Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Monday, October 29, 2012


I consider myself one of the lucky ones on this beautiful earth.  I was raised in a small town, my grandparents lived next door and I gleaned from them all the traditions of self-reliance passed down generation to generation.  How to grow vegetables through the winter using solar pits dug on the south side  of the house foundation, heated with manure from the barn.  Using low tunnels to extend the seasons, the art of putting by, (canning), bread baking, butchering, things you read about in newly published books, the authors' acting like they had just invented this wonderful discovery, when all along it was the way of life not many years ago.

 I have fond memories of a childhood spent learning all I could about the simplicities of life.  I knew even way back then, that living close to the earth was a blessing and privilege.

We would gather the sap from the gnarly, twisted, pinion pine trees.  Grandma would look for just the right consistency in the sap and then removing the bark and needles she would pop it into her mouth  (pine...... gum).  I would also try to chew it, if the sap wasn't just right it would fall apart in your mouth leaving a bitter taste.  More often than not I would be spitting the crumbled bitter sap on the ground.  I eventually gave up trying to chew pine gum.  It is however good for the health of your gums.

The sap would be saved.  The fresh sticky sap would go into it's own container to be use directly on wounds, sores, etc, and the hard solid clumps would be added to rendered fat and made into PINE GUM SALVE.

We doctor animals and humans when they are wounded, it draws out wood, metal, or glass splinters, it takes away the sting of bees and wasps, or fire ant bites.  Eliminates the itch and swelling of mesquito bites.  Sooths chapped lips and hands.  Draws the infection from wounds and helps them heal.   Our medicine chest is contained in one bottle.  I figure if pine gum salve won't cure it then nothing will.  I have cured gangrene and horrible infections........ disclaimer ,once again please consult your doctor for any medical needs........

RECIPE FOR PINE GUM SALVE-----old fashioned way------

1 part mutton tallow , 2 parts pine gum (use a mixture of gums, the sticky clear, the fairly stiff yellow and the hardened deep orange)

Turpentine, Lysol, champor, or carbolic acid can be added if desired-------I usually don't------

Place in a tin can and heat on your wood stove for a couple of days--stir often

The impurities, bark and dirt will settle to the bottom of the can

Pour through a couple of layers of cheese cloth into jars

I have had this salve keep 7 to 10 years in a cool, dark, dry place

MUTTON TALLOW------collect the hard fat from around the kidneys as you are doing your fall butchering.  I have also used tallow from lambs and goats.  Do not use other animals fats.  They are not of a hard enough consistency.  Freeze the fat until you are ready to render it.
To render fat:
  Place in a cast iron pan and cook over low heat.  If I am doing a large amount I place it in a large bowl or dutch oven and use the oven on a low 250-300 degree setting.

rendering fat

strain liquid fat into a large bowl

add cold water to the fat
add enough water to allow the fat to rise above the water and form a
hard gel

the cold water will cause some of the fat to harden
stir until the fat is dissolved

place in the fridge or a cool place so the fat will harden
the impurities in the fat will be on the bottom
scrape all impurities off the block with the back of a knife
dig out any spots that may be embedded in the tallow
freeze tallow until needed

rendered fat and pine gum

place in a tin can and heat for several days on the wood stove
if you are unfortunate not to have a wood burning stove use a pan filled with water
on the stove top and simmer for 6 to 8 hours.  Add water as needed.

pour warm liquid into jars

NOTE:  if the consistency doesn't seem right reheat and add more fat for a more solid salve, and if it seems to solid--reheat and add more pine gum (my preference) or try adding a little olive oil or Vaseline

if you choose not to use animal by products try this: 

Infuse pine gum sap in a pint jar filled with olive oil.  For this method the harder chunks of sap work best.  Break into small pieces.  Place in a warm spot (sunny south window) for 3 weeks shaking daily.  Pour strained oil into a tin can and either heat on a wood stove or in a hot water bath on the burner.  Add enough beeswax to make a solid salve. ( don't like this as well, I prefer salves with the sap as part of the salve, not just an infusion)

I invented this recipe after a long winter of cracked, dry hands


To 1 cup pine gum
add 1/2c.- 3/4c. tallow (or use shortening)
heat for several days on wood stove
strain through cheese cloth
return to heat
 add 1 small jar of Vaseline, about 4 oz.
2-4 tbs. honey
1/4 cup almond oil
 2-8 tbs. beeswax, ( depending on the consistency you like)
1 tsp. Castor oil (optional)
 4 capsules liquid vitamin E (drain contents from capsules)
 2 tbs. solid coconut oil
Heat all ingredients gently for several hours and pour into small jars.
use as a salve for dry hands and feet

If your hands are extremely chapped try this.  Use a liberal amount of the salve rubbing in well.  Place a large plastic bag over each hand and then a sock over the bag to keep it from falling off and leave on over night.  I don't recommend this overnight treatment for your face however:)!!!!!

1/2 c. pine gum
1/2c. honey comb with honey
Heat and pour into jars. 
 This smells wonderful.
  Use as a healing salve. 
 Honey also has beneficial healing properties.

 Melt the sap in olive oil over low heat, simmer without boiling for 4 hours.  Strain.  Add beeswax.  Pour into jars when wax is melted.

Over 30 plus years of making this salve, my experience has been that the olive oil goes rancid faster than the tallow.

Please share any recipes or experiences you have had using this wonderful natural remedy.

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FarmHer  JILL

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Forgetful me

When I first started this blog it was a way to keep my CSA customers aware of what was happening on the farm and what they could expect in their baskets for the week.  I have never professed to be an intellect about gardening.  I can't spout off the Latin names of plants, nor quote verbatim the proper way to grow tomatoes.  I don't know what is the best way to get rid of squash bugs.  My own simple-minded observation is to do as their name suggests.  Remove them from the plant and SQUASH them.  And as for fire ants---pour.......well you figure it out.

But I can tell a good story and funny things do happen to us all the time and sometimes peoples' lives are just plain made for good story telling so I hope  you don't mind me sharing with you.

As you know I have been on the road a lot lately.  Good ole Wilma brought me home to the farm again the other night.  It was well after dark when I arrived because the weather had been horrible over the canyon.  Slow going, the rain the night before had frozen solid on the roads.  Black ice covered with a couple inches of snow.  I must be crazy I told myself as I started up the steep grade over Indian Canyon.  Near the summit a semi truck was struggling to make the climb.  His wheels were spinning and he wasn't going up, knowing if I stopped I would never be able to get going again, and fearing he may come sliding back and knocking me off the cliff I made the quick decision to go around him hoping someone didn't come  the other direction..... it would be the end of me.  I pulled around him, losing all traction and sliding within inches of his tires.  By keeping the wheels spinning and turning,  with the skid I zig-zagged back and forth and was able to finally get around him and into my own lane.  I had passed a snow plow down at the bottom 30 miles back so I knew he was behind me and by the time I had slip-slided to the summit he  was in my rear view mirror..  For those of you who travel in the snow know it is the down hill grade that is the most exhilarating, anything can happen.  I pulled off and let the snow plow and another vehicle by me and began the adventure down the steep grade.  Needless to say even fearless me was a bit concerned.  The snow plow went down the grade sideways his back tires off the road throwing the sand/salt mixture off the road where it would be of no use.  His blade hugging the road scraping off the snow, but only skimming across the ice.     Every once in a while he would manage to get  lined back up on the road.  That day the scruffy faced, handsome man in the big orange truck was my knight in shinning armor.  Why does it seem I always need to be rescued?  It is tough on this independent gal.
Called Glen when I got to Spanish Fork, so he wouldn't worry, it was 1:00 p.m.  The usual 2 and1/2 hour trip over the mountain had taken 4 hours.
 "Thanks, Wilma, I knew you wouldn't let me down.  You made that canyon easy."  I told the old gal as we caught the freeway and headed for home.  For those of you wondering who Wilma is, she is my trusty 17 year old vehicle.  She is all heart and never lets me down.

Stopped in Cedar for a while to check on my daughter.  We are lucky to have her.  She is one of the 5% who live through a undiagnosed ruptured appendix.  After 2 months of being deathly ill, she finally found a Doctor who just wouldn't say you're fine and send her home.  The antibiotics seem to be clearing up the infection and she is feeling well.
By the time I got home it was well after dark.  The wind was blowing and it was blasted cold.  About 13 degrees the barometer read.  I bundled up and checked the animals at the farm.  Gathered the frozen eggs and drove up to the house.  Parked the car in the driveway and left Wilma running so I could see by the lights how to make my way around to the back of the house to unlock the door.  Burr it was cold, said that already, ran out to the car and grabbed my suitcase and the strawberries and grapes so they wouldn't freeze.  Left the car running so I could see to make another trip with items that needed to be brought in--------------well, I got in the house and it was so cold I got busy and built a fire....... and then I had to run outside and turn the water on in the pumphouse and run back into the house to shut off the taps so the water wouldn't fill the sinks and run all over the floor.  After all this was accomplished I decided that everything left in the car wouldn't be hurt by the freezing, windy weather.
 I didn't go to the farm real early the next morning, I  waited for daylight and the temperature to warm up before walking down to check on everyone.  Well, it took quite a while to warm up above 20 degrees, and the wind was still howling, so it wasn't until about 10:00 a.m. before I ventured out to the farm.  I walked around the gate and looked at Wilma sitting contently in the drive way.  Her lights were on, looking at me, and she was humming.  I had left her running all night!  Silly me--forgetful me--- I immediately began to apologize to her about leaving her running all night and do you know what she said?

"Don't worry about it, I was frozen solid by the time I got us home last night.  I had ice frozen everywhere from that blasted snow on the  mountain.  It was so cold, and the wind last night blew so hard my fenders  were turning blue and  besides........ I am not ready for winter.  I finally got warm with my heater on all night and my engine running.  You can leave me running all night anytime you want!"

Well,  needless to say I was a bit embarrassed.  Good thing I live out in the middle of nowhere,  I think my absentmindedness will go undiscovered.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bringing in the Harvest

Spent the last few weeks finishing all the projects before winter sets in,-----finally got the hay tarped, the last of the potatoes dug, the remaining squash taken out of the hay bin and put in the house, got the butchering done (thanks to my cave-man hubby) and even hauled a little wood.  Had a nice warm fire last night.  There is nothing better than warming your hands over the wood stove after your fingers have turned blue from the cold. 
Gathered  several pounds of pine gum and will be rendering the fat from the animals to make pine gum salve.  This is my favorite time of year.  I am busy squirreling away the harvest from the garden.  Stocking the shelves with preserved vegetables and fruit.  Filling the freezer with animals I know were raised humanely and with care.........but my absolute favorite thing about this time of year is..........

                                   SOUP FOR BREAKFAST
                                   quite frankly,  I am getting just a little tired of eggs, eggs, eggs!

                         Winter has officially arrived when running water freezes in it's tracks

                                            What have you been squirreling away for the winter?

Monday, October 15, 2012


It's the time of year when I am on the road constantly.  Drive up and spend a few days, hurry back to pick for market, attend market, do farm work and back on the road.  Well, as you all know, most every trip I spend hours and hours stranded along the road. This last trip was doomed from the start.  I was taking the BURBANATOR.  Everything just started out wrong.  You see the burb had stranded me out in the middle of nowhere last summer ----now that is another long story------- anyway it had sat the winter and summer without running until Glen could have the time to work on it.  He got it up and going (replaced the alternator and some fuses and did a little more tinkering) and it seemed to be running fine, but I was hesitant to take it on a one way 350 mile trip alone, but we need it up north to haul wood for the winter.   I packed my necessary---stranded along the road kit-------- something to read, something to eat and drink, something to do, (knit), a pillow and blanket, jacket and my camera.

After hauling half a ton of  large 120 pound 3 string bales of hay, dispersing them among the animals, and rigging waters to run while I was gone, and bringing in the last of the winter squash, etc. etc. etc   It was well after dark before I began loading the burb with some furniture we needed for the new rental in Roosevelt we are moving into.  A big dresser, a large hutch mirror, a hugh area rug, a large cooler of winter squash and a beautiful vintage hanging lamp.  Whew, got everything in and shut the back door only to have glass shatter all over me.  Because of the darkness I couldn't see the pointed end of the lamp was past where the door would close and when I slammed the door-----well, needless to say I decided to deal with it in the morning.
Got up early used duct tape to enclose the broken window and set off down the road.  Made a mental note to get more duct tape.   Used a-lot this summer.

Cedar City in the rear view mirror, Beaver in the rear view mirror, Fillmore in the rear view mirror, Spanish Fork in the rear view mirror.  5 hours up the road and going strong.  " Good job burbanator we may make it yet",  I said out loud patting her on the sun baked, cracked dashboard, but I still had that feeling she was just going to give out any minute.  Spanish Folk canyon in the rear view mirror, took the short cut and headed up Indian Canyon.  Going up just fine until the real steep climb.  I had been keeping a close eye on the gages and noticed the alternator gage dying.  Great---sure enough after a few more miles up the steep grade she began to sputter.  Keep going I haven't anywhere to pull off with a guard rail on my side stretching for miles.  Sputter, sputter, chug, chug.  "Come on girl, just get me to a place I can pull off."  Well, I am the luckiest person I know and just around the bend is a big turnout area.  Pulled off and the engine died.
Put on the parking brake and placed rocks behind the rear wheels---didn't want a scenic straight down of the mountain backwards ride at the moment--- and called Glen, my knight in shinning armor.  I was lucky enough to have cell service and his response was "You're serious, you're broke down?"
" Of course", I just rolled my eyes and said "Yes, we were expecting this, but the good news is I'm just on the other side of Indian Canyon", only a little over an hour away.  I described the  Burbanator's symptoms and he would get his tools  and come rescue me after work.

no room to pull off

at least the scenery is beautiful

took off my boots

hung my hat on the steering wheel

took a denim shirt from my suitcase to hang over the window to block the afternoon sun,
 and then settled in for the duration

glad I remembered to throw in my reading glasses

I usually read gardening books, historical  biographies ( I have a secret crush on Ben Franklin, John James Audubon and Sam Houston, just to name a few),   or a classic written by one of the mid-west writers of the early 20th century--Cather, Steinbeck, or just one of the good ole classics.  However in anticipating the probability of breaking down I grabbed a book that looked enchanting to me.  I didn't want anything that would require deep concentration.

Picked up a book by
that I had found my last trip to the thrift store
after flipping through the pages I knew
it was a book to read

I can't sit very long; so it was off into the deep woods hunting for trolls and unicorns.

a passage from this beautiful, lyrical book reads:
He walked in the sparkling morning through scenes familiar from infancy; he saw the ruddy orchids flowering early, reminding the bluebells they were just past their prime; the small young leaves of the oak were yet a brownish yellow; the new beech-leaves shone like brass, where the cuckoo was calling clearly; and a birch tree looked like a wild wood-land creature that had draped herself in green gauze.........

 I think I found where the trolls live,
in a culvert under the road

 or maybe under the gnarly roots of this dead aspen tree

but..... not even a whisper of unicorn hooves
or a snort as it caught my scent

Shortly before dusk I was rescued

good thing I had my reading glasses so Glen could see to check the fuses

He said, "the fuses are good, I guess the new alternator we put in is bad.  We'll jump it and then I will drive it home as fast as I can,  (which can be pretty fast because the speedometer doesn't work and the burb loves to go FAST----I call it airplane mode----),  we may have to jump it several times to get it home."

"Well", said I,  "If you don't see me behind you don't get worried, I will be along shortly if it quits running, but I might find something I have to look at on the way home."  Glen nods his head knowingly, sometimes it takes 3 or 4 hours to make a one hour drive because I have to discover all the wonders along the way

almost to the summit
(notice the duct-taped back window)

                                                     we can coast a ways down if needed


saw this sign placed along the road next to a steep drop-off, I had to find a place on the twisty, winding road to turn around and go back and get a picture.  Some one on the road crew has a great sense of humor, or just was ready to go home and didn't realize how the sign was placed

cows along the open road

on the way back to the farm a few days later
this ole gal was laying on her back with 4 legs sticking in the air
I am lucky it was just a bad alternator
and not
a cow through the windshield (one experience of that happening is enough) 
hope no one was seriously hurt

No, I didn't take the burbanator back down to the farm.  I drove  17 year old Wilma down for my last CSA delivery and market.  She is fairly dependable, and took me to the farm and back up to Roosevelt without a hitch
we'll see how the trip  down again goes in a
couple of days
keep your fingers crossed
should buy a new(er) vehicle
something that won't leave me stranded
along the road,
but where's the

Friday, October 12, 2012

Radish Report/CSA delivery

This will be the last CSA delivery of the season.  I have mixed feelings about it.   I am grateful for all the wonderful friendships that have been formed over the past 6 months of weekly deliveries.  I  enjoy meeting and talking to faithful customers at the market.   However as I came in this morning from harvesting, my toes are frozen solid, my hands are so cold I keep dropping the squash, I am soaking wet from the wonderful rain, and  I realize my harvest has come to a close. I am ready to pour over the seed catalogs, sitting -- WARM and DRY-- by the fire, sipping hot chocolate, and making plans for next year.


As life goes by sometimes change happens and starts a chain reaction.  My husband has been moved to the district office as a director and will no longer work 16 hours a day, dragging in at 11:00 p.m. every night, and he will also have Saturdays off.   It will be wonderful to spend more time together and I am looking forward to it.  This change has resulted in reconfiguring the CSA and how best to accommodate my family and my customers.  So-------

     *  the CSA delivery day has been changed to Wednesday evenings  5:00 til 7:30p.m.
         in the parking lot of  the new kitchen store 188 North Main on Bluff Street in St. George

         farm pick-up will be Thursday evenings  7:00 p.m.

     *  I will be offering 3 separate seasons-----Spring, Summer, and Fall --get info at my booth
         tomorrow or follow my blog for more information

     *  my sister Shelly will be offering a limited amount of fruit shares--call her 435-703-3046
          I would suggest calling her now to reserve your spot!!!!

     *  Reserve your CSA share NOW.  We offer a limited amount because our family grows all the
         vegetables ourselves ensuring the integrity of our farm and our produce, which limits the
          amount of shares available.

As our 20th year of providing vegetables for our CSA customers draws to a close, I look forward to the next 20 years-----well, maybe not that many-------  Every one have a great winter and we'll see you in the spring!!!

I will continue with the blog, keeping you informed of what is happening on the farm and of course telling my far fetched stories, odd bits of nonsense (reality in my life), and sharing recipes-------


brussels sprouts
3 spag squash
2 turks turban
green hubbard
home-made soap
sage------just hang to dry for your Thanksgiving meal

Monday, October 8, 2012


I have always had an herb garden.  Culinary herbs that flavor the bounty from the garden.   Sage, thyme, oregano, tarragon, savory, dill......... Fresh scented, aromatic herbs to tuck in between the linens,............... lemon balm, mint, lavender,..... or make a tea to calm or rejuvenate you,........... but my favorite herbs are the medicinal ones that can cure a headache, draw the infection from a wound, and allow you better, over-all health.  This will be the year I begin my certification to become a Master Herbalist.  Something I have always wanted to do, but I  threw all my energy into producing acres of vegetables and living a sustainable life that took up all my time and effort so I never accomplished my desire to become a herbalist.   Everything and everyone has a season.  It is my season now to slow down a bit,  paint more , wander more, create more, breath deeper, enjoy the late summer of my life.  Yes I will still garden, I am rooted in the soil, but it will be a smaller garden only two or three acres.

Comfrey is one of my favorite herbs.
Every house needs comfrey at the door.  Knitbone as it was referred to in Culpepper's time is an herb that we can't live without here at the farm.  We use it for wounds, bruises, cracked hands and feet, and to sooth an itchy rash.  We feed it to chickens and rabbits in small helpings. 

HERE ARE A FEW OF OUR EXPERIENCES USING COMFREY:   Years ago when we first bought the farm  moving my comfrey to our new home was the first priority.  Being a farmer's daughter and spending all day under the sun year after year, and now year after year growing vegetables has taken it's toll on my skin.  I had a particularly large, deep, pre-cancer dug out of the front of  my cheek.  The doctor informed me that I would have a big hole in my face.  I let it scab up a day or two and then applied comfrey salve and covered it with a band aid for a couple of weeks, applying salve and changing the bandage  daily.  At my next visit 6 months later to have more from a different area removed the doctor was AMAZED that no scaring had occurred and asked what I had done to prevent it.   Just said, " hummmmmm", and semi-rolled his eyes when I told him what I had used----- some home-made comfrey salve.  I have even cleared up small patches of the pre cancer sores using just the salve.--------DISCLAIMER-------I am not giving out medical advice, please contact your physician for any medical attention.

My oldest daughter gashed her leg wide open on a nail.  It was a 4 or 5 inch long 1/2 deep cut.  I know, I know , it was something that we should of had stitched up, but we cleaned it well and applied comfrey salve and butterfly taped it together the best we could.  Kept a clean dressing and salve on for a couple of weeks.  She doesn't even have a scar.

Glen,  the boys and I were building a green house onto the front of the barn.  Glen is a big, strong, burly man and was  on a ladder, holding a roofing beam on his shoulder, wrapping his left arm around the beam to keep it in place and then hammering the nails in with his right hand.  Needless to say the awkwardness of the angle caused him to miss swing and hit his finger.  The force of the blow blew  the end of his finger off , (it looked like the back of a pop-can that had been shot, how it splits in several places and rolls back) it split his nail clear down past the cuticle length-wise in 3 places.  It was not a pretty sight.  I got down off my ladder and ran to the comfrey patch.  Grabbed a large handful of comfrey and chewed it up and  carefully placed it on his finger.  Then I wrapped it in gauze and tape.  We placed chewed comfrey on several times  a day for 3 or 4 days then switched to the comfrey salve I make.

Usually when extensive damage is done to a fingernail, the nail does not grow back in normally.  Can you tell which finger was smashed?

comfrey in bloom

Now is a good time to plant comfrey.  If getting some from a friend or neighbor, cut the leaves off at soil level.  Harvest the leaves by bundling and hanging up to dry.  Dig out the entire root ball and shake off the excess soil.  Carefully divide the roots.  Plant each root separately.  I usually divide in the early spring, but fall plantings generally take hold and grow well.  Don't wait to long, you want the root to establish itself before winter.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


As the day length decreases and the frost is turning everything brown, I begin to observe the first signs of the dreaded molt.  My hair is filling the bristles in my brush and covering the bathroom floor.  Odd I think to myself,  I don't remember it coming out quite this bad before.  Being the observant farmHer that I am I began to notice the "girls" were loosing their wavy feathers too.  Hum---------I have always observed the molting process in the hens and the natural cycle of egg production.  Less feathers------less eggs, plain and simple.   Sometimes molting will occur in  the spring if your chicks were hatched the prior spring, but generally the molt occurs in the fall of the year.   Being the curious farmHer I am I looked up information about molting and found:


INVOLVES HORMONAL FLUCTUATIONS----yep, I am on the downhill side of 50

NEED INCREASED ENERGY REQUIREMENTS----Yep, that would explain why I ate the whole bag of peanut m&m's leaving only the blue and red ones for Glen

DECREASED DAY LENGTH IS THE NORMAL TRIGGER TO MOLTING----yep, it's fall and the sun is setting around 8:30.  I'm exhausted and ready to roost for the night.

THE BEST THING FOR MOLTING IS TO ELIMINATE STRESS------guess I'll just put up my feet and eat bon bons til spring  because

                                                 I AM DEFINITELY

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


This week's CSA delivery contained:

heirloom tomatoes
slicing cucumbers
lemon cucumbers
head of broccoli
new potatoes
white bush scallop summer squash
greens of choice
sorry, forgot to dig the carrots!
turk's turban squash
spaghetti squash
buttercup squash
hubbard squash
red or gold raspberries

CSA members remember I never deliver the weekend of the marathon, Oct.6th.  The last delivery of the season will be on the 13th.  Please bring sturdy boxes or bags to carry your share home in, there will be an end of season bounty.  Thanks so much for another wonderful year.  I will have sign- up info for next year available.

WE WILL BE ACCEPTING NEW MEMBERSHIPS FOR THE UPCOMING SEASON.  If you are interested in a CSA share for the spring, summer and fall season MAY 2013 THRU OCT 24, 2013
please stop by my booth for sign-up information.