Monday, August 30, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
The more I read the more I begin to understand the people of this state and why it still seems like uncharted territory at times. What inventive and hearty folks the first settlers were. Ingenuity was their strong suit, but also creative and pure survivalists at the core. Can you see yourself in the photo above? Aside from the politics of the day and the dark side of settling this state, its quite amazing how people set out to survive against all odds. Kinda like being a vegetable farmer here, but in spite of the unfriendly weather and heat at times, we just keep on truckin'. and now I understand why Oklahomans like turnips so much. It was one of the only vegetable crops they could grow here besides, Keffir corn, and sorghum, then later of course wheat. The landscape of Oklahoma has really change.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I have nothing against deer and I can continue to live side by side with these beautiful creatures, but I was wondering if venison in the freezer would be a good thing this winter? If I truly am to “live of the land” should I attempt to hunt? I’ve never hunted, not to say I’ve have no experience with guns because that I do. But I’ve never shot nor dressed a deer. I’m going to really have to give this some thought. I eat meat. I raise lambs for meat. But I don’t do this thoughtlessly; there is great intention and a mindful process behind it. I have vegetarian friends that do not see my way, but I respect their view and their intentional eating as thankfully they do mine.
But this is a real moral dilemma for me. See at my core I am a chef so I look at things like this as not only nourishing me but also an opportunity for a creative way to use it. I love venison Sausage and smoked venison tenderloin. So if you have any thoughts please add your 2 cents. But I’m really going to think about it seriously. Winter is coming and I don’t know much about this whole population thing yet but the argument for it, is not enough to eat or forage during the winter and it’s cruel to let them starve?????
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
I'll be spending today on the brush hog, and then working a fresh clean bed for spinach and lettuce. With the cool nights now soil temps have gone down enough I think to plant. I feel pretty confident that this is the case. I have some ground to break up and turn in for garlic planting soon. I'm always late with garlic. Maybe not this year. Maybe this is the year I'll be on time. Or not.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
My larder is half full. Early in the season I made a list of what I wanted and how much based on previous years and what I estimated I would use. I've over canned and that's a poor use of time and you really have to consider how many times do you care to eat green tomato chutney? Once or twice suits me thank you very much. Tomatoes are the big one cause I can seriously plow through tomatoes. I freeze a great deal too. Most fruit, some veggies although I am fortunate enough to have the means and ability to grow most greens throughout the winter months.
Here is my list of musts for the larder
- Tomato sauce 15 qts
- pickled jalapenos 12 pts (love them !!!)
- Green pepper sauce for chili verde 12 qts
- chili sauce 6qt
- plum chutney 6pt
- plum jam 12pt
- blueberry jam (sauce rather)12pt
- fig jam 6 pts
- Apple sauce
- pie apples
- pear or apple butter
- pumpkin (for pie)
- pickled okra
In the freezer:
- 1/2 a hog (on the way)
- Lamb of course
- melon (Frozen? perfect for smoothies)
- cow peas
Our crop for broccoli and cauliflower was an utter failure so we'll have to rely on other greens.
Of course we'll have our staples like rice, beans, risotto and polenta. and I'll have my beautiful extra virgin olive oil and my white truffle oil, my Himalayan sea salt, red coral sea salt. Lavender pepper and salt, champagne vinegar, and preserved lemon, curries and spices, and the standard medicinal herbs. Homesteading has changed a little over time, these things are allowed now. I said so.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I start back up at the Wellness Center next month so I'm planning my classes and getting recipes cued up to test. I'm looking forward to getting back to OSU. It will be a crazy September for me but I'll make it fun. Interns are wrapping up and next week I'll find myself on my own. I'll really miss Kathleen, she is quite an amazing woman and I can see if she decided to farm someday she has the wherewithal to actually do it and do it well. A big lesson I have learned is stamina trumps strength. It doesn't matter if I can bench 200 pounds, If I cant be out at the crack of dawn ready to hoe, harvest, tie, water, brush hog, through a hot day with a big fat grin on my face, I might be handy but for the long hall I ain't worth squat, at least on a farm.
But I'm thinking about next week when Kathleen is on her way back to School and Linda is back at work and I wonder what its going to be like. I'm looking forward to the quite contemplative days but I wonder if I'll be lonely. I don't think so. I have plenty to keep me busy and the animals to me are sometimes the best kind of company, and I'll be going into Stillwater a few times a month. Where will my mind go? What journeys will I take myself on? What will the quiet sound like? Maybe I wont even notice.
I've been reading a book called A Handmade life - in Search of Simplicity- by Wm. S.Coperthwaite
I love the book and Its helped me during this busy and stressful time to recognize that my work is a spiritual practice, to keep in front of me my intentions. I think about the pastoral ideal, or idea and I've come to realize the pastoral is not a place or a time its a state of mind and it does exist. Its the way you sip your coffee in the morning or the way you honor a challenge. Its your thoughts as you push yourself to your own physical and emotional extreme. Its pain, its poverty, its wellness and respect. Its gratitude and questioning. But Its quiet and you have to listen for it, and the scenery changes frequently so you have to keep your eye on it. Sometimes its easy to miss but its there.
A chapter in the book called- Work-bread labor- Copeerthwaite states what he as young man was seeking in "work"
- be intellectually and physically challenging
- encourage creative thinking
- advance the cause of a better world
- provide for basic needs
Another great quote from the book:
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Linda is on vacation, a staycation they call it cause she’s not leaving town. In her case a haycation more accurately named. (it’s all the rage, you should try it) So she has two whole weeks on the farm with me. Poor thing. Yesterday she helped hoe until she turned a funny purple color. Then today she grilled peppers for the winter. Is that not hilarious? Joke is on me, I was inside canning and it was cooler outside. (Sometimes my tricks backfire on me).
But really, I’m trying to make my peace with this heat. I’m trying to pull up the memory of the cold hard winter of the year before and how I wished for a hot summer day. It really was a hard cold winter here at the farm. The summer is relatively easier in comparison, no ice to break on water tanks, no frozen pipes under the house, no frozen well, no freezing cold house when we ran out of propane. No chickens sliding along on the ice, no goats held up in the barn, no dead grass and trees emptied of leaves, no grayness in the sky, no eight pound carharts to lug around, just blue skies and a blazing red ball of fire in the suffocating air over us. So much for peace, at this point I’ll just take survival, more occasions to drink cold beer and take naps. There’s a bright side.