2016.12

It is definitely hard for me to think about much else other than our fire recovery. I promise, really, that I will write about other things, but this week, it is still pretty fresh: just 10 days ago. As the shock wore off I set about trying to make sense of what happened and the implications for the future. Emotionally, I find myself swaying back and forth. Often, and for many hours at a time, I am quite grateful and optimistic. I count my blessings: no lives lost, no injuries, the unending support of a loving and generous community. Unfortunately, there are these other moments as well, times of near utter despair and deep, deep fatigue. We have been working so hard to keep each other up and realize this is an amazing opportunity to not only rebuild our barn, but rebuild ourselves. On the good days we see this as a great chance to implement change on all levels, on the bad days, well, I just go out and work in the fields. I have been energized and re inspired in the hours I have spent cultivating late summer plantings. It has been mandatory for me, between phone calls with the insurance company, to just get out there and continue farming.
There are so many silver linings I dare not try to list them all. It is these glorious gifts though that keep us going. Friends from long ago and people that we have never met donating to our GoFundMe campaign. Neighbors dropping be offering help and food and pies, a farm truck, fall transplants, gift cards for TSC and Lowes, we have been showered with love an d assistance. Knowing it is our amazing community that will help us pull through this brings a smile to my face each and every day. Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance, well, they aren’t being so kind! So, the harvest is complete, the family is settling in for the night, and I wish you all a great week ahead. It is Paul’s week at market so I will miss seeing you, but know my deepest gratitude goes out to each of you!
Thank you. Thank you. And once more, thank you

week twelve in your basket:
cucumbers
sweet peppers
hot peppers
eggplant
basil
onions
garlic

Quick Pickled Cucumber Salad from martha stewart

2 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper

In a large bowl, combine cucumbers, red onion, sugar, and rice vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Love Your Basil: Lemon Basil
by Ramona Werst
I can use any of my lemon basils to make Lemon Basil Syrup for lemonade. With my lime and Spicy Globe basils, I can prepare different fruit desserts. Simply adding chopped leaves from any of your basils can add a tang to your salad. Also, try adding a sprig of lemon or lime basil when you are grilling fish. When I grill fish, I will wrap my fish in foil and sprinkle it with spices, squeeze a little lemon on it, add a couple of slices of butter, and top it off with a lemon basil sprig. Next, I will fold the foil and cook it on the grill. Some people use cilantro, or parsley, but I use lemon or lime basil.
Now, don’t go and replace your lemons in recipes with lemon basil! Use the basil like a spice to add to your lemon recipes to add a different pleasant flavor.
If you garnish your ice tea with any of the lemon basils, you can advise your guests to rub the basil between their fingers just enough to bruise the basil, which will release its flavor, put it back into their ice tea and stir. This will add just a hint of lemon basil flavor to their beverage and your friends will enjoy learning the tips and secrets of using basil in their cooking and drinks. I still garnish with a fresh lemon slice. Although it adds a special mild flavor all on its own, the lemon basil is not strong enough to replace the flavor of fresh lemon.

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2016.11

For any of you that are collecting these newsletters, surely this will be one for the farm history book: this is the tale of the morning our barn burned down. I was asleep, we all were. Paul was actually sleeping at the Farm Stay after a late night of baking in the kitchen. There was a loud knock on my door. In my pre dawn haze, it took me a moment to compose myself. I heard a deep unknown male voice and the very familiar voice of Louise, my mother in law. “get dressed “ she said, calmly and sternly. Of course I thought the sheep were out. Sadly when our renegade sheep choose to jump their fencing, nearly 100% of the time they end up on Gram’s lawn. Usually she calls, but I was sleeping, maybe I didn’t hear the phone. It took all of 10 seconds to slip into some sheep wrangling clothing when she looked me in the eye and said “your barn is on the ground”. The man with her was our local fire chief. I was in disbelief when I walked outside, the smell alone was overwhelming and when I climbed the small knoll up to the site, my only thought was “i can not do this”. But I did. Of course I did. I walked slowly to the barn, on the ground, still in flames. I didn’t think to count the number of firefighters or trucks that were blocking my road for as far as I could see. In the next moments I watched as they worked, spraying water on what was still aflame. My Chevy Silverado was long burned out, the sheets of tin that once covered the barn roof were tangled masses of metal. What remained on fire was the hay. The hay. 140 square bales and 4 round bales that would burn for many days I was told. The firemen approached me and asked me a question I didn’t quite understand. “should we just let it burn?” “HUH?” I responded. Apparently I needed to authorize them to cease their attempts at saving my long lost barn. I was in shock, this was the moment I realized I hadn’t called Paul yet at the Farm Stay. “ I have to call my husband, he’ll be right here, he can answer that question. Eventually Paul returned and the children awoke one by one. I watched as my loved ones took it all in, speechless.
The next minutes turned into hours turned into days and we remained utterly shocked at the loss. We are each walking through the days making mental inventories of the items, some small, some large, that were housed in the barn. I know we are so lucky. Our livestock was on the other side of the farm, no one was in the barn, nothing in that structure held any significant sentimental value. It is all replaceable with a huge amount of money and an even huger amount of work. We can do that. We have a home, we are well, we are safe. Those are the good moments. Obviously there are quite a few dark moments. Navigating the terrain of the insurance company (who has claimed that the barn which burned down happened to be the only structure on my property not covered by my comprehensive farm policy, clearly I am going to have to get a lawyer!) is no fun, walking past the smoldering remains of the heart of the farm is amazingly painful and smelly. The very brightest moments however have happened in the past 24 hours. In a state of intense vulnerability I put up a go fund me campaign. I was advised by many to the truth I already knew, you will need money to rebuild. Do not max out your credit card she warned. In the first day we raised over $5000. our community mobilizing around us in our greatest time of need is absolutely blowing me away. We have been sustained by the outpouring of support in ways I have no words for. Each of you, your generosity, your unending confidence and love of our farm and our family is proving to be the best salve for our wounds. We will rebuild. We will come back better and stronger then ever. Wow.

week eleven in your basket:
potatoes
cucumbers
summer squash or zucchini
sweet peppers
hot peppers
onions
garlic

Refrigerator Pickles

1 1/3 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 cup white vinegar
6 cups peeled and sliced cucumbers
2 cups sliced onion
Stir sugar, salt, and vinegar together in a plastic container with a lid until sugar
is mostly dissolved. Place cucumbers and onion in the vinegar solution; stir to coat.
Cover container and refrigerate for at least 2 days, stirring occasionally.

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2016.10

It has not stopped raining. Honestly we have stopped totaling the inches as they neared double digits. It’s been that kind of week. The consistency of the downpours and the frequency has definitely put a damper on our plans for the week as the rain fell and the creek raged. Trying not to get too down in the dumps. We mulched at every opportunity and did our best to keep busy busy as the weather thwarted all hopes of working out in the fields.
My mother in law sits on the advisory board of a local group Sustainable Glasgow. Their main project is a farmers market in adjacent Barren County, but they as a group are striving to educate our area about the importance of a thriving local economy. Last night they organized a fund raiser complete with farm to table dinner and live music. When a pair of tickets was on offer to our household, I couldn’t say no. (Farmer Paul did say no, so it was Madeline as my date).
The meal itself was all sourced locally and the food was served family style. We arrived late (because of a torrential down pour at our desired departure time) but were ushered to a table with some friends we knew. Following the meal we took a walk on the square in Glasgow and returned to the restored Plaza Theater in time for the show.
The music was awesome! The opening musicians were local folks I knew and their performances were charming. The main act, the Adam Ezra Group from Boston, rocked it and I fell into the excitement only live music can offer. Madeline started to droop at our normal 9:00 bedtime but I said let’s hold on, shows work to a crescendo and I wanted her to experience the finale, which was indeed grand. Despite the fact that we arrived home after 11:00 we were charged up and thrilled with the chance to have such a great time here in our neck of the woods.
I know live music is an integral part of your lives, you all live in the music city for goodness sakes, but for me, not so. The power and energy exchanged is not to be beat.
It’s been a dark week in the news and the weather so this was just the light I needed to carry on. I hope you all are finding light where you need it and I remain humbled and grateful for your support of our farm and our life’s work. Y’all are super. Enjoy these cucumbers, I personally can not get enough of them…

week ten in your basket:
napa cabbage
summer squash or zucchini
cucumbers
herb choice
onions
garlic
first taste of summer option

Thai Cucumber Salad
From budget bytes, any version of cucumber salad should be on the menu in your homes this week, this is just one option!

⅓ cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp toasted sesame oil
¼ to ½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp salt

2 large cucumbers
3 green onions
¼ cup chopped peanuts

In a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and salt. Set the dressing aside to give it time to blend.
Peel and slice the cucumber . Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl.
Chop the peanuts into smaller pieces, if desired. Slice the green onions.
Add the dressing, peanuts, and green onions to the sliced cucumbers. Stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Give the salad a brief stir before serving to redistribute the dressing and flavors.

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