Saturday, April 18, 2015

Momma's Knife Skills

There was a cantaloupe ready for slicing on the counter this morning, no, not from the garden, I must admit I purchased this one.  As I walked to the counter with a chef's knife in my hand along with a paring knife.  Here she was,  Momma picking up the well worn butcher knife, slicing the cantaloupe first in half and then, beginning to take off slices.  Picking up the paring knife, she placed it between the rind and flesh at one end, with one clean cut the knife came out of the other end.  At that time she would drop the rindless slice of cantaloupe on your plate.

Wow, I was always so impressed, when I grow up I am going to be able to do this.  It must be that easy,  if you are adult you can do this.  Much to my surprise, when my first kitchen was setup in 1964 it did not come with the skill of slicing the cantaloupe or peeling the apple or peach without breaking the peel.  I felt very let down with myself as I presented many fruits which looked as if someone may have nibbled on them before I put them on the table.  

Momma, also, peeled potatoes and once again, there was one long piece of peeling.  I asked her about a veggie peeler, her answer was no.  She did not want one of those things.  She had one paring knife and Daddy would sharpen it for her, she did not use dull knives.  I look at the collection of kitchen tools most of us have today and think of Momma.  I know in her kitchen there would be no place for many of these as she valued her ability to do things using her own 2 hands. 

I admired this lady so much, I wanted to grow up and be able to do the things she could do.  I wanted to raise a garden, preserve the harvest, along with taking care of the farm animals.  It took me many years to reach the point, where I was able to begin to my journey of following in my momma's  footsteps, but I made it. 

So, this morning I walked over to the counter, stood up tall, picked up one of my chef's knives and cut my cantaloupe in half, then quarters and finally slices.  With paring knife in hand I could feel the swift move of the knife separating the melon from the rind.  I have been able to do for a number of years but I always find myself sitting at the table in Momma's kitchen waiting as the slice of cantaloupe slides  into my plate, being salted gently and looking into my momma's proud face while I said, "Thank you".

I know my thank you was for much more the slice of cantaloupe, it was for the life lessons she taught me everyday, and for this I am so Thankful.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Reflections of Winter while Welcoming Spring

Windows are open, there is a nice breeze coming through them,  there is the wonderful scent of spring flowers.  Can this mean we made it?  It may be my age or maybe just the conditions but I believe I have just gone through the worst winter of my life.  Maybe I did not pay as much attention to the weather before our farm but this past winter hit so many benchmarks.  I just want to focus on the good ones.  All of our animals made it, the covering on the tunnel survived, with all the wind and trees fell.  We were lucky to have a pantry full of provisions because there was a 2 week stretch no one left the property.  We did not use everything in the pantry so I must have stored enough   There was enough wood cut and seasoned, we were able to supplement the heat with the wood stove which was a savings for us.  With careful planning, when snow was called for, we were able to keep feed for the animals in our storage facility.   I think all in all everything went very good for us.

Now with all of this behind us, it is time to start a new season.  There will be no spring babies, this year,  I did not breed the goats and there are no hens interested in becoming broody so I will wait and see if things change later in the spring.

The garlic and onions are growing, it may be time to start pulling some green garlic.  This week I picked swiss chard and kale.  Lettuce and cabbage is growing in the tunnel.  I made a quiche with the swiss chard, there was a stir fry using a few of the frozen veggies, canned snaps were mixed with red bliss potatoes (I had to buy these).   I am still feeding us from the stored and fresh garden.  There is plenty of chickweed growing in the garden and I am pulling this for the ducks and chickens.  We were not able to work the garden in February being as the garden was white most of February meaning I am already behind.

Mr. Bootsie has started felling trees, we need wood for next winter.  The amount of wood used this past winter was the most ever for us.  We produced lots of ashes so the ducks and chickens will have ashes to take baths in.

I have seeds coming up, the outside conditions have not been the best for starting early garden.  It has just been too wet.  I am starting a number of items in trays and hoping I will be able to transplant them to the garden.  Right now it seems like more work but maybe it will not be as much work as I think.  Time will tell.

Now for some sad news, I lost my sourdough starter when I was sick.  I will start a new starter in a few weeks, so I am hoping I will be able to keep this one going.

I must Thank You for stopping by and visiting with our farm.  You have been so faithful and patient, Spring has returned and things are happening on the farm.  I really could not write about snow, snow and more snow.  I look forward to our time together and sharing with you.  The first thing I did this spring was clean off the porch, we are ready for porch setting, drop by anytime, so pleased to have you come for a visit.