16 August 2013

Putting food by

There aren't many things that bring me as much satisfaction as seeing row upon row of canned goods sitting upon the counter like a a small army, waiting to cool, seal, and be marched down to the basement until they are called upon to grace our table this winter. While cleaning up the kitchen, each little "bup" as the jars seal is like a small gift that brings a smile to my face every time.  Canning is a lot of work.  But like anything that involves some level of effort, the results are so worth it.  With our little one's pending arrival smack in the midst of tomato and pepper season, I wasn't so sure I'd get to putting any salsa by this year.  And while I'd like to get about this much more on the shelf (we love our salsa!) I am happy to at least have some done! 
19 pints of salsa, 12 pints of sauerkraut
1. Swiss Chard in the field
2. Chopped and ready to blanch
3. Blanching

4. Ice water bath
5. Ready for the freezer!

20 June 2013

Summer is upon us!

32 Weeks down!
Tomorrow marks the official beginning of summer.  I have been more in tune with time these last 7 months than ever before- ticking off each week, and reading about our developing baby's new accomplishments in utero.  It is amazing how much growth takes place in such a short period of time!  Now we are just 7.5 weeks away from his estimated due date, and couldn't be more excited.
I was unsure what farming while pregnant would be like, but it's been a positive adventure.  As my belly grows and my energy shrinks, I've found new roles to hold: "Market Prep," letting others handle the harvest while I sit in the shade sorting strawberries, cleaning green onions, and bundling radishes into bunches; "Chef Extraordinaire," cooking up lunch to feed the farm crew, which is ever growing with new volunteers and interns; "Novice Bee Keeper," repairing old frames and inserting new foundations into them for our future bees to build delicious honey combs on.  On Wednesday I weeded our sweet potato mounds, a great job for someone with a big belly because you don't have to bend down to the earth, the earth is mounded up to meet you!
I also enjoy staffing Chestnut Cliff Farm's booth at the Freeport Farmer's Market (Saturdays from 7am-11am in the CVS parking lot on South Street) along with my soon-to-be sister-in-law Margaret and the occasional farm intern that wants to see the joy on customer's faces.
So I've had to adjust, but have found there are still plenty of jobs that need to be done a pregnant lady can handle, and plan to keep on putting in my 20 hours at least for a few more weeks :)

13 March 2013

It seems like I go for months at a time with nothing to write about, then suddenly life explodes and needs a place to be heard.  I like to use this blog as a journal for when my paper journal is not handy or not appealing.  Considering I am in a library in Jacksonville, IL for the day, I would say this is one of those times.  I often travel with Nick when he has to go out of town for work, and more often than not have him drop me off at the local library where I can enjoy free internet, clean bathrooms, and blissful quiet until he comes back to ferry me away.  It's a good deal!  I've spent a day in this very library before under the same circumstances, so I know the turf.  He dropped me off 10 minutes after the library opened, and I snagged the sweet table closest to the windows and power outlets.  This isn't my first rodeo. 

Spring is almost upon us!  My dad has completed his seed orders and the packages are rolling in.  Every time I am over at the farm the mound of large manila envelopes and small white boxes is larger.  It is amazing that these tiny seeds will grow into months worth of food for our family and families in the community this summer and in the cold winter months that will inevitably return.  I am excited to start eating fresh homegrown food again.  I think we all are.

This summer the vegetables won't be the only thing growing and getting bigger.  Nick and I are expecting our first baby, due August 12th!  That's definitely going to make for an interesting summer.  I envision it involving a whole lot of naps during the heat of the day, and a whole lot of delicious and nutritious food.  

I have several hopes for this blog over the coming season:
1. Share seasonal recipes, with most if not all of the ingredients involved coming right out of the garden
2. Include updates on our home remodeling and landscaping projects as we make our property our own
3. Share tips and thoughts on pre and post natal farming