Farm

Spring Photos at the Farm

Enjoy our Spring photos!

Glorious Spring!

Spring on our Virginia farm has been glorious! To this Florida girl, it is beautiful to slowly watch everything come to life. Some trees literally blossom overnight. Everyday, there is a new color, shade of green or show of life that reveals itself. I love it here. I was reminded of a poem that Jonas and Evelyn memorized a couple years ago entitled “Spring” by William Blake. In this poem, it repeats, “Merrily, Merrily, to welcome in the year.” I never quite understood until now, how the new year relates to nature’s new year… the year beginning for plants and animals… and how in this newness of the world surrounding us, a sense of newness is revived in our souls. Awakening our wintry hearts by the warmth of the sun we find joy that God gives us in the simple beauty of His creation. I pray that you are celebrating the wonder of spring and welcoming in the new year in your heart, remembering anew that God is good!

Spring

Sound the flute!
Now it’s mute!
Bird’s delight,
Day and night,
Nightingale,
In the dale,
Lark in sky,–
Merrily,
Merrily merrily, to welcome in the year.

Little boy,
Full of joy;
Little girl,
Sweet and small;
Cock does crow,
So do you;
Merry voice,
Infant noise;
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year.

Little lamb,
Here I am;
Come and lick
My white neck;
Let me pull
Your soft wool;
Let me kiss
Your soft face;
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year.

By William Blake

Honey Roasted Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

This is an absolutely delicious and easy meal to make! The recipe is from The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook by Shannon Hayes. We love using pasture raised pork for this… I encourage you to find a local farmer who raised pastured pigs and then support them! A great resource for finding a farm near you is Local Harvest.

Honey Roasted Pork Chops with Apples and Onions
Serves 2

1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons rubbed sage (I didn’t have any sage on hand, so I substituted with Marjoram)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pork chops (rib, shoulder, loin, and country ribs are all okay to use)
1/3 cup apple cider or juice
1 tart, firm apple, cored and cut into thick slices, but not peeled
1 small onion, thinly sliced into rings
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons honey (we use raw honey)

Preheat oven to 350̊ F.

Combine the salt, pepper, and sage; rub into the meat.

Pour the olive oil into a heated ovenproof skillet (we use cast iron), and sear the chops over medium heat, 1 minute per side or until browned. Remove from heat, add the cider, sliced apple, onion, and raisins. Drizzle with honey, cover and roas for 1 1/2 hours or until fork-tender.

You have to try this recipe!!

Fresh Perspective

A Fresh Perspective

These last two months have been full of learning experiences… farm, family, spiritual, and overall life learning has been taking place. Each experience has slowly brought us to a new, fresh perspective of life. One of our first farm lessons has been that part of farm life is death. As odd as that may sound, death happens on a farm. Whether raising animals or plants, death happens. Killing insects that flock to plants (we’d prefer organic methods for this) or predators that sneak in and kill chickens, and the farmer who defends the lives of those chickens and kills the predator (in our case, a raccoon).

All of us have adjusted well to living “out in the country.” We’re actually not that far from the town of Rocky Mount or from downtown Roanoke. But, yes, country life has been sweet for us. Being outdoors most of our weekends, working, cleaning, playing… it has been a joy to work together as a family and learn more of each others strengths and well, weakness, too. I personally have learned more about myself and am discovering more of what my role will be here on the homestead. Planning, preparing and keeping the home has become more and more of a joy for me. This includes garden planning, meal plans, organizing the home, figuring out a system that works for our family in the stage we are in now.

Spiritually, we are learning to trust God in all of our little baby steps. And with every step forward we make, the challenge becomes to remember where we’ve been, where God has brought us and to be thankful for ALL He has done and continues to do in our lives. Isn’t it amazing that when we take the time to be thankful and express our gratitude to our Creator, that our perspective begins to change? I am grateful for learning from my children in their excitement and joy over simple (long forgotten by me) fun things. Things such as mud. And imaginary play. The feel of grass under your feet on a sunny afternoon. These are the sort of things as a child that brought such a sense of overwhelming peace and contentedness to my spirit. Why should I forget that? I am challenged to play in the dirt, walk barefoot in the fields and dance and sing all for the joy of living! Why worry about the next steps?  God will continue to provide and lead… in the meantime, enjoy the journey and rejoice!

Winter Photos

You may also view this set of photos with description by clicking here.

Pot Pie

Today is our four week anniversary of being in our farm home! We have done a lot of settling and are slowly getting into a routine. School is back in session. All the joys of home-life are in full swing. There is not one dull moment here!

My latest fun has been exploring new recipes with a great cookbook we got for Christmas. It is called “The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook: Healthy Cooking and Good Living with Pasture-Raised Foods” by Shannon Hayes. One recipe that is super for using up leftover chicken or turkey is the Chicken Pot Pie with Herbed Crust. Everyone loves it, and it has turned out delicious with either chicken or turkey (yes, we’ve had both since we’ve been here!). Here’s the recipe:


Chicken Pot Pie with Herbed Crust
Serves 6

For the herbed pie crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus some extra for rolling out the dough
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
8 tablespoons butter or lard
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and dried herbs in a medium bowl. Use a pastry blender or fork to cut the butter or lard into the flour mixture until it is crumbly. Add the ice water gradually, mixing quickly with a fork until the dough is just moist enough to hold together. be careful not to add too much water. you may not need the full 6 tablespoons. Shape the dough into a ball, then place on a floured surface and roll out to a rectangle at least 9×13 inches.

For the filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 small stalks celery, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, scraped and finely chopped
1 large onion, sliced into thin wedges
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup fresh or thawed whole corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
3 cups cooked chicken or turkey, shredded
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 tablespoon fresh
2 tablespoons dry sherry

Preheat oven to 400`F

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large, nonreactive saucepan, then saute the celery, carrots, and onions over medium-high heat until they are crisp=tender, approximately 4-5 minutes. Remove to a large bowl, and keep warm. Add the salt, pepper, corn, peas, and shredded chicken or turkey to the vegetables, and stir gently until well combined.

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in the saucepan. Turn off the heat, add the flour, and stir in quickly. The mixture will be pasty. Over medium heat, stir in the broth, milk, half-and-half, and thyme. Bring the liquid to a boil, stirring occasionally; lower the heat and simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is thick and rich. Stir in the sherry.

Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables, and mix gently. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Pour the entire contents of the bowl into a 13-x-9-inch baking pan, and top with the herbed pie crust. Fold down and crimp overlapping edges so that the crust fits inside the pan. Pierce the top several times with a sharp knife, and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Bon Appetit!

Twentyeleven

The year ahead will be different for our family. Each passing year seems to bring about changes in our lives… the addition of a child, a move, or job change for Ian. We all have many hopes for twenty eleven. The dream to go work the land and have a farm for our family is in the first phase: we’re here. We landed. Now the real work begins.

I believe the hope of God’s gift in planting the dream is what will continue to motivate us each of us to work hard at each step and challenge that lies ahead. We have much to learn, plan and just plain try to do. Realizing that we will have set-backs and disappointments is a hard lump to swallow… I can only imagine once we’re in the midst of one what it truly will feel like.

The famous quote by Thomas H. Palmer rings in my ears,

“Tis a lesson you should heed,
Try, try again.
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try again.”

Our efforts in success will not be for our glory or gain, but out of honoring the One who planted the goals within. We hope to share our struggles and victories as we trust in God and journey forward as a family!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.”
-Proverbs 3:5-6

The Lord Your God

You shall make for yourselves no idols and erect no carved images or pillars, and you shall not place figured stones in your land, to worship at them; for I am the Lord your God. You shall keep my sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord. If you follow my statutes and keep my commandments and observe them faithfully, I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and the vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land. And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid; I will remove dangerous animals from the land, and no sword shall go through your land. – Leviticus 26:1-6


God is good and He loves to remind me to just seek Him. To follow His lead… to trust Him. When I faithfully follow His commands and obey His Word, He blesses. Big time. God.. the Creator, Master, Maker, Healer, Redeemer, the list goes on. Let’s face it, He loves it when we obey and seek Him. I need to be reminded of this…

“Come,” my heart says, “seek His face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek. Psalm 27:8