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Archive for May, 2010

Farm Newsletter

Holy Cow! May is almost over….I can’t believe it. The older I get the faster time fly’s. The farm has pretty much been a soggy place to be the last few weeks. The field has yet to dry out enough for Mark to clear anymore beds for us to plant. We did get a few new crops put last week and replanted a little of what we lost in the flood. But we need a few days of dry weather to be able to get all those lost beds fully replanted as well as have new beds amended for us to plant. I spent this evening in the field planting eggplant, more pepper plants and some flowers. I am hoping I can at least have a couple of hours in the morning to plant a bit more before the rains come in the day.

Just a little update on my chicken post a few days ago….the hens after spending the past several days free to range the farm again are laying…I got a little shy of a dozen eggs today from the nest…ha.. ha.. yep…I am the chicken whisper:)

CSA News & Updates

Weekly & Bi-weekly pickup this weekend. Which mean if you are a weekly shareholder you have a pickup this weekend. If you are a biweekly shareholder and didn’t pickup last weekend you have a pickup this weekend.

There are two items that I strongly recommend to help with your CSA items.

1. Debby Myer’s Green bags.

These are bags that you store your washed vegetables in that help them to stay fresh longer. I have used these bags for years now and they work.  They help to add a week or more in some cases to you vegetables. The bags are reusable just a rinse and air dry and they are ready for your next pickup.  The green bags have an enzyme that helps to eliminate  Ethylene a gas that is produced by fruits and vegetables that regulates how quickly fruits or vegetables ripen. You can find green bags at Publix’s, target and places like that.

2. Salad Spinner

This is a tool in my kitchen I use almost daily. What did I do before my salad spinner? I have no idea. But I will tell you with as many leafy greens as you’ve got in your CSA share a salad spinner is a must have item. You can find them at any Target, Walmart…ect..

Over the course of the next couple of pickups you are going to notice your basket’s contents will be changing as our spring crops will be coming to an end and warmer season crops start to produce.  Several of these early warm season crops were damaged by the flood. These are the crops we are in the mist of replanting now. We still have some beds that are producing though.  I will keep you informed as how we plan to go ahead over the next few weeks dealing with our CSA in terms of holding off any pickup for a couple of weekends…I am just giving everybody a heads up on what we are thinking. We are fine for the rest of May…no worries there.

Jam Making Workshop

This Saturday morning we will be holding our Jam Making workshop here on the farm. If you want to learn the process of making your own home-made jams…come on…join us!

Saturday  May 22 nd.    10:30am

Location: The FarmHouse Kitchen

Admission: $8.00  (you will be taking home your jam)

See y’all here on the farm,

Peggy

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Farm fresh eggs

Where are my eggs? That is the burning question I have addressed to my flock of laying hens for the past week. Every morning I go to the new chicken coop and every morning I leave with 2 maybe 4 eggs that is it….where are the rest of the eggs? We are used to getting at least a dozen or more fresh eggs a day from our young hens. We went through this before about a month or so ago when we first built the new chicken coop and for the first time our chickens were contained. Why? They were digging up everything we were planting this spring…that won’t work when you have a good size CSA program and a weekend farm market that needs..wants and dang it deserves to showcase our hard-earned crops. So Mark and I decided we would coop the hens through the growing season and than allow them back to their free ranging ways late summer though winter. Of course the hens were mad…they want to free range the farm free eating bug, roots and their favorite tomatoes…yes they will destroy your tomato crop in a day given a chance.  So we counted on a big drop in egg production which happened for a while. Once the hen got used to the coop (kinda) they settled in and began to lay once more. Then we traumatized them again by adding Ruddie to flock…he is such a handsome roster and since our roster was lost to the fox late last winter I thought the girls would thank me…but noooo…they like him okay…but nothing in the way of egg laying..gratitude.  The flood might have freaked them out a little it did get very muddy in their coop and they were stuck inside for a couple of days. Other then that nothing…I can think of nothing that would almost totally stop them from laying.

This morning I went out to feed the hens and they were looking at me through the chicken coop wire…I couldn’t stand it anymore, they looked so depressed…so while Mark was in Nashville I let the girls be free range again…I bet there be some eggs tomorrow:)

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News from the farm

Heirloom English Roses

This is the view that welcomes me into the farm’s field every morning during this time of year. Lushly,  fragrant breath-taking heirloom roses. Oh yes…this is the good life!

Mark and I along with the farm crew has spent the better part of this week tiring to salvage as much as we can from our flooded out bottom beds as well as getting started replanting all the things that were lost to the raging waters that covered these beds ripping away not only the crops themselves but years of  well composted top soil. But here we are doing what needs to get done and with smiles on our faces for we were

Romaine Lettuces

lucky and we dang well know it. Our farmhouse stayed dry and our family remained safe….not to mention last weekend this farm feed over 35 local families with baskets brimming to the top with  fresh, organic, healthy produce. We harvested over 137 pounds of beautiful full dark green Italian romaine lettuce for our neighbors, our friends, our CSA shareholders, our market and farm crew among the other items like baby Siberian  Kale, sweet spring onions, swiss chard, radishes, Broccoli and list goes on…and on..  A really great kick off to the season.

This coming weekend we are going to be doing much of the same around here on the farm with only one exception….I won’t be able to be here to share it with you.  Yep…it is time for my life B to hit the road for a couple of weekend shows so that will leave the farm in the hands of Old Farmer Mark (as he likes to refer to himself) so go easy on him…he gets a little nervous having the farm to himself as well as having his hands full with looking after our young son Lucca and all the other farm duties and chores while I am away.  The time has come for me to pull off my old favorite muck boots and slip into a  pair of high heels, apply a bit of makeup…and go sing for my supper.

CSA News & Updates

This week our pickup will be Weekly Shareholder only. Please make sure you bring your baskets with you from last week and don’t forget to take home some of these amazing roses for your home. Jane will be checking everyone in at the market so sign in with her so she can make sure you all have your share for the week.  While you are waiting for your share to be harvested you are welcome to stroll the farm. The animals love visitors and the baby chicks are darling to take peek at..

We will be harvesting a couple of vegetables that you all may not have much experience with

Kohlrabi

this pickup. Ready to harvest are the wonderfully spicy Mustard Greens & tender sweet Kohlrabi.  Both of these vegetables are not only delicious they are high in natural vitamin C and a great source of fiber.

Kohlrabi

An unusual looking vegetable, kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family, and although it’s round like a turnip, it’s not of the same species. In fact, kohlrabi isn’t a root vegetable at all; it grows above ground with long edible leaves sprouting from the top. Its flavor is delicately sweet, and its texture is moist, yet crisp. Kohlrabi tastes mildly like broccoli with just a hint of cabbage. We love this vegetable raw here at the farmhouse. We also use the greens for braising or chopping up and adding to our salad. Just a quick peel of the bulb’s outer skin and Kohlrabi is ready to eat. Enjoy!

Mustard Greens

Southern Braised Mustard Greens

Mustard Greens (washed, trimmed and chopped)

3 slices of bacon

2 Tbs white vinegar

2 Tsp sugar

2 cups Chicken broth

cook bacon until crisp in a skillet over med/high heat. Set aside. Add to skillet chopped mustard greens a handful at a time turning each batch until covered with drippings and wilted. Add vinegar, sugar and broth. You can season with salt and pepper at this time if you would like. Turn heat down to medium cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Creamed Italian  Mustard Greens

1 bunch of Mustard Greens (washed, trimmed and chopped)

2 tbs butter + 1 Tbs olive oil

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 clove of garlic minced

2 Tsp flour

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 cup milk

1/4 tsp sugar

salt to taste

Add butter and olive in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic cook for 1 minute. Add greens a handful at a time to skillet cook until they begin to wilt. Add to greens flour, nutmeg and milk , sugar and cheese stir until it thickens. Add salt to taste.  enjoy:)

Workshop Schedule…revised. We are still very much in clean up mode around the farm and will be for the next little while.  So I am going to revise our May workshop schedule.  Chef Jack Williams was scheduled to demonstrate  grilling natural grass-fed meats. We will have to postpone this  workshop to another date. Sorry for the inconvenience but this flood has affected everyone and altered several planned events. As soon as Chef can reschedule I will let you know.

Our Jam making workshop is still a go and we are looking forward to this class…It will be held in the farmhouse and everyone will be taking home their home-made jam.

We will begin taking orders for Gardner Grove Natural Grass-fed Meats starting this weekend.  You can pickup a complete order list from the farm market this weekend. All orders can be picked up the following weekend here at the farm.

Fresh From Farm Contest

Win This

We are going to give away one of my favorite cookbooks written by none other than “The Pioneer Woman” Ree Drummond. You will love this cookbook!

Here’s how the contest goes!

If you are planning on visiting the farm anytime in the month of May you can enter this contest.

To sign up just leave us a comment here on the blog in the comment section with a brief summary of your experience with the farm, the fresh-organic produce or farm goods you may have gotten and what you may have done in preparing it once you got it home with you.  Photos are encouraged of your experience and you can email me those along with a full summary of your farm experience. But remember you will need to post a comment here on this blog to enter. The farm crew will choose of few of our favorites after May and post them on our farm’s facebook page, our website and here on TheFemaleFarmer blog.  So be creative…and have fun!

The farm’s email address

I’ll see yall next weekend!

Mark and I would like to send a very special thank you to JoAnn for sending the help in getting the bridge repaired.  I don’t know what to say….that was an unbelievable gift of generosity. Thank you so much.

Love, Mark & Peggy

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After The Flood

CSA Shareholders

Strawberry/Lavender Jam fresh for market

Before I continue with the farm’s newsletter I want to update our CSA Shareholders on your pickup and what to do next.  We are heading into the weekend in a couple of days with a forecast of nice weather which lends itself to a really wonderful pickup day. We will have some flowers ready to harvest as well for the pickup this weekend. Our English roses are starting to bloom as for those that have been shareholders here at the farm will remember…you will want to cut these gems. They are just lovely and their scent is incredible!

For those of you that need to pickup before the weekend…I understand, but I will tell you we have had flood damage to the farm and our road into the farm is partially closed due to remaining flood water covering the road. You will need to take the Tara Lane route that bypasses that section of Willis Branch Road to get to the farm.  Also our bridge was severely damaged during the flood. We hope to have it repaired before Saturdays farm opening. Until then you will need to park on the side of street and not attempt to drive your car into the farm’s driveway.  I am urging folks that can to wait until this weekend for picking up their shares so Mark and I have a few days to finish clean up debris and make the repairs needed before we have people here on the farm as you can imagine.

We lost our power on Saturday and didn’t get turned back on until around 2 pm. yesterday so for those that have called the farm, emailed the farm we are sorry we just weren’t able to get those messages.  I can understand some of your frustrations with 2 of our pickup dates getting canceled due to weather…all I can say it’s spring and with that comes weather. Its farming…not shopping…we live within mother natures whims…I too wished at times (not unlike Lucca my young son) mother nature came with a pause button…but of course neither do.

So, in closing with CSA updates;  If you want to come during the week to pickup…you can…I want to give you that option…if you can wait until the weekend…all the better for us and for you.  Mark and I are here on the farm throughout the week so no need to email or call. Just come on by (before 6pm) one of us will get your basket ready.

Market ready to open!

Update about the farm; The Farm will open this weekend 9-2pm  We have some great spring vegetables at the market as well as lots of plants, fresh farm eggs, hand churned real butter, and fresh made Strawberry/lavender Jam..

The Flood

It is hard to really imagine the extent of devastation we as a state suffered this past weekend. Mark and I are truly one of the luckier ones I know. You all have seen and heard the stories and we have witness so many acts of goodness and neighborly love ourselves on this little street that has been under 3 to 5 feet of flood water for the past 5 days.  It is heartwarming and uplifting…and makes me believe there lies a hero in all of us…we all are merely one circumstance way for raising to the occasion.

Willis Branch Road...flooded

The lights flicker on and off around 9:30 Saturday night as the storms pounded the metal roof of the farm-house. It had rained, storming non-stop for the last few hours. Mark and I were watching the news reports really looking for signs of tornado warnings…we have no storm shelter here on the farm…no basement…no root cellar…no safe room to hide away in. My mom who is from Kentucky calls such places fraidy holes…she would say “honey you need to dig you out a fraidy hole on that farm after we were hit by a F3 tornado in 2006.  I said…whoa…Mom..do mean a root cellar? She said well that too…just a little place you run to when your afraid if the weather turns bad…hence …fraidy hole…God love her little heart…yep, we need to dig us a fraidy hole.  But it seems every time we think about putting some money toward that fraidy hole…something comes up…the truck breaks down…the bridge washes out…the beds need to be replaced…not to mention finding someone to build a root cellar…does anyone here in Nashville even know what a root cellar is anymore?  I know the few people we have talk to seem to have some idea, but none of them sounded real certain…opting more for the manufactured…”safe room”.  Really after living through 2 tornado’s I prefer to be underground..like in the side of the hill..dug in…

Farm...

My sister Patsy called me a little earlier and told me our family’s farm in Humphrey county was flooding badly and had already sustained major damage by 4pm. Saturday afternoon this being one of the hardest hit counties in Tennessee with this weeks flooding. More than 19″ of rain fell in the land of three rivers (that is what they call our county) and Hurricane creek rose more than 50 feet. My mom was trapped in her house on the hill no way of getting to them…although safe…still cut completely off. My sisters Betty and Cissy whom live down there were in the same boat. One having to move to a cabin on the hill for her bridge washed away and the water raising. My Sister Betty said the water was only a foot or so from entering her house…which sits very close to the Duck river…her deck and porch crawling with snakes of all kinds trying to escape the flood water.  Both Patsy and I flooded in as well and couldn’t get to our family which added to the anxiety and fear of what was happening. Until our electric went out for good around 10pm phone call after fearful phone call came rolling in like the storms it selves getting worst with each one about our family’s farm.  Now cut off…my cell phone not getting any signal at all…I walked the floors…ringing my hands and worrying myself into complete exhaustion around 2am. The next morning Lucca woke me with a frightening “Mommy…Mommy look at this…he was standing in his jammies face pressed hard to the bedroom window…I jump out of bed to (A) find Mark gone…and (B) to find a raging river running through my front yard about six feet from the front door of the farmhouse. Now we have had flash floods here on the farm in fact we had one a couple of weeks back…but this was in comparison to an ocean vs. a river.  Amazed, dazed and then fearful not finding Mark anywhere and noticing our X-Terra was gone from the driveway..

The rain just poured from the sky and lighting striking hard and rumbling like the Greek God Apollo’s angry vengeance…No TV….power or cell phone…and no idea where Mark had went or if he is safe.  I turned on the weather radio as Lucca and I heading for the porch looking out toward the water covered street hoping we see someone…anyone..we didn’t. Mark had brought a generator a few weeks earlier…good call on his part…it was still in the unopened box on the kitchen porch.  desperate to see…actually see a radar rather than hearing the descriptions I wanted to get this generator running. Lucca hot on my heels afraid to leave my side we tore through the box unpacking this heavy machine. We couldn’t move it par say…but we did scoot it away from the wall and cut thought to expose all sides.  I scanned the owner’s manual not have any experience with operating one of these. Stopping only long enough to lift my head to see the water getting more and more violent and raising higher toward the house. Lucca hanging on my arm asking about Mark…scared, upset and in aw all at the same time.  I finally got though the quick start portion of the generators owners manual…okay…there wasn’t a quick start portion…I skimed though all the yap…yap..bah..bah..until I saw what I needed to get the thing started…oil & gas.. where to put them in and how to crank it up.  After we cut the top out of a coke bottle to use as a funnel for filling the oil. I turned to the gas issue.

Kitchen garden flooded

We have 10 gas cans around here..weedeaters, lawnmowers, leaf blower, tractor ect..ect…I couldn’t find one plain regular unleaded  gas-filled gas can. I am soaked to the bone…Lucca is soaked to the bone from running from one shed to the other here on the farm dodging lighting booms and pounding rain drops. Nothing…not a drop that I could find…cussin’…kickin’… ah ha!..my truck…it has gas…almost 1/2 a tank..which is good for me I hate getting gas so I let it run low…and then add a few bucks here and there…I never spend time filling up..which Mark stays mad over.  But this is good…I will siphon some gas out of the 4-runner for the generator…Heck I am from Hurricane Mills…we country girls can survive…hell yea! Now what to use to siphon?? I really have never done this before…I have seen it done…looked easy enough…had a high-school boy friend that would siphon off gas from his parents car…kept him mobile. My fish tank vacuum hose…looks perfect..long slender hose…just right to stick into the truck’s gas tank…Hallelujah! So here I go ripping the end off my fish tank vac and giving it a quick rinse under the water….hey…time is of the essences here… Lucca stands looking at me with a total expression of discuss on his face as he watches me from the cover of the porch shoving one end of the tube into the gas tank and the other into my mouth….from the first hard pull…a had a mouth and lungs full of gas vapors…choking, spitting and coughing but no gas…try again…still nothing but fumes…I tried for a good minute…time after time…nothing but I did get a little buzz….could have been from the fish tank though…

Well, Lucca we can’t start the generator I was saying as I ran back into the farmhouse…he was still wrinkling his nose at me…I think though we may need to get some things together just in case we need to hike out of here over the hill.  Just then I heard Mommy…Dad…Dad…Mark was standing on the other side of the creek bank waving his arms from our neighbors flooded out yard. I sigh a breath of relief just seeing him…knowing he was safe. Lucca perked up seeing his daddy as well.

Mark had left the f

Willis Branch Road

arm early that morning and by the time he got to Dickerson Rd. they were closing roads. By the time he got to our street he couldn’t get to the farm because of the water. He hike down the street to find higher ground and crossed over through the woods on the backside of the farm. He was as wet as any human could be …but he was home and we were sure happy to see him. He took a look at the unpack generator, shook his head as Lucca told him about the nasty fish tank hose and went straight to the shed I had just been to bring back the fuel can …I had missed…

The water continued to rise but stayed 6 or so feet from the farmhouse, we were lucky and thankful.  The next morning we hike out to survey the damage…unreal…heartbreaking and breathtaking all at the same time. Our farm was damaged yes, but nothing ….nothing like some of the folks around us. Nothing…nothing close to so many in the middle Tennessee. As we were wading back through the flood water to the farm…I told Lucca…look around son…this is a sight to remember, this is history.

ps…Lucca still won’t kiss me on the lips…fish germs he says…

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