Saturday, August 29, 2015

DIY :: Laundry Detergent

Here's a little DIY from the laundry room. I trialed this laundry detergent last fall, the test was our dirty farm clothes - sometimes we can really drag in the dirt. I always had kind of an aversion to powdered detergents, but I am pretty happy with this, so I thought I would share!

It's so easy to make, very inexpensive and effective. This summer I made a big batch in the spring and just made a second that should take us to the end of the farming season.

One part fels naptha soap, two parts washing soda, two parts borax. Add essential oils if you would like - lavender would be nice. I keep a cheese grater in the laundry room for the soap. Grate all but a nub and use the nub as a stain treatment - forget the harsh chemicals. If I ever felt like I needed some extra washing power I could grate a little more soap into the load.

The bar of fels naptha is under $2.00, washing soda and borax boxes are under $4.00 each. So I can make a large batch (pictured below) using one bar of soap, a box of washing soda and a partial box of borax for under $10. This will last me months - I use two tablespoons for regular loads and three for dirty/heavy loads.

I keep two canning jars, one as my measure and one for storage, plus this larger plastic container as my back up storage and batch mixer. Above you can see the ingredients separate, below they are mixed. Easy!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

CSA Week #11

Week #11 continues the summer bounty. We dig into our mid-season potatoes and some of the Kennebecs are ridiculously large! And beautiful. Tomatoes abound. The aroma of basil greets you as you open your box.

In the Box: Heirloom tomatoes 3.5lbs, 2 leeks, carrots 1lb, pint ground cherries (full shares), basil, summer squash (half shares), German Extra Hardy garlic 2 bulbs, small bunch beets, 3lbs Kennebec potatoes, parsley, 1 cucumber, 3/4lb mixed heirloom snap beans, watermelon (some shares, not pictured).

Week 11 CSA Newsletter ~ featuring farm news, orchard update; featured veggie: tomatoes; recipes: Tomato-Parmesan Quiche, Tomato-Cucumber Salad, Basil Pesto, Garlic Herb Salt; tips for: cooking leeks, tomatoes on the grill, dealing with excess.

Other Farm Shenanigans
Putting Up Loose Hay (You Tube Video)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

CSA Week #10

It was a wet and muddy harvest! Tuesday was probably my wettest day I have ever had to work. Rubber boots, rain pants and a rain coat and changing into dry clothes a couple times. Sunday through Wednesday we received four inches of rain. It's all soaking in, it's not muck out there, so this ground water recharge could be very nice; however, a sunny day, with a moderate wind would do well to dry out the foliage, as we continue to battle disease in the field. The leeks did pull out nice without having to dig them! Our Tuesday night potato digging date wasn't as mucky as I expected and produced some fantastic 'taters.
Muddy leeks and potatoes, harvested and ready for washing before delivery.
CSA Newsletter Week #10 ~ Featuring a recipe for Best Ever French Beans and how to grill-roast peppers; instruction on preparing leeks; featured veggie: potatoes; updates from the field and pasture.

In the Box: Blacktail Mountain heirloom watermelon, not pictured (some shares), red table onions, green peppers (half shares), sage, small bunch Swiss chard/kale, Centennial Crab apples, Craig's Grande JalapeƱos, big bunch leeks, 2 quarts/2.5 lbs heirloom tomatoes, 3-4 lbs Sangre potatoes, summer squash, mixed cucumbers, 1 lb Purple Podded Pole beans, two bulbs garlic.

Building a box...

Layer 1 ~ potatoes, summer squash, cukes and leeks.
Layer 2 ~ add in the tomatoes, crabapples, beans.
Layer 3 ~ top it off with sage, garlic, chard/kale, peppers, onions.

Friday, August 14, 2015

CSA Week #9

Week #9 marked a half way point in our delivery season, as well as the first main season apples, green peppers and cured garlic. Tomatoes are starting to kick up a notch and red peppers are blushing in the field.

CSA Newsletter Week #9 ~ Featuring recipes for zucchini bread & a basil vinaigrette, as well as an article by Brooke "Food Waste: Put Your Guilt in the Compost."

In the Box: Green peppers, beets, carrots, basil, mixed heirloom tomato quart, 5 mixed cucumbers, ~2lb zucchini, heirloom tomato slicer (half shares), Beacon apples, celery, red table onions, Ronde de Nice summer squash (half shares), papalo (herb), 1/2 pt French Gray shallots, bulb German Extra Hardy garlic.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Are you ready for apples?

Apple season is beginning! Are you excited about fresh, local, organic fruit?!? We are ;)

Our apple season had a brief show in mid-July, with our early Lodi apple. This small, tart, green apple makes a showing every other year. This year all our Lodi went into CSA boxes, giving our members a little teaser of the season ahead.

Here are a few shots from our Lodi harvest.

When we start to harvest a tree I begin by picking those I can reach from the ground and John heads up the ladder. Then I use a ladder, or climb into the tree, as needed, to keep picking.

We have an upgrade this year!!! You'll see in the picture below we have upgraded to actual apple picking bags. This is a splendid comfort, after several years with our homemade picking bags.

Beneficial insect in the orchard.

A panorama view in the orchard.

Lodi apples headed for CSA boxes in July.

What's next? Beacon and State Fair are coming up!!

CSA Week #8

This is so late! Apologies. I was away from the computer, then not wanting to be at the computer, then time went by. Here is a snapshot of last Wednesday's CSA delivery.

2015 CSA Week #8
In the Box: Ronde de Nice summer squash, Sangre new potatoes, cucumbers, green onions, basil, 1 lb of leeks, beets, celery, carrots, French Gray shallots, mint, mixed heirloom snap beans, mixed heirloom tomatoes

CSA Newsletter Week #8 - Featuring recipes for Italian Three-Bean Salad, Glazed Roasted Shallots, Yogurt Mint Dip and a link to directions for freezing green beans

Herb Booster received a big bunch of basil, thyme, papalo and tarragon.

Articles of Interest

Juicing vs. Blending