Summer on the farm. In my mind: warm breezes, glorious garden produce, relaxing with a glass of iced herb tea. In the real world: triple digit temps, bugs ,weeds and a failure to thrive, chasing the dog who is chasing the chickens. Don't misunderstand me--I love, no I adore my farm. But the idyllic notion of a working farm is better served in Hallmark channel specials. This summer I have sweated out all my electrolytes, suffered through poison ivy, battled toe to nose chiggers, hospitalized with anaphylactic shock, shed tears over the loss of favorite chickens (drat that fox-Bigg Hoss is gone and I'm down to one little Mable--I've gone from 75 chickens to 36) and despaired over Rocky's persistence in "playing" with the chickens.
In spite of it all, I wouldn't trade my farm life now for my old corporate life. I love watching the sunrise from my bucket seat on a huge boulder. The goat's bells tinkling softly as they forage in the trees, the chickens clucking and scratching waiting to be let out of their pen, the gardens laying quietly waiting to be weeded and harvested. I love the beginning of each new day; it's so full of promise. I am so thankful for what I have, who I am and where I live.
BOOK REVIEWS: Now, on to more practical matters. You know I love to culture food and I just ran across a new book by Caleb Warnock: "The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast". Check out his blog: calebwarnock.blogspot.com Caleb is generous enough to share his natural yeast starter. THANKS CALEB! For culturing other food "Real Food Fermentation" by Alex Lewin is a wonderful resource and "how to". I also just got "Quick Fix Healthy Mix" by Casey Keller and Nicole-Keller-Munoz and it has fabulous time saver mixes. All of them are not as healthy as I would like so am having to tweak them some, but it's a great little book to get you started on making your own "package mixes" from scratch. Finally, "Dinner Is In The Jar" by Kathy Clark has recipes for making premix dinners. This is a great thing to do with all that food storage sitting in your closet or under your bed! You can check out any of these books by clicking on the Amazon button in the right column.
We have loved the way our chickens kept the bug population down but now they have discovered TOMATOES! Cassie, our little Australian Shepherd does her best to keep them at bay, but she just can't seem to manage it. Besides, we are hoping she's "with puppy" --several puppies--so she will have her hands full of other chores.
I am loving our CSA family. Putting all that just harvested produce in those lovely red bags is so satisfying. Last week one of our families came out to help and their twin 6 year old boys harvested the remainder of my garlic. What great workers!
Well, better go check on Rocky...he cannot quite be trusted with the chickens....