Saturday, September 13, 2014

Jamming in the Farmhouse!



Why is The Farmer's Wife jamming in the farmhouse?
As our virtual farmhand at Full Tummies said this
week we're still delivering "summer fare" in our boxes because of the summer like weather. We're thankful for it as we know there's a long winter coming. So relish all the bounty of summer and enjoy the fallish treats that are starting to make their appearance on the market's tables in small quantities. They'll soon be in your share boxes!

Last Friday night Shelby (Caleb's gal) and I created a new dish for the work crew (17 hungry folks, so I cooked for 25) that I'd like to share with you. It's a fun dish to do with your children or a friend, as there are vegetables to cut, and a sauce to make. We had fun creating a massive bowl of the sauce, 7 spaghetti squash, and 3 lbs. spinach linguine for the crew. Relax...I've cut the recipe down for ya'll. Shelby named it...


Kitchen Sink Pasta.

1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Butter
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
7-8 Cups Milk 
1 lb. Hot Italian Sausage, crumbled (or sausage of your choice)

Make a white sauce by first melting the butter
and sauteing the garlic in it for 3-4 minutes. Add flour and let cook, stirring and scraping with a spatula a few minutes to remove the flour taste. Do not brown. Add 1/2 of the milk. Whisk. Occasionally scrape with the spatula to make sure the mixture isn't sticking. As the sauce thickens add more milk. The sauce should be thick enough to give a "tug" to your whisk, but pours easily. Lastly whisk in the Parmesan and salt. Taste to determine your seasonings. Let sit on warm stove. Do not boil.

Meanwhile brown 2 lbs. crumbled Hot Italian Sausage in a large frying pan. 

While the sausage is browning, cut up 1 large
Bullhorn Pepper (those huge, long red ones) 1-2 yellow squash, 1 Patty Pan (flying saucer shaped) squash into 1 inch cubes. Next chop 1 big handful of kale into ribbons, discarding the larger stems. Finally dice up a medium onion into the same sized pieces. Have it all set aside for assembling the dish.


When the sauce is thickens, add your vegetables to the meat mixture starting with
 the kale that needs the most cooking time. Stir occasionally with a spatula, 5-7 minutes. If you get hurried, cover the pan for quicker cooking. Next add all the rest of the vegetable, stir. Continue stirring occasionally until the vegetables are crisp tender. 

When the vegetables are crisp-tender and your sauce is thickened, combine the sauce and vegetables in a nice serving bowl. 

Serve over linguine, spaghetti, or my favorite spaghetti squash. Enjoy!

We've had a full week on the farm. In the fields the boys have been picking okra diligently, weeding carrots, (a tedious job if it weren't for the beautiful surroundings) and of course harvesting for markets.

In the farmhouse I've put my new-found energy to
good use by canning up part of the sea of okra (one day there was 8 BUSHELS of it) that was left over from markets. Really folks...please don't give up on summer vegetables in hopes of the fall vegetables like turnips (they are just coming in in small quantities) or greens (you were moaning about the amount in the spring...remember?!) Let's all remember our commitment to eat seasonally, and how yummy it is compared with store bought vegetables. :) 



Digging potatoes takes lots of time in preparation for
filling shares. The boys get a close up view of the ground and lots of little critters...spiders...pack saddle caterpillars (ouch!!)...snakes...field mice..and much more. We've always liked to study God's creation in nature, so I'm glad it's part of my boy's adult lives. 

I hope you are enjoying the potatoes also. If you can't use them all in one week, spread them out on a newspaper or in a basket in a dark place and allow them to dry. They will keep well into the winter if cared for properly. If you happen to get one with a nick or soft spot (sorry) eat those soon as they won't keep. 



On Monday Adam had truck maintenance to do. Luke (11) was his young helper and he learned a lot about replacing brake pads. Luke loves to take things apart and see how they work. This job was right up his alley! Thank you Adam for taking time to share your skill!

Caleb and his gal went to Georgia with Noah as


their chaperon to pick up our livestock feed. (We're so thankful to have a source for soy free, non-GMO feed now!) They had a great time talking,joking and sharing an rare afternoon together. Noah, the chaperon said, "It was boring." I guess it's hard being a third wheel. His day will come...

Okra blooms are beautiful!
Titus and Isaac cut okra...again. Praise God! They
may wonder if it the okra harvest will ever end...I think they now appreciate the bean harvests a little better now. (They've felt the same way about picking beans for years now! ha ha!)


On Monday in the farmhouse I had big plans! First I
Our version of laundry
detergent that saves us
LOTS of money!
made 20 gallons of laundry detergent for under $8. Next we attacked the okra. Faith Anne (13) and Levi (9) started to cut okra into 1/2" slices and filled a large canning pot. Cerina and I started filling jars with okra pods, garlic and hot peppers for pickling. It's a fun job as we visited while we worked. It was time consuming though, but by early afternoon we had 24 quarts of canned okra, and 19 quarts of pickled okra. I think okra will be a winter staple, so I hope to do this often over the coming weeks until the first frost stops the harvest.


 You probably think I put the same pictures up lately
of the okra...ha ha! Each week there are new ones to post! If you missed the post last week for Okra Fritters you'll have to go to Week 14's Blog and read it. Okra Fritters are a fabulous new way to eat humble okra in our home!

Are you getting tired, and vegetables are beginning to pile up in your refrigerator? Try some easy ways to use up a bunch quick...


  • Slice up the vegetables and put them in containers in the fridg for eating raw with a simple dip like Ranch salad dressing. They would make a great addition to your child's lunchbox.
  • Roast a large variety of the vegetables. We like to
    chop peppers, squash, onions, & okra lately, on a parchment lined pan, drizzle with olive oil, and season to taste. We like garlic salt and Cajun seasoning. Toss with your finger tips to coat the vegetables with oil and seasonings. Bake at 450 degrees until the vegetables show black on their edges.  Easy!
  • Make a stir fry! Here is a link to Full Tummies stir fry recipe that can be made differently from one week to the next depending on what vegetables you have to use. Our family loves stir fry over brown rice.
  • Make a vegetable quiche. Our virtual farmhand at Full Tummies has a crustless quiche that you can substitute any combination of vegetables in. She uses Swiss Chard, but we've used any green, squash, beets, and more! Give it a try! We love quiche also and use a recipe very similar to this.
With the rain showers that have been blowing through in the evenings lately, our boys sometimes find themselves on the home farm much earlier than
usual. That happened on one free night for Isaac this week. He used the free hours of the evening...then night to bottle up the rest of the honey harvest. He made 203 new honey bears that will be available throughout the winter. Noah worked diligently for hours putting stickers on each belly...he got kind of silly working and even labeled himself! Thanks for all your hard work boys!



If you have summer or fall allergies, this is the batch to buy as it contains pollens from that time of year. Right now we're still in our infancy of raising bees so we are selling our raw, unfiltered honey in 12 -ounce honey bears for $10 a bear. These will be available throughout the winter at the year-long markets and also on our farm's online store.

Soon after my accident in April the strawberry season began in high gear. I usually process all the seconds into jam for the markets. This year we were lucky to get them into the freezer! There they sat with the blackberries and peaches we hoped one day to process. Well, the day finally came!

On Tuesday we began jamming in the farmhouse! Our 12 foot farmhouse table was covered with bus tubs with 2-gallon freezer bags filled with capped strawberries. What a sight! I've done big (80 cup) batches before, but this would take ALL day at that rate. I'm delighted to say that with God's enabling we did it! Again Cerina came to help (Thank you!) and we put up 181 half-pints, and 111 pints of strawberry jam!



What makes our jam so special? First and foremost it is made with Certified Naturally Grown berries...I think our berries taste worlds apart from the store bought variety! Secondly, we use a natural pectin that is made from citrus peels to thicken our syrup. This pectin doesn't jell on the action of the sugar, but the citrus peels. This allows me to use a much lower amount of sugar. Our customers in the past tell me they really enjoy the taste of the strawberries, not just a sweet product. Lastly it's hand made. Each batch is made in our kitchen by the Farmer's Wife and her helpers. (Mainly my children.)

 When you buy our jam, you are supporting a family farm that you know.  It's going on sale starting this week, and we'll have it throughout the winter at the year-long markets and on our store's website. They make GREAT Christmas gifts, so give it a try and see!                     ~  $4 1/2 Pint & $8 a pint~

As I go about my day here on the farm there is often a song in my heart that overflows. My girls often join in with me, filling in the words that I often forget. I've been asked before why I sing...


As a young girl the innocence of my heart had been
trampled, and I was looking for true love. I dreamt of it...longed for it. My heart cried out to be special to someone. I had no idea who that was, for I really didn't know what true love was... that was until the Lover of my soul spoke to me. 

His voice was soft, yet powerful. He spoke in such a way that drew my eyes to His. Here was the "Prince" I had dreamed of, longed for, and hardly dare believe existed! I longed to give him the pure, untainted treasure of my heart, but I could plainly see I wasn't pure. Instead, my heart was covered with my sin, and I was unworthy of all He offered me. Shame stole over my face as I stole a look at Him in all His glory when I knew I had ruined my chance of being set apart for Him. I couldn't bear to look at Him in all His royal brilliance when I was dressed in rags at His feet.

As I walked away in my heart, He followed. I
continue to hear Him whisper my name, and heard His promises for my future...IF I would just trust Him with all my heart to do what I never could. "I can make you white as snow", He gently said. "I can set you apart for me."

As He beckoned me, I wondered if I could truly trust His words. I had never been able to trust love before. Could this really be true? Finally, in desperation I fell at His feet in sweet surrender! I handed Him the rags of my life, for what was there to loose? I had nothing

When I looked up once again into the eyes of the Lover of my soul I knew there was a change. There was a look of complete acceptance that flooded my heart with true love. I wasn't the same defiled young girl. I was pure...washed...whole!

My heart sings because of my future as His bride is bright and rich. He's gone to prepare our future home and I'm awaiting His return for our wedding. We'll live for eternity in a mansion He's building for us. 

So, now you know why I sing! Jesus Christ, the Lover of my 
soul fills my heart to overflowing with love...joy...peace! One day soon He'll come for me and my joy will overflow with perfect worship for eternity! 

Now you know the source of the song...why I "jam" in the farmhouse. "...be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is...singing and making melody in your heart unto the Lord." Ephesians 5:19

Do you know the Lover of Your Soul? He's whispering your name! He wants to fill your empty heart with true love, and turn your rags (sin) into purity of heart. He wants to wash you white as snow and give you a bright future in Heaven too! Look into His eyes, and listen to His voice speaking.



"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered . Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." Psalm 32:1,2


Abundant Blessings,
The Farmer's Wife
Val

P.S. "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.."! 
Psalm 107:2 
In the comments section below, give your testimony in a short comment. The Lord could use it to help draw someone else!


This week in pictures....


We have about 300 Black Austrolop hens
that lay beautiful brown eggs. They are fed
Non-GMO/No soy feed and are raised on
fresh grass daily.

Levi (9) gathers our eggs twice daily.

We also have about 40 ducks that lay large beautiful
eggs. They are available by the 1/2 dozen.

The broilers are now 6 weeks old! It won't
be long before they are ready to sell at your market.

Canned okra for the winter. Simply rinse and fry, pour into
gumbo, or simply steam. The recipe can be found on our website.

Cerina has been my weekly
help in the kitchen on canning days.
Thank you sis!

Pickled okra

Adam and Allison became home owners this week
as the Lord provided them with a trailer to put on the
other farm. We all praise His name for His provision!

Luke sells at the Main Street Farmer's Market
in Chattanooga. We're thankful for the bounty
we still have to sell!

Flats of strawberry plants are lined up for planting.
Until then they need daily care.

Cured garlic ready for a market.

Garlic for sale. See week 14's blog for recipes.


Our Friday night work crew! These gals volunteer to
sort, wash, bunch, and pack vegetables for the farm.
Then after a big supper they help clean up the kitchen!
THANK YOU GIRLS!


Timmy Brock, the Friday night
farmer.

Hair cut time. Jeannie not only packs
vegetables and does dishes, she cuts everyone's hair!
(She and Destany (Isaac's gal)  also run the Dayton pick up for me!)

Caleb and Shelby

Adam 

We're thankful for the good
green bean harvest again this week.

Faith Anne (13) learned to stir fry
oriental green beans (my favorite at a Chinese restaurant)
this week from a shareholder. I appreciate all I learn from ya'll!
Chinese Green Beans

1/2 pound Green Beans, ends snapped off
2 good handfuls of mushrooms from Dixie Lee Market, sliced (optional)
A good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
3 wedges of lemon or lime
Season to taste

1. Heat frying pan.
2. Drizzle olive oil in hot pan.
3. Add green beans. Stir.
4. Squeeze lemon juice over the beans. Stir.
5. When the beans take on a "brightness", add the mushrooms.
6. Serve when still crisp-tender.
Meatloaf with Quina, roasted vegetables,
and Cajun roasted okra pods.

A Jalapeno cheddar braided loaf
rising...

Now, it's all baked and ready for market.

True whole wheat bread made with our stone ground
wheat cooling for market.

Braided loaves.

Some of our boys nature finds
of the week...
A spider with a huge egg sack.

A handful of June bug grubs. They mysteriously were
put down Noah's back! Uggg!!

One of my breakfasts this week..
Poached eggs over mixed greens.
It's fun to think "outside the box".

My tired young men...
Titus (18)

Noah (16)