“SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE” – remember the movie? Now this is scary stuff!

OK, now I’m gonna light some people up.  Maybe it is my age; maybe it is my experience, maybe it is just my love of movies?  When I think of the word “Soylent,” I remember a movie from the 70’s with Charlton Heston called Soylent Green (click here if you want to see a trailer-best part!).

Soylent Green movie poster

When it came out in 1973, it was a freaker.  What a great story line, creepy, but great!  Of course, about the same time, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes came out too (see the previous post) which was a really wild freaker movie.   The whole concept of screwing around with food started coming to light.  This, for me, was the first time I started taking an interest in what goes on (or into) with my food.  I was about 15 then, and we grew our own food on the farm.  Some things like sugar, coffee, flour we bought from the store.  But everything that was possible to grow in Wisconsin.  We did and then preserved it for the year to come.  We saved our own seeds, took our own cutting, and knew what we were eating.

Not anymore.  It’s a scary world of food out there now!  Hybrids, GMO’s, can’t save your own seeds because they won’t grow or because you may be stepping on some corporate’s toes.  REALLY??  How did we come to this?

A company has created a food and used the word Soylent in its title.  I don’t know if they are too young to connect with the old movie, or if they just thought this was a really good idea?  Either way, I just don’t know what to make of it.

They sent me a “request to follow” on tumbler.  Before I agree to any requests, I go and take a look at them.  Well, those of you that know me and know about our farming/gardening methods know that we are “natural” promoters.  We like to do things the normal, natural way with our gardens.  Pull our weeds by hand, use companion planting, save our own seeds, use natural pest control measures – no chemicals allowed here!  So for this company to want me to “follow” them is kind of stupid.  They have chosen to follow me, I’m sure, for marketing reasons.  Trying to tap into a bigger audience.  However, I am thinking that they did not read my fine print (which is actually normal size and ALLL over the place) on my/our decision to be natural in our methods.

They are pushing “Soylent” as a way to feed more people (hmm??).  How about if we teach more people how to grow their own?  Give a man a fish, he eats for a day, kind of thing.

scared fishNow, I’m all for live and let live; this is why I do not usually talk about this type of stuff (along with politics or religion), but they contacted me first.  So, they gave me the opportunity to dig into them (something I love doing – research!!).  They have some good products listed on the back of their bag:

soylent powder

HOWEVER, soy is one of their key ingredients.  As much as I love tofu, I also know that a majority of the crops are now grown using GMO seeds (Go here and check out the info for yourselves!).    So I either do not eat it or find something that is organically grown (even this I have issues with, but that’s another story).

So, unless there is some type of zombie apocalypse and I have no other choice to feed my family, I will not eat people, GMO’s, clones or any other type of un-natural type foods.

  • I will dig in my weedy dirt
  • Create my own compost to throw on my weedy dirt
  • Save my own seeds
  • Grow my own food
  • Process it in as many ways as possible to preserve the freshness
  • And enjoy the fruits of all my hard labor.

I also choose to do the following:

  • Share with my family
  • Share with our friends.
  • Teach others to grow this way
  • Help those that want to learn this method.
  • Encourage more to grow naturally

If you want to follow me, friend me, pin me and request me to do it back; you better have your ducks in a row because I will be digging!

ducks in a row

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ALRIGHT, JUST WHERE DID THESE COME FROM?

We get a ton of unusual things that happen here on our little farm.  The floods brought up odd looking snakes, beavers, opossum and who know what else has flowed down our way that is hiding yet in the field (we only have about 20 acres).
Every year has brought new surprises.  This year has brought a load of rain.  With the temps we have had, everything should be all dried out by now (that is the ones that are not man irrigated), they are not.  Here is one example of our odd summer season:

8 1 guess we are wet

From far away they just look like little white bumps in our field behind the chickens.  Look again:

8-1 mucho mushrooms

THESE MONSTERS ARE HUGE! (My foot is a women’s size 9)

8-1 size of our shrooms

There are only 4 or 5 of them out there, but the size is what shook my world.  HUGE is putting it mildly.  The sad part is that they are not edible – boo hoo!!  Especially since we love shrooms and put them in everything!  Fresh in a salad, fried loaded on a good steak, mixed with eggs for an outstanding omelet (ok, making myself really hungry now – hee hee), or one of several other goodies.  They just compliment so nicely.

We are lucky, though.  We have an outstanding mushroom farm not too far from us.  They grow several types, and THEY ARE EXCELLENT!  When we go there, we purchase bags and bags of them.  Most of them come home and get dehydrated, but several cups of them get fried up – yummm!

Ok, now I’ve done it!  Gonna have to take a trip there this weekend and get some more.  Since we have a side of beef coming in about a month for the freezer, better have some shrooms ready for it!

sidabeef

(Sorry Vegetarians, but I do love my meat with my veggies!)

I’M SO EXCITED! Can’t believe that it worked?

Our Bee Guy brings up the bees every spring via semi-truck.  When he gathers them all back to our place in the fall to go home to Arizona, he always leaves a case (yep – and it’s huge) full of fresh honey for us.  Well, this year we received a pleasant surprise.  He gave us a 25-pound bag of fresh oranges from his orchard – WOW!  These are some huge oranges:

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I have no clue why the bag says California (maybe he sells to them?).  I do know that they are fresh sweet and juicy – oh and ½ this bag is now gone (and it’s only been two days – hee hee). 

We sat and discussed different ways to preserve these beauties for future use.  The first idea was dehydrating.  Then came freezing, juicing and freezing the juice, and some other ideas.  Then we hit upon orange marmalade.  We make all kinds of jams and jellies, but never tried marmalade.

I grated the orange peels and froze for future cookie use.  Then we juiced and stewed up a recipe (we love our Ball Preserving Cook Book – woo hoo!!).

It worked:

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Made up a dozen of the cute little ½ pints for future Christmas gifts.  Then had enough for a couple of full pint jars and 1-half of a pint jar.  The ½ pint we now have in the fridge so I can have it on toast with peanut butter later today (yum!!).  I have to taste-test everything we do, wouldn’t want anyone to get sick right?  LMAO!!  Yes, that is my excuse for all of my food testing.  We have to make sure it is good enough to share (ok can’t stop giggling at myself now – sick woman that I am!! Ha ha ho ho ho)

orange marmalade made 5-23-16

These are the two big cuties – yum!  So glad it worked!  Happy, happy, joy, joy (doing my happy dance – hee hee)!

happy ck dance

 

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WHEN DO YOU REST?

If you are anything like me, right after Christmas and New Year celebrations you immediately start thinking about spring planting. Well, a fellow blogger, Flowery Prose, just helped me to remember what winter is for – a time of resting.

There is a time for everything, including resting, this is what winter is to me.

bluejay

(even this Blue Jay appears to be resting)

Don’t get me wrong – I love my gardens and can’t wait to get into them every year. I love all parts of gardening from starting the seeds:

starting seeds

To moving those first starts into the gardens:

 

transplanting

Even weeding:

pulling weeds

Then there is that wonderful harvest:

 

fall harvest veggies

Which always involves canning:

 

canned veggies

(this includes vacuum freezing and dehydrating)

So we should be like all of the other living things around our gardens (even the bad critters – grr!) and use winter as our time of rest!

sleeping baby goat

sleeping fox

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sleeping mountain lion

sleeping bear

Because once it finally starts to warm up outside – the work begins again!

 

good pic our veggie garden

Now, don’t-cha just love the time of rest – wooo hooo!

 

TO START OR NOT TO START – NOW THAT IS A QUESTION?

YES – it is, once again, that time of year that we are all thinking “WHEN IS THIS COLD GOING TO END?”  However, there are a ton of us that are not thinking that.  Instead we are thinking “HOW MANY MORE DAYS TILL SPRING?”  Our house is even counting the days to our normal last frost.  Reason being – SEED STARTING.

different seeds

Getting magazine, after magazine, after magazine, AFTER magazine (you get the picture) since before Halloween last year (oh yes – that is when the first one showed up warning us of impending doom if we do not order before the first of the year? –REALLY?).  Filling our heads with visions of daffodils instead of sugar plums at Christmas.  Warming our hearts during the coldest New Year’s Eve parties with planting zone predictions.

pic of pile of garden mags

Yep, got the bug really bad this year!  The last 2 years were just too rough (read previous blogs for more info) for this optimist dreamer to even fathom decent gardens.  Well, get ready for me dirt – cuz here I come!!

fighting dirt

I will be yanking on weeds, showering you with great composted fertilizer mixes and setting you up on the best companion planting dates I can put together!  We have been saving egg shells and coffee grounds by the pounds, ready to mingle into your warmth.

 crushing egg shells                                               coffee beans

 

Even though we still have snow on the ground, and temps at night below freezing – beware!  We are getting ready to attack!  So gardens, prepare for an outbreak of major spring fever that will knock your socks (ok, so they don’t really have socks) off!

spring fever

We have several new ideas in our plans in our arsenal for starting seeds this year.  I will be watching (and taking pics and notes) you gardens –  very VERY closely – to know when you are best prepared.  So let the seed starting games begin!

GARDENING RESOLUTION #1- MORE FUN!

The last 2 years have been really rough for living and gardening, so I just have 1 resolution for 2016…

HAVE MORE FUN AND LAUGHS IN THE GARDENS!

This is what doing yard and garden work should be about – fun! There are only 2 reasons, I believe, for having an outdoor space: 1) To grow your own food, 2) A place you go to for relaxation and enjoyment.

garden fun-claymation

My parents used to have a great saying “you play, you pay”, which seems to fit almost any/every situation. None more so than your own personal outdoor space. You want something that, on your worst days, you can go to for your own personal karmic relief. A place that you (or with a bit of help from others) created and that you are content and proud to be in.

So, for my new year – and I hope yours – why don’t we try making it more fun? We all have to pull weeds somewhere, at some time – why not use that time to take you’re your frustrations?

pulling weeds

Beat the snot out of them – rip them out of the ground – or do it an easy way as my friend does…grab a pair of old scissors (make sure they are long), grab a shady hat or maybe you have a portable umbrella setup for shade, load a few of your favorite drinks in a small cooler, sit down by the area you want to attack, and begin: With gloves on (because she is allergic to some of them), she holds a weed up to accurately locate the base of it, maneuvers her scissors down the shaft into the ground and SNIP – it’s gone! Now this may seem a bit unusual, but she has a very valid reason to her madness. She stops the weed without bothering the good plants she has near it.

silly weed

Now, step back for a minute and think about this! She did not disturb the roots of the good growers. She stopped the weed from getting any sun and/or water. Yes, it will come back – but not for quite a while. This relaxed method also gave her several moments of peace and contentment. All she heard was distant sounds and, once done, she sat back and was proud at what she had accomplished. I was in awe of her great natural gardening discovery! So I tried it! It was wonderful!

If you have to be out there doing the nasty with the weeds anyway, why not enjoy it? Why torture your back or shoulders with wrestling with the monsters, when you can use that same time – with less energy – as a type of “Zen” experience? Become ONE with the butterfly (appreciate the Monarch if you see it – endangered species) and all the fun things in your space!

monarch on a plant

So, this is my major New Year Resolution – to make it all more fun and enjoyable. I hope you will too!

ARE YOU FAILING ENOUGH? – REALLY??

This is a new one on me. I am signed up with AARP-Life Reimagined (yep, I’m over 50 – eeeekkk!!! Hee hee), and I get regular emails from them…come buy this, come play this game, come take this quiz for fun…well, this recent quiz is titled: ARE YOU FAILING ENOUGH? (click here, have some fun)

REALLY?? That was my first knee-jerk reaction when I saw the title – failing enough?? ENOUGH?? They had me, I had to go take the quiz. It was quick, easy, relatively painless, and did give a polite and helpful answer at the end. Then it got me remembering.

I recalled how everyone thought we were crazy buying a farm. Looking back at it all now, I think they either thought of us as really brave or really stupid (most the latter I think). A farm – in this day and age – what were we gonna do on it AND the one we picked was out in the middle of nothing (almost)? Pretty sure they all thought we were going to fail.

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The big thing they all didn’t know is something that I had learned earlier in my life – anything worth having, I’m going to have to fight to get it. The farm, like every other good thing in my life, took a huge amount of effort and struggle (still does). It wasn’t easy, but we are here! In fact, I have found that If something did happen easy, it inevitably failed and rightly so.

Are you failing enough” – made me think about my/our life here on the farm.

Farming is a never ending process of failure. Growing, crafting, baking, canning, fixing, building, creation – it is all a series of failures. The trick is knowing that all these failures are an excellent teaching apparatus.

We tried several methods of irrigation – still do – most have failed, but we learned something new on EVERY failure! We now know that we can’t have just one system, we use several depending upon the location, in or out of the greenhouse, shaded or full sun areas and, of course, the crop grown.

We both craft various things, both work in the gardens, both love to see things bloom and grow. I can knit – she hates it, but she loves the results I create. I will start to follow directions, decide that there may be another method to my madness. I get really far into it and decide it stinks. So, I rip it all out and try again – DRIVES HER CRAZY! She sees me working so hard at the creation, then suddenly, without warning, I pull out the needles and start re-balling the yarn – EEEKKK!!! At this point I usually start laughing because she thinks I have destroyed something wonderful, but I know different. I tried – it failed – so I will try again a different way.

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(several of my latest creations)

She is just as bad only in a different format. She has the patience of a saint – drives me nuts! But if something needs to be done with a slow, steady and precise hand – she’s got it – hands down! A few years ago we bought several boxes of peaches from the 4-H kids and the bulk of it became peach jam. That same year she found a recipe for peach cookies. Now, being the good obsessed baker that she is, with a bit of narcissism thrown in, she had to make it her own.

She took a regular sugar cookie dough, somehow baked it into little cup shapes. When cooled, filled the cups with the peach jam, stuck 2 halves together and formed a ball. She then colored and painted them to look exactly like tiny peaches. Rolled them in sugar and to top it off, added little fondant stems – UNBELIEVABLE!

We had to taste test a couple for ourselves, but the majority went into our annual Christmas goodie boxes for friends and family. Everyone told us the same thing – “Didn’t want to eat the peach ones – Too pretty to eat – Still have it – can’t eat something so amazing.” She made them to be savored, and the shear wonder of them all came from her and her perfection obsessive passion. Now, the funny part was, not a single person asked how many time she failed, got it wrong, thought about packing the whole thing in – because that was not the point of doing them. The point was to see if she could, so – BRING ON THE FAILURE – it helps to do outstanding things!

(At times like this I really wish we hadn’t had the house fire. I had some beautiful pictures of those cookies. They looked like miniature peaches, or sparkly Christmas ornaments. About the size of an apricot, and way too pretty to eat.)

peach

AN ODE TO MY MOTHER – OR – IS THAT A TURKEY?

A little over a year since the fire. Second Holiday season since, and I am thinking about my mom. She loved to read and write, just not good at the latter but loved to try. So, as a tribute to her this Thanksgiving, I give you the following:

THE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING (or a turkey revenge).

So it’s (or Twas) the day before Thanksgiving, the turkey was spry.

The peacock he chased said, “You’re gonna fry!”

The peacock then giggled, “Your butt is so big.”

“They’ll cook you and eat you served up like a pig.”

The turkey not worried, not scared not a bit.

Replied to the peacock, ”I’m not fat, I’m just fit!”

“I’ll hide with the chickens, and blend in just fine.”

 “You’re the bird of the day dear, the family will dine!”

DSC_0006

They have to find me to eat me.” The turkey said with a snort

The peacock not knowing the turkey’s cohort.

While the peacock was taking his afternoon rest,

The gang got together, and doing their best.

They pinned down the snooty bird, his tail went first,

Glued on some feathers, all doing their worst.

They disguised the peacock, a turkey he looked.

Soon the farmer came out with the ax and a hook.

peacock with tail

He found the peacock all dressed as a turkey,

Thought the thing looks a bit skinny, odd and whacky?

But a bird is a bird and its Thanksgiving day,

So he picked up the callous bird and went on his way.

The moral of the story my friends now is this,

Don’t’ tick off a farm bird, you could end up like this:

 

turkey dinner

Yours Truly,

the bad poet’s society

(aka: mom xxxooo)

 

Happy Thanksgiving Day

 

 

SARCAS M, OR WICKED SENSE OF HUMOR?

Helberg meaning of the word:

SAR – short/twisted for “sarry, but you set yourself up for this.

CAS – short/twisted for “cas I have to slam you now – ya know that!

M:short/twisted for “Mm gonna be sorry I did it, but will do it again in a heartbeat!

My family, for decades, has thrived on it. If we don’t pick on you, we don’t like you. Just ask anyone that knows us. Even when we do something outstanding, a complement is always – ALWAYS – met with a quip.

My sister was doing her passion in the kitchen and came out with this prize:

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It’s called “An Apple Rose” and it is not only yummy but a real wow-er (yes, I’m pretty sure it’s a new word for the Webster people)! She, as always, hands one to me for taste testing (yes, the job is hard but someone has to do it-boo hoo). So, being the polite sister that I am, I accepted the challenge, downed the puppy and responded: “Oh ya, these can’t go to work with you, pretty sure they ALL have to stay here at home.”

She knows, of course, that this means they are fantastic and too good to share! She then replies, “So I should throw them all to the chickens?” I proceed to tell her that pretty sure they would be poison for our birds, and we need to force ourselves to suck it up and eat them.

It’s always been this way. If we really like or love something, gotta slam it. If we don’t really care about it – straight answer. My earliest memory of the origin of this was my sister and I volunteering (ya-sure, 8 and 10 years old volunteering to clean?) to clean up the kitchen after dinner. I don’t remember why or how we thought of it, but mashed potatoes were the instigator in our plan.

Now any parent knows when the kids are quiet, or worse giggling, there is something wrong. So, being the great father that he was, he sauntered into the kitchen to see what we were up to. “What’s going on in here?”, he growled. There we stood, ear-to-ear smiles on our faces, covered head-to-toe in soapy water from doing dishes, most of the table was cleared. “Nothing,” we both responded.

Dad was on to us. He stood in the door way, researching the room to spy the reason for our comradery. He did not see anything out of place, glared one more time at us, turned to leave the room, and just started to say Don’t take too long – WHEN IT HAPPENED! The mashed potatoes that we had flung to the ceiling had decided, at that exact moment, to release. Landed smack on top of dad’s head.

He placed a hand on his head to see what had attacked him. Slowly turned back to re-view the kitchen. He now spotted the numerous blotches of mashed potatoes and slick slimy rounds of bologna sandwich meat spattered all over the ceiling. My sister and I were proud of our ability to do this great work of art, but pretty sure dad was not going to appreciate it.

I always knew our father was special, particularly when it came to his kids, and to say that grown men are worse than little children is an understatement where he was concerned. But in this moment, it was perfectly matched. Instead of a scowl, he had a slight grin on his face. “Clean up this mess, get it all off the ceiling and clean that too.” He said. Turned and went back to the living room. We, in turn, stood giggling and watching as the other flung food began to lose its grasp of the ceiling and come crashing to the floor.

To this day, I don’t know if he ever told anyone about this, but I do know that we sisters have talked and laughed about it many times. So, in conclusion, my family raised me well with sarcasm and a wicked sense of humor. These both have proved to serve me well – no really! What would your parents have done with you and your mashed potatoes?