The last couple weeks have been brutal. Between the horrible weather, losing our elderly horse and totaling a vehicle we have had ENOUGH of winter. It is easy during these times to re-think our ambitions and goals for the farm, but taking a sunny winter afternoon walk quickly eases my fears. Even through the bitter cold there are signs of spring and new beginnings. The chickens are out and scratching for bugs, the herbs are hanging in and a few chives are trying to push through, while dried zinnias are ready to drop their seeds. All these little changes give hope and promise for warmer days and change to come.
The farm is covered in snow, the kids are resting and I finally have time to sit down for a cup of tea. Even though I can't live without a cup of coffee in the morning, by the afternoon, a hot cup of tea hits the spot. During the summer months we grow a variety of herbs that I then dry and use in my bath and body products, but also for herbal teas. If you have never blended your own tea before I suggest that you give it a try. Even if you don't have a stash of dried mint or lavender, you can often find these ingredients on-line from reputable organic sellers.
I like to experiment using combinations of relaxing herbs such as lavender and camomille, with soothing mint and lemon balm. If I need a bit of a caffine kick, I blend in a high quality black tea. Sometimes I will add essential oils such as lemon or bergamont. Rose petals and dried edible violets also can add a nice floral note. When only using whole dried herbs and flowers make sure to let the tea seep for longer than you would a store bought tea bag. I generally like mine the best after 5-8 minutes, with a bit of honey.
Happy New Year! Over the last few years my wish to have a semi-successful mini-farm has kinda-sorta been headed towards coming true. Even though I am not much for resolutions, I am determined to achieve a few small goals for the farm and see where this little experiment can take us.
1) Actually keep records of expenses... which involves dealing with two things I hate: money and math... but I do have a nice new little file folder to keep receipts, so that is something right?
2) Install a high tunnel growing system. So thanks to my wonderful local NRCS/USDA office I was awarded a grant this last summer to implement a high tunnel, which will allow the farm to provide more locally grown produce. We have taken the first step and ordered the high tunnel... but now to get it up and going by the end of March... that will be the challenge.
3) Offer more events and classes. Looking into this next year I would like to offer more soap making classes, maybe a few quilting classes and more. Also, we have a tentative plan for a farm to table dinner this June, which would open the farm to participants and provide a multi-course menu straight from the farm.
If you have any great ideas or suggestions for the farm, please don't hesitate to let us know. Feedback helps move us forward!
Teacher. Student. Mother. Daughter. Sister. Wife. Farmer (well... I try).