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Agrarian Harvest

Wholesome. Organic. Experience. All about our farm, food, and small farm life.

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Kids

March Longings

March is here along with thoughts and longings for Spring and greens. March feels like a breath of fresh air after spending our winter months hibernating in the house. Like a bear coming out of hibernation,  we are really craving fresh food, specifically greens. I feel I could eat a large plate piled high with greens at every meal like a cow at the feed bunk eating her greens twice a day. Yes, I referred to myself as a cow. The farmer has compared me to a cull Hereford cow for years due to complications with pregnancy, childbirth and low milk production. And whenever a needle comes out to draw blood, the farmer will compare it and the needle size to bleeding sheep. Growing up on a farm and then becoming a farm wife, I’ve grown accustom to being compared to an animal. Everything is compared to what we are familiar with, which are animals and plants.

For all of us green hungry people, the farmer has planted a couple of beds of greens: lettuce, spinach, and arugula. Although, they are barely starting to emerge from the ground, I’m very eager for those first greens of Spring. They are planted in one of our cold-frames so there is no heat, just what the sun provides. We are at the mercy of mother nature. This past month it was too cold. We are looking forward to March warming up so our cold frames will too. Our farming son, who has the itch to grow plants just like his daddy, has planted lettuce and radishes in pots in the house. He is trying to beat his dad at getting the first greens of the Spring.  

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Radish Seedlings

And the plastic has been put on our smaller cold frame so it is ready to start seeds. We start all our plants from seed right here on the farm. We will be starting seedlings this month too. Our growing season is officially underway!

Vacation, Farmer-cation or Field Trip?

We took a vacation to the Oregon Coast. Or maybe it wasn’t really a vacation. According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, a vacation is freedom from any activity or a period of rest and freedom from work and study. The kids have informed us it was not a vacation because they had to walk the beach everyday which is work. Our farm boy wanted a simple machine to make the work easier, he got tired of walking in the sand.  Our oldest informed him that it would take more than one simple machine so it would actually be a compound machine. And they had to study. We were reading and learning about all the new marine life we saw, glass blowing, and Oregon’s history. “Do schoolwork? We are suppose to be on vacation,” they said. Then we had to go to a farmers’ market to see all the produce they had available and to support fellow farmers. The kids really complained at this point because we are at farmers’ markets two days of every week of the growing season at home. So it may not of been a vacation if you want to get technical, maybe it was a farmer-cation for the farmer and myself and a field trip for the kids.

Whatever it was, we had a great time exploring the Oregon Coast, seeing sea lions, learning about glass floats, exploring tide-pools and whale watching. We were even lucky enough to meet a wonderful couple who supports Organic farming that told us how to spot whales. We enjoyed our little visit with them. It was one of the highlights of our trip.  Overall, all the sights and sounds were amazing.

Now we have to adjust to being home and getting back into a routine again. A major adjustment for me is getting used to hearing the dog bark at night. I got used to hearing the ocean waves all night and now I have to listen to our Great Pyrenees dog bark all night long. A trait of the Great Pyrenes breed that I have never enjoyed. His bark is great for warding off predators, but makes it  hard to get a good nights sleep. . . .  I wonder if I could get a dog who’s bark sounds like the ocean. . . . . Then there is also the change of scenery. It is awfully nice waking up and seeing the ocean. The view was always breathtaking on the coast.

The farmer and I enjoyed our trip so much that we are wondering if it would be possible for us to spend our winters on the coast. Or what about farming by the coast? We always like to think outside the box and of all the possibilities. And the kids have decided that if this was a field trip, then we need to go on field trips more often!

 

Farm Kids & Nature

The wheat stubble has been watered so any wheat that was left in the field can grow. Then the pigs get the field to forage on awhile. This will be thrilling for the pigs just like it was thrilling for the kids when the wheat was thrashed and the straw was baled and stacked. Before we started watering the field, the kids turned the wheat stubble field into their playground and race track. They would ride their bicycles several times a day around and across the field. They would race and loved the thrill of bouncing over the corrugates. It was more of a competition to see who could wreck the least.  I love watching my farm kids turn ordinary things into fun activities. Like earlier this summer, they dug a series of forts in the ground (that they could actually fit inside of) and pretended they were rock chucks. Pieces of wood become boats and suddenly the kids are pilgrims, pirates or explorers. And large zucchinis make better babies than the ones you can buy and are a lot cheaper to replace.  Our kids have a play set with swings and a slide and a two-story playhouse, but none of that keeps their interest or keeps them entertained for very long. It’s the ordinary everyday things that keep them entertained: soil, sticks, rocks,wood, insects, a field, plants, and possibly a shovel. Basically, all kids need is lots of room to run that is full nature and natural resources.

Kids don’t need all the toys that are sold in the stores. These toys won’t entertain them for very long and they won’t remember them. When they play outside, use their imaginations and explore what is around them. Then they are entertained, learning and having fun. I feel farm kids are the luckiest kids in the world.

I wrote an essay in college about if I could give my children only one toy from my childhood what would it be. Any guesses what it was? Hint: I grew up on a farm and spent a lot of time outside. It was a backyard and farm full of natural resources. Amazingly, it is one of many toys our kids have and the toy that is used the most. My professor was impressed with my paper and what I called my favorite toy. I hope to find the box that has all my saved papers in it and I will share the essay as a post.

 

 

Kids, Gardening and Growing

The attraction between kids and the soil just fascinates me. It’s like there is some higher power that pulls kids to that space of earth where there is no lawn growing and there is bare soil showing, like the natural attraction there is between cats and a sandbox. They just can’t resist the urge to get their hands dirty, digging, flinging dirt all over themselves and anyone near by, probably eating a little too. Our kids have always been interest in all the work going on in the garden or maybe it was just that urge to cover themselves in dirt at a young age, but they now show a real interest in growing food. I’m actually surprised that we haven’t plugged any pipes with a buildup of dirt from all the baths to wash off all the gardening and dirt digging fun off the kids. It is a regular occasion to bathe the kids during the summer and have the tub lined with dirt when the water is drained. We have said more than once that our kids are like chickens, they have to take their dirt bath or dust themselves daily!

They were all drawn to dirt at a young age and still love it. And now that our gardens have become fields there is a lot for them to be involved in. They get to do more than just dig and smear it all over themselves. And they want to be more than just involved in all we are planting, weeding, tending, and harvesting. They want their own garden space and they have it now. It has been amazing to watch them plant seeds in their own arrangements or designs, carefully and diligently weeding, watch it all sprout and grow into seedling. Then get excited to harvest the fruits or vegetables of their labor. Life is so thrilling!

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Farm boy loves all aspects of it. And others like farm girl gets excited talking about gardening, but not so enthusiastic to actually do the work tending a garden. Our little farm princess loves to be involved and once again loves the dirt, but doesn’t have the attention span to tend a garden of her own yet. She is always there helping everyone else though, even if that means hoeing out the vegetables or watering the driveway and then yelling when someone step on her imaginary plants.. She’s helping, she’s dirty and she’s happy!

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So give your kids a garden to create, grow and eat or at least a piece of dirt to dust themselves in. You’ll be amazed at what they can grow. And how they grow and learn with it. It doesn’t matter if they are proud of just that one plant or even if it is just weeds that they grow, lots of them are edible too! Happy gardening and growing!

Strawberries, Rhubarb, and Our Farm Boy

All of our kids impress us everyday. They have their own strengths and interests. But this time I’m impressed with our little farm boy. He is involved and loves every chore and task that takes place on the farm. He gets up early on his own, get his breakfast, does his feeding chores and then heads to his garden to check all the plants and weed.All of our kids have their own garden space to tend and grow as they see fit. Our farm boy gets just as excited to harvest as he does to plant. And then once the “fruits of his labor” are harvested he’s ready to make them into something nourishing to eat. He loves to be in the kitchen cooking and creating just as much as he loves the outdoors. It just amazes me how he embraces all aspects of growing, tending, harvesting, and cooking food.

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This week’s harvest and abundance is rhubarb and strawberries. The kids have been going out to the berry patch everyday to pick those juicy, sweet first strawberries of the summer. Usually eating most of the berries before they make it back to the house with the bowl, but this time our farm boy took his own bowl out to save the strawberries he picked for making a yummy, creation in the kitchen. Strawberries, rhubarb and a hungry, creative minded child in the kitchen; any guesses what he wanted to make? He has his father’s love for pies so, of course, his choice was a pie (I’m sure the picture gave it away too). I mixed up the crust and he did the rest himself; rolling out the crust, the chopping, mixing and all the finishing touches. A strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert. I can’t wait to eat this creation!

Our next harvest and abundance is going to be garlic scapes. And it is my turn to create something wonderful in the kitchen with garlic scapes. I want to come up with something more creative than presto, although I do love pesto. Any suggestions?

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