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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Category Archives: garden

I just watched Farmageddon, which explains the disappearance of local farms in America. The reason that I can give it a great endorsement is that it lives in the middle ground.

Meat and More

Meat?

Extremism (in either direction) is not something that I am fond of. Honest, fact-based descriptions of obvious issues are the ones that I can relate to. One showing people that take a look at their opposition calmly is another trait that I admire in a documentary.

I agree with their take on small and organic farming. Natural food eating is discouraged by the rich. Corporations are rich. They influence our government, and then our government imposes regulations that are corporation friendly. These rules are the kind that destroy small operations.

The regulations drive costs up in paperwork, licenses, fees, surcharges, workers, equipment, supplies, taxes and so on. This drives the small farmer out of business. Managing regulations has become a full time job and has become a poison to productivity/efficiency. The corporations win by bullying those who do not have the time, money, resources, personnel or energy to fight back.

Health and safety are top priorities of being human. I understand the concerns regarding both of those in relation to food. But the thing is, there is SO much out there to buy that is over-processed, over-salted, over-sugared, over-fried, pesticide heavy, petroleum rich and full of unnatural chemical mixtures. It is all REALLY BAD for your body.

Sauce with Bonus Ingredients

Sauce?

But somehow, edibles raised/grown on the land are being marketed by the media as dangerous (the corporations pay for what news gets to you via advertising dollars). The cost of organic food is driven high beyond the reach of the average family. The availability is scarce. And so we all eat the junk food.

And then we get sick, and health care is BIG business. That system makes a lot of money. And then they use it to control the population by influencing our financial leaders and politicians. And that negative cycle continues on.

Fresh Eggs!

Fresh Eggs

There is risk involved in EVERYTHING. The truth is that FEAR is taking over our society. It is now normal to be afraid of PEANUT BUTTER.

Venison Jerky-  ready for the oven

Venison Jerky- Ready for the oven

And the thing is, the more that we expose ourselves to organic, fresh, unpasteurized foods, the healthier we will be. Our immune system learns how to work correctly by doing so. Most of the ills that now plague the country like obesity, diabetes, cancer, food allergies, dependence on medicines, etc. are becoming more epidemic as we move away from eating the way we really should – directly from the earth.

Live Sage!

Live Sage

We are human. We are mammals. We will live. We will be sick. We will be injured. We will die. Sitting inside a house, eating fumigated, boiled, bleached, test tube food will not cure all these woes.

Dried Hot Peppers

Dried Hot Peppers

We can go outside, we can roll in the grass, we can breathe in the fresh air, we can suck a Honeysuckle flower or eat those tiny, wild strawberries. It is OK. Is it possible to catch something from doing this? Yes. But, it is so unlikely, that we are more likely to be struck by lightening.

Farm Stand and Trader Joe's - for the Winter.

Farm Stand & Trader Joe’s – for the Winter

Do you want to live your life, as fully as possible?

Dormant Peach

Dormant Peach Tree

I am glad that we have fresh chicken eggs to eat. I am glad that we have venison in the freezer. I am glad that we can flavor our meals with fresh herbs and spices. I am glad that we have a lovely garden – that gets bigger every year. I am glad that we have fruit trees. I am hoping to have goat milk this Spring. And I wish that everyone that wants this could have it all too!

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Our daughter, Eko, brought home a GIANT squash. A group of friends had a garden that produced the overwhelmingly large vegetable. It was given to the young woman that lived on a little farm – her family that lived there might know what to do with it.

This past weekend, I was reading about what foods were good or bad for arthritis, since I was having an especially hard time with pain at the time. We had gotten back on track with our eating habits, but had been recently partaking in too much meat, refined carbohydrates, fried foods and super cheesy things – again. These foods not only enhance arthritis but contribute to problems with obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc.

Renewed inspiration to avoid these items and add some things like turmeric, licorice and ginger into some of our meals was found (the latter herbs/spices are natural anti-inflammatory plants). But the bigger task is to concentrate on bringing a lot more vegetables, fruits, fish and whole grains to the dinner table.

Eating healthier is good for the whole family. Where we live (in the USA) is overridden with advertisements of unhealthy diets. Our young son has been raised to eat well despite his picky pallet, but he is very attracted to fast/junk food. Raising children to eat well matters a lot. Good habits can stay in place for a lifetime.

I did not feel like wandering out to shop yesterday. Then, it occurred to me that a very BIG squash was still waiting to be taken advantage of. It was chopped in half. One half would go into the oven – intact.

There is nothing like olive oil & garlic.
And, yes, the oven needs a scrubbing.

Attention to the baked squash actually came second. It would eventually boast the additions of real butter, garlic, sea salt and lemon juice. So, to begin – after putting the first half of the squash aside  in a big pan (with the potential of a great meal), I turned to the second half that would be blanched.

I kept chopping halves until the squash had been broken down into workable pieces, and then sliced off the rinds (our goats had a party with them and all the extras later). I ended up with many cubes that were about 1 inch in dimension.

Then I remembered some odd chicken parts in the freezer waiting to be made into chicken broth. The chicken was floated in a colander in water within the cooking pot and removed easily when the stock was done.

A bag of frozen broccoli caught my attention while the freezer door was open. Some slivered almonds in the baking cabinet were calling my name, along with some fresh garlic, green onions and the Trader Joe’s everyday seasoning grinder from our normal stock of kitchen ingredients.

A little lemon juice may have been added since it is a common ingredient that I use, but I honestly can’t remember if that got into the mix. I cooked everything altogether until it seemed done. Merely blanching squash had changed into a whole other thing.

Farmette 1769’s – Squash Soup over Brown Rice

Super Yummy!

Of course, I forgot to take a pic of the produce before taking it to the kitchen (from its home on the book shelf). I think it is a “Golden Delicious Squash“, but am not positively sure. Please feel free to leave a comment with what type of squash this is.

Cool Squash Related Resources:
a blog including great images: http://itssoverycheri.com/2011/10/21/my-vavorite-pumpkin-and-squash-varieties/

some awesome recipe ideas: http://www.thekitchn.com/summer-squash-15-recipes-for-z-120015

good companies selling squash seeds online:  http://sustainableseedco.com & http://rareseeds.com/

cooking (in general) with squash: http://www.foodsubs.com/FGVegetables.html

Bon Appétite!

 

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Today’s special is a tiny buff-colored, bantam Cochin cockerel. He is a calm little guy so far. I really wanted couple of hens, but the two little chicks we got from a hay farmer both turned out to be boys.

This one is a keeper due to temperament. His brother was the same, but one of these roosters will be enough.

Bantam Cochin Cockerel - Head Shot

Cochins are normally a docile breed. We really enjoy having mild-mannered chickens around, since some of them can be quite aggressive.

They are a feathered-legged breed. This adds a little ornamentation to this chicken. We love our decorative birds.

We’ll keep looking for cochin bantam girls to keep this cockerel company. It will be a good breed to raise too.

A Popular Feather-Legged Bantam Breed

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We have a square with wood edging that will be our Spice Garden. My handwriting is atrocious, so I will type in the contents: Oregano, Mint, Cilantro, Chives and Basil. These will be great additions to our Italian, Asian and Mexican dinners.

Spice Garden

Since it is easy to go overboard on the gardens, we have made written plans this year. It seems to make sense to limit the crops to something manageable. This is our way of avoiding total mayhem on the Farmette.

Vegetable Garden

This plan is impossible to read, so I’ll explain. To the back of the vegetable garden is a quick incline and plateau. It has a slight curve in it when viewed from above. Corn and plants that grow in vine form will be planted here. The vine types are zucchini, watermelon, cucumbers, cantaloupe and yellow squash.

The illustration is flipped. The main (long) vegetable garden is in front of the plateau. We love tomatoes. Since this is a highly desired crop, we’ll spread it out along the entire length of the Long Garden. Then in front of them in sections will be the green beans, peppers, sweet potatoes, eggplant and okra.

Now that it is all written down , it seems like a lot. I think we’ll be able to care for it all OK though. There is quite an incentive to do the work.

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I have two vertebrae smashed together in my neck. This has debilitated me quite a bit this past year. A wonderful chiropractic/physical therapy combination office has allowed me to bypass surgery and avoid pain pills. Having finally found the right direction to go in order to address this issue, I can function enough to do some of the activities that I really enjoy. Gardening is one of the great loves of my life.

After deciding to move the garden, we only had digging to look forward to and therefore procrastinated. This is positively not the fun part. We finally set up to start working this past weekend and the weather decided to mimic a sauna.

So, the area was staged and a sprinkler set up to soften that area. Then it rained the next day. Yesterday, I tested the waters (thick red clay soil) and was absolutely amazed at how easy it was to dig when moist.

Starting the Garden

The surge of my home office graphics work is over for now, so I’ll take advantage of this morning and work outside. The tiller gets too clogged if you try to start with that, so digging and de-weeding is the first thing to do.

This was not the best idea. I am still making a mental list of the parts to my favorite activities I must ban. One third of the garden is dug and now void of plant life, but the digging part is too much for my neck. I must have my husband do that part before I de-weed.

1/3 long garden turned

Lettuce, spinach and other cool weather vegetables (Spring crop) will have to be skipped, but there is plenty of growing time left. Our summer choices for the garden will be covered in our next blog.

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