Springtime at Medley Acres

I haven’t been keeping up well with blogging this spring … too many things sapping my creative energies up, but I don’t want more time to go by without documenting all the beautiful and interesting things going on here at our little family homestead! Lots of veggies and plants started again this year … I may have gone a little overboard with dry bean seed planting when I first heard there might be a food/meat shortage and I was anticipating possibly stocking up and/or selling plants to others in need of rations! But thankfully that doesn’t appear to be an issue (at least not at the moment…). If the growing season goes well, we’ll have an abundance of dry beans available in the fall!

This is a bit of a “photo dump” of things happening around here…

Pumpkins for Sale!

IMG_20191006_151454We’re finally able to get out into the wet wet fields to pick some pumpkins! We had hoped to offer “pick your own” but we’re afraid everyone is going to get stuck in the mud while picking their pumpkins! So for now, we’re picking and putting them at the bottom of our driveway at the self serve stand.

Most of our pumpkins were grown from seed at our house from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds. They are all considered delicious eating/baking, even the wee ones!

Visit our driveway stand at 1988 County Road YY • Baldwin

Little pumpkins are 3 for $1.
Large pumpkins are $3 each.
Special “bulk pricing” for friends with large families 🙂 (ie – if you have more than 4 kiddos, we’ll make you a deal so you can carve pumpkins with your kids and still afford to buy groceries for the week!)

We have 4 varieties of pumpkins:

Squash-Jarrahdale-IMG_7846Jarrahdale Pumpkin
Slate, blue-grey, 6- to 10-lb pumpkins of superb quality. Their shape is flat, ribbed, and very decorative; also a good keeper. Popular in Australia, an excellent variety. One of the more tasty varieties for a variety of savory dishes and is excellent for a year-round supply of squash, as these will often keep well over 12 months!
Jack-Be-Little-Squash-webJack Be Little Squash
This tiny, cute pumpkin weighs just 8 ounces; flat and ribbed. These are highly popular and a top-selling fall crop. The flesh is good to eat, and the skin is bright orange. This type of squash may have been developed in the Orient, as pumpkins of this type are offered to the ‘Spirits’ by many in Thailand, where they come in 4 or 5 colors.
Squash-Connecticut-Field-Pumpkin-LSS--000_4377Conneticut Field Pumpkin
The heirloom pumpkin of the New England settlers and Indians, several hundred years old. Golden fruit weigh about 20 lbs each. This is a truly old variety; can be used for pies; the traditional American pumpkin.

 

aldipumpkin
Last Year’s Aldi Pumpkin
Of course I have no idea what kind of pumpkin we bought last year but we got it at Aldi and saved some of the seeds, and they came up just fine this year!

Developing Medley Acres

This year we decided to try planting a pumpkin patch for pick your own pumpkins this fall, along with a zinnia patch, sunflower patch and sweet corn. We also planted a large number of heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and perennials from seed that we hope to be able to sell later in the summer as well.

Dan invested in a few more tractor/farm implements, including a planter and a plow, and has prepared and planted the 5+ acres we had previously leased to a local farmer… we now have fields of timothy, clover, and switchgrass for cover crops/habitat, and we’re adding our garden fields of pumpkins, sunflowers, and raspberries. Its finally dry enough in the fields to be able to get out and do some planting! We’re hoping for a long fall to make the growing season long enough to make all farmers’ plantings worthwhile this year…

Here are some pictures from the homestead over the past couple of weeks (including today!). Many of the photos are courtesy of our daughter Eva.

Apples for Sale at Medley Acres

Taking orders for freshly picked apples from our family orchard! Apple varieties include Honeygold, McIntosh and Cortland. Selling in 10 lb bags for $5 and 15 lb bags for $7.50. (larger quantities available at $.50 per pound). Bags include mixed variety. We do not use any sprays or chemicals so the skins are blemished, but the apples taste great and are perfectly safe to eat. Please email orders to jennifer @ turningleafstudio.com or call 715.688.4010 and we will have them ready for you to pick up!

Also selling deer/wildlife apples from the ground in 50lb feed bags for $10.

 

Herbal Infused Vinegars

Another great article from Mountain Rose Herbs on how to make herb infused vinegar. I didn’t realize it but according to their article here, using vinegar instead of alcohol does also work for creating tinctures for health benefits!

See article below, from Mountain Rose Herbs…

How To:

Herbal Vinegar Extract Method

Step 1

Chop or grind your dried herb to a coarse powder. You can also find many powdered herbs available on our website. Fill 1/5 of your sterilized jar with the herb. Pour organic apple cider vinegar over the herb until the jar is filled to the top. Cover tightly and allow to extract for 14 days in a cool, dark place. Be sure to shake the jar daily.

Step 2

After 2 weeks, strain the herb through cheesecloth. Set the strained liquid in a capped jar on a shelf and allow the sediment to settle overnight. Decant the clear liquid layer into another sterilized jar using a strainer. Cap tightly, label, and store for up to 6 months in a cool, dark place.

Step 3

If you are infusing the vinegar with roots or barks, there is one more step you might want to take. Once the mixture has extracted for 2 weeks and the herbs have been strained out, heat the infusion just short of boiling and filter through cloth while hot. The heat will help congeal albumin in the solution that can then be removed when straining. Excess albumin can encourage your extract to spoil quickly.

To Use:

As a general guide, take 1 tbsp of the vinegar extract up to 5 times a day when needed, unless you are working with potent low/drop dosage herbs. Due to the acid content in vinegar, be sure to avoid direct contact with your teeth. You may want to mix each dose of vinegar with water or tea to dilute the acidity.

For more information about making herbal vinegar extracts at home, check out Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech and The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook by James Green.

 

Making Herbal Infused Oils

Mountain Rose Herbs has a good post about how to make your own herbal infused oils. I’m harvesting the abundance of mint, lemon balm, basil, rosemary, thyme and oregano that we have growing here and am figuring out the best ways to preserve them right now… going to try making some infused vinegars and oils to be later used for cleaning, cooking or on our bodies as ointments. I am also referencing this great book called Alchemy of Herbs which has been very helpful for looking up all the herbs I have growing and how to use them. It’s exciting!!! (the photo above also includes a bowl of beans and lettuce from our garden today… those items are photo bombing and will be eaten later today…)

An easy way to make herb infused oils that I’m going to try. From their website post here.

Folk Method for Solar-Infused Oils

Use the sun to naturally infuse oil with the goodness of herbs!

Directions:

  1. We always recommend using dried herbs. If you desire fresh herbs, wilt them first for 12 hours to remove the moisture (too much water will cause your oil to go rancid), cut into small pieces, and crush with a mortar and pestle before adding to the jar.
  2. Place herbs in a clean, dry quart jar.
  3. Fill remaining space in jar with oil of choice, making sure to cover herbs by at least 1 inch. If your herbs soak up all of the oil, then pour more oil on top to ensure the herbs are well covered.
  4. Stir well and cap jar tightly.
  5. Place jar in a sunny, warm windowsill and shake once or more per day. You can also cover the jar with a brown paper bag if you prefer that to direct sunlight.
  6. After 2-3 weeks, strain the herbs out of the oil using cheesecloth or a mesh strainer. Make sure and squeeze out every precious drop of oil!
  7. Pour into glass bottles and store in a cool dark place. The oil should keep for at least a year. Vitamin E Oil may also be added to prolong shelf life.

Time to think about planting for fall and winter…?

I just got an email from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, talking about planting soon for fall and winter harvests… I have never actually thought about this before, but always admired friends who had hoop houses and green houses and were able to pull carrots out of the ground in January… it seems Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds might have some suggestions I could actually consider here in their blog and on their website… Might be fun to start thinking about how to extend the growing season on our property!

I am not affiliated with Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds; I simply love their seeds and gorgeous catalogs and like to share…!

Spinach-web-

photos and content credit: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds/Rareseeds.com

Flowers and a Porch

I love the flowers that are blooming in my front garden. The Hubby is putting on a new front porch for us, since our house needed a little more “curb appeal.” Even though we live on 20 acres in the country, and there is no curb. So eventually, I will be able to sit out on my covered front porch to admire my flowers …

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