Garlic (Kitchen) Tools – Pros and Cons

While we are on the topic of garlic (if you saw my last post) I wanted to share with you this post from 2015. It is a review of some garlic kitchen tools that I own.
Before you read it I need to let you know that I have tried my homemade coffee soap to remove the smell of garlic from my hands (as I mentioned I would) and yes, it does work.
Thanks for reading.

Don't Eat It! Soap and Skin Care

As you can imagine, as garlic growers we use a lot of fresh garlic at our house. Now I’ll be the first to admit that peeling and cutting, chopping or mincing fresh garlic is not the easiest way to go, but in my opinion fresh garlic is far superior to using garlic powder or even the store bought jars of minced garlic. Therefore I’m always open to easier ways of preparing fresh garlic.

I have a few tools or gadgets that are designed for use on garlic and I thought I’d share what I see as the pros and cons of each.

The first tool that I used is a simple paring knife.

IMG_0555 Paring Knife

I often use a paring knife if I am only peeling and slicing one or two cloves of garlic. I simply cut off the root end of the clove and slip the knife under the skin and once…

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Where To Buy Our Garlic – 2018

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We are pleased to tell you that our 2018 garlic crop is now available at a couple of local retailers.

As of today you can find our garlic at Neiman’s Family Market in Saint Clair, Michigan as well as Purified Water To Go, in Richmond, Michigan. If you shop at these local retailers please be sure to let them know how much you appreciate them supporting local farmers by offering locally grown produce.

I do expect to be adding two more locations to this list later this week so be sure to follow this blog for updates.

 

 

 

Fall Harvest Days

Although it is still summer, each year on the last weekend in August the Saint Clair County Farm museum holds it’s Fall Harvest Days Festival. This year the event will be held on       August 24 thru 26. Check out this link for times, location and schedule of events https://www.facebook.com/sccfarmmuseum/

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For the last two years this has been one of our favorite weekends of the summer. We will be there again this year so if you attend this event please stop by our tent to say “Hi”and stock up on fresh, locally grown, garlic and a bar or two of “Don’t Eat It!” Soap.

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We would love to see you there. 🙂

 

Staycation and My Favorite Things About Summer

I am really not in to trendy words, or a trendy lifestyle for that matter, but I think the word staycation really does describe our summer recreation. In 2012 when my husband said he would like to vacation somewhere “where we could just sit on the beach with our dogs and relax,” I chuckled, “they don’t allow dogs on public beaches, honey. Why don’t we put in a pond with a beach,” I suggested.

We knew it would be costly to have a pond dug, but we agreed that the money we saved on vacations away from home would easily pay for the pond in a few years.

The farm has many other features that you might find at a campground in the country. We have a campsite/ picnic area with a fire pit for cooking or just sitting around a campfire in the evening. We have both field and wooded areas with paths for walking or riding the 4 wheeler. There are hundreds of species of wildlife that live on or visit the farm and it is a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Thus we find it perfect for our staycation or summer recreation.

Our staycation is different than most as we do not have a week or two off from a job and cram all of these activities into that time period. Instead our recreational activities are interspersed throughout the day(s). It might be taking time out for an afternoon swim, spending an evening sitting around a campfire or inviting friends or family over for a day of fun. What I really love about our method of (v)(st)acation is that I don’t have to stress about it. We don’t have to make travel plans. We don’t have to do things according to schedule. We don’t have to pack what we think we will need for our time away. We don’t have to find people to take over our responsibilities at home (dogs and chickens) while we are away, and one of the most important parts for me is that I can sleep in my own bed at night.

With all that being said I wanted to share some of my favorite things about summer. They are not listed in any particular order; it is the combination of these things that make our summer enjoyable.

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Gardening – Planting, weeding, water, – there is something therapeutic about having our hands and knees in the dirt. The results of gardening are also very rewarding (see flowers and fresh produce below).

Riding the 4 Wheeler – A slow scenic tour around the farm, wielding my way though the winding paths through the woods or opening it up on the straight away, this is just pure fun!!!

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Swimming in the Pond – The best way to cool off in the heat of the day.

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Wildlife – The sights and sounds of wildlife create an environment that is peaceful and serene. While I am certainly not the best photographer I love trying to get photos of the wildlife. You can see more of the wildlife on our farm here.

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Flowers – No doubt they beautify their environment but there is so much more. You have probably heard the phrase “stop and smell the roses'”, well roses are not the only flower that deserve this recognition. By stopping and smelling, I have discovered that Canadian Thistle flowers have a sort of sweet scent and the Purple Irises have a spicy scent. This year I discovered that milk weed flowers have a pleasantly fresh fragrance.

While the flower may first draw my attention I will probably observe closely to see what type of foragers it may attract, and if I am not familiar with the plants I will likely try to identify it along with it’s potential usefulness.

Fresh Produce – We are currently picking and enjoying many fresh vegetables, among them are green beans, potatoes, Swiss chard, beets, carrots, celery and tomatoes. The flavors and textures of fresh picked produce simply can not be found in a grocery store. Even if you haven’t grown your own garden I encourage you to find fresh locally grown produce to enjoy this summer. Shop at a farmers market or a roadside farm stand and support your local farmer.

Campfires – Dinner always tastes better when cooked over a wood fire, and sitting around a campfire in the evening, listening to the frogs sing, and watching the moon and stars appear in the sky is far more entertaining than anything you may find on TV.

Visitors – This could be the elderly neighbors who dropped by Friday night for a tour of the barn and gardens; it could be the kids and grandkids coming to celebrate a holiday or a group as large as the family reunion we hosted last weekend. Regardless it is always a pleasure to share the farm with company.

Going Barefoot – Even though I put these in no particular order I did save my favorite for last. I love to take off my footwear and walk barefoot in the grass or on the beach.  According to this article there are many health benefits to going barefoot. I personally don’t care whether they are scientifically proven or not. Walking barefoot in the soft grass or digging my toes into the sand on the beach just feels good. While it feels good physically on the feet and has the potential to relieve other aches and pains, the emotional benefits are probably the greatest. I find walking barefoot to relieve stress – even more than that when I walk barefoot I feel young and carefree. It’s amazing that taking your shoes off can also take a load off your mind.

Now it’s your turn my friend. What are your favorite things about summer? How do you make time for them? When was the last time you stopped and smelled the roses or kicked off your shoes and connected with the earth? If it’s been awhile – I challenge you to make some time to do it this week. You won’t regret it.

Happy Summer! 🙂

 

 

 

Making Tomato Sauce

We recently began harvesting tomatoes and since I have so many new readers I thought it would be a good time to share this post from last October. Thanks for reading and have a great day 🙂

Don't Eat It! Soap and Skin Care

I have been asked several times by friends how I make tomato sauce and I usually answer “cook it, cook it, cook it, and when you think it is ready, cook it some more.” Making a thick tomato sauce takes lots of time.

There is, however, much to do before you get to the cooking part and that is what I want to address today. To start with there are many, many varieties of tomatoes and although I do like to start with a paste tomato, Amish paste or roma’s, you can use any type of tomatoes for making sauce. Along with Amish paste I use any tomatoes that are ripe and will not be eaten fresh in the next day or two. I will even throw cherry tomatoes into the mix rather than see them go to waste.

In addition to taking a lot of time to make tomato sauce it also takes a…

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