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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bread and Granola

Today I did something I have not done in a couple of years, I made bread and granola. For about 12 years I made all the bread we ate. Usually it was a honey wheat but occasionally I would make more elaborate breads like challah , Italian bread (the kind that needs a sponge made 12 hours before the bread is made and there are several rises involved) or pita. But than the Aunt Millie's bread outlet started offering certified organic breads for under 75¢ a loaf and I decided the bread was decent, had no HFCS or hydrogenated crap and I could not make my own bread as cheaply. the organic breads from Aunt Millie's were never as good as mine but they saved time and money. But over the past 6 months or so the price of that bread went above a buck and gas, as we all know, is getting ever more expensive and our vehicle is a not so green cargo van with a V-8 engine. We also have been buying some pretty decent granola at Aunt Millie's bread outlet store for around $2 a pound bag.

And yesterday upon scanning the freezer for more bread so we could have an extra sloppy joe (made with 95% local ingredients, tomato sauce I made last year and the Streit's grass fed beef, an organic onion from Jungle Jim's and our peppers from the freezer) we discovered we were out of bread and would not have the time to go to Richmond, IN to visit the bread store until Monday. At the Tuesday farmers market I considered buying a loaf of Pia's honey wheat bread but $5.50 is out of my price range.

So this morning I got up and decided I should do something about the bread and granola situation. So I got out the oat meal, some maple syrup (the real stuff, not the HFCS maple flavored crap that is death in a bottle as far as I am concerned), butter and walnuts. I put some syrup and butter in a sauce pan and heated the two until the butter melted. Than I added some vanilla powder, cardamom and cinnamon and poured that over the big stainless steel bowl that had 6 cups of rolled oats and walnuts broken into pieces (I have no idea the amount on the nuts, lets say around a cup). Mixed everything together than put into a 300˚F oven for 15 minutes that stirred, put it back for another 15 minutes, stirred it again and back in the oven for the final 15 minutes. When it was done I poured the content of the cookie sheet into another large stainless steel bowl (I used to work in restuarant kitchens and picked up some commercial cookware over the years-most of it honestly) to cool. At that point I added dried cranberries, raisins and apples along with puffed wheat and rice cereal. Let it cool et voila! granola. And far far better granola than anything we could buy and I got a huge container of the stuff for under $3.00.

About mid way into the granola cooking I started a loaf of bread by warming up some water and pouring that into a big ceramic mixing bowl along with a tablespoon of honey. Mixed the honey into the water and added a teaspoon of yeast and let that grow for about 10 minutes. When the yeast sponge was nice and puffy I added 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup white along with a tsp of salt and a TBL of olive oil. Mixed it all together and than kneaded the dough for 5 minutes or so (how ever long the NPR newscast between non news shows lasts) and put that into a well oiled bowl to rise for several hours and went into Eaton to do errands. came home, opened the store, checked on the dough and saw it was about ready to shape into a loaf. Did that, let it rise again and let it over rise by about 20 minutes because a customer came to the store and I got to talking to him for a while. Got the bread into a 350˚F oven (which had been pre-heating for several hours as it took a lot longer than I thought for that second rise to happen) and about 1/2 hour ago it was done and out of the oven. It turned out better than I expected despite it trying to fall when I started baking it.

It will be wonderful to have fresh bread with dinner and I suspect most of it will be gone by tomorrow. I t was fun and very satisfying making these items and I will get back into making bread and cereal from scratch as I can make it better and cheaper than buying these things./ That, and I have about 3 pounds of yeast in a freezer that I bought years ago (it's still very lively stuff). I may even start offering the granola at the store if I can can find rolled oats in bulk (organic would be best but I'll take not organic as oats do not have a GMO variety...yet)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Scenes From Last Saturday's Farmers Market

Pictures I took this past Saturday of what was going on in and around my market stall at The Oxford Farmers Market Uptown. You just might see yourself or a friend.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Locavore Meal

Yesterday Eugene and I did what we do every Tuesday afternoon from may through the end of October, we went to the Tuesday Farmers Market in Oxford, Ohio in order to sell produce. Unlike most Tuesdays, we were invited to a our friend's, the McKinstry's, after market which meant eating some dinner at market. Normally this would mean purchasing food from one of the eateries uptown but since we had eaten fast food in the past 24 hours we really did not want to eat more (we try to limit our ingestion of such poisons to once a month or so-I know, I know, we should limit it to never but hey, we are Americans after all, and even though we love to eat well grown local food sometimes that ain't happening). So we created a nice light meal from local foods found at the Tuesday market. Pia Terranova had matzos and hummus. Debra Bowles had goat cheese and we had lettuce. So that was dinner-matzo topped with hummus, deer tongue lettuce (that had seen better days) and goat cheese (which I bartered greens for). It was deelish and a totally seasonal locavore meal eaten at a locavore market.

First Strawberries

Picked the first strawberries today. Picked 11 ripe berries and saw another bunch about 1/2 day from being ripe. if we get the warm sunny weather predicted for this weekend by monday we should be picking several pints a day and will have enough to sell to the public by next week.

The first one I ate was very sweet with a great berry flavor. it looks like we will have some of the best berries we have ever grown this spring (and hopefully summer and fall since these will keep on producing until frost puts them into dormancy)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Refrigeration and the Eco-Farm

The farm store open for business on a rainy day in May

One of the cool things about this farm (and there many) is it had a store building already built when we got here. The store is a work in progress for us. We started with a 20' x 40' open space and Eugene built a wall so we have a retail space and a work space. After that was done the building was rewired as we found when we plugged in the vacuum cleaner the lights would get very bright . A bad thing, especially if you are intending to plug in the big fridge (or two) and run it 24/7/365. So, last spring we got help from our buddy Wyatt and got the electrical system working a lot better (and likely up to code, which it most certainly was not). So the big fridge that had been living in the barn the first 9 months we were here could now live and run in the store. This year was the year of the eBay fridges. As regular readers know, we bought two glass front fridges on eBay for $500 and had an adventure hauling them back home. Found out in late April one works and one does not and it would take about $2000 to fix the non working one (we can get an almost new one for under $2 grand so not worth dealing with). But one does work and we have it in the store keeping the produce cold and fresh. The fridge has made life a lot easier on many levels and when it breaks down we will buy a new one because I can see we cannot function well without such technology.

The one running glass front fridge full of good things to eat

To any budding eco-farmers, investing in refrigeration will pay off well in the not so long run. The quality and longevity of your produce will increase dramatically (our lettuce will last 3 to 4 weeks if it has been properly chilled ASAP after harvest. If it has not been properly cooled it will last a week at best). We have had storage refrigeration for the past 10 year and having such meant we did not have to harvest everything within 20 hours of a market which can kill a person. I really hated those 20 hour days followed by a 14 hour day that we had to pull to get ready for the Saturday morning market. And it was made worse because the quality of our produce degraded quickly, especially in hot weather. That meant we were composting, often half of what we harvested. It gets depressing to toss out half of your hard work just about every week. Refrigeration stopped that, cut our work hours and upped the quality of everything that needs to be cold.

Locavores, when you see wilted food at the farmers market what you are generally seeing is a farm that is not using refrigeration and also a farmer who has not yet learned good post harvest practises. It takes a while to learn everything there is know about growing food for market. Most new growers get better and better each year and as they get better improve their operations as they can afford to. But some farmers believe they do not need refrigeration and that is their choice. They just don't know how much refrigeration would improve their farm, life and produce quality.

Farm Flooding

I have not posted many farm pictures lately so here is one I took last Sunday between heavy rain events. this is looking North west and shows 2 of the 4 hoop houses and a lot of row covered beds. Since I took that shot there is a lot of pea fencing just behind the fence and gate. other than that we have not done a whole lot with the market garden other than foliar feed, harvest and hoeing when the soil dries up enough. it has been too wet to till beds for tomatoes, peppers and egg plant or even to plant seed. And what seed we have planted in the past 10 to 15 days has pretty much rotted in the water logged soils.

At least our soils drain well as the market garden sits on the edge of where the last glaciers were so there is a steep slope on the south side of the garden which means we do not get standing water for more than a couple of days even when we are getting 5+ inches in a week's time. But, when you get several inches a week for months on end it really doesn't matter how well drained your soils are. it is simply too wet and things in the ground tend to rot and we seem to be at the beginning of this.

The forecast for the coming week indicates a lot less rain. I hope they are correct on this as more heavy rain is not what we need right now

Eugene finished making a small dam to get the water to run down the hill by the highway and not through the driveway. You can see a mall ridge behind him with water collecting behind the ridge and being forced into the ditch just to the right of our drive the ODOT boyz made about a month ago.

Minor flooding between the barn and the store. In really heavy rains torrents of water run under the store which is what is happening here. the water by the steps is coming from under the store. The rest is coming off the driveway. All of it goes down the hill and into the pond.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Farm Sex Wins

I'm looking at the search terms people are using to find this blog today. farm sex wins with 3 searches and there are another 15 searches along the same lines (sex farmer, farmer sexs, farm sex blog, farm sex form, sex eaton oh, farm hours sex, blog farm sex, farmsex & sex farm).

St Alphonso's came in a close second with 17 searches.

Boulder Belt came in a distant 3rd with 6 searches, a couple of those linking us with Boulder, Colorado (we are still happily in Ohio)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Going to the Zoo!

Yesterday was my 45th birthday. I officially middle aged as my sister Maggie gleefully reminded me. She says now we are in the same age bracket for the first time ever (we are 13 year apart in age so from the beginning we have always been in different age groups. But now we are both in the middle age category).

Since it was Mothers day and the weather was wet (we got 1.1" in under an hour yesterday morning which caused minor and expected flooding around the farm) I did not do much for my birthday other than make a very nice dinner that would have been even better if one could get a decent steak at Kroger's. What we got must have been a real winner as my late father would say. it was tough despite being cooked correctly. This is what I get for trying to save a bit of money on meat and buying factory farmed/feedlot beef (actually this was not a money thing, it was a last minute thought-lets have steak for dinner and go buy it just before we want to eat. This really limits what you can get). Low quality at minor savings. Next time I will plan ahead and buy the locally raised pastured fed steak.

Today is the real celebration. We are renting a car and driving to Cincinnati to go to the zoo. A couple of months ago Eugene asked what I wanted to do for my birthday and I said go to the zoo and so we are. We have not had a day out in a long time. This should be fun. I will bet the zoo will be nearly deserted as it is a Monday, it is the day after a sentimental holiday and it will be cool and rainy. I love it when big public areas have low attendance so this should be extra fun.

We discovered our old van is such a gas guzzler that it is cheaper to rent a small car to drive down to Cincy. So we have reserved a car from Enterprise as they are by far the cheapest rental car company around here (we have rented several cars from them in the past 6 months to go to Michigan while my dad was dying).

So that is our day. Tomorrow we do a farmers market in Oxford which will be fun.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Farmers or Crafters Market?

Eugene finishing setting up the market stand. We brought a lot of lettuce, that's what's in most of the bags.

Yesterday was farmers market day in Oxford (as well as Miami U's graduation-congrats to any graduates who are reading this). It was a beautiful sunny morning but the market was pretty dead early on. And even in mid morning when the attendance got better not a lot of produce was selling.

The market had 27 vendors yesterday and only 2 of us, Locust Run and Boulder Belt, were selling vegetables plus Downing's which has cider and apple butter and will soon have fruits and veggies. We also had two meat vendors, 5 people selling plants and 1 selling goat cheese. So we have 11 farmer types selling at this market out of 27, a farming minority at the farmers market. You would think that with so few produce vendors at this market we would both sell out. That did not happen for any of us. All of us took quite a bit of produce home. I did hear the craft people did great sales, though.

I have noticed since last year when several people on the board decided that there should be more crafters at this market (which I hesitate to call a farmers market any longer) the ratio of craft people and bakers to farmers is skewed away from this market being farmer friendly. When I helped to create this market we established a rule that there could be one craft vendor for every 5 (or maybe 7) farmers. We made this rule to ensure that this farmers market would be a FARMER'S market and not be taken over by the arts and crafts crowd. Last year with a new bunch of people on the board that rule was tossed out and "Artist Alley" was created. Now we had a market that had about as many crafters as farmers. Not a good trend in my mind, and I did question this move with several board members and felt like I was blown off by them.

Move forward to 2008 and now we have more crafters than farmers and we also have space issues in the spot where the market is held due to a building going up next door. This has lost us about 7 spaces. So far this season every space has been filled and I know that there are at least 4 farmers who will be coming in later on this season. Will the board tell the crafters there is no space for them (after they have paid their annual fee?) or will the growers be left out? It's gotta go one way or the other (unless the market is moved to larger quarters) because space is very limited.

My issue is that we created a market for farmers to sell their wares when the Oxford Uptown farmers market was born. And now it seems that this market is becoming a weekly craft show. I have read of several markets that went this direction and eventually the farmers were kicked out. I do not want this to happen in Oxford. I do know when you have too many crafters people going to the market start spending their money on the craft items and do not spend their money with the farmers and quickly the situation is a winner for the crafters and a losing one for the farmers. I was hoping this was not going to happen in Oxford but from the looks of things I do not see encouraging things for us growers. Hopefully this will change and what I have been seeing is the strange buying patterns of Oxford's Graduation/Mother's Day weekend and in the coming weeks/months people will be coming to the farmers market to buy food

Eugene and I are lucky because we have a store here on the farm and after 2 years the locals are finding us and shopping here. Sales are up 500% so far this year. The store is not yet supporting itself but it is going in the right direction. As the industrial food system continues to fail I expect we will get a lot more business and in a couple of years will be able to quit going to the Saturday market altogether (man it will be nice not to have to get up at 4:30am in order to get to market by 7am, which we rarely do. We seem to always be late). We plan on sticking with the Tuesday market which, so far, does not have this out of whack farmer to crafter ratio problem. And since I still have a lot of influence with this market, should not for many years to come. I love going to the Tuesday market because it is so laid back and it has a wonderful mix of vendors, all of whom I like a lot. Oh and I don't have to get up at 4:30 am to get there on time.

I just may have to run for the OFMU board this fall, even though we really cannot afford the gasoline to get to Oxford for the meetings. But something has to be done to get the board away from this craft takeover of the farmers market and back in the farmers' corner. Otherwise, we growers may well lose what should be a spectacular market for us.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Rainy Afternoon 69

It's raining today which has messed up my plans to harvest most things today and pack them tomorrow for the Saturday farmers market in Oxford (which has a brand new website Oxford farmers Market dot com) . Sigh, it looks like tomorrow will be a long day. Picking lettuce, spring mix, kale, radishes, arugula, etc., early in the morning. Washing up what we have harvested mid morning than bagging in the afternoon. And opening the store at 11am and waiting on customers who stop by throughout the day. I am trying to avoid pulling 18 hour days on Friday so I have more energy to devote to Saturday.

Washing will take a while as everything will be super dirty and likely full of slugs. I always put a 1/2 cup of table salt in the water as this does two things:
1) Salt water keeps greens very crisp and re-hydrates wilted greens
2) Salt is a slug's mortal enemy and when they hit the salt water they release from whatever they were on, sink to the bottom of the wash tub and die. This is one of our slug controls.
And it means the greens are usually free of slugs when sold (but if you buy our greens, Please wash before use because you never know...)

I have the store open right now but, as usual, rainy days tend to kill farm stand business. Ah, c'est la vie. I would like to take a nice nap but the store is open so I cannot. Instead I sit typing and listening to the rain pour down on the roof occasionally picking ticks off my body and burning them with a lighter (we are still going chem free with the dogs so we get a lot of ticks. I am beginning to question this decision, as the poor dogs are getting scabby where ticks have been removed and seem to be avoiding Eugene and me now that quality petting time means tick picking and killing time).

I have seen Stewie the cat. He is living under the store and for the past week has allowed us to see him and even talk to him before he slinks away. I guess he is realizing he cannot stay angry at us forever and we feed him tasty food (some organic cat food we picked up at the cut rate grocery store B&D Grocery, in Richmond, IN for $6 a 6 pound bag). Yesterday he visited the store but quickly left when I came in carrying a crate of produce. I am happy he did not decide to spray the store.

So I wait till 5 o'clock rolls around to close the store. it is an easy task to close up now that we have a fridge on the sales floor. In the past I would put out things that really needed to stay cold on the unrefrigerated shelves and hope things sold quickly. By the end of the day everything that did not sell would have to be gathered up and put back into the fridge in the back of the building or taken into the house to be eaten ASAP or tossed in the compost. This took up to 20 minutes depending on how much stuff we had (melon season is the worst). Now I just have to shut off some lights, count the cash drawer and remove the money, bring in the "Open" signboard and turn the other open sign around so it says closed. This takes about 3 to 5 minutes.

The one bad thing is only one of the two fridges I bought on eBay works (and I am not too sure how long it will last) and it is already pretty full and we have just started the season. Though soon we will be getting more stuff that does not need to be in a refrigerator like tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, squash (though the zukes and other summer squashes prefer it cold), etc.. I gotta say the fridge has been a huge improvement on many levels. Maybe I will spend my gummint stimulus check on another used fridge as the Commercial fridge repair guy said we should be able to pick one up for around $800. A newer fridge (the eBay fridges are circa 1977) would use a lot less electric and be cheaper to repair.

St Alphonso's Coming Soon

I see from my stat counter I am getting a lot of traffic from folk seeking info about St Alphonso's Pancake Breakfast near Oxford, OH. This will be the 30th year for this fantastic party and it will be the 25th time I have gone. I don't believe there is anyone left who has gone to all 30. Geoff Georgiady had the record at something like 27 but missed the 28th edition due to bad health and had died by the time the 29th rolled around. The party just ain't quite the same without Gorg.

I will be there in the big white Boulder Belt Farm van and may even have some veggies to sell if we don't sell out at the Oxford Saturday Farmers market we will be doing right before we go out to Hannon's Camp America for the event. Than again I may elect to wander around all day socializing with friends old and new

See y'all the 17th, I'll be the one wearing the 2008 edition of the T-shirt.

Monday, May 05, 2008

My First Weekend in May

May has come in like some sort of energetic animal that seems to need so sleep-a shark perhaps. oh that's right that's March that comes in like some sort of animal-lions, sheep, lorises, etc..

But so far may has been one busy and energetic month. May is my favorite month, not just because I was born on May 11th but because it is the best month of spring-everything is in bloom, the trees are pretty much leafed out by mid May, the grass is green for real, the garden kicks into high gear production wise (you should see the lettuce crop-spectacular!) and our markets start up again which means steady income and not living from savings any longer.

This year May started on a Thursday and I spent May Day morning harvesting greens for our markets (our farm store and the Saturday FM in Oxford) and the afternoon dealing with the packaging for the green (I like to have labels on bags and it takes time to print labels, cut the printed labels to size and than adhere them to the bags. Especially when I am using sheets of labels that are not exactly compatible with my new laser printer-if anyone reading this knows what labels work best with a Samsung CLP-300 let me know. It sure ain't the ones I am using currently). Generally I wash the greens ASAP after harvesting but by 10 am Thursday morning we had 25 mph winds and since my "packing shed" consists of a table, a wash tub and a salad spinner and no shelter of any kind around all this stuff I decided it would be better to put the unwashed greens right into the fridge in an unclean state and get out early on Friday morning and get them washed and re-hydrated than.

So after harvesting 5 kinds of heirloom lettuces (Amish Deer Tongue, Cracoviensis, Marvel of 4 Seasons, Red Sails leaf lettuce and Green Oakleaf) arugula, spring mix, baby lettuce and cilantro I opened the store and than went inside to watch the Price is Right (something Eugene and I have done for the past 15 years or so because we can most days because of our work schedule. We love the almost mindless competition, the blatant commercialism and Drew Carey).

Had several customers drop by the store to buy asparagus, spinach, lettuce, seeds, herb plants between 11 am and 5pm. I found after running the numbers that our sales are up 10,000% so far this year over last. of course last year there were a lot of weeks where the store generated less than $20 a week gross income. Which is something we expected because it seems to take people about 3 years to figure out you are here without an expensive and aggressive marketing campaign.

Since we do not have $50K to spend on marketing and a lot of time on our hands we have opted to go cheap with the marketing and allow our on farm business to slowly develop and flower. My web based marketing (website and email list, which you can subscribe to by going to the Boulder Belt website and following the instructions there) has really taken off in the past 4 or 5 months. All I can say to that is, Finally! The Boulder Belt Eco-Farm website is about 13 years old and it has taken a long time for it to get noticed by the right crowd (that would be people in Ohio/Indiana). It also has taken that long for it to evolve into a really nice website that is both useful to me and to you the www public. I also have made a very nice brochure (another bit of work that has been evolving over the past 10+ years). I have a background in art and the person who introduced my to computers, my late friend Ann Bell, was a DTP person who was also a classically trained artist as well as having a lot of experience in printing using movable type. She trained me to use computers for graphics and nothing else. So, to this day I can barely use a spread sheet (and do not keep any records on the computer. That's all done by hand with paper and pen/pencil) but give me a drawing/paint program or word processing app and I am good to go.

Any Hoo, Got through Thursday and Friday came. In the past Friday has always been a bear of a day. Lots of harvesting and cleaning and bagging/bunching to do for the Saturday farmers' market. But I hope, this year, to have my act together to start harvesting Thursday or even Wednesday for the weekend (and I believe if things continue as they have, I will have to do quite of harvesting on Wed. to keep the store stocked) so that Friday becomes a day of light harvest and lots of selling. It sure was nice this past Friday not to have to work 14 hours getting ready for market.

So Friday morning arrived and I got breakfast early and started to work on washing the greens picked the day before. I was hoping to get done before the high winds redeveloped but did not. I was able to get through all the crates of lettuce before the 25mph+ winds kicked and started blowing by baby lettuce and arugula all over the place. Got everything clean, re-hydrated and back in the fridge by 10 am. Harvested asparagus and took lunch. After lunch started in on bagging the greens, bunching radishes and asparagus and waiting on the occasional customer. Wyatt came by for a visit and kept me company as I bagged up stuff (Eugene was mowing). It started storming which pretty much put a kibosh on business for the afternoon. Around 5 pm the rain stopped for a few hours and we decided we needed more asparagus than we had so the 3 of us grabbed knives and piled into the van and took a trip over to the Crubaugh Rd farm and did our annual raid on the asparagus we planted there 5 or 6 years ago. Got just over 5 pounds and noticed that about 1/4 of the row is not producing any longer. We decided this was probably the last time we would go over to get the stuff. The farm looked pretty good. The apple trees there are in amazing bloom and beautiful. Went back home cleaned up and bunched the asparagus than went out to eat at Fiesta Charro in Eaton (our second favorite eatery in Eaton, which has few decent choices. Our favorite place is Adam's Rib but since we had Wyatt, a vegetarian, and Adam's rib is a BBQ shop with no real veg choices we opted for the Mexican place). went back home and to bed before 11pm.

Saturday dawned stormily. We were up by 4am. Did coffee got the last few details finished for the farmers market, ate breakfast, packed the van and got on the road about 1/2 later than we should. Somehow when working with Eugene we both get stuck in some sort of time sucker and can rarely get anywhere on time. But since I am one of those people than tends to be early to things most of the time we are not very late (on our first date he was 4 hours late and I found this was not a fluke. The boy is very time challenged) and more and more often we are on time.

So we leave the farm later than we should in a driving rain storm and hydroplane our way down to Oxford. get to the market and park the van in our spot and the rain stops. Hooray! We do not have to set up in pouring rain. We get set up about 15 minutes after the market has started. But because of the wet weather few people are there to buy so no big deal we are running late. we get set up and we start selling asparagus. By 9 am we are out of the stuff. Val Taylor, the Locavore Queen of SW Ohio (join her list at cincilocavores) had put in an order for all our remaining leeks and arrived for those around 8:30am. It was nice to be done with the leeks after 9 months of harvesting and selling them. They were a wonderful crop but it was time they were sold. By 10 am the market was getting fairly busy, though not as busy as I would have like to see. the Oxford Gourd and Drum Ensemble set up and played for a couple of hours which was fun. The weather got quite windy and peoples shelters started doing bad things and had to be secured (we tie ours to our van). The market extended its' hours of operation this year from 11:30 to noon. It was dead from 11:30 to noon. We did sell a few things as we were packing up but i do not like the new hours. They will likely not be profitable for us and mean we get home a half hour later than in the past. This means things could go wrong on the farm. As an example, this past Saturday because it was storming when we left home we left all the hoop houses and cold frmes closed up. It got sunny around 11:30 or noon but since we had to tarry in Oxford for an additional half hour, plus run to the the Striets to pick up raw milk for ourselves and the Cox's and than drop that milk off at Adam's Rib, The Cox's restaurant, we were worried that when we got home around 1:30pm many things might be roasted to death (fortunately, they were not) in the hot houses.

Ate lunch, took a 45 minute nap got up and went to a Derby day party at Jules' and Rosie's house. because of life we were an hour late to that and forgot to bring salad (and we had a lot of salad greens left over from market-stupid, stupid, stupid) but did get the brisket from Adam's Rib (which I want to develop a religion around, it is that good. By far the best brisket I have ever eaten. Pete Cox is a master at brisket, the ribs are also excellent.) Got to the party got a mint Julep and put in my bets for the race just in time. watched the race and for about 2 minutes were were all jubilant about Big Brown winning in such fashion and the impressive run of the filly Eight Belles with her second place finish. And than just like that Eight belles is dead. Such a tragedy but that's racing luck (know that I spent a lot of my life working with horses both show and race horses and have seen some them die in competition or because of competition. Death happens but 99% of time death does not touch these animals when in their youth and at the top of their game). This event will not be good for American horse racing as there are simply too many sentimental people who will be permanently offended by this.

Got home from the party around 1am, which meant we had been awake for 21 hours (less the 45 minute nap). Went to bed and because I cannot sleep past 6 am no matter how late I go to bed, I got 4 hours of sleep and spent Sunday feeling hung over (and from two not very strong mint Juleps). Harvested asparagus for the store and set up the store for business and spent the early afternoon dealing with customers. but by 3pm I was spent and Eugene took over sales. I am happy to say we had quite a bit of business that day. Not enough to support the farm yet (which is why we still go to the Oxford farmers markets Saturdays and Tuesdays) but things are picking up, a lot, over the past 2 years and it looks like this year the store will be close to self supporting and when the store becomes self supporting we can stop breaking our humps doing farmers markets and stay home.

At 5pm I closed up the store and started making a big salad for dinner that was full of yummy things from the garden while Eugene mowed the grass that is growing at a scary rate. At 8pm we ate and by 9pm I was asleep on the couch, utterly exhausted.

That was our week.