At Home in Nature

  (Agate, Colorado)
TwoInTents Blog
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Mac and Cheese and Greens

I am a vegetable farmer, but it is common knowledge I really don’t like salad.  People are very surprised to learn this… what else do you eat with your greens? 

Besides my famous soups, stir fries, caramelized greens, sandwiches and other kitchen creations, I especially enjoy lasagna.  A vegetable lasagna can’t be beat… 

Vegetables belong on the plate, they add amazing flavor to any dish.  But beginning cooks (and some long time cooks) have a rough time with them.  An easy and delicious way to start is by adding some greens into your macaroni and cheese. 

Even if you are used to making mac and cheese from a box (or if you’re like me and make it by melting cheese over noodles), consider adding some veggies to your meal.  You can steam and wilt the greens first, or add them in for some crunch.

To wilt the greens, first cut or shred the leaves into small pieces.  Then, adding just a tiny bit of water, put over the stove until they are limp.  At that point, they are ready to sit on the side while you cook your macaroni and cheese.  Before serving the mac and cheese, stir in the greens and… voila!  Eat it before anyone else does.

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Try the lambsquarter!

Have you ever tried lambsquarter?  It is an American variety of European spinach, and is both sweeter and more nutritious than European spinach.  It is also now coming into season!  When cooking lambsquarter the easiest preparation is to simply steam the leaves and stems in a small amount of water until tender. The greens will cook very quickly and turn a dark green color as they shrink down during cooking. The cooked greens are delicious just as they are with no additional seasoning or flavoring necessary.

The young leaves and smaller stems can also be eaten raw in salads. Or you can experiment by substituting lambs quarter for spinach or chard in some of your favorite recipes.

Older plants have stems that are unappetizing, but it is usually harvested with the stem so that the delicate leaves will remain for the chef to pick themselves.  The stems of mature lambsquarter are not generally eaten, but professional chefs don’t throw them out: they are great when used in soup for stock.  Mmmm!

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Cress beginning to sprout!

The cress is just beginning to sprout and that means that it won’t be much longer before the delicious and nutritious green is ready to eat.  The flavor and nutrition is similar to watercress, but in Colorado, watercress doesn’t grow very well and we must use other varieties.  Sometimes called upland cress, or dry cress, or garden cress, or nasturtium, these are more commonly raised as flowers for ornamentation by gardeners who don’t know that it’s a vegetable of the highest caliber, with something good for every organ in your body, packed with vitamins and minerals.

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2012 Farm Bill Explained

2012 Farm Bill Explained

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Yucca getting ready to bloom again!

The yucca is preparing to bloom again, meaning a delicious treat for wild harvesters and plenty of wholesome food for this year’s young herbivores and spring bees.  These pretty flowers are the state flower of New Mexico, but we can still enjoy them here in Colorado where the pretty pink and white puffs dot the hills after the first heavy rain. 
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Got a mad cow?

If you have angry or violent animals, you might consider that their behavior is innate to their nature – the wild beast inside.  But, you might also consider what you can do against the wild behavior, and thereby from your understanding gain the insight that you, as their caretaker, have a lot of control over their behavior.

Many people have experience dealing with dogs and cats, and understand that these animals can be trained to behave in certain ways, even to poop outside instead of on the couch. 

Behavioral training means being friendly to your animals.  Pet them, talk to them (research indicates that even the stupidest members of the barnyard likely understand most of what you’re saying, or perhaps the gist of it), and train them to come, go home, and other things you need them to do. 

If you treat them as you would a dog or a cat, you will find that they behave like a dog or a cat, and understand then that what we love most about our canine and feline friends is our own doing: by loving animals, they love us in return.

The rancher will especially want to train animals – not only does this make work easier and quicker (if the animals do half the work, that’s less for you to do), but by being happier and calmer, they will produce more.  

Working with animals that love you and trust you is not only more pleasurable, but also more profitable.  As a rancher, you need to make sure that your animals not only have enough food and water and medicine and shelter, but also enough love and human care. 

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Can't use antibiotics anymore?

On April 12, the New York Times reporter Gardiner Harris reported that “Farmers and ranchers will for the first time need a prescription from a veterinarian before using antibiotics in farm animals, in hopes that more judicious use of the drugs will reduce the tens of thousands of human deaths that result each year from the drugs' overuse.” According to Harris, “the Food and Drug Administration announced the new rule Wednesday after trying for more than 35 years to stop farmers and ranchers from feeding antibiotics to cattle, pigs, chickens and other animals simply to help the animals grow larger.

Using small amounts of antibiotics over long periods of time leads to the growth of bacteria that are resistant to the drugs' effects, endangering humans who become infected but cannot be treated with routine antibiotic therapy.” The reason behind the new regulation is that some 2 million Americans and nearly 99,000 Americans die every year from hospital-acquired infections, the majority of which result from such resistant strains. It is unknown how many of these illnesses and deaths result from agricultural uses of antibiotics, but about 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the United States are used in animals. About 80 percent of antibiotics used on farms are given through feed, and an additional 17 percent are given in water. Just 3 percent are given by injection.

According to Harris, Dr. Christine Hoang of the American Veterinary Medical Association said that her organization supported the new rules, although she said that some remote or small farmers might have trouble abiding by the rules since there are fewer than 10,000 large-animal veterinarians in the United States.

Can’t afford an antibiotic prescription? Try herbs!

If you are a small farmer, you likely won’t be able to afford the prescription to provide antibiotics to your animals. So, try herbal remedies instead. Herbs are natural and organic, and also are cheaper than most antibiotics.

And, if you have animals, you likely have quantities of manure that will help your herb garden grow beautifully. Can’t grow a garden? Don’t want to buy expensive herbs? Here’s some herbal remedies you might try that use common household cooking spices or common landscaping, as well as from nature:

To prevent feed from spoiling (antifungals) Black pepper, cinnamon, juic, garden sage. FROM NATURE: Juniper berries, wild sage

For wounded animals: Oregano, thyme, rosemary, garden sage. FROM NATURE: Juniper berries, wild sage To promote growth:

Try high energy or high protein feeds. Beans and grains have worked for a long time. Want something cheaper? Try acorns, pine nuts, crabapples, or other wild fruits and nuts.

For a complete list, visit www.themeadowlarkherald.com, and read the book, At Home in Nature

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Flower Candy

        Apple, plum, pansies, tulip, lilac, dandelion and cherry blossoms are in season right now and they are delicious!  I like them in tea as well as in my salads.  But one of the more special ways you can prepare them is by making them into candies.

        Prepare warm water, and into that add enough sugar that you can’t dissolve any more into the water.  Then, lay out the flowers onto a cookie pan.  With a paintbrush, coat the flowers with sugar repeatedly until they are quite crystalized.  If you do not have a paintbrush, you can carefully dunk the flowers into the solution repeatedly, or, if you really want to get fancy, tie them onto a string and suspend that string by a pencil vertically into a deep mason jar.  Over a few days, the sugars will crystalize onto the flowers, creating an extraordinarily hard candy encasing the flowers.  Beautiful!

        And delicious.

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No job is finished until the paperwork is done

Do you eat food?

You’ll want toilet paper.

Our co-op has what you need from beginning to end

Eat healthy for less than $1 per meal.  Tidy up for next to nothing.

Cooperation makes good common sense, good fiscal sense

Call (720) 722-FARM

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