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Newsletter
Spring Share #3
April 27, 2016

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Table of Contents 
 (Click on the links to go directly to an item or scroll down.)


 

Announcements:

Remaining Spring Share dates & times:
Middleton - April 27, May 11, 25  2-6pm @ 3417 John Muir Dr 
Madison
-  April 27, May 11, 25 2:30-7pm @ Fit Moms Transformation Center
Madison -  April 27, May 11, 25 4-7pm @ 2825 Wayland Dr
Spring Green - April 29 & May 13, 27 12-5pm The Office Market

Spring Green Farmers Market starts May 14.


Summer Shares (Vegetable & Meat, Eggs & Sweet) begin the first week of June.

Annual Farm Party - Sunday July 31

"Chance"

Previous editions of our newsletter are at https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Fine-Homestead/145013635612327 

In Your Box

Spinach 
Leaf Lettuce - See recipe in newsletter.
Swiss Chard - 1 bunch Separate bigger size leaves from stems and braise stems a few minutes before adding leaves. Smaller size stems can go in the pan with the leaves. 

Ready next box - radishes and maybe salad turnips!!!

Lettuce Salad with Creamy Buttermilk Herb Dressing 
(Seed Savers 2002 Calendar)

Dressing:
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 tbl Dijon mustard
1/4 c buttermilk
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 tbl chopped fresh herbs, such as tarragon, chives, dill, chervil or 2 finely chopped scallions (green onions)
 

Place mayonnaise in a small bowl and whisk in all the other ingredients. Keep chilled. 
 

Salad:
1 big head or 2-3 small heads of lettuce or equivalent leaf lettuce
and 1 c any or all of the following vegetables
grated (or julienne) carrots
sliced ripe avocado
thin slices of red onions
sliced or chopped celery hearts (the innermost tender yellow parts)

To prepare lettuces, tear off and discard any bruised or damaged outer leaves. Remove a few more outer leaves and cut the tender hearts into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the heads. Wash and thoroughly dry the leaves and the hearts. Cover and chill prior to salad assembly.

To assemble the salads, arrange some torn leaves and some hearts on each plate. Add any or all of the other vegetables. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

On the Farm . . . what's happening this week in words and pictures.
It seems like a lot has happened in the last two weeks. Right after the last box delivery, the engine on our trusty two-wheel tractor broke down just as Bill started tilling a field. It was an old model, a hand-me-down that we relied on for many garden tasks. It had several chronic problems that Bill, our machine-whispererer (more like machine-curser), had been able to coax it through during the last couple of years. The thought of facing the season without it was both sobering and daunting.  
After doing some research online and with a lot of help from Paul at Middleton Power Center, Bill learned a new engine would take several weeks to get (not an option this time of year!) and would cost more than half the price of a new machine. We decided it made more sense in the long run to purchase a newer model BCS two-wheel tractor and tiller.  Paul helped set the purchase up, and Bill made an unexpected trip to Middleton to pick up the new machine. When he got home he went right to work mowing old vegetation, shaping beds, and tilling. And now carrots, peas, turnips, radishes, lettuce and greens have all been seeded. Other crops have been transplanted and lots more will be put in the ground this weekend. Whewww! Our potential crisis averted, we are back in business, and it feels good.
Bill also finished setting up our new seed-starting greenhouse. He squared the frame, installed hoops, attached the plastic, finished the ends, doors, and ventilation windows, and hooked up the heater and remote thermometer. We sorely need it since the one we’d been using is much too small. It was bursting at the seams, and the dozens of flats that didn’t fit went into our living room on some old racks and tables in front of our south-facing windows. It worked but was far from an ideal environment. Getting from one end of the room to the other was our own personal plant maze. One of our trusty work-share members, Jennifer, spent several hours helping us sort and move flats of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, and onions into their new home. The heat-loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant stayed in the old greenhouse for now. We still have one rack in the house with eight trays under grow lights, but it feels good to have most of the living room back. We forgot how big it is!
In other farm news, we now have a Jersey cow and her two-week-old calf. It is crazy to add milking a cow twice-a-day to our chore list, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. We’d been contemplating this for a couple of years because we consume a lot of dairy products and wanted fresh, raw, un-homogenized, full-fat milk. Most of our goat milk is used for soap, and it is easier to extract the cream needed for butter-making from cow milk than goat milk as the goat milk is naturally homogenized (meaning the cream doesn’t separate and rise to the top). We frequently checked local online bulletin boards for a small breed cow not finding one in our price range until last weekend.
Bill, Aidan, and Marlee set off to Viola to collect her. After they talked to the owner, looked the pair over, paid for them, loaded them into the trailer, and set off down the road. Four miles later, a trailer tire blew out. It was Saturday evening and, with no nearby tire-repair places open, Bill wasn’t sure what to do.  He decided he’d have to walk the cow and calf back to the farm they came from, drive home with the bad tire, fix it, and go back the next day to try again. Fortunately the neighbor up the road saw him and realized something was amiss. He came over and took Bill to his farm to search his machinery for a similar tire. They thought they had one, even taking it off his wagon before realizing it wouldn’t work. No luck! But the farmer had another plan: he took Bill to a friend’s place up the road a couple of miles, and they started the search again. This time they found one of correct size. Bill borrowed it for the day, put it on, and came home. Thank goodness for neighbors – even ones 46 miles from home proving neighborliness is a state of mind, not a distance!
We unloaded the newly-named Shelby and her son Chance. They settled right in. When we milked her the next morning she gave two gallons of milk. Since then it’s about a gallon per milking. I think my fore-arm muscles are bulking up already and I’ll soon be an arm-wrestler to be reckoned with! Both Aidan and Marlee get up early in the morning to help with the milking and to spend time with the adorable calf. It is their mission to tame him. The milk is delicious, and we’ve made several batches of rich, yellow butter and creamy yogurt. We’ll be trying kefir, buttermilk, and ice cream soon.
The other news is that Marlee, our youngest, turns ten today. It is unbelievable! It certainly doesn’t seem that many years ago that she made her appearance on the scene and changed the dynamics of our mostly-manly household. Right from the beginning, she let us know her voice would be heard, screaming a high-pitched cry that made my sister Lauren, coming through the house just after Marlee’s arrival, wonder if I had birthed a human or a pterydactal? Gretchen, our mid-wife, said some little girls  have a higher-pitched cry than boys. Marlee was definitely one of them. Through the years, if her brothers wronged her in any way, she wasn’t shy about letting them know. That high-pitched cry certainly stopped everyone. At ten she has thankfully passed through the screaming stage to being able to express her anger and frustration quite eloquently with facial expressions, words, and some well-timed toe tapping. (So much better for our ears!) She’s also officially moved on from her overwhelming love of all things pink. Green-blue color combinations, like aqua and teal are now her favorites. She is an animal-lover and flower connoisseur.  She rides bike with a fury, climbs fences, ladders, and trees like a pro, and creates amazing doll clothes out of play-dough. Creativity oozes out of her, and yet, at the end of the day – she still loves to be read aloud to. I see glimpses of the woman she is growing into and while I can’t wait to know that Marlee, I want to freeze this moment in time. I don’t want anything to change – she seems so perfect to me right now! But I am pulled along as she continues to grow, learn and change. This is a hard part of parenting. I thought care for helpless and often demanding babies and toddlers was hard, but I didn’t realize how watching them grow up would sometimes tear my heart. The best I can do is be mindful of how lucky we are that this girl is part of our family. And then instead of selfishly trying to hold on to this moment in my dirt-stained fingers, I must let it move to the next. Let her be free and unencumbered by my reluctance. Happy Birthday Marlee - I love you!
Have a good week,

Stacey
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