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Saturday, 1 March 2014
Thanksgiving Dinner
Topic: Education and Values

I'm BACK! Time for a Thanksgiving dinner...

 Thanksgiving Dinner

when you realize you're thankful for everything in your life

I just returned from 16 days out of the country, on a humanitarian mission to northern Uganda. Sometimes it takes leaving one place to recognize what you've left behind. You see things better from a distance. I can tell you the trip was life changing for me and I sincerely hope I was helpful to the people I had the privilege of serving. 

I functioned for the first week as a physician, working alongside the Medical Director of St. Luke's Angal Hospital in Nebbi District,northern Uganda.  My work involved seeing patients in their OPD (outpatient department, the emergency and walk-in clinic), the isolation ward and cholera tent and serving as a physician-mentor.

The second week I functioned in my farmer role, teaching nutrition, crop diversification to provide nutrient dense foods, food safety and HACCP methodology. My final lecture to community women addressed their greatest and immediate health threats and nutrition.

I kept a detailed journal and will share stories in future posts. But for today, I simply want to share a reminder that we all need to periodically express thanksgiving for the many blessings we have. I made a Thanksgiving dinner last night and invited friends over to do just that.

The Alur tribe, the group of people we served in this mission, is geographically located about 20% in Uganda and 80% in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They were converted to Catholicism by Italian missionaries in the late 1800s, and who have stayed with the community, building their church, school, and hospital. (Interestingly, the tribe since its historical beginning in 850 AD has always been monotheist). Christianity has grounded their ethics and the basic concept of responsibility for one another. This made it easy for me to teach farmers the need for them to be the nutritionists and educate their market to the need for new crops to provide needed nutrients.

The British occupied Uganda and had taught them European farming techniques, so they all knew how to save seeds, amortize soil, do no-till gardening, etc. What they lacked, and I hope was able to provide, was the concept of a nutritionally complete diet from produce, grains, legumes-- (I'll leave the discussion about livestock to future posts.) We also addressed nutritionally vulnerable groups and food safety in detail. They “got it” and I feel confident will implement the suggestions. I was fortunate to have the minister of Agriculture and a NGO official involved in setting up community gardens send 20 trainers to my seminars. The minister of Agriculture has also taken the 120 packets of heirloom seeds and materials to start 600 new nutrient dense plants of various types and will distribute the seedlings to these farmers for the upcoming growing season to try. If they like the products, they know how to save seeds to keep them going.

My point about the Thanksgiving dinner—see how we have diverse food groups in a typical dinner? Good protein source, colorful sides. Especially note those sweet potatoes at the top. The Alur grow sweet potatoes and yams but in a sad, ironic twist, they are white and devoid of beta carotene. Consequently, the population suffers from “preventable blindness” because they have no access to orange produce. Another problem associated with vitamin A deficiency is loss of immune function due to T cell dysfunction—in a population burdened by HIV/AIDS. Needless to say, I concentrated on this nutrient, but also provided information on all essential vitamins and nutrients and what to grow for your community's health.


 For today, let me share this quick recipe for glazed sweet potatoes (though a quick microwave bake with butter, salt and pepper sounds good too!).


Clean and place about 4 lbs. of sweet potatoes in a pot to boil about 15 minutes, tender but still firm.

Discard the water, and peel the skins from the flesh of the potato. The skins should come off easily.

Cut the potatoes into quarters or wedges.

In a large skillet, melt one stick of butter. Add ½ cup of orange juice and ½ cup brown sugar.

Bring to a simmer and add the cut up sweet potatoes, turning to coat and heat through.

Posted by Karen at 10:20 CST
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Tuesday, 21 January 2014
Easy Poached Salmon
Topic: Education and Values

The Arctic Blast is back!  And I'm sure by looking at the weather maps, that wherever you are reading this, .you may be affected too.

This awful weather is a huge burden on your body  through direct physical effects of being outside and exposure to the risks of cold temperatures and an icy, accident-promoting landscape, and physical activity that is necessary to perform in the cold weather. But it is also hazardous to you indirectly because of the psychologic stress that unpredictable weather produces, not knowing if you can get to work, wondering about your elderly relatives' safety, concern for your family and pets--and importantly, not being able to predict or control any of it! Every aspect of your body is affected from your immune system, making you more susceptible to infection and lowering your response to fighting cancer, to your heart and circulatory system, making you more susceptible to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. 

So, how about an easy dinner filled with protein, omega 3 fatty acids and a bonus of B vitamins and  selenium?

Easy Poached Salmon

(in the microwave)

Select a salmon filet, allowing 6 oz. per serving.

 Place in a shallow pyrex or glass pan.

Mix 1/2 lemon juice and 1/2 water, sufficient to fill pan to1/2 height of the thickest part of the salmon.

Sprinkle liberally with dried dillweed. 

Microwave on high for 4 minutes, then check the fish. The exact time will depend on the size and thickness of your filet. It is done when the fish is completely pink and easily separates with a fork (flakes). Notice the color difference between uncooked and cooked.

Now serve with some colorful vegetables (salmon with spinach is always a winning combination!) to round out this appealing dinner. 



Posted by Karen at 10:31 CST
Updated: Thursday, 23 January 2014 07:49 CST
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Tuesday, 7 January 2014
The Arctic Blast 2014
Topic: Education and Values

The worst is over for this Arctic Blast and its minus 50 degree wind chills. But it's still sub-zero today (though without the wind, it does feel like a mini-heat wave).

Winter still continues for another two-and-a-half-months and – what do you think the chances are that we'll have an “early Spring”. (We've all seen snow on Mother's Day.) I'd advise everyone to keep your pantries stocked with the staples and the gas tanks full at all times. And, I doubt I'll be abandoning the mega-layers of clothing for some time.

How're the animals doing, you may wonder? Especially the cattle who live "free range"?

Well, here's a photo of the some of the cattle early this morning, after 48 hours of windchills between minus 30 and minus 50 degrees. (My phone camera “failed to initialize” after two photos in the still bitter cold, before I could photograph more. No problem, I shouldn't have left my hand out of my gloves for any longer either.)



They have the three things that cattle need to survive arctic cold: wind shelter, plenty of hay, water.

On our farm, we have several pastures that link together so that we rotate them easily between the pastures. During the time the grasses are growing, usually we move the herd of 60 plus cattle between each 20-30 acre pasture, allowing them to graze it, then move to the next in a process known as “rotational grazing.” Depending upon grass growth, they could be in a pasture one week or three weeks. During dormancy, this might be sometimes only a few days. We round on the animals and pastures twice a day to determine when to move.

But in the Winter, there is no pasture grass to graze, it's under ice and snow. Instead, the hundreds of hay bales that were made from our designated hay fields are served to the cattle, horses, and sheep. “Make hay while the sun shines” is a critical piece of advice that we quote often. We were lucky to get 4 cuttings of hay from some fields last Summer. And, as this Winter is showing, you can never say you have “too much hay.”

Hay (a dry combination of different cut and baled grasses and legumes) is the only feed allowed for Animal Welfare Approved and American Grassfed Association cattle and sheep. It is their natural diet and life-saving in bitter cold, because the digestion process of hay actually creates heat (as opposed to grain which consumes heat and can produce acidosis).

So, in the Winter, we move our cattle to a central pasture and lowlands area. They are still “free range” in this 30+ acre area, but they have natural shelter in a basin area with hills and with plenty of tall trees to provide additional wind protection. And there is a long stretch of clean, free-flowing creek. Even after the last 48 hours of arctic blast, here's a picture of one pool in the creek. The surface may be frozen, but there's flowing water available at the bank, that they are keeping open.



Our cattle eat free choice, not at specified times like in a feedlot, so there are always bales of hay available. They have “group-designated” a particularly wind-sheltered, woody area for ruminating. Incidentally, the herd has a favorite ruminating spot in each pasture, which is always under the trees, winter or summer. Lucky animals—and smart husband—each pasture is delineated to have large stands of trees, so they have the shade protection of trees in the summer.

I'm happy to report no ill-effects observed from this Arctic blast, but I caution everyone to remember, it's still sub-zero and a long time until the grass is green again! The chickens still need to be fed and watered inside their coops, they wisely refuse to freeze their feet. And, every animal that eats hay needs extra hay and water. Every animal needs wind (and rain and sleet!) protection.

And we still need every one of those extra layers of clothing!

Posted by Karen at 12:48 CST
Updated: Tuesday, 7 January 2014 13:12 CST
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Saturday, 14 December 2013
Crunch Time Recipes
Topic: Education and Values

I had the great fortune to have a paternal grandfather who was a baker. As a child, my memories of the bakery developed my future palette and palate--unlimited tortes, whipped cream delicacies, sugar encrusted pieces of art and real bread.

Likely you, my Reader, have similar memories of your parents' and grandparents' kitchens, filled with the most beautiful culinary delights, especially at holidays. I am not going to presume to teach you anything traditional this year. Savor your family heritage!

But, if you, like me--have a very willing but culinary challenged spouse or partner, put him/her to work on this simple recipe. It can provide an artistic diversion because, you can vary it a bit and call it your own. It requires few kitchen skills and will be appreciated however it turns out!

In case they are really kitchen challenged, please remind them to tie back hair (if applicable) and WASH their hands (20 seconds with soap and water)....ok start. 




  Easy Bourbon Balls

(about 4 dz 1 inch balls)

2 c ground vanilla wafers (use food processor)

¼ cup bourbon

Combine above together in a large bowl. Then add the following: 

1 pkg (12 oz.)semi sweet chocolate chips, melted in the mircowave

2/3 c. sweetened condensed milk

Mix thoroughly.

In separate bowls, have some powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and ground nuts to roll the balls in.

Have a tray or serving platter prepped with paper candy liners (available in the baking section of most groceries). If you have this ready, then you'll be able to immediately place the coated ball into its liner which is the plan.

Using a teaspoon, scoop the mixture into your nice warm palm and rotate until you have a 1” sphere. Take the ball, still warm from your hands and roll it in one of the toppings, then place in its paper candy liner. When all are done, refrigerate. The balls become firm, solid after chilling. They can then be packed into containers and taken to your party or neighbor's—that is, shared.

Note: My husband used DARK chocolate chips and Wild Turkey so I know they'll be yummy—and adults' only!.

Posted by Karen at 16:38 CST
Updated: Saturday, 14 December 2013 16:56 CST
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Thursday, 12 December 2013
Last Minute Gift Ideas
Topic: Education and Values

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas for the Foodie and Gardener...

I know it's crunch time and the most difficult people are left for you to choose for Christmas gifts. You probably have already done your homemade gifts in advance. Certainly, you paid attention to making preserves, canning , floral sugar, wine etc. weeks ago.

So the people left...they are also the most important people, aren't they? Moms, wives, husbands and close friends--those fellow sustainable gardeners and foodies....the hardest of all...

How about a few ideas?

First, the crockpot...if they have one size, get the other...For example, Mom has the perfect size for her and Dad. Then, buy her the bigger crockpot for Beef Burgundy on Bastille Day! Or, she has the mega-size, then get her the one that will make Beef short ribs or Osso Bucco for her and Dad!

How about that Immersion Blender. If the Foodie on your list does not have an immersion blender, then THIS is THE gift for them. They will love you for it!

Then there are the two things every good gardener should have: SALAD SPINNER and FOOD DEHYDRATOR. If you've read the Summer/Fall blogs, you need no further explanation.

And, there's the gift every sustainable gardener will love...a gift card for a truly great organic seed company. Why not? Even if they have researched everything, every gardener has a curiosity to try something new. I like http://www.groworganic.com/peaceful-valley-gift-card.html but there are infinite options for you once you start looking.

How about a really out-of-the-box idea for the person in your life who DOES know everything about gardening and food safety but just lacks a “credential”? One of the best gifts would be to fund a course in safe food handling that leads to a certification. Why? Because there is a certain confidence and “street cred” one gets from certification. Try


You can also check your local extensions from your state and regional universities for great programs in good agricultural practices and safe produce handling.

For example, I have taken classroom courses through Iowa State University http://www.extension.iastate.edu/ and online courses through Cornell  http://www.gaps.cornell.edu/ 

You can check out options in your state but also consider the national programs that will allow your “gift recipient” to chat with like-minded people around the country while they take their virtual courses!

These ideas may be “last minute” but they may end up being...perfect for the perfect person!

Posted by Karen at 16:17 CST
Updated: Friday, 13 December 2013 10:30 CST
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Saturday, 7 December 2013
Yogurt--Breakfast and Beauty ?
Topic: Education and Values

Now that Winter is settling in ( I know technically it's still Autumn but it was 3 degrees this morning at the Farm!)--everyone is inside, we are cold-stressed, our resistance is lowered and exposure to illness heightened. Don't forget to include yogurt in your diet.

Here's my favorite breakfast that takes no time to create. Plain yogurt, mixed nuts, a drizzle of honey.



 Now... what about this yogurt recipe?


Looks edible,doesn't it? Well, it's another yogurt recipe but this one is the real focus of today's blog. The weather and the holiday food and just the aging process are likely doing a number on your face, so why not try this ANTIOXIDANT-YOGURT FACE MASK ?  You probably have everything around to make this right now.

 Antioxidant- Yogurt Facial Mask

2 Tbsp. Coffee grounds, fresh, cooled

2Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

3 Tbsp. Plain, unsweetened yogurt (greek styled or regular)

1 Tbsp. Honey

Conbine in a mini-processor or hand mix very well.

Apply the mixture with a cotton ball, disposable makeup pad, OR your fingers to your entire face and under the chin and lower jaw, avoiding the eyes. It's a thin mixture, so slide it on but do NOT rub it into the skin since the grounds can actually scratch the facial skin. (note: avoid rubbing any masks or scrubs with particles into the face for this reason) Just apply it on the skin surfaces and let it dry. Keep it on about 20-30 minutes. Then—into the shower and let warm water rinse it off.

You will notice very smooth skin and a reduction in puffiness and wrinkles!

Refrigerate the remaining mask mixture and you can repeat a mask in the next couple of days while it's still fresh and use-able.

Obviously, do not use this recipe if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.



Posted by Karen at 10:30 CST
Updated: Monday, 16 December 2013 22:19 CST
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Saturday, 16 November 2013
Make Your Own Fruit Wine--a kitchen craft you should know!
Topic: Education and Values

Make a Quality Berry CountryWine

Good day, post-modern Pioneer! Here's a skill you may want to add to your kitchen competencies...how to make a rustic, berry wine. This is a long post but well worth the read and print and keep for future reference!


Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas are all just around the corner and we know “it's all about the food.” In fact, most of the time, we're just serving mineral or ice water at the table, occasionally a white or rose' wine. But, this year, why not consider crafting your own rustic, dry wine using a non-grape fruit concentrate? Unlike our wonderful and ancient grape winemaking techniques, this simple berry wine is relatively quick because non-grape fruit wines do NOT improve with age or oak or anything else. They are what they are once the fermentation process is over.

Now, I am not talking about those overly yeasty “jug” wines of old—or that fruit, sugar and alcohol blend bad idea you picked up at a tourist resort. You can actually make a pretty decent wine with the old balloon-as-airlock if you apply some of the concepts used in traditional grape wine-making to your “Berry Country Wine Recipe”.

This recipe will yield 2- 750ml bottles of wine when the whole process is over, a nice amount for sampling with a holiday dinner So, if you want more, then double the recipe and number of fermentation bottles.

I am also going to assume you want to work with products and supplies you have at home or can easily get at a grocery, meaning frozen fruit concentrates, pure cane sugar, and rapid-rising yeast granules found in the baking section.




This wine will be sulfate free, but that means you must adhere to food safety principles of cleaning and you must assure your alcohol content will be adequate at the end of the process to kill any bacteria and yeast. We'll do that by adjusting the sugar content at the beginning.

This simplified methodology will give you a nice, light and fruity, and DRY final product. Serve chilled.

Berry Country Wine

( for 2- 750 ml bottles)


2 half gallon glass milk bottles

Small jar with lid to make yeast mixture

2 clean, uninflated Balloons


2 disposable, paper Coffee Filters to fit into the funnel for later transfer

2 screw top wine bottles, recycled, cleaned and sanitized, or

Glass wine decanter or pitcher with cap



2- 12oz. Cans of 100% Juice concentrate—your choice cranberry, any berry with berry blend.

(Note: Read the ingredients list very carefully. It's OK if apple juice or grape concentrate is in the blend, but it must NOT contain any high fructose corn syrup or sucralose, or any other additives, EXCEPT for Citric Acid and/or Ascorbic acid—these are OK additives.)

Filtered, pure water – 48 oz. to reconstitute the concentrate,

¼ cup for yeast mixture, ¼ cup for simple syrup mixture

(again read all the ingredients to make sure there's nothing added in the water, you don't want flouride or s ofteners, just plain, filtered water)

Pure Cane Sugar : (1) ½ cup mixed in ¼ cup of boiling water, and (2) 1 Tbsp mixed with ¼ cup warm water and ½ tsp. Yeast

Rapid Rising Yeast ½ tsp of granules mixed with sugar and water as above.


(Note: I used this blend: “Old Orchard 100% Juice Blueberry-Pomegranate” which also contained Aronia berry juice, apple juice, and grape juice. I am expecting all these fruits to be expressed in the final wine. I looked for Cranberry juice but the blends were limited to cran-apple, cran-raspberry and the super-antioxidants in the blueberry-pomegranate and Aronia berry won me over.)

(Note: Even though we did not dilute this concentrate fully, The BRIX of this mixture was still only 15. Unlike wine grapes which naturally have high BRIX at maturity, our non-grape fruit concentrates will need  more sugar in order to yield an alcohol content needed for food safety as well as appropriateness for a dinner wine.)

(This produced a BRIX of 20, potentially an alcohol of about 10-10.6%.)

Here's what you should have at the end of 24 hours.

This is Day 2 at the time of maximum yeast growth and conversion of sugars to alcohol. It's cloudy and you may wonder “why on earth did I do this, I certainly won't drink this concoction?”

Trust me. Be patient. You can wait a few more days. As the yeast utilizes the sugar and converts it to alcohol, then higher alcohol content will kill off the yeast.

And your next thought is: “Will that balloon will explode?” It won't- it's porous and excess gases will escape.


At THE END OF WEEK ONE: I tested the specific gravity and BRIX again. Not ready, even though the wine was clearing and the yeast-y top receding.

Lift the edge of each balloon, deflate them and replace.

WAIT ANOTHER WEEK. During this time, you'll see for yourself that additional air will fill into the balloon showing there's still fermentation going on.

AT THE END OF WEEK TWO: The specific gravity is 0.995 and you can see the top surface is pretty clear, there's sediment on the bottom which is actually the dead yeast cells.

Now we're ready to remove the balloons and pour the wine into the prepped empty wine bottles, through a coffee filter lined funnel. I say “very gently” because we do not want to disturb the yeast sediment lying at the bottom of the jars. That sediment should be discarded, not bottled.

The wine should be capped and again allowed to sit undisturbed and upright (in the refrigerator now) for another week or more, as additional sediment will descend to the bottom, further clarifying the wine. Basically, this “Country Wine” is ready to drink as early as 2 weeks from the time we started this project, or you can keep longer in the refrigerator.


This wine has a beautiful color, and lovely fruity fragrances with no off-odors or chemical smells. It is a dry wine, so makes a good table wine for those heavier holiday foods.

This works because we used a good quality fruit concentrate, did not reach for the stars in terms of expectations of creating a Gold Medal aged, vintage, estate grape wine, but instead set our goals on a blended berry wine with reasonable palatability (nice acidity, pH 3.5, alcohol about 10%) and interesting complexity. We got the bonus of playing around with all of these super-fruits --blueberry, pomegranate, Aronia berry--known for their high anti-oxidants, making it a good conversation piece. And, we got to work our primal, pioneering spirit into the blend.

We made a DRY, TABLE wine, that's now fully fermented. If you want to change this into a sweet wine, at this point you can do so by adding simple syrup: 1 oz pure cane sugar, dissolved in 1 oz. water. Add ½ oz (that's 1 TBSP or 15 ml) to each bottle and you'll convert the dry wine to a sweet wine.

IF you simply must “Craft” your wine further: You can add aliquots of a dry red (grape) wine into your berry wine for more complex flavor profiles in a “blended” wine.

Posted by Karen at 10:35 CST
Updated: Friday, 29 November 2013 17:48 CST
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Saturday, 26 October 2013
Drying herbs (and flower petals and leaves???)
Topic: Education and Values

Dry some herbs? (Or petals or floral leaves?)

Might be your last chance

It's not too late to salvage some of your woody herbs and other perennial herbs before they go dormant. And maybe you are lucky enough to still have some parsley or cilantro or even basil  tolerating the colder weather. Why not harvest a bunch of these herbs and dry them-- then make your own "soup-and- stew" blend to use throughout the winter months...and don't forget you can even make a fine tea out of your dried mint leaves while you're at it!

Cut full stems of herbs and then wash in a cool water bath, changing water as needed. You can then spin them in a salad spinner, if you have a lot, or layer them between paper towels and pat dry. Cut off the stems of parsley, cilantro, mint because you just want dried leaves. But leave thyme, oregano, and rosemary on the stems until they are dried because they will be easier to strip from the stems when dried.

Then it's time for drying. I use a food dehydrator, well worth the initial expense because you can dry herbs with minimal heat but adjust up the heat as needed to dry other products like fruits and jerky. (And maybe some rose petals or pine needles for potpourri)



It's versatile. However, you can also make your own dehydrator for herbs with a simple box fan and using a sanitized window screen on which to layer the herbs --in a warm room or porch.

Using the food dehydrator, it will take about eight hours (overnight) to dry sprigs of thyme, parsley, cilantro, mint, and basil leaves, oregano, rosemary and similar herbs. High water content, larger leaves such as sage will take twice as long.

Layer the leaves in a single layer and dry. Sprigs should dry first, then “strip” the leaves off. Combine your dried herbs and store in a glass container.

Now—for some REAL fun—look at this wonderful idea my friend and piano teacher, Sonja Bauer, gave me this week.

How about drying the leaves of your remaining scented geranium plants and then layering them in pure cane sugar? If you dry the leaves, layer them in sugar in a glass jar and let them set for a few weeks....



You'll have this amazing geranium scented sugar to lace your favorite tea with as the snow flies next month! And –doesn't that look like a wonderful hostess gift for the holidays???


Posted by Karen at 19:31 CDT
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Thursday, 22 August 2013
Science 101: Symbiosis
Topic: Education and Values

Symbiosis—remember this from your Science classes? -It's the concept of two organisms co-existing, for the benefit of each. A “win-win” situation in life!

I recall learning about fungi and plants and similar biologic relationships as examples of symbiosis. But it's really much more interesting than fungi on a tree.

"Mutualism is any relationship between individuals of different species where both individuals benefit. In general, only lifelong interactions involving close physical and biochemical contact can properly be considered symbiotic. Mutualistic relationships may be either obligate for both species, obligate for one but facultative for the other, or facultative for both. Many biologists restrict the definition of symbiosis to close mutualist relationships "(source: Wikipedia)

This is probably an easier subset of symbiosis to understand because, if we simply observe the natural world around us, we see many examples.

However, we need to be aware of our role in the natural world, and our need to fulfill our role in nature. I took these pictures this afternoon,simply by looking in the yard and fields around the farm house. Your examples may be seen on a walk to the park or nature center, or in your own garden. LOOK closely at the natural world around you. Walden Pond was actually very small by our standards today and yet, what did Thoreau relate to us that is still relevant today?

 “It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.” 

― Henry David Thoreau

For some examples, look below and answer the question: Who are the participants in these four examples of symbiotic mutualism?







1.  The picture of the horses and guinea fowl may be confusing—but they're a great example of the mutualism symbiotic relationship. Guineas eat ticks and insects that would otherwise infect the horses. They also like the weed seeds in the horse pastures. So how lucky are those horses who have guinea fowl free-ranging with them!

2.  Next is the picture of trees with cattle sleeping under the canopy of shade trees. That one's easy, too. The trees provide shade from the hot sun for these black Angus who clearly need to be out of direct sunlight in the Summer. The exchange win for the trees? Cow paddies, of course—the best fertilizer. And cows don't disturb trees or harm their bark.

Next—YOU are a party in these relationships.

3. Butterflies need butterfly bushes and similar plants that are planted by HUMANS to exist. It takes literally generations of butterflies, each moving along their part of the route, to complete a full migration. And only your deliberate planting of butterfly habitat can help their multi-generational migration because pesticides and habitat elimination threaten their existence. In many geographic areas, humans are the only key to their continued existence.

Your benefit from butterflies? You can answer that, can't you?

4. Hummingbirds—ditto as butterflies. You must provide, if you can tune into your intrinsic response to nature's call. And, I believe you can understand this if you simply take the time to observe the details of your surroundings outside the confines of your house. So, take a walk and OBSERVE. Be a scientist.

It's fun!

It's important.  

Posted by Karen at 21:44 CDT
Updated: Thursday, 22 August 2013 21:47 CDT
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Saturday, 25 May 2013
Sweet and Savory Kale
Topic: Education and Values

It has been busy around this Farm the past two weeks--but the garden is finally planted and the new calves are being born on schedule.

Last night after spending the entire previous day-- several hours-- non-stop planting transplants and seeds and diligently watering them all in, we stopped for about 10 minutes to watch the amazing full moon rise  No, I didn't get a photo, a slow motion video would've been more interesting. It was a great conclusion to weeks of prep work by the tractor and my husband and then both of us finally planting everything.


So, the cattle are busy eating THEIR greens.




But, MY greens are still twinkles in my eyes. I had to resort to the fresh market for a package of kale. And, I'm so glad I did. I found this great recipe that I am sharing below "Sweet and Savory Kale".


If you'll recall in my last post, I mentioned that certain people should not eat raw food, because no matter how well it is washed, it is not sterile, so there are still organisms on the surfaces. For those with weakened immune systems or low white blood cell counts, they shouldn't take the chance of getting infections from raw foods. But EVERYONE can eat this cooked kale recipe, because the food is heated through, above the so-called "temperature danger zone" (41-135 degrees F) where bacteria multiply best. Because it's a cooked food, you should refrigerate leftovers promptly and then re-heat leftovers (this "previously heated food") to 165 degrees.


Wow! Lots of food safety rules but worth the read--keep everything safe for everyone!


Sweet and Savory Kale



(Nature's Greens Recipe)



2 Tbsp. Olive oil


½ medium onion, chopped (I used a red onion)


3 large clove soft garlic, minced



Heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute onion and garlic, until soft.



Whisk together:


2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard


1 Tbsp. cider vinegar


1&1/4 cups of chicken broth


Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and add:



12 cups of washed and chopped kale leaves (1 lb bag of pre-prepped kale greens)



Stir in the greens and cook until the kale leaves are wilted.



Add: 1/3 cup dried cranberries, stir and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, at least 10 minutes.



(The recipe also calls for ¼ cup sliced almonds sprinkled on top but I omitted this, favoring the cooked greens right at this point.)

Doesn't this look good???






Posted by Karen at 21:36 CDT
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