Right now, our boys are outside playing with some friends. They are running all over: near the barn, out by the hay bales by the road, along the lane, across the muddy creek. You name it, they’ve been there today.
When Kelly and I started coming to the farm, the house was under renovation, so we drove from Omaha several times a week. We would unload and tell the the boys, “Mom and Dad are going to do some farming. You can play wherever you want.” Invariably, they would stay within 20 feet of the car, sometimes not even leaving their seats, except to ask if it was time to leave. Our dog, Lexie, was happy to roam, but the boys stayed put.
Things are different now. After a few years, they feel like they have the run of the place. And they don’t know how good they have it. They have the simple freedom to run without constant supervision. They live on a farm that is 450 times as big as their last yard. Their soundtrack is made up of birdsongs and frog croaks, dog barks, and pig grunts. Granted, the soundtrack also includes music from computer games and television shows… but I don’t mind. I’m just glad that they have the chance to be farm kids.
Posted by blacksheepfarms on May 29, 2011
It can be a farmer’s best friend or worst enemy. I love a cool rain as much as anyone (especially just after I’ve planted several hundred plants in the field), but I feel for all of the farmers whose livelihood has been destroyed by tornadoes this spring. When we first started farming, my mother was worried. Worried about the unpredictable nature of farming. Being raised on a farm herself, she knows that things like high winds and hail can wipe out a summer’s worth of work. It’s a gamble, for sure. In the few short years we’ve been here, the weather has been mostly good to us. We’ve been lucky. Our hearts go out to all the farmers out there who haven’t been so lucky and we hope they will have the ability to pick up the pieces and keep doing what they love.
I’ve spent some time cursing the weather this month. I want it to be warmer. I want it to be dry so I can actually get out there and work. Oh, and I want to wave my magic wand and make the weeds disappear, but that’s another story. Unfavorable weather slows down production. I want to have twice as much produce available right now as I do. But really, we are the lucky ones. There are so many who have nothing. And then I look again what I have, and I am thankful.
Posted by blacksheepfarms on May 25, 2011
Today was the first pick up day for our CSA season. It was a bit smaller than we had hoped. We’ve had lots of rain and cool weather, which has slowed us down considerably. But we managed to harvest enough to give everyone a delicious sample of what is to come! This time of year is great for greens like kale and chard. Spinach is the green that usually gets the spotlight, but if you’ve not used kale or chard, you’re missing some unique flavors. CSA member Jenni was kind enough to send me some of her favorites:
Sweet and Savory Kale
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 4 teaspoons white sugar
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups stemmed, torn and rinsed kale
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion softens and turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard, sugar, vinegar, and chicken stock, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the kale, cover, and cook 5 minutes until wilted.
- Stir in the dried cranberries, and continue boiling, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced by about half, and the cranberries have softened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sliced almonds before serving.
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 6 radishes, quartered
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- Place garlic in the container of a food processor, and pulse until finely minced. Add radishes, and mince. Add cream cheese, and mix until well blended. Transfer to a serving dish, and chill until serving. Serves 16.
This season, we decided to stick with Lacinato Kale, aka Dinosaur Kale, because it is the best variety with which to make kale chips. They couldn’t be easier to make, simply remove stems from kale and cut into bite sized pieces. Place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Watch them closely. The edges should be brown, but not burnt. They don’t keep well, but it really doesn’t matter because they’re so delicious you’ll want to eat them all right away!
Posted by blacksheepfarms on May 22, 2011