10 Jul

Garden Goodness!

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What began as a quiet day ended up being pretty busy….a trip to the garden revealed my cabbage was about done growing. Since I garden organically, and spraying to keep pests away was out I figured I’d just pick it.

Well, a few teaspoons of salt and sugar and now this is what it looks like….

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Saurkraut, yummy! I can’t get enough of this stuff, the health benefit from fermented food is huge so in a few weeks we will be diving into this.

The beans were ready too, we picked about a bushel and now they look like this!

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My husbands weak spot….dilly beans!

Here is the recipe I use for that…

Have ready, 2 pounds of cleaned beans with tops cut off, 4 to 5 sterile jars and lids, caynenne pepper, dill heads and garlic cloves.
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In large pot, boil, 2 1/2 cups water, 2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup canning salt.

Into sterile jars, put in 2 garlic cloves, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper and a dill head, then stuff beans into jars, I find the point down works best. Leave 1/2 inch headspace and pour brine over the beans and other stuff. Cap tightly and listen for them to pop. HInt: you can hot water process them but as long as it is all starile I do not, I find the beans are crisper if they are not processed.

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We have been eating alot from our garden, a veggie stir fry as shown here, it was delicous, easy too! Fresh organic, sugar peas, red pepper, carrotts, garlic in coconut oil over organic brown rice, hello nutrition, you are beautiful!

One night we ate 2 quarts of stir fried young organic string beans, nothing else, oh just give me a my garden and I can eat healthy and happy.

But when did the lunacy creep into our world so quietly? The detached emotion to food that is… There is nothing like starting a seed, loving it like a baby, watching it mature and planting it. What’s better is eating the produce and knowing it came from a process that God designed. I personally use heirloom seeds, not the conventional ones, I don’t support genetically modifying anything!

When did women begin to think the grocery store offers more than a straw hat, comfy clothes and some real honest vitamin D (sunshine) and the ever popular dirt therapy. How do you feel good walking from a store with boxes of preservative laden products that came off of factory lines, packaged dead animal flesh that had hellish lives and produce that spent a week on a truck, picked before it’s time and sprayed to ripen all neatly packed in plastic bags?

Where is the responsibility to nutrtition? We have spent far too long in front of the TV that adorns 2 minute clips with images of happy people eating things that will eventually bring them a sickened body. We pump our kids full of chemicals,dyes and Lord knows what else, then position the game controllers in their hands, the TV says kids need this stuff right? As women we need to stop trusting the TV, it also tells you you need to be prettier, look like a celebrity, worry about your image and shop till you drop…you end up looking plastic, fake and broke….

What if we look at our grandmothers as heroes….

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Here is mine, she knew nothing of such nonsense!  The year was sometime in the 1920’s, grocery stores did not even exist! If there wasn’t a patch of veggies in your yard you weren’t eating. People canned things with a vengance! 100 quarts of everything, veggies, fermented things, meat, and cold cellars ruled keeping food on the table until spring.

Many do not know but the system of food is a fragile one today, crops are Roundup Ready, food has been modified to already have the weed killers in it! We are killing bees by the thousands, we pollute streams and natural habitats, we want more and demand more and when does it all end? The soil becomes denatures after being sprayed oever and over again and becomes a barren spot….tell me how long we will keep producing food this was in the current infrastructure of farming?

That is where homesteads and small farms come in….we listen to the past, look to the future of food and see possibility in taking steps backwards. Small chicken flocks that live in pasture providing healthy, fresh eggs to the family and neighbors, pastured cows and pigs, not in confinement buildings with manure up to their bellies being force fed for rapid growth, they are foragers and on a naturally occuting pasture they will do just fine and taste even better!

I am proud of my garden…yes I work hard in it, there are challenges and there are rewards. There is nothing like knowing where my food came from. I have been challenged with the disease that lives in my body thanks to a little tick and I know that optimal health comes from a clean, whole food diet. How better to control what I put in than to be intimately involved in the sowing, the growing, the picking, the processing and the eating…..

Embrace a change today, find your inner diva, tell her to get off of her can and go dig in the dirt then cook it!

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01 Jul

Berries, love and the good things….

Living on a farm has so many benefits, the list is long, the work is hard but at the end of the day when you settle into a chair you can smile and feel accompished.

Our homestead has the beautiful benefit of it’s own wild array of food we can get all summer long. The mulberry tree is still holding a bounty of fruit and makes a delicious pie as well as jelly. The crabapple tree, the wild fox grapes, the berries everywhere, we are so blessed to not have to buy these things from a store and wonder where it came from, I can pick it and eat it!

But last night the nicest spontaneous thing happened. My husband offered me a tractor ride around the property and then helped me pick a quart of fresh black and white rasberries. It was so special and made me feel like a kid again. It seems everything I do of late is that of yesteryear and has a memory attached to it.
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A humbling fact is that my hands appear to belong to a ten year old too. Dirt under my nails, no mani/pedi for this gal, stains from berries on my fingers, cuts and crud all around the pretty silver circle that means everything in the world to me.

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The sudden loss of a corporate job that keeps you so busy that you need coordinating calendars, underwear and shoes causes a bit of an identity crisis. Somewhere in the midst of the searching around this girl emerged who knew so much more than her corporate counterpart.

She knew that there is nothing better than walking into a house with something baking in the oven made you feel loved and warm,  she knew that being outside in the dirt cleared your head and made you sleep better, she knew that animals can teach you things about yourself you will never learn in school, she didn’t look in mirrors constantly, care about her hair or if things matched. Life was waiting outside the doors and she had a deep desire to taste it every day.

Can we say the same as we shuffle off to stuffy places and speniding our day among strangers in buildings across corporate America? I can say I did it, was very good at it, and it never made me happy… Being taken away from it by a body that was sick was a hard separation, I fought it. Six months down the road as I reinvent the wheel, search my soul and ask God to hold my hand as I take the next step, and I am somehow smarter than the corporate girl I was.

Coming back to who I was before the world dominated how I viewed myself is a sweet homecoming. The rasberry stains are the map on my hands that I follow, they take my mind back to a place where things were simpler.  I may have lost a huge salary but I gained so much more, I may have lost an able body but I now do what is important and know how to ask for help. I lost a huge amount of people who knew my name and face, but today I know who my friends are and have re-connected with the love of my life.

The job and the stress pulled me so far away, I disconnected with my body, it kept on asking me to slow down, telling me it was tired but I listened to the deadlines on my calendar. When it all screeched to a halt I was angry, how dare you fail me body! The outrage of taking me out of my stylish heels and leaving me crumpled on the couch like a deflated bag of air. I cried, I lamented, I reasoned with myself, what would I do, where will I end up, what will happen?

Well, the world did not crumble, I learned, I took little steps, one day at a time and am still here to talk about it.
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Yesterday on the tractor ride to the fields, I realized I had not looked in a mirror all day, had dirt on my clothes and was happier than I have ever been. Sitting on the wheel hub beside my best friend who smiles at me and feels just the same. Does it get any better? The dog tumbles up the road behind us and his smile tells me he gets it too.

Spending our evening walking hand in hand, bucket of berries draped over my arm, the crickets sang us a song …

Okay I am not ten anymore, but the older I get the closer I get to being that girl again and I think going back to being her is the key to my happiness. I am daily juggling issues, how to survive on one income, how to create a meal on what is in the house, keeping us warm, dry, clean, managing the resources we have at hand.

Yet I am happier than I have ever been! I am married to the sweetest man whose arms are the only home I ever need, he is my best friend, my cheerleader and knows how to put a smile on my face. He cooks alongside me and knows where the good berry bushes are too! My wardrobe is one of what slips on easily and is comfortable, it doesn’t have to match. My horse gives the nicest hugs and kisses and never tells tales about me, my dog is the coolest dog in the world and makes me laugh, my son, daughter and grandson make my heart grow bigger every day. My garden is my favorite place to walk and hot showers and bedtime are 2 of my favorite things. Stuff and shopping could not interest me less…give me my farm, give me the sanity and I can do anything.

My body will heal alongside of my spirit that is healing too.

In honor of our date I made a custard…

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Crustless Raspberry Custard Pie
1/2 cup all purpose flour (I used a non GMO, organic flour)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar ( I used raw honey)
2 large eggs (from my hens)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt (pref. greek-style)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
12-oz fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, yogurt, vanilla and almond extract until very smooth. Add in flour mixture and whisk to combine.
Add raspberries into filling mixture and gently stir to coat. Pour into prepared pie plate, shifting raspberries around with a spoon or spatula to evenly distribute them in the pie.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until custard is set and a knife inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean.
Allow to cool before slicing and serving.

Serves 8.

Happy eating and blessings to your home…

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