Thursday, December 16, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
I had all kinds of stuff in pots this year and I was pulling out the dead stuff and dumping out the dirt into a big bin, so I could reuse it next season to fill in stuff. I paid good money for that organic potting soil, so I always reuse what I can. Anyway, I had been dumping out small 3" plastic pots for about 20 minutes, which is a totally mindless thing to be doing, so I was not paying any attention. I just happened to look down and see that the dirt
from the pot I had just emptied was moving so I took a twig and scratched the dirt around and there was a BIG, FAT BLACK WIDOW SPIDER. I threw down the twig, ran about 30 feet and screamed like a little girl.
When I was at the farm every day, a spider like that would not have drawn a second glance, other than to make sure it wasn't where somebody might get their hands on it accidentally. Good thing I was wearing gloves, though. A black widow bite is extremely painful though rarely fatal so I wasn't in any real danger.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Dave's biggest pet peeve was "negativity". I remember once in particular, when I was just trying to be the "voice of reason" when we were planning a project, that I pointing out the cons of whatever it might have been, he looked at me and said that I should only be putting positive intentions out to the Universe. He also said that if they were good ones, the negative stuff would just work itself out and that I should stop wasting my pro vibes on stuff that didn't matter. That may sound kind of naive to some people, but it was totally true. When Dave wanted to accomplish something, he rarely failed to master whatever he was trying to do. I need to channel him a little more often, instead of just missing him so much.
I am also working on redesigning the old website, so that it is more up to date and a little less downbeat. I have some grand new plans for next season (2011) and I can't wait to reveal some of the new stuff. I think it is gonna be good.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
To paraphrase that guy from Extreme Makeover, "Welcome home, Suzanne Ballard, welcome home...."
Monday, September 6, 2010
Anyway, I have a new food blog, The Artful Omnivore, which I have been putting a whole lot of work into. I am basically moving my recipe index from my old website over to that one, plus a whole lot more information. It is turning out to be quite a nice diversion, while I am waiting to get started on the beds.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Anyway, I am hoping to have my own computer back on line this week so that I can catch up with the blogs, website, etc. The going is slow and I hope to have a grip on things soon.
Thanks for following along with my adventures.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
My simple definition of food snobbery: Refusing to even try or consider trying a particular fruit, vegetable, regional or local dish for any reason at all. If you are a food snob, let me help to set the record straighter on a couple of things:
Sushi versus Chitlins
I went to a Sushi restaurant in Japan once where there were a bunch of fish swimming happily together in a huge tank. We ordered and the next thing I know, the chef is screaming like a ninja and grabbing a live fish out of the tank and flinging it down on the table in front of us. When he pulled out a cleaver and hacked the head off right in front of me, I almost fainted. Needless to say, I didn't eat sushi (or much of anything else) for a while. Chitlins on the other hand are quite civilized by comparison. I have seen them being cooked before but that is it. Chitlin preparation has the good manners to stay out of the public eye as much as possible.
Grits versus Polenta
Grits and polenta are the same thing. If you let your grits simmer too long and they get really thick, you have made polenta. In Northern Italy, where polenta is a staple dish, it was first made when maize or corn was brought there by explorers. It is cooked down more than grits, but there is not much difference except for the seasoning and serving methods. Of course, grits can be pretty bland and boring if you buy those wussie white ones at the grocery store or you don't know how to cook them. I buy stone ground, organic yellow corn grits. Fortunately, I do know how to cook them (Granny taught me) and mine are delicious.
Livermush versus Blood Sausage
Do I even need to explain this one? Yes, I guess I do.
Livermush is decidedly Southern and Blood Sausage is decidedly disgusting.
Livermush probably had its origins with German settlers to the Southeastern areas of the US from Pennsylvania. Blood Sausage never quite caught on here in this area although I understand it is popular elsewhere. My best friend growing up moved to the US from Europe and we helped her mom to make BS at their house once. I repeat, ONCE. And I never ate any that I am aware of but sometimes when I ate dinner at their house, I was a little confused as to exactly what I was eating.
Okra versus anything
I already wrote an entire blog entry about okra, so refer back to that post from August 16th, to read up on okra. One quick note about okra: it is NOT indigenous to the Southern US (it just loves our climate); it is native to Africa; is an edible hibiscus; and is eaten all over the world.
Caviar versus Catfish Roe
I have eaten caviar once or twice myself, but don't remember particularily liking it. It tasted a little fishy. And speaking of fishy, there are people willing to pay $50+ an ounce for Beluga caviar yet look down their noses of folks who catch and clean their own fish and eat the roe. Joke is on them. Back in the late 1990's, the FDA busted a caviar "importer" who had been packaging and selling catfish roe as Beluga for years. Took DNA testing to determine that the roe in question was not from sturgeon, but in fact from the lowly Ictalarus punctatus or the common channel catfish.Nobody noticed the difference because, lets face it, who eats caviar on a regular basis? Do you know anyone who does? Neither do I.
Cow Peas versus English Peas
Cow Peas- A drought tolerant and warm weather crop, cowpeas are well-adapted to the drier regions of the tropics, where other food legumes do not perform well. It also has the useful ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen through its nodules, and it grows well in poor soils with more than 85% sand and with less than 0.2% organic matter and low levels of phosphorus. In addition, it is shade tolerant, and therefore, compatible as an intercrop with maize, millet, sorghum, sugarcane, and cotton. This makes cowpea an important component of traditional intercropping systems, especially in the complex and elegant subsistence farming systems of the dry savannas in sub-Saharan Africa. English peas are just a cooler weather, slightly different cultivar of Fabaceae or Leguminosae, or the legume family. There is nothing sophistocated or gourmet about English (green) peas. In fact, if you compared the common field pea grown in the South to the English pea, the English pea is by comparison a thin and pale relative, as far as adaptability and usage.
Water Cress versus Creasy Greens
If you ever watched the Dobie Gillis show back in the 60's, you most probably remember Mrs. Chatsworth Osborne, Jr., Resident RB&S, who was forever giving parties where they served watercress sandwiches. This is probably about the silliest food affectation I know of, in all of my culinary experience. Watercress on buttered slices of bread with the crusts cut off was supposedly the height of snooty cuisine. Somehow the idea of a weed that grows along the sides of the road, in ditches where there is standing water pasted onto a tiny piece of white bread doesn't really impress me all that much. And why couldn't they even have a "big boy" sandwich with the crusts still on...did those rich people have weak choppers or just still long for mama? I don't get it.
I don't remember my Granny even planting "creasies", a delightful little spicy, edible green plant, but she certainly got excited once it showed up in the corn field in the fall. It grows in a rosette, kind of like arugula. Today, you can buy creasy green seeds (Upland Cress is how it is sold) and plant some for yourself, but in the foothills and mountains of NC, they were/are considered a wild, uncultivated food, not to be taken for granted. I think maybe planting creasys would not set well with some old timers. Creasy greens are cousin to watercress and the name "creasy" is probably an Appalachian mispronunciation of cress. They are peppery and add a little spice to other greens.
There are lots more foods I could mention, but my fingers are tired and I have to go feed chickens. My break is over and I need to get back to some real work. Hope you enjoyed my little tongue in cheek (Really? Maybe.) missive today.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Margaret Mead said it:
EARTH DAY draws on astronomical phenomena in a new way – which is also the most ancient way – using the vernal Equinox, the time when the Sun crosses the equator making night and day of equal length in all parts of the Earth. To this point in the annual calendar, EARTH DAY attaches no local or divisive set of symbols, no statement of the truth or superiority of one way of life over another. But the selection of the Equinox makes planetary observance of a shared event possible, and a flag which shows the Earth as seen from space appropriate."
That is the Earth Day I celebrated. What happened? Last week I heard an ad for an Earth Day Celebration at a water/amusement park in the local area, inviting everyone to come to the park to celebrate Mother Earth. Yes, let's drive our cars, make more trash, waste water and pay our money in celebration of Mother Earth. I just don't get it.
Don't you think Mother Earth would be better served if that amusement park hadn't covered her face with asphalt. Maybe if they had left the trees and plants? What if all the wildlife that lost their habitat had been left unmolested? That sounds like a celebration of our Mother to me.
Doesn't it kind of defeat the purpose of having Earth Day if you have to drive your carbon footprint to get the the celebration???? Shouldn't Earth Day be about staying home and taking stock of all the blessings that our planet bestows on us every day, not just on one day in April?
I guess, as with every other holiday we have in this country, somebody has found a way to make money from Earth Day, so the true meaning has pretty much flown out the window for most Americans. If you would like to read about what the original intent and purpose of Earth Day really was, you can visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Day .
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
So blessed that he can watch deer and wild turkey cross from the pine woods, across the pasture and into our backyard. From his perspective in the hospital bed, he can see birds in the sky and the trees and he never misses when the local Coopers hawk flies over when he is looking out.
Some of the friends here at this page know Dave and some don't. Those of you who do know him, know him as a dedicated organic farmer. For the last decade, we have carved our little 30 acres into something that we are very proud of, with good reason. From an original tiny plot of 100 square feet to 17 of the 30 acres being under organic cultivation, we have pushed forward each year to make the Farm a success. And I don't mean a monetary success, that has never been all that important to us (if you took a look at our bank account, you would concur with that statement). Of course, we have been so very, very lucky to have had the blessing and support of both of our families, even though in the beginning they were a little skeptical of what we were trying to do.
Originally, we didn't intend for the Farm to make our living. It was a labor of love for both of us and a part of a spiritual journey we embarked on a long time ago. Being able to dedicate so much of our lives to this labor is the culmination of our belief in something greater than ourselves and the manifestation of that belief into something tangible. There is no greater faith that to put a tiny seed in the ground and believe that it will eventually be fruitful and that it will feed the soul as well as the body. We experience that manifestation of our faith every single day and gives our lives tremendous meaning. How can you not believe in something greater than yourself when you see the miracles of Nature happen before your eyes every single day?
Setting an example for others to follow has always been something that we strove for at the Farm. Passing along the knowledge and experiences that we gained, too, has been something equally important. If one lives their life dedicated to their principles, that example can be an inspiration for others to follow. We have tried to make that the main tenet of our philosophies about organics, sustainability, living a life of voluntary simplicity.
From the day we met, we have done what we could to make sure that we spent as much time together as possible. Dave is truly my soulmate and when we are apart it feels like something is missing in myself. Not longing, like when you miss someone when they are gone, but just a little feeling in the background that something is not quite as it should be. Since establishing this farm, every day, we have worked together, side by side, toe to toe, on nearly everything we have done. It has made our relationship strong and unbreakable.
Love is too small a word to describe what Dave and I share. His illness has given me pause to reflect on many of the things I have expressed here in this writing. My heartache at the possibility of losing him was overwhelming me recently, until I decided to stop focusing on what is to come and reflect on what has been and how we came to be at this place where we are now. It has made me realize that there will be no regrets for things undone between us. We have never failed to express everything we felt about each other, with both our words and deeds, left nothing unsaid. I know that when he is gone, I will feel the weight of the world on my shoulders but I also know I will be lifted to the Heavens knowing that someone like Dave so loved someone like me and never, ever failed to make me feel completely safe and loved for as long as I have known him.
Learning how to bend with the wind, instead of fighting to make it do what we chose to have it do is something that every true organic farmer learns quickly. That bending leads one to find balance and harmony. Harmony leads to peace. And peace and love are what matter in the end.
I will continue to operate New Moon Farm Organics, no matter what happens in the future. It is Dave's legacy, what he leaves behind as a testament to his dedication and love of what we do here. I intend to continue our dreams and follow the path. He may not continue to walk with me in this realm, but he will always walk at my side, no matter where the path takes me.
Namaste my friends.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Organic produce are richer in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, trace elements and other nutrients than the fruits and vegetables produced by chemical based methods. In a recent study, antioxidant levels found in organically grown vegetables were almost 30% higher than conventional chemically enhanced vegetables.
Perhaps the most important reason to consume organic produce is that the human bodies were not designed to be constantly bombarded with chemicals and biologically altered products on a long term basis. Many of the problems associated with the non-organic foods will take years if not generations to show clear "cause and effect" consequences on our health. What we do know is that the herbicides and the pesticides used in non-organic farming are all "toxic" because that is how they were created. Obviously, the intake of toxic foods is bad for our health. The long term physiological and neurological damages done to the human health by consuming non-organic foods are numerous and very complex.
Another major health concern with the consumption of non-organic foods is the industry's wide and heavy use of antibiotics and growth hormones as supplements in animal feed. These supplements are used primarily to make the animals grow faster, bigger and less disease prone, leading to higher production yields. Numerous studies indicate that traces of these supplements remain in the food chain. It is not unreasonable to assume that the infusion of these biological and chemical agents into the food chain may be partially responsible for human obesity and other serious and growing health problems such as diabetes, coronary illnesses, autism, etc., etc.
Organic produce and food products have become more and more mainstream.They are more available in supermarkets. However, farmer's markets, smaller organic health food stores and community supported agriculture (CSA) are still more reliable outlets for organic produce and of course, local food.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
And speaking of misleading, I recently looked at a couple of "local produce buying club" websites that deliver in this area. I am sorry to be my usual cynical self, but if you are buying a basket of produce and it has avocados, bananas or oranges in it, it ain't "local", at least by my definition. I guess they mean that the buying club is local, not the produce, but that is misleading. Guess the argument could be made that any assumption made by the consumer is not the fault of the operator. Of course, I have canvassed grocery store produce managers about their definition of local and have come to the conclusion that to some people "local" means grown on Planet Earth. Personally, I try to keep my "local" sphere within a 50 miles range, just because there is a great dairy that I buy cheese from and it is just about 50 miles from me. Other than that, more than 20 miles away makes me twitch.
Friday, February 12, 2010
We have issued 100 "I SUPPORT NEW MOON FARM" discount cards,which will sell for $10 each.
The card will entitle the holder to a 10% discount on produce purchases for the entire 2010 market season
at the Davidson Farmer's market and/or
We are presently in a situation where we simply need to ask our friends and neighbors for a little help. Like most very independent people, it is hard to ask for a handout and that is not the case now. We always budget for our off season months, including unplanned and emergency expenses. This year it was one unplanned expense after another and now our "emergency fund" is almost gone.