The past week we’ve been having ‘parties’: Jam Party and Wax Party.
This is what was made at the Jam Party:
We made Cantaloupe Mint Jam and Strawberry Honey Lemon Vanilla Jam. Both were delicious and really simple to make. The Cantaloupe Jam was very sweet, and the mint complimented it so well. We used frozen strawberries for the other, and it had a delightfully tangy, not-too-sweet taste. Both are delicious on anything you can think to put them on.
The Wax Party:
We took the leftover bees’ wax, chopped it into pieces, melted it down with olive oil and coconut oil and made chapstick! I also made what is called a ‘relaxing salve’ (think lotion, only thicker and more oily) by adding essential oils like lavender, chamomile and rosemary. That is also a picture of some homemade lavender soap that a friend was kind enough to share with me.
And yes, those are baby food jars. And yes, we bought baby food, ate it (not exactly what I’d call an explosion of flavor) but this was all for the greater good.
This picture isn’t very pretty, but this stuff is great. Me and my friend Amber made homemade deodorant! (the recipe is here) It is also incredibly easy to make (10 minutes tops), smells great and works great. We used the essential oil known as citronella. One of my favorite things I have made here. This is an excellent alternative if the deodorant you buy makes your armpits itch. (hand raised).
And those are a couple of the lovely peppers I used to make lunch this past monday. I used them in the recipes found here and here. They went great with foccacia bread, and pleased a large crowd. Great summer salads and a break from hot food.
That is a finished product jar of honey. All of the past Wednesday (8 am to 5 pm) was dedicated to the honey harvest, and it was by far my favorite thing I have done at the farm. Its a lot simpler than I thought it would be, and I took pictures of almost every step.
See that electric fence? I helped build that. Basically it involved driving T-posts (the post in the foreground) into the ground about every 60 feet. One of the hardest tasks I’ve done at the farm is drive T-posts. Then every 20 feet rebar posts are driven into the ground with hammers (those are the little skinny ones). Plastic wikis (not a technical term) are placed on all the posts in pairs for the wire to run through. The bottom layer is strung on first, then the top layer. A gate is also installed. And by gate I really mean a square piece of fencing tied with wires to a T-post that opens and closes. After double checking for evenness, the fence is then wired from a power source (in this case, the dairy) and tested. I throughly enjoyed doing this, and four of us got it all constructed in one work day, leaving only the wiring to be done.
The purpose of this fence is to build a temporary structure for the goats to graze in. That way, when they clear a field of all edible grass -which doesn’t take long at all- they can be moved and the fencing reused for another pasture. Its not a perfect boundary, they’re are a couple of little ones who love to break out regularly, but it does the job and discourages predators from mingling with the goats.
Now, about milking…
This pretty bovine is one of the five steers on the farm currently. There are four in this pasture, and a 5th in his own. The sequestered one resisted being moved, and it took 2 1/2 days and four men (ahem, ‘cowboys’) from the farm to wrangle the frightened-into-violence beast into the right pasture. He has warmed up to people though, in the last few days.
These are just a few pictures of some flowers growing on the farm. I’ll come back and write more about the goats and how to milk them in the next couple of days.
These smell delicious, and they grow right by the Ed building.
Even though this flower is dying, the colors I thought were beautiful in an antique sort of way. This picture simply does it no justice.
A lovely bud
This guy is one of the most perfect flowers I’ve ever seen.
This guy is really happy looking (as most sunflowers are in my opinion) and he was all by his lonesome enjoying the sunset.
This past tuesday was my turn to cook lunch- At the farm, everybody takes turn cooking the noon meal, and everyone eats together. pretty much every other meal is self-serve, and the protocol is to plan for 30 people.
Now, thirty people may or may not sound like a lot to some. And in some cases, it may not be. If these were 30 mild-mannered air-conditioned suburban office workers, this might not seem like such a task. But these are 30 farmers. People that have spent the past 3-4 hours working in the hot July sun, leaving them ravenous and electrolyte deprived. Not to mention the men who sit down for the noon meal here tuck in and put away more in one sitting than I do in an entire day.
I’ve never cooked for such a volume before. Usually when I make meals its for 4 or 5 people. The most I’ve ever cooked for is 15, and thats really pushing it. Plus, when I plan a meal, I make lists. Oh the joy of a shopping list! After I spend a significant amount of time searching for what I want to make, I then spend a significant amount of time searching for the ingredients. No such luxury here. I must put to use what is already in the farm kitchen, which is a beast I’ve never faced before.
As I was musing on what to prepare, I found out that there would be a troop of girls coming for a few days, about 10 or so. So the guidance I used on the volume of food to prepare was more or less a stab in the dark, and I found myself petitioning the Lord to intervene in a loaves and fishes type manner if I happened to not make quite enough.
Tales From the Farm:
These goats. They look innocent enough, right? Of course not. Scenario: I’m riding my bike down the farm road, snapping pictures. These guys are hanging out really close to the (electric) fence. Naturally I think its an opportune time to take some pictures of these friendly beasts. I stop, get this shot, then they just slide right under the fence (electric, remember?) like its not even there. Thought process: “Great. Escapees. And its my third day here.” Again, naturally, I start to panic, because what this picture doesn’t show is the entire herd of hollow-horned mammals lounging behind these two, and I begin to envision them all coming through the fence in a stampede of curiosity and mischief. Then I would really have some issues. I am no goat wrangler.
So I precede to take hold of their little collars in the form of a blue chain and guide them back under the fence. The first goes easily. The second goat (the far right one in the picture) makes me chase him a bit. I think the other goats are laughing. When I begin to push/deposit the second goat through the fence, my arm hits the electric fence. Now, this is a strange sensation. It made its way through my left arm, across my chest, then down my right arm. It wasn’t painful, just really uncomfortable and startling. It could have been painful. It was also really quick. Later I wondered what nerve I hit. Hopefully I will have more goat photos without mishap to share.
Now, on to the farm tour.