Sheep and Wool inspiration

We attend the Sheep and Wool festival every year. There is always a new inspiration to take home from the festival to feed my love of fiber arts. This year, a new booth by Sarafina Fiber Art caught my eye! Sara and her talented staff make beautiful needlefelted creations, featuring animals and people. Here are some photos from her booth. Starting with Sara and her amazing needlefelted lion!

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I’ll be working on her tutorials to create some animals. I’ll keep you posted!

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With a little help from our friends

 

 

 

Last week sure was windy! It ripped the skin right off our hoophouse! In a big wind, the plastic ripped off and flipped off the roof just like a huge page in a book might turn. In one flick like it was nothing. We are grateful that we had planned to replace the plastic in a couple months, so we already had the new plastic on hand. Phil called our farming friends down the road, the Horst family of Jehovah Jireh Farm.  They came right over that evening and helped prepare for the job, then arrived early the next morning to help pull the plastic over the hoophouse framework. Its a big job, and a big wind can rip that plastic or take us all for a kite ride. But we had ropes secured over the plastic to hold it in place, and many hands to keep it snug until it was tacked down. Ever so grateful to our neighbor and CSA member, Nathan Wilkes, my brother Ron White, and the Horst family. With a little help from our friends, we were able to save all the trays of seedlings we have growing in our hoop.

Jehovah Jireh Farm is currently accepting orders for their fresh pastured chicken, on-farm pickup of fresh chicken all summer long until Thanksgiving. And turkeys in November, too. Good people to support, and not just because they were SO VERY AWESOME to help us out last week. :)

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Seedling Salad

 

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The hoophouse is chock full of seedling trays for the upcoming CSA season–kale, chard, kohlrabi, lettuce (three kinds), broccoli, cabbage, chinese cabbage. What else? Peppers and eggplant (4-5 kinds each), tomatoes (15 varieties!), basil and other herbs. And more! Peas, beans, carrots, fennel, parsley. And more. That’s just off the top of my head. And what else? There are more veggies to start in the next couple months. Turnips have already been grown up in trays and planted out into the field. Onions, garlic and scallions are already planted out. We are busy getting ready for some great eating. Join us? CSA shares are available for full and half shares.

Seedling salad
These micro greens are thinnings from the hoop house. Kohlrabi, chard, broccoli, cabbage

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My new hat

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Liz’s Beet Chocolate Cake

Cake on the farm! We can do that, because it had our beets in it! So it was farm-grown cake, right?

Liz volunteers on the farm but she works in her kitchen. She has a cake business called Another Slice of Cake. She brought an incredible chocolate beet cake to the farm today to celebrate Phil and Ron’s birthdays. The balance of beet and chocolate was lovely; you could see the red tint from the beet and taste the sweet fruitiness that it added to the chocolate. (This one happened to be gluten-free, as well.) Thanks, Liz, it was so delicious and beautiful! Really, you need to check out her website at some of the incredible decorated cakes she makes. Like the Bassett Hound cake that is on the front of her website. The woman makes sculptures out of cake and icing.

And since I know you will be asking, here is the recipe. She replaced the flour with gluten-free oat flour and coconut flour to make it gluten-free.

Happy birthday, Phil and Ron! (We’re still celebrating their September birthdays.)

Thanks, Liz!

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Sweet sweet potato dig day

 

 

It was a beautiful day for a sweet potato dig! The loose cool soil felt so good in between my fingers as a gathered the sweets. Thanks to all who participated in the dig today! We really appreciate your help and positive energy. Together we collected 2500 pounds of sweet potatoes today! More to go, too. It was fun to have my family at the dig–both my brothers, my nephew and my folks. Our sweets will be for sale at The Common Market this month through Thanksgiving. Maybe as soon as this weekend.

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Sweet Potato Dig on Sunday

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House in the Woods Farm invites you to our
Sweet Potato Dig!
Sunday October 5, 1pm-5pm
2225 Park Mills Rd, Adamstown, MD

We’ll be digging in the dirt, collecting the sweet potato treasures that our potato plow will loosen up out of the soil for us. This is a good event for the whole family.

Bring a snack to share. If we have enough helpers, we can put some people on cooking up some sweet potatoes, garden-side! But we’ll need a good size crew for that, so invite friends.
Bring water bottle, hat, and work gloves if you want.
Please RSVP if you are planning to come so we have an idea of event size.

Here’s a post about how the sweet potatoes were planted http://blog.houseinthewoods.com/2014/06/26/sweet-potato-and-slip/

Here’s Ilene’s Fred News Post article about sweet potatoes

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Interns, old and new

Celebrating our interns, old and new, this week! Here on the left are Neda and Alexa, University of Maryland student interns this summer. Neda just graduated and is heading to Arizona for a masters program in Sustainability. Alexa continues her undergraduate studies in the fall. On the right is Sarah, our University of Maryland intern from 2002! Yes, visiting us 12 years later. Sarah is entering her third year of vet school at Virginia Tech. It was great to get them together on Thursday and get their hands in the dirt together.

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Sweet Potato and Slip

Sweet Potato and Slip

Sweet Potato Slips 

Thank you to all who came out and helped plant the sweet potato patch. We really appreciate your efforts! I wish I took more pictures of people helping, but we were so busy, it slipped (pun intended). Share yours if you took some! The sweet potato slips were planted in record smooth time—mainly two days, plus a little. The slips don’t keep well for extended time in storage, so it’s good to move quickly. The plants look great!

Here are a few of the younger set that helped out:

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How are sweet potatoes grown?

You start with what is called a sweet potato slip. A high quality, disease-free seed potato is planted and shoots sprout out from it. These shoots are called slips, for some reason—they are a stem and leaf. That is what you plant. Each slip will grow a big armful of sweet potatoes by August or September.

We used to think the slips go through a droopy transition until they adjust to the transplanting, but we have recently discovered the cure. We set up sprinklers and keep them misted after they are planted. They love it! The plants stay perky and don’t droop so much. Sometimes a spot doesn’t get enough misting, and it gets droopy, but those slips perk up in the next day and still do great.

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Sweet Potato, the cow

On Monday, as the last few empty holes were filled with slips, we discovered we had a newborn calf in the field. The telltale sign is lots of low mooing by the herd, especially the new mom. They carry on and we check out what’s going on. Sure enough, our youngest cow had a calf with her. Appropriately enough, this cow’s name is Sweet Potato. We laughed about her giving birth to celebrate the planting of the sweet potato slips. Right away, the kids decided the calf would be named Slip.

Sweet Potato Slip, the calf

So, I’d like you to meet Sweet Potato and her baby girl, Slip:

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Farm Chi season

Nappa Cabbage is a cool weather crop, best in the spring and fall, and its my favorite base for Farm Chi. So it’s Farm Chi season! Farm Chi includes whatever is harvesting at the farm, so this batch features:

Garlic scapes, ginger (from a friend’s farm in the fall, I store it in the freezer), nappa cabbage, scallions, bok choi, kohlrabi, carrots (not from the farm this time), turnips, kale. I also added Korean red pepper and sesame seeds.

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For more about fermented vegetables, Kim Chi, Farm Chi and how Farm Chi got its name, check out my blog at Mother Earth News:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/sarahs-kim-chi-zbcz1312.aspx

 

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