Hail to the Kale!

bloomI answered the phone reluctantly knowing it would be more work to stack my pile higher. “Really?  You have too much kale in your garden and I should come pick it?  I’ll be right there!” I love picking, cooking, and eating kale or any garden vegetable.

When I arrived at Olga’s garden, I found the largest squash leaves, tallest green beans and leafiest kale I have ever seen.  The weedless garden had super-sized plants with picture perfect produce.  She assured me that her secret included just a few simple things:

1.  Never plow the soil – just plug your plants or seeds in the ground.

2. Add horse manure to the top soil – just scatter it about.

3. Surround your plants with alfalfa –  it has nutrients, holds moisture and resists weeds.

4. Never, ever, ever use chemicals or insecticides of any type – you’ll poison your food!

dew

I can do this ….

Next time my phone rings, I’ll be a bit more enthusiastic about answering it.

kale

Posted in cooking, foodie, gardening, green, health, Local foods, Self-Sustainability, Simple Living, simple living tips JJ Palmtag | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cheese Whiz

 

cheese aging

Aging Cheese


cheese 4

A short drive West of Nebraska City, NE among green pastures spotted with beautiful milking cows, there is a farmer who lives in a 100-year-old home and works in her modern milking barn.  The home is heated with power from a wind turbine and supplementary solar panels. In the new barn and dairy shop,  stainless steel cheese equipment is humming with gauges blinking important numbers. Beautiful cheese is stored for aging in different types and sizes. The cheese is beautiful, fresh and produced with the loving hands of the cheese whiz farmer using organic, grass-fed cow’s milk.  I can’t wait to buy this fresh, local cheese!

cows

Happy milking cows eating organic grass

In the store area I’m greeted by a  friendly piglet named, “Wilber” who is adorable and yes, very smart. The farmer’s freckle-faced, red-headed daughters anxiously find me the best cheese and other local foods they have to sell like local honey, fresh-picked asparagus and homemade soap. You can also buy milk, cream, yogurt and pudding made fresh daily –  displayed in a glass cooler.

cheese 2

Pepper Cheese – beautiful!

This trip to the farmer’s barn store might seem like stepping back in time, but for me, it’s definitely the future of our food supply and local economies.  Beyond incredibly wholesome food, there is a high-tech, sophisticated, strong family thriving in a small, dependable community that is quite possibly a perfect model for the future of mankind.

Find The Cheese Wiz (Laura Chisholm) at:

1875 D Road
Unadilla, NE 68454
laura@chisholmfamilyfarm.com
www.chisholmfamilyfarm.com/ https://www.nebraskafood.org (if you can’t get to the farm-order online)

cheese whiz

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The Old Goat

goat

 

At the office today, a technical problem with data causes bad information on the Web which then creates human emotional despair involving at least two humans.  Unable to fix the problem after several hours, I grab a cappuccino and take a drive for 10 minutes to find myself driving towards my “farm” which is really just a few acres with a barn where I dream or reprieve .  On my way there, I find that the neighbors goat has escaped again this week!  She or he, not sure…is out near the road looking toward my place.  Every time on my trip to the barn, I see the old goat trying to escape and about once a week she or he, actually does!  The determination and pure defiance in the eyes of this old goat convinces me that my technical problems at work exist in a completely different dimensional plane of reality.

 

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Woman

womanSitting in the park today, I contemplate the struggles of women.

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Quiet Pear Tree

cherries pears walnuts

QUIET PEAR TREE

We leave for work early most mornings, feeling rushed and late.  Work is hard, especially on Mondays with backups from the weekend business.  We get home later to find household and lawn chores, homework to help with, the news, dinner, laundry and a million other tasks, only to start the whole process over again the next morning.

But outside there is a pear tree, quiet, green and beautiful, who has been growing beautiful green fruit all summer that we have not noticed.  The fruit is bursting with juice and limbs droop heavy, leaving luscious droppings on shaded ground. Still unnoticed, the gift slowly breaks down and disappears into the cool fall soil.

This same sad story can be told of walnut, apple and cherry trees everywhere! Stop and notice the riches all around you.  Take time to harvest and preserve the wholesome gift of nature and thank that beautifully quiet pear tree.

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Coming Clean

soap

 

Friday evening’s return home from a long day brightened considerably when I found a Fed Ex package on my front porch.  It was a heavy, odd sized envelope from a friend in Alabama.  Hey, I never get packages from her! It was then I remembered a Facebook post begging her to send me some of her homemade soap.  Could it be? I tore the package open wildly to find out.  YES!!! I screamed happily smelling the herbs, flowers, Shea and other fragrances billowing out from the package.   See my treasures in the photo above!

Shea Butter (for men) – Oats and Rosemary – Rose Pedals – Cucumber & Melon – Lilly & Lilac – Goats Milk with Rose – Chamomile – Lavender and Caribbean

In my childhood years, Grandmother and I made soap on the cool fall days.  She would use the fresh cut and grated soap for laundry and bar soap for hands then change recipes for bath soap.  I loved the smell of Grandmas line-dried laundry and have the recipes ready to go but have failed to carve out time.  I’ve promised my family for years that I would make them Grandma’s soap, but now it’s time to come clean!

This special delivery from a very special friend is exactly what I needed to nudge me toward a batch of Grandma’s fresh smelling laundry soap.   If you wouldn’t mind,  I’d love to have your soap recipe too.  Please post to this blog.   I have the book below for hand soap recipes but will post Grandmas secret recipe next week for you (have to retrieve it from my basement storage).  Let’s share soap recipes!

soap book

 

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Gooseberries BLUE GOOSE CHUTNEY

gooseberriesA dear friend of mine delivered to me today a container of “Gooseberries!”  I know….you are wondering..What are gooseberries?  They are the smallest, most beautiful, tart, little stripy beads of wonder you can imagine.  Grandma used to make gooseberry/mulberry jelly and I’ve ordered duck with gooseberry chutney in past dining expeditions mixed with some other fruit that I cannot recall at this moment.  But there is a mystery about the gooseberry that we need to expose.

I decided to make a gooseberry chutney for pork, duck or fish (Why not chicken or turkey too?).  Cooking down the gooseberries and onion with a bit of clear water after topping and tailing the berries, was a joyous time-passing exercise. Later, I added vinegar, sugar, dried blueberries, raw sugar, spice and lemon.  I cooked it all down, then canned it with a wax capping to insure freshness while the flavors emulsified further for several weeks in the cupboard.

What a lovely treat to enjoy the organically grown berries as accouterments to any light meat or cheese.  It took more than a few hours to make, but what a luxury!  Blue-Goose it up folks!

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