Monday, November 26, 2007

Out at the Farm

This is my father-in-law's farm. Our Little Boy loves going out there to see the cows, tractors, dirt, dogs, etc., and of course his Grandpa. (The pink gloves, by the way, are ones that a sweet little niece of mine left behind when they moved. They just so happen to fit my Little Boy's hands and gloves for a 20 month old are hard to find - these ones are even a tad big.)

What's that up ahead?

Picking up...

...a handful of...

...dirt. Phew.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Can See Clearly Now

We replaced our old windows...

...with new ones! Though I liked the charm of the old wooden ones, they were too drafty and far from energy efficient. No matter what the thermometer read, the air in our house was filled with an uncomfortable chill. Worst of all were the windows by our beds - and know amount of blankets was enough to withstand the icy draft. Our new insulated windows make a significant difference and make the house that much cozier.

My husband, Mr. Contractor himself, did the hard labor - and just about everything else - but I was the official hold-the-window-in-place gal. Quite the title (length-wise at least).

Here Mr. Contractor is taking out the old window. Little Boy Blue is helpful as always, even when he's simply standing there in extra big pajamas. Yes, sometimes (often) he wears p.j.'s during the day - nothing beats that all over wrap around warmth.

Bruce wanted to help too, but believe me - after his last stunt - I don't know if his is the kind of help we were looking for.

Getting these windows in means were getting closer to being able to put this house on the market. Hooray for that because we are more than ready!!

© Meadowlark Farms 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Bruce - our other 'farm animal' (who just recently chewed up the cable line that runs along the outside of the house - Internet for a few days.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Our "Farm Animal," Molly

Friday, November 2, 2007

Food For Thought

Fresh Baked
You may have surmised from this previous post that when it comes to cooking, I'm rather a novice. And though I sometimes think I can get away with stating, "Hey, I'm only 24!" I have a sneaky suspicion that there are plenty of ten year olds (if not younger) who have cooked more than me. Adding to the fact that I've been married for close to 6 1/2 years only makes the situation look even worse for me as I've had plenty of opportunity to test out my handiwork. So why have I fared so poorly in this department you may ask? It's certainly not that I don't like to cook - quite the contrary indeed. Whenever I get around to it, I enjoy the process - not to mention the result - immensely. I'm sure I can chalk it all up to a few unredeeming qualities I possess, but we won't get into that here. What I do want to talk about are the strides I have made in this category just this past year. I have made excellent progress as far as cooking and baking goes - largely spurred on by my growing dedication to a sustainable future that includes eating more local and seasonal foods. This has resulted in baked acorn squash, lentil and potato stew, corn on the cob, peach bread, peach cake, apple cake, home-canned tomato sauce, along with other delectable dishes that have rarely graced our table in the past (sad - or pathetic, whichever you so choose - I know).
Another inspiration for this whole cooking at home deal is my love for great food and the lack of it on most menus in my vicinity. Not to mention it's a whole lot cheaper to eat at home. Plus I love the cozy, inviting feeling that cookies baking in the oven or garlic sizzling in a buttered pan emits. A lot has been written about the kitchen as a gathering place. It brings people together and forms strong relationships with the food its self. We are immersed in the idea of food - not in just how it sustains us, but how we relish its existence for the shear joy and comfort it brings. In fact, we even use food terms to describe other aspects of our lives. For instance, you can butter someone up, cook one's goose, take things with a grain of salt, be worth one's salt, you can go cold turkey and we can talk turkey, you can take the cake, but you can't have it and eat it too, things can be pie in the sky, you can go whole hog, and you can even ride the gray train. Good gravy! Food is certainly an integral part of our lives and a welcome addition to the tables in our homes.
My home -or rather the people in it - is the biggest reason for this surge in homemade meals. (This is due mostly to the newest member, our nineteen month son. We may have been slightly sloppy with our own nutrition, but now that we have a child, it's time to clean up our act.) For me, cooking is one of those things that makes a house a home. I feel that by cooking hearty meals for my family I am also offering up love, warmth, care and creating familiarity, togetherness, and memories. I know that this also makes an opportunity for nutritious choices and for learning about sustainability, conservation, plants, soil, and the health of the land. I am glad to be able to give this to my family (and of course to receive it when my husband cooks).
So, this year has seen much growth from me as far as cooking and baking go. I have minced, diced, chopped, sliced, and whatever else you can do to an onion or potato. I have made many ordinary dishes for the first time. I have baked from scratch, and even concocted my very own recipe, or two. Of course I only plan to continue and improve upon my skills because there's nothing better than a home-cooked meal. So raise your glasses. Here's to good food served with care and thought. ( A bit cheesy, eh?)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Oh Tomatoes!

The First Batch of Canned Tomato Juice!

I didn't grow any tomatoes this year, and my mom only put up a few plants - so what's a gal to do when she's hoping to try her hands at a bit of canning? She gets lucky, she does. Lucky to have a mom, who has a friend, who has tomatoes - lots and up for grabs. (And lucky this friend is also a very kind lady!) So out my mom, my little boy, and myself went to the friends to pick tomatoes on a rather blustery day. The wind was whipping maliciously and chilled us to our bones, but the promise of home-grown tomatoes through the winter months kept our fingers picking.

The Help (He Contributed the Green Ones)

The Fruits of Our Labors

This child-hood friend of my mother's has a marvelous, well-kept garden and the tomatoes were beautiful! We came home with a good amount and went to work canning the next day. On the menu were tomato juice and a basic tomato sauce. Out of a steamy dishwasher, I pulled out hot glass jars and placed them on a flower print cloth laid out on the counter. The light from the window shone through the clear glass creating a cathedral affect. Meanwhile, simmering in a large silver pot were chopped up tomatoes, releasing their juices. In an even bigger silver pot, water was coming to a furious boil waiting to receive sealed jars filled with the red elixir. The kitchen smelled deliciously fresh and wonderful. And oh when we roasted some tomatoes in the oven - sweet, warm goodness.

Canning Jars Lined in a Row

Simmer, Simmer

All the while I felt this energy, knowing I was doing something good for the environment, my community, and my family. I felt a belonging to the natural rhythms of the world and to generations of people before me who took the bounties of their harvest and preserved them in clear glass jars set upon wooden shelves to sustain themselves through winter. My mom's kitchen turned into a gathering place for learning as she passed down the wisdom gained from her mom onto me - wisdom that goes back through the ages.

Check out what other things I eat (cringe) besides tomatoes at my other blog and see the greener side of Southern Idaho and around the world. Join the discussion!

© Meadowlark Farms 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

Not Yet, But Someday

Oh Give Me Land, Lots of Land, Under Starry Skies Above...

OK, you got me...there is no farm, but one day (please let it be sooner than much, much later!) there will be. For now, we're fixing up this house and trying to get it sold. After that? Well, maybe we'll be able to purchase some land, but most likely, we'll buy another house to fix up and sell. Then...then we just might be able to afford some land. And yet, it's possible that we'll have to buy and fix up still another house. But one day...Meadowlark Farms will be our home and the Western Meadowlark will greet us with its beautiful song...

Until that blissful day...I'm going to prepare myself with all I can as far as homesteading and living greener, and believe me - I have LOTS to learn. Maybe you already have a farm, long for a farm like myself, or just like to read about them. Either way, you might learn a little from me (or just laugh at my beginner idiocy) and I sure could learn a lot from you! So join me as I fumble (but triumphantly succeed - hopefully) through this life changing (and soul changing) adventure.

© Meadowlark Farms 2007