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!
The weather here in Oregon did a flip flop... a couple of times I think. One day its hot outside in the mid 80's and the next it is raining and cloudy. September and October are harvest season here down on the farm. All those months of planning, planting have come down to this.... harvesting.
We have enjoyed the grapes hanging off our vine on our front porch for some time now and while it is sad to cut them down and no longer have them there we get to enjoy their sweetness. Some fresh, some dehydrated and maybe even some in tea for our monthly tea subscribers.
We also planted some experimental quinoa this year. There is a farm locally that specializes in it so we thought we would give it a try. Quinoa is an ancient grain and is a very healthy protein packed food. It looks much like bird seed after harvested! We figure if we didn't eat it ourselves we would either save it for seed and/or use it to supplement the chicken feed.
Check out our harvest here on Youtube and thanks for visiting us down on the farm!
Some people get up early and they go to the gym, or go for a walk or have some form of exercise they do to start off with their day. Its a great habit and start to great health.
On the farm, the garden is our gym. Its great because not only is it "free" but it "pays" us in food! And boy do we need the food after working in the garden, talk about a great way to stir up an appetite!
This time of year harvest season is hitting hard. We have LOADS of food coming in the house. The counter is piled with food of all sorts and we spend a couple days a week just processing and putting up food for the winter.
This week we are taking you with us as we dehydrate what we bring out of the garden. The freezer is full, the fermentation area is full so all that is left is to dry or can. I'm just not a fan of canning and in the video below you will find out why.
Do you have a summer garden? What food do you preserve to get you through the winter? Is there something that you wish you could/would grow and preserve? Share with us here!!!
I'm smiling because even though its really, really hot, muggy and the sky is filled with thick smoke these zinnia's are still beautiful. They make me happy every time I see them. Do you want to know why?
These beauties all came from a little packet of seed. Of course you say... all flowers come from seed. You see this gal grew up just outside of the city, while my mom had a tiny garden once or twice, and the fruit trees that came with the property, it wasn't until I met my Farmer that I really grew anything. In fact I KILLED EVERY HOUSE PLANT that came in my reach. I didn't bother planting anything at all, inside or out.
But there was this one book that lit a spark, and then the health needs of my family and myself. And then this deal on a packet or organic seeds and an ABUNDANCE of beautiful flowers. No they were not these flowers but these ones are growing just as abundantly. And SO many different colors! They are just beautiful, and useful, and make the garden and the house look pretty. And I didn't kill them.
These little flowers are a proof that if you keep trying eventually that black thumb will turn green. By the way I still kill every plant in the house, so I stick to my outdoor plants.
In-between these flowers are some lemon balm, its there hiding and grows much slower than the flowers. Today though, we were running low on lemon balm tincture. Those little bottles (1 oz) don't go very far and they are super expensive at $12 a bottle.
$2 for lemon balm seed, a mason jar and a few dollars of vodka net me a whole canning jar full of tincture with plenty of lemon balm for a few flavorful dishes in the kitchen. Join me in this video as I walk you though our process of harvesting lemon balm and how to use it. Recipes are typed out below the video.
Lemon Balm Tincture
1 C. Fresh Lemon Balm, Chopped
2+ C. 80-100 proof quality Vodka
1 small canning jar and a lid
Gather your lemon balm removing the stems from the leaves. Chop the leaves up to release the oils better in the lemon balm. Fill your jar half way up with lemon balm. More is always better than less but you want plenty of room for the leaves to move around. Fill the jar the rest of the way with your vodka. Place the lid on the top and make sure to label it not jus with the name of the tincture but also the ingredients and the date that it was made. If you want you could add the date that it should be finished to the top also. I love to use a dry erase marker paired with a white plastic reusable canning lid. Give it a good shake to mix it up and then place in a cool dark spot for 6-8 weeks. Give it a good shake once a week to make sure the alcohol is getting all the way around the leaves.
Lemon Balm Cream Cheese
1 C. Organic Probiotic Cream Cheese
2 Tbl. Lemon Balm
Let cream cheese soften at room temperature. Chop 2 Tbl. of lemon balm and mix into cream cheese. Its great on fruit, toast or anything else you might use cream cheese on. Sweeten it to make a great desert toping.
Lemon Balm topped fruit
1 C. fruit of choice (we used a peach, watermelon would also be great!0
1 Tbl. lemon balm, chopped
Sprinkle lemon balm over fruit of choice. Fruit salad would be great also!
Fresh Lemon Balm Tea
2 Tbl. Fresh Lemon Balm, chopped
6 oz boiling water
Place chopped lemon balm in a french press, tea ball or directly in cup. Pour hot water over and let steep for 3-7 minutes or to taste. Strain leaves from water and enjoy!
The tomatoes are coming wildly from the garden, as soon as one batch is put up there is another batch! WE love our tomatoes though and we are thinking we probably grew enough to make enough pasta sauce all year without having to buy any.
After all I planted 80 tomato plants! Yes. I'm crazy.
Truth be told though, I hate canning. Its hot, its time consuming, its hot. Did I say that already?
Dehydrating tomatoes is so simple and while our huge dehydrator heats up the house some smaller dehydrators out on a porch in the shade do an excellent job! Check out video #2 this week on how you can dehydrate your tomatoes at home.
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!
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?
Gardens are a lot of work! First the area is prepared, for us that meant rotating the chickens through the area and then tilling it and then tapping it. Next the seeds need to be planted, watered, babied. Then the seedlings get transplanted out into the garden. Phew..... I'm so hungry after all of that work I'm going to be anxiously awaiting the food that comes from it. But wait we aren't done yet... we have to keep watering those baby plants. Make sure that weeds don't take them over.
The good news is that with a little effort up front the watering and weeding can be dealt with fairly simply. Mulching to the rescue! This week we take you on our mulching adventure showing you 5 reasons that its a good idea to mulch your garden, no matter what size, with a little added farm humor. Thanks for joining us down on the farm and we hope you have a wonderful week! We would love to know what you are growing and about your experience with mulching, let us know in the comment section below! Cheers!
We started this gardening journey with putting our chickens in the garden to till it up, yet before even that we took you along with us as we built our chicken tractor, chickshaw, chicken thing. Then we had you with us as we built our soil block trays, showed you our soil blocking method and planted our seed. Its time to move those babies out to the garden and watch them grow! Join us this week as we move our basil out with the tomatoes. Soon we will be adding herbs for tea and for culinary use including chamomile, tarragon, lemon balm and more! Join us every step of the way as we share the happenings of the farm with you once a week on Youtube!
Thanks for being part of our farm family! Cheers!
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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