Monday, June 30, 2014

Stringing Up Pole Beans

We planted two types of pole beans this year: Runner Cannellini Beans and Hidatsa Shield Beans. Both beans can be eaten green and both beans are great for drying for soups, stews, baked beans, and bean salads! The Cannellini had its origins in Argentina, then made its way to Italy before coming to America. It is full of body and a nutty flavor that is perfect for making soups. The Hidatsa Shield Bean came from North America in the Dakotas. It is one of the three sisters planted with corn and squash by Native Americans. Both beans can grow as tall as 12 feet high. We are hoping our 10 foot posts will support their climbing habits ad they will still produce plenty for eating fresh and for drying.

We need a ladder to work with the ten foot posts! Balancing a post driver on the end of the tall green posts should be a requirement for any circus act! The post driver is made of solid steel and weighs 20 pounds. Tim pounded the posts into the ground until the foot was below the surface of the soil. Each post is made of steel and very strong. 

Nearing the end of the bean row, and finished pounding in the posts. We sure like the ladder that can adjust in all different sizes and shapes. It can be used straight up and down or it can be used bent in half. Just make sure each pin is properly placed before using the ladder.  Once the posts were all driving into the ground, it was time to put the cross bars up.

We used 2" x 2" x 8' wooden bars and tied them to the top of the T post with twine. They are surprisingly sturdy. Each cross bar was mounted and secured, a cross run of twine was tied to each T post at the bottom of the post.  Then it was time to begin lacing line for the beans to climb.   

We laced 15 lines over and under in each section. Over the top wooden bar, under the twine at the bottom.  Just as we were finishing the last section,  we ran out of twine.  At this point, we were going to have to finish the nearly completed project in the morning. While adjusting the lines of twine, the bottom cross line snapped!  There goes all of the work.  It wasn't lost,though   

The wind picked up and tossed the unsecured twine lines in an effort to remind us we are not in charge! 

Finally, the next day we were able to finish the twine runners.  The beans were more than ready to start climbing the twines. Now they seem to be growing and climbing before our eyes! It sure makes picking easier, too! How do you support your pole beans?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Strawberry Wedding Jam

Here is the bride, Jolene, preparing the first round of the wedding favor: strawberry jam! So that each guest can 'spread the love' after the wedding with a gift of homemade jam.  Five years ago, we made dozens and dozens of cookies with a monogram R for Karyn and Zac. Now, Jolene and Peter are preparing jam and we all got to share in the fun!

First batch is put into jars, taste tested and adjusted with a lot of help from Jojo in Tumwater and the perfect  size jamming potholders! Thank you Mom! xo

Round 2, not quite a double batch, but a nervous watch to keep berries from running over. Jolene watched and stirred and stirred and watched.

Round 3 had plenty of love stirred into it and many more good wishes.

Reinforcements arrived after work for Peter and for Jolene. Washing, trimming, slicing the berries.

Meanwhile, the farmhands packed away still hot jam to make room for another batch.

Snugged right back into the boxes that the jars were packed in, they will rest for 24 hours before labels and decorative tops go on to dress them up for the big day!

Steady progress is being made and it is still the same day! We are nearing the final batch of jam.

What a team! The bride and groom to be working together to make the wedding jam.

Oh, the sugar! We used nearly 35 pounds of sugar in all on this day!

Peter taking the challenge of keeping the jam in the pot without running over! It must come to a full rolling boil for 4 minutes with out spilling over the edges. A dab of butter makes the difference while stirring in good wishes!

Finally, 96 jars of Strawberry Wedding Jam ready to help spread the love!

lemon juice

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pasture Raised Pigs

The slow grown pigs on the farm have had plenty of time to roam, root, graze, and move from pasture to pasture depending on the weather and time of year.

Fresh clean air, grass, sunlight and open access at all times raises the best tasting pork.

Walnuts and apples are among the favorite staple of the pigs, You can see their heavy jowls and snout used for roots and foraging.

Open pasture to roam and yes, play as pigs are quite intelligent and actually create games with one another.

Facing the morning sun.

Napping in the shade of the trees on the cool green grass.

Growing into happy and healthy animals, these pigs will be harvested soon. They have incredible flavor and exceptional meat quality and best of all there is never any hormone, antibiotic or genetically modified feed given to the animals on our farm for the home grown, sweet meat flavor. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Memorial Day Week End

It was a perfect weekend to celebrate family and friends, young and old and everything in between.
Here is to remembering the gift of service and freedom.

In between parades and planting the garden there was time to gather together for a BBQ on the farm.

But first a word from our sponsors!! Hey, look at these friendly pigs. They are now weighing about 250 pounds. They have a definite routine throughout the day and enjoy the company of the other farm animals.

Here the pigs feed and there are usually a hen or two ready to help clean up after the pigs eat.

Back to the BBQ! We used the fire pit with madrone wood for seasoned smoke flavor.

Jolene and Peter had plenty of supervision while the grilled up bison-elk burgers! YUM!!

Ryan helped set the tables and made sure the food was properly placed!

After a prayer of thanks, 13 grateful hearts sat down to share a meal prepared by many hands.

The first BBQ of the season was wonderful!

The kids filled to their hearts' content and then it was time for play.

Some fun in the sun and sprinklers.

Some needed more encouragement than others!!

Then the victory run through the sprinklers all together.

Strawberry Blueberry Shortcake covered in whipped cream made a patriotic dessert!

Of course there was plenty to go around.


Darrell and Jane, thank you for a career of service with the US Marine Corps!

Happy in the water!

Anna on the tire swing. There is always time for a ride.

And a gathering on the front porch as the sun was getting low in the sky.
It was a day to remember so many blessings.
Happy Memorial Day, 2014