News and Blog

Eat Well Live Well Be Well!!! Love & Laugh Often!
Posted 4/10/2020 6:58pm by Joe Gady.

Winter is largely done.



It's left at a good time... The unexpected home isolation of Covid-19 has brought an early start to the farm. 

Our cats supervise.



First up, chores!

- take down old growth from last year (we left it so the bugs had a home to overwinter). And weed.  

  

- honeybee hive check:
All three perished sometime in the last two weeks of winter... a hive autopsy left no discernable reasoning and grieving for us. Our local mentor lost 90% of his hives, and our cross country mentor lost all of hers. It's really tragic and frightening how fragile honeybees are now.  We will persist, because it's too important not to. We may blog about it too. (Below are pictures of what we found on the autopsy.)

 

- transplant-a-palooza: 
over 20 volunteer tree starts on our land have been scooped up and plugged in places we could use them.  Herbs and flowers moved about.


- ordering new seeds and planting stratified ones.



- rooting starts (elders, grapevine, weeping willows)



- starting new garden beds and growing tunnels


- blending in worm castings and plenty of biochar to all current beds

biochar raking in biochar and worm castings

- planting early spring greens: spinach, arugula, some lettuce


This. Is. A. Lot.

. . . a lot of doingness after a long rest. 

And we aren't alone. The trees are waking up, evidenced by sap rising and dripping out... have you noticed? It's sharp sweet smell wakes the nose.

All our saps are rising.


If we rested last winter, the energy we need to do more will naturally rise with the urge to do more.  We call it 'spring cleaning' in our culture.

We have support in following natural cycles that are bigger than us.



Some foods right now can nourish our energy 'rising'. 

Think bitter flavors, and greens! 

The bitter flavor moves the bile and digestive juices, and promotes the liver and gallbladder to free up it's condensed sluggishness of winter rest.  Slow moving bile = slow digestion = low energy.

Like a car parked for many months, at first the oil is thick, then as it warms and runs it turns to liquid and it's ready to drive!  Our bodies aren't that different coming out of winter into spring. 



Easy foods to support your spring energy rising:

- eat sorrel!
The bitter, lemony flavor is perfect for this season. It comes up early, so if you planted it last year, it's here now. A little goes a long way!  Add to other greens in sautees, soups, pesto and sauces.

Many of the edible wild greens this time of year are specific to clearing sluggishness in the body . . . some examples are dandelion leaf (liver), blue violet flowers (lymphatics), young stinging nettle tips (lungs).  It's neat how nature provides what the body needs at the right timing ;). 

 

- eat a handful of dandelion greens sauteed, or in salads, soups, or added to eggs/quiche, or pesto!  (They sell dandy leaves at the store so you don't have to forage from your yard if you don't want to. If you use any chemicals on your yard, do not harvest from it.)

- steam up artichokes, and dress with whisked olive oil, salt, and generous lemon juice

- a squirt of 'digestive bitters' with each meal. 
Remember the old 'Swedish bitters' tonic recipe?  'Tis the season!   There are now modern recipes available.  We like Urban Moonshine (until we make our own. It's coming!)


Thank you for enjoying our ferments, and following our work on the farm...  please let us know what you think of these blogs, so we can adjust as needed.


May you have you good vitality, connection to those who love you, and comfort this holiday,

Meg and Joe

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