Friday, June 28, 2013

VSU Ag Visit

Got an email awhile back from one of our farm supporters asking if we would host a tour for a group of VSU's Ag Discovery program students. We were honored to be considered and have been looking forward to having them here. What a fun way to share what we love doing, make some new friends and hopefully inspire a few future farmers. Their visit and sweet energy certainly inspired us!
meeting the woolly girls

talking chickens

wool & felting

Janaye and baby chick

the kiddos and our new farm friends for life :) hope they come back to visit again!
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” - Confucius

Sunday, June 23, 2013

blackberry cobbler

One of my favorite parts about summer is the fresh fruit and veggie bounty! We have loads of blackberries around here - some wild and some have been planted. And if I can get to them before the birds's a daily blackberry feast. This time of year, it's not unusual for us to have fruit cobblers for dinner and tonight it's blackberry.

Here's my recipe which was given to me by my mom who got it from a friend when I was a teeny tiny kiddo, so I've been eating cobbler made this way my whole wonder it's my favorite! And it's SUPER easy and it totally fills up the entire, win, win! You can add any fruit to the cobbler - peach, apple, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, cherry or for a new twist - mix a couple of them together.
  • melt a stick of butter in a 9x13 pan (put the butter in the pan and pop in the oven while it's preheating until the butter is can use less butter if you like..we just like butter around here!)
while the butter is melting in the oven - start on the topping
in mixing bowl add:
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 tsp baking powder

  • 2 cups milk (add milk to the dry topping mixture right before you pour over fruit - if you let it sit too long the baking powder and the milk together get restless)
once the butter is melted - get out of oven and add:
  • 2 cups drained fruit (if I'm using peaches or apples, I sprinkle with the fruit with cinnamon before adding the topping..Mmm)
  • add the milk to the dry topping mixture and cream, then immediately pour over your fruit (it's tempting to add more than 2 cups of fruit and from experience..beware..if you do, don't add the entire amount of topping or it will spill over in the oven..been there, done that)
Bake at 375 degrees for 35 min or until golden brown. Best if served warm and with homemade ice cream :-)

Friday, June 21, 2013

hippie pit

There are probably a dozen reasons why I choose to stay away from commercial deodorants/antiperspirants..the aluminum likely being number one for me. It really is in pretty much every single commercial deodorant/antiperspirant regardless of brand or form. If you google the health risks of using products that contain aluminum..grab your hot tea mug and glasses because you will come up with a lot of reading. There is controversy about the sources of credibility of the health risk claims and so on..there will always be controversy and I am not making any such claims in this post. I am simply stating that I proceed with caution when it comes to putting anything on my skin..especially when there is plausible concern. A couple of years ago I started working on some natural deodorants, one I referred to fondly as Hippie Pit. I never did market Hippie Pit. The main reason being, it was just too easy for me. So instead I have handed out this concept to everyone and everyone that inquires! Deodorants are probably up there with one of the most simplest things to create. If you want to give a small sample a try, here's a simple DIY formula:
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder  (helps absorb perspiration)
  • 1 tablespoon of aluminum-free baking soda (blocks odor and prevents bacteria growth)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of melted coconut oil to moisten
  • 5 drops of lavender essential oil (because I have a thing for lavender)
- if it's too moist add a bit more arrowroot, if it's too dry add a bit more coconut oil until you get the consistency you like. You can substitute or add corn starch if you'd like (GMO free..if you can find it) or you can skip the baking soda if that is too harsh for your skin and just use arrowroot powder. You can also use a combination of shea butter and coconut oil or use only melted can also add another essential oil of your choice instead of lavender - like citrus oils, rosemary and ginger..or skip them all and make it completely unscented. And if you decide you love it and want to make an entire container full, you may want to add a little vitamin e oil to help extend the shelf life. You can keep it in a container with a lid and apply it on with your finger, rubbing it in completely or you can put it in a deodorant type stick and rub it on that way. It's that easy.
Hippie Pit
 If you'd like to see how much you're saving by making this yourself  - here are some links to some natural deodorants, a couple I have personally tried but am a faithful Hippie Pit fan now :-)

Rose of Sharon's Deodorant Stick

Bubble & Bee's Organic Deodorant

 your skin is your largest good to it

Linked with The Barn Hop 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

how we do a weekend retreat

 For all the obvious reason, we rarely get to pack an overnight bag and venture too far away from the farm. So the need for a little relaxation and outside adventure usually slips us by..but this weekend we were able to soak in a little mountain retreat that completely and altogether refreshed our spirits. This journey took us to places we had never been but also conveyed some familiar inspiration and left us entirely awe struck by the simple beauty of nature and a full night's sleep. 

Blue Ridge Mountains
the cowboy wanted to stop for a couple bales of hay..beautiful valley hay and plenty of it!

Our overnight accommodations in Steeles Tavern - a cozy old Mill now turned B&B. Gracious innkeeper service with historic surroundings and a sweet, comfortable atmosphere.  Osceola Mill 

 I am completely fascinated with historical..well everything, so nestling down in the Old Mill Store for the night was my highlight. The Store has been renovated to accommodate guests but I felt the history of this old working mill, in my bones...or maybe that was the sunken jacuzzi tub ;-)

 Oh and this is wine country..need I say more :-) Rockbridge Vineyard was by far our favorite winery of the day - breathtaking views, award winning brews and some really fun, chatty and all around fantastic folks!

Rockbridge Vineyard

another first for us...morning coffee by candlelight
 Because I am an overly committed farm chic, I brought some of my ewe girls with me and carded a bag of wool on the front porch of the Old Mill Store....I'm never too far away from what I love.

 We very much enjoyed being tourists for the afternoon while visiting the Frontier Culture Museum
 I think the little gal working in the England exhibit was glad when I left..I couldn't help myself, I had to touch everything..and since I am a visual learner...well I needed to see how it worked. Somewhere the tourist in me left and the farm chic stepped back in. The primitive little exhibit gal was incredibly kind and patient especially considering I preferred to skip her historical speech and just get straight to the important stuff. She had milk curdling and it was almost ready to be pressed..she did not know the butterfat, the temp the curds were being kept at, the type of rennet used, the type of cheese, what the whey tasted like or the amount of pressure the cheese was being pressed at. Yes, I'm quite sure she was glad when I left...
early 1700's cheese press

curd ready to be scooped and pressed

as soon as I saw the fiber pile, I wanted to go back and get my was Cotswold wool and the WOW kinda gorgeous
I found SHEEP - she's a Tunis ewe and I am fairly certain a long lost relative of my Scarlet

I could not get enough of the chickens in the Germany exhibit..we became fast friends. I hope they write!

it's a fact..if the cowboy is with me..we will see snakes and serious ones..the timber rattlesnake
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.  ~John Muir