Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...."

Snowy Greetings from Our Farm!

As the old Christmas carol says, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.." I know that before this gets posted the snow will be gone, but it sure has put me in the mood! We ended up with 2 inches of beauty clinging to the trees, blowing across the fields, turning the grey of late fall into a beauty characteristic of God Almighty!

There is so much going on here on the farm since we delivered our last share, and picked for our last farmer's market! There are many decisions to be made in order to serve you correctly come spring. We're about to sign the final papers on our new farm! There will be 30 more acres to grow a WIDE variety of vegetables and fruits now. The new farm also has a reliable water sources with a pond and year round stream. We've bought seed for an innumerable amount of different verities of vegetables. (The boys only groaned when I asked them exactly how many varieties!) We're putting our strawberries "to bed" for the long cold mountain winter with cushy beds of straw and row cover. Calculations are also being made for greenhouse supplies, and marketing supplies. Equipment needs are also lively topics of conversation around the farmhouse dinner table as we are growing out of the hoe and watering can stage of the farm and into a midsized family farm. Sometimes my head swims with all the facts!

We are praying more of you sign up for the coming season soon as the bills must be paid for all of this EARLY in the year. A down payment on a share (or the total cost if you are able) for a loved one would be an amazing Christmas gift! If your family would like to be used to meet a need in a struggling family's life, consider giving the gift of a share for Christmas! Church groups, civic groups and family members can help a family in a meaningful way by doing so. What a blessing that would be!

Inside the farmhouse we're busy with the book work side of our school year. With 6 grades and a preschooler there is never a dull moment. Levi (just turned 6) has all ready finished his first math book! He's learning to read he keeps me on my toes! I also have a 12th grader zooming towards the finish line (he'll be done well before the growing season begins in earnest in March). The Lord has me in several stages of life at the same time...this all keeps me on my knees beseeching HIM for wisdom. I'm a blessed woman!

Since family farming and Farmer Steve being carpenter Steve at the same time doesn't really work, we're working feverishly to finish our home this winter while the greenhouses are empty and frosty. Early plantings will be the the big boy's work, so Farmer Steve's goal is to get as much as possible done during the winter. So far he's "finished" (all framing and rough sheet rock hung (not finished) the mud room, 10' 'X 6' pantry, family closet just off the laundry room, and the library/home school room/family room is taking shape. There is even a large closet that will hold sewing supplies...we'll have to really get that too is in the works...a complete reorganization. I revel in this as I am an organizer.

The Lord has progressively blessed us with more and more space over the past 12 years. When we moved to the farm we had a little mountain (shack) "cottage" with 1,000 square feet for 11 people. We put a bathroom in it and felt RICHLY blessed. With a commitment to stay debt free we've built our home stage by stage. This final stage has a lot of the "heart" of the home in it...a LAUNDRY room!!!, family closet library/school room, and pantry!! Right now I jump from our back door into the little old "cottage" to get to my groceries... but a finished pantry right off the kitchen will be a HUGE BLESSING! I feel soooooooooooooo blessed!

During the finishing of the mud room we had a family crisis...Noah (13) had an accident with the large table saw. He was ripping studs when a knot shot out slicing the fleshy part of his thumb/hand.This brought an involuntary response as he fell into the blade. The blade cut across 4 of the fingers on his left hand! Praise God he now is regaining the use of most of his fingers. Many stitches and a skin graft latter; he is on the mend. We praise God for His protection, as he could have lost those fingers!

I've been enjoying cooking with my children again now that the kitchen is back to a family kitchen again! I loved the challenge of baking for the Crossville Farmer's Market, but it was a HUGE drain on our family, and Lord willing we will be taking on a new focus for the 2012 season. Now that Momma is focused only on family, the kitchen is once again an intricate part of our classroom. Each child has an assigned day of the week where they get to serve alongside me as we minister to our family's needs. I love the creativity and energy they bring to the kitchen! Each one of the olders has several specialties, partly because they LOVE to make what THEY love to eat. Isaac (17) loves Mexican and Italian, and can whip up the best pizzas (it takes about 7 large pizzas for supper along with a fresh salad and fruit.) Caleb loves roasts, homemade cornstarch pudding and doughnuts. Adam's specialty is oatmeal...really he knows how to cook, but plays helpless and needs lots of directions. He is funny in the kitchen. Give him a recipe and he's fine...he feels competent the woman the Lord is preparing for him will be a GREAT cook (so he doesn't have to!) ha ha! The younger children follow recipes and work alongside me. Titus (15) and Faith Anne (11) can take over the bread making if need be, and really enjoy it! I love fall and winter evenings in the kitchen. I light candles or the lanterns, and we use the summer's bounty to create new dishes.

Here is a new idea for the greens I pray you froze or canned this summer. If you didn't have any extras tucked away for winter, try using fresh or frozen spinach from the grocery store. I did get about 80 gallons of mixed greens put up, so I just pulled one of these bags out to make this winter savory soup. Serve with your favorite quick bread, or a loaf of fresh bread....for me, it takes 3 loaves!


1 pound Italian or Smoked Sausage
1, 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach (or fresh)
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 t. Italian seasoning
48 oz. Chicken broth (bouillon cubes will work in a pinch)
1/4 C. pearl barley (if you'd rather substitute brown rice, millet, or a mixture of both like I have done)

In the bottom of a stock pot brown sausagae, onion, and garlic. When meat is browned add Italian seasoning. Next add chicken broth, carrots, the greens of your choice, and grain. Simmer until gains are tender. Time depends on your choice of grain.

My, it sure is looking a lot like Christmas! It has taken me too long (again!) to get this posted. We've been baking cookies, making fudge, and a pot of homemade cranberry sauce is bubbling on the stove with cranberries from my uncle's bogs in Massachusetts. We've decorated an old fashioned Christmas tree with homemade ornaments,a string of popcorn, and a colorful paper chain the children made. I've been making gifts, and the workshop has been a hum of activity. BUT, the real meaning of Christmas isn't lost in all this activity. We have two nativity scenes as the focal point of our home during this's too easy to loose focus. The world is SCREAMING its message of buy, buy, buy, get, get, get...gooooooooooo! Christ's message is full of peace..."I am come that they might have life, and they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10

Which do you choose?

Abundant Christmas Blessings,
Mrs. Stephen E. Colvin
The Farmer's Wife