Will here writing this week.
It has been a quite a week. A birthday week on top of it all. I turned twenty-seven on Saturday, and my first birthday present of the day was a bee kiss on my eyelid. Let me tell you getting stung hurts, I know I got stung twice today on each forearm. But getting a stinger on the eyelid is another thing entirely… the swelling made me look pretty goofy check the picture below.
I have some bad news to break to everyone. On Friday, the day before my birthday, two dogs killed twenty-three of our chickens and another died the next day leaving us with twenty chickens. Yet another one is still recuperating from injury and we don’t yet know if she will make it. We caught the dogs in the act and called the sheriff but at this point no accountability has been taken here and it was a huge loss for us.
Some were older chickens but most were either one year old or five months old. The five month old chickens were our replacements for the older chickens, which really hurts because more than likely we won’t have extra eggs to sell until we raise a new batch and they start laying which could be a whole year. Many of you have asked for eggs and we haven’t had them due to either the summer heat or the visiting family; however I hope you understand the circumstances and still buy eggs from us in the future.
On a positive note, Hannah’s hand is almost one hundred percent. She is slicing and dicing in the kitchen, not with the mandolin yet but any day know she should be back in the saddle. I feel very fortunate to have such a strong and determined partner in all this. I was very worried whether or not we would be able to harvest, wash, and pack all the produce for the shares. We almost extended our break for another week, but she did whatever she could and did it with out complaining. It meant doing everything left-headed which did not slow her down it just meant I had to tie the bunches for her. You can imagine how hard it would be to hold a bunch in one had and tie it with the other lame hand. Fortunately, it turned out to be a painful but minor accident and only an inconvenience for a couple weeks.
Everyday that it rains and our farm is not flooded is a great day. Everything has been so wet that we can’t work the ground or plant so I have been busy with honeybees. I often find myself wondering what they are up to. Beekeeping has given me such a profound respect for nature, it boggles my mind how everything is interconnected and you only really see it when you step off your lawn and venture out into the wild.
For us that is the uncut pasture, the creek, even our buckwheat cover crop. It is inspiring to see the diversity of insects that a nectar source like buckwheat brings in a wet year like this one. I am quite pleased with our buckwheat cover crop it is covered with foraging bees, wasps, hover flies, even a monarch butterfly.
We are still waiting for our replanted tomatoes to come in and for our peppers and eggplant to take off. The cooler nights slow down the eggplant blooming and the wet has caused a lot of blossom end rot on our peppers and they are also slow to ripen. We could be giving you more green peppers but in our opinion the peppers are so much better fully ripe and it is worth the wait. Tis not the season of summer crops! We are glad the cucumbers have come in now and our plantings of bush beans and new planting of summer squash should be coming in soon. We will also be harvesting winter squash, potatoes, and leeks soon.
Well that is the scoop on the farm. Here is the share this week:
Recipes for the week:
Swiss Chard and Chickpea Stew from Food and Wine magazine
6 cups drained and rinsed canned chickpeas (three 19-ounce cans)
3 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock, more if needed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
Pinch dried red-pepper flakes
1 cup canned tomatoes in thick puree, chopped
1/2 cup tubetti or other small macaroni
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound Swiss chard, tough stems removed, leaves cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
Puree half of the chickpeas with 1 1/2 cups of the broth in a blender or food processor. In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the carrot, onion, celery, garlic, and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups broth, the pureed chickpeas, whole chickpeas, bay leaf, red-pepper flakes, tomatoes, tubetti, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes.
Add the Swiss chard to the pot. Simmer until the chard is tender and the pasta is done, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Remove the bay leaf. Stir in the black pepper. If the soup thickens too much on standing, stir in more broth or water.
Easy Oven Roasted Roots
7 cups of assorted root vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, and beets
2 cups of winter squash, such as acorn squash, butternut squash, or pumpkin
1 onion, sliced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 sage leaves, chopped
4 thyme sprigs
salt and pepper, to taste
maple syrup, to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut up all the root vegetables and squash into approximately equal size pieces. I cut them into roughly 1/2″ pieces (except the beets which I sliced thinner since they seem to take longer to get tender). Put root vegetables, squash and onion in a large bowl.
Add olive oil, sage, and thyme to the bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss well to coat all the vegetables.
Spread vegetables on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake 30-40 minutes until tender.
Drizzle with maple syrup, to taste.
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups sliced fresh rhubarb or frozen rhubarb, thawed
2 cups sliced peeled apples or sliced strawberries
1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream, optional
In a large bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add rhubarb and apples or strawberries; toss to coat. Spoon into an 8-in. square baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, butter, flour and cinnamon until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until bubbly and fruit is tender. Serve warm with ice cream if desired. Yield: 8 servings.
Editor’s Note: If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.
See you tonight,