Saturday, August 29, 2015

They got me my own couch!

 Jon, Joan and I brought over a load of furniture and some other things from Gran's.  Samson seems to have claimed the sofa!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Canola crop two days before swathing

My amateur crop checking skills

Squash patch in background, the big truck turnoff

Curry ingredients

Jon's melons!  Seed from Jocelyn and Chris.  :)

A stroll through the squash patch

Cory was asking about the white pumpkins, and I hadn't been through the squash jungle in some time, so on Monday I took a stroll through.  More like wading through waist-high vines, scratching my knees, and at one point feeling so claustrophobic that I bolted to the nearest pathway, tripping over pumpkins and ornamental gourds!
These three rows were planted 15' apart.  They have grown into each other and nearly covered two rows of beets and a row of Dragon Tongue beans.  Next year we hope to plant the squash in another field to make better use of this one.

The Ambercup (Sunshine Kabocha) is ready!

This is an immature Ambercup.

Assorted gourds.  I'm always shocked by how well these sell.  People will balk at the price of some veggie they can EAT, and then buy 10 ornamental gourds that will sit on their table and eventually rot.  Priorities!!

If the flowers are any indication, still lots of squash coming!

Some white pumpkins for the shop at Lady of the Lake - Cory is waiting for you!!

Warty mo-fo.

Orange pumpkins!!

So exciting!

The pumpkin patch

Mom grows the white spaghetti squash because she says it tastes better-- I guess we'll find out!

Edamame are going to hit the market and the availability list this weekend!

Citrons are doing well

Need to pick the zukes more often, obviously!

Dragon Tongue beans are monstrously prolific!

Kohlrabi!!  I will let Jon pick these, I had a fight with one yesterday, broke my knife, and then nearly broke my back pulling the damn thing out.

Squash jungle!

Thursday, August 6, 2015


 Found him in the yard, kneeding the grass in anticipation of me petting him!

"Are you gonna pet me already?"

Despite regulating his food, he is still a barrel!!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Sunday Adventures in Broad Beans

Sunday was the three-month anniversary of us landing in Manitoba! It feels like so much longer in so many ways. We are getting to know some faces at the markets and enjoying them thoroughly, and the feedback has been really, really great. With the article published just over a week ago in the Brandon Sun, people have made a concerted effort to let us know they liked it and to get to know us. Our house feels like home and we know nearly every inch of our 17-acre farmyard. We have mostly figured out the roles and strengths of our farm team, and how to best support each other. So, yay us, for making it
through the three-month honeymoon phase! It's not easy, and will never be easy, but the best things in life aren't easy-- and we want most of all to live a values-based lifestyle and grow healthy food, and are willing to do what it takes to make that happen, and are extremely fortunate to be surrounded by people who support us in this. So, thanks to Mom and Dad and Gran and the rest of the family and friends and other farmers and all of the customers who make this lifestyle possible for us! It's been a great three months, we are grateful to be here for many reasons.

Filet Beans are in full swing!
Yesterday we headed to Brown Sugar aka Internet Hotspot (we still don't have internet yet) and then weeded half of the onions and the east garlic, and then picked a few rows of beans and cukes and came home. As we have a rather chaotic week this week, I decided to do some cooking for the hungry hordes (we're not a big horde, but we are hungry!). Also, the fava beans (broad beans) are ready, and so I wanted to try them to improve my knowledge selling at market. While reading some recipes online, I read they go well in potato salad, and it started my mouth watering for potato salad and I had to make some. I also wanted to make soup for the week out of one of the hens and when I mentioned Fava Bean Hummus, Mom said she'd like to try it and Jon even expressed interest (he thinks he doesn't like them), so I figured – Go big or go home! Teri's Sunday Adventures in Broad Beans.

On the way home (Jon was driving, lol!), I shelled about 5 lbs of fresh broad beans. They are harder to shell than peas, but the front of the pod has a “string” that if you can remove, it is easier to open. The beans inside are thumb-size or larger, and there are about 1 – 4 per pod. The chickens don't seem to care for the big juicy, fluffy pods, unfortunately (but they do LOVE banana bread and pancakes!). When we arrived home I also brought in a heavy bucket of other veggies and collected eggs that I planned to use in my culinary endeavors: 

Potatoes, dragon tongue beans, filet beans, radish, zucchini, tomato, dill, sage, thyme, oregano, basil, sweet onion, garlic, celery (not ready yet but I used one anyway), carrots, cucumber, peas, green onion. It's the peak of the season here right now, and so pretty much everything except the winter squash and watermelons are ready, much to both our delight and demise! (as in, LOTS of harvesting right now... Peas and Beans and Cukes on top of all the other things, too!)

So, the hen went into the pot with herbs, onion top, and celery leaves, and she turned into a beautiful stock, which I then added tons of veggies and cream and dill to and we have soup for the week. It's glowing, there are so many gorgeous veggies in there! And, nothing like starting from scratch, real scratch-- we even slaughtered the hen (not yesterday, she was in the freezer already!). Yum! Thanks to the bird whose life we took (I don't believe in animals “giving” their lives, because it's we humans who decide) so that we can eat healthy food and have the energy required to do good in this world.

I boiled enough potatoes to choke an Irishman, and make a ridiculous amount of potato salad. When I get pulling potatoes, my judgement on portions goes out the window. Seriously-- we'll all be sick of potato salad by the end of the week. The potatoes have grown quite a bit despite the lack of rain at our place, and they are still beautiful, though I can tell the starch content is higher than when they were nuggets because they don't quite make my head swoon in delight anymore. In the potato salad went: cooked broad beans, radish, celery, dill, all of yesterday's laying achievements from the hens, sweet onion, green onion. I didn't make the mayonnaise because I was nearly out of oil and there's gotta be a line somewhere! I left the skins on the potatoes because they have not been sprayed or any fungicides used on them, and I believe in eating the whole vegetable. I also left the skins on the broad beans (not the pods, each bean has a skin, just like a pea), because I will not eat broad beans if I have to pod them AND skin them, so this is a trial in like it or lump it!

The Broad Bean Hummus turned out well. The first couple recipes I found required me to skin the beans, and so I kept looking until I found one that didn't... Again, it's a lot of effort to cook from scratch like this as it is-- without peeling individual beans!-- and I believe in eating the whole vegetable. Basically all the same ingredients as regular hummus (garlic, lemon, tahini, olive oil), but you cook the beans first for 5-6 minutes in a bit of boiling water with the garlic and then whirr everything together. Didn't want to clean the food processor and so I used the hand mixer, and it worked okay. It came out a beautiful/weird lime green in colour and tastes great! I left it pretty plain this time so the Fava Bean flavour comes through, but I would add turmeric to boost the colour and a bit of cumin and maybe some cilantro in the future. We don't grow garbanzo beans (chickpeas), so this is a great solution for making local hummus!

So, this was my Sunday evening work. The thing I love about farming is that often it feels like we just do what needs to be done, and there are a huge variation of tasks. Getting some food ahead for the week means there will be a bit less stress at mealtimes and we can spend a bit more time in the field when it really counts. We are having to do some shuffling this week in order to accommodate the entire farm team attending my Gran's funeral tomorrow in Hamiota. Yesterday, as I destroyed the kitchen and dirtied what seemed like every dish in the house twice, I thought a lot about how Gran and Grandpa Tom were the ones who made me fall in love with country living. My passion for fresh was also nurtured there, as they always had a large garden and Gran always baked bread, and Grandpa Tom came in every morning with a little pot of freshly picked berries for my Shreddies. I'm honored to be living a similar lifestyle to theirs, continuing the homesteading tradition of sorts. Just like them, we are rich in so many other ways than money, the ones that really count-- We spend most days working together as a team, we are healthy, we are our own bosses, we spend most of our time outdoors, and we get to eat amazing healthful food that we've grown ourselves. I wouldn't have it any other way! Gran, you will be greatly missed, but your genuinely kind and caring spirit continues through everything that we do, and we will think of you often.