Saturday, July 4, 2015

Plowing the Furrows

Hello Folks!
In a rare dry moment this week
our boys completed numerous small jobs
around the home farm.
Any job is fun to them if they can
drive the smallest of our tractors!
Home schooling at its BEST!
Wet greetings from the farm! We have been blessed with many, many showers this week. We're choosing
During one shower this
week we had a beautiful
to think positive about them as they make or break the farm! Our ponds were rapidly being emptied by watering the high tunnels that don't get the rain, so we're thankful.

Shares all packed.
 The hard part comes when it's Friday, it's raining, and your shares need to be harvested. Pray for the men as they slosh through the mud picking your vegetables. 

We've had a busy week inside the
Lots and lots
of blackberries!
farmhouse also. It's blackberry season! We've been watching the berries ripen on our walks, and knew that this was going to be an OUTSTANDING year for berries if the spring rains didn't give way to early summer drought.

Our younger children have been scouring the dirt roadsides surrounding our farm picking berries for you during every free & dry moment! They've sent them off to farmer's markets in Crossville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Oak Ridge with high hopes of people using them in cobblers, jam, and quick breads as we enjoy.

We worked berries 3 days this week. Once was with 10 gallons of juicy berries, and then again
Luke was my right-hand man as we juiced
the berries!
on Friday we worked 15 gallons of berries! My kitchen still has pinkish-purple overtones! We canned a total of 201~1/2 pints, and 24 pints of seedless blackberry jam! Believe it or not, we have more to work on Monday! We're praising God for the abundant berry harvest!

We use a Champion juicer to work the seeds
out of the juice.

Ooops! I wear the juice "well"!

Seedless Blackberry Jam
1/2 Pints ~$5
     Pints ~ $9

Caleb harvested the
first flat of tomatoes
this year!
We're also very thankful for the beginning of the tomato harvest! We've just begun to pick, so pull out all those recipes that you make only with really fresh tomatoes, and gear yourself up. They'll soon be in shares when the harvests fully comes in!

Last week I completed the homework I

assigned ya'll the first week of the blog. I'm off a bit
I use Rubbermaid basins to
corral squash, kohlrabi, carrots,
and other vegetables in my frig.
in posting it since I traveled home to Massachusetts for 10 days. My refrigerator got its' spring clean and is ready for the abundant harvests! My daughter-in-love suggested I post the pictures of it to inspire you if you haven't gotten your refrigerator ready for your shares yet.

Now, I do have to say I have more than one refrigerator. I keep the most perishable items (my vegetables, fruits and the fresh eggs) that I want to use in each meal right before my eyes in my main frig. The contents of the bins changes daily. It all depends on what is leftover from each market.
Onions are readied for quick eating immediately.
Cut off root end, and trim tops to a usable size
before placing them into jars of water.

I trim the stems of the herbs and place them
into cups of water to keep them fresh.

Sandwich fixings, bulk perishable items and breakfast ingredients are in a second refrigerator as I know 

what is in them easily. I can stand at this refrigerator and load up with breakfast fixings, or pack a large lunch cooler without much running around. One glance inside my refrigerators will report how faithful I've been with all that is going on in my life. Orderliness means "I'm on top of things!"

I keep my fresh garlic in two ways. This is the
easiest...simply place on the shelf in a container.
My handiest way is to whirl bunches of green garlic
 in the food processor with a bit of olive oil.
Store in a jar in the frig for quick additions to your

We use the seconds (cracked or discolored) of
eggs for the family. Here I keep the duck and
chicken eggs that are for us.

To be honest, I'm struggling to write a post this week. My Daddy passed away on June 10th, and since then my heart and mind is running "too deep" for words.

 In my devotional time this morning I was touched and challenged by the following reading in an old devotional compiled by Mrs. Charles Cowman entitled, Streams in the Dessert, Volume One.  I highly recommend it. Find it used here at Amazon's used books.

"Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground?" 
Isaiah 28:24

A view of our farm...all pictures are ours.
One day in early summer I walked past a beautiful meadow. The grass was as soft and thick and fine as an immense green Oriental rug. In one corner stood a fine old tree, a sanctuary for numberless wild birds; the crisp, sweet air was full of their happy songs. Two cows lay in the shade, the very picture of content.

Down by the roadside the saucy dandelion mingled his gold with the royal purple of the wild violet.

I leaned against the fence for a long time, feasting my hungry eyes, and thinking in my soul that God never made a fairer spot than my lovely meadow.

The next day I passed that way again, and lo! the
A plowed field ready for planting.
hand of the despoiler had been there. A plowman and his great plow,now standing idle in the furrow, had in a day wrought a terrible havoc.  Instead of the green grass there was turned up to view the ugly, bare, brown earth; instead of  of the singing birds there were only a few hens industriously scratching for worms. Gone were the dandelion and the pretty violet. I said in my grief, " How could any one spoil a thing so fair?"

Then my eyes were opened by some unseen hand, and I saw a vision, a vision of a field of ripe corn ready for the harvest. I could see the giant, heavily laden stalks in the autumn sun; I could almost hear the music of the wind as it would sweep across the golden tassels. And before I was aware, the brown earth took on a splendor it had not had the day before.

An abundant harvest of tomatoes will soon
be harvested.

Oh, that we might always catch the vision of an abundant harvest, when the great Master Plowman comes, as He often does, and furrows through our very souls, uprooting and turning under that which we thought most fair, and leaving for our tortured gaze only the bare and the unbeautiful." 

Why should I, His precious daughter, be startled when He turns the soil of my soul? I know He cares far more for me than my earthly father...He is preparing a crop...

Experiments from my farm kitchen this week....

In my quest to serve vegetables at every meal I tried a new recipe this week to serve with eggs at breakfast. This recipe for "Spinach Burgers" was easily made with the Swiss Chard found in your shares. I think you could make it also with baby kale, or other tender greens. 

Swiss Chard
Farmer Steve knows my love of spinach and bought me a bag of marked down spinach that surprisingly still looked like it was in good shape. It was well worth the
.50 cents! I made a batch out of spinach and another out of Swiss Chard to compare the results.

Chop 1 bunch of Swiss Chard greens (I twisted off most of the stems) or a bag of spinach lightly in the food processor
or by hand. 

In a bowl, mix 3 eggs, 1/4 C. chopped onion,
1/2 C. shredded cheese, 1/2 C. bread crumbs (I used almond "flour"), 1/2 t. red pepper flakes, 1 t. salt, and 1/2 t. garlic powder. Add chopped greens and mix well. 

Shape into patties using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 Cup measuring cup, and place on a well greased hot griddle or frying pan.

Let cook over medium heat until patties are golden brown and firm, about 4-6 minutes.

I'm sorry I didn't get a picture before we dug in!
Serve with poached or lightly fried eggs for a delicious breakfast!
I've begun to freeze our winter's store of pesto. This week we put 7 ~ 1/2 pints in the freezer. It is so easy to do, that I thought you'd like to share my favorite recipe!
Farmhouse Pesto

1 1/2 C. Basil
3+ Cloves Garlic
3 T. Roasted Nuts
(Almonds, Walnuts, or Pine Nuts)
1/4 C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 T. Grated Parmesan
1/2 t. Salt
Heavy Sprinkle Coarse Ground Pepper

Place all but the olive oil into a food processor, and turn it on. Slowly pour olive oil in and let process until smooth. Scrape into a half pint jar and top with more olive oil. Refrigerate or freeze.

I love easy vegetable side dishes...little fuss...big flavor. This next recipe was little on the fuss, but exactly what we like with the lemon...a light taste is best. So if you really like a punch of lemon flavoring, up the amount of lemon zest a bit, and even consider adding it after your squash is grilled mixed with some coarse salt. I don't see why you couldn't prepare the squash in marinade up to the day before for a quick and easy side dish! I'll be trying it this week with our homemade Italian Salad dressing also! I love recipes that give you ideas for other meals.

Grilled Lemon Zucchini

3 small sized Zucchini ~ Whole
1/8 C. Olive Oil
1/2 t. Kosher Salt (any salt will do)
1/2 t. Coarse Ground Black Pepper
1 Whole Lemon, Zested

Cut tops and bottoms off zucchini and slice them

into quarters, lengthwise. Place them into a gallon Ziploc bag or Tupperware container. Next pour in the oil, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Juice the lemon and add to your marinade within the bag. Seal bag well. removing as much air as possible. Flip bag back and forth a few times over the next 20 minutes as it marinades.

Heat the outdoor grill or even (I didn't use this method) an indoor grill on medium-low heat. Grill the zucchini on three sides until tender. Carefully brush with marinade while cooking, but 
be watchful as it can burn easily. Slow and longer is better than my usual method of hot and fast!

One more idea...With a frig full of assorted vegetables I like to make an easy roasted vegetable blend. In the following picture I have 9 different vegetables...turnips, patty pan squash, yellow summer squash, zucchini, onions, garlic, red sweet peppers (store bought on super sale...ours are coming!) & kohlrabi.

Place an assortment of coarsely chopped vegetables on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Drizzle the pan liberally with extra virgin olive oil. Toss the vegetables in the oil until shiny, but not dripping with oil either. Sprinkle on your favorite seasonings. We like Cajun or simply season salt with garlic powder. Roast at 450 degrees until the vegetables have a slightly charred look and are tender. Serve immediately.
More Pictures of the Family & Farm This Week

Faith Anne bakes cookies for the Cumberland Sustainable Farmer's Market each week.

Our Friday night packing crew "hard at work". We're blessed to be able to work and fellowship at the same time!

After a long day of harvest the boys back the trucks up to our porch to unpack. I always hold my breath until the back-up beeper stops...

Brother Tim Brock is also known as "The Friday Night Farmer". The length of the rows of squash this year is a challenge to him as he keeps up with our boys. He and his family have been working with us for 4 years and they are a huge blessing to us! They are "marrying into the farm" as their daughter Destany is Isaac's fiance!

Levi is heading out to gather the eggs.

Happy 4th of July!

Is the Lord turning the "furrows" of your life too? What kind of harvest will your life produce? 

Seeking the Keeper of My Heart,
Abundant Blessings,
The Farmer's Wife