Summer

In my spare time:

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.

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Honey: last name ever, first name greatest.

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.

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HOT. And Fall Cake.

Its very hot here. Unrelentingly hot. Hot comes and stays. Hot sets up a permanent camp. Hot repeats. Hot the Sequel. Hot the Third. Hot Returns. The Son of Hot. Hot: Revisited. Hot Unleashed. Hot and the boy band 98° come together to make an acoustic album: In the Heat of Summer.

It’s that kind of hot.

So I baked a cake:

(with a side of Wendell Berry. Its probably the farm atmosphere…)

Craziness to turn on the oven in the middle of a Texas July. Especially here. But this is a special cake. This cake smells like Fall. All kinds of spices fill the olfactory glands to bring sweet remembrance of cooler temperatures, spice-filled food, and brilliantly colored landscapes of oranges, reds and yellows. Tasting this cake reminds me of Thanksgiving, scarves, and my parent’s house filled with all my family. I could almost, (oh, but not quite, darn you Hot) feel a slight breeze with a hint of crispness float through the kitchen as I added the spices and poured in the honey.

I got the recipe from here. It didn’t turn out quite as moist as she describes, but still good. I also cut back on the sugar (her suggestion) which really lets you taste the spices, and the beer, but you have to be looking for it. I chose this seasonal favorite to add to the cake:

The recipe only calls for one, so that means you can share the other 5 with friends and start a Star Wars Episode IV viewing party. (In the air-conditioned apartment, on the new -donated!!- big screen, high-def TV)

Despite its lack of promised moistness (I blame the too-hot oven) the cake was still delicious, and I have every intent of baking this during the fall season…

-Side note: I attempted to make my own whipped cream. It didn’t work out, and somehow I got butter instead. So I went and bought a tub of cool whip. (as seen above) Totally worth it.


Cow, and Farm Foliage.

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.

Some Snapshots:

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.


The Electric Fence, a Farm Tour, and a Story.

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.

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On Friendship, and Working With Your Hands.

I have a friend named Alisha who celebrated a birthday this past week. Alisha and I have known each other for roughly the past four years, and our friendship has grown immensely in the last two. I can’t recall exactly when or how we decided to be such good friends, but it happened and I am ever-so-glad it did. What started off as a friendly acquaintance evolved into a support system for school, relationships, and delicious home-cooked meals when I have needed them the most. I am extremely blessed to have a kindred spirit who shares my passions about Jesus, medicine, food and music.

As a symbol of the birthday celebration, I baked this cake. Its a blackberry bundt cake with an orange glaze* that just feels like summer to me. Of course, living in south Mississippi it seems like the summer always feels you, but for the sake of friendship and summer berries, this cake is perfect.

I have a tiny kitchen, and being a college student my kitchen resources are limited at best. The original recipe calls for luxury appliances like mixers, which I do not have. However, I do have two fully-functioning hands, and I believe that people were making cakes years before there were mixers, and successfully. I’ll walk you through it, if the world of non-gadgetry is new to you. (more…)