Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Edamame? EdaYUMMe!

If you recall I wrote a post quite a few months ago about our growing edamame (corrected pronounciation= ed-a-MA-may) for the first time. I think I mentioned that I had tried it once when Mark's sister (who travels extensively throughout Asia) cooked it for us and I think I also mentioned that I hadn't really liked it. Well, last night the kids and I went out to the soybean field and picked off the plumpest looking pods. I was skeptical as I dropped them into the pot of boiling water. Then I promptly forgot about them. With the other three burners occupied, the oven full, two kids howling, a friend over trying to do a bit of work, and Mark on his way home for supper, the new edamame wasn't top of the list. Anyway, a few minutes later I remembered it and jumped to drain it, thinking that I had probably over cooked it. I dumped them into a bowl, sprinkled with sea salt (like I'd seen on the pictures on the internet) and set them on the table. A few minutes later, we were all delving in, delighted in the deliciousness of the delicate beans (ahhh, alliteration!). I had heard that you're supposed to treat them like an appetizer at a bar, like peanuts sitting on the table. So we sat around cracking them open and popping the little beans in our mouths. The salt made a big difference, but the beans had a very distinct but subtle flavour themselves. Everyone was sure I had buttered them (I had to stop and think for a second myself), because they had a real tender, buttery flavour, but nope that wasn't me. I think part of the mystery is that the pods are so tough and almost hairy that it's hard to let yourself imagine that inside there is a veritable bubble of soft, smooth flavour waiting to be enjoyed.

Anyway, the overall prognosis was that it was amazing and we look forward to more of it! Tomoko, our Japanese connection at the Summerside Market will be looking for some, and I think we may actually have a table at the market ourselves this Saturday. It will be good experience whether we do it again or not. We've got to sell our chickens before the next batch are ready and I'd like to get some orders going for my lambs, who will be finishing over the next few weeks (I hope!). So, look for us there!!

The few sunflowers that DID germinate this year are in bloom and beautiful!
I wrote that first part last week sometime and am only finishing the rest of this entry now.
I've got much to write about this past week, since we took a bit of a vacation from the farm and enjoyed some time at home (MY home, West Branch, NB) and then on Sunday took part in the Meal in the Field. But alas, all that will have to wait until I have more time, or a baby who sleeps during the day. Until then, hope all is well in your corner of the world!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hey! Hay!

This'll be a quick one, because quite frankly there's not a lot to say. We've been haying, and finally finished a while ago. Since we ran out of hay last year and had to buy some, we went overboard this year and (hopefully/surely) have more than enough. We've got every nook and cranny packed full and between first cut and second cut I can't imagine what would have to come over my sheep to go through it all. I feel like now that I've put this in writing, it will come back to haunt me around April 2010. We'll see.

Besides that, there's not a whole lot going on. All the winter/fall cereals are cleaned up. The first batch of chickens are sitting in the freezer, waiting for us to get around to selling them, which we need to do before the next batch are ready. We may hit up the Summerside Market sometime soon if we need to. It may also be a good place to sell our edamame which should be ready any day now. THAT will be a learning experience.

We're participating in an event called "Meal in the Field" which pairs chefs with farmers and on Aug 31, a bunch of tents are sent up in a field in Caledonia (here on the island) and people are invited to come 'tour' the field and try out the various dishes created by the chef, showcasing the ingredients from the farmer. Should be interesting. It's being organizing by a young guy who moved to the island as a WOOFER and has now settled here with his own organic farm. He's got culinary background and is overall just an enthusiastic and ambitious guy. A good one to have on the side of organics here right now. He's also organizing the annual Harvest Meal which is put on the by COPC. I'm really looking forward to it. Both the Meal in the Field and the Harvest Meal. I think tickets will be on sale anytime now. This year it's moving even more upscale with Chef Michael Smith the head in the kitchen and it's moving to the Charlottetown Driving Park, which is an interesting and pretty venue.

Whew, that was a lot of plugging all at once. I don't have any pictures so I won't bore you any longer. I am heading home this week to go to the St. Maries Fair (more formally known as Expo Kent. It is always a highlight of my summer and lately since I'm not home to help Mom with the sheep, I'm the announcer for the sheep show. For a little community in southeastern NB it has one of the best livestock shows left in terms of exhibitions. The sheep show alone is the largest in the maritimes, as far as we know. This year there are over 80 entries in the sheep. Impressive really, mostly in thanks to my Mom who is finally allowing the fair to give her some recognition for all her work. She is the Farmer of the Year this year, which despite her insistence otherwise, is a big deal. And she is much deserving. Congrats Mrs. Wilson, Winnie, Poohie, Mom!
Anyway, if you're not doing anything the week or this weekend, you should really consider hitting up the fair in little Ste. Marie de Kent. It really is worth your while. Guarantee. And I'm not being paid to say that! hahaha.

Ok ok ok, enough with the publicity tonite. The soap box is wearing thin. And my eyes are wearing heavy.
G'night all. Hope Hurricane Bill is treating you nicely.
Take care,

Saturday, August 8, 2009


My husband is a happy man. The other day as I was enjoying the warm days and cool evenings (finally) and the lowering populations of biting bugs I said, "I love August" and he replied with a very emphatic, "I LOVE August TOO!". There is little about Mark that is emphatic so I had to ask why and he quickly answered, "Because I get to drive my combine." So there you have it folks, love comes in all shapes and sizes. We have in fact begun to harvest the winter cereals (grain that is planted in the fall, ready before the spring-planted grains) this week. You can just barely see the red combine in the photo above against the red barn, but there he is, smiling I'm sure. He's in a field of winter wheat, although you'll probably notice that there is a LOT of fall rye in there as well. That's sort of our custom mix. I was going to try and let on that we did it on purpose, but we used our own seed and it's near impossible to separate rye and wheat seed, so they get planted together. I doubt if we will be using this grain as seed again. For feed purposes though it's ok. Some people claim that too much rye in a mix can be a problem, but there's not all that much rye, it just looks that way because it's so much taller.

I've tried to make up for my lack of posting by including a lot of pictures today. Whenever I put up a lot of pictures I think of my mom, who is one of the lucky few still using dial-up internet, and wonder how long it takes her to load up my blog. So to make it worth her wait I've also included some of the kids.We hosted our annual family get together at our place this past weekend, and as usual it was my favorite weekend of the year (except maybe Christmas). It was a bit smaller crowd than usual, partly due to the fact that we just had the big anniversary do a month ago, but what we lacked in quantity we made up for in quality. hahaha. Anyway, good times had by all and Lucy was in her glory with lots of people to watch and show off to.
Here she is in the feed cart ready to go water the chickens up in the pasture. Is that impatience on that face?

My garden has somehow flourished under my neglect and it's bean season right now. Holy smokes I've got beans coming out of my ears. I was a little worried when I planted them because it was my first time using seed that I had saved myself and wondered about my drying and storage capabilities, or lack thereof. Anyway, they are alive and well, producing like crazy. I love fresh beans, and Lucy loves to snap beans, but it might be time to start considering pickling mustard beans soon. I always buy a few broccoli transplants as well (since my own plants never do very well) and they are ready this week. Lucy helped me pick out the worms yesterday. She thought it was hilarious that they can hide so well and screeched everytime we found one. I think we caught them just in time, so I'd better go cut it all down today before they start eating and pooping all over it. Good broccoli though, and a family favorite in the vegetable world, so a keeper as far as I'm concerned.

We are involved with Nature's Crops this summer, as one of the sites on which they are using to see how various alternative crops grow organically. Below are some shots of some of the crops that are currently in flower. The small blue flowers are flax- I guess they are technically not part of any trial. Mark planted them as a surprise for me because I a)love how pretty they are and b)use the dried flax in some crafty sort of projects come fall. The orange flowers are calendula which is a really popular plant in the cosmetic and pharamceutical industry, but lots of other ways as well. We use some baby products that are made for calendula and have found that the best diaper rash stuff is made of the little orange plants (Weleda). Finally, the purple flowers are from the borage plant, also important in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and health food industries. The borage looks like it is doing especially well under organic conditions, if I do say so myself.

This is a picture illustrating the latest frustration on the accounting side of the farm. It's sort of become my realm and anything that goes wrong becomes my fault and this time it's sort of true. When I worked for the federal government they were getting rid of a whole bunch of old office supplies to get new stuff and I saw this beautiful heavy wooden desk in the throw out pile. Not being able to resist I drug it home one day and insisted we make use of it. It's really big so it's perfect for the office (I need lots of desk space), but it has one small problem; it doesn't like humidity and we made it live in a basement. Which means that any drawers that were open when it got humid are permanently open and any there closed are permantly closed. This makes for a not-so-happy Mark. It also makes for a very messy desk because I can't file anything away. Messy desk also means a not-so-happy Mark. He might be mad that I posted this picture, but it was hilarious last night when he decided he was going to show that desk who was boss. Braced his big self up against it and 'come onto 'er' as they say. Nothing. Even some extra cursing didn't bring 'er around. So as I type this, papers, cheques, invoices, statements, envelopes, money, all clutters around together in a big messy mish mash. Welcome to Barnyard Organics.

Here's another shot of Wilson, who is just getting the hang of his jolly jumper and loving it. The last picture illustrates us perfectly I think. Mark is taking it all in, Wilson is completley relaxed and sleeping while Lucy keeps things interesting and I try to document it.

Whew, big one this morning. It must be obvious that I'm kid-free this morning (well one is gone and one is sleeping). I'd better go make better use of my 'free time' by trying to tidy up this desk and do some farm books.

Hope is all is well in your corner of the world,