Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Thursday, March 29, 2012

SPRING FLOWERS




                                                                           TULIPS



As I was driving around town yesterday I noticed all the beautiful spring flowers.  I went home and dug through my paintings of flowers.  I took some pictures of the paintings and modified them with the computer.




                                                                            IRIS

                           Iris is my favorite spring flower.  They are not up yet, but will be soon.





                                                            WHITE LILACS on a chair

Lilacs are the smell of warmer days to come.  Here in Roosevelt we have several lilac bushes.  I am down to the farm by the time they bloom.  My lilacs at the farm have never bloomed.  When we first moved there a neighbor said she had been there 25 years and had never seen her lilacs bloom.  We have now been there 15 years and my more than 30 lilac bushes have never bloomed, it's just too cold.  I am hoping with this warmer spring maybe they will!!!!!





A FARMER

When I painted this I thought it looked like someone on my dads side of the family.  What do you think????

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

CSA INFORMATION




A  CSA  (community supported agriculture)  is a partnership between the farmer and the share holder.  The member pre-pays for the seasons produce.  The farmer then buys seeds, supplies, tools etc. needed to produce the vegetables for the up-coming season.  This assures that the vegetables produced will not be wasted.  Every week as produce matures it is picked, divided, and delivered within hours to your area.

We take great pride in offering your family the tastiest, healthiest, and freshest vegetables and fruits available.  We do not use any chemicals, pesticides, or fertilizers of any kind.  We take the stewardship of our little farm right to heart and will always do whats best for the land and the customers we feed. 

Monthly installments are available.  Please contact me at to set up a schedule.  A deposit is required.

Early Season deliveries do not contain as many vegetables as the summer season.

Here is a list of items delivered on June 26th and July 3rd of 2010

Items delivered will vary according to the season and what is available at the delivery time.  Each week will vary as well as  season to season.



year 2010
 
The  season has more greens at the first of the season due to the vegetables still growing and ripening.  The amount of the above vegetables received was determined by the share size.  As the season progressed the variety of vegetables becomes a larger selection.   You can expect to have 3 or 4 bags of veges during the peak season.  Also we allow unlimited greens each week and beg you to take all the summer squash you will.                                                                                                                                                               



CSA  FULL SHARE DELIVERY ON AUGUST 10, 2011  INCLUDED;

1 LB. String beans
1 LB. Yellow Wax Beans
3 Japanese eggplant
2 Armenian cucumbers
2 long english cucumbers
5 slicing cukes
2 LBS. Heirloom Tomatoes, brandywine, cherry chocolate, great white, cream sausage, banana leg, orange amana and more
baby salad mix- as much as you wanted
2 large storage onions
golden beets
red beets
carrots
1 dozen corn
2 LBS. Potatoes-  red, fingerlings, purple viking, rose mountain, purple, yukon, yellow finn, russets
1 LB Rhubarb

The fruit share for that week included:
Canary Melon
Grapes
8 peaches
1pt. strawberries

The items listed above is what was available on that particular day.  Every season is different depending on the weather and produce/fruit available

 Below is a list of the vegetables we grow.





You can find a detailed listing of the vegetables we grow on the local harvest web site.  They also have recipes, just click on the icon by the individual vegetable.

The fruit share is grown locally by my younger sister Shelly and her cute family of tree monkeys

They grow cherries, grapes, apples, watermelons, cantaloupe, peaches, pears and apricots


LET OUR FAMILY GROW YOUR FAMILIES' FOOD.

I only have a pre-determined amount of shares available.  Shares are reserved when a deposit  is received.  Please e-mail  JILL at cricketsongfarm@hotmail.com.        Thanks!





Arugula/Rocket

Arugula or rocket, as it is sometimes called, is a spicy, peppery green used in salads.  It is generally eaten fresh, but some recipes call for it to be slightly wilted.  It is a green that few people ask for at market, however I do have several people who come faithfully each week for their arugula.  The taste reminds me of the watercress we used to gather from the creek when I was a kid, however it is more pundgent.  It is growing in popularity especially in the fancy resturants.  We grow arugula in the green house for early spring and late fall harvests.  This winter was very mild compared to most years and we picked arugula all winter except for January.  It does very well in the greenhouse environment.  Often greens grown in the green house will get "slimmy", but arugula grows in an upright position that allows  enough air flow around the leaves so it won't rot.


Arugula already going to seed in the greenhouse in late March
I allow the fall Arugula in the greenhouse to go to seed and it is one of the first plants to break ground in the spring.  Green house grown arugula is lighter in color and larger leafed than the out door grown arugula.  It is a little milder also.  I prefer it grown this way.

COMPANION PLANTING:   a few years back I had problems with the flea beetles eating my lettuce.  I raise a large variety of lettuces for market and my CSA shares and was quite concerned about the damage the beetles were causing.  In one of my mesclen plantings I noticed the lettuce was undisturbed and the arugula planted with it was full of holes.  After closer inspection of all the greens I discovered that the beetles prefered the spicy greens (arugula, mustard, mache etc.) to the lettuse.  Now I plant large patches of arugula next to the lettuce beds to attract the flea bettles.  The flea beetles are usually a problem in the early spring and then they lay their eggs to over winter and hatch the following spring.  I read that if you would keep the weeds and debry out of your garden you won't have to much trouble with them.  Well, we pull every weed by hand instead of using chemical sprays and we mulch heavily to conserve water so I guess we will just have to feed them arugula through the spring.


Give this green a try you just may like it----or maybe not------


ARUGULA and FIG SALAD

4 cups arugula
8 fresh figs      (Sarah has yummy figs at the Ansestor Square Market)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan Cheese
4 tbs. toasted pinenuts
2 tbs. honey
2 tbs. balsamic vinegar

Toss washed, dried and torn arugula, figs, cheese, and pinenuts in a bowl.  Whisk honey and vinegar together.  Pour over salad before serving.






ARUGULA PESTO SAUCE

3c. arugula, packed----wash and dry well
1/3c. pinenuts toasted
1/2c. fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large clove garlic chopped
3 tbs. olive oil

Add all ingredients except olive oil into a food processor.  Chop until fine.  Add oil in a slow, steady stream while blending.  Blend until smooth.  This will keep in a fridge for a week.  Add hot water if it is to thick.







BACON AND ARUGULA SALAD

washed, dried, torn Arugula
1 lb. bacon chopped
2 large eggs--from our hens of course
1/4c. cider vinegar
2 tbs. honey
dash of paprika, salt & pepper
1/4c. milk
1/2 stick unsalted butter

Cook bacon until crisp.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, vinegar, honey, paprika, salt and pepper.  Warm milk in a large saucepan.  Remove from heat add butter.  When butter is melted add 1/2 of the warm milk to the egg mixture.  Whisking constantly; pour this mixture into the remaining pan of milk.  Cook over medium-low heat.  Do not over-heat the eggs will curdle.  Pour over torn arugula.  Add bacon on top.  Serve immediately.






CORN, ESCAROLE AND ARUGULA SALAD

3 tbs. Balsamic vinegar
freshly ground pepper and sea salt
3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove minced
6 cups trimmed escarole or curly endive
2 cups arugula
fresh uncooked corn

Wash greens, spin or pat dry.  Tear into pieces.  In a large salad bowl whisk vinegar, salt and pepper.  Add olive oil in a thin stream whisking constantly.  Whisk in minced garlic.
Using a very sharp knife cut kernels from the corn.  Stir kernels into the vinaigrette.  Add greens and toss until the leaves are coated with the dressing.  Plate the salad.  Scoop corn kernels left on the bottom of the bowl onto the top of each salad serving.

Monday, March 26, 2012

"LET'S GO PLANT A TREE"

Yeah, spring break.  Loaded the car with my  " work crew"  and headed to the farm.  The first 3 days we had snow and you guessed it W-I-N-D.  I am not complaining because we always need the moisture-----well maybe the w-i-n-d made me a bit grumpy cause we had so much to do.  We worked in the sun room, to keep out of the weather, building cold frames to put in the garden and made my office corner pretty with curtains and a desk I got from my awesome sister Vicky.   I can hardly wait to sit at my desk (it has sunflowers carved on every drawer) and draw and paint while looking out the big picture window at my beautiful farm.



                                                        TREES

------------ there is something wonderful and magical about a tree.  I am a tree planter.  It's not my fault really I just come from a long line of tree planters.  As a child I would swing on a rope tied to a large branch of a hugh Elm out in the back yard.  We lived next to my Grandpa Terry.  He owned 1/4th of a town block.  I'm not sure how big that is probably about two acres.  He had a large garden and lots and lots of big trees.  The Elms were large and magestic.  We spent hours climbing- higher than we should have---, building forts and tree houses, playing in the sand pile and relaxing in the hammocks under the shade of those beautiful trees.  We even held a furnel for my dearly beloved dead pigeon under the comforting branches of one of those trees. (now that is another story).

My father is also a tree planter.  He has a beautiful fruit orchard, pines, spruces, cottonwood,  aspens and more.    Rachael, my youngest sister of us 7 girls wrote a song about helping  dad plant trees.  It is sung to the tune of "Let's Go Fly A Kite" from the Marry Poppins movie.  I think I have the words right, if not Rach let me know.

LET'S GO PLANT A TREE,

ONE, TWO, OR FIFTY-THREE.

OUT WHERE THE SUN WILL SHINE,

FAR FROM THE WATER LINE.

LET'S GO-----PLANT A TREE!!!!!

I added this verse:

LET'S GO PLANT A TREE,

NOT JUST FOR YOU AND ME,

BUT FOR EVERYONE,

LONG AFTER WE ARE GONE.

LET'S GO PLANT A TREE!


Well, guess what was at the top of my long list of things to get done at the farm.  Yep------planting trees.  Friday morning dawned beautiful, the snow had melted.  It was 32 degrees.  That was warm enough.  We bundled up and began digging.  The ground was only frozen hard about an inch so we were able to dig.  Where ever an Elm tree sprouts on the farm we leave it there 2 or 3 years and then trans-plant to where we would like it to live.  I dug out the trees while the boys dug the new tree holes.  We got about 10 of the small 6 to 8 footers transplanted.  I had the boys dig a bunch of large holes for the larger trees I will transplant when I get to the farm at the end of April.  I am lucky to have such good helpers.  THANKS GUYS!


keep trees moist to allow the roots to begin new growth

I tried to calculate how many trees I (and my  helpers) have planted over the years. I'm guessing around 500.  No, they haven't all lived.  The tree we have the most success dealing with our wind and weather is the Elm.  I have expermented with all kinds.  I do not have an orchard, sadly it is too cold here for fruit trees (my lilacs don't even blossom).  When we first moved to the farm I planted 200 spruce trees which the jack rabbits ate over the winter without so much as a thank-you.  Now when we plant an ever-green tree we fence it.  The ever-greens need to be planted in the spring so their root system will be ready to support the tree over the winter.  The honey locust, cotton wood and silver leaf something or another do well in this area.  I haven't tried an ash yet, that is next on my list of trees to try.  Does anyone have a suggestion for a tree that will grow in 40 below zero, windy, weather, clay, hard pan soil and tastes awful so the rabbits won't eat it?

LET'S ALL GET OUT AND PLANT A TREE OR TWO, OR FIFTY-THREE  THIS SPRING.

As for me I will plant, and plant, and plant, and plant trees until -------- 

I AM PLANTED IN THE GROUND!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's SPRING!!!!

How do I know it's spring?  Not from the 6'' of snow we received the last 2 days and the blistery winds.  Not because the eagles are all gone except one lone bald who stands sentry over the farm from his perch high in the tree.  Not by the stench of the skunk's spray defending his territory.  Not because the first robin of the season was spotted scouting out the perfect crook to build his nest.


No, I have my own unique way to tell it's spring.

STINK BUGS

or
Darkling Beetles

Every year when spring arrives I begin to find stink bugs.  Not outside (it's still to cold), but crawling across my floor in the little red house.  I know this may be a little disconcerting to some of you, but admit it we all harbor 6 or 8 legged creatures weather it be spiders, silverfish , scorpion, or roaches.  I actually have never seen a roach, I wonder of the stink bug eats them.  I usually see them as they make their way slowly accross the floor, but several times I have heard a crunch and then immediately smelt my mistake.   To dispose of them I have an old House for Sale sign that I scoop them up with.  It is slick so once the stink bug is on it the bug can't crawl up the sign and up my arm.  Then I sent the pour little smelly guy to a watery grave.

this guy was crawling up the bedroom curtain


A few interesting facts about stink bugs:

There are approx 20,000 different species of stink bugs over the world.  The variety that live at the farm (genus Eleodes) are large 1-2 inchs long,  hard-bodied and have long legs.  The long legs keep their bodies up off the ground so they can travel over hot sand and soil.  Their wings are welded to their bodies to help trap moisture.  Stink bugs do not need water.  They extract moisture from their food, they can even get moisture from ground flour.  When disturbed they assume a defensive position by standing on their heads and releasing chemicals from a scent gland in the rear that produces noxious ordors and will stain your skin brown if you come in contact with the chemicals.  "Carver quit catching those blasted stink bugs you smell awful"  I have been known to say more than once.  I also call my children affectionally, "You little Stinker Bug".

Mama stink bug lays 100's of tiny white, oval eggs, which later hatch into mealworms (larval stage)  it takes 4 to 9 days to hatch.  Each mealworm sheds it's exoskeleton many times as it grows.  It then enters the pupal stage (2-3 weeks to 9 months if it over winters).  The pupa transforms itself into an adult.  It is white when it emerges from the pupa----it soon turns black.   They feast on decaying material and will even cut plants off and munch on them.   Adults live for a few months.  The entire life cycle takes about a year.  This beetle is found in all regions of the world.  They usually live in dark, cool, moist places (like under my house) and under rocks and logs.

Why don't I bug bomb under my house?  Because I can tolerate the little fellers for a few days and besides STINK BUGS are my own personal RITE OF SPRING.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Blasted Cold






So, I headed south this past week.  The weather up here in Roosevelt had been beautiful, sunny and warm.  I got an itch to run down to the farm for a few days and get ready for the coming up market season.  Well it's not as warm down there (even though people up here think it's warmer) so of course when I pulled into the yard late Monday night I was hit with a gale force wind and blowing snow.  The next two days the daytime high made it to a balmy,  haha,  26 degrees and the wind was clocked at 80 miles and hour.  How much work do you think I got done?  NOTHING, NOTA , ZERO, ZIP.  The weather didn't seem to bother the new "crop" of lambs, however.



AWWWWWWWW!






I think I'll call her ANGEL





Jacob Sheep make such good moms.  In the 15 or more years I've raised them I have not had any problems.



Not being able to get much done outside, on  Thursday  I ran away to Bunkerville Nevada to see my younger sister and take her a few items.  She is an amazing photographer and refinishes and builds furniture.  She has a blog also   http://emmalsplace.blogspot.com/


 .


Friday dawned without a wind and was actually quite warm so I drove over and visited with the 4 Country Gals.  They are a hoot!  I will pay them a "Farm Visit" and tell you all about them in the future.  4 retired gals living their dream of running a small organic farm.
Had to head back up north  The boys were getting a little tired of dad's cooking.  I'll be down again over spring break, but this time the "work crew" will be with me.  Even if the wind is blowing, which I can assure you it will be, we have got a kazillion things to do.  I can hardly wait! 


Monday, March 12, 2012

BROCCOLI

  Over the years I have tried all kinds of broccoli and always go back to the good ole' stand-by Waltham 29.  There are several Hybrids that are fairly platable and prolific.  Packman and Green Comet.  Taste is my criteria for growing veges and Waltham is my favorite.  Calabrese is prolific and hardy but it tastes awful ( that's just my opinion).






"Mom, you spoiled us with your home-grown broccoli, I can"t gag that store bought stuff down,"  said my oldest daughter after she had left home for college.

We love broccoli at our house, that is all except my youngest son, but thats o.k. with his older brother it just means more for him.



To get a good crop of broccol start seeds indoors 8 weeks before your last frost date.  I like to use rolled newspaper cups.  Broccoli does not like it's roots disturbed and planting the newspaper cup directly into the ground gives the broccoli the ability to start growing without going into transplant shock.  Plant broccoli outside about 2-3 weeks before your last frost date.  If the frosts are hard cover the broccoli at night.  Keep evenly moist.  The flavor is compromised if you allow it to dry out.  I mulch  with old hay.  As soon as the weather turns hot the broccoli will become bitter.

To harvest broccoli cut the stem off at a 45 degree angle, this allows the water to run off the stem so it won't rot.  Harvest when the florets are small and tightly closed.  I have learned you must bag and refridgerate the heads immediately or it will yellow and the flowers will  open and it tastes , can I use the word awful again? Continue to harvest the small side shoots and the LEAVES.  The leaves are often over looked.  Use them sauted, steamed, or  in the green drink.  I have wondered about making them into chipps.......Humm, I'll try this and let you know.
For a fall crop of broccoli plant seeds directly into the ground mid July thru Sept depending on your first frost date.  To calculate the best planting date  check the variety package of how many days it takes to mature and count back that many days .  This should give you an exact date of when to plant.  Remember to keep well watered.  A fall crop is better because they don't turn bitter, a  light  frost makes them even a little sweeter.


I will publish some of our tried and favorite recipes with each vegetable I write about.  So I asked the kids what their favorite broccoli recipes were. 


-----"Broccoli?" and pulled a face of disgust..I guess I like it best in soup, I just don't eat broccoli, but you can ask me about other vegetables.


-----"Broccoli Casserole can we have that this week?"


----- ' I like your broccoli right out of the garden.  If  it's from the store I need dip".


My interest was piqued by my youngest's remark. "What is your favorite vegetable I asked my other son.  His responce  "Cucumbers".  That I can attest to, I have had to make a rule with him, that  he can only have 5 cucumbers a day.  He was a little objectional about that because he was eating close to 20 daily.  I thought 5 was a fair amount, besides I needed some left  to take to market.  He continued, " Cucumber is one of them, broccoli, lettuce, and tomatoes.  I must say however, my favorite vegetable is a PICKLE.  I love pickles."

 "What it your favorite vegetable?"  I asked my youngest.  "Cucumber or tomatoe or carrot or avocado, is that a vegetable?  I just don't like them cooked.  Olives, are they considered a vegetable?  Lettuce, I love lettuce."  He replied.


CREAM OF BROCCOLI SOUP

Cook 1 lb. of bacon cut into small pieces.  In a large pot boil 2c.  cut carrots, 3c. potato chunks and 1-2  lbs. of broccoli pieces.  In a saute pan melt 3 tbs. butter and add 1/4c. to 1/2c. flour.  Make a rue.  Add 1/2 gallon milk and heat until thickened, stirring constantlly.  In the bacon grease saute 3-5 cloves of minced garlic, 1c. chopped onion and 1c. chopped celery.   Pour water off vegetable and save.  Put milk , bacon,  sauted garlic, onion and celery into the pot.  Add 1-2c. grated cheese of choice.  Salt and pepper to taste.  If the soup needs more liquid pour in the reserved vegetable water.  Heat through.  I actually like this soup better  the next day.


BROCCOLI SOUFFLE'

1c. chopped steamed broccoli
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
1c. milk
1/2C.. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
5 egg yolks
6 egg whites, whipped until stiff
1&1/2 qt. souffle baking dish

Sprinkle 1/4 c. of cheese in bottom of dish.  Melt butter in a saucepan.  Add flour and cook until golden.  Add milk cooking until thick.  Stir.  Remove from heat and add salt and pepper, worcestershire sauce, egg yolks one at a time.  Stir in cooked broccoli.  Gently fold in whipped egg whites.  Pour into souffle' dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake 350   30-35 mins.

NOTE;  I HAVE  USED FINELY CHOPPED FRESH SPINACH FOR THIS SOUFFLE' INSTEAD OF THE BROCCOLI.ALSO TRY INDIVIDUAL SERVINGS IN SMALL RAMIKINS.  yummmmmmmm.