Your asking, I know. What in the world do chicken's have to do with tea? Isn't this a tea company? Don't you blend tea? Drink tea? Have tea time? With tea treats? That whole pinkies up thing, you know?
The answer is, yes, well except for the pinkies up thing. We only do that for fun, mostly! You see, chickens hold an important role here down on the farm. While they might seem worlds away from having anything to do with tea, they are actually one of the first steps in making our tea.
Our teas feature locally grown ingredients. Such as our Cherry City Chai, with it's heirloom Royal Ann cherries, grown here in the capital of Salem. Or the beautiful lavender in our Rose City Repose tea, grown in Eagle Creek, Oregon by Eagle Creek Lavender. Some of the local ingredients in our teas come right from our farm. Herbs, flowers and berry leaves, are just a few of the things we grow.
While our farm is not certified Organic we make an effort to keep all chemicals out of our farming. Growing in this way can really get time consuming unless some other tactics are applied. One of those tactics we use is putting our chickens to work for us.
You see there are 24 of them and only 6 of us. They are also some mighty bug eating machine's, with claws that till (while looking for worms) and a LARGE appetite for all the things in the greenhouse that we needed to weed. They also fertilize the soil in the process. The agricultural method that takes the problem of say a hungry chicken to solve the problem of a garden that needs weeded is called Permaculture. Where multiple cultures (chickens and gardens) work together to solve a problem.
Normally I would have these cute little people help me pull the weeds and get the greenhouse ready. They were glad to find out that the chickens were going to do that work for them, we just had a few things to get ready before we let the feathered crew in to take care of the mess.
Check out our latest YouTube video to see how it went. The before and after of the greenhouse is amazing.
If you enjoyed watching that video and all the work those feathery friends can do for you, you might be interested in our free download on 8 Tips for Keeping Chickens. As a BOUNUS there are two printables for keeping track of chicken expenses and how many eggs are laid daily. Thanks for joining us on the farm and we will see you next time!
Gut shots and kraut pounders. A couple of words I didn't think would probably ever enter my vocabulary until a few years ago. Doesn't sauerkraut just come in a jar? Isn't that, that stinky stuff that goes on roast beef sandwiches? Cabbage? Bleck! I wasn't a fan of sauerkraut in the least, at least the stuff that I saw at Costco being piled on hot dogs and the yellowish stuff out of a jar for on top of St. Patrick's day corned beef. And if your wondering what a gut shot is.... its kraut juice in a shot glass (just had to put that out there.) I'm here to tell you that REAL fermented sauerkraut doesn't taste like that stuff at all. Its actually good!
About 5-6 years ago I encountered traditional cooking. A way of cooking that uses traditional preparation methods for things like grains, vegetables and meats. Some of these methods might not seem so strange like dehydrating meat for jerky. Fermenting bread dough and vegetables was a new thing to me though.
The fermentation process, whether it be bread our sauerkraut adds nutrition to the foods, helps to pre-digest some things our bodies are not so great at digesting and helps with our overall health. Live fermented vegetables add probiotics to our gut which helps us have healthy digestion. It is said that health starts in the gut!
These forms of food preservation were used until the Industrial Revolution making them quite normal in every day life. Over time that changed and these methods were lost and set aside. With so many gut related health issues in the news (think Chrons, IBS, ulcerative colitis) its no wonder that these traditional methods are coming back.
So its time to throw out that jar of store bought kraut and meet the real stuff!
Plain sauerkraut Recipe
2 medium to large green cabbages (purple cabbage works too, a bit spicier!)
9 tablespoons of good quality sea salt
1.) Remove the outer leaves of your cabbage to insure cleanness.
2.) Shred cabbage with a food processor shredding blade, knife, or traditional cabbage shredder.
3.) Add sea salt to shredded cabbage. Blend in well.
4.) Pound the cabbage to help speed the release of the the cabbage juices. When cabbage is juicy pack into a jar that kraut will fill to the top. You don't want any extra space in the top of your jar.
5.) Place a fermenting weight on the top and a lid. Let fermented at room temperature for 3-7 days until you see bubbles and have a sour taste. Time frame will vary depending on the temperature in your house.
If you love spicy and hot things than kimchi is going to be the kraut for you! Ours is a little more low key than the traditional Korean stuff but a great place to start if you are not sure about kimchi .... or if your just not ready for that hot bright red stuff!
Our low key kimchi
2 heads of green cabbage
9-12 tablespoons of good quality sea salt
1-2 daikon radishes
2-3 garlic cloves
Approx. 4 inches horseradish or to taste
2-3 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1.) Remove the outer leaves of your cabbage to insure cleanness.
2.) Shred cabbage, carrots, daikon radish, horseradish, and garlic with a food processor shredding blade, knife, or traditional cabbage shredder.
3.) Add sea salt to shredded cabbage & veggies. Blend in well.
4.) Pound the cabbage & veggies to help speed the release of the the cabbage juices. When cabbage is juicy pack into a jar that kraut will fill to the top. You don't want any extra space in the top of your jar.
We hope that you enjoy these simple sauerkrauts as much as we do! Feel free to try different veggies in either of these recipes. Caraway seed and dill might be great in the basic recipe and remind you a bit of dill pickles. Spice up the kimchi more or less according to your taste! Add some green onion or what ever suits your mood.
If you would like to watch how we make sauerkraut we did a little video here with our 3 year old helping us out, complete with an end of fall farm update! See you next time.
CeAnne & Paul
How to Make sauerkraut
Oh my, its been a while since we have done a Down on the Farm post! That's about to change though, starting today! We have plans for this to become a weekly feature on Mondays so look for it in your inbox weekly or visit the blog on Mondays!!!
Soooo much has gone on since we last did our farm update post. To catch up were just going to cover November and the start of December of 2017. We hope you enjoy our little photo tour of the farm and happenings here. If you would like more detailed updates make sure you check out our Youtube channel. We have several videos there of various recipes, gardening tools and tactics along with updates on the farm.
Around the Farm
During growing season this section of photos is A LOT bigger and more defined than 'around the farm' but with the cold, cold, cold winter weather and nothing growing I'm afraid it's going to be shorter than our usual.
Kittens, lots of them and several are headed for new homes! Between them and the chickens there isn't a live mouse to be seen on the farm.
The chickens have been moved into the main pasture with the other animals. All the rain and cool weather has really soaked our garden area where we usually rotate them through. Not only does moving them to the main pasture keep the chickens out of the mud and the muck and let our garden area grow a cover crop, but the chickens also clean up after the other animals. While its gross, the chickens like to pick through the other animals droppings for bugs. They get food and it helps keep the parasite issue down in the main pasture.
Our egg count is WAY down on the farm with this super cold weather! (19 degrees this morning!). With our 24 chickens we are getting 5-7 eggs a day. Pretty sad but the chickens need their rest and half of them are molting. Time to grow new feathers for these chicks and get a break from egg laying.
Hey Ewe wanted to make sure she got her face in the camera. This ewe lamb is getting close to breeding age, probably this spring. She is 1 of 3 in our lamb breeding crew which is our means of raising our own pastured grass fed lamb on our farm. A great way to fill our freezer on our 2 acre micro farm.
This one I guess doesn't have a name. "The bravest one," is what Farm Boy says, the one that eats the snakes. She looks like a chicken you wouldn't want to mess with!
The chickens are not the only animals on rotation. When the sun is out and its not too cold the sheep and goat get to free range around the yard outside of the pasture. This helps us mow the grass down while getting them some fresh grass. They also browse on blackberries and other weeds. Win! Win!
Little Bitty, who isn't so little any more, browsing and making sure I'm not going to ride her or something. She is always a little sheepish ;)
The views from our tea studio are always the best. Its a great way to get a perspective of the whole farm over all and a great way to keep track of the farm children. This is our little barn where the animals keep warm and stay dry.
I think the shade cloth is long over due to come off of the greenhouse. While we usually grow enough greens in our greenhouse during the winter for fresh salads every day through February, we didn't manage to plant this year. So much of the greenhouse needs cleaned out and it will be happening very soon!
Tea Studio Progress
The Farmer has been going full steam ahead on our tea studio when he isn't busy helping the Farm Boys with their math (oh algebra! ugh!) or packing tea for our orders and events. Late November the insulation went into the studio.
Lots and lots of insulation! Its amazing how this stuff makes the studio quieter and warmer and really turns this into a room rather than just a square with wood walls.
November brought doors to the addition/tea studio. Its nice to have it all sealed up and it makes it formally part of the house.
From the exterior the addition looks done. All the siding and trim was finished up, the garage doors on and everything sealed up! The Farmer did such a great job staining our rough cut siding and getting it looking nice!
Hello December! No it didn't snow in the tea studio but dry wall is going up! Its looking real now! All this lovely space to organize and pack tea for all of our tea loving customers!
That wall there by the door is going to be shelves to store our huge herbal apothecary! With plenty of windows around to let light in and give us a nice view.
The Farmer hard at work dry walling the stair well.... I"ll be glad when he is done working in this awkward space! Up high and down low....
Daily Life on the Farm
Sundays are days for family, God and my new hobby. Working, teaching school and living at home 24/7 makes it really hard not to be antsy on Sundays. We always take Sundays off, its our day of rest. But what does a farmer, entrepreneur and work at home mom do to rest? Well if I'm not reading, or napping, I'm learning to crochet. I'm glad to say that I think I"ve finally got the washcloth thing down. Time to move on to something a little more challenging. What handi-craft do you like to do?
December 6th brings us to St. Nicholas' Feast Day. We don't do Santa here on the farm. But every December St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra, visits our home. The children put out their wooden dutch clogs the night before and they get filled with treats and gifts! Our celebration is about the virtues and miracles of this great saint who loved children. St. Nicholas being the patron of Russia, Bulgaria and orphan children makes his story perfect for our family as we adopted from both Russia and Bulgaria.
Golden coins are a tradition on this day as St. Nicholas is known for providing the dowry for three maidens to keep them from life on the street and find them good husbands. Every year chocolate gold coins are part of the treats.
Normally I purchase cookies for this day that are of German origin but this year I decided to make a healthier cookie and keep the German tradition by making Speculoos. Our tea club members this month will recognize this recipe that came with their Aronia Plum Berry tea!
And... oh my ... WHO is that?! St. Nicholas made an appearance at our farm this year courtesy of my brother-in-law and his beautiful traditional St. Nicholas outfit that he curated himself. The children were SO excited!
Picture time with good St. Nicholas! In Germany they have St. Nicholas festivals on December 6th.
We don't celebrate Christmas ........ not until December 25th. Instead the weeks prior to Christmas are kept preparing for the arrival of our New Born Lord. We call these four weeks Advent. During Advent we refrain from singing Christmas carols, our nativity is waiting for Baby Jesus, our tree not put up until Christmas Eve, no cookies (other than St. Nicholas day) are baked and we spend our time in prayer and contemplation of the Savior to come.
Every Sunday we light one candle on the Advent wreath. Four candles for the four weeks. The third Sunday is joyful, and so it is a pink candle, the third Sunday is more about the upcoming joy and a little more excitement! Christmas is almost here!
Angles wait around an empty crib as a reminder that Jesus is not yet born yet. But He is coming! Its a great way to teach our children about the preparation for Christmas. It also helps them understand that Christmas' is Christ's birthday rather than just a day for gifts.
Joseph and Mary headed to Bethlehem .... part of the four weeks of waiting.
The angel guarding the Nativity crib waiting for its Guest. Baby Jesus gets placed in the crib on Christmas Eve along with the gifts under the tree from the Farmer and myself. Sometimes the children get to put the Infant Jesus in His bed. Its very special and they look forward to it every year! Christmas on the farm lasts 40 days starting with December 25th until February 2nd!
in the farm store
Late November and early December was busy month outside of the farm with events in various places. This is the famous Deepwood Estates house in Salem, Oregon where we were glad to be part of their holiday shopping event. This home was built in the late 1800's and is restored and maintained by the city of Salem.
Our display in this late 1800's Victorian home's sitting room. So many tea lovers at this event!
We introduced Oregon Mulling Spices to the farm store in the last month. A great way to spice up some apple cider or a good red wine. Also makes for a great air freshener!
In November we were super excited to introduce our teas to Great Harvest Bread in West Salem! Bread, tea and jam.... they just go together!
We have been making a lot of Winter Balm this year! Made with frankincense & cinnamon this salve sells like Christmas! Its a great way to moisturize the hands, cinnamon is also warming for cold winter hands and both are helpful in assisting with dry cracked skin. This salve is also featured in our tea and herbal care gift set.
Gift Sets! Gift Sets... are flying off the farm! We introduced our Winter Tea Collection, Oregon Tea Collection and our Tea and Herbal Care Gift Set! Already wrapped and ready to give these have been our most popular item this season! FREE SHIPPING on these going on NOW until December 19th 2017.
Our last and busiest event of the year, the Salem Etsy Team Holiday Market! We were excited to have our event sponsored by Etsy for the second year in a row allowing us to have more marketing funds this year. This event is always a great way to kick off the holiday shopping season.
We stocked up big! Lots of popular gift sets and some new teas. Tea was flying off the shelf and keeping us on our toes at this event. Its always fun to help customers find that perfect gift for the tea lover in their life.
New tea tins! Gift Sets! Lots of tea to check out and sniff in their little smelling jars.
aAnd last but not least our December tea club member's blend, Aronia Plum Berry featuring Oregon grown Aronia berries from Mt. Hope Farms paired with locally grown Italian plums... there may not be sugar plum fairies dancing around but this sweet fruity tea comes with a variety of flavors the more or less it is steeped. There is a week left to grab yours! Check out our Tea Club here.
Thanks for hanging out with us down on the farm! We hope you enjoyed a little peek into our farm happenings. Let us know what handi-work you love to do, a farming project your working on or a tea you wish to see!
Until next week,
CeAnne & Paul
Happy Tuesday! You know what that means? Its day one of two every week that we share about the happenings on our farm through our Youtube channel!
We missed last Thursday's video due to some illness on the farm and catching up from that but we are back at it. With the really cold weather coming our way its time to start gathering everything out of the garden and finish getting our fall garden planted.
You will never guess what we found in the zucchini plant.... and no it wasn't zucchini, check it out in today's video!
After a few weeks of illness we are starting to get back to our normal schedule here down on the farm! Its the time of year where we are busy putting up the harvest from our own vegetable garden but as well as other local goodness that we use in our teas.
In today's video we are sharing how we turned 3 boxes of concord grapes from our neighbor into some juice for the freezer. We hope you enjoy and thanks for stopping by the farm!
Rain..... lots of it, is in Oregon's near future. These dog daze of summer don't last that long compared to the rest of the year. While we are still harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, green beans and other yummy things from the garden we are still planning ahead.
Along with planting our winter seeds we decided to mulch our 42 foot long green house in preparation for winter and all that rain that is going to be headed our way.
I know, I know.... I hear you saying that the greenhouse is covered and there won't be that much rain in there! BUT we accidentally built our greenhouse over a winter spring and we didn't know it and so we get quite the amount of water in here when it rains. Join us for video one of two this week as we re purpose hazelnut shells as mulch. Video #2 will be up on Thursday explaining how we dehydrate our tomatoes for a years worth of tomato sauce :)
Did you see it? Did you see it? We were blessed to be in the line of totality for the Solar Eclipse. Despite the scare of how many people would come into Oregon it wasn't really all that bad.... actually it was so quite prior that it was strange. It seems like it all worked itself out though.
We went LIVE on Instagram down on the farm and thought we would share with you our eclipse experience. A once in a life time event....
The gate to the greenhouse barely opens and behind me are the hurried sounds of little tiny feet, determined not to miss an entry into the green house. Prepared with her own little tools for helping out and anxious to plant seed and pick what is ripe.... and may not what is ripe she is always by my side.
Many are headed back to school in the coming months and I'm reminded of our Kindergarten/1st grade science books. They are full of how to plant seeds, types of seeds, harvesting the plants, the plant parts. What really counts though is THIS. Getting out there in the soil, putting the seed in and watching it grow, taking care of it, harvesting it and preserving it. Learning how it nourishes our bodies and the wonders of God's creations. Can you garden with a toddler? YES! It does require some patience but the lessons are totally worth it.
Hope you enjoy and thanks for stopping by the farm!
It was a Friday.
Our family all works, lives and school at home- all year around. There is lots to do this time of year between a continuous planting of crops, harvesting of crops, watering, feeding animals. There is no end to the work on the farm in the summer.
Meanwhile most are out of school and taking vacations all over the place. The farmers on the other hand await their downtime in the winter.... like January and February. Not the best time to visit the Oregon coast.
But every once in a great while.... the farmer makes it off of the farm and joins in the fun in the sun. We invite you this week to come with us as we deliver tea to a new location and take in some of the sites. Thanks for visiting us down on the farm!
In the Barnyard ...
Lots of lovin' on animals in the barnyard by littles.
Oh Tiny you are such a sweet lamb.
Daisy Dog a little too anxious to meet the animals in the barn yard.
We added 18 more layer chicks to the barn yard in hopes of replacing our current laying flock. We are adding three new breeds to the barn yard and we are looking forward to some deep dark chocolate eggs in the spring :)
Hi Roscoe, our barnyard mascot, still not the same without his Lucy Girl.
Big Boy is fattening up well and probably headed to the freezer soon. Its a blessing to be able to give them such a good life and to know where our food comes from and know it wasn't a feed lot.
Around the Farm ...
Bloom'n going on in the garden down on the farm!
God makes wonderfully beautiful plants, this is our tea harvest going into the dehydrator for our new Oregon Harvest Berry Tea, and Rose City Repose.
Beautiful roses from our single rose bush which hopefully will be graced with many more roses bushes this fall.
Harvesting our hop plants, such a wonderful blessing of a harvest this year!
The hops are big, bold and beautiful this year! Such an abundance!!!
September can be called harvest month for sure as we started hauling in the abundance from our crop garden. We missed a few zucchini but the chickens really didn't mind ;)
So many wonderful spaghetti squash will be entering our fall dishes so very soon.
We harvested giant red and yellow potatoes from our crop garden some of them weighing over 1 lb each!!
So much money saved by growing food in our yard... growing money in our yard ;)
About 55 lbs of potatoes from one small row of potatoes in our crop garden. Not enough to get us through the winter but a wonderful start and proof that they may be grown here in not even the best soil. We will be sure to add many more rows in our next planting of spring potatoes.
Building the Tea Studio...
If you have been following our farm you are already aware that we are adding on a tea studio to our farmhouse. It will give us a dedicated area to create the items in our farmstore. Currently every item is carefully handcrafted in our farm kitchen. We are very excited to be expanding our space!
Lots of dirt and lots of digging to get the foundation ready for the tea studio.
Building forms, this will be one sturdy foundation!
Helloooo cement truck! Time to pour! And this time it isn't tea ;)
Every good building starts with a solid foundation, how about this puppy?
The Farmer standing on our big wall... its starting to look like something now!
In the Greenhouse ...
Learning to work the new soil blocker and getting some winter plants started.
So happy to see our peppers start to fruit! Thank you St. Fiacre and Christ our Lord for answered prayers.
Working out in the greenhouse picking tomatoes with the toddler. She set them up just perfect for a little photo shoot. Time to put these puppies into the dehydrator for future sauce.
In the Farm Kitchen ...
Peaches from our local peach farm into the dehydrator and freezer for future treats.
Dehydrating aronia berries from Mt. Hope Farms for our Oregon Harvest Berry Tea. So yummy and unique!
Dinner from the garden including potato and zucchini fritters with farm fresh eggs, mini cantaloupe from the crop garden and cucumbers, tomatoes and basil from the garden.
Lunch time for our hard working construction grew! Hydrating Bloom'n Hibiscus tea and nourishing Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread... just the main ingredients for our lunch ;)
A busy day in the farm kitchen! Canning sugar free apple butter with apples we were blessed with, kombucha on its second ferment (elderberry, ginger, cardamom) and kefir fermenting.
Our tomatoes dehydrated, in their jar until its sauce making time! God's bounty is beautiful!
And the finished product, homemade tomato sauce with garden fresh dehydrated tomatoes served over a locally hand crafted pasta and on the side, a garden fresh salad!
In the Farm Store ...
Welcoming fall with our newest tea, Oregon Harvest Berry! Featuring four local Oregon farms: Blackberry leaves from our little farm, apples from Queener Farms, Aronia Berries from Mt. Hope Farms and blue Cornflowers from Floating Petals Confetti.
Its a beautiful applish berry tea, so Oregon and so harvest season! Check out more photos and the details of the tea over in our farm store. Welcome Oregon Harvest Berry!
Another Oregon blend on our list for the fall/winter season! Say hello to Coastal Cranberry Spice! Featuring Oregon grown cranberries along with hibiscus, cinnamon, lemongrass, ginger and more. Very reminiscent of a mulled wine with all the benefits of tea and alcohol free! Check Coastal Cranberry Spice out here in our farm store here.
Today's cool Oregon rainy day is making me wish for this lovely vibrant tea!
Three new gift sets have made their appearance in our farm store as well! Two new sets for men: one features 2 oz tins of our Cypress Deodorant and Beard Balm. The other features our tea and salve with smaller tins of salve. The third is a salve only set for new mothers/expectant mothers. Featuring three of our 2 oz salves: Farmer's Wife Nursing Salve, Baby Bum and Body Balm, and Belly Balm for growing and changing bellies. Check them all out in our farm store under the gift set section! And for being a devoted reader please make sure to take 10% off your order with coupon code THANKYOU2016!
Thanks for stopping by the farm!
Welcome to our Family Tea Farm!
Howdy from our farm to your home! It is said that the, "farm is the nursery of the family," and that "the family is the nursery of the nation." We hope you enjoy your visit to our blog as we share with you the happenings on our little "nursery". Thank you for following us on our journey and watching us GROW! Read more about our farm HERE.
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