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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

>>--->>>--> REVELING


I have not left you. Yes, I have abandoned this dear blog for some months now. I have been reveling in my pregnancy! I have been absorbed by the extra doings that comes with making room for a little one in your life and most of all, I have been enjoying this precious, sweet time.

This pregnancy has gone by so quickly and today as I browsed my birthing books and watched some short birthing videos I found myself literally salivating at the idea that in a couple of months I will have a little babe in my arms. I can barely stand the thought of waiting- I am so excited for this babe! I am not always great at waiting. I am also so, so, excited for the birth. That might sound weird. I have gathered that most people perceive childbirth as a painful - maybe even slightly traumatic experience. I have a much different perception- I see it as an opportunity for deep growth, a time when my husband and I can bond, and it will be the first "big thing" all three of us will accomplish as a family. We also have intentionally opted out of having any ultrasounds during this pregnancy (unless absolutely necessary) and so we have no clue what sex this little one is. That makes the birth even more exciting!

For the time being, I will be sowing seeds in the warmth of the prop house if you need me! Working with a belly full of life feels so surreal. I never really feel quite alone anymore in my day to day farm activities and tasks. And soon there will be a little one strapped to my bosom or back as I sow seeds. I cannot wait!!

Much Love-
Angie

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

>>--->>>--> AND THEN THERE WAS LIFE


I have debated how to write this post - if I should even put it out there and when to post it. So here I am, just following my intuition and letting the words flow.

Let me fill the world in first. Joe and I have been trying to get pregnant for a bit now; what feels like an eternity. Even though I have my hands full with a farm to run, having a child is so deeply desired with every fiber of  my being. Not becoming pregnant quickly has brought conflicted feelings.  On one hand, I have been impatient and not understanding of the universe and it's timing. On the other hand, I do wonder how I will do it all with a baby in tow.


Back in August my Grammy passed away. I was by her side when she took her last breath. I am so, so grateful to have been there at that moment of her life. The couple of days leading up to her death were tranquil, yet somber. She was moved to hospice knowing that her time on earth was very short. Our number one goal became making her most comfortable in her last days/hours.  Her family gathered around her in her small hospice room - held her, maintained composed sadness, told her how much they loved her, encouraged her, and let her know that that we all would be okay, giving her permission to let go. This is probably one of the hardest things we can do in this life. Telling someone you love so deeply that it is okay for them to leave you and move onto the next phase not knowing when we will see each other again is heart wrenching. It's always harder to be the one left behind. Seeing someone you love suffer is even harder though. So you release them, and reassure them all will be well - even if you do not know if that is necessarily true.

Grammy's hospice room was quiet with love and so peaceful in her last hours. For some reason when I was alone with her I felt compelled to tell her how excited I was for her to see my Poppy (my passed grandfather - her husband)  and then I thought she might also get to see my babies up there. She might get to hold the little one I miscarried years ago. I blurted out to her: "Tell my babies I love them and tell them to hurry up."  Tears were streaming down my face.  I immediately felt like that was a selfish plea in that moment but I knew that if anyone could make things happen more swiftly on that end - she was my best bet. I felt comforted suddenly by the thought of her watching after me from above and my babies being safe with her.

A few hours later she passed away and we began going through the motions of funeral arrangements and all that comes with such a time. Soon enough I was back at it on the farm. A month passed and I was taking a pregnancy test - a process that I had gotten used to, along with downplaying my hopes. But this time, it turns out different - I am pregnant! I conceived my little light just days after my Grammy's funeral. 

I smile at the alchemy of it all. There are no mistakes, coincidences, just orchestrated magic.  I know in my heart she is behind this. I feel her with me all the time and this little light growing inside me feels like her gift to our family after losing her. Like she knew we needed something so good to bring us back to a joyous place.


Joe and I are due in May and we are so, so excited. My family is so very excited. We are all absolutely intoxicated by the thought of a little baby coming! We are extremely blessed; we know this. And we will cherish every moment of this next beautiful journey. 

xo~
Angie

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

>>--->>>--> MAKE YOUR OWN SOURDOUGH STARTER AND BREAD!


Over the years I have experimented with many different sourdough starter recipes. There are ones that involve pineapple juice, only rye flour, honey, yogurt...the list goes on. Through trial and error I finally found a simple recipe that works great for me.


My recipe:
In a ceramic bowl mix 2 cups of flour (white or rye are great choices) and 1 1/2 cups of water. Cover with cheesecloth or a tea towel and set aside in a warm place stirring once a day. Everyday add 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water and mix well.

After a couple of days you will begin to notice bubbles and a sour smell- this is perfect and exactly what is supposed to happen. In about five to seven days your starter will be ready for bread making!

It should look something like this when it is ready:



I use this recipe here- skipping their variation of the starter and using my own.  You can essentially use ANY bread recipe- just substitute your starter for the yeast mixture the recipe calls for. I always make sure to add at least 1 cup of my own starter to the recipe for the best sourdough flavor. I also always use the starter before I feed it for the day. I like to make sure I have about 1 cup leftover on the days I use it to make bread.



If you find yourself with a glut of sourdough starter, or you are going away and not able to feed it, or just want a break- put the mixture in a sealed jar in the fridge. The cold of the fridge suspends the growth and collecting of the wild yeast. When you want to start feeding it again, pour it back into a ceramic bowl and start to the process again.

Other great ways to use your starter:

  • give away some as a gift to a friend and neighbor with directions on how to feed it
  • pancakes
  • waffles
  • muffins/sweetbreads
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Angie

Monday, November 18, 2013

>>--->>>--> BLUEBERRY CRANBERRY GREEN SMOOTHIE




I am in LOVE with kale these days. I think my crop failure this summer messed with me and has made me want it in my life even more. Luckily I have my ways, like knowing other farmers that grow it. 

One of my favorite ways to use kale is in green smoothies. It seems like the perfect balance of sweet, earthy, and raw. And I feel so good after I drink them. You can see other greens I use in smoothies here in this post. 

Tis the season for cranberries! I buy them in big huge bags this time of year and keep them in the freezer. I also happen to have some local blueberries in freezer from this past summer and always, always friends- frozen bananas for such smoothie occasions. 

This recipe is simple and not overly sweet, slightly tart from the cranberries, and full of kale goodness. 

You will need: 

a couple of large stems of kale (any kind will do)
a handful of frozen cranberries
a handful of frozen blueberries
1 frozen banana
1 cup of milk (I used hemp- but rice, soy, oat, goat, or cow will do)
1/2 cup of water

Put the milk and water in the blender with the kale. Mix on high until slightly smooth. Slowly add your fruit and blend for another 2 minutes on high. The trick to having a creamy smoothie with no lumpy greens is blending it a long time! 

This will serve 2 or 1 very generous portion. 

Enjoy!
Angie

>>--->>>--> A BIRTHDAY CAKE OF DREAMS


One of the curses of being a good baker/cook is that no one ever feels gutsy enough to cook or bake for you. I talk about this all the time with my girlfriends. They reassure me that I would not want to eat what they would make me.  Therefore, on almost all special occasions I am the one in the kitchen making things happen. Most of the time I love it. But there are times when I feel burnt out and so sick of cooking. During those lows- even if someone made me an egg or a grilled cheese I would savor it as if it was the fanciest meal- all because I did not have to make it myself.

On my birthday this year I vowed that I would not be the one to make my own birthday cake. And oddly enough- a month or so before my birthday my sister told me that she was making something special for dessert. She fished for what flavors I love and I tried to get out of her what direction she was thinking of going in. She would not budge. It was exciting to know I had a special treat coming that I did not have to make myself. I am telling you people- it could have been brownies and I would have love it- because I did not have to make it!

My sister and parents showed up to my birthday dinner here at the farm with gifts in tow. And my sister walked into my kitchen holding the most beautiful cake I had ever seen. Her face was beaming with pride as she held the milk glass cake stand with the glowing cake rested on top. I could not believe what she had done. It was an Ombre Chocolate Peanut Truffle Layer Cake!! It was stunning!! I immediately squealed with happiness and decided we were going to have cake FIRST! You know, you always eat too much and then when it comes time for cake you are too full to enjoy it. Not this time.







The cake was so rich, creamy, and absolutely delicious. I think food that I do not have to make tastes so good. But truly, this cake was just GOOD!


So, thank you sweet, sweet Abby for making such a beautiful gift for me. That cake was so scrumptious, made with such great care, and was simply fulfilling. I will remember that cake always! I love you and the cake.

xo,
Angie

>>--->>>--> ORCHARD MEMORIES

I know I have been so quiet lately. I have a good reason...I swear. More to come on that in another post!!

About a month ago I went to a local orchard with my brother, his fiance, her daughter, and my friend Jill. We ate apples as we picked until we could eat no more, filled our bags to the brim with sweet goodness, and I had the chance to snap some photos of my brother and his fiance. I cannot wait to have her as a sister! Next September cannot come soon enough!












 I hope your Autumn has been full of happy memories and festive times.

Blessings,
Angie













Friday, August 30, 2013

>>--->>>--> LEARNING


I have learned so much this summer. I have allowed myself to get lost in the grind of the farm for months now. The morning light starts my day and inevitably I work until there is no more light outside for me. It has been good, tiresome, but so good. In my tired moments I curse the world and my choice of this life. Nature is constant- there is no vacation for nature. The plants will always need watered, the weeds will grow regardless of if I am tending to them or not, and the animals need daily attention, care, and nourishment. The days that I feel vibrant- I consider adding another 20 chickens to the flock and tilling up the big field for planting. But I am swiftly reminded that I am but one woman and can only do so much. So I work diligently, caring for what seeds I have started.

This year there have been losses that feel heavy and sad at every remembrance.  My whole crop of kale was eaten within two nights by bugs. Kale is one of my big sellers and this was not only a sad loss because I love to eat kale, but an expensive one. The peonies I put in this year contracted a rot disease and I only saw three worthy blooms out of 20 plants! Six of our chicks ended up being roosters (about a third of our whole batch) - so we have chicken in the freezer now and only 15 laying hens.  One of our chickens was beat up by the others and her head was pecked to her skull and I had to kill it all by myself one early morning before market harvest. If you know me well, you know that things like that set me back and break my heart for awhile. And last weekend my Grammy passed away.  I was luckily by her side when she passed but have been away from the farm for two weeks to be with her and then there for her funeral and arrangements. I have come home to weeds, rotting veggies, bolted lettuce and greens, and I am very behind in fall planting. Alas, this is what comes of being a one woman show- and a woman that is still learning and growing.

And then there is the other side of the coin. There have been great successes and sweet surprises that have kept me afloat and happy when everything else has been glum. Such as the rouge self sowed crop of pumpkins in my compost pile- unexpected, but beautiful and useful considering pumpkins was something I did not get to sowing this year.  The cucumbers were epic this summer- they seemed like they would go forever. They were sweet and delicious. The fennel, leeks, and ground cherries get bigger everyday and will be a happy usher into fall. The amount of basil (5 varieties) this summer has been spot on. The freezer gets fat with pesto and my customers are happy making tomato, mozzarella, and basil stackers weekly. I am so lucky to have my business partner be the ever abundant, forgiving, and fruitful earth. There is a glut of tomatoes out there, just waiting for their turn- they are red, orange, green and ripe for the picking. Even when the farm is abandoned, nature keeps setting fruit and growing.


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