After such a dry summer and potato beetles by the hundreds, our harvest was nothing like previous years. But it will be more than enough for us for winter, and hopefully enough for spring planting (and we sold many pounds of new potatoes through the summer, too). We only grow three varieties: All Blues, Mountain Rose and Nicolas...and my favorite, the All Blue, did the poorest. But we are thankful for harvest we've stored away in the cellar.
02 November 2016
02 September 2016
This mix of pictures pretty much sums up our August. Lots of farm work punctuated with days at the lake with friends, days inside canning and days at farmers' market.
I have worked hard this summer to try and prioritize breaks. Breaks from weeding and harvesting and canning and housework. In the past, I've looked back at our summer months and realized I had not taken the kids swimming or on a hike or to visit friends nearly as much as I had hoped to. So, this summer I made a point to do that. I'm behind in canning and my herb garden is overgrown, but August was full and fun.
a day at our friends' airstream "cottage" on lake st catherine
one of the many cantaloupes we snuck from our farmstand
spicy dill pickles
an afternoon with our college friends (and their kids) on lake beebe
an after-bedtime load of hay
cantaloupe vanilla bean jam (which ended up more like a sauce)
a day trip to visit adam's family near boston
an afternoon at our friend's home on lake bomoseen
back to homeschool (sort of)
a surprise while doing chicken chores--raspberries are ripening
23 November 2015
We have tried in the past to grow flint corn, and it grew great...but molded when it was drying and we were unable to use it. This year we grew Floriani Red flint corn and most of it dried well. I was so excited that I ground up a few of the driest ears to make cornbread. We often eat homegrown meals, but this week when we ate our chili and cornbread, everything but the salt, baking powder and spices came from our farm.
(I apologize for the crappier pictures, but I have been using an old hand-me-down iPhone to take photos lately. It's cost prohibitive to use as an actual phone, but it is just so easy to carry around in my pocket to snap photos!) ;)
12 November 2015
12 October 2015
The cold weather is coming and I'm feeling the pressure to harvest and preserve before the garden freezes.
On the list this week:
more tomatoes (slowly but surely we have been working on canning the ones still ripening--today, sauce with my tomato-cutting helper!)
kale, in the freezer
peppers, chopped and frozen
carrots, in the root cellar
beets, root cellared and pickled
tomatoes, sauce, bbq sauce and puree
salsa, tomato and corn varieties
strawberries, jam and frozen
grapes, frozen juice--to be decided on how to use
green beans, frozen
zucchini noodles, frozen (experimenting with this!)
sweet corn, frozen and in salsa
pears, canned and frozen
cabbage, fermented and frozen (experimenting for quick stir-fry meals)
potatoes, in the root cellar
onions and garlic
I think that's everything so far. Our (18 cubic ft) fruit and veggie freezer is completely full. Our pantry shelves are filling with canned goods.
We like to make applesauce but there is a little less pressure to get that done right now as we can get nice seconds well into November or December from our favorite orchard.
Every year I wish that I preserved more than I do, but we end up eating our own veggies and fruits (or local fruits we can and freeze) all year long. It is really the "profit" we get from our farmsteading lifestyle...and we certainly enjoy eating our harvest all year long.
31 August 2015
It's that time of year when parts of the garden are looking a bit messier,
vegetables damaged or missed,
leaves curling, lettuce bolting,
weeds I haven't thought of pulling...
But also the time of year of
garlic drying and
hay mows filling,
of endless harvesting
and signs of the seasons changing.
As we transition to our school year, we have some changes, too. Our shy, apprehensive sixth grader expressed a strong interest in trying the small, village middle school. He is going to school all week this week to try it out. As much as I missed him here today, I love to see how he is being brave and giving this a try. Our family rhythm shifts a bit in September, while still carrying on the schedule of summer markets and harvests.
17 June 2015
I'm joining Aubrey again this week for my (almost) bi-weekly independence days post.
1. Plant something: We are still planting regularly--last week we planted many more cabbage and broccoli starts, as well as carrots, cukes, beets and more. Also some extra lettuce starts we had. The little ones like to help, so I spend some time re-planting (by hand) the seedlings that don't quite make it in the planter the right way. But this tool has been so helpful to us on our farm--since we have no employees and Adam and I do everything. Also, without irrigation, it's a great way to get the seedlings some water as we plant.
2. Harvest something: It is a slightly slower start to our season, but we are enjoying fresh spinach daily and a friend helped me harvest our chamomile to dry for winter. This afternoon, I'll be harvesting for our first farmers' market tomorrow!
3. Preserve something: The chamomile above was air dried to store for teas and soap-making next winter.
4. Waste not (what have you reused, recycled, or repurposed instead of throwing it away or buying new?): With a humble farmsteading budget, we do this all the time rather than buying new. Adam needed a new slow-moving vehicle sign for the hay wagon, so he took a bright red, broken harvest bucket and made one. The signs I hang for farmers' market are supposed to be hung with zip-ties, but baling twine from old hay bales worked just as good. We will be repainting signs we already have for markets and the farmstand.
5. Want not (besides what you reported under "preserve something", what else have you done to prepare for the future or become more self sufficient? What new skills are you learning?):
For the past 8 years, we have been steadily working towards putting up our own hay. This has meant bartering with neighboring farmers to do haying for us, then bartering for our own baler and other equipment and the past couples years, with the exception of hiring a friend to mow the fields for us, we put up our hay on our own. Adam would love to be able to rent more hay land and mow them himself, so he is always on the lookout for the equipment we need and we hope to find used equipment we can afford someday. It takes the whole family to do this and our kids work so hard helping us get this done.
6. Build community food systems: Our markets start this week! We attend two small markets where we bring our pastured pork, maple syrup, veggies and eggs.
I also wanted to share this very neat database I discovered. Our local Rutland Farm and Food Link, a non-profit that helps link farmers and consumers, among many other things, also organizes glean teams to come to local farms and glean veggies to distribute to food shelves, shelters and other organizations. There is now a statewide Gleaning Interface where volunteers can sign up and community-based gleaning projects can get organized via the web. I love this idea!
7. Eat the food: It's why we do what we do! On the menu in the last couple weeks, pierogis with homemade farmer cheese, fresh spinach and sauerkraut, Adam made a big batch of our bbq beef for a church lunch, farm fresh omelets, white chili using up some of the salsa from last summer, spinach lasagna with farm fresh ricotta, and blueberry buckle to name a few things. Below is my whipped cream mishap--where my cream skipped the whipped and went right to butter. And one of my little helpers "tooking" with me.