News and Blog

Eat Well Live Well Be Well!!! Love & Laugh Often!
Posted 11/30/2019 12:45pm by Joe Gady.

The last month of fall sends dry leaves and wind tunneling through our farm.  The gardens are skeletal with dead limbs and plant material which we leave standing to provide habitat for the miniature life that will overwinter here.   


Also overwintering with us is almost 1000 cloves of different varieties of garlic in the ground (we’ll see those next summer).



Our bee hives are bundled well with insulation.  We lay a heart stethoscope to the hive wall to listen for their hum.  Each hive has its own pitch, and when listening I sometimes imagine I can intuit their mood and need from their tenor. 

      

When it’s cold, bees cluster to stay warm, with layers of them rotating to share time on the outermost layer.  The cluster moves around the hive, so sometimes we rotate ourselves around their box to listen.  In the winter, it’s all about the conservation of energy.


We are no different.  In the fall, our vital energies start to gather and withdraw from the outer world, and by winter they are very internal.  This means our ability to do more decreases, and if we push past that, we are using reserves.  The plants are in on this too, as they put their energies down in the roots to overwinter. Nowhere in nature is there eternal growth.  It comes in cycles, and we are wise to see this in ourselves. 


We may live in a digital world of light at all hours and food whenever we want in the store, but our bodies are still ancient machines that move to a rhythm much bigger than our own, if we are aware of it.  There is health to be gained from being aware of it.  Not pushing hard in winter serves us later as it gives more energy to do with in spring and summer.

Joe and I have been feeling it. So, we’ve been experiencing hygge: spending quiet evenings with hot tea and coziness, looking through seed catalogs, Lehmann’s, books, looking at what we accomplished this year and dreaming up next year’s doings…  occasionally catching up on the latest episode of “Rotten” (a documentary series on Netflix about the politics of food production. It can change the way you look at an advocado!)   



In winter, we want to eat the foods that have the most vitality this time of year, so it’s *roots* on the menu.  Here’s one of our favorite easy recipes:

Root and Sausage Roast

On a large cookie sheet with edges, spread the following:
- 1 lb of ground sausage (you can also slice open raw sausage in casing to get it out)

- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed (or squash of your choice)
- 1 red onion, cut in wedges
- 1 head of garlic, cloves separated (you can leave the paper on to cook but remove before eating)

- Several  small (or 2 medium) beets, peeled and cut in wedges
- Several small potatoes, quartered
(You could also add carrots, leeks. We just fill up the sheet with what's fresh.)

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Season food with salt and pepper, and place 1-3 tbsp of fat of your choice on top (we use butter, but you could use coconut oil, ghee, or animal fat such as lard).  Place in oven for 5 minutes to melt the fat, then mix it around to coat everything.  Return to oven and continue roasting for 45-50 minutes or until the largest chunks of veggie are soft.

Optional topping before serving: a few cubes of summer pesto, that you made and froze (per the last blog ;)





This year we were able to:

- establish 17 plant beds for veggies, pollinator flowers, local native plants, and herbs



- transplant over 60 elderberry starts, 50 fruit and nut trees, 20 berry bushes, 20 native trees. Most of these came from the old farm. 



- move Joe’s little red barn and chicken coop (both of which he hand made), and the rest of the equipment from the old farm


- define the property boundaries through survey (so that we can have fencing to raise chickens once again)


- start the compost


- start several new varieties of oyster mushroom logs




- create a tree nursery


- made 29 large ferment crocks worth of organic heirloom cucumbers for Joe’s Real Dill Pickles (the largest number of pickle crocks yet!), and copious amounts of other veggies and herbs for the ferment shop. 



We also harvested 90 plants worth of calendula flowers for use in Megan’s herbals.



- start the first carrot crop (we learned our land will work great for carrots!)  Our brix test for this year yielded at it’s highest a 9 out of 12 on the scale for nutrient density. (Be on the lookout for a full carrot crop next year!)


- fine tuning new recipes in the Ferment Shop


- create habitat, food and water stations, housing for local song birds/native bees/pollinators (our land is a now a 'Certified Wildlife Habitat' through the National Wildlife Foundation)



- be mentored by an amazing local beekeeper, Oydell  (thank you for so generously sharing your wisdom with us!)


- take a course in natural bee husbandry from Preservation Beekeeping Council with my dear friend Susan of the blog American Skep.

- collect our own seeds from all that we wanted to grow again next year


- all the while settling in to our new lives.


That is a lot!!



Thank you for following our adventures. 

There is much goodness to come of all this.
We look forward to sharing it with you next growing season.


Rest well,
Megan and Joe

(and the 4 inch praying mantis mamma we found in the field!)


Copyright 2019 Farming for Life

Posted 8/4/2019 8:46pm by Joe Gady.

Dear friends!

Our old facebook page is working again :)  Thanks to the savvy of a friend.

Can you please join us there?  Here's a link:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Farming-For-Life-593158204082976/community/?ref=page_internal

Warmly,

Megan

Posted 7/31/2019 9:18am by Joe Gady.

     

      Dear fellow ferment enthusiasts!

      Welcome to our website and our first blog! 

     

      Here we hope to share brief, interesting 

      updates with beautiful photos of what is

      happening.


In January 2019 we moved our new farm, just north of Argos.

We are learning the personality and strengths of our land.  We've enjoyed seeing what comes up naturally on it's own this first year.  The wildflowers have been copious and diverse. 

We are so thrilled to be on this land.






Joe and our pastured chickens moved, aerated, and enriched the soil with nutrients. 

We then made garden beds for veggies, herbs, cut flowers, and native pollinator nectars. 



We've been enjoying the purselane plant volunteers cropping up in the gardens... Did you know it's edible?  A wonderful source of essential fatty acids. 

We add it to sautees, and make pesto with it.  YUM! 

Here's a link for how to eat it: 

 https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/what-to-do-cook-with-purslane-article

I
f you want pesto recipes, see my herb mentor's resources.  Kami McBride has a wonderful way of helping you learn easy and nutrient dense herbal cooking!  I learned the purselane recipe below from her.  

http://livingawareness.com/how-to-have-pesto-all-year-long/

We planted the orchard with trees for fruit and nuts, and antioxidant rich berries. 

We innoculated mushroom logs for a variety of oysters.  Our 5 year shitake logs suprised us with a crop!

The mycelium are fascinating to watch develop. 

It's been fun to see our bees swarm and smell the sweet air around the shungite hives as 'the girls' cure their comb honey in the heat.

This week we harvested the first of our green cabbage crop for kraut, along with the first of the cucumbers and herbs that will become our Real Dill Pickles.

Our nutrient dense produce makes for super nutrient dense kraut!

Megan also put together Farming For Life's first banner! 

Look for it in our ferment shop window on Main St. in Rochester, and also at the farmer's markets we will be at :)

It is a love letter made from original photos of the 15+ years of Joe's organic farming.

It's been a busy half year!  More yet to do.

We have some new recipes in the works.  Each one takes many months to perfect.  We hope to start producing one at a time, starting next year.

Thank you again for your support, and for loving our ferments

We hope you can taste the sunshine, love, and satisfying nutrient density in each jar!

In celebration,

Joe and Megan



All photos copyright 2019 Megan Assaf