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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag 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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The only thing that we have canned so far is a unique Italian Red Pasta Sauce. We are hoping to get enough tomatoes from the garden this Summer to make some from scratch.

My husband always says that he married me for my sauce. There is a reason why there are very few people that he could have wooed in order to have this particular aroma of Italy fill the house with rich, spicy goodness.

First, they would have to be Italian. Second, they would have to be from the region of Calabria (unluckily, this inherently makes you stubborn). Third, you would need to be from the town of Mida. And lastly, your last name would be Melograna.

To the best of my knowledge, there are no Melogranas left in Italy. I think they are all in Argentina and the United States.

Poverty was wide spread in Italy in the early 1900’s and America offered unskilled labor jobs. Although my Grandfather was a Tailor and Musician, when he immigrated, his papers said Peasant. Despite this, he was able to work in his skilled trades. His family survived meagerly, but together, until the Stock Market crashed and his wife was taken by the Flu Epidemic.

My father was born in 1923 to this family that became a group of 11 total. His mother died when he was 8 years old. He was placed in an orphanage during the Great Depression. I inherited the rare name, Melograna, a family meatball recipe and a heritage sauce recipe.

Making the red sauce is a refined art that takes years to master. I will give you the ingredients and let you experiment. You can create you own special version of a homemade Old World pasta sauce.

Italian Red Pasta Sauce

Basic Recipe – Old World Red Pasta Sauce:

• Canned Whole Peeled Tomatoes (use a blender to mash)
• Canned Tomato Sauce
• Canned Tomato Paste (made from Roma/Plum tomatoes)
• Olive Oil
• Garlic
• Oregano
• Basil
• Crushed Red Pepper

I discovered, by pure laziness, that this recipe worked well in a crock pot. Instead of the whole peeled tomatoes, we use crushed and diced cans of tomatoes. Normally, you fry the tomato paste in olive oil before adding it to the big sauce pan on the stove. But, after filling the crock pot up with the tomato medley, I float the olive oil on top along with the spices. It all cooks for at least half a day before getting stirred together.

This version works well. The color gets dark and the house smells edible for a few days. It is nothing like any of the sugar-laced grocery store sauces. You must like thick, heavy pasta sauce to enjoy this. If so, please give it a try. And if you are single and would like to attract a fellow sauce lover, just crack the window.

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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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Look at the side bar. You’all will see that yummy basket of eats. One type is a work in progress, while the other is in the making. I suppose that most current successes will always be “in progress” since a farmer’s approach to every day is how to become more productive and efficient. And we are finding that improvements take time and patience.

Our citrus trees are very young, and since they cannot withstand freezing temperatures, will be part of our indoor garden. We are lucky to have sky lights, but any sunny window area will do. The next time you are squeezing a store or market bought lemon or lime, merely save the seeds. If the fruit is fresh, it is likely that the seeds are grow worthy.

Trees

On our way to making lemonade.

The eggs are already made here, right on our Farmette, on the outskirts of Charlotte, North Carolina. See tomorrow’s post for paparazzi shots of their creators…

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