Summertime Makes Me Feel Fine

I don’t know if I am crazy but…I always have stuff going on! So far this year it has been a slow travel year. But that doesn’t mean I have not been busy. The farm is in full summer mode right now. We had a pretty mild winter and a wonderfully long spring but summer has come on full force! Heat and humidity. Constant grass cutting. Everything is wilting by noon! We had an amazing bunch of delicious peaches and raspberries this year. Grew a few heirloom tomatoes but other than that this is a pretty harsh time of year to keep much of anything growing (except the grass!) The herbs that are on my deck seem to pull through and hang in there, I have had my sage plant for years. MacKenzie, our dog, prefers the ac. this time of the year. The horses are sweating just standing in the field, I have to get up pretty early in the morning to work the horses before the full heat settles in.

We have had a pair of Sandhill cranes raising their family in our yard this year. This is the first time we have ever had them here and I feel privileged that they chose our farm as their sanctuary! It is so much fun watching the babies grow, and I love the little purring noise the grown ups make, it is so peaceful to be in their presence.

Just this morning I watched a family of Kites flying above the trees, looked like the parents were giving the youngsters flying lessons! It is nice to be here. I am very grateful for the peace and serenity we have in our own backyard.

So my mind shifts elsewhere…I have been painting a lot and designing some cool furniture. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a nice little vintage trailer to take to art shows and what not? Like a traveling boutique, you know, to sell art and furniture out of…

I FOUND ONE!

The Winds of Change

image

Change in the air

Change in the air

image image image

Believe it or not, even though it is still hot, humid, and rainy here in Florida there is a slight feeling of a change in the air. Here in the south we can’t wait for the summer to be over! The farm is ever changing with progress, with the seasons. Over the summer we have been working very hard, planting, and clearing, working on equipment, repairing and building. The farm is becoming easier and more efficient to take care of, it almost seems organized!  It is beautiful and peaceful here. The plants and animals are happy and healthy. The chickens are laying eggs and wandering all over the farm. As the days are getting shorter I can see and feel a change in the horses hair. The dogs are shedding, getting ready for their winter coats. The Raintree is starting to bloom and a few of the trees have leaves that are changing.

You know I am always trying to incorporate healthy, vibrant, seasonal vegetables into my meals. Monday I picked up some really beautiful red and golden beets and I tried a new recipe, Chocolate Beet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting from the September issue of Eating Well magazine. I am not a huge fan of beets, I am always trying to cover up their “earthy” taste. These cupcakes were actually quite delicious! I would add a little more sugar in the batter but other than that, I thought they were moist and tasty, similar to a Devils food cake!  I tried them out on a few different discerning taste buds and the general opinion was everybody liked them especially if they tried them before they knew there were beets involved! Isn’t it funny how our minds work? You think “Oh no, beets don’t belong in cupcakes, YUCK!” but the vegetable helped to keep the batter moist and tender.  I like to be adventurous in the kitchen cause you just never know! Change is inevitable and sometimes change is good!

Get Fresh!

image

I am totally in love with the movement towards eating healthfully, locally, and sustainably. I enjoy using fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables. You can transform everyday meals into seasonal celebrations! Cooking, for me, is a creative adventure! I grow some of my own fruits and vegetables and I have quiet an extensive herb garden. But making great finds as you forage at farmers markets, supermarkets, and roadside stands is all part of the adventure. The amazing colors and textures, tastes, and smells engage all of your senses! It is like a scavenger hunt as you search for purple heirloom tomatoes or the perfectly ripe avocado. You can even receive weekly boxes of handpicked produce from your local Community Supported Agricultural Programs or Co-op which is so much fun because you never know what kind of wonderful new things you will find to expand your culinary sense of adventure!

My cooking is produce based, so I start my meal planning around what fabulous, flavorful foods I can find. I am very fortunate in that within a few miles of my kitchen I can pick my own strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Right across the street is a wonderful little farm, Delightful Acres, that sells free roam chicken and duck eggs, raw jersey cow and goat milk, and they make amazing farmers cheese, delish!  About a mile down is an organic produce farm, Fernandos, where you can find all things produce, he even grows wheat grass. Fernando actually picks and washes the lettuce as you buy it. Can’t get any fresher than that! A little further up the road is Pasture Prime and they offer grass fed Wagyu beef and grass fed pork. These things may cost a little more, bu t if you have never tasted a grape picked right off the vine or a farm fresh egg where the yolks are huge and a beautiful bright orange, you are missing out! I am so grateful for these little treasures!

I am passionate about making a positive social and environmental impact while creating and eating deliciously healthy foods!