Our chickens to new grass that is! Check out the work they have been doing to get our garden spot ready, what it takes to move them around and our new baby lambs.
Roses are red,
Violets are blue.....
Chocolates! Jewelry! Date Night! Oh my..... nope that isn't what my Farmer did....
But, do you know what he DID do? Well ..... we will get to that in a bit! Today is the Feast of St. Valentine. St. Valentine was a Catholic priest in Rome during the Christian persecutions of Emperor Claudius the Second. During the time of this persecution St. Valentine assisted the faithful Christians by providing them with the Sacraments. Because he was so faithful to Christ's Church he was persecuted by the Roman pagans and brought to the tribunal and told to renounce his faith. When the emperor discovered that he would not give up the Christian religion in order to worship pagan gods, St. Valentine was executed on the 15th of February in the year 270 A.D.
This is the history of what is commonly called "Valentines" though in the Catholic Faith it is kept as a feast day. A day in which we celebrate one of Christ's brave soldiers who battled for the Truth to win his reward in heaven. It is a called a feast because we celebrate the day on which this saint celebrates his "birthday into heaven." The typical celebration of this day in the Church is a Mass said in honor of St. Valentine.
There are other historical customs that revolve around this day as well though many of them are not of Christian origin. The most popular tradition on this Feast day is the giving of cards to loved ones or a particular person on which you wish to express your love. Growing up we also gave "Valentines" to every member in our class in school. This is a modern invention that came along with the commercialization of St. Valentin's day. Though it is an extension of an old pagan tradition. The heathens use to have the custom of boys drawing the names of girls in honor of their goddess Februata Juno on the 15th of February. When the land was Christianized many saintly priests abolished this custom and replaced it with the drawing of a saint, which was to be imitated in hopes of to increasing Christian virtue over pagan superstition. (Butler's Lives of the Saints, Vol 1 St. Valentine)
So what do we do down on the farm for the Feast of St. Valentine? Well here we love history, and we love traditions, and you might have noticed a wee bit, that we love vintage farm life. What else are we to do but be consistent and celebrate with a little history and tradition!
This year we will all draw a name of a saint to learn more about in hopes of being able to imitate their virtue and goodness along with their love of God. We also celebrate this day with a feast, enjoying some of the goodness of God's gifts. A special gift that He has just given us was a lamb from our far so that it might nourish our bodies on our path to heaven. Down on the farm we enjoy the babies in the spring but life comes full circle when a lamb goes from the field to the freezer. It has been a great reminder of the sacrifice that God made for us by giving us His only Son to open the gates of heaven- the lamb of God. There are so many lessons to be learned when growing and raising your own food and is sure brings an appreciation of the sacrifice that is required. There is another blessing though in knowing that God's creation lived a good life on the green grass protected by our little fence yet free enough to roam around and be as healthy as possible. We will always be thankful for those blessings!
For dessert we will have some treats made with left over Christmas goodies which will remind us of this special day. We gave these candy canes a little St. Valentine's Feast Day twist. In the shape of a shepherd's staff, red and crimson for His blood shed for us, white for His purity. In the shape of His most Sacred Heart that loves us so. Filled with pure white chocolate. One treat for each of the ones He gave for me to love. These little treats are great education tools for young minds as they always remember that St. Valentine's Feast is full of goodies which remind them of Christ and His sacrifice of Love.
What did the Farmer give me for St. Valentine's day? .... He gave me this.......
A blessed Feast of St. Valentine to you all and may we all remember the holy priest who died for the love of Christ on this day! Thank you for stopping by St. Fiacre's Farm!
Looking back I think we could name June spring harvest month! We have been busy down on the farm harvesting our spring crops and putting in our summer crops. It sure has made for a busy month out in the garden but one full of many blessings. Welcome to our farm!
In the Farm Kitchen
First up on the harvesting list is our nubby carrots. These were intended to be short, a mere 6 inch carrot, but they decided to go wide as well. We would have liked to leave them in the ground longer but needed the space for other crops so out they came!
This was probably our biggest strawberry harvest in one picking from our small strawberry patch. Much too small of a patch for our liking, we will be finding a place to expand it for next year. There is nothing better than home grown, fresh from the vine strawberries!
A nightly harvest from the greenhouse garden: a few beets which don't grow so well in our greenhouse, a lovely green cabbage, carrots and lots of salad greens.
Cabbage cabbage! After figuring none of it would actually make a cabbage head it turns out that patience is fruitful.
Nope not green beans but kale pods! When kale flowers it shoots out these pods and the seed is inside. We picked some early and fermented them in a salt brine for a few days on the counter then let them rest in the fridge. They came out like a garlicky green bean. We used them similar to capers cut up on some salmon with lots of butter and salt. It was fantastic!
One big radish! Kidding, a turnip snuck in with our radish harvest. We made sure to put it to good use.
Dinner all from the garden, now to replicate that 364 more days and we will have met our goal of being self sustaining with our food! Roasted beets, turnip and radishes with a balsamic honey glaze and garden fresh salad.
The purple cabbage was ready and my was it dense, which is great! A little on the spicy side so I'm thinking it didn't get as much water as it needed. It has been adding color to our salad for weeks now.
Lunch down on the farm made and grown on the farm. Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread from our fresh ground flour and made with local honey, eggs from the chickens soon to be egg salad, peas and carrots as our veggies.
Home made mayo in less than 5 minutes, grab the tutorial here. This was a shot intended to go with our first video DIY but the iPad died just before the end so it go set on the back burner for now.
Fresh and local Sunday breakfast tradition down on the farm! When we can't grow our own there is no better sub than locally grown from other farms in the area! This is truly a Farmer's Market Breakfast from the Salem Saturday Market. Eggs provided by our own chickens, nitrate free bacon, fresh fruit from the market, marion berries from family, Cinnamon Raisin toast from The Bread Board of Falls City and wonderful Haskap Fruit Spread from Mt. Hope Farms. Delicious tea from our farm store with a bit of local raw honey from Beeline Honey Co. in Salem, OR.
One of the things we love most about Oregon is all the wonderful seasonal fruit, it is a real treat for our family every year! Oregon strawberries are some of the best around and while the season is short we make sure to enjoy God's wonderful strawberries! Salem, Oregon is also known as the Cherry City and so cherries are in order for sure along with some marionberries grown by our family members. Such a treat!
Eggs are still abundant down on the farm though it seems we have one chicken having a ruff time. Chicken egg colors are based on their breed and the two breeds we have are suppose to lay brown eggs which they usually do. It seems this chicky isn't getting enough nutrition but my guess is that she is low on the pecking order since all the other eggs look well and fine.
The Farm Animals...
Oh how we miss this little kitty, we are not sure what happened to her as she just disappeared one day but she rather enjoyed my gardening shoes when she was with us. Farm life is always teaching us about life, loss, love and sometimes death. God's cycle is always a lesson.
Our lambs are getting rather big! July proved our last month for bottle feeding Little Bitty who isn't so little bitty any more. The lambs are enjoying their free range and pasture grass with a nice rub under the chin here and there.
Mama cat is still parked in front of our door with her furry babies. She is having a ruff time with the loss of 2 of her 3 kittens especially when the one left took a ride to town under our truck. St. Francis must have been looking out for her because she survived two trips under the truck and came back home. We call her spunky because she is always looking for a fun time and hitching a ride.
Around the Farm...
The outdoor garden went in this month. Lots of digging, tilling and then mulching and cleaning up the area. Talk about motivation for a different way of preparing the land. We hope to use our chickens as our tillers this fall and work on a deep mulch system that will save us the work and hopefully build better soil while feeding our chickens. Thank you to Justin Rhodes of Abundant Permaculture for inspiring such an idea.
In go the plant starts and the straw mulch. Nothing like crawling around in your garden ;)
Ahhh! Done, what a happy moment and thankful the garden was smaller rather than larger at least in this regard.
When plants bloom it sure is easier to identify them! We discovered after being here two summers that we have St. Johns Wort growing along the front of our property. Oh happy day to know that we have such a wonderful herbal medicine right in our yard!
Lavender harvest has begun! I always hate having to cut the flowers off the plant because they make the yard look so beautiful and we really enjoy having these plants around but they are so beneficial that flower cutting must commence.
Hand tying lavender wands for drying. We use lavender in three of our teas in our farm shop; Floral Repose (Soon to be renamed Rose City Repose), Raspberry Repose (soon to be renamed Riverfront Repose) and our Lavender Earl Grey.
Evening Lavender Harvest, the best way to relax down on the farm!
Harvesting chamomile from down on the farm which may be found in many of our teas including Orange Jasmine Green Tea, and Floral Repose (Rose City Repose).
Our grapes are coming along well and we are so excited to see fruit on the vines for the first time!
Sometimes there weeds, sometimes their food. Blackberries in Oregon can be so bitter sweet (pun intended). They take over any yard and are near impossible to kill off unless you want to use chemicals or let pigs free range on the farm. Our pigmy goats are helpful in keeping them down some what by eating the leaves which kill off the canes. But when this time of year comes around we are thankful for their fruits!
In the Greenhouse...
Harvest basket hanging out in the greenhouse collecting kale pods and the like.
Chickory bloomed this month, the flowers were so pretty!
Radish pods ready for harvesting for seed. We didn't manage to pickle any of these but perhaps next radish season.
View looking out from the greenhouse on a wet day. A dash out to grab salad greens for dinner while the sun peeks through the clouds.
Mid-spring harvest pulling up radish seed and chickory root making way for summer plants.
Farm girl #2 packing Spunky around the garden. Spring peas falling over and summer green bean starts in the ground.
Tomato starts in the ground with beet going to seed in the background.
Down come the peas to make way fro green beans.
Baby bean starts hoping they hold off the pill bugs ... we shall see....
Kale, lots of kale. Kale in the winter, kale in the fall, kale in the spring and kale in the summer a green for all seasons. I must confess we started sautéing it as we are rather tired of kale salads.
Trips off the Farm to other Farms...
Blueberry season is here and we could not be happier... so happy we picked 91 lbs of these lovely things for the freezer. Check out how huge they are! If you ever get a chance to pick at Satterwhites Farm off Hwy 22 make sure you take it!
Earlier in the month we picked haskap berries for our Willamette Berry Pie Tea blend from the local test farm in the Eugene area.
In the Farm Store...
The Salem Saturday Market is always bringing us surprises with the weather! This particular day was so hot we made sure we had plenty of iced tea to share!
Bloom'n Hibiscus and Bullet and Bean tea were in order for sampling this market day served with a bit of local raw honey from Beeline Honey Co.
We introduced a couple of new teas this month made especially for mothers. The one pictured above is a lactation tea called Our Lady of the Milk in honor of the devotion to Nuestra Señora de la Leche y Buen Parto a Spanish devotion to our Lady of the Milk and Happy Delivery.
Our other new addition to our tea selection is a monthly tea for women called Our Lady's Mantle in devotion also to Our Lady but also because the main ingredient is called lady's mantle that has great properties for assisting women during their monthly menstrual cycle.
A few of our organic hand blended loose leaf teas ready to go in their new home at Bear Branch Farms in Stayton.
We were so excited to welcome this St. Fiacre statue to our Salem Saturday Market display. Its quite a treasure to find such a rare saint statue in our area and one of good quality. We are happy to have our patron with us now where ever we go. May St. Fiacre bless all of your gardens and thank you for stopping to see what is new down on the farm!!
May has brought us green trees, green grass, blackberry weeds, and so much more growth in the greenhouse, the barnyard and the whole farm. We hope you enjoy your May visit down on the farm.
Around the Barnyard ...
The very beginning of May brought some new friends to our little farm. Two ram bummer lambs took over the inside of our barn. These little guys will be raised for the freezer as part of making our little micro farm sustainable and to help in raising our own food.
Please meet Tiny and Big Boy...
Socks got a little surprised and woken from his nap... ahhhh stretch! Nothing like a nap in the dirt.
Tiny and Big Boy get a break from their barn life to taste the green grass...
Big Boy enjoying his outdoor time...
Time for a bottle.... Pepsi the breakfast of champions ;) We started them out on lamb replacer and gradually changed them to half cows milk kefir, half formula and some raw scrambled chicken eggs with molasses.
Meet our little ewe lamb, Little Bitty... she was the last bummer lamb from the local lamb farm and left all along so of course we welcomed her to our farm. The future mother of our future freezer lambs.
Lambs out for a walk.... they follow where ever I go...
Spotted by the chickens who think they are going to get treats....
Getting bigger! Lambs introduction to the pasture, they thought follow the leader sounded like fun.
Farm Girl #1 visiting with our every growing lambs and Lucy the goat.
One of our two little farm kittens, not a fan of getting her picture taking. Our mama cat had two kittens last month.
In the Greenhouse and Around the Farm...
Our busy greenhouse at the beginning of the month, packed with peas, cabbage, carrots, chicory, kale, beets, fennel, radishes and lettuce.
So excited to see cabbage heads forming!
After burning our summer crops in the greenhouse last year we broke down and put a shade cover on the hoop house. Its amazing how well it works and it keeps the temps down 10-20 degrees.
Seed shelf built by the Farmer to keep the pill bugs away from our seedlings. Its working great!
Baby seedlings growing big for our summer garden...
Little Lady in the greenhouse enjoying some sunshine!
Our two grape vines are looking like they will fruit on this, their second year.
Foraging for black berry leaves for our Bloom'n Hibiscus Loose Leaf Tea.
Blooms showing up in our Mary Garden...
Roses, lavender and chamomile from our Mary Garden.
Our Floral Repose Tea bouquet, one of the few teas that we grow many of the tea ingredients in our yard. A great caffeine free night time tea drunk to assist with restful sleep.
In the Farm Kitchen ...
Haskap Berry Whole Wheat Sourdough Muffins for Sunday breakfast.
A small but beautiful haskap berry harvest from our few plants.
Our first spring salad all from our garden and farm. Kale, haskap berries, steamed eggs, and peas.
Abundance of eggs brings us weekly frittatas, quick and easy dinner- just add green salad!
First radishes and carrots from the greenhouse.... love those Easter Egg Radishes!
Another all garden/farm produced salad.... snap peas, carrots, radishes, steamed eggs and kale.
Sourdough Whole Wheat Scones with haskap berriers grown on our farm and some dairy free whipped cream. With tea of course!
Whole Wheat Sourdough Pizza, a little treat not out of our garden but made for special company.
Fermenting green haskap berries, they turned out great! They taste like something between green olives and capers.
Curry Chicken Pasta, kale and strawberry salad and local sourdough bread... dinner down on the farm.
Local spray-free strawberries brought us a morning of making freezer jam. A great and easy project for our Farm Girls, a home ec. lesson.
The Feast of Corpus Christi brings us cross cut bread, red wine, grapes and roast lamb as we celebrate and remember the Last Supper and Holy Eucharist.
In the Farm Store and at the Market ...
The start of May found us packing up a whole sale order for a new cafe opening in McMinnville, Oregon called, Mommies Minis. You will find some of our teas served there, some for purchase and our mother's and children's line of herbal care along with some great fun for the children. Make sure to check it out when they open.
Our 'how to brew loose leaf tea' station at the Salem Saturday Market.
Introducing Dog Salve for your doggie friends available in our shop and at the Salem Saturday Market.
This month we spent time repacking tea into our new bags, blending new batches and taking photo shoots. Here is our Peppermint Patty Loose Leaf Tea which makes an excellent iced drink.
Check out our post on how to make a Blended Peppermint Patty Latte,
Our Marsala Chai Tea was next on the photo shoot list. This is one of our two caffeinated teas and very lovely for a cold rainy day. We spruced it up a bit and turned it into a latte using our French Press to make some frothy milk. Yum!
Noggin Tea for when you need some ginkgo to assist with brain function be it studying or planning your crop rotation, its a 'smart' choice for tea drinking time.
Our first Salem Saturday Market at the start of May went so well we turned our six dates into 12! A little cold, no rain but a good day for loose leaf tea!
Introducing our newest loose leaf tea to enter the farm store! Our Haskap Berry Pie Tea Blend is made with locally grown haskap berries courtesy of Dr. Maxine Thompson of OSU. These blueberry like berries pack a higher antioxidant punch and make this cup of tea taste like blueberry pie in a glass. Grab your bag online or at the Salem Saturday Market. This one will only hang around as long as the berries last!
Coming soon! Our Herbal First Aid Kit which will included a 1 oz tin each of Arnica, Calendula, Plantain and Joint/Back Salve complete with a card on what to use and when! We will also have these lovely lavender sachets available at the Salem Saturday Market, filled with home grown lavender for keeping clear moths from closets and dressers or freshening up a bathroom. Make sure to check out our Farm Store to see what is new!
Thanks for visiting us Down on the Farm!
If you are just joining us for Young Farmer Friday, last week we shared the first part of The Little Lamb, you may find that post here. Apologies for no printable this week, life has been busy down on the farm!
The Little Lamb ... continued...
WHEN Christina drew near the farmer's house, she saw his wife standing at the door, with the youngest child in her arms, while the elder ones stood around her. They were looking at the beautiful rainbow, which now after the storm appeared among the dark gray clouds in all the splendor of its seven colors.
" Look at the rainbow,'' said the mother, as she pointed with uplifted arm, "and glorify Him that made it. In the fiery lightning and fearful thunder, God shows us his great pow-er and majesty; but in the beautiful colors of the rainbow, He displays his goodness and His mercy."
Christina was charmed, now in looking at the beautiful colors of the rainbow, now at the smiling faces of the children; and she was silent until the rainbow disappeared. Then she took the lamb out of her apron, and setting it on its feet, told how she had found it.
"It was very good and honest of you," said the farmer's wife, kindly, "to come out so late in the evening, and even while it was raining! You are a good, honest little girl."
"That she is, indeed," said the farmer, who now came out. ''I trust that you, my chil-dren, will ever be as honest and as upright as this poor little girl. It is better never to have a single sheep, and to be honest and virtuous, than to be the dishonorable and dishonest possessor of a hundred.
"The honesty which impelled this poor child to bring back the lamb, is a treasure of the heart more precious than a whole flock of sheep,—a treasure of which the wolf or the enemy can never deprive her." Frank, the farmer's little boy, now ran to the. fold and brought out the old sheep.
How the little thing jumped and sprang about her for joy! "Oh!" cried Christina, when she saw this; "if it were only for this delight that the poor little thing feels, I do not re-gret bringing it back—though I wished so much to keep it!"
"Well," said the farmer, “since you are so honest, and so fond of the little creature, I will make you a present of it. But it would do you no good at present. It cannot live without milk, and would perish miserably. But in about a fortnight it will be strong enough to feed on grass and herbs, and then Frank will bring it to you."
"But be sure to take good care of it," said his wife. " It will neither be troublesome nor expensive to bring it up. While you are gathering strawberries or sewing, you can easily herd it, and, without ever trespassing on any one's meadow, you can gather as much grass to dry for hay, as will feed it during the winter.
"When it once grows up, the milk will be very useful for your own and your mother's humble housekeeping, and the wool will supply a few pairs of stockings every year," "And if you have luck," said the farmer's little boy, " perhaps you will have a whole flock in time!"
Christina was forced to stay for supper, and heartily enjoyed the milk and bread and butter. The good woman then gave her a fine large slice of fresh, rich butter, wrapped in vine-leaves, and a dozen of eggs, to carry home. "Take these to your moth-er," said she, while she carefully put the eggs in her apron; "greet her kindly from me, and may God soon restore her to health!"
Christina hastened joyfully home through the flowery little valley. Meanwhile the sky had cleared, and the evening star and the slender moon, which now appeared for the first time, beamed gently into the valley. All the flowers and shrubs still dropped with rain, and had a fragrant perfume. Christina's heart felt indescribably happy.
"The heaven and earth," thought she, “are always more beautiful after a storm; but I never before saw them look so sweet and lovely as they do this evening." When she reached home, she told all this to her mother.
"You see," said her mother, "it is just as I told you. That is the pleasure of a good conscience. When we do what is right, our heart is filled with sweet peace; for God teaches us through our conscience that he is pleased with us. Christina! always hearken to the voice of conscience, and never do any thing that is not right and just before God.
" You know well we are poor, and have very little in this world; but let us keep a good conscience, and we are rich enough; and we will never want happiness—yes, the noblest and sweetest happiness in the world will be ours."
From the Metropolitan Second Reader 1883
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.