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  Jennifer (Aardsma) Hall 
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Helen's Mulberry Lane Farm Journal




May 08, 2009

Here is a great site for canning information and lots of other gardening type stuff; check out pickyourown.com. Have fun!

We took some neat photos around the farm this morning, after the rains went through.

My first columbine of the year.




The strawberries are now beginning to flower!


If you haven't reserved your strawberries yet this year, you should do so as the calling list is filling up. These are very popular and sell quickly. The way to be sure to get a few quarts is to get on the reserve list. You can call me at 217-386-2690 or shoot me an email at the Contact Us link in the navigation bar at the left.



We set our tomatoes plants out to harden today for the first time.


I have always loved lily of the valley flowers for several reasons. When I was a little girl on my way to school, there was a lovely large bed of lily of the valley along one section of my walk. I always sneaked up and picked one and smelled it all the way to school. Have you ever smelled lily of the valley? Amazing! Also, my dear Saviour, Jesus, was called the "Lily of the Valley" in the scriptures! That makes this flower all the more special to me. I finally have some growing along the edge of my garage in the shade, which they like. I haven't picked any yet as I have so few; I just kneel by them and smell them as I pass by. The plants were given to me by one of Matthew's lawn customers last summer. I'm so thrilled to see them coming up this year and blooming. It brings back so many memories, and makes me feel ancient!



Lily of the Valley, Bright and Morning Star!




The lettuce, spinach and green onion rows as of today!




Of course, we had to make something with rhubarb today as well;
rhubarb muffins for breakfast!


May 07, 2009

The rhubarb continues to delight our Mulberry Lane Farm kitchens! This morning 'Beka made rhubarb bread with almonds and sour cream! Oh, my! The smell of this bread baking is just fantastic! Drop by the Mulberry Lane Farm market stand today in Loda and buy yourself a mini-loaf just warm from the oven.



Before.....




After.....


I dropped into our local grocery store this morning and while in there doing some errands checked the prices of some of the produce. Well, limpy old rhubarb for $3.99 a lb! And asparagus tough as nails for $3.99 a lb. Makes me feel good about my prices and my fresh-picked-while-you-wait produce!

Beka also made four loaves of French Bread for my stand today and for our supper. Drop by and get it while it is hot!



On the rise.....




Out of the oven.....




Tim and Caleb take a moment for a wave to my camera lady, Rachel!




After lunch today Matthew spends some time with Farley
before heading out to mow more lawns.


May 06, 2009

Just can't get enough of this delicious rhubarb cookin'! 'Beka made a lucious "Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie" for lunch today that makes dieters cringe! Check the recipe out at allrecipes.com one of our favorite recipe sites!



'Beka working in our Mulberry Lane Farm kitchens!




'Beka putting the topping on the pie.








Dig in!


Rachel polished up some old silver for me today that I found by the roadside for free during a community wide garage sale. What fun! It turned out very pretty. I'm hoping to resell it at our local antique shop to put the money in our trip fund.



Here is the silver "in process".






Rachel cleaning the silver. She can't imagine women doing this all time!




May 04, 2009

Today is a gorgeous spring day; the days we longed for all winter. The laundry is swinging on the lines, I'm hearing the sound of the garden tractor from my kitchen window, and the sounds of screaming 'tween boys playing tag around the house in their barefeet. Oh, glorious spring!



Fresh from the garden rhubarb drink!


With spring comes the first taste of asparagus and rhubarb. My garden stand customers are clammering for asparagus; seems like there is never enough for our table! But that is ok. We are saving every dime from the garden sales so that we can go to New Hampshire for my dear mother-in-law's first ever once-in-a-lifetime reunion. We are so excited!

But there is always so much rhubarb in my garden I am always looking for ways to use it. Did you know that the Indians called rhubarb "pie plant?" It grows really well here and is so versatile in baking. This past week we had rhubarb crisp, rhubarb pie, rhubarb cake and rhubarb topping for ice cream.

Did you know that you can also make a drink with rhubarb? I made it for my daughter Laura's and my daughter-in-law Jenna's combined wedding showers several years back. It was a hit!

It is very easy and I can adapt the recipe according to what I have on hand.

No need to really measure anything. (Don't be intimidated! Once you get started you will see how easy it is to adjust according to taste.)

Pick as many rhubarb stalks as you need to fill a medium size pot. Take off the leaves and cut off the bottom piece of the stalk. Wash the stalks. Cut the stalks up into lengths that will fit in the pot easily. Put in 2 quarts or so of water.





Boil the rhubarb until it is soft and mushy.





Strain off the juice using an ordinary strainer that you would use for spaghetti or whatever.





Put the pulp out for the chickens to eat or in the compost. Cool the juice.





I put it in the freezer for about an hour so that I can make up the juice for my tribe faster that way. If you are the organized plan-ahead type, you can make it early in the day and refrigerate the juice until cool. When the juice is cold, you then add another type of juice to the rhubarb juice. It could be pineapple juice, orange juice, lemonade, (powder or frozen) or even a combination of the three or maybe you have another juice on hand that would work well. I would add about 2 cups or so of this. Add sugar to taste. Here is where the adjusting comes in. You might want to add a little more juice or a little more sugar. Rhubarb is sour so needs alot of sugar so don't be surprised at this.

One of the things I love about this juice is the beautiful unusual pink color! It looks so pretty on the table in a glass pitcher!

For a special treat serve with gingerale and a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Heavenly!

Thanks for dropping by Helen's Mulberry Lane Farm Journal and do come again soon!


     


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