Sunday, November 13, 2011

Some End of Season Photo's

 Gardens are all cleaned up and tilled, we will be adding manure and other soil amendments to help with the mineral deficiencies in our soil as we have the time. We are thankful to have this first growing season under our belts so that we can learn from it and improve next year!

This photo is looking at the outside garden and house #1.

  Inside house #1 we have our parsnip bed still intact. Hoping the ground will freeze enough on the outside edge to give us sweet and delicious parsnips in the spring!

 Standing in front of house #2 and looking towards the pond you can see a freshly tilled addition to our rhubarb patch. Beyond that is a large patch that was tilled to help out with a crop being tested by another farm. Along the edge of that same bed we added about 50 strawberry plants and lots of garlic.

 A beautiful fall evening! This is a view from the back of house #1 looking towards the bee hives and Mt. Washington in the background.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Harvest Time

Doing some much needed harvesting and cleaning up this weekend! We ended up picking the last of our carrots! 6 buckets full!! That leaves just the eggplant and peppers to be cleaned out of house #2.

We all worked together passing pumpkins and squash from one to the next and into house #2. Here they are all lined up and ready for dividing.

 This is the bounty that went to each family! A wheel barrow full of squash and pumpkins!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cider Pressing 2011

 The apple season this year was amazing!!! There were loads of apples on trees that usually don't produce any! We were able to pick from some friends trees untreated apples for cider making.

The cider press was built after doing lots of online research on how to build your own. There are LOTS of plans out there but we really liked the simplicity of this one. It uses a  jack as the pressing power!

 The first time we gave it a try it was inside... the kids were in charge of washing!

The box was lined with a thin piece of cotton fabric.

Then the apples were ground in the food processor just to chunk them up a little and dumped into the fabric. We then wrapped the excess fabric around the pulp to form a square "bag". This process was repeated 4 times. Each bag was piled on the last and then the pressing began.

This video is of the press in action, it was taken on our second day of pressing. We are outside this time and instead of using the food processor to chunk the apple we crushed them in a 5 gallon bucket using some serious "man power"! Check it out:

Next year a must have for cider pressing is an apple grinder!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Green Tomato Mincemeat Recipe (And Cookies)

As promised we are posting the Green Tomato Mincemeat recipe we made this year. We had LOTS of green ones this year because of some nutrient deficiencies in the soil. Thankfully there are ways to turn those green beauties into yummyness! Also adding a Mincemeat Cookie recipe below, it's great made with this mincemeat!

Green Tomato Mincemeat
(adapted from the Blue Book Guide to Preserving 2009) 
2 1/2 quarts chopped green tomatoes 
1 T. salt
2 quarts chopped, peeled, and cored apples
3 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped suet
1 lb. raisins
2/3 cup chopped orange pulp
3 T. grated orange peel
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 cup vinegar

Place chopped tomatoes in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and let stand for 1 hour. While waiting add the rest of the ingredients to a large pot. (We doubled this recipe so we used a large stock pot.)  After 1 hour is up rinse and drain the tomatoes then cover with boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes and then drain again. Add the tomatoes to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until everything is soft. Ladle the hot mincemeat into jars, screw on lids and bands and process in a pressure cooker for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Mincemeat Cookies
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar (we used Sucanat, brown sugar would be good too)
3/4 cup butter (softened)
2 cups green tomato mincemeat (or other prepared mincemeat)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/4 cups flour (we used white whole wheat)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. salt

 Beat butter and sugar together until throughly combined. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in mincemeat and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Add dry ingriedents to wet and mix well. Drop cookies onto a cookies sheet (we used the Pampered Chef cookie scoop and it made 3 doz.) Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.
These reminded us of old fashioned hermit cookies! Soft and very tasty!!! Sorry no photo... they were gone before we knew it!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Extracting Honey


The new honey extractor is in and it did a great job of spinning some beautiful honey out for us! The guys had to hold on to it while it spun since we did not have it bolted to the floor yet.

A close up of the honey pouring out!

We ended up with lots of wax mixed with honey when removing the cappings on each frame. This photo is of the cappings going through the strainer.  We wanted to save the was to use for products like candles and lip balm.

We tried melting the honey/wax in this big pan in the oven. As soon as the honey was warm we would pour it through the strainer and then put the pan back into the oven to melt some more.

 After LOTS of melting and straining we ended up with this beautiful block of wax!

After a long day of honey madness we ended with a delicious taste of our hard work on some fluffy biscuits!

There is still some honey for sale, prices are on our For Sale page.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Comb Honey Is In!

Saturday was comb honey harvest day! The first step was for the beekeepers to switch out the comb honey frames with some empty frames. This was a two person job so the frames of honey could quickly be removed without the bees getting too mad!!!

The bees are gently brushed off each frame so we do not bring any into the house with us!

Once inside the comb needs to be carefully cut away from the wood frame. A cookie sheet and a cooling rack makes a good base for this.

Next the large piece of comb is cut into four smaller squares for packaging.

They are then weighed and recorded and the cover placed on. This is one of the heavier slices weighing in at almost 15oz.

If you would like to try any of our delicious comb honey you can check out our for sale page for more info.

Harvest and Canning Update

We are thrilled to be harvesting lots of veggies! Our cucumber plants are producing lots of delicious cukes for eating and pickling. We have made LOTS of jars of pickles so far as our goal is to provide all we will need for the whole year. It's looking like we even have more than we need and hope to have a stand out for selling soon.

Here are some dills almost ready to be sealed. Most of the recipes have been passed down through Joan's family. We can't wait to open one of these up and give them a try!

Beans have also been coming in by the basket full! We canned 18 jars the other night!!

We had some tomatoes with blossom end rot that we decided to pick off while still green and let the good ones continue to grow. Since it was hard for us to throw all those tomatoes away we turned them into Green Tomato Mincemeat!

Stay tuned for our recipes which we will be posting soon!

Old... But New to Us!

We need a sign! And what could be better than the original Grand View Farm Sign which hung on the barn when it housed the working dairy.

The sign is in need of some repair as you can see. The letters are old and need to be painted as does the sign itself. We will post more photo's when it's done!

Next is our new (to us) farm wagon/trailer/soon to be rolling farm stand. We are envisioning a canopy over the top and baskets around the sides to hold produce. Stay tuned for more photos as the wagon gets a makeover.

This fine (but rusty and a little squeaky) hay rake was freed from the brush at the edge of the field. We are in need of one to more efficiently gather mowed grass and hay from the fields to use as compost. We need A LOT of compost and as we do not have any animals for manure this seems to be the be our choice of material for now.

We even hooked it up to the tractor and gave it a whirl! After sitting at the edge of the field for ?? years it actually worked! Except for a few issues with one wheel being very bent.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

More Veggie Updates 7/23/11

Our outside veggies are growing nicely and some are loving this heat wave we've had the past few days more than others. The broccoli was planted later than hoped for and is just starting to produce heads. It is doing well considering it is a cool weather crop and has some cabbage looper issues.

Here you can see some cabbage looper damage. The little green worms love the brassica family (broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower) of plants and eat the leaves. Once full, they form a cocoon and turn into a little white moth who then lays lots of eggs on the plants and the cycle starts again. We have been picking these off by hand but have not been able to keep up!

We harvested lots of peas on Saturday! Snap peas and shell peas. They have been enjoyed by all and are loved by the kids who pluck them off the vine and eat them raw for a garden snack!

The pumpkins are loaded with blossoms and bees and some nice fruits are forming.

Green peppers are coming along nicely! There are not a lot right now but they are loaded with buds and the plants look really nice.

Our eggplants are blossoming and are starting to form tiny veggies. Unfortunately we also noticed the were seriounsly infested with aphids. We hope to control them before loosing the plants.

We also harvested LOTS of green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, and summer squash on Saturday. It was a full day of harvesting! We will be canning beans this week and enjoying all sorts of fresh ones at meals!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Inspection Day 7/20/11

Today was inspection day, two representatives from NRCS came to inspect the high tunnels and sign the necessary paperwork so our grant can be completed.

We are all so happy to move on from the "rush" of needing to have them completed! Now let the harvesting begin!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tunnel #1 Update 7/16/11

We are all so thrilled to see our veggies GROWING bigger and bigger each day! Check out these green tomatoes! We can't wait to sink our teeth into these!!

The cherry tomatoes are doing really well also. There are even some starting to turn orange.

We just started to pick cucumbers. If we are not diligent about snipping off runners it is like a real jungle in there!

The leaves are huge!!

This is the very first vine to reach the top bar! We will now train it to come back down over the bar and let one of the runners go so it will now have two vines.
Outside tunnel #1 is looking really great with the addition of these doors that let the sun shine through in the morning!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This Weeks Update 7/12/11

Our diligent
construction crew has been working hard on doors this week. As you can see the back door on tunnel #1 is now done!

Here you can see our small crop of alfalfa going in. We will be using this for a cover crop/green manure.
The veggies in the field are getting close to harvest time! Here are beans with lots of blossoms, cabbage and broccoli.

Peas loaded with blossoms!

And our first few pods coming in to!

Here you can see our field peas coming in nicley and our rows of corn growing slowly but surely!

In tunnel #1 we are about to harvest the first batch of gherkin cukes! This is the first time any of us have grown them and we are looking forward to trying these little fuzzy cukes in a pickle recipe soon!

And lastly this week was our first harvest of beet greens! Yum!!