Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

JillyBean's Farm Volume II

                                   BEYOND THE BLUE DOOR

                                                     Volume two of JillyBean's Farm

                                        would of course have a picture of me on the front cover,
                          but remember I am a bit self-conscious about getting my photo taken
                               so the cover would look something like this......... I am wearing my
                                              favorite pair of cut-off work pants and my sturdy
                                                          square toed boots from the 70's

                                                           Directly north of the driveway
                                               at the little red house is a stately BLUE door.
                                  This door frames the most beautiful view, and usually a lovely
                                                                    1 acre garden,

                                                     but alas, the critters have eaten it all so
                                                 I have allowed the weeds fill in the tilled soil.

hinge on the garden gate

                                                                    They thank me by
                                     growing blossoms that feed the bees and hummingbirds.


I am not sure of the name of this weed.  It smells as awful as it is beautiful.

I have just always called it stink weed. 


                                  the view
                        beyond the blue door

                                            look under jillybean's farm tag for more volumes

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Remember back when" they" said---who are they anyway----  don't eat eggs you'll get clogged arteries,  your heart can't take more than 2 eggs a week,  your cholesterol levels will go through the roof if you eat more than two a week.
And if you do insist on eating an egg,
that's like having brownies (made with 4 eggs, including the yolks, and real butter)
without any NUTS!
Well, I threw caution to the wind (I like living dangerously) and ignored "their"----who are they anyway-----advice and happily consumed an undisclosed amount of eggs a week.  We don't eat cold cereal at our house, never have never will,  so what shall we have for breakfast?  Sometimes it is new boiled potatoes, smush with raisins, home-made left over what's in the cupboard or clean out the fridge soup, but generally it consists of eggs cooked in one way or another.
fried eggs
sunny side up-sunny side down
over easy-over hard
boiled eggs
boiled 2 minutes, boiled 4 minutes
turn the burner off and let them sit for 10 minutes
boil them until the water is gone and you smell something burning
egg salad sandwich on home made  bread--yum
scrambled eggs
toad in the hole
omelet in a bag
omelet filled with enough bad stuff to give you a heart attack
 scrambled eggs with steamed squash and cream cheese all mixed together
looks awful, tastes wonderful
eggs this way
eggs that way
oh ya, and how about eggs for supper even if ya had em' for breakfast
it's a wonder according to them---who are they anyway----
that I have even made it an undisclosed number
years past the half century mark
that my cholesterol levels are not through the roof
that my arteries will even let the blood get
to my ate to many eggs heart
I will say this however
maybe the tasteless, store bought,
over processed, over medicated, antibiotic filled,
eggs might bring on a heart attack
but not the good home grown, hormone free,
worm and bug eating chicken eggs
just my opinion------I'm not a doctor---just a grow your own food kinda gal-----
 a poached egg has got to be my favorite
is their a secret to making a good poached egg?
YIP, but I don't know what it is
believe me I have tried everything--------
use a fresh, just laid egg,
use a 3 day old egg brought to room temperature
Warming it under your armpit hurries up the process if you forgot to get up during the night to get the eggs out of the fridge so they would be at room temperature when you were ready to cook breakfast.
 a note from my own personal experience---just don't forget you have a raw egg under your arm
use only green eggs that were laid with the small end pointing north (that is my own advice)
add vinegar and salt to the water before it boils
no, add it as soon as the water boils, no wait until it boils 1 minute
then add the salt first and then the vinegar
so here is my suggestion of
Here is the way I poach an egg.  Most of the time it turns out, but most times it doesn't.
Crack an egg onto a small un-cracked, un-chipped saucer, the prettiest one you have

slowly, but quickly, slide, drop or pour it into a pan of boiling water, but not boiling very much, or maybe turned down from a rolling boil, or a bubbly simmer---take your choice
I added vinegar and garlic salt to the water  you could add just regular salt, maybe that would make a difference--seriously not to much vinegar it will flavor the egg

the eggs will sink to the bottom and raise up to the surface as they cook.
sorry the steam fogged my lens
sometimes scooping the white back around the yolk with a large metal, or is it a wooden spoon helps the egg
maintain an egg shape
sometimes it doesn't help at all
cook 2 minutes for soft poached
4 to 6 minutes for a firmer yolk

serve with home grown veges and fruit to off set the artery clogging properties of the egg
If you know the secret to a perfectly poached egg EVERY TIME please leave a comment and let us all in on the secret!


Beautiful, deep alizerine crimson, sometimes  verging on the edge of being a purpley- black color.  I am a beet fan.  Eating a beet is feasting on the soil without getting dirt in your teeth.  A beet's smell and taste is reminisce of by gone days.  They connect us with our humble roots, when survival was dictated by what you could "put by" to get you through the long winter months.  We grow several varieties here at the farm.  Choiggia, a red and white striped beet, the delicious golden beets, a cylinder beet, and the good old fashioned red Detroit.

The beet seed, sometimes referred to as a fruit,  contains 2 to 6 kernels that plants will grow from.   Most people thin their beets which is necessary  in order to get the big 3-4 inch roots, but I just plant and then harvest the beets when they are 1 inch across.  They are extremely sweet and tender at this stage.   As I harvest  the small  beets it allows room for the other beets to obtain  growth and size.  By late summer I have thinned out the patch sufficiently to allow the remaining beets to mature.

BEETS will be at my booth this week in Ancestor Square.

To harvest, collect the beets, but do not wash.  Cut the tops back to 1 inch.  Have boxes of moist sand ready to bury the beets in leaving space between them.  Put in a root cellar or cold basement. Keep sand moist. ( I use old dresser drawers, line with plastic sheeting, put in sand  --first--- then alternate beets and sand.  Completely cover the beets and then loosely draw the plastic over the beets, you want a little air flow)


Bury a galvanized trash can to the rim, alternate layers of moist sand and beets. Put on lid, cover with an old carpet and straw.  If your winters are severe pile dirt on top of the straw and cover with plastic.------note drill a few holes in the top and bottom to allow for air circulation-----I haven't tried this one


This is by far the easiest, but not if you have a problem with gophers.  A gopher will be fat and sassy by spring because he feasted on beets all winter.    Just leave them in the ground.  Cover with bales of straw and dig as needed.  You can do this with carrots also.

If you have any suggestions about storing beets, leave a comment telling us your methods.

Don't forget to harvest the tops all summer long, they will keep growing new leaves until a killing frost.


2 cups coarsely shredded raw beets
2 cups shredded raw carrots
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/3 c. olive oil
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. chopped chives
Mix together and serve over a bed of lettuce.


Boil beets and slip skins--shred--
Mix together:
3 cups shredded cooked beets
1 tbs. lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
In a sauce pan simmer til it boils:
2 tbs. vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Pour over beets and chill.  Serve in a small bowl with a dollop of sour cream and fresh chive flowers.


Put ingredients in a sauce pan and boil for 5 minutes.
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs. cornstarch
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tbs. oil
Add 6-8 med cooked, peeled and sliced beets
Simmer on low for 20 minutes


1/2 tsp ground cloves
1&1/2 tsp. celery seed
1-3inch broken up cinnamon stick
tye spices in cheese-cloth and add to
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
Boil spices and ingredients together for 5 minutes. Remove spice bag.

In a 2 quart canning jar place 10 small beets, cooked and peeled, and 5 peeled boiled eggs.  Pour hot liquid over top.  Make sure beets and eggs are completely covered.  Let cool and keep refrigerated.  Use within 2 weeks.


Monday, August 20, 2012

captured moment

Sometimes the simple everyday things in life are the most memorable

my boys and the sunset

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


                                                    Door to the arbor at the little red house

I have always been fascinated by doors.  Not the new  fancy doors, but old doors that have a story to tell.  Our old early 1900's solid rock house in Nevada had the most beautiful doors.  When we moved and sold the house, I wanted to take them all out and incorporate them into the little red house, but I didn't because I did not want to compromise it's integrity and it's soul. We often hear that eye's are the window to our me, a door is the window to a home's soul.

Front Door to the Little Red House

it reflects the way we live

I used a wood burning tool to make the sunflower

A sunflower is a vibrant, happy, joyful, flower

Side door at the LITTLE RED HOUSE
had to paint this for the insurance man
(I painted it bright yellow)
it used to really show it's age
it came from Glen's brother
when they remodeled their old house and wanted a new door
they knew it would have a good home with us.

Door to the Hen House Hotel

Door and screen door to the house at the ranch where my grandpa was born

Inset glass above the door at the  Ranch.  It is hand painted.  I don't know who painted it but I think it is BEAUTIFUL!

Friday, August 10, 2012


                             Every year at this time we celebrate the beautiful, bountiful harvest
                                                        by hosting a Farm to Fork dinner.
                                   This year it will be held on Saturday, August 18th at 6:30 p.m.

                                     We will gather (I love that word) at the little red house.
                                           Walk to the farm, harvest items for our meal,                       
                                    have a nice  ------long----- visit while dinner is prepared
                                                and hopefully get you home by mid-night!


or let me know at market.

CSA members free

10.00 a plate


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Radish Report/CSA delivery/RECIPES

Got a bit side-tracked lately with all the tilling and planting for a fall harvest.  CSA shares for
August  4th,   included:

Full Share:

About 10 pounds of tomatoes
A huge 8 ball squash that I re-named "bowling ball" squash for marinating and grilling.  You might try this; after grilling  add some pizza sauce and cheese, place under the broiler until cheese is melted and you have a tasty zucchini pizza.

summer squash-- all you wanted ( patty pan, yellow sunburst, green and yellow eight ball, straight yellow, zucchini )
head of Broccoli
Armenian Cucumber
3 slicing cucumbers
a bundle of 10 or more Beets
large 10 oz. bag of Greens,  you mix your own,  (beet greens, red romaine, green romaine, red oak, flame, green oak, ruby red, curly mustard, red mustard,)
Broccoli leaf  (see recipe below)

Fruit Share:
 yellow peaches
 white peaches

Many of you have asked about how to cook the beets.  You need to wash beets extremely  well especially where the leaves meet the root bulb.  NEVER peel a beet------well I guess if you want to----- but I never do.  You may steam or boil them.  Leave the leaves attached.   Top with real butter and a splash of vinegar, or lemon juice.  Loro suggested rice vinegar, she said it was a lot better that way.  Thanks Loro I'm going to try your suggestion.

Here's my favorite way.....ROASTED........... again do not peel.  Just cut the leaves off leaving about an inch attached.  I leave the root on also cause it gets crunchy.  YUM.  Now put them in a big bowl and add baby carrots, the new potatoes in your share, onions, peppers or whatever root crops you may have.  Cut into similar sizes if needed.  Cover with olive oil and season with salt and seasoning of choice.  See an earlier post, A Perfect Day, for directions. 

                                                                         The beet leaves are torn from the hail, but the roots are very tender and tasty


Many of you already make kale chips and the same principal applies to broccoli.  Cut into 2 inch squares, add just enough olive oil to cover and season.  ( use sea salt, herbs and spices, maybe even a sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese).  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 8 mins.  Some people bake at a lower temp for a longer period of time.

I'll share more recipes when I have a little more time.  Got to run there are a KAZILLION things to get done today.  Thanks for letting me be your farmer.  I'm happiest when I am out puttering in the dirt!

Monday, August 6, 2012

OH HAIL....the saga continues

Tuesday during the hail storm I received a call asking if a photographer could come out to the farm on Thursday evening and take pictures for a Documentary he was working on about small farms in Utah.  I was only getting bits and pieces of the conversation because the storm was interfering with the reception.  Sure I said, not knowing at that time the extension of the damage done to the crops.  The next morning however as I surveyed the pathetic lettuce beds I thought, (OH HAIL) "Just my luck, been doing this 20 years and the first time it NEEDS to look amazing I get wiped out by a HAIL storm."  Not only was the garden a mess, but the house was a disaster also.  You see, we are remodeling the one and only bathroom and the only bedroom.... (we call it the little red house for a reason) all the stuff from the bedroom is in the only other room in the house,( that is the main living area). Don't forget the floods, we had pulled all the dishes out of the old cabinet, and scooted the cabinet away from the wall so the wood floor could dry out.    It sat in the middle of our 7 foot square dining area and the table was pushed up against the fridge,  all the dishes were piled on the table, and any available room on the floor.
                                       It looked as if our house had been ransacked.
                                                               O.K......deep breath.......
 We can have this sorted out by Thursday afternoon, and semi put back together.The next day at Market in Cedar City, on Wednesday afternoon, I met Brent Rowland.  He is a writer, a photographer, an artist, and a really nice guy.  He asks if he can come over in the  morning........yes, I said morning........I said that would be great and we set a time for 7:30.  And to add to my already disarray, I invited him to stay for lunch and I would fix him STUFFED SQUASH BLOSSOMS, our families' traditional summer food.  He had another farm to photograph after mine and said he would be glad to come back and stay for lunch. Got home from market around 9:00 p.m., told the boys they would be up at 4:30 helping me get the house put back together.  They were over-joyed.
Bright and early we began moving furniture back into the (unfinished) bedroom, trying to make some headway on the dish cupboard, but Jake and I got a little sidetracked "arranging", we had to make sure things matched and all the tea pots were in the right place,

                                                (  Everything had to be put back just----so--)

 and that the prettiest dishes were in the top of the cupboard and not in the bottom, and did this lid go with that set, or do we have all the cups and saucers that go with this set?  Anyway, we had to leave dishes stacked all over the room and get to the farm to do some last minute clean-up of the garden.  Brent got a wee bit lost which gave us an extra half hour.   WHEW!  We had a great time.  I hope he was able to get some good shots of the garden.  He left to go to the four country gals and we hurried back down to the house and started lunch, and trying to find the bottom of the living room.  Brent specifically wanted to photograph my corner office in the sun room so we added that to our list of things to get done in 90 minutes!

Between frantic re- arranging I made a wild rice and black bean pilaf with fresh picked, steamed broccoli.  Chicken spinach wraps featuring Shelly's grapes and lettuce I managed to find in the garden.  Sliced an Armenian cucumber I got from Ben and served small cherry tomatoes on the side.  When he arrived I quickly stuffed the squash blossoms with a quick set goat cheese seasoned with fresh sage that I had made early, EARLY, EARLY that morning.  Dipped them in batter and fried them in olive oil. (I'll do a post about them later). The house got put back together in a presentable fashion (excepts for the dishes still piled on the table), but that would be alright we would eat outside in the driveway. We ate, swatted away flies, and enjoyed the good food, great company, beautiful weather, and the beauty around us.  Brent, if you read this I hope your project gets published, and your goals and dream are met.  I am chalking up the day as another

                                                  PERFECT DAY!.

This old cupboard was in a shed at Glen's house when he was young.  One day his dad asked Glen if he would help load it in the truck so they could haul it to the dump........GASP............ fortunately I over-heard the conversation, offered to go get our truck and haul it away to our house.  I added old windows and some shelving.  I still need to Mosaic the top

Friday, August 3, 2012


For the past two weeks it has rained most every day.  Beautiful storms, one 2 weeks ago even giving us 3 inches of moisture.  For those of you who live in the desert, you understand what is meant by the phrase "Gully Washer".   Well we got the gully washer of the century on Tuesday afternoon!  I'm talkin' rain so thick you couldn't see 5 feet in front of you and an hour's worth of HAIL to go with it.  Now mind you I was giddy with excitement.  Rushing here and there looking at all the water, managing to take  a few pictures before the battery ran out on my camera and I didn't have new ones anywhere in the house.  Watching the water rising higher and higher all over the ground.  Getting a bit anxious when it began to fill up the sun room, but still realizing we needed the moisture.  ( OH,  HAIL) I really didn't even mind when it reached about 7 or 8 inches between the pump house and the little red house.  I really didn't even mind when it began inching out from under my dish cupboard (OH HAIL) ) and running all over the kitchen floor.  Our house is built on a cement slab that is raised about 6 inches off the ground.   But it was at that point I quit enjoying the storm and realized I'd better do something quick.  Well, this is where I eat humble pie.  After all the griping I have done about the gophers destroying my crops, it was a pesky little gopher who saved my house.  I grabbed a shovel and began digging a deep trench, trying to get the water away from the house.  I had shoveled about 5 feet when I hit a gopher hole.  Now those of you who deal with gophers know how much water you can loose down a gopher hole.......good thing........the water immediately receded enough to quit running into the house, but the gopher hole filled up fast (that means I had a lot of water folks) and I was back to digging trenches trying to get to low ground.......which we don't have............The rain receded just enough and the water had soaked in the gopher hole enough....  that the  hole was able to drain the water away.  Thank you, little gopher, but this does not guarantee your existence.  After the storm let up a bit we hurried to the farm to do the chores.  The lightening was everywhere (oh HAIL).  I have lots of lightening stories to I was a bit concerned about one of us getting hit.  Got the chores done and scooted back to the house.  It quit raining around 11:00 p.m. so we hopped in the car and went for a drive to see if the ponds were full at the corner,  yip they were.  The 3 or 4 foot bar pits on each side of the road were filled, and the water was across the road.  My boys got out of the car and went wadding using the headlights of the car to see.  What a hoot,  I LOVE rain in the desert !
Next morning I surveyed the damage from the hail and rain.  All the greens were destroyed (oh Hail), they were beaten to a black mush.  Cut them all back and fed to the chickens.  Hopefully they will produce enough for Saturdays CSA delivery.  The beets survived because of the protection of the weeds that have grown out of control from all the rain.  The squash leaves were full of holes.  I went to Wednesdays market and didn't have a thing (vegetable) to take, but advertised the spinning retreat and hung out with the four country .  My sister Shelly felt so sorry for me she sent me home with a whole box of "ugly fruit", I like it best because it tastes wonderful.   Thanks Shelly.  Bought some batteries so I could take a few pictures.  There is still water standing in the fields after 2 days.  I still am so thankful for the rain.  We needed it so desperately.  The crops will recover just fine, in fact with all the rain, my garden looks beautiful!!!!!!!

rain running off the sun-room at the little red house


standing water

squash leaves looked like this

red mustard leaf

corn is all shredded


look at how green and beautiful

this part of the garden was sheltered by trees so it didn't get damaged

broccoli will be in the large shares this Saturday

This is squash at the farm that escaped the critters

The weeds helped protect the beets (now I have an excuse not to weed!)

These few cabbage, behind a fence look good, but the others were hit hard.
Probably won't have many cabbage leaves this year at market

This Rhubarb is too beautiful for words!

Cauliflower took it hard, but it will bounce back o.k.

I know I just posted, but I had to show you this before the magic wears off. 


Thursday, August 2, 2012

sunset August 2

Sorry, just couldn't let this beautiful sun set go to waste on just a few folks .   Wish I would of had my camera last night it was even better than this.  It was fire orange instead of yellow.  I was on my way home from farmer's market and observed it changing colors all the way home.  I passed several cars pulled off the road taking pictures.  They were lucky to have their camera's with them.

This is the reflection in the clouds in the eastern sky...........................

 um, what on earth is that? 

 I get this question ALL the time.    I am an artist, and a bit odd, and I do things...... just because......... so I usually just shrug my shoulders and give some answer like, " It is a bulb tree, or I like the way the sun shines through the colored glass".  Well, early this summer as I was out working and as the day got warmer, I took off my jacket.   I looked around for a place to put it so I wouldn't forget to take it home.  There was a perfect little branch, just the right height half-way up the bulb tree so I hung my jacket there.  Now I can tell people, who don't understand us quirky, eccentric, imaginary, people that " It is a COAT RACK!"