Friday, June 27, 2008

...other things

Good morning crew, thanks for checking in...always something of a mishmash here, huh? My summer readership is down, my writing is taking a back seat to farming and I suspect that many are as busy as I. That's good! Being busy, productive and enjoying the summer as we all should. Even the humidity has it's perks- the flowers here at Beauregards are blooming as fast as fireworks lit up in the sky. Every corner I round here has an explosion of color and fragrance. And just this morning, a quail called from out under the honeysuckle french intern loves to hear the bird songs. Even the starlings have him seduced by their chirps to their babies above the porch swing. He was saddened by the boot two little fledglings received from their mama upon the porch floor. He gathered them up and tried to save them, nestling the lone survivor in his palm, keeping it warm with a cloth and his breath. He was even more saddened to learn that mama bird knows when a little one might not survive, and kicks it out so the stronger, healthier ones might surmount the odds of life against them. It was a touching scene...this young man of twenty, from the city- innocent to the ways of the wild. Sadly, he acknowledged he could not save the little bird he fell in love with...but I explained that the little bird knew of his devotion, and upon it's passing at least knew of love and warmth...that he had made a difference, to this one little life.

Yesterday was our first really big adventure into farm marketing. We had a space at the Illinois Farmer's Product Market at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. People turned out in wonderful to see the interest in local food, we sold 5:30, intending to hold out till 7:00. I had a smorgasbord of herbs on hand, mixed mesclun greens, onions, fresh garlic, spinach, chard...and recipes! That was the key to selling everything I think...people really want to converse with the producer, want to feel safe and knowledgeable these days, about their food. I felt triumphant and exhausted last evening. Our stand (I explained to my intern) must be beautiful and fragrant and interesting. We did not sit the whole time we were there, so many came and went- some walked away with flowers, some rolled away with fresh garlic sticking out of a bag I attached to the back of their wheel chair. Yes, one lady- one sweet heart of a soul rolled right up and smiled an everlasting smile, spoke of her love for cooking and many reasons to cry- this one, but she smiled and carried on. You just never know what form inspiration might take in your daily toil. Smiles on wheels. Yep.

I held a "Farm EC" class it seemed last night- every one wanting to know how to use this herb and how to prepare a vinaigrette that brings a subtle discreet flavor to an already bold mix of greens. I felt like teacher, farmer, philosopher and check out queen. The tally was added up at the end of the market, I couldn't have been more pleased. Next market Thursday...more recipes, more garlic(seems everyone wanted garlic) and chard- a favorite vegetable of mine. So, very soon- I will post recipes here, get folks to try an unimaginable mix of flavors that just might make one's senses pop in such a way that makes dining as passionate as...other things.

Have a really good one, I mean holds barred goodness. Go for it, take care-

Monday, June 23, 2008

forks flying

The morning light has fallen on everything in such a way that all appears golden. Our better late than never shower yesterday afternoon perked everything up, made the corn grow in it's tweaky can almost hear corn grow you know, after a rain.

I wandered around yesterday evening with my camera, left all the younguns on the porch with their bellies full of Sunday's feast consisting of in season bold mesclun greens with a tarragon vinaigrette, honey mustard chicken cooked on the grill by two of the younger chefs in the crowd(Emma and Zack, a neighbor boy)green beans with new potatoes and dill, and the finale of strawberry shortcake. My french friend, Nicolas- enjoyed every morsel it seems. Yes, my intern is here and last night was surrounded by people of his own age...he smiled alot, don't know how much of everything he understood. We did not eat at the table, too many bodies...we were impromptu on the porch- forks flying. It was a good evening, a wonderful get together...especially when the kids got up and cleaned as I walked away, camera in hand. Nicolas explained that they do not eat in their laps in Paris, it was different. I explained impromptu...flying by the seat of your pants, making do..."ahhhh!" he said. Again, not sure what all he is taking in, but he fits right in with that big grin of his.

And so, to end this blog today...busy, busy week ahead- perfection is not my aim nor will I try to impress, with the farm tour. I yam what I yam...but my farm is a beautiful, sustaining, therapeutic place which happens to provide a bounty that is delectable and yields many smiles. That is the impression I hope to make.
Be well out there, take in the sun and the shine...give it away by your smile, take care-

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

the little red hen

Great morning, huh? I don't know for sure where you're all from or what the weather might be out your window, but here in central Illinois-it is beautiful, temperature wise. I've had far too much sun these last couple of days competing with the weeds in my garden, so today-(well for most of the day), will find me I'll wash all the rugs and lay them on the porch banister where the Labs might leave them alone...although the pups feel compelled to pull and drag down anything that resembles a chew toy.

I must get the room ready for my little french friend coming Thursday. I am an advocate of opening the windows wide at night and closing them in the morning, keeping out the humidity, holding in the coolness. I don't generally run the air conditioner, hope my little European friend doesn't mind. I'm not sure of the temperature fluctuations in his part of the world, but I don't believe they use air conditioning like we do here in the states. We'll see...I hate to give away my hard earned dollars to the utility company, especially this year...I really don't know how folks do it. Keeping cool at all costs...nope, not for me. I'd rather invest in a wood stove for the winter and try to keep my propane usage down...again, I don't know how folks do it, don't know for sure how I'm going to fare -I'm a bit worried about the sky rocketing costs of everything. I think many would be amazed at how little I spend for groceries, I'm like the little red hen, putting away all the produce I can for winter months...and mostly what we eat these days stems from what's in season in the garden. Eggs stretch my food dollar the farthest- omelets laced with fresh herbs and cheese. So good. So cheap. Except the feed for the chickens is just about out of my budget. Sure would like to grow their feed...haven't found much details on the net for that little gig. Any farmers out there doing this practice? Sure would appreciate some info. Ok...not much on my mind today worth sharing, hoping for a good day for all. Take care-

Friday, June 13, 2008

Slow Food

Oh my goodness...another sultry day. Looks like we might be getting more storms...oh well, the house is screaming for attention, like dusting and sweeping and a little bit of laundry.

And I am going to post the tour info if anyone is interested for the Slow Food group coming out on the 29th, the public(that'd be you....) is invited. Here is the info:

Slow Food Farm Tour
Beauregards Farm - (Williamsville, Illinois)

Join us for a tour of Beauregards Farm located 2 miles south of Williamsville. Owner Terry Starks will tell us about her farm and allow us to walk around the property on mowed paths through the rye and grasses. She also has an intern from Paris working with her for the summer who will share his perspective with us.

A delightful lunch of quiches and a seasonal salad will be provided - all grown or raised on the farm.

The cost for this trip is $5 for Slow Food members and $10 for non-members. Reservations are required, with payment being made the day of the tour. To make a reservation for this wonderful local farm tour, please email Deanna at or call her at 629-8949. The deadline to make a reservation is June 23rd.

Now should any of you out there in cyber land want to help with the serving and the setting up, well I wouldn't sick the dogs on ya...I'd say, "SURE!!!"

Should be interesting...and yummy. Hopefully, the weather will oblige and be sunny and breezy, otherwise we'll all know what it feels like to sit in a hot chicken coop- although I'll have fans running and lots of iced tea and lemonade. Rain or shine, this tour goes on, in the shed. Oh, and I'm looking for pie pans to borrow and, friends- lend me your seats. Off to pick lettuce, take care-

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


You know you know something...when your heart will not be still, when your sleep is disturbed by the grinding of your own teeth...when your fear is shattered, even when your hands shake, and again- your heart that won't be still, pounds little extra beats into a rhythm that you fear might bring about breathlessness.
Every time I'm fearful about something, I become aware of the signals my body is sending...the trembling, the awkwardness of the rhythm out of time, out of context, out of the blue...I feel weakened. But it is truly at these precise moments, these scary, scary times...that I stop whatever I'm doing...take refuge out under the cherry tree, or next to the chickens, sometimes out on the swing...and I say "Father, thank you-increase my faith." And then I wait. And wonder. And become aware of the signs, the signals...the cool breeze against my face, unsettling the longer pieces of bangs that fell right over my eyes so that I cannot see, allowing me to feel the breeze against my skin-even more intimately, a caress of assurance. And my nose picks up a scent that I did not realize a moment filters through my memory and elicits sweet joy...roses. My hands stop their shake, my heart slows it's pace...I
Perhaps this is faith, or maybe just a fine moment in time that I discovered to be truly, truly holy...
Sharing these thoughts does not make me any more or any less than any other soul on this just makes me keenly aware of the goodness, the sublime...the count your blessings and be grateful for all you have and all you are alive. Intact.

Sitting out in the little orchard yesterday, under the sky- bruised and swollen with yet again more rain...I realized, perhaps for the first time in my life-I am intact. Blew me away...sat down and wrote a blue streak yesterday...don't know where it all came from, the words- but they left their mark on me and on the page. All because I started to fret and shake about something I have no control holding the breeze from??? blew it all away.

Be well, take care.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

furious, beautiful

Another good, wet morning. Again- I do believe the geese around here are just about the happiest creatures you'll find. Unless you count the frogs, they're sure finding something to chirp about, even under the rumbling grumbling sky. On the weather and life in'll shine when it shines.

I picked a five gallon bucket of radishes yesterday, not a loser among them. Lettuce, chard, all the greens are substantial. And the onions, my oh my- the bulbous white, yellow and purple bulbs on them. I have grass growing through all the straw on the potatoes. Ruth Stout where are ya when I need ya...the straw stored in my barn since March has produced upon it's laying in the potato fields, enough green grass to cover a lawn. Too much seed in the straw, and all I can do is pull and pull and replace the mat of gold. Sure hope those taters don't mind too much- the company.

Today is not so dismal, just damp and sultry. The basement is beyond the trouble right now of drying it out. The dehumidifier cannot keep up, producing buckets upon buckets of moisture. Normally I'd save every drop for watering...but what hasn't been saturated? And the pool under the gutter system where I collect rain for watering- cannot even hold goldfish, they float right over the rim with all the soaking rains. But still, I do will shine when it shines. That's my best answer folks, for the weather predicament question. It's just a good old day for peaceful rest...and for watching again, hopefully-the furious, beautiful sky. Take care-

Friday, June 6, 2008

money and faith

(Garden under water-there's chives and clover and many a submerged herb under there!)

The previous days here on the farm, and in most of central Illinois have been wet, wild, wondrous with lightening shows and a basement full of water. The fields will still yield, the geese seem happy and the corn all around is growing at a break neck speed. The weather again, as of this writing- is threatening to unleash more torrents of rain, whining winds out of the south and as is predicted, severe thunderstorms. I wish I could plant the Fava beans next to the potatoes, wished I could insure the hen house would not leak...but this last week, this whirlwind first week on the farm- has really kept me hopping. So much so, that I've hurt my back already, had to have a massage yesterday and must rest some more today. AAAARRRRGGGHHH! I'm the gal you'd see out in her fields doing yoga stretches, curling up in a ball and working out the strains. I'm really good at taking care of myself so that I might outlast the weeds and the weather. no avail, don't know what spin or misstep I took to throw me out of line, ibuprofen is my constant companion. So today, I write. And later...finances, and paper work and deciding whether to go in debt on a new tractor, getting rid of the too big Kubota that is not as versatile as I need it to be. Besides, if you've kept up with the web log here, you know that I hit things all to often with my too big tractor. I even told the sales man that, he looked at me like I was a dangerous person, probably went to the post office afterward to see if I was on the top ten list. Tractor smashing fiend. So- a smaller model with a belly mower, smaller bucket, and a smaller tiller. Or, I could stay out of debt and try a used model. But then I'd be dealing with the previous owner's previous problems, and for a working girl non-mechanic type- that would be one big headache. I've had old tractors before-God I loved 'em...and could work on them, heck- anybody can figure out an old Ford 8N, there's just not alot to go wrong there, but problem is- I think I spent more time working on the tractor than I spent working with it. I wish I could call this a leap of faith- but money and faith have little in common in my book. I have to make the decisions here, have to decide if my little patch here can sustain a payment. Thus far, I've been pretty lucky, frugal- but I'm doing to much work with the old back and not enough with the joy stick and the powerful hydraulics of the Kubota. Smaller bucket-smaller tiller, oh the places I could get into! The manure I could move here and there!
Hope this day finds you high and dry...take care-