Monday, October 19, 2009

Leah Kip

A lot has happened since I last wrote you here. I have been on a little, yes, maternity leave! Leah Kip Burchstead was born on Setember 28th at 12:09 am. We gave birth to her in our home at The Morris Farm. As many of you know, our life here is a little hectic, full of people coming and going, and far from private. While I knew a home birth was the right choice for us, I was a little concerned about having a baby at The Morris Farm. What if it was during a volunteer work day? Or the big Slow Food Dinner? Luckily, the day I went into labor was a quiet Sunday. The day blessed us with a curtain of heavy rain, keeping random visitors and the sounds of the cars a a world away. A quiet day of just Jeff and I (when else would that ever happen?!) Jeff did have to go out to check on the animals and move a little fence, so I took a walk, then spun wool on my spinning wheel when the contractions became heavier and Jeff was still out. After the midwives arrived and got settled in, they they rested while Jeff and I labored alone. The space and privacy they gave us was just what I needed. After giving birth to Ruth in a birthing center/hospital where I walked among strangers through contractions (and had a 30+ hour labor), doing a little reading, and watching how all our farm animals prefer to labor and birth alone, I decided that the animal in me needed to hide out to labor and birth as well. We brought Leah into the world after only 8 hours of real labor. My midwife, Heather Stamler, did a wonderful job reading my cues, comforting, and guiding me through the pushing. Her support after the labor is also invaluable. Above is a picture of our new farm girl. She is healthy, strong, and big. At birth she weighed 9 lbs. 4 oz., and at her 2-week check-up weighed 10 lbs. 10 oz.

So, adjusting to parenting an infant again and helping Ruth through this transition time, while still trying to run a farm and get a house built before the new year has been a little crazy! How are we doing it? The key is a loving community of fabulous cooks. Every evening for 3 weeks a friend dropped of an evening meal for us, lined up by our friend, CSA member, and amazing organizer Eve Conlin. These meals made all the difference for us, eliminating a layer of stress and allowing us to spend peaceful evening time together as a family. Thank you!

Since I last wrote here, the farm has made the transition from summer to fall. We finished haying at the end of September. Pictured below is Jeff driving the team to gather the last load of hay. Ruth accompanies him on the forecart and the farm crew tosses and stomps the loose hay down on the wagon behind.
The horses are also in action plowing under old crop land to prep it for cover crop planting. They help with the harvest as well; pictured below is our mother/daughter team Mary and Millie plowing up the potato rows to expose the potatoes for us to collect. Cabbage and chard for late fall/early winter harvest are in the foreground.
Several frosts have visited our farm; we successfully scurried ahead of them harvesting all our warm weather crops such as peppers and tomatillos. The more sensitive winter crops, winter squash, pumpkins, storage onions, storage potatoes) are in as well. Pictured below are the winter squash and pumpkins "curing" in the warm sun of the greenhouse. Many crops, such as carrots, kale, and parsnips, only get sweeter with the frost, and they are still out in the fields. If you don't think you like kale and parsnips, please try them again now that they are "frost sweetened"! The fall harvest pulls us out of the field and into the kitchen a bit more as we freeze and ferment veggies for winter eating. Sadly, our kitchen is not nearly as busy this fall as in autumns past due to a smaller harvest. Remember the rain that would not stop followed by the tomato blight? Hopefully next summer it will all be a distant memory...
And life as usual continues. The critters need to be fed, eggs collected, fence moved to new pasture, CSA and farmers' market to set up for... Last week the farrier, Stan, made his regular 6-8 week visit to trim the horses hooves. Pictured below is Stan working on Mary's hooves. Mary also had the horse dentist working on her earlier in the day. She is older, and we have trouble keeping weight on her every winter. The dentist came to make sure her teeth are even and filed so she does not loose food from her mouth as she chews.
CSA members, we have one more pick-up next Tuesday the 27th to complete our 20 weeks of summer harvest for you. The last 2 weeks of harvest included:

October 13th CSA Share:
  • carrots
  • parsnips (great cut into rounds and boiled or sauteed and tossed with a little butter, salt, and/or lemon juice. Also, see recipe below - one of our favorites!)
  • leeks
  • green peppers
  • hot peppers
  • kale
  • salad turnips
  • parsley
  • Halloween pumpkin
October 20th CSA Share:
  • carrots
  • parsnips
  • fennel
  • parsley
  • scallions
  • Delicata squash
  • leeks
  • mixed greens (mizuna, mustard, pac choi, arugula: makes for a spicy salad, and is mild steamed, sauteed, braised)
  • celery
Parsnip Pancakes; submitted by: Lois Frazee; Serves 6
  • 2 pounds parsnips, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
1. Place parsnips in a large saucepan and cover with water; add salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain and place parsnips in a large bowl; mash. Stir in the onion, flour, egg and chives.
2. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a well-greased hot griddle. Flatten with a spatula. Fry until golden brown; turn and cook until second side is lightly browned. Drain on paper towels.

These are great topped with a little sour cream. You can try adding a herb (like parsley) instead of or in addition to the chives or a little curry powder for a different zip...

Happy Eating!
Your Farmers,
Jeff, Ruth, Amy & Leah