March 28, 2013

preparing for Easter

By Stowel Lake Farm

We have been having fun preparing for Easter this year. Every year we get together and share wonderful food, an egg hunt, a treasure hunt and rejoice in the spring energy surrounding us.  It is a creative time for us on the farm.

Here are the boys blowing eggs. They were surprisingly good at it and so we have many beautiful blown eggs this year. m & a

The eggs were dyed using all natural dyes made from vegetables and spices. Because they were hollow I had to figure out a way to keep them submerged and the french press was the best tool! With the bigger french presses you can fit up to 4 eggs. Before I discovered this method I was balancing bowls and other weights in precarious positions- not so good. You can see I wrapped the eggs in pantyhose to hold on the leaves on to make designs and it works well.

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Here are some of the outcomes. The blue ones are red cabbage, the brown is onion skins, the dark one a combination of the two and the greenish one is naturally that colour!

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Here are some daffodil girls that will join us! Cute and easy to make.

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March 25, 2013

Swimming!

By Stowel Lake Farm

The six year-olds have an idea. They want to go swimming.
– Really? It’s MARCH. You want to go swimming? The lake is freezing right now.
– We know we’ll wear our wetsuits!
– Your hands and feet will freeze….
They won’t be deterred and their enthusiasm is contagious. In the time it takes to collect wetsuits we have a group of nine gathered, all going to the lake.
We get to the lake.
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They run in.
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They RUN out and we think – is that IT? Did we come down here for a three second dip? It seems so….. at first.
Then…
they go in again,
and again,
and again,
and again.
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Until they have gone in and out EIGHT times and lured three others in with them.
It seems swimming season has begun.
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March 23, 2013

Spring Smoothie

By Stowel Lake Farm

I’ve been making smoothies these days, in the morning to take to work with me, and they’ve been so good! Here’s what I’ve been putting in:
water – 1/3 of a cup
juice – 1/2 – 2/3 cup  (I’ve been using the Happy Planet Orange Juice)
chia seeds – heaping Tablespoon
hemp seeds – heaping Tablespoon
banana – part of one
blueberries – 1/2 – 3/4 cup, frozen from last summer
kale – a small handful
Put the chia seeds, water and juice in the blender and let soak for 15 minutes (or longer). You can blend a little at this stage if you want. Add everything else and blend. Drink and enjoy!

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March 18, 2013

Monday Afternoons

By Stowel Lake Farm

On Monday afternoons, Nicola has the children over to her place to read stories. All of the farm children (and adults!) are welcome although it is usually 3 or 4 of them who show up.
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This weekly visit to Nicola’s has become part of my boys’ schedule over the winter, so much so that they don’t need reminding. It is a special time for them to be with Nicola and to be in her lovely yurt. Nicola chooses books that she loves or that she thinks will interest the kids.
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Their time together has created such a sweet bond. The last time Max saw Nicola drive by, she rolled down the window and he ran over and gave her a big kiss. One of the blessings of living in this community. It seems Venus likes it too!

March 15, 2013

early signs of spring

By Stowel Lake Farm

There is something very exciting about starting to put little spring accents around the house. This morning while on a little walk with my family we gathered this tiny bouquet for our table. Instantly the spring energy is in the house. For me it is a fresh and light feeling. Try it!

March 12, 2013

Nettle Soup

By Stowel Lake Farm

Young children and even fire breathing dragons love this healthy spring soup! Now is a great time to start harvesting the new shoots. Look for the new growth and harvest just the succulent tops.  Don’t forget to wear gloves while harvesting!
Here’s the recipe:

8-10 cups loosley packed nettles
8 cups water
3 Tbsp butter (or butter alternative)
4-6 Tbsp flour (a gluten-free flour mixture works)
milk or milk alternative to taste (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash nettles and steam in water until quite wilted. Set aside and save broth.
2. Melt butter in saucepan and add flour. Whisk together and saute for 5 mins or so until smelling aromatic.
3. Slowly add nettle broth to flour mixture. Bring to a simmer whisking continuously. This mixture will thicken.
4. Add nettles and blend together. A hand blender works very well for this step.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Add milk if desired.
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Alex collecting nettles.

March 01, 2013

Beginnings

By Stowel Lake Farm

It feels like spring today – wet and warm(ish). There has been enough going on around here that it really seems like our season of farming and growing has begun. We opened our farm stand last week with our winter carrots, eggs and garlic. The carrots are still so sweet and crisp. And, thanks to a very mild winter, we are still enjoying winter greens planted last fall.

Work in the greenhouse, prepping and planting. Our first crops inside are greens (salad mix, spinach, herbs) and root crops (carrots & beets). Then, as things warm up and dry out, all those crops move outside and we plant our heat lovers in their place (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants & basil). It’s nice even to write about those things!

In this time of beginning we occasionally get to jobs otherwise much neglected. We washed all the doors to the greenhouses this year – some of us realized the doors weren’t actually opaque after all!

The beginning of our new farm book – bound, tabbed and ready to get dirty!

The beginning of millions of babies in the glasshouse.

The beginning of many outside games, barefoot with friends.