Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother Earth News Fair 2017

Once again we visited the Mother Earth News Fair 2017 in Asheville, NC. We drove over to the fair early on Saturday morning. Grand fixed us breakfast sandwiches to take with us, so we stopped on the way to eat. Ater a couple of hours on the road we arrived at the fair, well almost. First, we had to make our way through all the traffic. Finally, we were looking out at many interesting exhibitors and shows. First, we went to the Expo building and visited Homestead Iron. We visited their booth at the last fair and bought some of their hand tools and have enjoyed using them. We stopped by their booth again this year and bought two more of their spades and a rake to dig up rocks. After that, we stopped by the Premier 1 fencing company to see about fencing for free ranging the chickens on the pasture. We also wondered if they offered a fencing that had a cover so that hawks couldn't swoop down and eat our chickens. The Premier salesperson said that they didn't offer that yet, but that they were working on it. We also talked to Premier about deer fencing to fence in our garden to keep the deer from eating our vegetables. We also looked at some different types of solar cookers. There were two types we liked. One of the cookers was made by Solavore and had a large tin box with one end open. It uses your current pots/pans and allows you to easily access the food inside. The other type we liked was made by All American Sun Ovens and has a black box with a plastic top that opens. Above that, there is a set of four tin sheets to reflect the sun into the box. It also had a thermometer included so you can know the temperature your food is cooking at. After we browsed around the fair for a little while, we found Twin Oaks Farm. They were selling goat milk products and natural bug repellent. While there, we met Karen White and Susan Smith. They were very nice and we found out that they breed Great Pyrenees dogs and Kinder Goats, both of which we are interested in. Kinder Goats are a mix between Pigmy Goats and Nubian Goats. They have the high butterfat milk of a Nubian with the size of a Pigmy. Later, we stopped by Bushy Mountain Bee Company. There we looked at some different types of bee hives. We looked at a "display hive" where you can see the bees inside the hive without disturbing them. We would love one of these to show poeple when they visit the farm. Next, we visited the animals. We saw some chickens and a team of oxen. The team was being trained at the fair and were starting to work as a team. We also got to see some large, heritage breed turkeys. We hope to add some of these to our farm in the future. We saw some rabbits at the fair and would also like to add them to our farm. The rabbits we saw are known as Angora Rabbits that have a lot of fur.We found out that they must be brushed once a week. We might get a rabbit with a little less hair.  We attended a number of presentations about everything from Sourdough Bread to Wildcrafted Cocktails.We also enjoyed going to Women in Agriculture and Taking care of Business. One presentation that we loved was on marketing and podcasts. There we met C S Wurzberger also known as the Green Up Girl. She was very nice and agreed to help us with marketing our farm to the public. She also agreed to help us launch a weekly podcast. We are happy to announce that podcasts will be coming soon! We have enjoyed going to the Mother Earth News Fair and we are already looking forward to next year!

Love their tools!


Summer wanted to bring this sweetie home 

Dawson and the Green Up Girl

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Grand's Ground Beef Stroganoff

     This is a recipe we cook often. It's a dish that's a very quick and simple supper when your running late or just don't know what to fix. It's a great recipe for any time of year.


2 lb of ground beef
2 large chopped onions
2 cups of chopped mushrooms
2 cups of whole milk or half and half
3 Tbs corn starch
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup of ketchup
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of pepper


1. Brown Ground Beef and add onions and mushrooms, cook until tender.
2. Mix cornstarch, garlic powder, salt, and pepper Pour in milk stir until cornstarch is dissolved.
3. Add milk mixture to cooked beef, onions and mushrooms.
4. Bring to a boil and cook until milk mixture thickens, stirring to prevent sticking.
5. Add ketchup and stir into mixture 
6. Turn off heat and stir in sour cream.
7. Serve over noodles.

Hints from Grand

      We like this served over noodles but it is wonderful over rice, creamed potatoes or even toast. It is good with green peas on the side or you can add the peas to the meat mixture for a one dish meal. You can add the raw peas with the onions and the mushrooms and they will cook just fine in with everything else.  The pear salad is just home canned pears with a little mayonnaise and some grated cheese. It is a really quick side you just mix it all together and serve. If you are using store canned pears halves you just top each half with a small amount of mayo and sprinkle with cheese.  

Top Beef Stroganoff, Bottom Left Pear salad,
Bottom Right peas.

Monday, May 8, 2017

We got a Tractor!

      Life has really changed at Sweet Summer Farm. We bought a tractor! Ever since we bought our farm about 2 years ago we always thought how a tractor would help us. "A tractor would help us move this" or "A tractor would plow this" was something that was heard often on our farm. We always kept our eye out for a good deal. We looked at dealerships, E-Bay, Craig's List, etc. but never found the right deal. We looked for about a year and a half with no luck. Then, a break! our grandfather found an add in the paper from AgPro. The AgPro dealership was all the way in Gainsville (an hour away), so we loaded up the whole family to head south. When we arrived at the dealership, we were met by a very friendly salesman named Jeff Jenson. We looked at a couple of tractors, some larger, some smaller, and talked about what we would need for our small farm. We decided on one of John Deere's package deals. The deal we chose gave us a tractor, a trailer, a mower, a plow, plus a bucket on the front.  With this deal, we could get everything we needed for our farm. Once we found this deal, our grandfather decided to purchase it. We are really enjoying our new tractor. It has already made a big difference on the way we do things now at the farm. We are enlarging our vegetable beds over three times the size we had last year. We are now able to move lots of things with the bucket on the tractor that before were overwhelming. The mowing of the pasture is now a quick job we can do ourselves.We are looking forward to all the ways we are going to put this new tractor to work.