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!
"If it Never rains then we will never grow."
It's true for people and its true for plants too. If it never rains then nothing will grow. I think here in Western Oregon we have had plenty of rain to make lots of things grow! While most of the country has inches and feet of snow we haven't seen one snow flake this year. In some ways its really nice not to have the snow. In Oregon we see so little snow that it really causes problems with traffic and getting to and from places. Though at times it would be really nice to have that snow white blanket covering the mud that is all over the farm.... and it would be a little cleaner for the farm children to play in.
In the Greenhouse
I avoided photos of the greenhouse last week in our Around the Farm post. This week I decided I'd show you the ugly mess that it is in January.... at least this year since we didn't plant anything over the winter. The grape vine is missing its leaves, the grass is over grown, the bean plants are dead and moldy. It really just isn't what it should be. But life happens and gives us a chance to reflect on our choices. This year we made choices that involved putting our time in places other than the green house.
My sad attempt at throwing some spinach seed in the green house turned into a gnarly mess. While there are a few leaves that could be salvaged its really only enough for maybe one salad.
The slugs seem to be enjoying bits of it and mold the rest of it. The spinach also looks like it spent more time trying to go to seed than to make leafs.
Carrots! These have been in the ground a little long, the only plus to that is that I don't have to figure out where to store them. They will be coming out Thursday when we start the greenhouse clean up.
The Swiss chard looks like its coming back to life but could also use its share of clean up. There are plenty of moldy leaves to get rid of.
Even with the shade cloth on the greenhouse things are warming up and these arugula plants think its time to go to seed. I guess at least we can plant arugula again soon without buying new seed.
Broccoli flowers are showing up. We had so many bugs on these plants that the chickens should have a fun time cleaning them up when we send them in on their greenhouse project.
That's our broccoli harvest. Yep like two little buds of broccoli. Later this year we will be planting it outside to help with the bug pressure and growing temperature.
Our hazelnuts are mostly doing their job in the greenhouse. Back in August or so we laid down hazelnut mulch in the greenhouse pathways to try and keep the grass down. In hind site plastic might have been a good option to put under nether them. We have a little weeding to do but the mud was kept at bay and it still looks decent in the pathways.
These leeks were planted last spring and it looks like they are almost harvest size. At least these three!
A side shot of the greenhouse. See how well that hazelnut mulch is keeping down the grass! Usually there would be a carpet of grass down the aisle trying to get away from us.
ARound the Farm
We grew pounds and pounds of squash last year and it was stored on our front porch since our root cellar wasn't done yet. Sadly between the freezing temps and the alternating warm weather a bunch of it started to wrought. Nothing goes to waste on the farm though, the chickens were more than happy to put that butternut to use.
Not much grass left in the pasture and a WHOLE LOT OF WATER. January is always ruff on the animals and the grass but God is good and will send warmer weather soon! And with it more grass!
Little Bitty says "hi"! She has been rather lonely lately. Our two little lambs, Hey Ewe and Dodge, were re-homed and Roscoe, the goat, doesn't care for the rain. He doesn't have a woolly coat like Little Bitty and so he hides in the barn most of the time.
I thought she was being friendly and wanted petted then she proceeded to try and ram me. Guess she had me fooled!
The weeds are growing! HAPPY DANCE! Yes I know, I'm crazy. But you know what that means, if the weeds grow that means seeds can grow. And if seeds can grow that means its time to plant spring crops in the greenhouse!
The garlic we planted in the fall seems to be pretty happy! This is our first year planting garlic and we are excited to see how it does. We use our share of garlic in the farm kitchen. It would be nice to have a locally grown source.
The borage is making a come back... that bee attacking plant! It doesn't look like I will have to replant it which will be nice. At this rate is should also be big and tall and flowering by spring helping to bring those pollinators into the garden sooner.
Wet and sloppy. This water is running all over the the farm. Thankfully its keeping to the areas it is suppose to stay in but the farm is still wet and muddy.
More water, something I got to jump over as I cam down from the hill. Its always a slippery slope back behind the house and I've slid down the hill a few times. Thankfully I kept that white on my skirt white and made it down ok .... this time.
The Mary Garden isn't very pretty at the moment. Those calendula sorely need to be cut back. The new calendula are sprouting up and taking off already. These are the most hardy flowers I have ever encountered. Almost like a weed, but not. They are very wanted right in this spot!
A calendula trying to sprout in January! Pretty amazing isn't it?! The things have only been out of bloom for about a month and they are ready to take off again. We love these little flowers so much! They are what got us started on our herbal journey and tea making!
Those clouds! They are great, dark and mysterious! But.... in their own way beautiful to boot.
Tea Studio Progress
Taping and texturing continue on the addition/tea studio. This is the dining room extension, the entry way the foyer. We aren't sure what to call it yet or what it's function will be but its getting closer to finished!
Last week we picked out our flooring for the stairway and the tea studio. Fake, but looks like real, wood vinyl plank flooring. We are hoping this will look fantastic and rustic.
In the Farm Kitchen
Kombucha! This poor scoby hasn't been fed in probably two months. I'm afraid instead of kombucha we probably have some serious vinegar going on in here. Its on my to-do list to freshen this tea up and do something with the vinegar. Are you a kombucha drinker? What is your favorite flavor?
Two loaves every other day. Our sourdough bread baking is still going strong. Thankfully through my illness the Farmer learned to make sour dough bread and has done a pretty good job at it! Light and fluffy and not too sour, just the way we like it.
In the Farm Store
Today we infused some garden salve oil so we could make Lavender Lemongrass Garden Salve and shoot a video while doing it. That video should be up tomorrow so that you can make your very own at home! Made with Oregon grown lavender, some of those calendula we mentioned above and comfrey. Its just what the hands need after a hard day in the garden and drying soil.
The bee's wax we use in our salve come from a local bee keeper in 2 pound blocks. Those two pound blocks are really hard to measure up so we always melt our wax down into something smaller and more manageable. Someday I'll have an official mold that says 100% bee's wax and molds the wax in bricks. For now I had this Christmas tree mold and it seems to work ok. Anything is better than trying to chisel off the right amount of wax for the recipe!
Royal Ann's Roses is the newest edition to our farm tea collection. This royal beauty is headed to our Tea Club members come February 6th! Paired with some locally made chocolate, a great recipe and more. If you would like to try this rooibos based tea out make sure you check out our Tea Club for more details!
Locally grown Royal Ann cherries and pink bachelor buttons are sprinkled in this coming months tea. As always we have to include a little local flare in our teas. Thanks for stopping by the farm this week and we will see you tomorrow with a video and blog on how to make herbal infused salve!
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!
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!
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 :)
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!
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!
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!
The sun has not yet risen, slowly little people tumble out of bed for the morning Angelus bell has rung. Its time for morning prayers, and its time to start the day off with God. The rain is tumbling down upon the farmhouse and barn as the sun starts to rise and reveal the day. Fog crowds around the river bend and crawls up the mountain side. The students have dressed and begun their daily studies.
As daylight fully engulfs the farm, barn chores begin. Chickens are given their daily rations to supplement their green pasture and supply of bugs and worms. The waterers are filled and cleaned. There is fresh hay and alfalfa for the goat and the lamb. Next its time for the little people to eat. Fresh sourdough toast, slathered with butter and a kefir smoothie made with fresh, raw, cows milk from the family dairy farm across the valley. The fire crackles in the wood stove as learning commences again. Life is good down on the farm.
Mornings like this are a blessing though life n the farm isn't always so picturesque. There is a barnful of manure and muck to clean out. Wood has to be cut and dried, requiring though ahead of time in regards to heating the farmhouse. Wood burning fires must be made every morning and evening in order to keep the house warm. Bread is baked every day or every-other day to ensure optimal freshness and nutrition. Rain and wet sometimes keep us indoors more often than we would will but God is good in all of His ways!
Those who don't know our little family might think it has always been this way. Yet quite the opposite is true. Why do we want to live the farm life? Why are we trying to grow all of our own food? Why do we choose to work when many of these things could be handled by a grocery store and the electric company?
When this city girl turned farmer's wife was younger I was blessed with wonderful grandparents on both sides of our family. I think that the love of grandparents for their grandchildren was really a reciprocal thing. The wisdom one gains by the time they are grandparents seems even more vast when there are generations between you. There always was (and still is) an awe of the wisdom surrounding my grandparents. On the maternal side Grandpa was/is a humble, hard-working and devoted family man. Grandma full of artistic inspiration, fun-loving and always doting on her grandchildren. On the paternal side, another hard-working and devoted family man. A loving grandmother sure to fill you up not just with her love and hugs but to warm up your insides with the best food should could conjure up. And it was mighty good.
While these patriarchal and matriarchal figures were busy building deep rooted relationships with their grandchildren they were also busy at something else. They were busy sharing living history.
When your a child there is this process of leaving father and mother- some would call it growing up. It lends a certain and necessary relationship barrier in order that authority and order might be established as God willed. Grandparents though, lend another layer to this relationship. They have an established, well documented authority. One that comes with decades of learning. Mistakes made and witnessing so many changes in time. It gives an air of authority that grandchildren appreciate in a new way. It leaves a deep and lasting impression on the young mind. It is an authority that never has to have its relationship changed even as a grandchild grows.
My grandparents were not different. Grandpa impressed on us at a young early age the dangers of smoking cigarettes. He had learned those ills, I suppose, from years when cigarettes were army rations and later when medical technology had advanced enough to teach us the ill effects of smoking. He also taught us how precious Gram's marion berry jam was (marion berries are similar to blackberries but an Oregon specialty!) when sneaking us out to the garage freezer for a container to take home from Gram's stash. I can hear Gram calling him now! "Hooooneeey!!!" Yet the deepest lesson he left was that of his childhood. How he drove at the age of ten because his parents had passed away and his grandmother needed a driver. How during the Great Depression he and his siblings along with his grandmother cleaned for the affluent to earn their daily bread. Hard work lived in this man by his example. There was no bitterness over the hard work, just a deep expression of his appreciation for what he had. Everything was appreciated for its value because of the hard work that it took to get it.
Let me tell you, no one made better mashed potatoes than Grandpa. There was no electric mixer to mash them to perfection either. An old hand masher would do for Grandpa, complete with some good ole' elbow grease. To this day, I use a similar masher because its the one that HE used! During the Great Depression food was scarce for poor city folk. A dish of hamburger gravy and mashed potatoes was most likely an extravagant treat. Potatoes were the mainstay of many a poor man's dish and gravy made it spread around the dinner table easier. After all there were plenty of starving mouths to feed. I remember Grandpa teaching me how to make gravy, Given by the time I was around things like bouillon cubes were invented which was probably an extra that didn't exist in the 1930's. This was also Grandma's dish for she was the mistress of the kitchen at least until health prevented her from being so and even then she was still able to give Grandpa plenty of direction! This dish adorned many a plat at family gatherings. I'm afraid this piece of family history was never fully appreciated by myself as a child but we embrace it fully now in our farm kitchen.
Grandma on the other hand was an East Coast gal who fell for this handsome army man. Grandma always left us with a since of properness about things. There are only a few stories I recall Grandma telling us about her younger years. She use to work for a peanut butter factory, I think she told us that to impress the Farmer who loves his peanut butter. She also told us how her and her girl friends would always go see the army men when they came in because they had been away and had money to spend. That is where she met Grandpa. And how Grandpa sold pints of blood to buy her a ring (awweee!).
Grandma had this since of propriety about her. She was devoted to her religion and always dropping pearls of wisdom on us. Her love of words had us always using her as our point of reference for spelling and grammar. The master at Scrabble and she taught her children how to play well too. Sorry Google, nobody beats Grandma! There was a lot of wisdom behind those quite and loving eyes. Grandma perhaps only spoke when it counted for she wasn't a talkative philosopher but her love was known to all of us. She always had a cup of tea and chocolate mint ready to warm you up. If that didn't do it than perhaps a brownie or no-bake cookie or all of the above to sweeten life up. Together they made a beautiful team, planting the seeds of wisdom that they had learned in their many years of life. They have both passed away now many years but their seeds are growing and sprouting even without their presence. As God would have it, we don't often appreciate what we have until it is gone.
Those seeds that were planted are now taking root on our farm and in our family. As we embrace farm life we are welcoming the rewards of the efforts put into the wood that is chopped by the fire that warms us. The eggs that come from the chickens, that are fed, despite the rainy wet weather. The meal from the lamb that is fed every morning, the produce fresh, that day, from the garden that has been watered and nurtured. We have come to appreciate the food on our place every night because we KNOW its story. We WORKED for it and that work is not without its reward.
So while it is easier to drive to the store and buy what our heart or taste buds desire. While it is easier to turn on the thermostat for heat. We get satisfaction out of the work of these sometimes antiquated ideas. They bring back the memories of our grandparents and their hard work and those seeds that they planted long ago. They taught us appreciation through hard work.
For there is nothing quite like a good hot cup of tea for two and some good ole' hamburger gravy.
Unless, of course, you get to enjoy it in the warm company of your grandparents too!
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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