Sunday, May 27, 2012


 Plums! The few red ones we have (either Hollywood or Early Laxton) are putting on size nicely, and should be ready in a few weeks. After last year's miserable crop, I am really looking forward to fresh plums!
 One of the green plums varieties- I think these might be Green Gage (the farmer is already asleep, so I can't verify the variety). These trees are loaded! I am going to try a plum cordial this year, so as happy to actually have some fruit to use. The plums are not u-pick at this point, but we will sell them already picked at the store.
 The blueberry bushes are now loaded with little green berries! Looks like a good year for them, and they will hopefully be ready to pick by July 4th.
 Lots of lovely green strawberries! The bushes are loaded, and the weather right now is ideal for ripening. Last year's crop was a near failure, so we are very grateful for this healthy crop and perfect weather!
 Lots of apples this year! I haven't looked at the apples and quince in the front orchard, but the trees in the back orchard look great! We should have a good crop this year, and I will be spending days canning applesauce and making quince preserves!
 Raspberries! The bushes are loaded right now, so we wait with bated breath to see if there will be enough to meet demand this year! So far, they look great. The raspberries are so hard to grow here, and are also very popular with our customers.
 And, finally, no farm update would be complete without a mention of the garden! The roses are coming on nicely, and I have vases of them all over the house. I love these roses, and always feel as if my house is cleaner and more beautiful when a vase full of them is gracing my table (or bathroom, or book case, and so on!).
The rest of the garden is a verdant green, with splashes of color here and there. Most of the flowers are summer blooming, so apart from some roses and columbine, not much is blossoming right now. I picked up two new canning books this weekend, and can't wait for fresh fruit and vegetable season to try some of the recipes. The first book is The Preservation Kitchen  by Paul Virant. He has not only recipes for jam and jellies, but for relishes, Aigre-doux, cured meat, and fermented  food as well. The book has a lot of seasonal recipes, so you get ideas for using spring and fall crops as well as summer's bounty. The second book is Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan. She has fantastic recipes for jams, jellies, fruit butters, pickles, syrups, and nut butters (and that is only a partial list.) What I really like about this book is that the recipes are for small batches, so if I only have a small amount of time, I can still get some preserving done. Between the six children, the running of the farm, and the cooking and cleaning, small amounts of time seem to be all I have! I am especially looking forward to trying some fruit butters. The author also includes recipes for mixes in jars (the pancake mix sounds especially good), and this is something I have wanted to do for a long time. On those super busy days, the idea of having a healthy, pre-made mix is very appealing, but I try to stay away from store boughten ones which often have a lot of additives and are expensive, especially for a family of eight! Time for all good farm wives to be in bed, so thus ends the update from Fordyce Farm!

Monday, May 14, 2012

In the garden

There are not many flowers in the garden yet, but I did see this cute little visitor tonight. He stayed very still for a minute or two, but  once I started to creep closer to get a better shot, he scampered away.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Coming soon!

Gooseberries! These are the pink variety. Tart and delicious.
Strawberries! About another month on these.

Stuart wanted me to post the picture of him with his Star Wars pen.....
Tomatoes! Already looking better than last years!
Raspberries, about to bloom.
Green Gage plums! We didn't get any last year, so this loaded tree makes me very happy!
Blueberry blossoms. Lovely little things, aren't they?
Quince blossoms.
Next year's strawberries are being planted today and tomorrow, and, to add a bit of craziness, we are supposed to have more frost tonight. The boys are setting up irrigation right now, to try and keep the strawberries from being harmed by the frost. We have also hired a helicopter pilot to fly around early tomorrow morning to "move the air", which is supposed to help protect from damage as well. Once again, we have a great planting crew, and the job is going well. I am in charge of keeping the crew caffeinated and fed.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I went for a walk last night, with camera in hand to record the lovely spring evening and progress on crops around the farm. As it turned out, both my DLSR and point and shoot cameras had dead batteries, so I have no photographic record of my lovely walk. This actually turned out to be a good thing, as it was such a beautiful night that I was able to give it my full attention without being distracted by taking pictures and worrying if I lost my lens cap. I even ran up and down a large hill several times, which surely burned off all the calories I had just consumed in the form of a slice of Kentucky Bourbon Pie the Farmer made. If I had taken pictures, this is what you would have seen:
-A large pile of coats, sweaters, and shoes discarded by the farm children as the day turned warm.
-Plums trees covered with tiny, green plums! Since this crop was a total failure last year, I was delighted to see this! I have a recipe for plum cordial I want to try this year.
-The first tiny green blueberries. The bushes are still in full bloom, but one or two bushes had an actual berry or two on them!
-A beautiful sunset mirrored in the glass like surface of the lake-gold, pink, and dusky blue.
-Strawberry plants in full bloom. No fruit yet, just lovely white blooms. The field looks great this year.
-Quince and apple trees in bloom. The quince trees have especially lovely blooms. They are white with strips of pale pink on the underside, and are larger than an apple blossom. So pretty I wanted to pluck a branch to take inside, but I would rather have quince jelly and tart in the fall!
-The Farmer and the eldest farm child (who just turned eighteen and is technically another farm adult, but bear with me as he is still my little boy) trying to fix the John Deere so the field plowing could be finished. They were successful, and as the sun sunk low into the horizon, I could hear the roar of the engine.
-The raspberries, almost ready to bloom. They also look really healthy this year.
-The garden, in all it's lush green glory. Not much has bloomed here yet, as we have no spring blooming bulbs planted. A bleeding heart, a few columbines, and some Camas lilies are the only flowers right now, but the rose bushes are loaded with swollen buds, and my vases are all clean and ready for them!
-The little girls drug out the wicker lawn furniture yesterday afternoon, and spent the first really warm day of the year lounging under the hickory tree begging for popsicles. I unearthed the last bag of frozen blueberries for them instead, and with that they were content. I probably would have taken a picture of my lawn furniture, so happy was I to see it's return.

The long winter has passed, and although we may have more rainy, cold weather, (I have lived in Oregon too long to forget this fact!) it will be interspersed with beautiful, warm, sunny days. I am trying to plan a summer's worth of meals, so during the busy days of June and July I have at least some idea of what is for dinner before 4pm. sneaks up on me. I would love to hear what people's favorite cook books are, as I am always looking for new recipes to try!