Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Stocking Are Hung...

The stockings are hung not by the chimney, but on the walnut sacks! Enjoy this season of family, love, and joy. Enjoy the Christmas songs,baking, wrapping, laughter of loved ones, and some twinkle lights.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Eggs

Each Spring, we raise baby chicks in my classroom and students are allowed to take the chicks home to start their own home flock of nesters or add to an existing flock. Every year about 10 students(with parent permission!)take home a one or two baby layers and usually add to the starter kit! One of my students's mom from last year's class was asking how our hens are laying right now and I had to admit the dreaded truth: we had no eggs being produced. Furthermore, we were forced to buy eggs at the store and I shared how my mom had teased me about paying for eggs. Well, surprise of surprises walked into my classroom just before the Christmas Break. This beautiful tin, from a very dear family who started their own small flock!
The perfect gift! Thank you, Riley, Alena, and Dave, these eggs are golden!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Walnut Harvest

We are still in the midst of Walnut Season! The eight English walnut trees have produced abundantly. The photos also show what a beautiful fall we have had...still no hard freezes, so the leaves on the trees got to turn every colorful shade and we have enjoyed the streaming golden light everyday. Some of our grandkids have come to help pick up and play in the walnuts and on Halloween they had a brown sugar coated treat to keep the monsters away! At this time of year there are fewer crates drying inside by the woodstove, usually between two and four crates. At the height of the collecting season, there were 3 racks across by 4 racks high by 6 racks deep in our living room...that is a lot of walnuts drying with two fans blowing and the woodstove keeping a steady dry heat. Literally hundreds and hundreds of pounds have been picked, dried, cured, bagged, and shelled! Now we are selling them by the poundage either in the shell or out of the shell. Once they are shelled, it is best to freeze them right away for the optimum freshness. We like to use vacuum packers in pint and quart size bags, but also use freezer bags. We are enjoying the nuts in the kitchen eating them raw, in granola bars, walnut pralines, in soup, plum cake, cranberry-orange-walnut birthday cake, pumpkin or butternut squash casserole, in Thanksgiving stuffing, brown sugar and cinnamon coated, and more! We also love the leafless walnut branches silhouetted against a crisp, cool, clear evening sky~ How do you like your walnuts?

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Oh, the pears from the Rogue Valley are irresistably tasty treats! We have several varieties on the farm and each one is perfect for one form or eating or preserving as the other: Dehydrated pears, pear butter, canned pears, pear pie (YUM) and fresh to eat or juiced pears. One of the sweetest, juiciest parts of the autumn harvest.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat!

Happy Halloween! Enjoy all of the little ghosts and goblins in your neighborhood!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ripe Plums in October

We have so many ripe plums, now! Ripe now! In the middle of October a tree that was nearly cut down because it has not produced a single plum in four years ripened with so many plums in one season, that it made up and then some for the plums that were gone for all those years. We were convinced for two years that it was a late frost that killed the blossoms and the potential for fruit. Then two more years of nothing and we planning to replace the tree. There must have been nearly 700 pounds of fruit on a single tree. The tree is bowing with the weight of these plums that sure took their time ripening this season. So we picked and washed and sliced and chopped and cooked and baked and dried and froze and ate these little beauties! There are plenty left for friends and family, so come on over to the farm!
Getting ready for the dehydrator. The plums dry up so nicely and can be used in oatmeal, as a quick snack or rehydrated for anything you like. They also add a very nice flavor to soups.
These plums are about midway through the drying process. It takes 12 - 14 hours for this fruit to dry completely. The dried fruit is stored in jars and ready to use or eat.
Plum jam! Our daughter and son-in-law make plum sauce and it starts with plum jam. We finally have some jam to offer and we are looking forward to the pot stickers that go with the sauce!
Plum Upside Down Cake and Walnuts! This cake is a melt in your mouth kind of cake. It is made in a cast iron skillet and comes out a little thinner than if it was baked in a springform pan, but we like it thin. The edges are crisp and there is nothing so sweet as baked plums.
What do you do with your plums?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Beautiful Fall Day

After the tiniest bit of rain to settle the dust over night, the sky turned blue and it was nearly 70 degrees again. The garden is still producing and our trip of turning on the sprinkler before the sun comes up has kept the frost from burning the tomatoes, basil, peppers, and squash! It was a more relaxing, but productive day on the farm.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


We lived in musical rooms like the old game we used to play with kids called musical chairs! The bathroom fixtures were moved to the kitchen, the kitchen was moved to the living room and dining room, and the dining room and living stayed where they should be even with the stove and dishwasher next to the couch! In a flurry of a month, the outside of the house was repainted, the picket fence was mended and painted, the shower was torn out and tiled along with the bathroom floor and the walls were painted and new lighting fixtures and trim finished it off. Then we said, hmmm, what about the kitchen? so we painted more walls, refinished the cabinets, and moved the appliance out and repair old sub flooring and put tile on top. Then we cleaned and dusted and put away or gave away the rest of the mess and we were finished just in time to beat the rush of harvest before the frost! Here are some before and after pictures: Outside painting of the house was completed by College Pro Painters. Outside clean up from painters and all fencing and detail work completed by Tim.
The Bathroom: There were two major leaks. One was evident at the shower, the other one was not so evident at the toilet. Both were repaired, sub flooring replaced, sheet rock, shower wall, and plumbing repaired and fixtures replaced. The bathroom project took one week. The toilet was out of order for 24 hours of that week! Phew!!
Then it was time for the kitchen to be painted, refinish the cabinets, and repair and replace the floor. Initially, we just planned to paint so the appliances were moved out and then returned to position. Then we decided to change the flooring so the appliances had to be completely removed to another room while the work was completed. Tim and I painted and refinished the cabinets. Nathan Sheets did all of the tile work. It took 5 days to complete the kitchen and the appliances were out all five days. Don't worry, the essential item, coffee, was made accessible at all phases of construction!
At last the chaos of construction is over and we have settled back into the routine of harvest chaos! More of the harvest soon ~