Saturday, June 2

Tail End of the Week: Get Your Friday Farm Fix #12

Welcome to the Friday Farm Fix, a new series on Farmgirl Fare where I share a random sampling (that sometimes appears on Saturdays) of what's been happening around the farm during the past week. Just joining us? You'll find all the Friday Farm Fix posts here.

6-1-12 Friday Farm Fix #12 (1) -

The word of this past week was definitely PEEP! It seems like there are baby chicks hatching everywhere, including another one since last night. The chick pics were starting to take over this post, though, so instead I'll do a separate peep report in the next few days. Maybe the number of new babies will have stabilized by then. In the meantime, they sure are cute to watch.

A brief respite from the unseasonable heat and humidity, along with just under an inch of rain (woohoo!), has made us (and the entire farm) very happy indeed. We turned off the a/c and even put a blanket on the bed last night. We're headed right back into another heat wave, but at least the dust has settled and the grass in the fields doesn't crunch as much when you walk on it. They're even teasing us with more rain in the 10-day forecast.

My hunky farmguy Joe is doing better (hello Sheep Working Sunday!) and was even out on the tractor yesterday and today. I've been busy planting and picking (and watering) in the kitchen garden. Four more tomato plants went in the ground (lots more still to go) along with eight California Golden Wonder sweet peppers, and 20 tiny purple basil seedlings were transplanted into individual plugs. Learn what to do with purple basil here (hint: it makes amazing pesto).

The garden is at that point where everything seems to be suddenly taking off. One day you're delighted to spot a couple of baby beans, and just a few days later you're filling up a colander.

We've been enjoying the first sweet and crunchy, easy to grow Dragon Tongue beans (I love them raw), pretty salads starring Parris Island cos lettuce, and spring onions galore. The flea beetles have been enjoying pretty much everything. Fortunately their nibbling doesn't usually kill plants. The first Japanese beetles have already been spotted; fingers crossed their numbers—and their damage—won't be nearly as bad as last year. They do kill stuff.

I picked 8½ pounds (!) of volunteer Swiss chard from the greenhouse (and that wasn't even all of it), along with enough lemon balm to make about 75 gallons of sun tea. Learn How To Grow Your Own Swiss Chard from Seed here. I see a Swiss Chard Artichoke Pizza in our future, and some of this Swiss Chard Cabbage Salad with Garbanzo Beans and Cottage Cheese. Read about growing, drying, and using lemon balm here.

It's hard to believe it's already the beginning of June, although it's pretty much felt like June since March. The echinacea (purple coneflower) just started blooming. We'll be picking juicy, ripe tomatoes before you know it.

21 more farm photos below. . .

Homemade pizza night! My favorite simple pizza dough recipe is here, and my easy Italian sausage recipe is here.

Have a great weekend!

Want a bigger farm fix?

©, where I can't think of a single thing to say here—probably because dinner's ready (or maybe because it took me like eight hours to put up this post). Time to turn off the computer and eat—and spend tomorrow watching baby chicks and working in the garden. Oh, and working sheep (Sunday!).


  1. Hi Susan! I love your pictures! Last week a farmer showed me how flea beetles will go after mustard and leave other stuff alone.
    He plants a short row amongst crops and lures the beetles to the mustard.

    1. Hi Faith,
      Thanks for the great tip. I stopped growing mustard a while ago because I realized I didn't really care for it, but I'm definitely going to start planting some again! :)

  2. That first photo, and the one of the rooster are just so gorgeous-you really have a great eye. Your plantings are so much further along than ours in the Northeast! Envious!

  3. Happy Joe is doing better! Happy too that your Swiss Chard is prolific. Last year I froze SC and kale for the first time and was so glad I did. I blanched the shreds for 2-1/2 minutes, plunged into ice bath, wrung in kitchen towel (which is still delightfully greenish today :)) and froze in single layer on sheet pan, then into gallon zip bags. All winter we could pull out handfuls which cooked up in no time when we wanted a snappy, healthy homegrown green. I have you to thank for encouraging me to grow Swiss Chard and we all are so grateful! Enjoy your bounty.

    1. Hi Cary,
      I love that you now love Swiss chard, and it's all my fault. ;) I was just thinking maybe this would be the year I try freezing some. Thanks for the great tips!

  4. I always notice, with awe, that your animals all get along perfectly. They seem to be one big, happy family.
    Any suggestions???

    1. Hey Gramps,
      That's easy - when the animals aren't getting along, I'm too busy yelling to snap photos. ;)

      All kidding aside, our animals do get along remarkably well, though not all the time. Of course being with other species are stock dog Bear and livestock guardians Daisy and Marta's jobs.

      As for the photo of beagle Bert in (his) bed with Molly Doodlebug (aka The Doodle Monster), she climbed in with him because she couldn't get him to vacate that spot with her death stare, and now he's too terrified to move. ;)

  5. Susan, I just love that last photo you posted. It is so metaphoric for life. Most of the pic is horizontal and serene (but not boring) but the circle of barbed wire on the fence line seems to represent the ever-cyclical stages of the seasons, and if you look closely you see some of the barbs that we inevitably experience in life that give it the texture and challenge that we all experience even when it seems serene from a distance. Thanks so much for sharing snippets of your life. You must be so busy.

    1. Wow, what a beautiful way of looking at that photo. Thanks, Michelle. :)

  6. Lovely photos! We, too, tossed a blanket on our bed the last few nights. Unfortunately no rain, though, and none predicted for anytime soon. How about you give your rain clouds a little shove northward? :)

  7. It's looking very BOOM! on the farm :) I just spotted the very first tiny green marble tomatoes on the plants this morning, so it's getting all BOOM! around here in CA, too. Though I don't have any super painfully cute fluffy chicks to cuddle. I'd be tempted to carry one around in my pocket while doing farm chores.

    Meanwhile, the photo of Molly Doodlebug in the window had me cracking up. She's a freak.

  8. I loved the before and after pictures of the Swiss chard and lemon balm! What a difference!
    Good to hear Joe's back is doing better! :)
    It's hard to believe that our growing season here in AZ is behind yours, my echinacea is just now budding out! :)

  9. Hi Susan. What a delightful collection of photos that show your farm life so well. I so happy that rain has come your way and more is forecast to come, and that HFG Joe is doing better. I do much of the outside work on our place (except for the really big jobs like chain sawing and berry whacking) and I know you do too, so to think of you taking on even more while Joe was hurt made me wince for you. In your shoes, I think I would just sit down and cry. ;) So I'm glad to know things are getting back to normal.

  10. There are too many great shots in that post to even try to pick a favorite!!

  11. thanks, always feel better after reading your posts and seeing the farm. love that beagle! and now, I want to find some of those dragon beans and plant those too!

  12. Dear Susan,
    I have been following your blog for the last few years and am looking forward to each new post! I even tried a number of your food recipes, including the wonderful tomato basil pizza, the picture of which I posted on my Flickr page, in case you would like to take a look:-):

    I was wondering if you would share with me your lemon balm sun tea recipe? I have lots of beautiful lemon balm ready to be cut. I usually combine lemon balm, spearmint and mint in tea making but find the lemon balm aloneon to have an unappealing taste.

    1. Hi MMD,
      My apologies for the delayed reply. I'm still trying to figure out where the last few weeks went, lol.

      Your pizza is beautiful! And your mint tea sounds like a perfect combination. I'll have to try it. As for my lemon balm sun tea - there isn't a recipe, it's more like The Lazy Girl's Way To Make Sun Tea:

      Take a half gallon canning jar (I LOVE these jars) and stuff some fresh lemon balm into it. Fill with water. Stick in the sun. :)

      I have noticed that sometimes the leaves will darken in the water and the tea won't taste as good. I'm not sure if it has something to do with the age of the leaves - I haven't done any scientific experimenting.

      If I'm feeling really energetic, I'll toss a couple of bags of Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer Tea (which I've been loving for 25 years) into the jar, which really adds a nice flavor.


  13. I simply love your blog. The pictures makes me want to pack my bags and drive out to the middle of no where and start this set up. I think its the bestest life possible. Fresh air, fresh food, surrounded by little creatures. I'd be so HAPPY living it.

  14. Hi Everbody,
    Thanks so much for the great comments - you know I always appreciate your feedback. And I'm so glad you're all enjoying the Friday Farm Fix!


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love hearing about your experiences with my recipes. Comments on older posts are always welcome!

Please note that I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be a while before yours appears.

I try my best to answer all questions, though sometimes it takes me a few days. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your e-visits to our farm!