Walls torn down

Our older high tunnel roof took off in a January blow-down. It was built to withstand 80mph winds but it gave up after hours of the interminable huffing and puffing – much like the abodes of piggies One and Two. We follow organic standards which do not permit pressure-treated wood, thus the next best choice in wood is cedar since it remains stronger in the elements. Over 6 years of sun, wind and hail, the cedar board weakened where the wiggle-wire gizmo had been screwed in.

We are going to upgrade to metal endwalls and structural additions in order not to repeat this scenario in 8 years. Four Season Tools builds everything and will send it our way in about a month’s time. If Nathan and Loida have said their good-byes then…..we hope to find a good replacement for them – haha.

Our basement walls and elevated flooring were ripped out to the foundation due to the extensive flooding this past summer. A new coat of paint has chased all the nightmares away. What a treat! We are going to a keep it in the rough and use it for a work place and storage.

Walls come and go. ‘Something there is that doesn’t love a wall’ (Robert Frost) Some should never be considered.

In my version, Piggies One and Two joined Piggie Three in his house for a splendid repast of roast vegetables and a bowl of soup while the wolf howled at the door.

This little piggie went to market and got some salad mix, carrots, Black Spanish radishes, onions, frozen cantaloupe, pickles and MN potatoes. Not sure why the other piggies didn’t go with her to get some food but that is how the story goes.


A groundhog in Hyvee

I live within the perimeter of Mountain Lake, on the southern fringe. I realize there is a whole world of folks out there but my thrill of travel is at a low ebb, I’ve put in the miles and have passports to prove it. On Sunday, I made a run to the Prairie Pride Pork farm, south of Mankato, to pick up some Berkshire pork chops for the farm dinner this Friday.  They should be tasty!

Next, it was off to HyVee to find some mascarpone. On entering the store there was a mountain of toilet paper – 1000′s of rolls! I missed the significance. I was the groundhog wandering around trying to find a shadow …. it (mascarpone)  was located in the section of imported cheeses. Whew! I continue to wonder about the part I play in this game of food choices that is placed before me. Little nooks such as Jubilee Market & Peacemeals will never compete at that level but I do ponder the future that we’ve written the first chapters for…… What has caused the huge snowball off the food mountain to cascade down on us with issues of allergies and intolerances of wheat, corn and milk etc.? I have some good hunches and they basically revolve around eating real food. Ant that is the hitch – how do you define ‘real’ and what is the purpose of ‘food’?

This week’s offerings for hungry farm share members should be: a large bag of salad mix (Steve is going to post pictures of all the greens – can you identify what you are eating?), Black Spanish Radishes (Nero Tondo – I am really enjoying them now after all these months!), Carrots, Onions, Sweet Potatoes from Farmer Charlie McCone and choices of frozen produce (beans, corn, rhubarb, carrots, broccoli, OR Raspberries OR Sauerkraut).

Kindness remembered

I took my little red wagon to market this week. The two glass gallon bottles of honey were cushioned by the milk and pork loin that helped to safely maneuver the ride over snow-covered roads. Haha  A bit strange but I wanted to be outdoors and riding a bike wasn’t advisable.

After clearing the railroad tracks with my entourage, a friend phoned me that I had not heard from in 56 years! I had located her in a hamlet far away and left my phone number with the town’s librarian. I was remembered! That part of my life is a mystery to me except for brief scattered images; no photographs exist to help keep the memories fresh.

I was a little girl of six, in a boarding house so that I could attend school in town. I remember being quite distraught and my friend, one of two older girls, sitting with me and teaching me songs. The music has followed me through life, pulling me to the other side of dark times.

The world is in a dark place. Will we have the humble strength to show kindness and be merciful, to give a lift to the weary if it is only with a little red wagon? Maybe to sing a new song?

Hmmm This week’s food for the journey for our farm share members should include – Cabbage, carrots, black Spanish radishes, fresh or caramelized onions, garlic greens, awesome tomato jam!, loaf of bread OR 8 buns OR DIV

gluten free bread. Regular farm shares a choice of : frozen raspberries OR sauerkraut.

Caramelize this?

What do you need when you fall in love with caramelized onions and sweet potatoes? This needs to be sung, of course as you are waltzing around the kitchen – haha

We have a HUGE stash of red and white onions so no complaints in the market area…. Caramelized onions are popular in many dishes; I freeze them by the cupful for future reference. If this is a new concept for folks, we will be offering caramelized onions for sale and to CSA farm share members this week.

Caramelization happens when fruits and vegetables are cooked over heat causing the sugars to break down into smaller sweet-tasting units. One pound of fresh onions will yield about 1 cup of caramelized onions. Other options would be with carrots, beets, parsnips, corn and peppers. Sweet fruit also does well with caramelization. The trick is that it takes time, patience and low heat…..otherwise you have charcoal.

Add 1 tablespoon of fat for each pound of vegetable. Slice them in similar sizes to expose the most surface area and spread them out in an even layer in the pan. Salt, water, broth, wine, balsamic vinegar are other options to add, but I keep to just oil and onions.

A cook’s moral: a little heat in distasteful situations can save the day.

CSA Farm shares have a few choices this week: fresh onions or caramelized, salad mix, sweet potato, carrots, Black Spanish radishes, Frozen corn, beans, broccoli, rhubarb, cup of mooss, 1/2 doz cookies (minis -1 choice, regular share – 3 choices), and your choice of garlic….which is in its last days, it can always be frozen for later use.

Smelling like garlic

I hope everyone I meet today likes garlic! Each of the 12 levels of the food dehydrator in our house has a layer of sliced garlic that has dried to a crisp. This is after a night of wafting garlic smells throughout all the rooms and into the garage. Haha! The goal is to make garlic powder….a lot.

I like garlic, there are other things on my list that stink. My nose took a vacation for a big chunk of my life and I had to rely on others to warn me of problems or strange tasting family dinners. It has to do with my early years of loving fish markets, fermented shrimp paste, fish sauce and snacking on dried minnows (or whatever they were). Forty-five years later and I’m not so keen on stinky fish concoctions.

Some of life’s occurrences continue to smell ‘fishy’ …some even stink. Yesterday, I was able to cook in Peacemeals and listen to the 1963 speeches from the ‘March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom’ and to folks who were speaking to commemorate Martin Luther King Day 2017. The intensity of the words struck chords to a song that I could not sing. I have been part of a prayer group around a missile site, held candles on street corners, stood in the dark along a forgotten track waiting for the ‘white train’, marched holding posters, but nothing very grand. My heart and soul long for the day when all of our ‘stinks’ become a rich smell of ‘dinner’s on the table – everyone’s welcome!’ Ooee – then we’ll have another go at the fermented fish along with the garlic – oh my

We have just enough salad mix for the farm shares this week. The rest of the share should include: onions, choice of potatoes (sweet or regular), candy carrots, a pound each of frozen corn and beans or one of raspberries for the minis and each one for the regular shares. Enjoy!