Monday, July 27, 2009

Amy is Engaged!

Our daughter Amy got engaged last week to her boyfriend Rob. So happy for them both! Hope they don't mind that I post this picture....We welcome Rob into the family with open arms.

New Information on the CAFO

A friend from Wisconsin emailed us some good news. Petry Trust (the man that owns the property for the CAFOs) has the property closest to us for sale through a realtor now. He also has one other parcel north of town for sale. Such good news! I am hoping all the other sites will be put up for sale soon. It it is such a drain on peoples hopes to have that hanging over their head. Believe me, I know! So my wish now is that he has given up his quest to start factory farming anywhere. There are still sites near us that aren't for sale, but at least the closest one appears to be ruled out.

We were at the farm this weekend and had friends from Illinois who were on a motorcycle trip visit us on Saturday then camp at the farm that night.

After spending Saturday morning weeding the garden (or should I say, finding the garden :-), we went to the Kickapoo Country Fair at the Organic Valley headquarters in LaFarge. It is such a fun place to be. This is our 3rd year at at the fair. Good food, vendors & entertainment. We listened to David Rhodes, author of the new book "Driftless" in the word tent, had a tasty veggie wrap, listened to good music & saw Nanda who do "funky kung fu arcrobatics" in the kids stage area. They were great!
When we got back, we took our friends out to eat at the Driftless Cafe in town. We love this place. It has the best pizza ever. In fact it has such good pizza, we can't get past ordering it & trying something else! A couple of weeks ago when we went there to eat, the owner was playing ukulele with two other people. They were having such a good time, it inspired me to buy a ukulele at a garage sale last Friday before we left. I just need new strings & I'll be all set. I used to play guitar & the chords are all different, but I hope I can learn.

We had a camp fire after getting back to the farm but we were all tired from the day & were in bed by midnight.

Saturday was also our son Shane's birthday. He turned 29. He & a bunch of friends went boating down the Illinois River to Peoria & spend the night in a hotel. Wow, next year all of our kids will be over 30! Where does the time go?

Shane & Kristie

Sunday, after our friends left, it was back out in the garden for me. I harvested garlic, a couple onions, zucchini, cucumbers, lettuce and squash.

Hard & soft necked garlic

Can't wait to make a squash casserole this week!

We found some scaffolding on Craig's List so we can begin working on the windows in the front of the barn. We have 3 new windows for our soon-to-be living area that we will be working on in the weeks to come. We are trying to decide what to do with the rest of the windows. The Amish that built those windows didn't put the quality worksmanship into them like they do their furniture. The windows were made from green wood, not painted and are all warped with some glass just falling out. The new living area is the main focus now, but we will need workable windows for the shop area sometime.

It was good to be at the farm again. Last weekend we took a road trip to Road America for the vintage weekend in Elkhart Lake, WI with our friends Bob & Pam. It was a lot of fun as usual, but I always miss being at the farm :-)

Steve & I in the TR6. Thanks for the picture Pam!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Raising Awareness of the Threats Posed By Factory Farming

Please check out this link and consider helping the cause to bring awareness of the environmental and public health threats that factory farming causes.

Update: We still haven't heard anything new as far as the CAFO siting. Petry Trust is keeping a low profile now, not talking to anyone about what their latest plan is. They have a lot of opposition in the county, maybe that is why.
There was an article in the Vernon Broadcaster last week about making the Amish pick up their horse poo. Here is a link.

Maybe bigger issues should be the focus of the people of the county. Like the smell of a CAFO in their back yard.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Steve Mentioned in Magazine Article

It's not the first time but I thought I would share this one. The article is in the July/August issue of Chicago Home & Garden Magazine.
We have worked with the designer, Claudia Skylar of Mastro & Skylar for years and we have been written up in several magazines in the Chicago area over the years. Steve does such great work & it makes me proud.

Exiciting News!

We are going to be grandparents! Our daughter Kristin and husband Tim have officially made the announcement to everyone they know so I can share it with you now. Mid-January is the due date. Seems like she was just a baby herself.
Kristin with her bunny

I realize it has been a month since I have posted. During that time we have been busy with family time. We had our yearly trip to Minnesota, too. I have been very reflective lately about the last year of our lives. It was the one year anniversary of the accident on July 2nd. I didn't think it would hit me that hard, but it has, unfortunately. I thought I would be better (brain injury-wise) than I am. I am also still having issues with driving. Not so much when I am driving. It is when I am a passenger. Break lights ahead of us throw me into a panic. Poor Steve :-). He has to put up with my gasps when I get freaked out. I'm just not the same person as I was a year ago.

The farm is still surviving even though it has been a little neglected up until this past weekend. We stopped there on the way up to MN but it had rained so we couldn't mow. We also stopped on the way back right after it had finished raining. Both times I harvested radishes, lettuce, cilantro and garlic scapes which tasted so good, but had little time for weeding. If you can imagine, a garden without weeding
looks like this!

So we got down to business on the long 4th of July weekend and found the plants again. It is amazing how well everything grew without any care from us. We couldn't even see the rows of strawberries, but there they were, growing like crazy & putting out runners. I picked some blueberries & raspberries too. I cut off the rest of the garlic scapes & will be making garlic scape pesto this week.

(Makes about 1 cup)
10 garlic scapes, finely chopped

1/3 to 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (to taste and texture)
1/3 cup slivered almonds

Approx. 1/2 cup olive oil
Sea salt
Put the scapes, 1/3 cup of the cheese, almonds & half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor (or use a blender or a mortar and pestle). Whir to chop & blend all the ingredients & then add the remainder of the oil & if you want, more cheese. If you like the texture, stop. If you'd like it a little thinner, add some more oil. Season with salt.
If you're not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic against the surface to keep it from oxidizing. The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or packed airtight and frozen for a couple of months.

It took all day Friday and Saturday with Steve & I weeding and I continued on Sunday while he worked on the Triumph TR6 which needed a water pump.

We now have what we jokingly call "The Garden of Neglect". All the plants are weeded right around them but the isles are still weedy, but cut with a scythe. So it doesn't look like the "perfect" garden but it'll do.

The mowing is not going to happen. We don't want to ruin our lawn tractor. We'll get the weed eater out this weekend & trim around the barn, but the rest of it is fine until next year. The plus side of it is that the red clover is growing where we usually mow & I harvested the flowers for tea and tincture. Red Clover tea is medicinal. It is a sweet herb & is considered a blood purifier. It may be used to treat acne, bladder infections, boils, bronchitis, cancer, leukemia, liver disorders, nervous conditions, psoriasis, skin ailments and tumors. It is an excellent blood cleanser. Here is an article about it...

"Red clover benefits on health include improving blood circulation and cleansing the liver. Red clover contains, among other things, isoflavones, which are plant based chemicals that simulate the effects of estrogen in the body. This fact has been shown in numerous studies.
Isoflavones are known to be effective in the treatment of menopausal conditions such as hot flashes, osteoporosis and cardiac health. Thus, red clover benefits menopausal symptoms.

As mentioned above, red clover’s isoflavone compounds mimic the effects of the female hormone, estrogen. Four different isoflavones have been identified in red clover, namely - genistein, daidzein, biochanin, and formononetin. This is why red clover wins hands down when compared with the similar attributes of soy, since it contains more isoflavones than soy.
Other Constituents and Nutrients of Red Clover
Besides isoflavones, the other key components of red clover are phenolic glycosides (including salicylic acid), flavonoids, salicylates, coumarins, cyanogenic glycosides, mineral acids, volatile oil (including methyl salicylate and benzyl alcohol), sitosterols, starch as well as fatty acids.
Due to its roots running deep into the inner recesses of the earth, red clover is found to be rich in minerals and this fact is obvious from its constituents of caffeic and acids, beta-sitosterol
, coumarin, eugenol, flavonoids, salicylic acid, methyl salicylate, calcium, selenium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, molybdenum, beta-carotene and vitamins B, C, and E.
Being power packed with all these nutrients increases red clover benefits on health and makes it perennially in keen demand as a medicinal herb of immense curative powers.
Red Clover and Cancer
Red clover benefits cancer sufferers, too. The National Cancer Institute has validated the
fact that red clover, due to its anti-cancer properties, is effective in combating cancer.
Traditionally, red clover has been used as a cancer combatant. Modern studies on isoflavones have further shown initial evidence that they may prevent the growth of cancer cells in a lab environment. Hence, it has been postulated that red clover may prevent some forms of cancer, such as endometrial and prostate cancer.
A note of caution is, however, advised, as red clover mimics the effects of estrogens, and estrogens are sometimes a contributor to cancer.
Red clover benefits against cancer can be harnessed externally, too. It is frequently used externally in poultice form, as a local application for cancerous growths, and found to be
Please note that cancer is a serious and multi-factorial disease. It thus needs to be dealt with using a full-spectrum, holistic approach. Using one or two herbs is unlikely to reverse the situation.
Red Clover and Heart Health
It has also been found that red clover benefits heart health; it may be invaluable in the areas of promoting cardiovascular health and protects against heart disease in several ways.
The isoflavones, as we all know, that are a major constituent of this wonder herb and its medicinal properties, is associated with an increase in high density lipoproteins (HDL), w
hich is good cholesterol, in pre and post menopausal women.
It is believed that red clover promotes flexible and strong arteries, clinical term for the same being ‘arterial compliance’, which in turn helps prevent the onset of heart disease.
Also, since red clover is rich in coumarin, this herb is believed to possess blood thinning properties; thus, red clover benefits include improving blood circulation as well as preventing the formation of blood clots.
Red Clover and Menopause
The beneficial healing quality of red clover is also known to significantly lower the symptoms of menopause, including occurrence of hot flashes in menopausal women.

Menopause brings with it increased risks of reduced bone density in menopausal women, with its allayed risks of onset of osteoporosis. Studies on red clover have validated that isoflavones present in this herb slow down bone loss and also boost bone mineralization in menopausal women.
Other Health Benefits of Red Clover
Red clover is internally taken and found to be effective for serious ailments of the ovaries, breast, stomach, and lymphatic system.
Used as a gargle, red clover provides effective relief of oesophageal disease.
Red clover flower heads: The medicinal attributes of red clover flower heads contain coumarins, which are blood-thinning agents, or substances that reduce blood clotting.
Red clover oils: Have mild anti-inflammatory properties useful in treating skin inflammations like eczema. Also contains compounds that help soothe coughs and bring down
airway congestion; red clover has thus been used as a remedy for coughs.
Red clover herb: The health benefits of red clover have been validated by contemporary Chinese researchers, who have proven that the herb kills certain viral and fungal infections, has an estrogen-like function, and is an antispasmodic and expectorant.
External or Topical Uses of Red Clover
The benefits of red clover can also be reaped externally, where it can be applied topically, usually in combination with other herbs (e.g. burdock), to help treat skin wound
s and conditions, including bites, stings and growths.
Amongst its other uses, red clover is also used as an ointment to treat skin infections like eczema, psoriasis, and rashes.
Red clover compresses can also be used to treat the symptoms of arthritis and gout.
When gargled, red clover benefits mouth ulcers.
In addition, it can be used as eyewash to treat conjunctivitis.
In addition, red clover benefits and is externally used for various ailments like leprosy, ulcers and pellagra.
Due to the anti-cancer effects of the herb, red clover poultices are used on cancero
us growths which are visible on the surface of the body.
Other uses of Red Clover
The benefits of red clover extend beyond medicinal purposes and human health. Red clover
benefits extend to agriculture, too, where it is used to improve soil quality - it is in a symbiotic relationship with bacteria in root nodules, thus enabling the plant to 'transfer' nitrogen from the air into the soil.
Or, to put it another way, the roots of red clover have special nodules that contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria. These bacteria can ‘grab’ nitrogen from the air and make it available to the plant.
This makes the growing of red clover an effective measure to increase the fertility of soil and control soil erosion."

On the home front....I made blueberry jam the other night. Yum. Can't wait to have some of that on fresh bread. Tonight it's time to make more laundry detergent. I'll post the recipe for that later.

One last thing...sorry I haven't been reading everyone's posts lately. I really am behind on a lot of things. Hopefully, I'll catch up soon.
Fourth of July Sunset