This last month been a rough go for us in the homestead garden. We had such cold temperatures in May and into June and so much rain that we were delayed by almost 3 weeks getting our garden planted. Our amazing CSA folks have been very understanding. Thank you.
This past weekend while my son and I were away at 4-H there was destruction. So much so that we will not be able to recover from this in order to fulfill our CSA contracts. I have cried many tears over this as it was our first year to run something like this. I feel as though I have been defeated in the realm of gardening. We will be very lucky to get a harvest of anything for ourselves besides potatoes. Those are in abundance and didn't get damaged.
I truly love my sheep, but it is moments like this that make me want to load them all on a truck and ship them off. But despite those moments they are beautiful creatures and a joy to have and be around. I just wish they would stop being ding dongs.
The other event that has happened, is the farm we have been renting and had a contract with has been placed up for sale. Since this is our first year in operation there is no way we can purchase the farm for the asking price. So we are praying that Yah(God) shows us a clear path for the future. The farm hasn't sold yet and we are not sure when it will or if it will. With the world being so crazy right now no one is buying anything. So please if you are a praying person keep our homestead in your prayers.
We are due to harvest some of the Meat birds this weekend. is it strange that I am looking forward to that? I mean I don't enjoy taking a life of anything. But to know that there is fresh naturally raised meat to eat is rewarding.
Speaking of rewarding.... My son got Grand Champion Senior Showmanship and Grand Champion Ewe Lamb at his 4-H Achievement Day.
Anyways... enough bad news for one week. I hope I will have some better news for you nest week.
Good Morning Friends.
No I haven't completely lost my mind. I actually found out some pretty amazing facts this weekend about a plant that I'm sure everyone has in there back yard garden. It's the lowly rhubarb plant. For years rhubarb has been seen as the impossible to eat plant. I know most people will only ever eat it with strawberries...Hello strawberry/ rhubarb pie...But did you know that there is actually health benefits to this amazing plant? I know I sure didn't. So let me share with you what I learnt.
According to the USDA, rhubarb provides dietary fiber, protein, vitamin C, vitamin K, B complex vitamins, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. In terms of organic compounds, the plant also contains beta-carotene (which can be enzymatically converted to vitamin A), polyphenols (which can act as antioxidants), lutein, and zeaxanthin.
The health benefits of rhubarb may include its potential ability to promote weight loss, improve digestion, stimulate bone growth, avoid neuronal damage, boost skin health, enhance metabolism, improve circulation, and protect against cardiovascular conditions.
Rhubarb is also used for medicinal purposes in traditional Chinese and medieval Arabian and European medicine. Rhubarb has been suggested to exert eliminating heat, purging fire, treat constipation, cooling blood, treat gastrointestinal bleeding, and other diseases. The roots of this plant have been used as a laxative for thousands of years.
Is there a way to use the rhubarb leaves?
While rhubarb leaves shouldn't be consumed by people or pets because the acid found in the leaves could stop your heart. (YIKES!!!) Rhubarb leaves are still useful... If you have aphids threatening your tomato plants or any other plants. Simply boil the leaves in water in a ratio of 1:3 (1 cup rhubarb leaves to 3 cups water). Boil this mixture down and add a little bit ( like 1 tsp) of dish soap, pour into a spray bottle and wage your war on those pesky bugs. Even though this is a natural pesticide you will want to make sure to wash any foods really well before you consume them. Don't want to make anyone sick now.
So there you go... a little more info on the lowly rhubarb plant. Now on to the good stuff and what you most likely came here for. The recipes!!
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp,
This one is a family favorite and has been for a couple generations now. Although I've been able to tweak it slightly to use fresh milled einkorn flour and organic cane sugar it is still a HUGE hit.
A summer crisp (we eat it year round here) made with locally grown strawberries and rhubarb with a buttery streusel topping. Serves 9.
5 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb sliced into ½” pieces
3 cups fresh strawberries diced
½ cup granulated sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 orange zested
2 tablespoons orange juice
⅓ cup Fresh Milled Einkorn Flour
Oat & Almond Streusel Topping
¾ cup Fresh Milled Einkorn Flour
¾ cup rolled oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free oats)
¼ cup sliced almonds plus 2 tablespoons more for topping (OPTIONAL)
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
½ cup butter 1 stick, cut into small cubes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8” baking dish with cooking spray or butter. Place the baking dish on a foil lined baking sheet to catch drippings while baking.
For the filling, in a large bowl combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, cinnamon, orange zest, orange juice and flour. Stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Set aside.
For the topping, in a large mixing bowl, mix flour, rolled oats, ¼ cup almonds, salt and brown sugar. Add the butter and work in the butter with a pastry cutter or two knives until the butter is incorporated and the mixture forms into coarse loose crumbs. The sliced almonds will crumble into the mix. If necessary, rub the topping between your fingers to break up any clumpy pieces. Sprinkle the topping over the strawberries and rhubarb in the baking dish. Sprinkle top with 2 tablespoons sliced almonds.
Bake for 40 - 45 minutes until the topping is golden-brown and the fruit is bubbly. If the almonds are browning quickly, place a sheet of foil paper lightly overtop of the crisp. Remove from oven and allow crisp to set for 30 minutes or longer before serving.
WAIT!!! There's another recipe.
Simple Stewed Rhubarb
This 3 ingredient stewed rhubarb is easy to make and is ready in minutes, making it a wonderful last minute dessert. It’s great served over vanilla ice cream, on pancakes or on it’s own!
6 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
1 cup sugar ( I use Organic Cane Sugar)
2 tbsp. water
1/4 tsp cinnamon.
In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, water and cinnamon.
Simmer over low-medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until all the sugar has dissolved and the rhubarb has broken down.
So there you have it! A little more knowledge for your Monday. I truly love sharing these types of things with you. If you want to see more and learn more sign up for our newsletter and keep an eye out in your inbox. Now that the growing season is upon us I will be sharing more ways to prepare fresh fruit and veggies. Have a fantastic week and I will see you back here Next Monday with hopefully a baby chick update.
The above Picture is David with his 4-H Market Lamb Storm. Our Achievement Day is July 9th at Eagle Creek fairgrounds in Burns Lake starting at 9am. If you're local please come out and support our kids. The livestock auction will be held at 5PM with a dinner to follow.
It has been a pretty slow start to spring and summer around these parts of Northern BC. We are just now staying above freezing overnight. It has been a super long time coming. Our pasture took so long to revive after winter. It's still struggling in some areas and in other areas it is growing like crazy but we can't graze the sheep there because well Fences...
If you have any type of livestock I know you will relate. Just when you get one fence fixed up and take that sigh of relief the animals go and find a new hole or other part of the fence that they can magically pass right through. It can feel like a never ending roller coaster ride. We are currently in that phase of homesteading this year. With a lot more mouths to feed the pasture that once sustained everyone last year is getting tore up pretty bad. We are doing our best to rotationally graze the sheep but every few days they test us and the fences again. They seem to like certain areas on the farm more then others. The other thing we've noticed is that when we are having people over to visit the sheep seem to behave and stay where they are told. HAHA.
The project of the week has been to get the garden ready to put everything that is sitting in the front porch in the ground so I can start more seeds for succession planting. Running a market garden takes loads of planning and working long hours but the pay off is the fact that we can share fresh, good for you food to our community.
The next BIG project is getting the chicken tractor built and ready to go for moving the broilers around on pasture. Now that they are old enough to get out on grass they are on their way. We are going to be running the broilers over in a section that we want to turn into an orchard. So they will help with the grass and also help with fertilizing the ground. Be sure to look at our YouTube channel for our build of Joel Salatin's Chicken tractor with a few modifications.
Keep your eyes on this space for some exciting updates that are happening. John and I are super excited about what we have in store for the farm. It's going to be big and we will need our communities support to see it come to life.