Balsamic Onion Pickled Eggs

Let’s talk eggs! This time of year we find the girls are super productive. It’s like the last push as the daylight hours decrease. Just what to do with all those butt nuggets?

There are many ways of preserving eggs – dehydrating, freezing, freeze drying, water glassing. Today, though, we are exploring a more tasty option – pickling.

As you search the internet you’ll find all kinds of techniques for pickling and canning eggs for shelf stability. However, the National Center for Food Preservation doesn’t not have a shelf stable recipe. The only recipes they have are for refrigerator storage and it is not recommended to store pickled eggs at room temperature. We store our pickled eggs in the refrigerator. There they can last up to four months but they never do in our home! Let’s get started.

The Ingredients

  • 1 dozen small – medium eggs
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Small red onion
  • Pickling salt
  • Cajun seasoning

The Prep

  • Jars – this is not a sterile project but of course you’ll want to clean your jars well.
  • Eggs – boil eggs to your preferences. We use mix a tablespoon of baking soda in the water to make peeling easier. IT WORKS! We put aside any that are damaged while peeling. We eat those right away.
  • Onion – chop or slice to your preference. Whatever you choose you’ll want to make sure the size is compact so as to not take up too much space in your jar.

Let’s Cook

Since this is a small batch we are doing things a tad differently than if we were doing a large batch. Since the brine we will be using would be hot we did warm our jars in the oven. We do this by placing just a tad bit of water on to a baking sheet and placing our jars on top into a 170° oven as it heats up. We leave them there until we are ready to use. You could just as well use your dishwasher or use hot water.

We layered our ingredients into the jars as tightly as possible. We started with the onion. After the onion, we packed those eggs in as tightly as we possibly could! Using small to medium eggs makes this much easier. Of additional benefit is that of using wide mouth jars.

After the jar is packed as tightly as possible we then poured in our balsamic vinegar to about 3/4 of the jar. Then we poured our apple cider vinegar in the remaining 1/4 of the jar. Be sure to make sure all the eggs are completely covered. At this point we did have to remove one of our eggs.

Now, using a strainer, (since these are being prepared just for our family, I used my hand) cover the jar securely and pour liquid mixture into a sauce pan. Add Pickling seasoning and Cajun seasoning (always to taste). Bring to a simmer. Pour brine over eggs. Secure with lid & ring. Allow to cool before placing in the refrigerator. If you want to seal the jar flip it upside down. The heat of the brine will seal the jar. Keep in mind it will still need to be stored int he refrigerator.

The hardest part of this recipe isn’t the cooking but THE WAITING! Wait a minimum of 2 weeks before cracking open your home pickled eggs! Trust us, it’s well worth the wait!

The Results

Our family was very adventurous in trying this recipe. I recorded video but haven’t convinced them to allow me to share it with you guys yet. It ended up being closer to 3 weeks when we tried these. Out of 5 only one family member didn’t like the flavor at all and another simply preferred a different flavor (Jalapeño Ginger) pickled eggs. The eggs do take on an ashen grey color on the outside but in the the brief time they remained in the fridge the Balsamic color didn’t reach the yolk although we think that would be quite an interesting looking egg! The Cajun seasoning flavor is there and it definitely enhanced the flavor however the heat was lost. If you are wanting a hot pickled egg we suggest perhaps adding actual peppers instead of just the seasoning.

We would love to hear from you if you try this recipe. Tag us! We would love to see your results!


The Goings On – February 2022

Hey there February! We missed you! While there is plenty to do in the month of February much was done in January as well. Check out what went on in the last 31 days.

Planting

January has been cold and boy do we welcome that! It is also the month we try to get our bulb onions planted. We are happy to report that we have checked this off our planting checklist! This year we planted two varieties: Texas Sweet & Red Creole. In addition to those we also planted Lancelot Leek. We have never grown leeks before but man do we love a good leek and potato soup! Onions are a staple food for our family. I cook at least one meal a day using them and sometimes we have them raw in salads and salsas! We love to have our own of course but last year just was not the best year for onions for us. We hope that this year will be much better.

We also added a few more perennial flower bulbs to to the ground. We have many already established from previous seasons so we are only adding varieties now that are new to us. This year we are adding Lilly and Allium to the flower garden. Although we have not planted them yet we are also adding flowering herbs to the flower garden. These will be used in our flower bouquets but also used in this seasons tea blends and tinctures we plan to make. Speaking of the flower garden, if you would like to have beautiful home grown flower bouquets delivered to your door then the Flowers by BHG subscription is just for you! You can secure your Spring subscription here. This year delivery for Spring subscription begins May 2nd and will run through the entire month of May. Dates for the Summer subscription are tba.

Back to planting. We have started many seeds for the 2022 growing season! Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are started and are growing nicely. We hope to have them ready to be planted in the Hoopty by March 15th at the latest and March 1st at the earliest. Although we are preparing for the Spring and Summer we cannot forget to plant those more cold hardy plants such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and kale. All of these have also been started. While we have been blessed to harvest Winter cauliflower this January, we want to get a second harvest early Spring so we are starting these plants now to set out in March. Some of these will go into the high tunnel and others will go into raised beds. Carrots, fennel, and kohlrabi will be direct sown this month. We want to plant more green mustards and collards however we are at a loss as to where we will plant them as we are already running low on space! Ah the life of the micro-farmer!

Harvesting

January was a big month for harvesting here! We harvested salad turnips and for the first time ever we had enough to share, eat, and freeze and dehydrate! It was definitely busy a couple of days getting them processed but we are so thankful to have had an abundance to store for our family for later in the season. After all, have you seen grocery prices along with the supply chain issues?! Cauliflower heads for the Winter were small but again we are thankful to have these tucked away for use at a later time. We also continue to harvest snow peas and brussels sprouts leaves some of which we have also had the pleasure of storing. We even processed the stems of the brussels sprouts by dehydrating them and then using the food processor to pulse into a powder that we can now use in smoothies or anything! Side note – WE LOVE FRESH SNOW PEAS! We have eaten more than we have frozen! Oops! Our field snow peas have definitely dropped in production due to the below freezing nights we have had but I have confidence they will pick back up.

Our hot, HOT peppers died on one of the below freezing nights simply because I forgot to cover them with the frost blankets. Silly me! This meant that loads of peppers had to be harvested and processed for dehydrating! I am so thankful that the Cosori dehydrator puts off less fumes than our previous dehydrator since it was well over three pounds of peppers we had to process. We find doing this at night while everyone is sleep and while the temperatures are lower in the house is great because no one is effected by the slight odor that does result and the heat it puts off helps warm the house. Win-win! Honestly the dehydrator has been a real work horse lately. We processed a pound and a half of parsley in it over a matter of a few days taking breaks in between. It takes about 7 hours at 145 degrees to get the parsley at the desired texture.

Special Announcements!

We have tried our very best to protect our family, friends, and community by wearing our masks, social distancing, and getting vaccinated. We feel good about our efforts as a family. Thanks to having been fully vaccinated and boosted and a slight change in family dynamic we are ready to attend farmers markets again! We are not sure yet exactly what markets we will be supporting this coming season however we will keep you posted.

While we look forward to entertaining farm visits in the near future we have to slowly get back into the community so we are not there yet but when we are you will be the first to know!

Several of you have already reached out regarding our Annual Spring Plant Sale. We are so glad that you know where to go to find healthy organic plant starts! Unfortunately, this year we will not be doing an official plant sale as we have done in years past. If and when we have extra plants we will create listings for them and inform you over on our Instagram and Facebook pages. We did learn that Hawkins Homestead Farm will be doing their plant sale this year so please do check out their organic plant start offerings!

Finally, we have been reworking our website behind the scenes to build a shop instead of a listings page. This is taking some time to be sure (just learning Woo Commerce ins and outs) but we “hope” to have our new and improved shop available for you by March 1st. This will allow you to create an account and have a cart to which you can add items to rather than having to purchase one item at a time. I know that has been frustrating for many of you but we thank you for your patience as we have attempted to get ahead of the learning curve with this new software.

YouTube

We are proud to say that we are back on track with regularly uploading videos! It feels good to be back on track. This Summer we hope to have reached enough subscribers to start doing some giveaways. So please do like our videos, subscribe to our channel, and share our content with someone you think would enjoy our journey. Each time you do you support our farm as we work hard to support our community. We appreciate you! Below you will find a list of videos from January. We hope you enjoy!

It was short and sweet but now you know what is going on over at Bain Home Gardens. We will touch base with you in March!

This Weeks Listings

We have plenty of greens for you guys from mustards to collards to kale – WE GOT YOU! Take advantage of our Greens Box or or Farm Sampler baskets while we have an abundance to share!


The Goings On – March 2021

Hey there folks! We hope this blog finds you and yours well. Things have been a bit upside down for us as we caught COVID – UGH! Still there is so many positive developments!

Spring Plant Sale

Here on the farm Spring is in the air as our perennial flowers are blooming, the fruit trees are budding, and the bees are buzzing! Smells like Spring to us! It is always around this time (sometimes sooner) that Spring fever kicks in.

2021 Clean Starts

Now I know we are prone to at least one cold snap between here and April but the fever takes over and we plant away! This year we are planting more than ever because of our Spring Plant Sale. We have had some adjustments to our listings – removed somethings and added others. We are really excited to offer everything from flowers to pumpkins this year. Our tomatoes had to be restarted so there will be a slight delay on those but trust us when we say the selection is well worth the wait! However eggplant, peppers, squash, cucumbers, and leafy greens are right on track for our April 1st start date. We have decided not to create individual listings for these plants as we previously stated. Instead please contact us with the plants you want and quantity and we will send and invoice. Once invoice is paid your Clean Starts will be delivered & you will be well on your way to a tasty 2021. Pre-ordering is now open until March 31st.

Our Flower Bouquets

Flowers are quickly becoming a new love for me. At first it was purely scientific – flowers = pollinators & pollinators = food. Now, however, I am in love with Zinnia. They come in so many different colors & shapes that it is like a new flower every time you plant them. Zinnia self sows which is THE BEST! It also looks so beautiful in an arrangement all by itself or accompanied by other flowers. Having said, that we will be making our flower bouquets available to the public as soon as our cut flowers are ready. We will not be doing the subscription service with our flowers this year but next year is looking quite promising. If you are wondering about when these will be available our projections are around May 1st… tentatively.

Early Morning Flower Harvest

We know that in our area there are many choices for bouquets so we do our best to bring you the highest quality farm fresh flowers. Our flower bouquets are arranged with at least one edible portion. That may be an edible flower or an herb. They last anywhere for 5 – 10 days depending on variety. Each bouquet will come with suggested instructions for longevity. In addition, we are considering offering standard bouquets this Spring as well. These would be all Sunflower or all Zinnia. Both would be very beautiful. As far as flowers are concerned we have already planted:

  • Sunflower varieties
  • Zinnia varieties
  • Gladiolus varieties
  • Love Lies Bleeding Amaranth
  • Calendula
  • Marigolds & more!

We have Hydrangeas patiently waiting on their forever home as well as more Gladiolus. Where will we find the TIME?!

Coincidentally about half of the flowers we are growing will also be available to you in the plant sale. Don’t miss out!

What About the Produce?

Okaaaay! So – things are growing very well in the high tunnel. Peppers, eggplant, mustards, lettuce, carrots, dill, bunching onions, parsley, Choi, peas, snap beans and strawberries are have all made themselves right at home. If you are looking for kale then you will have to wait a bit longer. Our crop was decimated by aphids. We implemented some measures but it was too little too late. Kale varieties will be replanted in the field beds. On the other hand, bunching onions are up for harvest in a week or so. This is a new variety that we think will have a permanent home at BHG. Choi is nearing its harvest day & Swiss Chard is growing beautifully so look for them over on our weekly listings page next Monday (March 8th).

In the next couple of weeks we will be setting out cucumbers & squash in Hoopty and one more planting of lettuce and spinach (well we hope we can squeeze that into Hoopty before it gets too hot).

Field planting areas are on the docket have their cover crop (Crimson Clover) mowed down in preparation for Spring planting. We are a bit late but given the circumstances I think we are doing all right. This green manure will certainly be beneficial in our okra, squash, and kale beds. We are toying around with the idea of planting our corn with clover this year. The idea is that the shaded clover will drop its leaves and the leaves will breakdown and feed the soil which in turn feeds the corn. We are still researching this technique so there’s still a lot to learn. Isn’t that the fun part of this adventure though? We are so glad you have joined us!!!

For more details about what is growing on check out this video. Speaking of videos have you checked out all of our YouTube content? We are still uploading as we have time and will continue to do so. Be sure to thumbs up, subscribe, and share (specifically the Weekly Tip videos). We can learn & grow together.

Shena’s Baked Creations

Just a quick note. We are allowing another month to roll by before reopening the Baked Creations Shop. It will reopen April 12th.

Well that’s all folks. See ya’ in April!


The Goings On – January 2021

Hello 2021! If you are like us you maybe waiting to see if you are happy to welcome 2021 or not! Having said that it is our hope that this calendar year will be less stressful than the last!

2021 marks the fourth “official” year that we have been growing for the public. We have really come a long way. We have learned quite a bit and continue to add to that knowledge to ensure we are making the best use of our corner of the planet. Recently we have taken several online courses about soil health . These have been so very informative and we have some new techniques that we hope to implement in the upcoming months. Caring for the soil is something that we all can do a little bit better with. Whether you are a home gardener, conventional farmer or organic it is our responsibility as stewards of the land to care for it. Soil care is an investment of time. Benefits are often not seen right away but when they are seen they are in fact undeniably REAL! Let me get off that soap box! What’s been going on?!

Peppers Finally Slowed!

This year we dedicated more space that we ever have to peppers and eggplant. We made this space in our high tunnel (Hoopty). We planted Jamaican Scotch Bonnet, Red Hot Cherry, Serrano, Orange Habanero, Early Jalapeno and Aji Amarillo peppers along with 3 varieties of sweet peppers. WOW! We had an overwhelming success with Scotch Bonnet and Orange Habanero peppers. These have certainly earned a permanent home on our farm. They took a while to begin to fruit (June) but once they got started they totally killed it! They love the heat of Summer which makes sense considering their natural tropical environment. We have harvested around 15lbs of Scotch Bonnet Peppers from only a few plants! We have made jerk sauce, hot sauce, pepper jelly and all kinds of other creations. We recently launched Terry Spice Shop page and are adding new creations monthly. Today we are releasing the Mango Jamaican Jerk Sauce & Orange Jamaican Jerk Sauce! These were a long time coming since some of the authentic spices needed were a little hard to locate but we found them! You can find them over on Terry’s Spice Shop page. With the last cold snap the peppers finally slowed down. Maybe we can catch up with them now!

Fall Planting & Winter Trials

We have almost completely planted Hoopty up! Every row except two are currently growing home grown goodness! We have planted peas, kale, chard, mustards and carrots in the last few weeks. Left to plant is are successional planted items like lettuce, arugula, salad turnips and radishes. It will get done as we find the time and energy to do so. In addition to that we have also planted beans – THAT’S RIGHT BEANS! You may have seen our Weekly Check-In video were we showed the row of water bottles. We used them to create mini green houses over the individual seeds to give them a nice warm environment to germinate in. We still cover these when temperatures are below 40 degrees. We have planted these for a couple of reasons. For one we wanted to add some nitrogen back to the soil and this is a nice way to do that. If we allow the beans to fruit it will drastically reduce the amount of nitrogen to be released back into the soil. We are not quite sure what we will do but it will be largely determined by how well they fair in the hoop house. The second reason we planted beans is we love fresh beans! We hate being limited to one season for them so this is a nice trial to see if it is reasonable to grow them in the Winter. Stay tuned!

Farm Sampler Basket

As promised, our Farm Sampler Basket in now available! Your farm basket can be customized or we can build it for you.  To customize just purchase and contact us to let us know what you want in your basket. You get 6 produce items from what is currently growing on our farm. Check the flyer below for details!

Our YouTube Channel Is Going Live!

At 4 p.m. today the Bain Home Gardens YouTube channel goes live. If you have been following our journey then some of this content may be familiar as some has been posted on our Instagram and Facebook pages. You can expect videos from our From Our Garden to Your Table, Weekly Tip, Weekly Check-In and Our Garden Adventures series. We also have created a silly little family show we call Bain-boozled and it will be exclusively available on the channel. We encourage you to subscribe! However this is our disclaimer: THIS IS OUR JOURNEY & WE ARE LEARNING AS WE GROW!  We make mistakes, we have failures and  we certainly get tongue tied! Too many times we see farming being painted a perfect craft – IT JUST ISN’T! Bloopers are the theme of the day nearly everyday at BHG and we are okay with that! We just love having fun being happy doing what we love! We are also sharpening our skills when in comes to video editing & production as well so if you notice issues – we apologize ahead of time. Though we are growing in our skill and understanding we still thought it would be exciting to bring others along. You will most certainly get a laugh or two! It is our hope also that you may learn something too from our successes and our failures.

Flowers by BHG

Flowers benefit any farm and garden simply because they draw pollinators. Though I am allergic to many of them, pollinators are the life of any farm. So flowers are a dual fold purpose in both beauty and functionality. We told you that we are working hard to determine if we are going to provide a flower subscription service for 2021. We are currently working on planting and cultivating new areas on the farm for even more planting and we are exploring more seed variations. We will have a final decision for you in our February Goings On blog post. Even if we do not open the subscription service you will still be able to buy our bouquets as they are available on our listings page.

We have really enjoyed growing new varieties over the last few years and more of the old stand by varieties. Our bouquets are unique because we add at least one edible item to your arrangement, usually an herb but it could be an edible flower. Our Farm Fresh Bouquet arrangements are also picked the day of delivery and most will last a 7 day minimum. They include anything from gladiolus, sunflowers, zinnia and cosmos to name a few. We will be expanding our selection in 2021. If you would you be interested in a flowers subscription please let us know!

Well “that’s all folks!”! Check back with us next month for more goings on at Bain Home Gardens!

Next Month’s Blog Post…

  • How much space will we allow for potatoes for 2021?
  • We are building hinged covers for our raised beds!
  • Will there be a Flowers by BHG subscription for 2021?
  • What plants will be available for the Spring 2021 Plant Sale and can I pre-order?


Veggie-ghetti

Have you ever had so many vegetables you just do not have any idea of what to do with them? This is an issue many home gardeners will run into several times during peak harvest season. It is also an issue we were facing over the weekend. If you want to see how we turned a mess of veggies into a tasty vegetarian meal then keep reading! If you wanna get straight to the recipe, we understand that too!

This past Sunday it became abundantly clear that there was a need to have a veggie chop and freeze day. Baskets of produce on the counters and in both refrigerators spoke the same exact story. Things have been so busy as we have done final preparations for the Fall CSA that we hadn’t been able to work it in weekly as normal. So I got the youngsters to wash up all the produce and set up the chopping station. Ironically it was also time to prepare dinner. As I chopped hubby observed to see what he could use to add to our meal for the evening. I readily offered the three eggplants that I had chopped up. If you could have seen hubbies face as he said, “No. I don’t want those. It takes too much to get them to taste good.” Yep, he said that! See, unlike me, he doesn’t like the natural flavor eggplant offers. That is ok, many of us feel that way about various veggies. So he quickly grabbed up some Italian Roasting peppers and stuffed them while I continued to chop. Four quarts of okra later I was finally left with the remaining peppers, eggplant and long beans. I decided to do a stir fry mix. One contained eggplant, beans and peppers and the other contained eggplant and peppers only. I diced the eggplants into fairly small pieces. I wasn’t sure when I would use these mixes so I froze these as well.

The next day marked vegetarian week for me. So as I mediated on what to prepare to please me and my carnivorous family members I thought back to the eggplant stir fry mix and had an idea! I began to prepare the following. It was totally made up as I went however I’m sure that someone somewhere has done something similar before. So let’s get cooking shall we?

The Ingredients

  • Eggplant
  • Bell Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Fresh Basil
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Spaghetti Noodles

The Prep

You will need to chop your veggies into a suitable size. Although I had no idea that we would be using these veggies for this meal when they where initially chopped, it just so happened that the size mimicked pieces of ground meat. So if you are going for a fake out then be sure to consider chopping small. If you are going for more of a ratatouille vibe then chunky is good.

Tip: Before you start chopping go ahead and fill your large stock pot with water for your noodles and put it on and medium high. Add salt if you prefer.

Let’s Cook!

This is so easy peasy that you really do not need the instructions but since this is after all a recipe we thought we better.

  • Add two tablespoons of olive oil to your pan and bring to a medium heat. Add all of your produce at the same time except the basil. Fry for 10 – 15 minutes while stirring frequently
  • Add seasonings (always to taste)
  • Add fresh basil
  • Add tomato sauce and allow to simmer on low for 10 minutes. Within this time add your pasta to your water which should be at a nice boil.
  • Add sauce to noodles & enjoy!

Click the photo for a short video of our preparation!

While eating dinner I asked hubby what he thought of the spaghetti. “It’s real good.” he mumbled between bites. I, feeling quite surprised and impressed with myself, had to tell him, “It’s those 3 eggplants you didn’t want to eat yesterday.” To which he laughed saying, “Touché, touché.” Mission accomplished!

Are you going to experiment with our Veggie-ghetti recipe? If so we would love to see your creation. Share your photos in the community section of our Facebook page or tag us in your Instagram post – #bainhomegardens. From our family to yours!


How Can a CSA Help Me?

After the holiday season most of us make resolutions to eat better and to exercise. “This year will be the year!” we convince ourselves. Week one and two are usually gravy (pun intended). However, if you are among the few that make it to weeks three and four then you already know how this short story ends. Now I’m not saying that all are unsuccessful but let’s be honest people – most are!

I am no health guru by any means but in the last year I have lost more weight and kept it off not by dieting by making lifestyle adjustments just as in my “Journey to a Healthier Me” series. Growing food is not light work by any means. Working outside growing the vegetables, having fresh vegetables on hand, learning how to cook them in tasty and creative ways, and having the understanding support of my friends, has been life changing for not just me but the entire family. Our children, particularly our daughter, loves eating foods raw right from the ground. It really is our new normal. The family is now overly critical of any store brought vegetables all because they now understand how it is “supposed” to taste!

The Bain & Hawkins Family are the first shareholders of Kith and Kin CSA. We both got into growing food because we wanted to feed our families clean, wholesome food. So when Kith and Kin CSA is in season we harvest for our families as too! As a side effect, our quality of life has improved. Kith & Kin can be just as beneficial for you and your family! How?

Having fresh vegetables on hand is really a huge step in the healthy direction! As a fast paced society, we generally eat what we have on hand. Old habits die hard! If our cabinet and/or fridge has junk foods then that is what we will go for. You know I’m speaking TRUTH! Let’s say it is a Thursday evening after work. Are you inclined to go to the grocery store, fight the 5 o’clock rush and buy some fresh veggies for dinner (and cook them), would you make due with what you have, or pull through a drive thru and get the family meal? Obviously none of these choices are wrong. We do what we can to provide for our families! Having said that, why not make it easier? When we harvest our baskets, we prefer prep by cleaning the produce and storing it in the fridge. So when the above mentioned situation comes around we can prepare a hearty home cooked meal fairly quickly!

Learning how to cook fresh vegetables may seem like a “duh” sentence but is it really? Did you know that a fresh cut head of broccoli may require more cooking time that one that is frozen? If you cook it longer then how do you preserve the nutrients? What if you are making a stir fry? When using fresh vegetables you are in control. No cooking or prep has been done at all. To some that maybe somewhat overwhelming but to us we like knowing that we are in control of our food and as a direct result our health! The salt content, tenderness, and nutritional value – all in your hands!

Rachel, I and our families have been homesteading for some years now. The mistakes we have made do not have to be yours! When we prepare our meals we are always thinking about our members so we take photos and I personally take notes (because my memory is unreliable) so as to be able to share our successes with you in the form of recipes and tutorials. Even in the off season as we are working with the fresh picked produce, we are creating recipes to share with shareholders in Spring or Fall.

Having the understanding support of friends is INVALUABLE! There is a support group for nearly everything! This is rightly so. A support group is defined as (according to the google search engine) “a group of people with common experiences or concerns who provide each other with encouragement, comfort, and advice.” I personally called up my mom when I was making a new recipe or one she had taught me and I’ve forgotten a step or two. When we shifted to trying to eat healthier I found that I needed to adjust ingredients here and there but I didn’t always know how to do so without ruining the recipe. I failed many times. I learned from those fails and I am happy to share that knowledge with our CSA members via our private Facebook group. I have only my knowledge to share however in our Facebook community of friends, in our private group, there are many who are vegans, vegetarians or even ova-pescatarians. There are some who eat exclusively organics and ones who mix it up. All that experience is there for all of us to tap into. Let’s face it, not everyone understands the journey of eating, no, living healthier. So having the encouragement & support of a group that does, is priceless!

So yes, a CSA can be beneficial for you and your family too. The above areas are just a few of the many ways Kith and Kin can benefit you. If you think about the unique needs of your family, we are sure you will come up with a whole host of other ways Kith and Kin can improve your lives. So rather than being among the thousands that go on fad diets and secure gym memberships that will only occasionally be used – CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

Kith and Kin offers two options for you. A half share feeds a family of two (2 adults). Each week you will receive 5 to 6 items. A full share feeds a family of four (2 adults and 2 children). Each week you will receive 6 to 8 items. Our feature image above is from week eight of the full share. Among the goodies were Thai Eggplant and Fennel which are not commonly found at farmers markets in the area. Our members did not have to fret about how to prepare because we already shared recipes earlier in the season!

If this seems like something you want to be a part of then we invite you to join us before December 31st when our early bird special concludes. Early bird members get a free jam or jelly as a nice sign up bonus! If this does not seem like something you want to be a part of, that is just fine. We understand that this is not for everyone. We will continue to offer our fresh produce at farmers markets and online via our online shop. However, our shareholders come first and will always be given priority when it comes to what we have growing during our Spring and Fall seasons. Our expansions do allow both Bain Home Gardens and Hawkins Homestead Farm to offer more than we ever have so stay tuned as we bring quality produce – from our family to yours!


2018 Fall Re-Garden

Well sometimes you get a clean slate in the garden such as the start of Spring when the ground is warming and you finally have the chance to scratch that itch you’ve had for all of 2 months (here in our area, planting is basically a year round thing)! Sigh. It has been my goal to not be too negative about crops lost to hurricane Michael. In fact I’ve attempted to get this blog done for nearly two weeks! The reality is that what we lost pales in comparison to the thousands who are still without power and many others without homes. Also on the agriculture front here in the South there were millions of dollars of Cotton crops lost. I never paid too much attention to local agriculture prior to becoming a homesteader. The truth of the matter is that on the small scale of which we operate, it is easier to recuperate than if we were larger. For that, I am thankful. So how do you get over losses of crops? Here is what we did:

  • Inventory: This was perhaps the most depressing part of the process. Just walking through and seeing things wilted, leaning, dying – so NOT cool! This however is a very necessary step. During this particular time of the year we still had some summer vegetables that were still productive. These were not included on our list since they were already at the end of their life cycle.  What we did include were plantings relevant to the Fall growing season.  In our case this meant that our Swiss Chard, Peas, Scarlet Kale, among others, needed to be added to this list.
  • Organize:  This step is all about the numbers.  Now its time to see if you can get the lost crops replanted and to a suitable size before your fist frost date. Get your seed organizer out and read the backs of those packetsFortunately for us, since most of our crops are ready for harvest in about 50 days, we had time to replant. Here is an area you can prioritize if you are running short on time. We were still cleaning at this point and as areas became clear we replanted. If this happens to be your case then prioritize planting in these are by 2 criteria:
    • What you need – Plant things you absolutely need for your family, your farmers market, or wherever you are sourcing your produce. This could be your cash crop or even a member of the dirty dozen that you never buy commercially.
    • Seed to Harvest time – Plant those crops that have a lengthier harvest time  right away! Even if your dates for first frost and harvest date overlap it is OK, especially in the Fall crops. For us these included our root crops – Carrots and Rutabagas.
  • Plant: Put all your research and planning to action! Get those seeds in the ground with the confidence that you did your best, despite the challenges, to have a successful crop!

Down Sunflower

Sunflower Down!

When I am down, I turn to my soil, my garden beds, and plots for solace.  When they are down I just feel awful! I’m sure you agree. So for a change, let’s help our gardens to regrow & rejuvenate. That is what our 2018 Fall Re-Garden is all about! Follow our journey on our Facebook & Instagram .


The Goings On – January 2023

The grass plays patchwork on the farm this time of year. There are no flowers to share their glorious garments. The trees leaves reside on the ground where it seems wind and gravity have so purposefully placed them. Their branches, naked stand in expectation of what is to come in a matter of weeks. We learn a multitude of lessons from nature. What we learn from the trees is patience. Wait. It all comes back around in due time. The sky, every changing, however, manages to capture so much beauty all at once. With all it hues of blue, orange, pink, and purple, it has observed many highs and lows at our corner of the universe over the last month.

Artic Blast

We were absolutely exhilarated to see freezing temperatures on the forecast in December. If you are following our journey then you are aware of the constant struggle we have with certain pests. Aphids in particular have become the reoccurring nightmare that tortures us year after year. This Winter, thanks to the Artic blast that brought consistent freezing and below temperatures for days at a time, we received respite, however brief. When temperatures began to rise we noted a heavy presence of ladybugs in the high tunnel, all over the farm in fact! These little creatures waged the next battle in our war of pushing back the aphid population. They are quite adept at their job and have very healthy appetites. We are more than grateful for the assistance.

In September we took on the challenge of growing our own onion starts from seed. It was less of a challenge really and more of a test of our patience. While we waited for most our own starts to reach appropriate planting size, (some varieties grew notably faster than others) we ordered from our usual suppliers. These were already planted in various beds throughout the farm and in the high tunnel when the Winter storm hit our town. We lost 90% of those purchased starts and about 20% of what we grew from seed. This even after we took the time to cover beds with frost protection. It was just far too cold. The frigid temperatures along with high winds secured their fate. This was a blow to our yearly harvest plan. Onions sold well at the Farmers Market last year so we hoped to have enough for this season for returning customers, enough for our family to make use of, and even more to dehydrate and use in our spice blends. Rolling with the punches we simply replanted some of the areas that experienced losses with our own starts as they are all good sized now. They have been replanted in the Olle raised bed on which we plan to install hoops for a more secure protection should our temperatures drop & remain below freezing again this Winter.

In the high tunnel things were not as severe however there were losses. Our Snow peas took the biggest hit. They had only about 2 more weeks or so of heavy production before they would have tapered off. Still, we wanted those harvests to stock the freezer with these delicious legumes. It is what it is. Soon we will be enjoying the fruit of our last succession planting of snow peas since they managed to survive the freeze. How? Well the first couple of days of the storm the wind was high. We were not aware until too late that in one area of the high tunnel the plastic was ripped from the rail & wiggle wire. The space was only about 2 feet or so. Through those 2 feet concentrated, wintry air flowed freely down the right side of the high tunnel killing most of the producing peas. Also on the right side was dill that also took a hit. Thankfully, with some time, much of the dill has recovered along with the fennel which happened to be on the left side. The fennel is greening back up beautifully however the bulbs may be stunted. Time will tell. Celery – Chinese Pink & White – had some damage. The rabbits readily accepted those damaged leaves. After some fertilizing with fish emulsion, it also bounced back, put on new growth and much of it is being harvested as needed for customers and for our own personal use.

Our citrus fruit trees that we were storing in the high tunnel certainly did not approve of the cold, specifically the grapefruit tree. She lost all of her leaves however she is putting on new ones. The tangerine tree responded a tad bit better. Pear trees of course are very cold hardy and have since found their forever home on the farm.

Cauliflower, broccoli, and collards planted in the raised beds died. The collards likely because they had been transplanted just a couple of weeks before and had not been established enough to endure. All of these will be restarted from seed this month and planted in February for a Spring harvest.

Mustard greens seemed absolutely unphased by the cold. The existing mustards along with the succession planted younger plants are doing very well. Green mustards are available on the shop page. Mizuna mustard in the high tunnel took off after the freeze. We think it is because the pests that were feeding on it died giving it every opportunity to do what it does best. You can find it now on our shop page.

We were very happy with how well the chickens and rabbits faired throughout the subzero temps. Our Olive Eggers and Easter Eggers both began laying this month. Out of 22 hens all except perhaps one (our rescued Barred Rock who we believe to be too old to lay) are of laying age. With it being Winter of course production is lower. Our new layers are eager to lay so we are getting 8-10 eggs a day. This allows us to have enough for us each week and a couple dozen to share with our friends & subscribers. Considering what is going on in the grocery stores right now, this make us very happy. We will come back to that.

Our Giant Chinchilla buck, Sonny, seems to think I control the weather. During the freezing temps he was very unhappy with me that week, even refusing pets and bunny boops that he usually embraces. Oh how I do wish I had control over the weather! Then again, it maybe best to leave such things out of human control. He has been mated to Cher (Giant Chinchilla) and Sweet Pea (Lionhead/Angora). We hope to have kits in February. It is rather exciting and nerver wrecking to be entering this new arena. We have already experienced some losses which is very sad but that does come with the territory.

From Our Garden To Yours

When we began gardening with just our family in mind, we spent a lot of money on fertilizer. Organic this, organic that… the wallet was broken! While we are not allowed to use it directly on our garden areas due to our CNG certification, you should feel free to. It is not a hot manure and adds valuable nutrients to the garden. With an NPK of 2.4-1.4-.6. it is easy to use and will not burn your crops. If you are looking to grow a Spring garden, now is a good time to work it into the soil. Our rabbit manure is now available for shipping. For local delivery we are offering our rabbit manure tea which we aptly call Bunny Brew by BHG. It is sold by the gallon. It is great for use on your plants as they are in the growth stage however we do not suggest using on leafy greens for contamination issues or any plant that is flowering.

Let us not forget to share with you our eggshells are also available for use in your gardens as well! The average egg shell contains about 0.3% phosphorus and 0.3% magnesium. Although they only have a small amount of sodium, potassium, zinc, manganese, iron and copper it is the high calcium content that makes them so valuable. If you experienced any blossom end rot last season, sprinkle these in your garden beds right away as they do take a while to decompose. We have sped the process up some by decreasing the surface area by pulsing these into fine pieces. If you need immediate assistance you may consider using them to create a tea. We will show you how to do this over on our YouTube channel in the next month. If you have not already, please subscribe to our channel.

Moving Forward

In planning for the new season there is so much we want to do that we are bubbling over with excitement! One thing that is exciting is our Flowers by BHG subscription for Spring 2023. We anticipate many colors and varieties for the upcoming season. We have already planted many bulbing perennial flowers as well as some annuals. Tentatively, the Spring session will run from April 3rd – May 1st. These dates are subject to change depending on weather conditions. Since we are starting early Spring, many of our flowers are being started now and will be grown in Hoopty. Weekly we are starting many seeds to create beautiful arrangements for your homes and businesses. In addition to flowers our arrangements include edible herbs. These are very aromatic and give you the added benefit of use at your leisure. We hope that you will consider signing up for this exciting, educational subscription!

We had to take an extensive break from our MICROgreens by BHG after catching COVID. Thanks to our extremely understanding subscribers we were able to recuperate without the burden of worrying about deliveries. We are happy to announce we are opening up subscriptions again for Spring 2023. Dates for the Spring session will run from April 3rd – May 15th. We love how versatile the microgreen is. All in our family love them. Just the other day our daughter was rummaging the refrigerator looking for some for a wrap. It is a nice way to add a refreshing crisp to sandwiches and wraps.

Eggs are a huge commodity now days. With the avian flu taking out so many bird, prices of eggs are on the rise. As a result many have reached out to us looking to pay cheaper prices. We do need to take a moment and address this. Before the avian flu our large 12 count eggs was already $6. Our entire farm is certified naturally grown. This means everything we grow and everything our chickens eat is certified organic. At this point in life they eat better than us! From the feed to the garden scraps that they receive… everything is organic! Traditional feed prices have been on the rise for a while so imagine what has happened with organic feed prices! For this reason our eggs may seem higher in cost however this does not even begin to cover the cost of feed. It does provide some funds to put back into the feed bill making our chicken operation more sustainable. For now, that is the best we can hope for. We hope that things improve soon with the egg market. We also hope that you understand a little better why our prices are what they are. Although we didn’t go into great detail about wood prices, fencing, and other things that have also been subject to inflation, we think you get the idea.

Prices are all over the place. Up and up (seldomly down)! How would you like to secure your egg prices for six weeks? Well we are happy to announce Eggs by BHG our new egg subscription! Enjoy six weeks of eggs delivered to your doorstep! We are so excited but also very nervous to help our community in this way. We go to great lengths to keep our chickens healthy and happy so they continuously offer us beautiful golden yolks. Since we and our birds are new to this we are starting very small allotment with hope to expand later. You may wonder what is the benefit of the subscription verses buying eggs as needed. One outstanding benefit is that our subscribers get 14 eggs per week instead of 12. That is 2 free eggs each week. If you do the math that is one free dozen of eggs! Our farm is all about spreading knowledge. This subscription also locks you into weekly emails teaching you a bit about your beautiful yolks and how we care for our flocks organically. If this is something you have any interest in, we advise you to secure your subscription right away! In keeping everything as streamline as possible, dates will be April 3rd – May 8th, running alongside microgreen and flower subscriptions. There is a possibility we will do a Fall subscription but that will depend largely on how the hens are doing and how Spring goes. Check out our complete terms and conditions here.

We know we have just thrown a lot of new listings your way but we are not finished yet! If you have interest in flowers, microgreens, and eggs then we would like to offer you our BHG 3-6-5 subscription. It is a bundle of all three subscriptions we currently offer. This subscription saves you $15!

Well, friends, that is all for now. Thank you for you loyal support. Sending well wishes – from our family to yours!


Eggs by BHG

What a joy it brings us to offer this 6 week subscription service from our family to yours! Our hens are the only ones laying Certified Naturally Grown eggs in the state of Alabama! We proudly offer this homegrown goodness to you and yours!

Below you will find what to expect from us and what we expect from you should your sign up. Please read carefully prior to purchasing as purchasing is an agreement to the terms below. Contact us with any questions.

  • Subscription cost is $65.00 for 6 weeks and is non-refundable.
  • Subscription the Spring session will run from April 3rd – May 8th. Dates are subject to adjustment should our hens have an unexpected molt.
  • Due to Alabama Egg Shell Law eggs will arrive washed.
  • You will get 14 large eggs per week. Eggs in this subscription are large which means they weigh about 2 ounces per egg, 28 ounces per package. Colors may include blue, brown, green, pink, and/or white. Please leave a a cooler out the night before to receive these beautiful butt nuggets. If a cooler is not left out your eggs will be left on front porch or other specified location. Please ensure your delivery is taken in promptly as we are not responsible AFTER delivery is made.
  • If you are planning to be out of town on a delivery date we ask that you please give us a 7 day notice so that adjustments can be made. We will ensure that your skipped week (s) is added on at the end of the session. If we are not informed and your eggs are delivered with no one to receive them we are not responsible. That week’s eggs will be forfeited. If a change is unexpected or last minute just inform us as soon as possible.
  • If you have cold or flu symptoms please let us know. We will make your delivery for that week in disposable cartons instead. The following week we will get back on rotation with your reusable carton. Please dispose of disposable carton.
  • Each subscription comes with two complimentary plastic egg cartons that will be labeled for each customer. One we will use weekly to deliver your eggs, the other you will return each week to get your next weeks allotment. This cycle will be done weekly, excluding week one. To be returned at the end of the session.
  • Delivery is included within the Dothan City Limits. If you are not local we would love to be able to accommodate your needs. Please contact us to arrange a convenient drop location prior to purchase.
  • If purchasing as a gift please ensure that the recipients address is within the Dothan City Limits and is informed of these terms and conditions. Please provide recipients contact information including email.
  • Subscribing locks you into our email list. There you will receive notification of delivery, updates to the schedule, and other important news and updates. Please be sure to check your spam folder and add us to your contacts list.
  • Occasionally we may need to reach you by phone. Since we are aware that many of you are working during the day we will do this by text message. Please let us know if you DO NOT TEXT.

If you are ready to join, we advise yo do so as soon as you can. Subscribe here!


The Goings On – December 2022

December has arrived with all of her unpredictable glory. Weather, traffic, growth – no one knows exactly how either will flow. Will it rain? Will it snow? Shall I dawn a hoodie or tank? All that is certain is what has already transpired.

We Planted

We tenderly cared for our Clean Start seedlings yet sadly there were not enough hours on the clock nor energy in our bodies to plant them all before signs of stress began to show. Purple leaves on our brassicas, a sure sign of nutrient uptake issues, whether it be phosphorus or magnesium, were proof we had fallen severely behind. The sooner we could find a forever home for our fledgling plants the sooner they could revive. That was the hope.

We etched out rows in our high tunnel. Each was prepared by adding soil and amending it according to the plants being installed.  On row three we have planted our succession planting of Snow Peas. Planting monthly on the 14th has worked far better than we hoped. This planting included field and high tunnel locations. Currently, our first planting in the high tunnel is at its peak production. Yielding numerous large yet tender, sweet & stringless pods daily. We hope to join forces with our friends & fellow homesteaders to get a few pounds freeze-dried before production slows. Our last succession planting of Snow Peas is February 14th. Only two more sowings.

Succession sowing was the theme of our November planting as we sowed, cauliflower, onions, celery, mustards, collards, and cabbage one progression after the other. The next planting becomes even more hopeful than the foregoing.

On rows four, five, and six uniquely beautiful Chinese Pink Celery & Chinese White Celery have been established with green onions as their companion. In addition to standing guard in protection of the celery, onions have the weighty responsibility of protecting the cauliflower as well. They are doing well against common pests we face in our region. All except the horrific aphid. That nightmare will be revisited shortly.

Green & Red Mustards have been succession sown too. The rapid manner in which these mustard seedlings break the ground is indicative of the growth they will maintain. In just two months our hands will have the pleasure of reaping the benefits of the labor of love that went into augmenting these plants.

Cabbages have been a source of contention personally as I have failed to find success over the last two years with them. This just as I discovered fermenting as an ideal way to preserve them. One may say that is irony at its finest. I am hard-pressed to disagree. However, my tenacity will not allow me to wave the white flag just yet. Ergo, we have set out many cabbage plants in the high tunnel and raised beds. They are putting on new, green leaves free of deficiency as the purple ones fall off. There is a great opportunity for abundance here. Only time will tell.

There are three double rows in total left to be planted in the high tunnel. Whether we allow those to continue to rest or not remains to be seen. Potentially we could add more lettuce, arugula, and/or carrots. There is also the option to try our hands again at more challenging crops for us like Radicchio, Shiso, and/or Endive. Lastly, all three rows could be sowed with spinach, as it takes quite a bit of space to plant enough for our family to utilize AND share with the community. Considering our spinach in the raised beds acquired tip burn with the last frost, this is the most likely option.

We Protected

Each year we become more and more impressed with the resilience that abounds in nature. Working closely with it to grow our food had taught us more than any book ever could.

Resilience, however, in the ownership of some will prove to be problematic for others. Take the aphid. Able to reproduce sexually and asexually depending on the season this pest had become the bane of our existence. Possibly among the insect world’s fastest reproducers, once you see them, it’s beyond challenging, if not impossible to eliminate them altogether. This is where we find ourselves for the third year.

We are not in a position to give up our produce to them. Trust us, if we could we would simply because this feels like an impossible war with odds stacked high against us. How interesting that the superior being falls to the mercy such a tint creature. Instinctively wise because the Creator made it thst way, I cannot be too angry.

The aphid finds safety in numbers. Thus, the most that one can hope to do is to decrease those numbers to a population that will result in the least damage to crops.

After alternating treatments with high-pressure water spraying, DE, & soapy spray barely reduced the aphid inhabitants we realized the need to pivot. We spoke with our friend and entomologist Dr. A. We thought that perhaps some beneficial predatory insects would be an excellent next step. However, the temperatures are prohibitive this time of year. Back to the drawing board. Dr. A suggested we try pyrethrins which we had on hand but hadn’t used because we thought it made the population worse (that is according to a previous conversation we had with Dr. A). Turns out we had it all wrong! Whiteflies tend to become worse with pyrethrins, not aphids. With this clarification, we took to the high tunnel like cowboys at showdown at high noon! Two treatments later and the population has decreased notably. Relief at last!

This will be done regularly as a part of our pest management routine to protect our crops as many are aphid magnets.

We Plan

In just a few short weeks we will begin planting seeds for next Summer’s harvest. This may seem far too early to some but peppers and eggplant tend to grow slower than one would like. We have found that starting these in January increases our chances of being first to market with valuable produce. It is, admittedly, a challenge keeping the plants happy and healthy until late March when we will set them out. We have learned various techniques that increase the likelihood of that happening from trial and error.

Since January is merely two weeks away, we have already begun to map out where the Spring crops will be sown and set out. This time of year you will often find me sitting in Hoopty with my phone and tablet reviewing notes and counting rows. This is my process. It works. It results in a plan that will very likely evolve as one season ends and another begins. As draw the garden in my mind I arrange crops based on what was in location last season & the temperature zone of the row. I ask myself, “Can this be grown in a raised bed instead to save valuable space in Hoopty? What pests attacked this crop last season? Are those pests better or worse in the high tunnel?” I never trust my mind to remember these things so out comes the garden journal. It holds the answers my mind seeks. These records are our data for our corner of the earth and as such, these pages are priceless.

We recently were blessed with several fruit trees that require a home. For now, they have taken up residence in Hoopty. Finding a forever home for them has proven arduous to say the least. Our orchard area is at capacity so we are forced to explore other options for planting. Among the trees are tangerine, pear, and grapefruit. Pear trees have long been desired for the farm. We love eating them fresh and making pies and preserves. We have an existing grapefruit tree that has gone into dormancy, come out, and been moved to a more ideal location. It’s had quite the journey. We hope to have all these planted this month as January tends to be on the colder side in our zone.

New Projects

We have jumped into the arena of making our own Kombucha. Since we’ve begun we have experimented with several flavors. One of our most recent is mulberry ginger. It just went into the refrigerator this morning and will be strained and bottled this evening. The prospect of using our freshly harvested fruit to flavor our home-brewed Kombucha is absolutely thrilling! For now, we are using frozen fruit from the store, dehydrated fruit and herbs from our pantry, and some freeze-dried fruits gifted to us by friends.

We have also begun breeding our rabbits. Our first experience was a little sad, however, expected as our doe was inexperienced. We bred our Lionhead Angora (Sweet Pea) to our Dwarf Angora (Domino). She had a total of 4 all of which died over two days. We recorded some footage for the channel. We have yet determined if we will share it. We also bred our Giant Chinchilla pair. We were certain that Cher was pregnant however she was not. Both does will be bred again in January. The purpose of breeding is to open up a source of income for the farm. Our rabbits contribute their manure for compost, they are companions, and if we are successful in breeding, selling the kits will supplement feed costs for rabbits and chickens.

Obviously, we have been very busy planting, protecting, and planning. There is much more that transpired over the last month. For instance we harvested our Kiwano Jelly Melons before our first frost. Our Chinese White Celery is at the beginning of its harvest period. Since we planted it in succession, it along with the Chinese Pink Celery will be maturing slowly over the next few months. As far as harvests go there is also kale and green onions. So many beautiful vegetables we have been blessed to grow over the years but harvest continues to feel new. This is a life we never knew we needed so much. While our hands seldom rest, you are hard-pressed to find happier ones. I think the ancient Bible writer King Solomon said it best at Ecclesiastes 3:13, ” everyone should eat and drink and find enjoyment for all his hard work. It is the gift of God.”


Fall Plant Sale 2022

Fall is has arrived with all its windy glory. Shades of orange, brown, and red cover most of the once green landscape. Some days it is believable that the current season is Fall, however, others, like today, not so much. Temperatures climbed to the mid-eighties today. Certainly Spring was a more believable season today. It was an ideal day for garden work. If you have prepped an early Fall gardening space then you are likely harvesting select varieties of your bounty already. We admire your diligence and effort. You inspire us! May you and your family enjoy the fruits of your labor!

If you, despite your best efforts, are just getting your Fall garden ready then you are not alone! We too struggled more than we ever have lining up all of our ducks! The goal? To get started early enough to be harvesting now. As you have followed our social media outlets, you know this is not the case for Bain Home Gardens this year! What is that famous saying, “Better late than never!” For us, much Fall planting is just beginning. Although we have more time on our clock due to living in the Southernmost part of Alabama, time was still running out!

In an effort to ensure that this, our last shot at planting before the first freeze, we OVER PLANTED! This purposeful and decisive action worked just as we expected! Plants are growing in ground, in raised beds, and in starter trays! We have an abundance to be sure. We would like to extend our abundance to your gardens this Fall. We had hoped to offer our Clean Starts plants earlier this Fall however issue after issue took out our plant babies. It was very disappointing. Now, however, we do have beautiful , healthy plants looking for their forever home. Our Clean Starts plants are given the same love as everything else we put our hands to. As we continue to plant we may add more plant varieties to the shop depending on space needs. For now we have the following:

  • Purple Caulioflower
  • Yellow Onion
  • Red Giant Mustard
  • Collard Green Mix
  • Chinese White Celery

We will possibly be adding cabbage, kale, and chard in the upcoming weeks. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions! Happy growing – from our family to yours!


The Goings On – November 2022

As the leaves change hues, the wind wakes from her Summer slumber blowing them to the ground. There they find their purpose. Their fall gives life to innumerable microorganisms and insects over the next few months. This is what we’ve witnessed over the last 31 days. Although they have been unbelievably chaotic, this is the way of the farmer.

Planting

Immersing my hands wrist deep in the very elements I am created from brings me a unique tranquility. As I prepare each furrow to receive seed, my mouth naturally forms a smile as I think of my Creator using this soil to craft the first man. The life-giving gift of soil, the blessing to grow – He wanted me to understand the gratification. I do.

October was an exhaustive month of planting. On this, the tenth month, we planted Collards, Kale, Carrots, Fennel, Mizuna, and Lettuce, to name a few. Of these, we are the most eager to harvest Carrots & Kale. These are the choice vegetables of our family. We appreciate their versatility. Carrots may be eaten fresh or cooked, may be shredded into fresh a salad, or baked into an appetizing dessert. Kale is much to the same tune.

Garlic found its place just yesterday. As the many moons circle our great blue ball floating in space, these cloves will secretly spawn something amazing, aromatic, and flavorful just beneath the surface. In just eight moons all secrets will be exposed.

It is a rewarding feeling to attain our planting goals. We take the victory with hands held high and humbled hearts. But rest not, there’s more yet.

Mating Season

Life begets life. That is a fact we have come to appreciate as growers. Expanding our growing knowledge and skill past plants to our farm animals has been enlightening! As our chicken flock has grown, there is a sense of pride as we observe paternal and maternal traits rise to the surface. I think, “I know who your mama is!”

Now we are expanding that love and care into our rabbits. Our rabbits are our babies and they are truly a part of our farm family. We obtained them to eventually breed although in the meantime we have appreciated the donations they readily make to our compost. We have mated our Giant Chinchillas (Sonny & Cher) to each other and our Dwarf Angora to our Lionhead/Angora mix (Domino & Sweet Pea). All signs point to kindling in our near future. In fact, by the time our next blog post is done (December), we should have welcomed the kits into the world. A few of them will be available for forever home placement if things go as planned. We will make an announcement on our social media platforms at said time.

Harvesting

Roselle continues to grace us with bountiful calyces the brightest of scarlet and leaves from fern to emerald. Although harvesting is an arduous task it is well worth the effort. This month the flowers will finally halt blooming and harvest will come to a climactic end giving us further reason to look forward to Spring when we will embrace this bounteous flower yet again.

Arugula & mustards are among the leafy greens the ground has chosen to offer us. Both are peppery, both delicious & dual-purpose. As we harvest it is a reminder to replant. Succession planting ensures there are no gaps in harvesting. Schedules are challenging to adhere to however the benefits, the benefits sustain the farm and this family’s grocery budget.

As November’s 30 days come to pass, we shall have the joy of harvests from our flat-leaf kale varieties, Dill, Red Giant Mustards, radishes, and Snow Peas. Fall potatoes will also be lifted from the earth. We desire to see results far surpassing the meager Summer harvest. Undoubtedly, we will make use of whatever we gain. Whether it be enough for one meal or one serving the fact remains that we laid our hand to do the work of planning, planting, and cultivating. We now have something that we did not have before. For that, we will show ourselves thankful to our Provider.

A Gentle Push or a Shove

This evening was beautiful. White clouds scattered on a blue canvas with orange highlights surrounded us as we began to tackle November’s planting – Cauliflower & Cilantro. Here at my home, fully immersed in my happy place, my garden, I would have a terrible interaction with a neighbor’s dog. For reasons unbeknownst to me, our neighbors choose to walk their aggressive and disobedient (quite possibly untrained) dog off-leash. What this entailed for me this evening is standing frozen on my own corner of the earth listening to the snarling, growling animal state her case. Her owners ran behind her unable to tame or capture her in all her wildness. Laughingly they reassure me she is not aggressive and will not bite. As they continue attempts at apprehending her, my observations are quite contrary to their statements. The hair on her neck is raised. Her tail, straight. Her teeth, bright. All the language of her furry body is deafening, blaring over her barking. I choose to heed her unspoken communication rather than her owners’ dialogue. I stand still. Shortly our daughter charges outside, angry, wearing pieces of a fur suit which confuse the dog long enough to bring our situation to a screeching halt. Everyone is safe. The neighbors and their canine unapologetically exit. I share this story because afterward, I dove deeply into fencing options. It is quite a costly undertaking. We are painfully aware of this as it has been our aspiration for many years. Now, however, faced with such an unsafe set of circumstances we are being forced to consider this option more seriously. We are being shoved. Do we have a choice?

There is a faint message to be heard here. Take the gentle push. Do not wait on the shove. If you have been thinking about growing food for your family, start today. If you want to expand your homestead to include livestock, now is that time. If you want to learn how to can your harvests or what you pick up from the grocery store – hello! In life we often get gentle nudges guiding us in a good direction – not always right or wrong, just appropriate for us at that moment in time. Due to the hectic nature of life and our tendency to reason, we can do it tomorrow or next year we will make the dive, we wait. Procrastinate no more.

As for our shove, we have a plan in place to approach it efficiently. It is our hope you are able to do the same – from our family to yours.

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