apron WELL."

Where has the "uniform" of a homemaker gone? With the loss of the apron came a loss of pride in our"profession" or calling from the Lord. Society began to look down on the women who stayed at home to raise the children and provide a haven for their husbands. The highest calling for a woman is still her home. Charles Spurgeon once said,"You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, and training them up in God's fear, and minding the house, and making your household a church for God, as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts." Nothing is more important.

The many skills a homemaker possessed in the past two generations that generated the need for the apron are also now vanishing. I thank God a few women are once again raising the standard high for this generation of wives, mothers, and yes, proudly, homemakers to see. What the world has to offer in the areas of food, clothing, entertainment, education, and even worship cannot compare to the time intensive commitment of a woman serving her family "from scratch".

My aprons are getting a lot of use this week..I've just finished a HUGE batch of almond granola. By HUGE I mean it contained around 90 cups of dry ingredients. It takes me most of the day to bake it, so as it baked I made a double batch of jalapeno summer squash relish. This is the second time I've made it this summer, adjusting the heat level each time....this is hot. :) Adam is finally smiling! So today I've made 23 pints of relish and two big bus tubs of granola...a good day.

Tonight I served 5 vegetables, homemade pinto beans, and cornbread in pans I also inherited from my mother-in-love. The recipe for her truly southern pinto beans was in one of last year's issues of The Farmer's Wife. We are eating tomatoes three times a day...ahhhh...so I thought I'd include a few ideas for using your tomatoes and other vegetables this week.

Several of my tried and true recipes come from these older mountain women that are now in glory with our Saviour Jesus Christ. They've left a legacy behind for me to follow. They often used ingredients found in their cupboards. "Running to town" a half hour away was unheard of, as they often only went off the mountain to town weekly, if that. The fancy ingredients found in most recipes today would make them laugh, or ask, "What's that?!" Why not try this recipe for three of the vegetables in your shares this week. The buttered crackers were a treat and something new in the cupboard 30 years ago when I set up housekeeping...they often substituted buttered bread crumbs for the topping....you could too.


Baked Zucchini and Tomatoes
2 medium zucchini
2 medium fresh tomatoes
1 medium mild onion
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup crushed, buttered broken cracker crumbs



Wash zucchini but do not peel. Peel tomatoes and onions. Slice all vegetables into thin crosswise slices.
In a greased baking dish make alternate layers of zucchini, tomatoes and onions, sprinkling each layer with a little salt and pepper, also dotting with butter.
Cover top with crushed cracker crumbs. Bake in a 350* oven until vegetables are tender.

As a young homemaker I was encouraged to experiment with what our garden was producing. I had my "postage stamp" sized garden compared to these old mountain women, and eventually added raised beds on top of the rock the Lord blessed us with at the time. I fell in love with gardening and how I was able to supplement our meager food budget. This recipe is one of my earliest experiments. It earned me a third place in the state of Tennessee Dairy Contest for homemakers! It makes a large dish, so simply halving the ingredients would fit the needs of an average family. Substitute what vegetables you have on hand and have fun experimenting yourself.


Garden Lasagna
4 medium zucchini, sliced in 1/8" slices
1 large onion, chopped in 1/4" pieces
1 medium green pepper, chopped in 1/4" pieces
1 carrot, scraped and diced in 1/4" pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T. butter
2 , 16 oz. cans tomatoes, drained well

(You could use chopped tomatoes here from your shares.)
1, 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1, 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/4 cup white grape juice (optional)
2 T. chopped parsley
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried whole basil
1/2 t. seasoning salt
1/4 t. "freshly" ground pepper
3 qts. water
2 t. salt
9 lasagna noodles
1, 16 oz. carton cottage cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella 
1 C. grated Parmesan Cheese

Saute zucchini, onion, green pepper, carrot, and garlic in butter in a dutch oven over medium heat until  andante, 5 minutes or so. Stir in the next 9 ingredients. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes then uncover and simmer another 15 minutes until sauce "thickens" a bit, stirring occasionally.

While sauce is thickening, combine 3 quarts of water and salt in a pasta pot; bring to a boil. Gradually add lasagna noodles. Boil, uncovered, 12 to 15 minutes or until noodles are just tender; drain well.


Spread 1/4 of sauce in a lightly greased 12 x 9 x 2" baking dish. Top with 3 noodles, 1/3 cottage cheese, 1/4 Swiss/Mozzarella, and 1/4 of the parmesan cheese; repeat layers twice. Top with remaining sauce, Swiss, and parmesan cheese.


 Bake, uncovered at 350* for 35-40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. 

Yield: 8 servings.


I'd like to promote the cookbook we are selling to our shareholders this year. (We do not offer this great cookbook anymore you can buy it on Amazon at this link.) Last year it was my handbook for trying new recipes and I fell in love with it. The Practical Produce Cookbook is FULL of ideas from planting, cooking, to canning just about every vegetable we sell.  I think it only failed me once last year, and that was when we had a BUMPER CROP of Daikon radish to deal with and I had no idea how to use them. (After a bit of experimenting I figured it out. :) There are recipes for using vegetables in, desserts,  soups, salads, breads, and much more. I like a recipe book that calls for everyday ingredients and this is just like that. The Scripture on food and gardening is sprinkled throughout the pages is an encouragement to me when I was rushed to come up with a new way to use ...say zucchini...for the 10th week in a row. 

Do you need an easy supper tonight using what you all ready have in your cupboard and share in the fridge? Try this simple meal. (Nowadays I add Mexican spices to my meat such as Cumin, Garlic, Cayenne Pepper, Oregano, and Chili Powder. You could simply add a packet of taco seasoning for about the same taste.)


Stack Supper with Tomatoes

2 C. long grain white/brown rice

You can substitute broken/crushed tortilla chips for the rice.
1 head lettuce, chopped
3 lb. ground beef, browned
(this can be halved, and substitutions like turkey or chicken used)
2 C. chopped onion

1/4 C. flour
1/4 C. butter
1 qt. milk

Chopped Jalapenos (optional)
1/2 lb. Cheddar cheese
taco sauce or salsa


Cook rice according to package instructions. (I use a rice cooker. A GREAT invention!) 

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the flour over it and stir well. Let the mixture bubble a bit as you stir it. Slowly whisk in the milk. When the sauce thickens, and is hot, stir in the cheese. Walla, a cheese sauce! (If your family likes spicy heat in their food, add chopped jalapenos with a bit of the juice from the jar to taste at this point.)

Layer cooked rice, browned and seasoned hamburger, chopped onion & green pepper, lettuce, and ending with cheese sauce. Serve with salsa or taco sauce. 

I like to have special meals every once in a while to encourage my men that work so hard on the farm. Here is one I'm going to try this week from the Practical Produce Cookbook that uses the fresh basil, tomatoes, and onions from our shares. It directs me to broil the fish, but I may try grilling or baking them as I have a CREW to feed and we've outgrown our broiler.


Tomatoes Stuffed Fish Fillets

1 medium tomato, peeled and chopped
1/4 C. finely chopped onion
1/4. t. basil leaves
1 1/2 lb. fresh fish fillets
(They suggest flounder or haddock but use what you have.)
olive oil
salt and pepper

Combine tomato, onion and basil; set aside/ Brush both sides of fillets with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Plae small amount of tomato mixture in center of each fillet. Overlap both ends of fillet over tomato; fasten with wooden picks. Arrange on broiler rack. Broil 3 inches from cources of heat, turning once and brushing with olive oil. Broil 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork but is still moist. 

Well, this post has taken a week to complete. My aprons have got a lot of use this week as I've canned, baked, gathered vegetables while gardening, and I even dried tears with it. I thank God for His direction in Titus chapter 2 to be a "keeper at home"...there is soooo much to "keep" in a family!
The Lord often gives me Scripture to encourage me in my calling. When my spirit lags He brings them back to my remembrance...one such verse is Proverbs 31:25...as I put my apron on I remember "Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come." 

As mothers we don't see the fruit of our labors immediately...just like in our fields. The harvest comes months, and with children even years later! The Holy Spirit is my strength in these times and I see my apron in the verse that says, "She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms." Proverbs 31:17. By remembering my high calling as a wife and mother the Lord "strengthens my arms" to serve Him in my home. May He do the same for you!

 Is there an apron hanging in your kitchen? Why not put it on and let the Holy Spirit remind you where your strength comes from..."my strength cometh from the Lord." Then proudly go about your day renewed, and knowing you are in the perfect will of God serving your family.


Abundant Blessings,
The Farmer's Wife 

Val


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Week 9 What's Going On on the Farm



Week 9

Slicing Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes
Okra
Basil
 Lettuce
Potatoes
Yellow Crookneck Squash
Zucchini


We're in the middle of our busy growing season here on the farm. It's odd...days begin to blur; chores mount up quicker than a chicken jumps on a Junebug, and breakfast looks oddly like supper! (Really! We had scrambled eggs w
ith sausage, a whole chicken, sliced tomatoes, hash browns, and cinnamon breakfast bread for breakfast this morning!) We'll turn around twice and we'll be harvesting fall crops and buckling down to our home school schedule. 

Our days are full, and one project this week was getting the new flock of broilers out on pasture. We've got a record number of chickens on the farm right now with around 700 birds needing daily attention. We like them to have fresh grass daily. So when the new broilers left the brooder they were introduced to GRASS!





The guys built two new movable pens and got them pulled to the  field. Sorry guys, this is not one of the new pens...but this is how they position them in the field. They place them in a row and work their way down the field, moving a pen's length each day. This gives the birds fresh grass, bugs, and a clean growing space.


Our new egg layers also have been enjoying the insects and grass seeds as they daily move across the field. You can tell the hens (brownish red) from the  roosters (white) easily. 



Levi (10 11/12) is the lemonade chef for Dixie Lee Market. We were given an antique lemon/orange juicer that works great! He now has his own recipe that will satisfy even the deepest thirst.


I've been learning to ferment vegetablels this season. My concoctions are food, but also medicine for our "guts"! It's amazing what God has created for our benefit! 
Left: fermented squash & onions with garlic and peppercorns, Middle: Cherry tomatoes, garlic bulbs and basil, Right: layers of cucumbers,carrots, corn and tomatoes. Eat a little each day (use them as a side dish) will add the right kind of bacteria to your digestive track for overall heath! Go to Cultured Food Life for more information and great cultures to add to your vegetables. In just a couple of days your vegetables will take on a new life and give you a new life!


Like I mentioned earlier, breakfast has been taking on a touch of supper...These yummy breakfast tostadas can utilize any stray vegetables lingering in your frig, and give you a great start to your day!  I've listed my ideal ingredients, but don't wait to get them all! There are many variations on this recipe, so make yours with what's in your frig.  These are farmer boy tested and approved!


Breakfast Tostadas


Corn Tortillas
Breakfast Sausage/Bacon, crumbled or chopped
Shredded Cheese
Lettuce, torn in small pieces 
Onions, diced 
Sweet/Hot Peppers, diced
Black Olives, chopped
Tomatoes, chopped 
Shredded Crookneck Squash or Zucchini
Salsa
Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
Your choice of boiled, scrambled, or fried eggs

Choose to either bake or fry your corn tortillas. You can spray them with olive oil cooking spray, sprinkle them with salt, and bake them in a 400 degree oven, or pan fry them in a bit of coconut oil. Drain the fried version and salt them well. 

Since this is a fun meal, I put all the vegetables, cheese, and salsa into small bowls and place them around our table as I set it for breakfast.

As the tortillas are "frying" I make my eggs. The Farmer only lives for scrambled eggs, so we OFTEN (that means daily) have them. I try and vary it for the teenagers that like "something different than THOSE scrambled eggs EVERY DAY PLEASE", so I like to fry, poach, or boil some for this also. (My favorite is poached.) If I'm using leftover boiled eggs, I simply chop them and put them on the table with the other condiments.

To serve I simply put a hot egg on each toastada  and serve them. The children add their toppings to "own it" as the saying goes. 


The only problem I had when first trying this idea was I didn't make enough...a big change from not wanting any more scrambled eggs!


We offer all you need for the best BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwich) you've ever had! 


We've been baking up old fashioned cookie recipes and adding new twists that will satisfy your cravings...the chocolate chip ones are even Gluten Free!






We have a large family...13 children...13 blessings. 13 instruments in the hand of the Lord to fashion me into His image. 

I hesitate to share my heart, knowing satan is just waiting to bring me down again in this area...but I pray for my family. He will often tell me that my pleas are not prayers. So there was a period that I stopped writing in my prayer journal for each child and their spouses....a time of hopelessness. 

Prayer is a Christian's lifeline to THE Savior. We are taught in Scripture to "pray without ceasing", and if you look at the verse before this it says "Rejoice evermore." (1 Thessalonians 5: 16,17) My time of hopelessness was a direct result of my ceasing to pray. 

This morning as I was reading Psalm 33:15 I read, "He fashioneth their hearts alike...". (That's you and me!) This brought back to my remembrance 1 Corinthians 10:13, " There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."

You and I are a lot alike..we have the same wishes, dreams, weaknesses, and areas of temptation. This thought totally changed my prayer life a few years ago. Now I can pray...really pray for others. 

But when it comes to family, I want to be like Job who brought his children before the Lord "continually".  (See Job 1:5) Why was it harder? Why did I hear these whisperingS that my list of needs... my list of heartaches that needed the Lord's touch that I prayed over were not REAL praying? 

This week as I was reading Ephesians, Paul wrote (as he often did in his letters) "Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;" THAT'S what I wanted! I wanted to be able to give thanks for my family...those I know the best...those I can see flaws in...those that I struggle to teach...those that I LOVE. 

That's when God gave me a "way of escape" from satan's desire to stop my prayers! (Thank you Lord!!) As I continued to read, "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him." My flesh cried out to Him, "I want that!...I want my children to have that!" That's when He showed me how to pray for my children and their spouses. 

Prayer List 

Ephesians 1
~ Verse 16 ~Lord, please give me endurance, and not cease to pray for my children (I can insert a personal name here when praying for one in particular.) 
~Verse 17~ Lord, please give.... spiritual wisdom straight from the Holy Spirit. Protect them from the "wisdom" (foolishness) of the world.
~Verse 17b,18~ Open their eyes to salvation, or their position in Christ.
~Verse 19~  Please open their eyes to the power which is theirs in Christ. Bring them to the end of "themselves" so they can experience Your power through them.
~Chapter 2:1-3~ Lord help them to live differently from "times past" once they get saved. If "all things haven't been made new" in their lives, and everything is a struggle, open their hearts to salvation (see verses 4-10).
~Verse 14~ Lord please give us Your peace because of Your work for us!
~Chapter 3:6~ I praise you Lord that we are fellow heirs, may ... "walk worthy" this day. 
~Verse 9~ Lord, when "storms" blow through their lives, teach them to "hide in You".

And my list goes on...

I challenge you to pray for your family through the book of Ephesians as the Lord has directed me.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to pray! Grab a notebook or paper and make your list. You can insert the names of those you love in the pleas like I couldn't do here.

 I'm still reading, praying and making my list of things God wants me to pray for. After listening to satan for so long in this area, it's comforting to know that the Comforter is showing me the way to peace of heart. Then when satan whispers to me that I'm not really praying I can say, "But God told me to pray these things for my child!" That will make him flee!  


"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made know unto God." Philippians 4:6 




Abundant Blessings In Jesus Christ,
The Farmer's Wife,



Val



Friday, July 22, 2016

A BERRY GOOD WEEK Week 7




A "BERRY" GOOD WEEK



Week 8

Colvin Family Farm CSA








What's in Your Share
Tomatoes
Cherry Tomatoes
Lettuce
Potatoes
Beets
Squash
Cabbage
Basil


It's been a berry good week here on the farm. We've been picking and "working" blackberries, blueberries,
and plums (I know they're not a berry.) Our peach tree has been picked for the season too! This has been an amazing fruit year! Look for the jam at your market!


The men have been juggling planting without a tractor (it's been the year of the tractors!) and doing a lot of cultivating and clean up work at the other farm. It's amazing how fast WEEDS grow in comparison to vegetables and herbs! Tomatoes were staked, bush hogging was done to borders, and "middles" wheel hoed to keep the weeds at bay. We finally got our biggest tractor back from the shop and now late transplants are going in the ground. Praise God! 


We've begun picking our blueberries!

I've been asked about my references of the "other farm".  I guess I talked about our pond going dry in my last post with a picture of the children swimming in an almost full pond. Sorry! 





 All of these pictures of the "home farm" seem to be taken during the winter....sorry. I think they appealed to me because of the heat...





The waterfall at the corner of our property is dry, dry, dry right now. It is the runoff from our pond here on the "home farm". I like to picture it this way!



We live on the "home farm". This is where we've lived and raised our children since 1999, and where Colvin Family Farm was "born". We have 2 large greenhouses where we raise our transplants for the field. We also grow our pastured chickens for meat and eggs, and raise our forest grazed hogs on the "home farm".  The field that once grew all our vegetables now is planted in LOTS of asparagus that we all enjoy in early spring. Part of it is also the pasture our hens enjoy grazing on. Along the fence row we have several bee hives that provide honey for the family and farm. For the first year our orchard is bursting with fruit! We're excited to see the fruit laden trees bending with the weight of plums, nectarines, apples, peaches and a few pears! Soooo, this is the farm that is struggles during dry summers as our pond that we water our "critters" out of and irrigate the greenhouses with is now critically low. The pond is fed by a wet weather stream...it has definitely not been a wet spring or summer. Let's all pray the fall rains appear early!



We have another farm now that we raise most of our vegetables at. We are blessed to have a great pond and a year round creek to irrigate from. (That is one of the main reasons we bought another farm.) Adam and Allison (Franklin Farmer's Market) live on the farm and enjoy the creek running right below their home! 

We've been picking a bumper crop of cherry
tomatoes the past few weeks. Tonight as the field crew (our family) is rolling in from the other farm to pack the vegetables on our front porch, I have supper cooking in the farmhouse. I had short notice and changed the menu when friends joined our family in the field. I quickly put one idea out of my mind and began concocting a dish with cherry tomatoes! Here's my hot weather take on Chicken Parmesan. 




Hot Weather Chicken Parmesan



Boneless Chicken Thighs/Breasts
Season Salt
Garlic Powder
Cherry Tomatoes
Fresh Basil
Salt
Pepper
Mozzarella Cheese
Parmesan Cheese

Wash the chicken in cool water an let drain. Heat a cast iron (my prefrence) skillet on medium high. When heated, drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the
chicken with season salt and garlic powder. Transfer the meat to the hot skillet and sear on both sides. Transfer the frying pan to a moderate oven (300 degrees) to sit while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Wash your cherry tomatoes, then cut them in half. Place them in a bowl as you cut them. When it looks like you have enough to "cover your meat", chop the basil in small pieces. Add the basil, salt, and pepper to the tomatoes. Stir. Place in the refrigerator until they are needed.




At this point I went on to prepare
the rest of my meal. We had roasted new potatoes in one oven, chicken in another, and then squash and onions cooked in foil went on the grill.

When the guys got home with HUGE appetites, I got
the skillets of chicken out of the oven where I was keeping them warm. Then I gave them a liberal shake of Parmesan cheese; then covered them with the chopped tomatoes, using a slotted spoon so I wouldn't add too much liquid. Next I covered the  the tomatoes with Mozzarella. Finally I slipped the pans under the broiler just long enough to melt the cheese. This gave the dish a     hot/cold feel. Yumm!  


I don't like being trite, but we're "berry" blessed.

The Lord God met our ultimate need when He gave His only Son Jesus Christ for our sinS on Calvary. He has put me in a "goodly" place to serve Him with my family. I see His hand daily all around me. Why do I (we) so easily give in to discouragement with all His daily personal attention? I'm counting my blessings tonight...why not join me?!


"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
Ephesians 3:20,21




Abundant Blessings in Jesus Christ,
The Farmer's Wife,
Val

Pictures from the Farm

We had 11 more piglets born this week.

Look what's being harvested!