Tag Archives: Farmers Market

Putting by – July 29, 2017

This is the beginning of the putting by season for the non productive winter to come.  The garden has provided a lot of basil, peppers are maturing, tomatoes too.  Though the peas were a bust this year and potatoes not what I was hoping, the sweet potato vines look healthy, the corn is forming ears, and we are getting enough green beans to eat a few times a week and a bit in the freezer.

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Dairy free pesto for the freezer, pickled and canned jalapeños for the pantry, fire cider for cold season, oregano and basil vinegars, and shelling of field peas for ground cover and chicken treats.  That was one afternoon of work, along with bunches of basil and hyssops drying for teas and cooking.

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Today was our weekly Farmer’s Market visit and breakfast out.  We missed both last week with our music weekend, and next weekend will be the huge street festival that happens in town, so many vendors will not even try to attend the market on Saturday.  With this being the height of the season and with several of the meat vendors having recently gotten cuts back from the abattoirs, we stocked up on some meats.  Peaches are in season as well as cucumbers and we came home with several pounds of peaches and a couple of pounds of pickling cucumbers.  Once home, another putting by session was held.

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Eight half pints of the Peach Sriracha sauce that is a hit here, and 4 pints of classic dill spears were prepped and canned.  The pot used today for water bath canning only holds 7 half pints or 4 pints at a time, so one jar of Peach Sriracha sauce went into the refrigerator for use now.

Though she isn’t a sponsor and I get nothing for this recommendation, if you are a new canner, have limited space for storing, or a small family to prepare for, Marissa McClellan’s books, Food in Jars, and Canning by the Pint are priceless.  The Peach Sriracha recipe is one of her jams that I blend and prepare thinner for a sauce and came from one of her books. She has a newer book on canning with sweeteners other than white sugar that I haven’t tried as I make few sweet canned items.

Right on the 20th week since hatching, one of the pullets presented us with an egg.  It is a Welsummer egg, reddish brown but not as dark as I had hoped they would be.  All 4 of the Welsummers have bright red combs and wattles, so we should start seeing eggs from all of them soon.  The Buff Orpingtons will probably not lay for another month.

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Pullet eggs are so cute compared to the mature hen’s eggs.

Earlier this spring, I bought a pound of raw fawn colored alpaca locks from one of the local vendors.  This week, I spun a bobbin of it and a bobbin of some chocolate brown alpaca roving that had been given to me a year or so ago, and plied them into more than 200 yards of light fingering weight pure alpaca yarn, pictured in the header.  I think it will be knit into a hat and fingerless mitts for the shop, but maybe it will just be sold or traded, especially as more is currently being spun.

One Down, One to Go

This Holiday Market morn dawned mild and calm.  I was very hopeful.   The car was loaded last night and I knew that I couldn’t pull in until after 8 a.m.   The market is an L shaped open sided shelter with a larger L shaped parking lot that is open during the week with metered parking, but is restricted for vendor’s stalls during the Saturday morning markets.  The regular vendors that are under the shelter must be able to pull their trucks and cars in to unload before the vendors in the parking lot can follow and pull through to unload, then all vehicles are relocated to a lot across the street that is faculty parking for the University during the week, but open unmetered parking on the weekends.  I arrived, spoke with the market manager to locate my spot, pulled in beside my neighboring vendor’s car and unloaded.  The market vendors, both regular and those of us that only do the Holiday market’s all work together to get pop up canopies erected, heavy items shifted and ready to sell when the 9 o’clock bell rings.  I had Lance with a huge tent selling glazed clay coasters and plaques on one side and Bethany and her husband selling hand thrown pottery on the other.  We got Lance’s tent and my tent erected, Bethany chose not to put one up with the wind threat.  My tables were set up, my product displayed, it looked like a perfect day.  The bell rang and business commenced along with the impending cold front.  First we got a light rain and I was glad I had decided to put up the tent as soap, yarn, knit goods, and rain don’t mix well. Then as the rain passed, the wind arrived.  One tent blew totally off of the food vendor’s stall and was caught just before going through a plate glass window.  Displays were being tossed and some blown down.  I didn’t fear too much for my tent as it had three 45-50 pound buckets of rocks and 20 pounds of leg weights holding it down.  One by one, vendors were walking their tents out from around their stalls and collapsing them before more blew down.  Eventually I began to fear for Bethany’s pottery and we collapsed mine as well as I watched a similar pop up tent break in the wind, using my heavy buckets to hold Lance’s huge tent in place until the end of market.

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You can see the wind blowing the table covers  and this was fairly early in the day while my tent was still up.

My shawl rack and my A frame hat and mitt rack would not stay on the table even tied down as the afternoon wore on, so I eventually just put the items on a table.  It was a good day of sales for soap and beard oil, a couple of hats, but no yarn or mitts sold.  The slouch hats were popular, I will try to get a couple more knitted before the December market.

Once everything was packed up and reloaded in my car, I drove home in snow showers. We had a 15ºf temperature drop and a 25 mph wind increase during the 5 hours and we continue to have snow showers, the first of the season.

I took advantage of being at the Farmers’ Market to get rolls for Thanksgiving, Daikon radishes to make Kimchee, the last bag of market salad for the season, some eggs since my hens are still molting and not laying, and a bunch of collards to enjoy with steak and potatoes tonight.  Monday, we drive to Wethertop Farm to pick up our fresh turkey.

I still have not thawed out, but it was a good day.  Now I need to make a few batches of soap, some lotion bars, knit some hats and start preparing for the December event.

A Week On the Farm – April 30, 2016

This has been a busy week with some down time and almost no garden time.  We have reached our last average frost date and the little plants would probably love to be put in the garden.

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Some of the little pepper plants are starting to bud.  To get them in place, I must spend a couple of hours removing the 3 inch high Lambs quarters plants, set the posts for the tomatoes, and stakes or cages for the peppers.  It is raining right now, and I don’t really want to garden in the mud.  Once they are in the ground, the lower end of the garden needs the same treatment to plant the popcorn, pumpkins, and Anasazi beans in a Three Sister’s Garden.  Most of a long bed awaits bush beans, cucumbers, and flowers to be scattered in various spots.

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Last summer, I removed a large squarish rock from the hill above the house, leaving a substantial hole.  When son cleaned his deer last fall and the next day, he and I killed and cleaned meat chickens, we partially buried the feathers and unusable parts in that hole and dumped a sack of Black Kow on top, turned the wheelbarrow upside down over it to keep the dogs out.  The plan was to put a tree in that hole last fall, but winter came and went and the tree did not happen.  On Earth Day, SIL came home with two tiny pine seedlings and yesterday, I planted them, one in that hole and another uphill from it in another hole that I dug in an area that is very difficult to mow due to the rocks and contour.  The pines that you see above and to the left of them were planted as seedlings about 9 or 10 years ago from an Earth Day activity.  Once they have settled in and we have hayed that area for the spring, I will remove the tubes and tie caution tape on the poles next to the little trees to mark them as I mow.

During the week, I did mow an area around the house, garden and orchard.  A minimal area, leaving as much as possible for our farmer neighbor to hay in another 6 weeks.  It really limits the area the kids can play for a while and makes for messier dogs when they go out until the haying is done, but the area is still much larger than the yard the grands had when they lived in Florida.

We did our usual Saturday morning breakfast out and Farmers’ Market run.  I enjoyed my homegrown asparagus for two cuttings, but have left them now to help the bed get more established.  Our favorite market farmer, had asparagus and radishes (mine are still too small to harvest), another had bok choy and chard, a loaf of bread and some bagels, two pounds of garlic brats, and my first bouquet of flowers for our enjoyment this week were purchased.  I love supporting the local small farmers and knowing them and where my food was grown and how it was grown.

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The lilacs on our driveway bank are blooming.

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The week has allowed me plenty of spinning and some knitting time.  I finished a skein of Romney and Merino that I carded together and named Purple in Memorium and put in my new shop.

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And finished a pair of Autumn Double Cable fingerless mitts of my own design also in the shop.

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Next time I need a better hand model, this one had dirty nails.

I am currently spinning Green Apple Merino and knitting another pair of fingerless mitts with three cables, also my design.  I am toying with selling some of my patterns on my shop as well.

Last week’s brooder coop, survived a week on Huck’s raft, I did get plastic stapled to the sides to help keep the inside dry.  I still need to put in some nesting boxes and await a broody hen or two.  Once they start to sit, I will put up a low fence and move them to that coop, hoping to raise a good couple of broods of chicks for replacement hens and meat chicks.  I really don’t want to have to buy meat chicks and set up a brooder in the garage this year.

Still loving life on our mountain farm.

 

 

Garden’s Swan Song

We are past our “Frost Date” and have had mild nights except a couple of weeks ago.  The garden survived those two nights with row cover fabric draped over the peppers and tomatillos.  We are expecting two nights in the 30’s tonight and tomorrow night and nothing is going to be done to protect what is left.  If the plants survive, great, we might get a few more tomatillos and peppers, the greens will be fine for a while.  If they freeze, it has been a good year.

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To prepare, a harvest of 5 types of peppers, a basket of tomatillos, a handful of bush beans and two golfball sized turnips were brought in.  The Jalapeños were pickled into two more pints for winter.  The bell peppers sliced and frozen except for a few to stuff tomorrow.  The Anchos have been put in the window sill hoping they will turn red and can then be dried for Enchilada sauce.  The tomatillos and habeneros will be cooked down with onion and garlic for more of Son #1’s favorite XXX sauce.

With the garden waning, the chickens get to visit, eating bugs, weed seed and scratching around leaving chicken fertilizer.  When they aren’t in the garden, they wander around the orchard, the yards and out into the fields, but not too far from the house.

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They are healthy, producing plenty of eggs each day and live a good life.

On Saturdays, we generally go to town, have breakfast at the local diner then shop the Farmers’ Market.  We came home with some beef and pork for the freezer, a peck of eating apples and some carrots and onions.

Between our garden goodness and the Farmers’ Market take, we will eat well.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.

 

The Good, The Bad and I’ll spare you the Ugly

THE BAD

Last night we went on a date night, that should be good, right?  The dinner was fine.  The movie we went to see had started 40 minutes earlier than the time we had noted, which must have been from the previous day and it had been playing for 20 minutes when we got there, so we picked a different movie that started at 8 p.m.  We have only walked out of two movies in our 36 years of marriage, one because it was longer than we thought and we had to pick eldest son up at a concert when he was too young to drive himself there and the second one was last night.  Think “Animal House” with more vulgarity and no humor.  We made it only half way through the movie and got up and walked out.

It was late and I was a bad chicken keeper and I didn’t go over to close the pop door to the coop or the door to the chicken tractor and my gamble was an epic fail.  An O’possum got in the coop, killed one 12 week old pullet and seriously injured another.  I found a pile of feathers at the coop entrance, another at the run gate, and what was left of the pullets in the cull pen.  I feel like a heel.  I brought the injured pullet in, cleaned her wounds and put her in a large dog crate in the garage with food and water to watch her and see if she is going to heal or if we are going to have to euthanize her.  I know predators happen, but this was preventable.

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She is eating a little and drinking water, and she moves around a bit in the crate, but she is so pitiful.

THE GOOD

This morning, after dealing with the mayhem, we drove into town for breakfast at our favorite local diner, then on to The Farmers’ Market.  Today was customer appreciation day, so some vendors had give away goodies for their regular customers.  For the past couple of years, Jim has given me a Flower CSA from our favorite local organic farmers, Stonecrop Farm.  We have had to miss a couple of bouquets each summer due to travel, so this year, we decided to just buy a weekly bouquet on the weeks we are home and flowers are available from them.  We purchased a bouquet, a few veggies that I’m not growing and got a bonus baggie of micro greens as a gift.

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Yellow poppies, pink peonies (mine won’t bloom) and two different dianthus colors with mint and wheat stalks.  Quite a stunning bouquet to put on the dining table.

After our return, we took turns wearing ourselves out trying to start the big commercial Stihl weedeater for the first time this season, always a challenge.  I finally gave up and went back to weeding and spreading the mulch we bought a few days ago,  when with sweat and swearing, Jim finally succeeded.  When we were both were hot and worn, we took a break and made a Lowe’s trip.  I was short 4 bags of mulch.

A decade or so ago, my Dad made me a little wooden decorative wheelbarrow.  It has lived at a couple of houses now and is usually filled with flowers in the summer and pumpkins and gourds in the fall with a mum.  It had fallen into disrepair, so before we left for Lowes, I repaired it and decided that a couple of flower baskets needed to be purchased to fill it as well.  At the Farmers’ Market, I added a few more herbs to my collection and they needed pretty pots for the deck as that is where the bulk of my herbs live.

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The front of the house, the perennial bed in the breezeway alcove are weeded and mulched, the herb collection is potted up except for the fennel and one lavender that will go in the garden tomorrow when I have the energy to move again.  Jim has weed wacked the culverts, the well head, around the house and around the trees and shrubs on the driveway hill.  I pushed the gas powered mower and cut the front and back yards.  When I thought I was done, I decided that the last flower bed, a small one that started out as a nursery bed by the side of the deck also got weeded.  We are spent.

Dinner is “Mustgo,”  ever had it?  It is the leftovers in the fridge that must go.  Tonight’s Mustgo is left over pot roast, pork tenderloin and a huge new salad with micro greens and green onions.

The house and gardens look great.  Now we rest.

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