2017 Week 26 – Week of 4 September

Trench

Just a small portion of our trench, showing a new hydrant install, as well as the partially-repaired electric that was cut by the backhoe, and phone line still waiting for repair

So, my weekly gratitude photo is a bit different this week.  This time, I’ve never been so grateful that I decided NOT to do a project myself.

We’re having some serious infrastructure work done on the farm.  We’re running electrical to the barn (no more extension cord from the house to the air compressor or block heater on the tractor!  Lights in the winter!), the summer kitchen to be, and the greenhouse/X’s shop.  We’re also putting in a two inch irrigation mainline from the well out about 480 feet, which should allow much lower maintenance and higher efficiency irrigation of the veggie field.

I was a bit worried about all of the underground obstacles to work around, so we hired a local electrician friend.  Such a good call!  Besides the fact that they have a lot more equipment and experience, he brought a 5 person crew out to work, expecting it to take a day and a half.  Well, until they cut the pipe from the well with the backhoe.  Then the electrical with the backhoe.  Then couldn’t find the phone/internet (it wasn’t where the location service flagged it), until they decided to dig the electrical a bit deeper to make it easier to repair.  Oops, the phone was in the same trench, just a bit deeper than the electric.    Then they ran the trencher through the drain line from the geothermal system.  Then two drain lines from the septic…

This all makes them sound incompetent, but that’s really not the case.  Things at our place were just not done in a normal manner.  I almost certainly would have run into each and every one of the same problems they did.  But wouldn’t have insurance to cover it, nor the experience fixing it all, nor the time to deal with the setbacks.  Suffice it to say, we still have no internet, the well is only producing a fraction of the flow rate it should, the lane is all torn up, and they’re probably only about half way done.  Hiring it out, even though somewhat more expensive than what I expected it would cost to have done it myself, may just be the most cost effective of choices we could have made!

Meanwhile, we did an OK, job following the menu last week.  The Tromboncini Fajitas turned out to be an amazing inspiration – really, the best fajitas I’ve had.  So, we’re going to repeat significant chunks of the same menu this week.  It’s seasonal, an yummy, and, well, there’s a lot of stuff and only a little inspiration.

 

BreakfastLunchDinnerNotes/Prep
MonZucchini Bead
Peach
Dining HallDining HallBlueberry Festival Parade

Lancer Band
TuesZucchini Bead
Peach
Caprese SaladTromboncini Fajitas
Salad
No Farmers' Market
Lancer Band
Make something for mentees
WedZucchini Bead
Peach
Tromboncini FajitasLamb Burgers w/ Fresh Tomatoes & Onions from the garden
Roasted Tromboncini Squash
Green & Yellow Wax Beans
Watermelon
Mentor/Mentee Time
ThurZucchini Bead
Asian Pear
Dining HallSausage Spaghetti Pie (from freezer)Retreat, Late Lessons, & Late Duty
FriZucchini Bead
Asian Pear
Sausage Spaghetti Pie
Harvest Panic - piece while pickingHarvest
SatZucchini BeadMunching at the MarketPizza?Farmers’ Market
SunZucchini Bead
Dining HallMarket Leftover Stir FryGarrison Parade

New from the farm: The current produce list is over 25 items long!

Groceries: Park N. Shop – $2.82

2017 Week 35 – Week of 28 August

A basket of onions

Onions on our farmers’ market display

The weekly menu returns after its summer vacation this week!

We’re back to school with a partial week of classes under our belt, so it’s time to get back in the routine of planning meals.  Spending most of my time off-farm means we won’t be snacking on veggies while working in the field, and cooking around the schedule needs forethought.

Meanwhile, things are really hopping at the farm!  We have a huge volume of produce coming in. We’ve hauled over a ton of produce to market each of the last four weeks, with more to come.  The late summer/early fall crops have done well.  Of particular note, and a great personal existential victory, is onions.  It’s embarrassing as someone people think of as a gardening guru, but I’ve never been successful growing bulbing onions.  I’ve tried multiple methods, in gardens with widely varying conditions over 15 years, with no success.  Until this year!

This year’s onion crop produced a great harvest of salad onions in the late spring and early summer, and now we’re harvesting good-sized bulbs, with great flavor.  It’s also a variety known to be a good long-storing variety, so we should be set for the winter (though they sold like crazy at market this weekend, which surprised me a bit).

BreakfastLunchDinnerNotes/Prep
MonZucchini Bead
Peach
Tromboncini Fajitas
Minnesota Midget Melon
Salad
Spaghetti Squash w/ Pesto Cream Sauce
Salad

Lancer Band
TuesZucchini Bead
Peach
Spaghetti Squash w/ Pesto Cream SauceEat at market (final Tuesday Evening market of the year)Farmers' Market
WedZucchini Bead
Peach
Dining HallLamb Burgers w/ Fresh Tomatoes & Onions from the garden
Roasted Tromboncini Squash
Green & Yellow Wax Beans
Watermelon
ThurZucchini Bead
Asian Pear
Homemade Frozen Burrito
Watermelon
Dining HallRetreat & Late Duty
FriZucchini Bead
Asian Pear
Homemade Frozen Burrito
Watermelon
Harvest Panic - piece while pickingHarvest
SatZucchini BeadMunching at the MarketPizza?Farmers’ Market
SunZucchini Bead
Dining HallMarket Leftover Stir FryGarrison Parade

New from the farm: The current produce list is over 25 items long!

Groceries: No grocery shopping this week!

Menus Returning Soon!

a truckload of produce at the farmers' market

Getting ready to set up at the farmers’ market – over 1800 lbs of produce!

So I’ve received a few comments about missing menus.  Why haven’t I posted any?  Am I giving up my all-organic, all-unprocessed diet ambitions?  Or did all of the health stuff I talk about on the why page suddenly reverse itself?

Alas, I’m still fighting the autoimmune problem (though it has improved a great deal).  It’s more like the weekly menu has taken a summer vacation.

The end of the school year is crazy busy for most teachers.  For band directors at private boarding schools with many complex ceremonial needs, it’s insane.  Add to that running an organic farm, and, well, planned eating is a bit challenging.  Eating is a bit challenging…  Thus, I intentionally didn’t plan the last couple weeks of classes and all-day faculty meetings.

Immediately following that, I was way behind on the farm, due to health problems in the winter and the school schedule, but our annual Hole in the Woodstock event was just a couple of weeks away.  So, crazy days there.

From there on out, the garden has been dominating life.  Two days a week of farmers’ markets (a market may only appear to be a few hours from the outside, but it’s way more than a full days’ work!), a full day of harvesting for both…  Those are times it’s difficult to do a meal.

Ironically, they’re also times full of great food!  Every morning begins with a walk down each garden bed checking on the progress of our 2 1/2 acres of veggies.  There’s a lot of sampling that goes on during those walks!  And, of course, I spent a fair bit of time developing recipes for the onslaught of zucchini!

So, all told, I don’t really need to plan menus in the summer.  Much of my eating isn’t even in meals anyway.  However, school’s starting to come back to life.  We’ve had a few meetings and workshops already, and the band is back this weekend.  Then we jump in, with the matriculation ceremony during the eclipse!

So, I’ll be posting menus again shortly.  The next couple of weeks are going to be weird transition stuff, so I may not do so until classes get going.  But stay tuned, and we’ll be back at it soon!

2017 Week 21 – Week of 22 May

Iris blossom

Our irises bloomed this week

I’m a little late getting a menu plan posted this week.  That’s because last weekend was Alumni Reunion weekend, and extraordinarily busy for band director/rifle coach/corps of drums director/Lancer Band director type folks.  Barely a moment to breathe!

However, our asparagus has recovered from the wacko weather, so we’re back to harvesting twice a day, and distributing it widely.  I’m actually a bit tired of eating it already this year, which is strange.  I think the weather had us actually eating a bit more, because there wasn’t really enough harvest to sell during the frosts and freezes, but there was some to eat.

Keeping up with the meal plan combined with busy season both at work and on the farm, plus the start of the farmers’ market season, has been rough.  I just don’t have the energy I used to before developing this autoimmune thingy.  Nonetheless, I feel good that we pretty much stayed on menu last week through Wednesday.  This week is a transitional one, then the following will be grad week – the most insane of the year.  But summer is in sight!

BreakfastLunchDinnerNotes/Prep
MonZucchini BreadLeftoversBiscuits & Sausage Gray

Lancer Band Auditions

Thaw chicken
TuesZucchini BreadBiscuits & GravyChicken Burritos SuizaLancer Band

Thaw Ribeye Steaks
WedZucchini BreadChicken Burritos SuizaRibeye Steak

Baked Potatoes

Grilled Asparagus
No Lancer Band!
ThurAmaretto Nut BreadSteak & PotatoesDining HallRetreat & Late Lessons
FriAmaretto Nut BreadDining Hall or Leftovers
Homemade Frozen PizzaThaw Cheesy Rigatoni Bake
SatAmaretto Nut BreadMunching at the MarketCheesy Rigatoni Bake (from freezer)Farmers’ Market
SunPancakes

Blueberries

Raspberries

Bacon
On the RoadNCO Parade

New from the farm: The asparagus and radishes are the main fare right now.  Hopefully salad greens will be along shortly.  Can’t believe they’ve been this long.

Groceries: Whole Foods – $13.  Kroger – $128.17.  Park N’ Shop – $42.92.

2017 Week 20 – Week of 15 May

macro photo of medlar blossom

Our medlar trees are blooming profusely!

The weather really kicked us last week.  4 days of frost and a 29 degree frost, meaning we lost about 50 pounds of asparagus harvest.  Sigh.  Also, our almond trees, tree cherries (but not bush cherries), peaches, and nectarines all failed to bloom this year!

On the other hand, our medlar trees are blooming like crazy!  Medlars are a fruit that was very popular during the medieval era.  Similar to persimmons, they are left on the tree to ripen and soften (actually, bletted – over-ripened and softened.  They are inedible until this occurs), giving fruit at a time of year it often is not available locally.  I actually don’t know if we like medlars or not.  Our trees are new, and we had one set last year. We waited until it was ready to eat, but something else ate it before we had the chance…  Rare fruit can be a challenge. Our hazelnuts are also blooming!

Tractor tire in truck

Getting this thing off, rolled up hill, and into the truck by myself nearly killed me. In addition to the rim, hub, tire, and tube, the thing was filled with about 380 pounds of water and calcium chloride for ballast!

This week will be an enormous challenge.  It’s crazy busy at work, with alumni reunion weekend taking top billing in the mind of band directors.  Lots of ceremonies and performances from Thursday all the way through Sunday.  We’re also crazy busy in the garden – way behind planting and transplanting due to the weather, my illness, and having a flat tractor tire last week at a horribly inopportune moment (is there ever a good time to have a tractor problem?).  Also, I’m going to need to set up irrigation – despite the flooding of the past couple of weeks, our sand is already dry, and it’s not supposed to rain again for at least a week.  Can’t transplant seedlings into a desert and expect them to take hold!

This menu is ambitious given the schedule, but I think I stand a chance of making it happen…

BreakfastLunchDinnerNotes/Prep
MonZucchini BreadLeftoversChicken Curry

Jasmine Rice

Dal Maknni
Lancer Band

Cover veggies ahead of hard freeze
TuesZucchini BreadChicken Curry

Rice

Dal Makhni
Jerkish Chicken

Grilled Asparagus

Rosemary Roast
Potatoes
Lancer Band

Comment Sheets due tomorrow!
WedZucchini BreadJerkish Chicken

Rosemary Roast Potatoes
Cheesey Rigatoni Bake (from freezer)Lancer Band
ThurAmaretto Nut BreadCheesey Rigatoni BakeDining HallRetreat & Late Lessons
FriAmaretto Nut BreadDining Hall
Dining Hall if I’m luckyNo Classes

Alumni Reunion Weekend- abandon all hope

Honors Presentations & Recital

Person of the Year Ceremony

Iron Gate Ceremony
SatAmaretto Nut BreadMunchies at the MarketPizza w/ Corps of DrumsFarmers’ Market

Alumni Open Shoot w/ rifle team

Alumni Parade

Corps of Drums @ Class of 1992 dinner
SunBiscuits & Sausage GravyDining HallBiscuits & Sausage GravyHonor Orgs performances

New from the farm: The asparagus is starting to make a comeback.  Rhubarb is being harvested, as are radishes.  Fresh herbs are starting to come in as well, adding a great boost to flavors.  Normally we’d be awash in salad greens, but they’re still at least a week from harvest.

Groceries: Kroger –

2017 Week 19 – Week of 8 May

A bunch of fresh asparagus

Some of our Asparagus harvest. We usually harvest about 800 pounds of asparagus a year!

Last week, the asparagus really started to come in.  This is always an exciting, if somewhat exhausting time on the farm.  We’re focused on getting much of our planting done, but also harvesting asparagus at least once a day.  Sometimes twice a day!

Asparagus is an important marker on our farm.  It starts the season of great fresh eating.  It also marks the point where we start to have a positive cash flow.  And, because the market hasn’t started yet, we get to visit a lot of our customers as we deliver the asparagus.  It’s also pretty.

Last week was a bit tough keeping on-menu, so you’ll see some repeats.  They’re repeats on the plan, not so much repeat meals, because I never made them.  This next few weeks is going to be extraordinarily crazy as we pack three months worth of activities into four weeks of school, plus the farmers’ market  starts up (I’m the vendor coordinator, so in addition to being a vendor ourselves, we’re organizing the other vendors).  If I can manage even eating one home-prepared meal a day over the next several weeks, Ill consider it a success!

BreakfastLunchDinnerNotes/Prep
MonZucchini BreadDining HallSausage & Fennel Ragout

Polenta

Tiny asparagus (what didn't get freeze damage, but was too short to sell)
Lancer Band

Cover veggies ahead of hard freeze
TuesZucchini BreadOn the RoadHomemade Frozen Pizza
Lancer Band

Comment Sheets due tomorrow!
WedZucchini BreadSausage and Fenel Ragout

Polenta
Sausage Spaghetti Pie (from freezer)

Asparagus in Garlic Butter
Lancer Band
ThurAmaretto Nut BreadSausage Spaghetti PieDining HallRetreat & Late Lessons
FriAmaretto Nut BreadDining Hall
Punt - probably munchies at RelayFischoff National Chamber Music Competition winners masterclass.

Relay for Life/Corps of Drums & Band perform

Harvest for Farmers' Market
SatAmaretto Nut BreadMunchies at the MarketBagels w/ Pesto SchmearOpening Day of Farmers' market
SunBagels w/ Pesto ShmearDining HallSwedish Meatball Soup

Salad
Parade

Mother's Day

Make Applesauce Spice Cake

New from the farm: The asparagus is reaching it’s peak.  Rhubarb and radishes are coming along.  Salad greens are running a bit behind due to all of the cold weather lately…

Groceries: Kroger – $98.13

2017 Week 18 – Week of 1 May

Macro photo of an old fashioned bleeding heart blossom

Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart blossom

We survived parents’ weekend! Actually, it was a very successful weekend, musically.  It wasn’t pretty as far as following the meal plan (and, in truth, involved way too many cookies, too much ice cream, and too many dining hall meals).  This week, I need to get refocused on following the meal plan.

Also, you may have noticed the addition of a lilac photo last week.  I decided to add a bit of photo gratitude to the menus, so each week I plan to include a photo of something on the farm that is indicative of the week and makes me happy.  The last week was rainy, and started a change in the types of flowers that are blooming.  I spent a bit of time in the rain Saturday morning playing with my macro extension tubes.  The wind was annoying (when you’re 1/2″ from your photo subject, and it moves just a little bit, it’s gonna go out of focus), but I enjoyed the quiet time in the midst of a crazy weekend.  Had a hard time deciding on the one to use for the post, though.  Here are others I thought were worthwhile.  Which should I have used?

BreakfastLunchDinnerNotes/Prep
MonZucchini BreadCarnitasSteak & Potatoes

Corn

Grilled Asparagus
Lancer Band

Thaw Sausage
TuesZucchini BreadCarnitasSausage & Fennel Ragout


Polenta

Asparagus
Lancer Band
WedZucchini BreadSausage and Fenel Ragout

Polenta
Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

Asparagus
Friday Schedule

Lancer Band (early call)

Grades due 9:00 am tomorrow!

Thaw lamb chops
ThurAmaretto Nut BreadBeef Stroganoff
Biscuits & GravyRetreat & Late Lessons

Marinate Lamb Chops
FriAmaretto Nut BreadBiscuits & Gravy
Lamb Chops w/ Browned Onions and Tomatoes
Asparagus over Millet
SatAmaretto Nut BreadBagels w/ Pesto SchmearSpaghetti w/ Marinara Sauce

Garlic Bread
SunBagels w/ Pesto SchmearDining HallSwedish Meatball Soup

Salad
Parade

Make Applesauce Spice Cake

New from the farm: The asparagus is really coming in strong!

Groceries:

2017 Week 17 – Week of 24 April

Close up of a lilac flower

Lilacs are blooming!

The asparagus is finally coming in!  We ate asparagus for 4 meals last week (though it wasn’t on the menu yet).  The harvest is picking up, and so are the pre-orders.  I imagine we’ll be fulfilling asparagus pre-orders this week, and need to begin marketing it next week.  Exciting/exhausting times!

Meanwhile, this week will be packed.  I was unable to do much while I was sick for 5 weeks (which is the reason I started this whole meal planning adventure), and this past several weeks has involved constant pushing to get caught up – at school, on the farm, and with my graduate classes.

Yes, I’m working on another degree, this one an MA in Public History.  I was in the early part of one of the classes I was most excited about in the whole degree program, Theory and Practice of Oral History.  Alas, missing 5 weeks of an 8 week class is problematic.  So I was given a 30 day extension to make up the work.  Wouldn’t have been too much of a problem if I wasn’t behind on everything else in life.  At any rate, that extension ends Sunday.  We also have parents’ weekend at school beginning Thursday, and that doesn’t offer much in the way of time to breathe for band director types!

Despite all of those challenges, we’ll try to both celebrate asparagus, and get as many home-prepared, all-organic meals in as possible this week.  Thankfully, I prepared a couple of freezer meals over the past few weeks, and have a slow cooker.  I wasn’t too happy with how the Crock Pot Chicken Tika Masala turned out last week, so I’m going to make a few changes and try again this week.  We are down to only 4 chickens left in the freezer (which probably makes X happy…), though, and 1 of those will lose its thighs for this…

BreakfastLunchDinnerNotes/Prep
MonZucchini Bread

Mango
Lunch meeting - box mealMini Shepherd's Pies (from freezer)

Cream of Asparagus Soup
Lancer Band

Thaw chicken thighs (from 2 chickens)

Finish Oral History Evaluation - last major project for HIST523
TuesZucchini Bread

Mango
Mini Shepherd's Pies

Cream of Asparagus Soup
Crockpot Chicken Tika Masala (another attempt)

Asparagus over Millet
Lancer Band

Thaw pork shoulder
WedZucchini Bread

Mango
Chicken Tika MasalaCarnitasspecial schedule - pm drill period

Lancer Band

Make Amaretto Nut Bread

Need to have finished all makeup work for HIST523 from when I was ill - extension ends Sunday, but no time with parents' weekend duties
ThurAmaretto Nut BreadCarnitasDining hall (if lucky - probably no time to eat)Retreat

Concert

Parents' Weekend begins
FriAmaretto Nut BreadDining Hall
Homemade Frozen PizzaParents' Weekend
SatAmaretto Nut BreadCheesey Rigatoni Bake from freezerSnacky things from the Fine Arts Honor Society induction reception - no other time to eatParents' Weekend
SunDining HallDining HallPuntParents' Weekend

Parade

Make Zucchini Bread

Extension for HIST523 ends

Groceries:  Kroger – $99.38

New from the farm:  Asparagus!  Also, rhubarb is starting to fill in, so that might make a dinner appearance early this year.  We’ll see.  Lettuce, spinach, and arugula germinated slowly this year, and is still probably 3 weeks from harvest.

2017 Week 16 – Week of 17 April

We were finally able to harvest a little bit of asparagus over the weekend, so that’s both exciting (we’ll get to snack on asparagus!), a little intimidating (we have to find the time to harvest asparagus every day, and because the farmers’ market isn’t open yet, we also have to hustle to sell it all, and we’re one week out from when things get stupid busy until the end of the school year…), and, of course, very yummy!  I’ll try to post some asparagus recipes this week.

BreakfastLunchDinnerNotes/Prep
MonAmaretto Nut BreadLeftoversBiscuits & Gravy

Biscuits

Green Beans
Honors in Music final juries

Lancer Band

Thaw sandwich rolls & sirloin steak (AM)

Thaw chicken
Slice sirloin (PM)
TuesAmaretto Nut BreadBiscuits & Gravy
Crockpot Philly Cheesesteak SandwichesLancer Band

Cut up chicken
WedAmaretto Nut BreadPhilly Cheesesteak SandwichQuick Green Curry Chicken

Coconut Jasmine Rice
Make Pumpkin bread

Cut up chicken

Lancer Band
ThurPumpkin BreadSaladCrockpot Chicken Tika Masala

Jasmine rice

Naan
Retreat & Late Lessons

Thaw Italian sausage
FriPumpkin BreadChicken Tika Masala

Rice

Naan
Sausage & Fennel Ragout

Polenta
Thaw lamb chops
SatYogurtOn the RoadGrilled Lamb Chops

Grilled Asparagus
Thaw sausage or bacon
SunYogurtBreakfast for Lupper:

Waffles

Sausage or bacon

Omelettes

Peaches
Parade

Make Zucchini Bread

Groceries:

New from the farm:  Asparagus!  Just starting, so we’ll probably have  a small bit simply prepared most meals this week, then start really celebrating asparagus in the next couple of weeks!

2017 Week 15 – Week of 10 April

I’m starting to enjoy planning these weekly menus, but still struggling to execute them…  Often lunch follows from dinner the night before, or I need to remember to prepare something in advance or thaw something.  But if I forget or get interrupted, that can lead to missing the plan several times.

Still, I’m eating much less pre-processed and non-organic food.  And, once winter finally gives up its grip and the farm starts giving us lots of veggies, the variety can start to improve.

Also, this week I’m going to try turning the menu sideways.  That might give a bit more width for the menu items, especially when viewing on a phone.  Lemme know what you think.

BreakfastLunchDinnerNotes/Prep
MonZucchini BreadBeef & Bean Pocket

Salad
Pot Roast

Potatoes

Biscuits

Green Beans
Sub for Dave – AP Music Theory

Lancer Band
TuesZucchini BreadFreezer Burrito

Salad
Beef-Vegetable SoupSub for Dave – History of Rock & Roll

Lancer Band
WedZucchini BreadBeef-Vegetable SoupChicken Tetrazini Bake (from freezer)Make lemon-Poppyseed bread

Lancer Band
ThurLemon Poppyseed BreadBeef-Vegetable SoupDining HallRetreat & Late Lessons
FriLemon Poppyseed BreadSaladSpaghetti w/ meat sauceGet your darn tax return finished!
SatYogurtChicken & Noodles

Mashed Potatoes

Corn
Lamb K’dra

cous cous
Make & freeze sandwich rolls for next week’s Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches
SunYogurtEaster Sunday – family pitch-inleftoversEaster – no parade

Make Amaretto Nut Bread

Groceries: Kroger – $102.17 (that includes an entire case of the yummy yellow mangoes!)

New from the farm: Asparagus is coming soon!  Maybe by the weekend.