Sunday, October 31, 2010

the 30 day challenge

Yes it’s here! The end to the 30 day challenge!!!

How’d you do? I think it’s fair to say the challenge has been different for all. It’s truly been an individual experience for everyone. I myself had many challenges, yea in spite of having a garden full of food, I found myself twice at the local Mexican food restaurant, I’m not being hard on myself but I was there because of poor planning. For me personally its mind over matter. I did really well with using left overs and reducing my waist. I did terrible at planning meals this month. All in all I was anything but perfect and I’m the one who called the challenge. I think the real challenge now is keeping face.

Really I wasn’t all that bad, two Wednesdays in a row I went to the Stillwater farmers market, I bought several bushels of different squashes and as many potatoes as I could buy, I had picked up a case of sweet potatoes and a bushel of green beans to put up at the last Brookside market, and purchased a ½ hog from Stephen Green (Pork and Greens) so my fridge and freezer is full with lots of local goodies. But what I’m craving is the space and time to cook, to cook in a way that is intentional and meaningful, but it’s been hard. October, I’ve been so busy cooking for other people I didn’t make good time for myself, and frankly just didn’t want to cook. I did of course but I was expecting more Martha Stewart moments.

It’s Sunday, the last day of the month and the first day of the rest of my life right? LOL !
November is going to be even better! Frankly it was a good primer for me.

Tell me your story, remember if you signed up for the challenge you could win dinner for two at our ‘Like water for chocolate’ Valentines farm table dinner. So tell me what happened. You’re not being graded for punctuality or writing skill (obviously), so just let it roll!

Send your short essay of 500 words or less to me by the strike of midnight tonight at The lucky winner will be notified by Tuesday November 2nd and their essay will be published on the blog
Good luck and thanks for coming along on this journey with me.

Friday, October 29, 2010

First Freeze

Its happened! the first freeze of the season. I've been anticipating it of course but with all the remarkably warm and beautiful days we've been having I was wondering if it wouldn't be mid November. In many ways its a relief, the anticipation over. I spent the entire day from about 9:30 to 3:30 harvesting what was left of the summer crops; green tomatoes, about 60 pounds, red, green, yellow peppers, about 150 pounds, eggplant 60 pounds. jalapenos 25 pounds and padron peppers a mere 5 pounds. And last night round chore time I have never felt so beat. Every muscle in my body was screaming, nothing 4 advil 2 margaritas and a plate of fajitas wouldn't cure.
But this is it folks, the summer is finally over! Yea the market ended weeks ago but when your still harvesting summer crops it really doesn't seem like anything is over. But the freeze called it!
Today I have some pep in my step, a jib in my jab and my sense of humor might just be making its way back home to me. Now I can focus my energy on other things like my most beloved GREENS! yum yum!, the green house looks amazing and I really look forward to spending some time in there.
But today, I'm gonna chill a little try to repair my body, I have a bunch of work to do today but tomorrow I take the day off! its been so long since I've had a day off. It feels like months. I'll do my rounds and chores and then I'm headed to the chair with the three books I'm almost finished with.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wild Persimmons

Interwoven within these 400 acres are hundreds of wild persimmon trees. Near ponds, on hillsides, in thickets and in pastures standing naked and alone.

All of the leaves are gone and the branches look like a haphazardly decorated Christmas tree with small apricot colored balls here and there. Many have fallen to the ground and these are good too eat if they have not been violated by nature or foot. Sometimes they are all you get because the small pink, red and orange colored balls dangling are too high to reach. Ask the coyote, these are a mainstay this time of year. The tree I was at had hundreds on the ground and then one tree I found later had none, all of them were gone. Eaten by coyote, bird, squirrel, rabbit? I've joined them now.

A ripe persimmon looks rotted, bad, the skin from a distance looks to be dehydrating and puckery, something you would toss away. Smooshy to the slightest pressure between fingertips the skin slips off. its sticky and custard like and there are beautiful oblong seeds. The whole thing goes in my mouth and only at that point do I know for sure I have chosen a ripe persimmon.

If not I go on the hunt for the ripest one immediately with out hesitation I eat it as fast as I can swooshing it around in my mouth on my tongue and teeth. This is the fasted cure for the hard to describe effect an unripe persimmon has on the mouth. Its awful! but a ripe one will cure you.

I've found several trees that I will visit later today, I'm bringing my cherry picker, ladder and bucket and if I am successful I will have persimmon jam in the larder come sundown.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A time to talk

The last couple of months have been like running the marathon that seems to never end. Let me stress this is not a complaint, it’s really such an amazing achievement and honestly it’s been a struggle and I have never had a better year as far as accomplishments. But I’ve been on this roll, speeding though one task to get to the next and so on. What’s left behind is a trail of unfinished odds and ends, the byproducts of being a little over extended.

This week I have no parties scheduled, no farm table dinners, no, sheep to move, no cooking classes at the Wellness center, no harvest, no CSA drop off. I get to clean up my mess!!!!! I cannot wait to tackle the laundry, clean the house, scrub the toilet, shampoo the carpets, put tools way! Ugh! Let me tell you. Ahhhh! I’ve never looked so forward to cleaning the house!

The last two days I’ve gotten so much accomplished, I still have a huge list to get through in the next two days and you know what, I am taking Saturday off! I’ll still milk and feed the animals of course. But there is this really comfy chair that I intend on sitting at most of the day and finally finishing some books. Maybe some target practice and several walks in the woods. What a dream!

Yesterday morning I returned a small animal cage that I had borrowed from some friends. These people are very dear too me and I haven’t had time for a visit since before summer. As we got the cage off the back of the truck my instinct was to jump back in the truck arm waiving goodbye out the window and hurry off as fast as I could so I could get to the next thing on the list. But as we stood, leaned up against the tail gate on such an amazingly beautiful fall day, my friend’s flock of sheep in the background peacefully grazing, I was reminded of a poem that is very important to me.

A Time to talk

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am “What is it?”
No, not as there is time to talk,
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit

Robert frost

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


The question often comes up. Do you girls have a gun? The answer is always no and is always followed with a dramatic gasp of surprise. "you don't!?".

We'll no, we've really never needed one. only once to put down a very sick and dying sheep and for that I borrowed a 22 from a friend. I was pretty uncomfortable with it but the need was great and I had to step up to the plate. I do not regret it. But I returned the friends riffle and went about my business.

Things have changed. With the recent coyote attacks I've found myself in the defensive roll of protecting my livestock. Its my responsibility to keep my animals healthy, happy and also safe. I was loosing a lamb about every four days. This must stop. So over dinner one evening a friend offered to help me out. Doug and Jelena would come Saturday night and he would get up in the middle of the night and see if he could take care of the problem. He brought with him a coyote call, several riffles all with different scopes, power, range, etc. and went to work. He was unsuccessful but did see tons of coyote scat very close to the fence line along the pasture. He did see a bob cat. I saw one also in broad daylight crossing the road by the upper hay barn.

This has been the year for lessons, horseback riding and now riffle lessons and yes I'm balancing the barrel of the riffle on a blanket. The dang thing was so heavy and hard to keep on the target. I did well , I actually hit the target. He left me with his 22 to practice with (much lighter and easier to handle) and get comfortable with. He also left this blind. I can sit in it and wait for a coyote to come traipsing by and POW! Jelena and I getting loading instructions.

I never thought it would come to this. But the more reading I do on the subject the more I learn that protection is a team effort. Its not all just up to the dogs or the llama when things get to this point its time for the shepherd to step in. If your looking for me check in here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

makin' thyme

I’m no martyr, nor do I embrace righteous deprivation. I’m just from the school that believes the least amount of moving parts is better. A screw driver instead of a power drill, an old saber tooth saw instead of a circular saw. A walk rather than a ride. Although I realize a project can take me at best twice as long, I enjoy the quite. The two things I revere (besides my sweetheart who tops the list) is my hoe and my Honda Rancher, the 4 wheeler I got last week that my brother in law gifted me. So the flip to my quiet methodical workings is now contrasted by the ripping engine full tilt boogie through the fields to check on lambs and hopefully scare the crap out of coyotes.

I see nothing wrong with striking a balance between the two. Lately, I have to admit I’ve been in a hurry. I’ve had to rush through one project to the other and the work just never seems to be done. The other morning I walked outside to start work and I heard the strangest sound. What was it? I stopped and cautiously listened. Head tilted, ear cocked, eyes shifting north, south. It was birds chirping and singing! Why was this sound so foreign to me? How long had it been since I noticed the world around me? Probably not that long, but my greatest pleasures are when I am quietly harvesting, listening to the wind move through the trees, and watching the killdeer scurry and socialize. I like hearing my own heart beat while I thin arugula.

I’ve still got two more weeks of crazy busy and believe me I am not complaining. But I can’t look at time the same way anymore, because it just goes so fast when I do. If I am lucky I’ll always be busy like this however I know I’ll need a new approach to dealing with it. I want my sunrises, and bird and cricket orchestra but I also want gas in my 4 wheeler. What decadence!

Friday, October 22, 2010

I got your back Jack

This post is inspired by a blog I read regularly called Jenna is a young writer and a kick ass blogger and you can read about her homesteading and farming experiences. I love her blog because so many of her experiences I have experienced myself while learning how to transform myself from professional chef to humble farmer. But anyway…. Her post a couple of days ago talked of being the jack of all trades and master of none. It wasn’t 24 hours ago Linda and I were talking about the same thing.

There are so many facets to Living Kitchen, there are the goats and the milk and cheese, there are the chickens and the absolutely wonderful eggs and there are the sheep and the delicious lamb and then there is the garden currently popping with greens. Then of course there are the farm table dinners this is where all of the previous things mentioned come into play and dance around celebrating farm life. That might sound very cheesy but there is no greater joy for me. Now these are the items that generate income. But to keep these things going also takes cats to get the mice, llamas to guard against coyotes and guard dogs again to detour coyotes. Then there is fencing, and feeding and stocking up on hay for the winter. And vet care, and dishes ….Yada yada yada….

When I think about it I am amazed at the amount of things I know how to do. And all of these things I love. But concentration on one of these skills doesn’t run a farm, at least this farm. Maybe if I just made cheese I could be the best cheese maker, or if I just raised lamb I could be the best Sheppard. But I think I’ve concluded real homesteading is a balance or juggling act of many well rounded skills. You might be an expert at least one of them (me cooking) but it takes not being overly invested in one thing because you just won’t make it through a winter. It takes knowing a little about a lot of things, Betting on your strengths to pay the bills, and having the confidence to do things you’ve never attempted. Sometimes you fail but you learn in the process.
I think about what my life would feel like if I just did one thing, like raising goats and making cheese. It seems like a nice dream but an impossible one right now. Although, it’s what I hope for, but I just can’t imagine it, at least right now. But living Kitchen is not about just one thing, it never has been. It is a whole-istic farm. It’s about food folks! It’s this chefs dream to be able to create a menu off of what I’ve raised, grown foraged and crafted. Yes possibly narcissistic, absolutely. But I’m driven to do this.

I do realize farming and homesteading are two different things but often they work in combination. It’s profound self sufficiency and interdependency on others but utmost vulnerability. It’s the opportunity to survive by your own hand by the most basic and primitive means. Hunt and gather so to speak. Gather fuel for the fire. Survive against all odds and help your neighbor out. The benefits can be great but sometimes material things and vacations we go without, by choice but also necessity. I’m over dramatizing here but it feels big time. What I mean is my whole body feels it, head, toe, brain, arms and back and spirit and most of the time it feels amazing and other times I’m beat down to powder. There is nothing I want to give up. I just have to face it. It all makes sense to me, and someday I know it will pay off, in the form of what? I don’t quite know yet. But for now, I’m with Jenna and you can call me Jack.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

lessons from the farm

I’m feeling it folks feeling the burn of a long season a long week and a long day. There is just so much to do on this farm. We’ve put our ram in with our ewes so breeding has begun and we’ve managed I think to get at least six goats bred so far, and I say I think because when Linda and I came home a couple of days ago the buck/ram pen door had finally given way, and every goat, sheep and llama was in the ram and buck pen. Yea. So this date is marked on the calendar as a maybe ½ the flock and ½ the herd was bred. I was only planning on breeding 10 Does that’s all I can really handle milking by hand, and that’s about 5 gallons a day during peak. I have 20 does so it’s now probably not likely but possible that more have been bred, I will know in 150 days what went on that day.

It turned out the break in was a blessing too, it gave us the opportunity to separate the yearling sheep that we did not want to bred and leave the rest in with the ram. The goats were easy to get out they come to us and pine for attention, so knowing goats we just had to pat em’ on the head, “goats will be goats”. So now we’re ready to roll. We’ve been working on a new shelter out in the pasture for the breeding ewes that’s almost complete and we’ll be turning them out on fresh pasture hopefully by Friday.

We’ve had a terrible coyote problem and have lost three lambs in the last two weeks. We have two dogs and a llama but there is just so much area for them to cover and they go for the smallest weakest ones, the ones who wander away from the flock. They strike about every 4 days before sun up and 2 days ago they had the audacity to leave their calling card 50 feet from the barn, so we’ll be doing some intervention. We have a friend that is an avid hunter who has volunteered to help us. We’re getting their pattern and habits down so that gives us a slight window into a solution. The thing is we have a lot of land here and a lot of woods and really no neighbors so its firkin wild kingdom out there. We’ve gotten away with very few losses this year comparatively. So I have to keep things in perspective. This is a flock management issue. The dogs are doing their job the best they can, the llama too and now it’s up to us to intervene.

On that note we’ll be increasing our guard dog population and bringing two new Great Pyrenees pups in. We’ve chosen Pyrenees because of their guarding capabilities and their gentleness toward humans and children. We do have a lot of folks and kids come through the farm, Pyrenees generally do not find humans a threat to the flock but there are other breeds that will, and we just can’t take that chance. So, Great Pyrenees seem to be the best choice for this farm. The two that we have now are wonderful! I hear them barking all night. I love that sound!

The dark morning is coming to an end and the fog is heavy on the pasture and the pond. What a beautiful sight, I love fall. I have to remember to stop and lift my head and not miss it, in spite of all the work and chaos I can’t forget to breathe.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Checking in

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in. Let me say I think October has this far been one of the busiest months I’ve had this year. I have one more week of this and things should slow down a bit.

It’s the half way point of the 30 day challenge. The first week my family was here. My brother in-law will eat anything but my niece has a poor relationship with food except if you are a slab of beef and a russet potato. But I just carried on like usual and she took care of herself and all went well. The second week was the hardest because of having to spend a lot of time off the farm and trying to find acceptable things to eat while away which honestly I did not have too much success with. As a matter of fact as I was coming back from my hay hall in Blackwell I picked up some ”trail mix”. I thought, well at least this will be somewhat healthy…not! I might as well have just gotten a snickers bar. It was loaded with sugar and preservatives. Ugh! , so my next trip I packed a lunch. Eating a Quinoa casserole on the road pulling 80 bales alfalfa poses its own challenges. This is why McDonalds’ is so frickin huge. Everything on the menu save for the salad is meant to be eaten at high speeds. Oh how I longed for the eating simplicity big mack. But that is just not an option.

Last Wednesday I did go to the Brookside farmers market, BTW tomorrow is the last one. I bought a huge bushel of green beans to freeze and a case of sweet potatoes. So if you can, head to the Brookside market (food pyramid parking lot) and stock up on some things. Quickly blanched green beans are great to freeze and sweet potatoes last a long time!

At my place I’ve got lettuce galore! So salad every night. The freezer is full, the pantry is not as full as I wish it were but it’s something, I’ve still got green tomatoes, eggplant and peppers on the vine and am with diligence watching for the first freeze for that last harvest. Again the planning issue comes up for me. With farm table dinners, private parties, harvesting for CSA, Wellness Center etc.. time to stop for 20 minutes and just plan a weekly menu has been difficult. Luckily I’ve had catering left overs so we’ve been able to get by pretty well. But today I’m planning for the rest of the month.

I’m hearing the beautiful sound of thunder, a welcomed rain is falling. I still have so much to do today so I’ll just have to get wet, but the rain is such a needed thing right now. I never thought rain would sound so sweet as it does right now. Some critter ate my irrigation line so I haven’t been able to water the field. It’s so late in the season I hate to replace it, especially when it will just happen again. So rain sky rain!
So how you doo’in?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The Family has been here for a short visit, just my brother in-law and niece. My family’s gotten small in the last 6 years with the death of my aunt, then my mom and finally my sister from cancer, and then there is myself and another niece who’ve moved away to other states and other lives. The ones back in Seattle maintain a scrappy hold on things keeping the family somewhat in resemblance of what we’re all used too. All my great nieces and nephews are now teenagers. I’ve been gone for so long I hardly know them. This is the hard side of choosing to leave the nest to fly the distance.

I picked the fam up at the Tulsa airport and our first stop was to pick up some goats on our way home so 30 minutes after coming to Oklahoma they were loading four goats into the back of my caged truck. What a welcome.

It was a wonderful short visit and a chance for my niece to get away from her world for a little while. Being the city girl she is I wasn’t sure how she would take the heat (80’s) or the bugs, and dirt. She did well. Honestly the girl would be fine to wake up on a farm for the rest of her life. We unloaded alfalfa, did chores, she helped with the farm table dinner. Both of them were a great help.

The night of the farm table dinner I was up in the cabin getting dinner prepared and a guest notified me that he had witnessed a break in to the corral that is next to the milk barn. Oh, great! If they get in the milking parlor that could be trouble, that’s where the grain is…… So Lester (bro-in-law) headed down to take care of business and when he was gone for what I thought might be too long I sent Marnelle (niece) for re-enforcement! They managed to get all of the goats and a couple of sheep out of the milk barn and repair the fence that had given up the ghost! Now that’s team work.

I envy families that farm together. Mom, Dad, maybe the grandparents, the kids. What must it be like? I love my life and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but when you don’t have a TV your mind can go to some interesting places. And I wonder, what would life be like if I had stayed in Seattle? Sometimes I have dreams where I’m back at the restaurant and I’m cooking for a full house and this great sadness comes over me in my dream and I think what happened to the farm?

So it’s nice to have family come and visit, it’s nice to be able to share my life with them for a little while. It’s nice when I can wake up from those dreams and go hug the goats.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Mushroom Feast!

Tomorrow night is my annual mushroom forest dinner. For the past three years this has been increasingly becoming my most popular dinner, it actually sold out two months ago. I'll be cooking for record numbers again about 44 people and I'm feeling really on fire! in a good way!

The perfect menu, for the time of year and it also ends the farm table dinners for the season. Now I'll cook for private parties of eight or more only.

The first dinner next year will be in June and that will be the Garlic dinner. I'm actually getting ready to choose the varieties that I will plant based on my absolute 15 favorite heirlooms! Red toch, inchilium red, Burgandy etc... cant wait! the beds are ready and waiting. But lets talk about mushrooms. Here is the menu for tomorrow night
Crispy seared Lions mane mushroom tossed with spicy green salad, caramelized apple vinaigrette and sage crusted fresh chevre
Shitake and Butternut squash bisque
Black pepper fettuccine tossed with sautéed oyster mushrooms, caramelized onion,
roasted garlic and sage drizzled with black truffle oil.
Crab apple ice
Lamb and maitake mushroom stew with sweet potato mash and steamed Nameko mushrooms
Cinnamon Molasses cake with braised pears and Carmel cream
Special Thanks to Rich and Sharron Hewitt from Mushroom planet who grew all of the mushrooms specifically for this dinner!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I just can’t believe the difference between this time now and this time last year. What a difference. Last year we were struggling hard with our winter garden, which first off, we had gotten in little late, but then had to deal with rain. So much cloud cover and rain had made germination and growth very slow. We even had to skip our first two winter CSA deliveries because things looked so stunted, the soil was brand new and we weren’t sure what to expect. This time last year really sucked for things trying to grab a life out of the soil!

But things are growing like mad and look wonderful. I have lettuce and greens to harvest not to mention all the peppers, eggplant, and some green tomatoes which hang there just waiting to be plucked! The sun has been on my side this year, just taking care of things perfectly. There were times in Seattle the sun wouldn’t come out for days. Really, especially this time of year. Fall in Seattle is a different kind of beautiful. The days are cool and high clouds look like rain but none comes. Its pitch black by 5pm and thick fog comes down and sparkles in the street lights. The mornings are wet, thick dew blankets the grass.

When I was a kid a small group of us walking to school would sneak into a tiny vineyard and pick grapes and eat them on our way to school. We rarely got caught. I believe the family may have been Quaker or Amish, they seemed very different to me. They were kind people and never chased us off harshly. The people who grew these grapes also had a very large garden and there were still pumpkins and large winter squash on the vine. We left those alone, the grapes were good sweet and tart. Years later I noticed they had put up a fence. I guess tired of their vineyards morning visitors.

Fall in Seattle does not mean profound color changes as much as it means an unprecedented soft cool green lushness. Leaves fall off some of the trees, the maples are beautiful, but most are pine and cedar. The dark brown bark, the Kelly green moss that blankets the ground and north side of the trees, the branches hang low and heavy hiding thick monstrous trunks. It’s a good time to break out the winter coats and sweaters. It’s a good time to walk and breathe. I can appreciate the beauty now especially after the summer we’ve had here in Oklahoma, but the thing I’ve come to accept about myself is that I need sun. I’ll take the heat when its handed to me but I can’t be settled in days of sunless skies.

Fall in Oklahoma is beautiful. The leaves turning, the grasses becoming golden and the green blades of grass turning purple from the coolness, there is so much color. I get sad though when all of the leaves fall off the oaks exposing gnarled branches that reach up like skinny dead fingers. There something about it that is unsettling to me and I don’t focus on it. I look down to the earth more for life. I don’t want to see the stillness and the rest that my oaks are embracing. It scares me. I know they’re not dead, they just look like it. But a child like fear creeps in every fall here. Reason unknown, un-investigated and un-analyzed. Its creeping in slowly I know its coming. Winter gardens, lush green high tunnels, cold frames full of big healthy greens and radishes are the remedy to the deep darkness I struggle with this time of year keeping it at acceptable levels.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fifth day into the challenge check in.

Five days into the challenge and I finally have gotten my sea legs. You would think it wouldn’t be a challenge for me considering I grow and raise food to sell, not to mention the chefy thing. The fact is, I try to sell it all, leaving almost nothing for myself. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? But I can’t justify eating a cut of lamb when I know I could sell it or reduce the balance of a CSA member’s account. What makes matters worse, and I’m just being frank here is when I am at the farmers market, it is sometimes really hard to step away from the booth and shop, unless I absolutely ; 1) have a plan of what I want or need and 2) just grab some money and do it. The challenge has made me more aware of the missed opportunities for buying real and clean food.

Last night was a super fast meal of sweet potato curry soup, with homemade bread (Linda makes the no knead bread from Mother Earth News) and a fresh salad from the garden with honey mustard vinaigrette. It was simple took about 30 minutes to make and delicious! Made enough for lunch the next day too. The key for me is planning. I can’t trust myself to have the mind to make stuff up as I go anymore, I’m too busy, and when meal time comes around I’m usually famished and will eat whatever I can reach and sometime times that’s nothing or something probably not in my best interest. Hunger gets me in trouble, Always has. Can’t think.

So here’s what works for me; I do best with structure, set meal times. Getting my body used to a routine. Writing a weekly menu including all meals allows me to write a concise shopping list with the amount I will use up in a week. This ends up saving me lots of money cause I don’t buy things that are not on the list and I don’t have too much left in the fridge to go bad. I always write my menu when I am hungry. I write a menu based on my energy needs because I have to. On days that I know I’m going to be really pushing myself hard like this weekend when I unload 100 bales of alfalfa that weigh 80 pounds or more each. I’m going to increase carbs and protein but reduce meat so I’ll be basically eating rice, beans and salad just eating more often and probably larger portions than normal. Everything I eat will go towards energy that I need to work not digest.

Finding the time to cook, Okay, I have never had a problem with this in the past but I am telling you since I’ve gotten so busy with things on the farm I don’t make the time that I used to for cooking. This is very bad! I honestly don’t know how people do it, just changing priorities and getting into a routine I guess, but dang! I’ve never had to think about it before because I cooked all day and night at the restaurant and never gave it a second thought. There was so much food at my fingertips, even on my day off. But now at the end of the day sometimes that might be 8 pm I’m so tired. That’s where the list comes in handy. No guessing no trying to figure it out.

So I’m feeling good, I feeling like I’m right on tract, got a fridge full of awesome foods ready to be turned into delicious meals. I’m fighting my bad habits with humor and stride and making the time for things that are important to me. That seems good. That’s my report. How are things with you?

Monday, October 4, 2010

And here we go....

I have to say as one who is close to being obsessive compulsive when it comes to the checking the weather, this one totally got past me. I could not believe my eyes when I looked at the remote and it read 33 degrees, my heart just stopped. All the peppers, green tomatoes, eggplant and the last of the okra were done for. How could have I let this slip by? I think yesterday was one of the first days I had not checked the weather. Or if I did it was just to see that the day time temp would be bearable for the 60 guests we were expecting for our fall chowdown day.

I think things will be fine, The last market was Saturday and now I'll start finishing up the harvest and winding things down this week, The fall plantings of greens should be fine in spite of the cold. At the "baby" stage, lettuce is fine and really can freeze solid and be completely fine if harvested after it thaws out. This is not true however for mature plants. But anyhow, Its time to start thinking about this weather thing way more seriously now.

It just doesn't feel like things are winding down. October is crazy busy with my work at the wellness center, the last farm table dinner of the season is on Saturday and every weekend there is a private party scheduled, so I'm still full throttle moving forward. November I tell myself will be much slower, time to rest a little just a few more weeks.

But really...... could this be a carhart morning? OMG I am so not ready for this!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 1, the challenge

Happy October 1st! some of you reading may have decided to take the challenge. Couple of things to remember. The challenge is meant to be fun, if you already follow most of the items listed on the challenge than it will be easy and you can fill us in on what works best for you, share suggestions with us. What part of the challenge was the hardest, using left overs, buying local foods? share all. Give us your version.

Some of you might know that when I am not farming, for the past 7 years I've work part time at the Seretean Wellness Center at OSU Stillwater, as the Executive chef. I work in partnership with Elizabeth Lohrman a registered dietitian and all around amazing woman. As a chef and farmer the relationship Elizabeth and I have is quite special as you can imagine. Elizabeth had a couple of things to add about addressing meat and protein I thought was interesting.

So here is Elizabeth's 2 cents on the subject:

"As a registered dietitian, it is important for me to listen and teach people about nutrition. As a whole, Americans do consume too many calories and portion sizes are often too large. Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. In addition, Oklahoma is about to get nominated with the dubious distinction of the state that consumes the fewest fruits and vegetables. Meat portions also tend to be more than what we need for good nutrition too. According to a top researcher in the field of protein metabolism (Douglas Paddon-Jones, PhD), we only need about 20 to 30 grams of protein PER MEAL. It depends on body weight. That corresponds to 3 to 4 ounces of meat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you eat an 8-ounce steak, your body only uses about 3 – 4 ounces for protein synthesis. The rest goes to (you guessed it)—usually extra fat storage.

To reference Lisa’s 30 day challenge, we do need to eat more vegetables and keep our portions of meat in good balance---about the size of your palm or deck of cards per meal. Protein also comes from dairy products, tofu and eggs. Grains contain some protein as well as vegetables. You don’t need to get all your protein needs met from eating meat. Buying from your local farmers and growers also helps with sustainable agriculture.

Next time you eat out at a restaurant try sharing a meal with a friend. You will most likely get a 3 to 4 ounce serving of meat. If you think you might still be hungry, order a side salad to eat before your meal arrives. Eat slower, enjoy your food, and keep a healthy balance in mind."
Elizabeth Lohrman, MS, RD/LD

Thanks Elizabeth!

OK so this a list of foods I know to be at the farmers market on Saturday; challenge yourself to write a menu for the whole week!

Cherry Street Market: Eggplant, okra, peppers, summer squash, tomatoes, mushrooms (oyster, maitake, shiitake) wheat grass for juicing, microgreens, sweet potatoes and potatoes, apples and pears, cantaloupe, watermelon, beautiful and varied herbs, beef, cheese, eggs, yogurt, butter, cream, bread, salsa, spices and condiments, dips, Gourmet, locally brewed Kombucha Tea & DIY Brewing Kits, fall mums, soaps, laundry soap, doggie treats, pet grass, Bird Houses, Feeders, Butterfly Houses, Ladybug Houses, ceramics, and candles.

Come by our booth in front of the White Owl to say hi! and for some lettuce mix and braising mix too!
Our chowdown day at the farm is Sunday, hope you can join us!