Thin cornmeal pancakesAfter my dad (1995) and step-mother (1999) passed away, I spent some time cleaning out the house I grew up in, and found a cache of recipes my father had clipped from various newspapers over the years. My step-mom tended to be the meat and potatoes cook of the house, but my father loved to bake. (I just used his Kitchen-Aid standing mixer today). I kept the recipes that sounded interesting, scanned them, and I’ve worked my way through most of them over the years. Read the rest of this entry »

Cranberry Ambrosia MoldThere are certain foods from my childhood that I tend to refer to as “food porn”. You know, those foods that you KNOW aren’t really healthy, and are pretty much nothing like how you eat now, but that when put in front of you, you eat until you can’t see straight. You have no resistance. The combination of sugar, fat, and nostalgia are irresistible. Read the rest of this entry »

Fall LeavesWow. These last few months just FLEW by. I did my last farmers market of the season on October 29th. I did my first market of the season on April 30th. We got rained out of four. (Because all of my soap and jam labels are paper, rainy markets and I don’t mix. Even though I’m under a tent, its almost impossible to keep everything dry.) We took one additional Saturday off. So I did a total of 47 market days, in four different locations, this year. My sales were up about 40%, so the move into the Pendleton and Richland markets was a good one, even though the first year at a new market is always about building your brand and customer base with the locals. I attribute a large part of the increase to my being able to offer jams throughout the year. Jams were about 27% of my sales this year. Mostly, I am thrilled to be finished. I’ve been pretty darned brain dead these last few weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

Magic Manna Flour Corn Harvest

Magic Manna Flour Corn

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 »

IMG_20160920_143854353_HDRwatermarkWhen 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 »

Old Door Hardware

This is the hardware on a small storage shed. History baby.

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 »

PeasI 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 »

barberpolewormBarber 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 »

Pineapple WeedThis 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 »

Hobbit Hound Charlie

Because Charlie has such big feet, my husband has started calling him the “Hobbit Hound”.

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 »