Around the Homestead – Broadfork

Get to use a broad fork for the first time yesterday at the farm. The first row of carrots had been harvested, so I fertilized and prepped the bed and got beans planted.

At home, I’ve been weeding doubletime. We’ve had a lot of rain lately and they are going crazy. But, so are the veggies. The first tomato is sooooo close!

And I got a new toy! This being a 3 payday month, it seemed like a great time to finally get an omega juicer.

I’ve been doing a juice cleanse for 3 days now, juicing a full day’s worth at a time….and plan to see how far it goes 😀 Based on the amount of produce that’s found it’s way home…I can probably make it until August…lol.

Around the Homestead – Picking up Speed

This week my shift at the farm was spent trellising tomatoes in exchange for beets, carrots and lettuce.

Things in my own yard are picking up! I snapped some hightlights of the happenings in the mulched front yard garden

And some of the highlights of what’s going on out back

This morning I wrapped up my effort to get fresh mulch and straw down. And since I’m working from home will weed during my lunch break before the storms roll in.

And…what became of some of those farmers market goodies, with chicken from a local farm, plus lettuce and strawberries from my own garden.

Beef Barley Stew

Beef Barley Stew

1 pound stew meat
salt and pepper
1 TBSP butter
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
1 red potatoes, chopped
4 cups beef broth
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup pearled barley

Preheat the oven to 250F. Season stew meat with salt and pepper and set aside. Melt butter in a dutch oven and saute carrots, celery, and onion until tender. Add potatoes and cook several minutes longer. Remove veggies from pot and set aside. In same pot, add stew meat and brown. Add broth and stir well, scraping bottom of pot. Add veggies, barley, bay leaf, rosemary and thyme and bring t a boil Cover pot and transfer to oven. Bake 2 hours. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Around the Homestead – Local Food

The yummies are starting to roll in at the farm! This was what I brought home this week. Afterwards I followed up on a lead at a farm down the road from her. An older woman had lost her job and was having money troubles. Unfortunately after talking to her I found she was in debt and had a mortgage payment almost 3 times mine. Even if she rented out her spare room and the bit of land that’s not in hay or dedicated to her horses it would’t pay the mortgage much less anything else. But at least I checked it out, and she obviously desperately needed the company and someone to listen.

I celebrated the bounty in my CSA box by trying serving up some braised beets along with the very first of my own strawberries.

Things in my own yard are starting to fill in. This is the view along the walk to my front door. I’ve started picking salads from my leaf lettuce, loads of chamomile and lemon balm have been dehydrated, and pretty much everything I eat is covered with parsley, cilantro, or green onions.

And tonight was the annual Makers Market at my City’s Farmer’s Market. I came away with a good haul, and I’m really excited about finally getting to try some morels tomorrow. Tonight, I’m off to make some lemon mango iced tea. :thumb:

Belgian Carrots

8 carrots, sliced
1/3 cup cream
2 TBSP butter
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Boil carrots in water for about 10 minutes, until tender. Drain water. Reduce heat to low and add remaining ingredients. Serve when heated through.

Bean and Barley Stew

Bean and Barley Stew

1 cup kidney beans, cooked
1 1/2 cups barley, cooked
28 ounces tomato juice
1 1/2 cups broth
1 cup carrots, grated
1 cup celery, sliced
1 teaspoon chili powder

Requires preparation! Soak and cook kidney beans (or use canned). Cook barley (can be done in your rice cooker). Combine all ingredients in a pot and heat to boiling. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Around the Homestead – Chamomile

The last of the fields has been planted at the farm!

Back home, I’ve started my every-other-day harvest of chamomile. I’ve got some in the dehydrator right now with lemon balm. The most eager of the tomatoes are flowering and potatoes have been hilled. I’ve managed to keep up with weeds so far this season, even with a lot of rain limiting my time outside. And I’ve been able to bring the first of the cut flowers to work to perty up my cube. Things are going well there…I’ve been given a work-from-home-day every week and I got a bonus for a rush project I helped on. It was actually just enough to cover my next waterpark vacation 😀

I’ve even been doing a good job with the diet, hoping to see some more pounds drop…I’ve been stalled for a while. This was last weeks healthy/lazy version of general tsos chicken and beef enchiladas. This week, I’m cooking at night though. I picked up steaks from that grassfed farm I interviewed at last year, got my share of veggies from the farm, and will have asparagus and the first of the baby lettuces from my own garden for dinners this week.

Black Bean Enchiladas

1 small onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cups black beans, soaked and cooked (or a 16 oz can)
1 cup corn
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 1/2 cups Monterey jack, shredded and divided
2 cups salsa
12 six-inch flour tortillas

In a bowl, mix together the onion, pepper, black beans, corn, spices, and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Add about 1/3 cup filling to each tortilla, roll up tightly, and place in large casserole dish. When done pour salsa over enchiladas. Cover and cook at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese, and cook an additional 10 minutes.

I served topped with piima cream (or use sour cream) and accompanied with Soaked Brown Basmati Rice.  Makes 6 servings of two enchiladas.

Around the Homestead – Extremes

I read that in the last 5 weeks we went from a historic blizzard to setting our highest May temp on record at 91 today…so it’s been a pretty exciting start to the season. It made it to a humid 89 yesterday for my shift at the farm, making field work pretty exhausting. That may not sound so bad, but consider that it was in the 40s and I was wearing a fleece to work on Tuesday morning. I picked peas, lettuce, and spinach for myself and a customer then stayed a couple extra hours to help my farmer get 1,000 sweet potato slips in the ground.

While we drank iced tea to cool off, she also went over the math for how much the supplies and labor for the field we planted cost and how much she hoped to harvest and sell all those sweet potatoes for. I really appreciate how open she is with the business side of things, even knowing I hope to be the competition 3 or so years from now. That’s when my current budget has me paying off my house and having a good savings set aside, which should give me a downpayment and hopefully an initial investment in a hoophouse and tractor. I’m pretty optimistic about that, since I’ve already made my savings goal for this year and am hoping to keep the momentum going and double it. It may be wise to give it another year. Without a mortgage to pay the savings will pile up a lot faster…we’ll see.

In my own yard, things are going real well. All of my little seeds are sprouting. I ended up with nearly an extra bed’s worth of space because I did a lot better job planting out front and didn’t space out my tomatoes with rows of marigolds this year. So I got bonus crops…sweet corn, acorn squash, chard, and 3 types of cut flowers went in there to finish off this years plantings. Apples got bagged this weekend, and I’m waiting to see what my neighbors make of my baggie tree.

Since I haven’t done anything food wise in a while, here’s a before and after of a super simple, super yummy meal. Salad turnips from the farm, backyard asparagus, and steak from my grassfed butcher.