When a farmer says corn, no doubt the first thing that comes into your head is sweet corn, dripping with butter, maybe hot off the grill. I know that’s what I think of. But corn has a long and fascinating history. Corn is thought to have been domesticated at least 7,000 years ago, somewhere in central Mexico, from a wild grass called Teosinte. Modern day corn is a plant that literally can not survive without human input, as it needs to be planted and harvested by us in order to continue. It is (or was) a crop with huge genetic diversity. The US Department of Agriculture’s Plant Introduction Station in Ames, Iowa holds 19,780 different samples or “accessions” of corn from around the world. Read the rest of this entry »
When I first started canning, I’d get overwhelmed with a particular item of produce that was available in abundance, and thumb through my canning books looking for recipes that used that fruit or vegetable. For instance, I once had an abundance of peaches, and had already canned plenty of them, so I made peach chutney. The problem? We don’t really eat chutney (this recipe excepted). So it languished on the shelf, beautiful but unwanted, and eventually, several years later, I opened the jars and fed it to the chickens. Read the rest of this entry »
A few of you who have been following me from the beginning, way back in July 2010 when I had more time to post, know that for the first year and a half or so of this blog, I was living on a farm north of Spokane Washington while my husband was mostly in Walla Walla and came up only on weekends, due to job issues. This almost 20 acre piece of ground just south of Elk Washington is really special. It was homesteaded in 1903, and we suspect that the house, barn and one other outbuilding were built from hand-hewn trees felled on the property. There are some HUGE tree stumps on the hillside below the house. Strong hard-working people built this place, and it is still in amazing shape 100+ years later. Read the rest of this entry »
I like to think of myself as a bit of a foodie, eschewing any recipe that includes a can of cream of “fill in the blank” soup as part of its ingredient list. But lately, I’ve been having a bit of a love affair with all mayonnaise based salads, be they broccoli, carrot, cabbage, or in this case, pea. Sometimes those church ladies are simply onto something. Read the rest of this entry »
Barber pole worms. A phrase I was familiar with, but only in a passing way until a few weeks ago.
We recently weened our flock of lambs, at approximately 10 weeks of age, separating the ewes from the rams. We had a total of 21 rams, two adults and 19 lambs. (Once again, we had a hugely skewed sex ratio this year, about 75% male). We now have 10 rams total. We lost a ram a few weeks ago. He was small. It sometimes happens. We didn’t think a whole lot of it. Then a few days later, we lost another one, and I started calling our vet. They basically told me, “we’ll just send the pathology out to the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab (WADDL) at Washington State University in Pullman. Cut out the middle man and talk to them directly”. So, two Thursdays ago, after several “let me transfer you” phone conversations, we found ourselves driving to Pullman with a lamb that we didn’t expect to make the trip (he didn’t). Results were extreme anemia and presence of Barber pole worms (Haemonchus contortus). Read the rest of this entry »
This one comes with a memory. I went to elementary/junior-high/high school in a small town in northern California. This was before the trend to make “middle school” sixth, seventh and eighth grade, so we had a sixth grade graduation, then went to junior high for two years, had had an eighth grade graduation, and went on to high school. The junior high and the high school were in the same building, and my graduating class in high school was about 40 kids. It was a very small town. Read the rest of this entry »
So, the Saturday downtown farmers market started April 30th, and I’ve started attending the Pendleton market on the 2nd and 4th Friday evenings of the month, starting May 13th. Both have been very successful so far. May is always a good month for markets! Come down and see me. Read the rest of this entry »
I love April. It seems every day I go out and find new things to marvel at, from ducklings that seem to double in size overnight, to new plums starting to form on the plum tree, to lilacs filling the air with their heady scent. There are future harvests everywhere!
…and then maybe the lion eats your liver.
It’s been an interesting month here at Miles Away Farm. Starting in late February, we started to have new lambs on the ground. The first was born February 26th. We had 17 bred ewes. We ended up with a total of 28 lambs. We would have had 32, but for the following: Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been learning about edible weeds for a long long time. I have a used copy of “Stalking the Wild Asparagus” that I bought almost 30 years ago. But there is one problem. I never actually get around to eating the wild plants. I know you CAN eat them, but I almost never do. And if the situation ever became more critical (I NEEDED to know how to prepare and eat them) I’d be flying by the seat of my pants and challenging my palate while already dealing with a stressful situation. Not a good combination. Read the rest of this entry »