Exhaustion finds Peace

Exhaustion finds Peace

The boys used one of the beets that was way to small to make warrior paint.

The boys used one of the beets that was way to small to make warrior paint.

Our evening concluded last night with, Sam falling asleep at the table while eating his supper, and Keith going to bed with a smile on his face. You may be wondering why did Sam fall asleep at the table? You see we ate supper at 9:30 p.m. This is not unlike what I grew up doing on our family farm, or what I know other farm families do.

You see we harvest some of our crops the evening before pick-up (cucumbers, sweet corn, tomatoes etc,) and early in the morning of the day of pick-up trying to avoid harvesting during the heat of the day.

We arrived home from our off farm jobs and the boys activities. All of us were exhausted. We all would have much rather played catch or laid on the couch. But we knew the work needed to be done, so we grabbed a Schwan’s ice cream bar which always brings a smile to the boys faces and headed to the field.

I tried to keep everyone focused and separated to avoid the exhausted brother fights. Once Steve arrived, we split into harvesting teams allowing for one on one time with our kids. Just us and Mother Nature on a beautiful summer evening having good conversation with our kids, marveling at the interesting finds in the garden and enjoying the beautiful color of the sunset.

As we cleaned up for the evening, everyone’s moods had changed for the better. They were happy, peaceful, helpful and calm.

So while I was concerned at the time we were eating supper, all of us felt good at what had been accomplished. As I put our oldest to bed, I mentioned to him how peaceful he looked, and how the exhaustion and angst were gone. He agreed that the time spent together outside brought peace and was a good way to end the day.

So now you know one of the many reasons farm families don’t mind the late meals together after working to accomplish a bigger task. When I reflect back on my childhood, I remember those times with fondness and know that those were the days that built character, good work ethic and team work.

Garden Science

The seed potato can be seen at the base of the plant. So cool to see how the roots and the plant have grown from this and to find the delicious potatoes that it has grown.

The seed potato can be seen at the base of the plant. So cool to see how the roots and the plant have grown from this and to find the delicious potatoes that it has grown.

A young potato is attached and growing from the seed potato that we planted this spring.

A young potato is attached and growing from the seed potato that we planted this spring.

This is what we got when we pulled the potato plant out of the ground. There were a few more potatoes that were in the ground. Look closely and you can find the seed potato.

This is what we got when we pulled the potato plant out of the ground. There were a few more potatoes that were in the ground. Look closely and you can find the seed potato.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So wash your vegetables before eating.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Beautiful red lettuce leaf. A new crop of lettuce and spinach has emerged. Hoping that it will be ready next week.

Kale – I will be trying this vegetable in place of lettuce this week.

Carrots – Here is a good link to carrot recipes.

Green Beans/Purple Beans – A more manageable amount to try to freeze this week.

Sugar Snap Peas – Our third crop of peas was ready this week. Enjoy!

Broccoli – Have you been searching for new things to do with this vegetable. Here are a few ideas.

Kohlrabi – Here are some ideas for using your Kohlrabi.

Beets abound.

Beets abound.

Beets – Some history on this crop.

Yellow Onions – See how onions are raised by farmers in Idaho.

Zucchini and Summer Squash

Cucmbers abound we have Fanci Pak and Slicing Speedway (a lot like Straight 8).

Cucumbers abound we have Fanci Pak and Slicing Speedway (a lot like Straight 8).

Cucumbers – You received both varieties of cucumbers this week. Let us know if you are in need any for canning.

Peppers – a variety abound – enjoy!

Tomatoes – Tomato varieties included in your boxes: Yellow Girls, Honey Delights, Big Boys, Roma, Fourth of July, Big Mammas, Honey Delights, Amish Paste and cherry tomatoes.

Potatoes are like digging for gold. Tons of fun and hard work!

Potatoes are like digging for gold. Tons of fun and hard work!

Potatoes – Kennebecs – You’ll be enjoying potatoes for the rest of the season.

Sweet Corn – One of my favorites. Here is a way to freeze the corn before it gets to old in your refrigerator.

CilantroEnjoy in salsas, fajitas, eggs and more. Learn more about cilantro here.

Variety of flowers abound.

Variety of flowers abound.

Fresh cut arrangement – A variety from sunflowers, Rudbeckia, straw flowers, marigolds and zinnias.

Dill is available for canning, and it helps to draw in beneficial insects.

Dill is available for canning, and it helps to draw in beneficial insects.

Fun Fact

We enjoy reading a lot of children’s agriculture books learning about different aspects of farming. One of our favorites is The Boy Who Changed the World. Give it a read – it’s a great way to get kids thinking about people around the world, and how they too can make a difference.

Recipe of the Week

Zucchini Brownies

Zucchini Brownies

Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I substitute with applesauce.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, combine the zucchini, sugar and oil; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Stir in walnuts and vanilla.
  • Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° F. for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
  • In a large saucepan, melt butter; stir in sugar and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook and stir 1 minute or until smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in chips and marshmallows until melted and smooth; add vanilla. Spread over brownies. Sprinkle with walnuts if desired. Yield: 2 dozen.

Source: Taste of Home

Happy kids and a great way to feed them zucchini and applesauce!

Happy kids and a great way to feed them zucchini and applesauce!

Sharing the Bounty

Sharing the Bounty

A special shout out to a few of our shareholde families, Staabs and Garlinskis, for helping to harvest 70# of green beans which were donated to the food shelf.

A special shout out to a few of our shareholder families, Staabs and Garlinskis, for helping to harvest 70# of green beans which were donated to the food shelf. We figure if 1# feeds a family of 4 over 280 families will be served with this donation.

After harvesting last week, we knew we had way more then all of us could use. With the help of a few shareholder families, we harvested 70 pounds of green beans and 78 pounds of cucumbers that were then donated to our local food shelf. After a few estimated calculations, we figured that the green beans alone would nourish over 280 people. Thank you to the Staab and Garlinski families for your help with harvest.

The food shelf had great appreciation for the fresh produce. Thank you for helping us to feed those in need.

Garden Science

We have been reading Farmer Boy this summer. If you have read this book, you will remember where Almanzo fed his pumpkin milk to help it grow bigger then any other in the county receiving the blue ribbon at the county fair.

Well we have talked about doing this experiment for a few years, and this weekend we found time to start it and at least give it a try.

Fist we selected a pumpkin, I think we should have started a tad earlier. But nonetheless, we cut a small slit in he stem on one pumpkin and on the vine on another. Then carefully insterted a candle wick which had been soaked in milk into the slit and wrapped gauze aound the slit and candle wick.

Fist we selected a pumpkin, I think we should have started a tad earlier. But nonetheless, we cut a small slit in the stem on one pumpkin and on the vine on another. Then carefully inserted a candle wick which had been soaked in milk into the slit and wrapped gauze around the slit and candle wick.

Next, we had selected a jar and drilled a small hole in the top; threaded the wick into the hole and placed tape on the hole and wick. Then we placed it into a hole we had dug and secured it in the hole. We will check it daily to see if the milk is being absorbed.

Next, we had selected a jar and drilled a small hole in the top; threaded the wick into the hole and placed tape on the hole and wick. Then we placed it into a hole we had dug and secured it in the hole. We will check it daily to see if the milk is being absorbed.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So wash your vegetables before eating.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Beautiful red lettuce leaf.

Beets

Yellow Onions

Zucchini and Summer Squash – Some insects may be getting the best of this crop. We are trying our best to figure out why some of these plants are dying off.

Cucumbers growing right behind the flower.

Cucumbers growing right behind the flower. The cucumbers are growing like crazy. If you are interested in canning some, please let us know. This past week we had so many that we donated 78 pounds of cucumbers to the food shelf.

Cucumbers – You received both varieties of cucumbers this week – new is the straight 8 variety (longer variety).

Carrots – Here is a good link to carrot recipes.

Green Beans/Purple Beans– This crop is bountiful.  If you have not been able to keep up but hate the thought of throwing them away. Try these easy blanching steps to freeze the green beans to use throughout the year.

Kohlrabi – Here are some ideas for using your Kohlrabi.

Kale – Are you still trying to figure out this vegetable? Here ae some more ideas.

Tomatoes – The tomatoes are starting to come in with a variety included in your boxes including: Yellow Girls, Roma, Fourth of July and cherry tomatoes.

Sweet Corn – One of my favorites. Here is a way to freeze the corn before it gets to old in your refrigerator.

CilantroEnjoy in salsas, fajitas, eggs and more. Learn more about cilantro here.

The boys wee happy to share some flowers with their Grandma.

The boys were happy to share some flowers with their Grandma.

Fresh cut arrangement – A variety from sunflowers, Rudbeckia, straw flowers, marigolds and zinnias.

Recipe of the Week

I thought you might enjoy hearing how some of our shareholders are eating some of their veggies.

  • Carrots and Cucumbers – slice and dip in peanut butter
  • Beets – peel and eat raw and/or in salads. I like to eat them cooked with some butter on them.
  • Kohlrabi – peel and slice then eat like an apple.

Rain brings relief

I am glad I waited to write the post until this morning. We received 1 and 3/10th inches  of rain yesterday afternoon. We were also fortunate to receive 15/100ths last Friday. The plants are all sighing a huge relief and so are we.

We had started a regular routine of irrigation last week, but nothing satisfies the needs of a plant like Mother Nature. There just isn’t a substitute. So with the moisture, humidity, heat and warm nights, the plants will have some significant development. I am also hopeful to see growth from the spinach, carrots, peas, Dragon Tongue beans and lettuce varieties that we planted the week of June 24.

The boys found a red tomato. Hopeful that all of the green tomatoes will start ripening.

BOXES OF PRODUCE

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list.

Look for new links on recipes etc. Also remember food safety when preparing, always wash your before eating. http://bit.ly/MBhskn

Salad Blend includes: Simpson Elite Lettuce, Prizehead Lettuce, Red Oak Leaf Lettuce, Beet Leaves and Spinach – Wash, cut off longer stems.

Peas – The pods are edible so enjoy eating them out of the pod or the pod and all. This is the last harvest until the ones planted the week of June 24 begin to grow. This rain will help!!

Cucumbers – We had a lot ready to be picked over the weekend. We picked them and made some sunshine pickles. SEE RECIPE BELOW.

Cucumbers climbing up and hanging down through the fence. This helps keep the soil off of them keeping them cleaner and also helps to prevent soil borne issues with the cucumber.

Broccoli – A new variety. We started these from seed mid-March using clear peanut butter jars with holes drilled in the top. This was by far our best starter greenhouse this year.

Green Beans – A good healthy harvest this week.

Chioggia Beets –  Beautiful red bulbs with a few white bulbs in the mix.

Summer Squash – Zuchinni

Potatoes – Varieties included are red (Norland – great for mashed or boiled potatoes), Kennebec (baking – brown skin) and blue potatoes (love mashing them … a lot of fun with kids and makes a colorful plate). The US Potato Board has some good information and recipes.

Tomatoes – We have a lot of green tomatoes on the vine a few cherry tomatoes have turned. I am hopeful for some next week.

Peppers – A few varieties were ready this week – green and banana peppers.

Herbs – Red  Rubin basil, mint, parsley, orange thyme and lemon thyme Remember you can dry them or you can freeze in an ice-cube to use later. SEE PHOTO STORY BELOW TO WALK YOU THROUGH THIS.

Fresh cut arrangement – Zinnias, hosta leaves, Rudbeckia, sunflowers to name a few.

SUNSHINE PICKLES

Shared by GayLene Johnson and Stacey VanGeldren

Recipe for pickling cucumbers, asparagus and green beans.

*Get a large glass container with a screw on lid or canning jar lid and ring.

The recipe is for one gallon jar. (Size up/down for your jar size.) The gallon recipe is listed below the pictures.

The recipe listed in the pictures is for 2 quart jars which is 1/2 the recipe.

Editor’s Note: Because I felt this would take up less room and this was our first time trying the recipe.

First, we picked the cucumbers. Note the flowers on the cucumbers. The flowers are what produce the parts of the plant that we eat. Sure glad the bees have been busy pollinating!

Always remember to wash your fruits and vegetables. I washed the cucumbers under cold water to remove the flowers, dirt and little prickles.

Clean cucumbers.

Next we made the brine. We made half of the recipe below so the half recipe is listed in the pictures. This is what we did. In a separate bowl where we combined and stirred together: 3 cups cold water, 3/4 cup white vinegar and 3 Tablespoons of Kosher salt (a substitute for canning salt).

Next we added to the bottom of each quart jar: *Put 1-2 cloves of garlic and 1-2 heads of dill on the bottom of the jar. Keith had fun separating out the cloves of garlic.

Sam placed 1 – 2 heads of dill in each quart jar.

Next we filled and packed the jars full of smaller cucumbers.

After placing 1 garlic clove and 1 heads of dill in each jar on top of the vegetables, we poured our brine into each jar.

Covered each jar with a piece of rye bread. I couldn’t find rye only bread at the store so I looked for bread made with rye flour as part of the ingredients.

Wipe the top of the jars with a clean cloth and then tighten the lids. I did run the jars and lids through the dishwasher prior to doing this project to ensure they were as sanitary as possible.

Two boys excited to see how this recipe will turn out and proud of what they have helped to make.

Set in the sun for 3 days and 3 nights. If you have a gloomy or cloudy day you may want to add another day. Then bring the jar in and take out the rye bread and dill and garlic on the top of the jar. Refrigerate and enjoy. The result was a success. Steve and Keith who are the pickle consumers in the family loved them! A few of the pickles bleached white in the sun, but they said the were delicious.

Brine (for Gallon recipe below):

6 cups cold water

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

6 Tablespoons canning salt (I used Kosher salt)

*Put 2-6 cloves of garlic and 3-4 heads of dill on the bottom of the jar.

*Fill with cucumbers, asparagus or green beans.

*Put 2-4 garlic cloves and 2 heads of dill on the top of the vegetables.

*Cover all ingredients with the brine.

*Then put one slice of rye bread on the top of everything.

*Put the cover on and set in the sun for 3 days and 3 nights. If you have a gloomy or cloudy day you may want to add another day. Then bring the jar in and take out the rye bread and dill and garlic on the top of the jar. Refrigerate. Ready to eat!! Very crispy and yummy! Always keep in the fridge. You do not can these.

FREEZING HERBS

Wash herbs under cold water.

Cut or pull herbs apart and place smaller portions in the separate compartments in an ice cube tray. This tray I found in the $1 isle at Target.

A closer look at how Keith was doing this.

Run water over the herbs and place in the freezer.

Once frozen, take out of tray and place in labeled bag or container. These will come in handy throughout the year when a recipe calls for an herb. Just take the ice cube and place in the recipe. Fresh herbs throughout the year.