Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall Festival

Well last weekend we had a little celebration of the fall season here at the farm. It was so great to see so many wonderful people and gather around the fire with them. We roasted a pig and had tons of great side dishes as well. There was a canned goods swap and a pumpkin pie contest. I think a great time was had by all. My lovely wife wrote all about it over at Lefse and Kimchee so I won't go on too much about it. But it was a lot of work and bit of an extravagance financially but we will still be doing it again next year.


Saturday, October 10, 2009


In a place like Minnesota snow is inevitable. But it still always fills me with a bit of sadness to see it happen. This year it has been made worse by the fact that it happened so soon. Usually at this time of year we can get by with covering the tomatoes against a light frost. But this year it seems we will be losing most of the non freeze hardy perennials today. Hopefully it will warm up a bit soon as now I will have plenty of space to put in my garlic.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ted talk on food and how it shapes the world

This is a great talk about food systems and also a vision of how they shape the world we live in. I love and recommend the TED talks to anyone who wants to know more about the world. I particularly like her vision for Sitopia.

In other news it is raining here and has been for the last six days or so. I am beginning to think if it goes on much longer I may have need of an ark.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Well it has been a while since I have written. The combination of so much to finish and the diminishing daylight both conspire to keep me from the blog. We have been involved in a few new adventures around here. First Jess has started a blog about food, life and song over at Lefse and Kimchee: A life in Meals and Song. My wife is a much better writer than I will ever be, so I urge you to give her blog a read if you have the time.
Also it is now hunting season here in Minnesota and I have spent a few days in the fields looking for some high quality protein. There is an ancient native american word for the type of hunter I am and it is "Vegetarian." Truth be told I have had to press upon my friends to teach me to hunt and they have graciously obliged. But I can't always prevail upon them to take me hunting and so I have had to learn much of it on my own. I think it will be a craft that I will continue to improve upon for years to come. I have had some successes over the years, there were a few white tailed deer, a coot and a goose or two. This week I have been to a game farm and came home with 10 pheasants for the freezer but duck opener success alluded me this year. I also spent an afternoon last week walking the woods and looking for squirrels, they must have had other plans that day.
In addition to all this we have had a near frost and had to spend an afternoon/evening trying to gather it all in. We gathered quite a bit of raspberries and beans as well as the last of the tomatoes.
Now just to finish getting ready for our harvest festival in the barn.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Well we are busy gathering the seeds for next years garden. We have so far saved dill, coriander, scarlet runner beans, some white pole bean, dragon tongue beans, 4 kinds of tomato and seeds from our Red Russian kale.

More posts this weekend.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Late summer insect plague

I get these insects every year. I think they are some sort of cucumber beetle but not sure which one.

This year they seem to be more prolific and more voracious. I am sure if I could let my chickens free range a bit more they would be less of a problem. I am also thinking about growing no curcubits for a year but that would be pretty extreme and besides they seem to be willing to eat anything.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Siding and my crystal ball.

Well we are just about complete with all our siding upgrades. We have significantly upgraded the weather tightness of our house by adding sheathing under all our siding. We also upgraded some of the insulation on the south side of the house as well. This combined with the work done for us by TCSP earlier this summer really has us excited about our energy bills this winter. I am kind of amazed that I am saying that.
Around here we believe in a coming energy crunch. I am sure that at some point soon oil will be less available at anything near the prices we have gotten used to. The truth is that on a pure energy per dollar basis it looks like we will be unlikely to see anything else come along that is even remotely close to oil.
So what to do? First and foremost we as individuals need to cut our demand while we still have the resources to invest in the changes necessary. If we are still overly dependent on oil when it begins to get scarce most of us will be too busy looking for extra shifts to make energy upgrades around the home front. If we wait untill it is painfull to continue we will have missed our opportunity to make a significant change in our fortunes. Like in personal finance the time to start saving is before you need it. Once you are up against the wall it is too late to look for places to cut back. Also like in personal finnance reducing your investments made during a time of plenty will pay you back many times when things get tight. So my advice to my readers is simple, find ways to cut back on your energy usage now before you have to.


Friday, September 4, 2009

A glut of plums.

We decided today that it was time to gather in our harvest of plums. We had quite a few of them. There were a few that were damaged by insects so we gave those to the chickens.

My wife did most of the heavy lifting in making this sauce. I was more of an adviser. First she cut the plums in half and put them in a saucepan with just a pit of sugar.

After a bit of stewing and breaking them up with a wooden spoon it looked like the following.

That was looking pretty good but once you have made tomato sauce using a food mill you start to look for other things to put into it as well.

The finnal sauce ended up glossy and smooth. We left it mostly unsweetened for use in sauces and possibly sorbet. I am thinking of making a batch of barbecue sauce with some of it.

After all that we still had all these plums left over for fresh eating and cooking with.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A food weekend in pictures.

We made and processed a bunch of food this weekend.

Friday evening we started by mixing up a couple of batches of no knead bread. One was destined for for pizza dough and the other was to be baked for bread.

Saturday was a bit busier.
First my lovely bride made a batch of scones.

We then processed a batch of tomatoes into tomato sauce.

We also worked on canning some cucumber relish.

We also made a gallon of quick vegetable stock. I didn't get a picture of the stock vegetables simmering but here is the extra stock ready for the freezer.

We decided to make a recipe for corn soup that I can't find the source for now. It is basically a fresh corn minestrone.

First we cut some corn from the cobs

Then we then put the cobs into the vegetable stock to simmer.

After the vegetables were added to the stock it really started to look good.

We had the soup with a bit of the no knead bread.

We also made pizzas with our fresh vegetables and our home made tomato sauce. I didn't get
a good picture of those either but they turned out fairly well.

Jess started another batch of heirloom tomato sauce Sunday afternoon.

Soon we will have to make sauce from our abundance of plums.

All this and we cleaned house and the garage and the pole barn a bit. Can you tell that the internet was out for us almost all weekend?


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Great video

I found this video over on Permaculture TV that touches on many important topics like sustainable farming, peak oil and permaculture. It is worth your time to watch all 5 parts.