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Showing posts from June, 2010

One Thousand Gifts

Continuing in the journey toward thankfulness...
83. 20% -- the amount of sheep that actually needed worming
84. a spray of roses

85. weaving again
86. cool nights that provide good sleep
87. a forecast with six days straight with no rain
88. a quiet house with the kids gone to church to volunteer at the food giveaway
89. homemade chocolate sheet cake

90. bubble gum socks

91. the beauty of wood floors
92. the satisfaction of a cultivated field

Care to join me in gratitude? Click on the button below for more information.

Cowboy Caviar

This is not an original recipe of mine. The fact is, there are no recipes that originate with me. I'm just a conduit, passing on those that we enjoy...

Cowboy Caviar
3/4 cup canola (or other vegetable oil) 3/4 cup white vinegar 3/4 cup sugar black pepper red pepper flakes 1 red bell pepper, chopped 1 green bell pepper, chopped 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped 1 orange bell pepper, chopped 1 large red onion, chopped celery, chopped 1 can (15 oz.) corn, undrained 1 can (15 oz.) black-eye peas, undrained 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained well
Mix oil, vinegar and sugar in saucepan. Bring to full boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add black pepper and red pepper flakes. I don't measure--I perhaps use four shakes of pepper out of our shaker, and 1/2 tsp. of the flakes. Total guess. Good luck with this.
While this is cooling, chop veggies and mix in large glass bowl. Add beans and corn. Pour over cooled vinegar/oil dressing and refrigerate for several hours before serving. Ser…

Vitamins and Soil

I talked here about N, P and K--the big three nutrients that farmers pay attention to and add into their soils to help produce healthy crops.
I compared NPK to vitamins that you might take to round out your diet. Can you imagine not eating any food--only taking a handful of vitamins each day? Even if we were really careful to take a C, a D, an iron pill, a multivitamin, and maybe even B6 and B12--would that be enough?
Heavens, no. There are many things we get from food that cannot be compressed into a pill. Yet in some ways, that is what we farmers are doing. We are trying to sustain crop life by just adding the nutrients we know the crops need. But there is so much going on in the soil that we don't understand. So many things that we cannot help but miss when we JUST take soil samples and add the required nutrients (that we know about).
So that's part of why we've moved in the direction of biological farming. We're trying to build healthy soil by using compost and othe…

Happy Father's Day

My dad is the chief hay baler on the farm. I wonder how many bales he's made in his lifetime? And how many times he's had to stop and fix a broken baler?

Thanks for being a great dad, Dad. I love you!

Continuing Ed for Farmers

After days of preparation, everything was ready. The food was prepped, the tents were up, the grill was lit. Looks like a party, doesn't it? Well, when we farmers do continuing ed, it has to include food.

This is actually a pasture walk/grazing seminar. These are held regularly in our area, and give farmers who are currently (or just thinking about) raising livestock on pasture a chance to see someone else's set-up.

The presenters arrived at 4:00 for a farm tour and dress rehearsal. Supper was at 5:00. We made sure to tell folks after they'd enjoyed their grilled brat that they'd just eaten lamb. Is that wicked?

Then it was time for the show. Several folks spoke on different aspects of grazing and managing livestock on forage. I had to leave for an evening meeting, so missed all the good stuff (except for the lamb brats, of course).

Representatives from Bio-Systems, NRCS, the local Conservation District, MSU, MSUE and MAEAP were there, with take-home goodies available.…

Yellow Corn

Many farmers apply nitrogen to their corn at this stage. We've had regular, ground-saturating rains, which hasn't allowed the nitrogen applications. When this field (not ours) gets its shot of nitrogen, it will turn a deep, dark green.

But if you look closely, there's something else going on to cause some spots to be much more yellow. It's the heavy rains I mentioned up above. This corn has been standing in water off and on, and something about standing in water makes it turn yellow. Maybe it can't absorb the nitrogen that's naturally in the soil.

If corn stands in the water long enough, it suffers from root rot, and can die out. Notice the missing corn in the corner of this field.

Why do farmers apply nitrogen? Agronomists have isolated three base nutrients that are necessary to sustain crop life: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). Most bagged fertilizers that you buy for your lawn or garden have NPK numbers on the bag, to show the percentage rate …

Wordless Wednesday

Feedback on our Hay

We've already successfully hayed two fields this year, due to an early, warm spring, and have another field cut and laying. Unfortunately, it's been rained on twice, which affects the quality of the hay. And more rain is predicted. So the hay wagons are ladies in waiting...
Today the Farmer delivered a small load of last year's hay to a regular customer. She commented that unlike other years, all of her ewes were fed exclusively hay until the last week of gestation, when she fed them a little grain. She averaged 1.6 lambs per ewe, with good birth weights, and all of the ewes but one were in excellent condition. She ruminated that the extra money she'd spent on our hay was saved by not having to feed grain, and feels that her ewes are healthier.
That's nice to hear. We know that our soil is working, and that healthy soil makes healthy plants, which make healthy animals. But it's very rewarding to have someone else notice it.