Where did the last 4 weeks go? Between the holidays and fighting colds and bronchitis down on the farm it feels like we have been missing in action around here on the farm blog. I say we are long over due for a little Down on the Farm update!
This lovely cheese platter pictured above was a practice round for a little special project we are working on. We took this platter to our family Christmas Eve party along with some tea. It was super yummy and the last treat we enjoyed down on the farm before coming down with a round of colds.
Around the Farm
Yes, the shade cloth is still on the greenhouse in December and January. No. We don't really need it on the green house this time of year. Summer got crazy busy and then lead into a crazy busy holiday shopping seasons. And, well there sits the shade cloth. It is getting time to get that thing off of there, get the greenhouse cleaned up and start planting! After trying so many different things in the greenhouse we decided its really best for greens of any kind (kale, lettuce, chard etc.) and starting seeds. So this year the tomatoes, cold weather crops like broccoli, cabbage and such will be going in the outside garden. And no more stringing green beans. They make lots of beautiful leaves but not much fruit. What garden plans do you have brewing?
A couple of the girls hoping to get treats. Here in Oregon we don't get much snow, just lots of WET! So the pasture is wet and mucky and the grass isn't growing. The rest of the yard is similar and these ladies are starting to look bored with their surroundings. Another month and the grass should start growing again and we can rotate them around the farm once more, putting them to work, which they love.
Most of the ladies also went through a molt about a month ago. This one is one of the last to go through the process. The poor things loose all their feathers so that they can grow new ones. They don't look very healthy during the process but its completely normal. When chickens molt they also don't lay eggs because their bodies are busy making new feathers and trying to stay warm. For a few weeks there we had a chicken protest and were only getting a couple eggs a day. I'm glad to announce that most of them are back with it and we are getting 10 or so eggs a day now. Its never fun to buy eggs at the store because we just don't know how the chickens were treated. If they got to be outside eating bugs or if they are some of those strange "vegetarian" chickens that never get a worm or bug. Just incase you didn't know, chickens are not vegetarians. They love their grubs and meat too if that is what you feed them! They can even out beat a cat at catching mice!
Here sits the lonely mobile pastured poultry set up. With so much rain and no grass growing the girls only turn their work space into a mud hole. So during the winter they get a bit more freedom in the pasture where they are not as likely to scratch it up too bad. In the mean time we continue to pile compost and manure from the barn on the garden space to add nutrients to the soil. When spring comes we will move the chickens through that pile so they can scratch it up and fertilize the garden some more before we mulch and start planting in the nutrient rich soil.
We do have a few things growing. This was our first year to plant a winter garden. I'm thinking that I didn't get the starts in the ground soon enough. These are some turnips that are coming up ok but slugs and bugs seem to be getting them because it is so wet. I have hopes they will grow more when spring comes around but I'm not sure if the bugs and slugs will get to them first. One never knows how it will go unless they try!
These tiny turnips are at least the right color but they didn't grow very much. We enjoyed them in some warm soup. They taste just like potatoes when cooked that way!
Earlier in 2017 we planted a test row of zinnia's, some herbs, borage and chamomile. Our goal was to see how well they grew but also which ones would over winter and come back. It looks like some of the borage either survived the frost or started growing back. This picture is of the tarragon that made it through the frost. Quite a hardly herb and a win in our book. The flowers of course succumbed to the frost but we will see in the spring if they reseeded themselves.
This picture doesn't do it justice but there between the brambles and the tree is the entrance to the children's favorite place known as the "Whisker Store". Its a little hole among the brush that they made a fort out of. Its not near as hidden as it usually is the rest of the year.
Some of the plants around the farm seem to think that since it isn't in the low teens temp wise that its now spring. The rhododendrons are starting to bud and the hazelnut trees are sending out tassels, and all the fruit trees and such show signs of budding. Hopefully they don't get a shock by another cold spell. I'd like to think maybe spring will just come early!
Usually I'm on the ball when it comes time to plant. There isn't any where I love to be more than in the garden or greenhouse getting my hands in the soil and watching one of the miracles that God allows us to participate in - growing plants. With such a busy holiday season and then fighting bronchitis for 3 weeks it really wasn't even on my mind. Other than to get that greenhouse cleaned up. The Farmer has been after me to order seeds though and get a move on it early. The Baker Creek Heirloom Seed catalog came the other day and I'm excited to start dreaming and ordering seeds. Planting always gives us a hope for the future!
Tea Stuido Progress
With not much to do outside this time of year the tea studio is seeing more and more progress as we near the end of its completion. A big change came right before Christmas when the wall in our dining room that separated the old house from the new came down.
The wall mostly out and the view from the dining room to the new foyer, or at least that is what we are calling it for now. The door goes to our new garage and to the left are the stairs to the tea studio.
The Farmer hard at work taping and mudding the stairwell to the tea studio. Around and around the building we go, when it ends... no one really knows. But in the mean time the Farmer works as hard as he can to get it done, one more coat and one more round. Some day it will be a beautiful workspace for blending and sipping tea.
Even with the drywall up and not finished it really gives shape to our new tea blending workspace. This area will have counters for shipping and packing along with a big island in the middle for blending tea and creating other herbal conceptions.
Just to the right of our packing and blending area we will have a desk or two and between the two window's closest together, a table for sipping tea and talking about all things herbal and business.
Turning to the right again is our kitchen area that will be set up with commercial sinks for washing and drying dishes.
And last but not least one of the views from the many windows in the tea studio. This one is one of my favorite with the view of our outdoor gardens and the chickens. Also the beautiful mountain side across the way that you can't really see in this photo. Some day a table will sit here with chairs to sip tea and take in the view.
Below the tea studio is our garage and down the road, as our business grows, our shipping department. The Farmer has been hard at work dry walling the area and finishing it off. Its such a nice big dry space!
There is our commercial sink that will be going up in the tea studio and also the door way to our future root cellar. No more storing the harvest on the front porch and under the house! YAY!
In the Farm kitchen
The Farmer has really been doing most of the cooking and so the only Farm Kitchen photos this time around are from Christmas. The last day or two that I didn't come down with a cold and could still cook. Cheesecake is our Christmas Eve tradition for dessert. We have a special meal every Christmas Eve, meatless and usually featuring salmon. Its a combination of a Russian, Polish and Bulgarian tradition where they celebrate the most Holy Night, Christmas Eve, with a large meatless meal. This meal features 12 dishes and many of ours are Russian and Bulgarian since that is where 3 of our 4 children were adopted from. The cheesecake is probably the most Polish item on our table. This one was made gluten and sugar free (aside from the toping which I had to scrape off because of my sugar allergy.
Usually we stay home this evening but this year was special and we visited family earlier. Everyone else indulged in treats and so they weren't as hungry as most years when normally we are fasting before our 12 course meal. (This year Christmas Eve was on Sunday so we didn't have to fast). We ended up keeping the meal more simple and not having all 12 dishes. Salmon with capers and lemon butter sauce, broccoli, garlic mashed potatoes, mushroom soup, olives (green and black), pickled herring and of course cheesecake dotted the menu. I guess we were not too far away from 12 items! We commence our meal with special prayers for Christmas Eve and the reading of the story of the birth of Christ.
Farm & Family Traditions
For the last several years we have had the tradition of getting our Christmas tree just a few days before Christmas. As we keep Advent from the start of December-ish to the 24th of December we prepare for Christ's birth with prayers, fasting and reading of the four thousand years those in the Old Testament waited for their Savior to be born. Our Christmas season on the farm starts on Christmas and lasts until February 2nd, the Feast of the Purification. So we naturally want our tree to last for that time! Since we live in Oregon, Christmas tree country, its not as hard to find a tree as other areas in the country but it can still be a challenge. So many of our trees are shipped out of the state to other states that many of the tree farms here are closed down the week before Christmas.
Thankfully we have some dear friends that happened to be clearing one of their tree fields and gave us this lovely tree for free. It had a couple of places where branches had not grown. So the Farmer took a trick from my paternal grandfather's book and drilled a couple of holes to stick branches in. Worked perfect if you ask me! Nothing like an old time Depression Era hack to make things work just perfectly!
Christmas morning probably looks like most around here. Having prayed our midnight mass, I woke the children up for presents. Yep... me, mom, wakes the children up. I still win the prize for being up first on Christmas morning! I know my brothers are probably cringing right now because of all those years I woke them up so excited. What I can I say, I was born a Christmas baby! A few years ago I started wrapping the children's gifts in brown packing paper and then instead of tags I print out pictures of them from the year past in black and white. I tape them to the packages and they have to find their picture. They each get three gifts - representing the Three Wise Men. Santa also doesn't bring the gifts but they are given by the parents and the Christ Child is the one who sends them. We do our 'stockings' during St. Nicholas day on December 6th brought by the saintly bishop himself.
While they were all mostly sick they still had plenty of excitement for the morning. They are all getting so big!
Moving on into January we were excited to get to celebrate my maternal grandparents 60th wedding anniversary. Lives that have spent so long together, going through many trials deserve to be celebrated with love, friends and family.
Their love is multiplied in their children and grandchildren and may they have many more wonderful years together continuing to help each other along.
In the Farm Store
The farm store has continued to be very busy the last few weeks. We sent out our VIP limited edition blend to our tea club members here in January featuring this earthy yet robust Golden Turmeric Spice tea featuring marigolds grown in our own garden.
Such a beautiful tea and so nourishing to the body as well. The benefits of ginger and turmeric are well known and make it a great blend for this time of year when colds and the flu are rampant. Perfect with some local raw honey and blended into some Golden Milk.
Remember that cheese platter at the beginning of the post? That was practice for this and while I can't totally spill the beans yet let me tell you that tea pairs excellently with cheese. That whole wine and cheese thing? Yah. That. Let me say that tea and cheese has you beat. Though I know wine drinkers love their wine so this might be an alternative for a quite evening, for those who can't drink wine (me! me!) or those who want that third flavor that hot tea brings out in cheese... something wine just can't do.
While we say farewell to this last month at the farm, we leave you with a sneak peek at what our new lip balms will be looking like! A new batch of Vanilla Chai, fresh from the farm kitchen! They bring some fresh new bold lids to match. Keep your eyes peeled as we start to switch over. There will also be many new products coming to the farm store in the next couple of months as spring comes our way. Thanks for stopping by the farm and we hope that your family is well and healthy!
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
Some times loose leaf tea is not that convenient. Its loose after all, making it hard to take it with you any where. It requires a container to put it in in order to steep it. Its not something you walk out to the swing set with and start sipping unless its already brewed.
Its not something that is easy to have around toddlers, or a drink known for taking on the go. Loose Leaf tea is known as the slow down drink, the sit and relax by the fireside drink.
In an effort to make loose leaf tea easier and fit better into our farm schedule I set out on a search to find an on the go option that would work. For about a year I tried the Bodum travel tea/coffee press. I wasn't very happy with the results and so I purchased an Espro Travel Tea press and I'm super excited about it! Finally a way to have my loose leaf as I dart out the door to the farmer's market, early in the morning or to take around the farm with me when I don't have time to slow down.
Check out our review in the video below and share with us how you drink your loose leaf tea on the go! The second half of our video is a little farm update if you would like to see what we have been up to!
Want to check out these Tea Presses online? The Links are here below, and yes, we receive a little bit of a commission (no extra charge to you) if you decide to purchase. We never share products we wouldn't use ourselves! And every little bit helps us provide our family the farm life style we live. We thank you for your patronage!
Espro P3 Tea Press: http://amzn.to/2fmwRO5
Stainless Steel Espro (18 oz): http://amzn.to/2wtaMmv
Stainless Steel Espro (32 oz): http://amzn.to/2wdiq9E
TRAVEL MUG!!!! Espro http://amzn.to/2f8NH62
Espro Milk Steaming Pitcher :http://amzn.to/2wdByEm
Bodum Plastic Travel Mug http://amzn.to/2xAAWFr
Bodum Stainless Steel Travel Mug http://amzn.to/2zSA2oD
We Give the French Press from Bodum a much higher rating than the travel mugs! They have stainless steel presses that work better than the silicon ones in their travel press.
Bodum Stainless Steel French Press http://amzn.to/2h0ZRyR
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....
It's harvest time on the farm! This is really the busy time of year for gardeners, farmers and homesteaders. There is so much to do between harvesting the first fruits of our labors yet continuing to plant for fall and winter crops.
There is not just the harvesting but the preserving of the harvest along with all the other things that life throughs our way. Oh June and July where did you go? As we rush on in to August we are sharing a few of the photos that we took around the farm in July. With our Youtube channel it seems like we have less photos and more video these days so there are a few gaps this month. If you would like to see more of what we have been up to on the farm make sure you check out our video section if you haven't already.
Harvest on the farm
A few of our volunteer onions decided to bloom, we decided they would make better decor than onions!
Our lavender harvest, very small this year but pretty and smells wonderful! We love lavender and we are anxious to get some more planted this fall!
A rainbow came out of our dehydrator! There is nothing we love more than seeing, and smelling the beauty of the plants we use in our tea.
A salad all from the farm: kale, chard, onion flowers, bachelor buttons, and radishes.
Tea harvest for the day, always such a pretty site! Rose petals, calendula, chamomile and bachelor buttons.
Calendula flowers, the flower that started our farm and herbal journey, they are so beautiful!
Chamomile is doing fantastic, can't wait to try local fresh chamomile tea.
Dehydrating calendula flowers, they do best when placed face down and it makes for an interesting photo!
The Tea Studio
We are making some great progress on our tea studio this month. The trusts were delivered and placed on top of the studio.
With some help the sheeting was placed on the trusses... one more step closer to finishing the roof.
Almost done, filling in the whole with the ridge vent. A little preview of the interior of the tea studio.
Front vide of the tea studio addition, so nice to see the roof on!
Roofing getting delivered and placed on top of the building.
ARound the farm
3/4 of the garden got planted and mulching commenced.
The tomatoes look so small compared to a month later! So fun to see how they grow. Check out our videos for updates on the tomatoes!
Kitten #1 of 3, this sweet girl will need a home if any one is interested. She is very calm and gentle!
The oregano plants are blooming! Always such a pretty site!
A calendula getting ready to bloom, the bees love these flowers!
Our first cucumber harvest for fermenting pickles! So exciting to see the fruits of our labor coming out of the garden!
The grapes are doing fantastic this year, so many of them and they are so big!
The basil is looking great and is plentiful. Its time to bring it in to the dehydrator to fill up our spice rack.
The purple basil is also doing great, what is your favorite basil recipe?
In the greenhouse
The bachelor buttons are coming on strong and filling up our herbal tea cupboard, we use these in our Oregon Harvest Berry Tea.
The chamomile is loving the greenhouse as well, its so sweet and fragrant!
In the Farm STore...
This month we packed and delivered tea to the High Desert Museum and the Blue Heron French Cheese Company,
Market time has hit the peak of the season and the veggies and fruits in abundance! We have broke out the iced tea for these hot summer days.
Were excited to have our tea be a part of Sea Star Gelato from Seaside, Oregon. A picture here their London Fog with our Cascade Earl Grey and they also have a fabulous Peach Hibiscus with our High Desert Hibiscus blend.
Tea tasting and tea by the cup at the Salem Saturday Market, a great healthy way to cool off on a hot day and to check out all the other great local market vendors.
A visit to the Blue Heron French Cheese Co. to deliver tea and check out what Tillamook Oregon has to offer. A little fun trip off the farm for the farm children.
Thanks for stopping by the farm to see what was happening in July! We are looking forward to an equally productive August. What do you have growing in your garden?
Our farm is about to move up, we spent the week preparing for the arrival of these things above! Trusses for our tea studio have arrived! Our daily rotation of the sheep and goat continue as they clean up the brush in future gardening areas. We also found some other treasures in our brush. Check out this weeks video for all of the above!
After a long long wet spring we finally have some sunshine down on the farm and we are loving every minute of it. Flowers have started to bloom, the greenhouse veggies are taking off and the berries have started forming. May surely brought the sunshine down to the farm!
In the BarnYard....
Its always fun having babies on the farm and equally as fun to see the farm children enjoy them so much. They get to experience so much daily on the farm, run all over on different surfaces and see so many different things. They don't miss out on real life down on the farm.
The chicken's finished their till job in this years garden and are temporarily moved into the pasture area to clean up after the sheep and the goat. Were battling with some parasite issues so between rotation, the chicken clean up crew and an herbal dewormer we are hoping we are good to go!
This is our summer/fall garden area, the chickens have rotated 2-3 times cleaning up all the grass and weeds, fertilizing the ground and scratching it up. Its time to get it tilled, tarped and then planted!
Dodge Ram is growing well but he still has a bum leg in the front. We aren't sure he is going to make it but that doesn't stop him from enjoying the lush green grass. He is such a sweet little guy!
Hey Ewe is getting her share of the green pasture for sure! Look at those sides stick out!
We have kittens on the farm again! They are always so much fun, and quite the distraction. Two of the farm children have the cats named after airplane models and pieces of building construction. They get crazy like that sometimes ;) I call this cat Moo, doesn't he look like a cow?
It was almost impossible to get all five kittens looking at a camera, the sweet fluffy bunch of kittens was too much. And all so different looking!
Sorry for the blurry photo, my photographer was a little excited and couldn't hold still! A handful of fluff!
In the Greenhouse ...
Spring crops are in the ground almost ready to harvest which means its time to plant summer starts! Tomatoes, peppers, summer and winter squash, basil, you name it! If you haven't seen our soil blocking tray video check it out here!
The grass is mowed and the greenhouse is looking good! Life is good down on the farm :)
Inside the poly tunnel, greenhouse, hoop house indoor plant growing thing a ma jig :)
Pea flowers are so beautiful!
The peas are reaching higher and getting close to the top of the greenhouse!
Radish crop number 3 coming up and looking ready to thin out.
Baby peas are growing up fast!
Tomatoes are coming up and so are a lot of other seeds, not long now until we are in full gardening mode.
Oh basil how I love thee, I could eat pesto three time a day! I might get to with the three kinds of basil we planted and our new garden space. Hopefully I'm able to dry some for #ProjectFillTheSpiceCupboard
More seed starting trays! Were going big this year adding lots of herbs for tea and getting ready to store our new larder under the tea studio.
It isn't broccoli..... its kale going to seed and flowering. So pretty and it seeds so well!
The Lemon Balm is slow but its coming up and will be great to have for our High Desert Hibiscus tea, we are so excited to be adding more herbs to the farm so we can keep it fresh and local!
ARound the Farm...
The Lady's love the Oregano plants! Is it true that you can tell their age by how many spots they have? If so this one looks to be 6 years old or so.
He is faking! Our new morning habit is to rush out after prayers and cut blackberry leaf for the dehydrator! It is growing faster than we can cut and our Oregon Harvest Berry Tea that it goes in is selling almost faster than we can dry it!
With the sun out that means its time to make SUN TEA!!!! I love this summer time tradition, its one I grew up with and plan to keep though we have shaped the Lipton out for some High Desert Hibiscus.
The lavender plants are starting to bloom, this is my favorite time of year, so many beautiful flowers and I love harvesting these. The smell is so peaceful and relaxing! We feature this in our Rose City Repose and Cascade Earl Grey teas.
Purple belled flowers hanging from our wild comfrey plants! We weed around this letting it grow big and strong. It makes great chicken and lamb food, its roots go deep into the soil helping to bring nutrients up and its a great medicinal plant to have around.
More lavender beauty!
The rhododendrons are blooming, they are one... maybe the only plant we have that isn't edible or medicinal.
Our tiny blueberry plants are loaded with berries this year! If the birds don't take them all we may get our first small harvest!
The haskaps are starting to ripen up! They are determined to make their normal May fruiting season. They just squeaked by this year though with the cold wet spring we have had!
Not only are the haskaps turning color but they are huge this year, all the extra rain we had made the plants grow like crazy!
A "weed" but beautiful non the less!
Pardon the deck mess as we are under construction but our grapes and hops are doing wonderful this year. It should be an excellent year for both!
Its time to harvest spearmint for our High Desert Hibiscus! There is quite the abundance of it this year!
The Tea Studio...
The tea studio has walls! What is a tea studio you say? Its a spin off of an art studio.. where one creates art. This will be where we create our artisan loose leaf teas! Currently all of our teas are hand blended in the farm kitchen between nap time, at night time ect. This space will allow us to blend any time and help keep us organized as well as able to produce more tea.
The interior walls being jacked up, quite a scary process to watch but better than carrying board up ladder to build the walls.
The last wall is going up!
The front view looks kind of silly at the moment without the windows cut out or roof on but that will be taken care of shortly!
In the Farm Kitchen...
My farm kitchen pictures seem to be limited this month. With the sun out we spend more and more of our day outside and less in the kitchen. This lovely meal is a weekly favorite, moroccan chicken with baked carrots and onions!
A salad from our yard! Beet greens, kale, spinach, chard, french radish, peas, hard boiled eggs, chives with beautiful flowers and cilantro. Its always a celebration when the first salad comes entirely from the garden!
In the Farm Store...
Sporting my orange as we join the Salem Etsy team at a local craft event!
All of those blackberries above? They were for this! A shipment going to Tea Box Express for their June tea box!
We are in full market swing and enjoying every bit. We do a taste testing of three different teas every week so if you are in or around Salem, OR on a Saturday stop by between 9 am and 3 pm! Check out our market specials including discounts on full size bags and tea by the cup!
We were so excited to barter tea with a tea farm in Maine that grows local wild maine blueberries and chaga. These teas are fantastic and we are enjoying them very much! Thanks for stopping by the farm this month and we will see you next time!
Do you know that person who lives in a tiny duplex in town and grows their own food in their tiny back yard? No? Don't have one of those huh? Well we use to be that family until we were blessed with almost 2 acres of our own. Now not only do we hand blend tea on our farm using the best that Oregon has to offer but we make an effort to grow as much of our own food as possible.
From eggs, to lamb to produce and beyond. This week we are taking you around our farm to show you what has been 'springing' up! Thanks for stopping by and checking out our virtual tour. Maybe some day you will be growing your own food too! We would love to have you join our journey!
Do you already garden or raise animals for food? Share with us in the comments, we would love to chat about it!
Oh March you were so wet, so cloudy and so windy!!! Despite the wet and windy weather St. Ignatius Vineyard was still so beautiful that I had to stop and take pictures. The clouds just made the bright green grass even brighter and the blues bluer! We took a little trip off the farm to pick up some of these beautiful dried Royal Ann cherries from Cherry Country to add to our chai tea blending turning an already fantastic blend into Cherry City Chai, a chocolate cherry chai!
Aren't these cherries beautiful! They add such a wonderful aroma to our chai tea and knowing that they were grown right here in Salem, Oregon and that they are an heirloom to the area makes us feel like we are drinking history in a cup. Check out our Cherry City Chai here.
Around the Barnyard ...
Chicken's and tea? Who knew? We are loving our Great American Farm Tour cup, great for drinking tea hand blended down on the farm.
We have two new additions down on the farm! Meet Hey Ewe and Dodge Ram! They are sure sweet little ones and babies are always welcome down on the farm!
In the Farm Kitchen...
Kefir grains, they make the fastest yogurt with the biggest probiotic punch! We have been loving them in our morning smoothies with bananas, Bliss Nut Butter and local raw honey from Flying Bee Ranch!
Mixing up some purple dilly kraut! Fermented foods make the gut healthy and happy and this one is beautiful to boot!
Local granola with some of our kefir yogurt, a tasty breakfast and treat!
Crepes? Yes please! Filled with Bliss Hazelnut Butter, cocoa powder and local raw honey to make a fantastic "nutella" like spread! Complete with a bright yellow tint from our farm fresh egg yokes.
Building the tea studio...
March brought us the completion of the bottom level framing! Getting a little bit closer to that tea studio being complete. Estimated competition date is Summer of 2017
In the Farm Store...
Ahhh... Cherry City Chai, beautiful and delicious. Sporting our new Mexican hot chocolate mixer which we used to help froth our Cherry City Chai milk for latte time!
So in love with these flowers from Floating Petal Confetti! They are the beauty in our Oregon Harvest Berry Tea!
Rain or Shine its Market time! We are back at the Salem Saturday Market doing tea tastings! Come down and have a try. Salem Oregon Capital area from 9 am to 3 pm.
We welcomed a new piece to our tea business. Our new dehydrator will allow us to dry even more local goodness from black berry leaf to cranberries, aronia berries, haskap berries and more! We are super excited to be able to provide local goodness without any additives or chemicals!
These beautiful cranberries from the Bandon area just make us want to drink tea! Coastal Cranberry Spice tea that is! We hand sliced 40 some pounds of berries in order to bring this wonderful tea to Made in Oregon. We are now located from Portland to Eugene and to Newport!
Thanks for joining us down on the farm!
We are excited to be providing a hand-crafted, artisan loose leaf tea featuring Oregon grown ingredients. Local farmers. Local Families. Small Business. Just plain good tea! No nonsense! Visit our store and make sure you get free shipping through April 21st using coupon code HEisRISEN17 on orders $25+.
February brought some crazy weather down on the farm! From ice to snow, to hail, to sunshine and LOTS and LOTS of rain! All that crazy weather kept us inside the farm house, inside the barn and working on the farm store more than usual.
These cows thought they would tell us about the snow on our way up to the dairy farm, I think that they are also looking forward to some warm sunshine!
In the Farm Kitchen...
Down on the farm we love supporting other local farms and other local small businesses! We had the pleasure of meeting the owner of Epiphany's Caramelized Balsamic Vinegar and had to bring some home with us. We created this griddle cake recipe that it goes great with!
The end of January marked our first on farm experience with having an animal that we raised, butchered for the freezer. It was a new experience for the children and a little hard on them at first but they seemed to get over it ok. These are some of the lamb chops from the first lamb that we had processed. Aside from him eating too much of the chicken feed it turned out ok. We will be trying again but separating the lambs from the chicken food! Grass-fed lamb is best! Grain just makes them fat, and fatty meat.
Breakfast down on the farm: homemade whole what sourdough toast with plenty of butter, scrambled eggs with spinach and homemade kimchi. Oh yes, don't forget the tea!!!
Despite all the snow and the huge amounts of rain, spring must be near because the chickens are finally laying eggs again! Farm Boy #2 calculated that if all of our chickens start laying eggs (half the flock are newbies and haven't lain any eggs yet) we will have 120 eggs a week! If you are local this is good news because this means we will have farm fresh eggs awaiting for you! Keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook page for announcements.
Bread and water can be so easily made into toast and tea! Mt. Hope Farm's Strawberry Lavender fruit spread is WAY too yummy. I had to share so that I didn't eat the whole jar. Paired with our Lavender Earl Grey tea in a Silverton Food Co-Op mug. This was the perfect afternoon snack!
Around the Barnyard...
Betsy the bunny getting a break from her cage and a good pet, complete with a snack. She was playing dead until the carrot came near her nose. Rabbits! They fall for the carrot every time!
The cats have officially become barn cats! We decided to move where we feed them so they don't hang out at the front door so much. I guess they decided that being fed in the barn wasn't so bad, they find quite the cozy spot.
The pasture is about spent so the chickens have been allowed to free range around the farm. They are doing much better health wise, their feet are a bright yellow, their combs more red and we have more eggs to show for it. The only down side is the poo that is all over the farm! Hopefully that will be remedied soon with our new garden plans. Check out our Youtube channel to see more on that.
In the Greenhouse ...
We started planting in the greenhouse in February and a few things are SLOWLY sprouting up. Its been pretty cold so things are really slow in the growing department. These are beets working their way up from seed that we saved in the fall.
A little behind the scenes shot from our Youtube video titled "How do you say Fiacre? Farm Tour" This Joby tripod is pretty fun to use, it just likes to hang out.
The peas and spinach are coming up and we are getting super excited to have a greenhouse full of produce again! We have missed our winter garden sorely.
Radishes are getting a good start and will be moving to the above ground garden boxes very soon.
Around the Farm ...
The tea studio project is coming along nicely. This was an earlier shot before all the walls were totally finished. The ground level is done and next we go up!
Cutting and dehydrating blackberry leaves for a few of our tea blends. Blackberries grow almost year around here in Oregon and they actually make a great tea. The longer it is brewed the sweeter the leaves get!
Traveling off the farm ...
We had a little break from the farm as we visited the Winter Ag Fest but on the way we picked up some manure for the garden and had a tea party in the barn. Check out our day in our Youtube video "Making Tea in the Barn"
We had fun showing off our hand crank grain mill and teas at the Winter Poultry and Homesteading Faire in Eugene, OR. Farm Boy #2 spent a good portion of the day demoing the mill and oqccaiosnally letting others try it out. It works out the farms for sure! If you want to see how bad the 'burn' is check out our video "The Fermented Bread Winner"
Grinding up the wheat, can't have a proper tea time without some baked goods!
In the Farmstore ...
We are excited to announce that we will have these great cards at the Salem Saturday Market starting in April! Buy 12 bags of tea and get one free!!!
A new bath of Lavender Lemongrass Garden Salve is in stock! Ready in time for gardening season. It moistens the hands after gardening in dry soil and assists with sore muscles. Find this great hand salve here.
We have been enjoying our new bag stamp from Authentic Heirlooms! Its really made our packaging look wonderful.
Our new label line up! All bags are now switched over to their new labels and packaging and even new sizes! Check it out in the farm store.
A gift that we had fun packing up for a customer, its always a treat to get to use creativity in wrapping up orders. Every order feels like a special gift from our farm to your home!
From blackberry leaf to black berry tea, its fun to see it grow on our farm and get turned into a yummy tea. Blackberry leaf gets sweeter as you brew it and is quite a bit more pleasant that one might expect. Our blackberry leaf is in our High Desert Hibiscus as well as our Oregon Harvest Berry teas.
Oregon Harvest Berry showing off her new labels, we are glad to not be printing and cutting these by hand any more. It has allowed us to enter the wholesale arena and be able to up our processing. Plus they look fabulous!
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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