Love Your Farm

For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of owning land. I’ve never been into big fancy houses, expensive vehicles, clothes, jewelry, etc. Jesse and I have never even had cable or satellite TV in our adult lives.

Don’t get me started on horses though. That’s a completely different story, but anyway - land.

Even before we knew this little farm thing would become our purpose in life, we knew we wanted land and we’ve worked towards that dream for the last 10 years. In September 2018 we purchased our 45 acres and have slowly been loving it back into the beautiful and productive farm we know it can be.

I saw this essay posted on Facebook before we had ever even found our farm, and after buying this place I thought of it again and just had to find it and share. I also want to make sure this essay is preserved. Even after quite a bit of time on the Google, I was not able to find it posted anywhere else.

Part of our excitement and challenge right now is learning this new piece of ground so we can make plans for how to utilize it all to the best of it’s capabilities.

We are learning where water flows, which areas the soil needs the most help, where there are plants or trees we want to save, and where we should lay out fence lines, buildings and gardens.

My impatient self wants it all to be perfect now, but we have a lifetime to continue making improvements here. And it will probably take that long!

I love this farm. I love watching it’s transformation, I love watching my babies, family and friends enjoy it, I love it for raising delicious healthy food for our family and yours, and I love knowing that this is my little piece of heaven on earth to tend.

Love Your Farm

Love your farm. Every farmer should not only love his work as the artist loves his work, but in this spirit , too, every farmer should love his farm itself as he would love a favorite horse or dog.

He should know every rod of the ground, should know just what each acre is best adapted to, should feel a joy and pride in having every hill and valley look its best, and he should be as much ashamed to have a field scarred with gullies as he would to have a beautiful colt marked with lashes; as much ashamed to have a piece of ground worn out from ill treatment as to have a horse gaunt and bony from neglect; as much hurt from seeing his acres sick from wretched management as he would be to see his cows half-starving from the same cause.

Love your ground - that piece of God’s creation which you hold in fee simple. Fatten its poorer parts as carefully as you would an ailing collie. Heal the washed, torn places in the hillsides as you would the barb scars on your pony. Feed with legumes and soiling crops and fertilizers the barren and gullied patch that needs special attention; nurse it back to life and beauty and fruitfulness.

Make a meadow of the bottom that is inclined to wash; watch it and care for it until the kindly root-masses heal every gaping wound and in one unbroken surface the “tides of grass break into foam of flowers” upon the outer edges.

Don’t forget even the forest lands. See that every acre of woodland has enough trees on it to make it profitable: “a good stand” of the timber crop as well as of every other crop. Have an eye for the beautiful in laying off the cleared fields - a tree here and there, but no wretched beggar’s coat mixture of little patches and little rents; rather broad fields fully tended and of nearly uniform fertility as possible, making of your growing crops, as it were, a beautiful garment, whole and unbroken, to clothe the fruitful acres God has given you to keep and tend.

And so again we say, love your farm. Make it a place of beauty, a place of joyous fruitfulness, an example for your neighbors, a heritage for your children! Make improvements on it that will last beyond your day.

Make an ample yard about it with all the old-fashioned flowers that your grandmother knew; set a great orchard near it, bearing many manner of fruits; lay off roads and walks leading to it and keep them up; plant hedges along the approaches, and flowering bulbs and shrubs - crape myrtle and spirea and privet and roses - so that your grandchildren will someday speak of their grandsire, who cared enough for the beautiful and loved the farm well enough to have for them this abiding glory of tree and shrub and flower.

Name the farm, too; treasure up its history; preserve the traditions of all the romance and adventure and humor and pathos that are in any way connected with it; and if some of the young folks must leave it, let them look back to it with happy memories of beauty and worthy ideals and of well ordered industry.

Love your farm. If you cannot be proud of it now, begin today to make it a thing you can be proud of.

Much dignity has come to you in that you are owner and caretaker for a part of God’s footstool; show yourself worthy of that dignity. Watch earnestly over every acre. Let no day go by that you do not add something of comeliness and potential fertility to its fields.

And finally, leave some spot beneath the shade of some giant tree where at last, “like as a shock of corn cometh in his season,” you can lay down your weary body, leaving the world a little better for your having lived in it, and earning the approval of the Great Father (Who made the care of the fields and gardens the first task given man): “Well done thou good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of Thy Lord.”

-Clarence Poe

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Delicious, Fudgy, Processed Sugar Free - Paleo Brownies

It’s no secret - I love baked goods. Except oatmeal raisin cookies. I also did not have a pleasant fruit cake experience so it’s a no go on those, but other than that I’m a pretty equal opportunity baked good eater.

When I have a little extra free time to play around in the kitchen I like to try and “healthify” some of our favorite baked goods.

Jesse usually tells me they are “just ok”, then proceeds to eat 3/4 of a pan of whatever it is. Eliza is all about a sweet treat so I don’t think she even tastes it long enough to know it’s a healthier version of anything. I’m with Eliza, I have liked most of the experiments.

These paleo brownies were my latest attempt at a healthier version of one of our favorites. They are super dense, fudgy, chocolately, and have no processed sugar. Well, I take that back, there is a little bit of sugar in there - I added a couple tablespoons of whatever the Simple Truth dark chocolate chunks are from Kroger. If you’re a strict paleo eater - leave out or substitute whatever you’re comfortable with!

I really liked these, so hopefully you do too!

Paleo Brownies

Adapted from a recipe I found on realfoodwithjessica.com

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup raw honey - I used Pap’s Hilltop Honey

2 Grass Powered pastured eggs - room temperature

1/4 cup coconut flour

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp espresso powder - might leave this out if the tiny humans will be eating these. Trust me.

Dash of sea salt

1-2 Tablespoons dark chocolate chunks - unsweetened chocolate would make them actually paleo!

Baking Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Either grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper and then spray. I used a 6”x9” pan so the brownies would be thicker, but you could also use a typical 9”x9” pan or even go crazy and make brownie bites in a regular or mini muffin pan. Keep in mind these brownies won’t really “poof” much.

  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the coconut oil and add the cocoa powder. Whisk it together so it doesn’t have lumps.

  3. Remove from heat and add the honey. Once it’s mixed in, add the eggs and vanilla.

  4. Add in the coconut flour, salt and espresso powder. Mix until it’s all smooth then add the chocolate chunks.

  5. Side note - if you mess up the order in any of this, just go with it. They’ll still be great.

  6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes for a 6”x9” pan, but probably only about 15-20 minutes if you’re using a bigger pan or muffin tin. You’ll be able to tell they’re done because the middle goes from shiny goo to looking just a tiny bit poofed and more solid. I know that’s vague, but you’ve got this.

  7. Try not to burn your tongue tasting them straight from the oven. If there’s anything left at the end of the day, stick them in the fridge to last longer.

The next recipe I want to try is a paleo pumpkin bread. It looks SO GOOD. Will let you know one we experiment with it!

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Why Are You Always Out of Bacon?!

If you’ve been shopping with us for very long, you have probably seen the dreaded line through the BACON category on our farmers market signage.

Breakfast is ruined, emotions run high, panic ensues, it’s never fun… and I can assure you we hate it as much as you do!

Our bacon is pretty much amazing. It’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s crunchy, it’s good for breakfast, in a BLT, on a salad, as a midnight snack, the list could go on. It’s basically what dreams are made of, I completely get it.

In a perfect world, we would never run out of any cut, but it’s just not realistic for small farms operating at our scale. Each pig, steer and chicken only has so many body parts!

Part of the bacon challenge is that on a 200+ pound hog, we only get somewhere around 16 packages of bacon. The belly and a little bit of meat from the jaw is the only meat from a hog that can be made into bacon. The majority of a pig is chops, hams, shoulders, ribs and sausage.

As consumers, we are used to shopping the grocery store where every cut is stocked, at all times. We can shop any time of day or night and there will be bacon and pretty much anything else we could imagine, at any given moment, waiting for us to toss it into the cart.

It’s different for small farms. We use and need to sell the entire animal so nothing goes to waste and so we can afford to raise the next batch of animals.

The same concept of cut scarcity is true for beef and chickens too. We tend to run out of cuts like filet, ribeyes and rump roasts very quickly since each animal only has a small amount, but we can’t beef up (ha, get it!) beef production so we always have filet without balancing the demand for the other cuts.

Sometimes we also run out of cuts simply because all of you are amazing and we sell out faster than expected!

It takes 6-8 weeks to raise a batch of meat chickens, 5-6 months before a laying hen starts producing eggs consistently, 6+ months to raise a finished hog, and 2-2.5 years to raise a finished beef steer. When we run out of things, it takes time for us to stock the freezers again.

2019 will be our 4th year farming, and we are continuing to fine tune when we need to have animals processed, how many to raise, and what your favorite cuts are, but we always appreciate feedback about what you like or would like us to offer!

So, my challenge to you is to try incorporating a wide variety of cuts into your meals. Branch out, try something new! And if you need ideas on how to cook it, send me an email and I would love to help. The end result will be more bacon for everyone! :)

~Dana

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