Showing posts with label Farm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Farm. Show all posts

Sunday, March 23, 2014

sorghum syrup: history, health benefits, & use

Sorghum syrup from Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill


The History, Health Benefits, & Uses of Sorghum Syrup

Have you ever heard of sorghum syrup, also known as sweet sorghum or sorghum molasses*? I learned about it recently through my Uncle Ronnie, who was telling me his fond memories of eating it drizzled over biscuits as a child in North Carolina. I happened to mention I'd never eaten it, so he sent me a batch! Gotta love uncles.

{*Note: Although some people call it sorghum molasses, sorghum syrup is not actually molasses, which is a byproduct of the sugar refining process and is made of sugar cane, not sorghum cane}.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

music man & horsie cuteness

We owe our weekend parenting sanity to man who calls himself "DJ Tiesto." Nate discovered that if you put on his station on Pandora, the kids magically behave themselves...for HOURS at a time. I'm telling you, it can be 30 minutes past starving and tired, and my children will miraculously turn from crazy banshees into perfect angels. It's downright odd. But do we ask questions? No siree Bob, we do not. We have beliefs about gift horses' mouths around these parts.

Friday, August 17, 2012

learning about life and death through chickens: {guest post}


I'm thrilled to have a guest post today from Kassandra. Her ability to change what could have potentially been a disastrous experience with her family into a positive one is an inspiring story. I only hope I can be half as insightful about my own family moments. Be sure to read through to the bottom so you can see her bio and her discount offer to Ranger readers!
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At 6am on a Tuesday morning, I went outside to answer the call of nature and saw that nature had called in a totally unexpected way during the night. Our backyard was suspiciously silent, and as I peeked around the corner I noticed a chilling sight. The night before there had been 10 lively three week-old chicks. Now, five half-eaten chicken filets, and two whole dead chicks lay on the ground. We never found any trace of the others.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

market tip: get to know your farmers

Welcome to the August 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Farmer's Markets
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about something new they've learned about their local farmers.
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gleaners after the market
Image Credit: from a local article about "gleaning"
Have you ever looked into where your food comes from? Have you spoken to a farmer who cultivated one part of your meal today? These are questions I couldn't have answered well just a few short years ago. We began our intentional food journey by joining a vegetable CSA when we lived in Virginia. It was gratifying to know we were helping to support a farm, and we would run home with giddy excitement on CSA day to find a crate of veggies on our porch.

When we moved to Massachusetts, we weren't satisfied by simply having the food dropped off on our step. We wanted to know our farmers, by name if possible, and know the ins and outs of the farm itself. We choose to buy the bulk of our fresh meat and produce straight from two local farms so that we know the farmers and their process and support them both.

In summer time, we pick up the remainder of our fresh food at our farmer's market. Prior to this month, I couldn't tell you anything about those farms apart from the name and spot in the parking lot where they were each located. I could tell you which one had my favorite bread but not what ingredients the farmer used to bake it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

did you read? {3}: sustainability edition

Hey, remember that series I said I'd start writing back in February, then posted twice and kinda forgot about after that? Woops! Best laid plans and all that jazz. It's all good because I'm coming back at ya' with another post today, and I hope to make the series at least a monthly thing, since I've actually been reading quite a bit of worthwhile material.

If I haven't already smacked you in the face with this little bit of 411 about my life, 'tis the year of the urban/suburban sustainable homestead. Here are some of my favorite reads in that genre...

Friday, April 20, 2012

rabbits: the ideal home-scale meat

I invited some fabulous bloggers--and fellow home rangers--to write guest posts on The Lone Home Ranger for this entire week during Vivi's Spring Break (called "April Vacation" in Beantown). These lovely ladies will be bringing you features focused on healthy, natural, and simple living. Enjoy!


Today's post comes from Chandelle over at Chicken Tender. Be sure to read through to the bottom of the post to see her bio and link to her blog. I've also written a few of my own thoughts about her post. 



(N.B.: This is a post about raising rabbits for food, so there is some minor discussion of animal slaughter).

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RABBITS: THE IDEAL HOME-SCALE MEAT

Several years ago, while living in a dumpy apartment in Salt Lake City and dreaming of greener pastures, I read the book Farm City, by Novella Carpenter. Pored over it, more like. Here was a lady without much money (like me), without land (like me), without a family history of farming (like me), who somehow got it into her head to be a farmer (also like me), and carried it out despite the obstacles, with a severe wit and a willingness to Dumpster-dive to feed her animals. (This last part was not like me, not yet.)

Friday, March 30, 2012

the crock pot: play more, cook less

I have been looking for new crock pot recipes lately for many reasons. My minimalist approach to parenting makes me gravitate toward healthy meals that require less of my time in the kitchen--no small feat. Plus I know I'll be running out on last-minute calls to my doula clients and don't want to leave my family in the lurch. Finally, I have a crock pot, a wedding gift I was very excited to receive over seven years ago (thanks Corinne!), and I almost never use it due to lack of inspiration and knowledge.

Mommy, play? How could I say no to this face?

Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 challenges update: The Urban Farm Handbook

Did you notice my two challenge buttons on the sidebar? I mentioned the Urban Farm Handbook challenge a while back, but I want to share more information about how it's going; I will discuss the other Get Real 2012 challenge in a separate post. You might think I've over-challenged myself, but I look at these challenges as inspiration. When I feel like taking steps forward and pushing myself, I look to them as my guides, and when I'm too busy, I simply ignore them. There are no deadlines or consequences, only rewards in the form of positive life changes!

The Urban Farm Handbook is an educational, enlightening read so far. I've been waiting over a month to get it from the library reserve queue, so I'm only a few chapters in, but I can already tell I love it. In fact, I went ahead and added it to my Amazon wish list to purchase my own copy. It is an excellent reference book that I can see going back to time and again for recipes, reminders, and inspiration. One of my favorite parts about the book is that it is written from the perspective of two people with individual philosophies on urban farming and different methods for feeding their families. One author, who rides the metaphorical self-described "Crazy Bus," is raising a family completely outside of the modern grocery store. She shops at farmer's markets and barters with friends, and the rest of her food is produced at home via gardening, canning/preserving, and even grinding her own grain. The second author takes a less extreme approach, choosing to create a small roster of homegrown meals.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ungardening and Pickled Green Tomatoes

Hi everyone! This is Emily from S.A.H.M i AM and I'm super excited to be writing a guest post for Justine today. Thanks Justine for letting me share a little bit of our life on your fabulous blog. It's a privilege!  

Let me start by saying there is something that feels inherently wrong with digging up living, productive plants. I consider it ungardening.  


But that's exactly what we did today. We dug up our winter garden.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Alice asks: could you live without a refrigerator?

Think you can make me smile? Think again.
My cousin Alice has always marched to the beat of a different drummer. As an adorable rosy-cheeked little girl, she requested that we call her  "John" and wore shorts and no shirt to the beach. After all, if her older brother could do it, why couldn't she? I've always admired her courage to be her own person. After college, she moved to Portugal to spend a summer working on a farm. That was two years ago! Since then, she has become fluent in Portuguese as well as farming. Alice possesses the unique talent of being able to make us think about what we take for granted in our lives as being necessary and part of decorum (see frowny-face photo), which is why I jumped at the chance to share her story of living for the past year without a refrigerator in Portugal.

Before I let her get started with her tale, I should mention I'm rather attached to my refrigerator. While I follow several bloggers in their attempts to go "off grid," I have no plans to do so myself in the future. However, like Alice is about to explain, I have had the benefit of seeing differences in other cultures' views of what MUST BE refrigerated. For example, my first time shopping in a British grocery store, I spent thirty minutes wandering around in search of the eggs. I stubbornly persisted, assuming I must be blind to some other method of storing eggs in the fridge besides cardboard crates. Only after an embarrassing moment in which I asked a befuddled store clerk did I finally discover the location of the eggs, midway down an aisle with NO REFRIGERATION. Then there was the British refrigerator in our home, which was the size of a trash compactor and was stored under the counter. I also remember that on my study abroad in Kenya, the yogurt in our sack lunches came European-style with more active cultures and was stored in unrefrigerated bags.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

buying and raising chickens

What are YOU looking at?

Doesn't it seem like everyone is suddenly raising chickens? Perhaps it's just because I am interested in doing it myself that chicken-raising seems to be hitting a tipping point. Yesterday I read a good post from Off the Grid about the cost of raising chickens versus buying eggs, and then a few hours later I opened my new Food & Wine magazine to discover evidence of chicken-raising left and right. Even the Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin is doing it...and blogging about it! Here's yet another fellow blogger's post with some great practical information about deciding whether to take the plunge.

Monday, January 16, 2012

a post about compost

I have always wanted a compost bin, but apartment living or having young babies (i.e. good excuses) have stopped me in the past. Last year I finally got my compost bin; our progressive town offers them at a steep discount, along with rain barrels, which I have yet to buy. This is my bin:


Thursday, November 10, 2011

farmaniac

Time change + hubster's snoring = early rising mama. May as well get crackin' on the blog. And I have much to discuss about the world's best day that was yesterday.

Continuing the streak of birthday week awesomeness, it was a glorious day in Boston. The kind of day they pretend happens continuously in movies about New England in the fall but which I hadn't seen the likes of yet. It was a perfect combination of 68 degF and fantastic leaf peeping.

I may have officially become a farm groupie, as visiting a farm was the first idea that came to mind when I was pondering what to do on this beautiful day. Then I remembered the great Audubon farm in Lincoln that I took Vivi to on her birthday, which I, in classic idiot-baby-brain fashion, had forgotten about all summer and fall (that's even after paying for a membership last spring. I have no words).


Boy was I glad to have remembered! Because I had the foresight to pack our lunch, we had plenty of time to stroll and explore. We hit up the animals and hayride first--I had little choice with all the gleeful squealing and jumping around Vivi was doing upon first glimpse.


I played with my camera's settings a bit more than usual, and I focused my five brain cells on finding the right light. Once I had it all figured out, I realized I may need to do a bit of model-coaching of my primary subject. I don't mean to toot my own horn (really, I don't), but she just may have inherited my photogenicity. Fingers crossed! Here are my two favorites of the day:



Check out the wasted composition and great back-lighting. Oh well. I added some more to flickr below if you're interested.

Friday, November 04, 2011

farmer mom

Howdy, y'all!

It's farm week around my house. It started with Halloween, then we had our farmer's lunch yesterday. I've also been spending time this week wrangling my few left-over brain cells so I can learn more about the farming legislation coming up for Congressional Super Committee vote soon.

Before I get going, I'll admit that this post is a bit of a doozy. But just like with my love of pretzel M&Ms, you can stop at any time. I tried to put in as much information as I could for those who wanted to know a lot, and I hope the most salient details are at the top for those who are in a hurry or frankly have other issues on their mind and would rather learn from Gwyneth Paltrow how to do your own makeup.

As we all know, Congress has been tasked with finding a way to cut $1.5 trillion from government programs, for realsies. I'm a frugal chick, so this challenge appeals to me. Right up until the lobbyists with deep pockets enter the room. Then my ass starts to twitch because I know that without concerned citizens like you and me stepping forward, money will change hands, and farm subsidies will continue on as usual.

I wish more people were focused on the farm bill. Although it's admittedly not a glamorous topic, food production affects everyone, and the real tragedy is that it doesn't affect you in such a simple, direct way as a tax increase, so no one seems to care. [For the kids reading this post years down the road: There is more in the news this week about Kim Kardashian's divorce than about the farm bill. I sincerely hope you have no idea who that person is.]

It's not that I don't entirely understand why no one cares. Let's be honest, folks. This is a boring bill. And at 684 pages, it's a long bill. But--BUT!--I highly recommend taking ten minutes out of your day to watch a TED video in which the Environmental Working Group chairman finds a way to make the topic more intriguing. [Incidentally, do you know about TED? Pretty sweet. Worth a lookie loo.]

Don't have time? Can't watch that video because you're at work? I'll do a summary for you, quick-like. The breakdown goes like this: the majority of the funds ($300+ billion) go to food stamps, another $60+ billion goes to subsidies for the big five (corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, and cotton), $30ish billion goes to conservation, and $15 billion goes to everything else.

Time out for a minute. If you don't know much about how subsidies have gone awry, I encourage you to educate yourself. There is a wealth of information in books like "Fast Food Nation" and "The Omnivore's Dilemma." But for the Cliff's Notes version, EWG and Heritage Foundation are good places to start.

Ok, back to the EWG video breakdown. Let's talk for a sec about food stamps. Over half of the people covered by the stamps are children, and the coverage is only $4.50 per day, so it's not like we're talking about people rolling in hundred dollar bills and eating steaks. More like rolling in pennies and eating bread and milk, if they are lucky. If you know about subsidies and about the food stamp program, and you're not getting paid by either one, it's a no-brainer. Subsidies have got to go.

Still with me? Want to know more? Check out Harvest Public Media's farm bill series. I also liked Oxfam's reasons why both the Tea Party and #OWS won't like it that the farm bill might be passed without floor debate; here's an even better Oxfam post, this time by a farmer. The glimmer of hope in the current farm bill news is the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act, which has been introduced as a part of the bill to assist the sustainable production of food by local farmers.

Coming from a public health background, much of my interest in food production comes from a nutrition perspective. Now that I have my own kids, I've also got a stake in the game as a parent. Since we're coming 'round the bed to having a kindergartner (less than 2 years to go!), lately I'm zeroing in on the sad state of the American school lunch.

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution has kicked my butt in gear to become knowledgeable on public school lunches, and I hope to become part of the grassroots effort to improve lunches at my community level. I'll see you back here with more on school lunches soon.

Toodles,
J

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Yee Ha-lloween!


We had a fun-filled Halloween week. I say week because I got Vivi dressed in her cowgirl get-up four times. It began on Thursday with her pre-school party. Then Friday we went to Nate's office for their party, which was lots of fun. I got to see his office and meet many of colleagues, and they hired a balloon animal guy who made Vivi a pony to go with her costume. Saturday morning was Lexington's Halloween parade, during which Vivi got to meet Elmo. When Elmo started walking toward town, Vivi postulated that he must be going to get himself a cup of coffee.


The girls and I spent Halloween afternoon at Wilson farm near our house, which seemed a fitting way to celebrate the holiday given their cow and cowgirl costumes.


We adore this farm because it sells fantastic food at great prices and makes an attempt to stay connected to the community through constant family-oriented events. Yesterday was no exception; they pulled out the stops with a spooky hayride, trick-or-treating with a choice of local apples or candy corn, and hot fresh apple cider donuts.





They are also known for their pre-made meals and recipe ideas. We each tasted samples of homemade turkey and mashed heirloom butternut squash (I'll add this simple, to-die-for recipe later in the week). Charlotte squealed for more after every bite, causing other shoppers to wander over and see what the fuss was about. Someone joked they should keep her around the tasting area as a salesgirl! We ended our trip by stopping by the portrait tent for a shot to win the costume contest.


As soon as we got home, Vivi and I scrambled to get our Halloween decorations up. We hung up homemade t-shirt ghosts and put up a scarecrow we picked up at Wilson farm. Within minutes, we had our first trick-or-treater, a boy dressed as a skeleton. Vivi hid around the corner because she was so afraid of his costume! I was glad we had chosen not to take her out in our neighborhood, since his was one of the least scary costumes I saw that night.

As I suspected, we had lots of trick-or-treaters. Most had great costumes, my favorite being the brother and sister dressed as Jack Sparrow and Keira Knightly (or whatever her character's name is), complete with Victorian corset dress. Toward the end, we had our obligatory share of teenagers dressed in sheets or holding hockey sticks. It was a great night, and the only thing I would change next time would be not to decide to make labor-intensive potato-leek soup while having to answer the door every two minutes.

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