Category Archives: home cookin’

forward into spring

 

Early season projects….

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new hoophouse!

We skinned that cat, and now snug on the inside is a seed starting extravaganza-complete with heat mats, tables, a propagation sweatbox, a seeding table, and early garden beds out of the weather.  Spring break for farmers-it was 80 degrees in here the other day…..

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it is all fun and games until the field voles find you….

Waiting for a break in the weather to fire up the new BCS-like all tools it is a little oversized for a 5′ 4″ woman and will take some getting used to-but I’ll get that tiger by the tail.

Daffodils are blooming, raab is raabing, bunnies are…. looking very pregnant.

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Looking forward to the upcoming season-hoping to get some water catchment in place before the summer dry spell hits-El Nino will perhaps give us a little extra time on that one.  We have some big tanks in place, waiting for the smaller catch tanks to arrive before we set it all up.  Otherwise the seed trays and greenhouse are filling up quickly while we wait for the next break in the weather.  Rain or shine, we are still having fun.  Even if that means applying greenhouse plastic when you would rather be eating dinner.

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wiggle wire anyone?

 

When I start freaking out about politics or global climate change or what the heck I am doing farming….I just stare into the heart of this Romanesco, and all is well.  It is like a vegetable tuning fork for the mind.  Or I would, if I hadn’t eaten it last week.  I am in the universe, and the universe is in me.  For the record, the universe is delicious.

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Clearly it is time to go outside, rain or no rain.  Cheers everyone!

 

so far, so good….

Heading into week 4 for the CSA, week 2 for the Farmers Market (on the fence there-I’ll know by tomorrow if I have enough veg for both).  The weather has been all over the place-into the 90’s this week which is unusual for W. Oregon in early June-normal cool and rainy last week (Rose Festival-of course!) and midwestern style thunderstorms with gullywasher rain and hail the week before that.  But so far the veg has been good and the deer and elk well behaved-we build elk fence whenever we can-hope to have it up by the end of the week.

Here are some shots of a recent CSA share…..just to get you going 😉

radishes

radishes

garlic scapes

garlic scapes

green garlic

green garlic

salad mix

salad mix

Square Peg Farm strawberries

Square Peg Farm strawberries

The garlic scapes are great roasted on high heat with olive oil and salt.  I don’t think that for most people the strawberries even made it home. 😉

Happy summer!

We have chickens!

We fixed up the old coop and moved in about 20 hens of various breeds and ages…although several of the pullets are turning out to be cockerels…a good opportunity to go visit Mineral Springs Poultry in a few weeks.  Next we start to tackle the house!

 

coop remodel complete!

coop remodel complete!

Complete with outdoor dining area....

Complete with outdoor dining area….

coop interior

coop interior

first farm eggs

first farm eggs

It is so nice to have hens again….and eggs!

 

 

First Fish

Since we aren’t moving until sometime in May, we have some time to do other things….a batch of fine weather and a little time spent fishing, and my husband landed his first Chinook of 2014.  He will be in a good mood now for at least a week, and then, the fever will set back in.  Ah, salmon:  the tug is the drug, and the best cure for the disease of salmon fever is also it’s cause.  Hmmm, wonder what’s for dinner?

Happy Spring!

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March Fourth, Set Back

So….our closing date has been pushed back.  To May.  We are rolling with the punches.  I have called off the CSA and cancelled my slot at the farmers market for now, and will reboot once I have the house key in my  hand.  In the meantime, my husband has built me a fabulous germination station!  This one runs on a space heater hooked up to a thermostat which keeps it at 74 degrees, but will eventually be modified to a bucket heater and a trough of water as the heat source.  It works very well.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe doors are rodent proof, and pop off for access.  The shelves are too close together, we will remove every other shelf unit.  And add an automatic vent system eventually.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are Redwing onion starts.  I started my onions before we got the news that the survey would take so long….I have a lot of onion starts!

So, I have an unexpected vacation of sorts.  More packing, more sorting, more winnowing of the stuff.  I am growing a bunch of starts for anyone who wants them, hopefully I can at least make a little income this spring, instead of laying around the house eating popcorn and watching Netflix movies.

Speaking of popcorn, I grew Dakota Black again last year.  Love this popcorn, the ears are a gorgeous deep black red.  And the popcorn is delicious.  Thanks to Anthony Boutard’s book Beautiful Corn  I can now get the corn to the perfect moisture content.  No grannies!  Here’s how you do it:  I take a 1/4 square of paper towel, and soak it in a saturated solution of salt and water (add salt to water until no more will dissolve).  Wring it out until damp, place in a pint jar with your popcorn kernels, and let equalize for a few days.  The paper towel will end up feeling dry, but your corn will pop perfectly.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Really, this is the best holiday quite possibly ever invented.  We gather around a table with family and friends to share a meal and literally give thanks for all that we have been given.  I can definitely count myself as one who is truly blessed:  with good health, a wonderful life partner, a loving family, a very satisfying life, with lots of adventures to look forward to.  We continue to wait to close on our property, which we first saw last year on Thanksgiving Day.  The seller needs to put in a working septic system, and we have figured out where that will go, and then the driveway over the culvert needs to be widened to the fire marshal’s satisfaction.  We expect closing to happen sometime in January, hopefully around my birthday if all goes well.

extra southern style pecan pie, with a western take on an east coast classic cocktail...

extra southern style pecan pie, with a western take on an east coast classic cocktail…

Above all, I am thankful for the brilliant invention of pie.  This year’s Thanksgiving home run was a Sorghum Molasses (crushed and cooked up by my oldest friend and her team of Belgingers in NC) Bourbon Pecan Pie.  It was delicious.  And speaking of brilliant inventions, I invented a mixed drink this fall after infusing some mid range bourbon with Marionberries:  a blackberry Manhattan I have called the Black Friday.  The ingredients are the usual proportions of Blackberry infused bourbon, vermouth, bitters, a couple of tablespoons of blackberry apple cider puree, and garnished with a couple of the bourbon pickled marionberries.  Dark, smoky, sweet, and berry-licious.  And it goes fantastically with Bourbon Sorghum Molasses Pecan Pie.  To infuse the bourbon, I simply filled a jar with berries, topped it off with bourbon, let it infuse for a month, and then filtered.  I kept the bourbon pickled berries for garnish, clearly.

Here is the recipe for Sorghum Pecan Pie that I used, just add a couple of tablespoons of bourbon, and there you are.  Happy Holidays!

What’s in a name?

Before I get into all that, some quick farm news.  We hear back from the county next month….I am pretty wore out with waiting, luckily work has been busy and keeping me somewhat focused.  Somewhat.  The apples from the old tree at the Bunion are excellent, and we put as many as we could to good use.  I think it is a Gravenstein.

this was really good pie.

this was really good pie.

And, they have finally finished the logging.  I am really glad that they got the bulk of that work done before we bought, as they have grrred all over the farm.  The upside, we got a lot of new rock on the farm roads and should have quite a stash of firewood from the slash piles.  The downside, well, you can see the downside.

progress? progress.

progress? progress.

 

 

I have been spending a lot of my spare time in the last few years trying to acquire the skills and information I’ll need to make my business and farm work.  I have never had my own business before, and while I feel pretty good about my abilities to raise animals (at least rabbits and honeybees and chickens) and grow vegetables, and in general build stuff like greenhouses and fences and animal housing, I am much more nervous about the business end of things.  In particular, marketing.  The first thing I need?  A good farm name.  I played around with this for a long time, and came up with a lot of names:

Here’s a partial list:  corny names (Soggy Pocket Farm),slightly off color names (Horny Goat Farm, Dirty Hoe Farm), just plain bad names (Silly Goose Farm) names that were already taken (Sidewalk’s End), Portlandia style names (Do It Yourself Farm), minimalist farm names (Earthy), obscure literary reference names (Yeasty Ferment Farm), brutally honest farm names (What You Really Want is a Pony Farm, Midlife Crisis Farm), bad pun farm names (Wiseacre Farm, Rural Growth Boundary Farm), low moment farm names (Invasive Nonnative Farm, Weed and Feed Farm), homage to Joel Salatin farm names (Your Ass is Grass Farm), gen X farm names (MudHoney Farm….may be some trademark issues with that one, but a pretty good Oregon farm name I thought!), AC/DC inspired farm names (Dirty Deeds Farm)….the list went on and on.  And there, at the very end of the list, maybe 4th from the bottom of over 60 possible farm names, there it was.  Long Run Farm.  Now this farm name has a story, which is the second thing I need for marketing.

Long Run is what my family has always called that beautiful piece of land outside of Shelbyville, Kentucky that my grandfather Roscoe Dalton bought with his cousin Ed Dumesnil back in the late 50’s.  Papa D bought that place I think not with an eye to its usefulness as a piece of agricultural ground (the soils are mostly clay, though there is some decent bottomland along the creek) but because it was beautiful, and in particular, it was really good foxhunting country with its gently rolling ground, brushy thickets, and year round streams and ponds.  It was also good for raising some beef cattle and hay (and a LOT of white tailed deer), which is primarily what that farm has done ever since.  But my grandfather started Long Run Hounds, and was famous for sweet talking all the neighboring farmers into letting him and his friends ride through the country chasing red and grey fox every winter, and he may have even convinced the horsier ones to come along.  The creek that runs through it was always known locally as Long Run creek, though it was not officially named so until the 90’s (the name is actually redundant, as a creek in that part of Kentucky is often referred to as a ‘run’).  When the hounds get on the scent of a fox and take off, and the field of riders follow behind as fast as they can get across the country, that is also called a run, so of course the name for us has always been a double entendre.  When I was a kid we would have a big fish fry by the creek every summer, under a beautiful old sycamore.  In the fall we would go to the Blessing of the Hounds, the opening day for hunt season, and of course, whenever Dad could drag me out of bed (which I am very sorry to report was not very often!) I would join the hunt in the winter time.  The best part of the hunt really was when the day was over and we would all gather for a potluck around a roaring fire in the lodge, and I would listen to my uncle Stuart and Carl Rankin in particular tell hilarious anecdotes with the particular dry low key humor unique to that region (if you have read any Wendell Berry fiction you have had a taste of it).   A lot has changed over the years, most of the surrounding countryside has been lost to development, the old sycamore is gone, but my family still owns that land (and the ‘back farm’, an additional property that was purchased later on).  The hunt lodge is still there with it’s millstone step up to the porch, with pictures on the walls of my grandfather, my uncle, and lots of other colorful characters that are gone now too.  Every time I go home my father and I make time to go out there and ride (or lately, drive) around the place.  It is as beautiful as ever.

So, I will take the name Long Run for the Bunion as my little piece of family and of Kentucky that I can put into this Oregon venture.  If we land the Bunion, I will have a little clay, a little bottom land, a year round creek (though it is by no means long, I think it heads up less than a mile from its mouth in the Tualatin), and lots of brushy thickets.  And of course, it is a double entendre for us too, it has been a long run getting to where we are now (currently we often refer to it as Long Wait Farm), and we hope we will be there for a good long run, and of course, we will farm it with an eye for the long term too.  Maybe I will plant a sycamore down by the creek some day…though perhaps it should be a red cedar, and we should have salmon bakes instead of fish fries under it, Oregon style.

an early attempt at a logo

an early attempt at a logo….time to pull in the professionals!