Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A year in review....working to make the market

Market to market is how we have spent pretty much our entire year. I work all week to have stuff for the market. During the summer I worked every Wednesday up until the week school started back. That had me baking on Monday and Tuesday for the Wednesday markets and Thursday and Friday for the Saturdays market. I love being outside but instead I was in the kitchen all summer.... which don't get me wrong I love love love to be baking and canning..... I have been cooking since I was seven on my own so 
It just comes naturally. I know you think seven seriously??? Yes I was a latchkey kid and my mother divorced when I was five so she worked all the time. She climbed the ladder to success back in a day when women were not so called bosses or "in charge" of an office. We're talking 1970-1977 ish time frame. I was seven in 1975. Going back to my story so cooking is definitely my thing but boy did I miss being outside all day in that 90 to 100 degree temperature. I would go collect the eggs or get Colten too. I would jams and jellies whenever I had fruits. I would get peaches by the bushels and spend half a day blanching and pealing them to can or for peach preserves. I loved every minute of it. I grew tons of veggies too and I was lucky enough to have Colten to help and boy did he help. I kept telling him he was learning life skills. Probably not what a 13 year old wants to hear.!! When I would plant he would help by digging the holes and or watering.

I grew gourds for fun. Which has always been bunches of fun!!

These are some of my raised beds, I had in early spring. I grew lots of veggies for the market. My veggies are organic no chemicals, no pesticides, just lots of love and care. This is what I call the kitchen garden.

I got a new tractor from John Deere last October for my 28th year wedding anniversary. Which was November eighth. Here I am getting my education to drive such an excellent piece of equipment. I now could go from raised beds to no limits farming.

Here is when we harvested the May peas. Dusty and Colten my two biggest helpers. I plant these every year in February usually Valentine's Day. Well I did this year too and not a good idea as in the past. With all the freezing low temperatures we had this winter they actually froze. At first when they were not coming up I thought okay did the chickens dig them up and eat them? No I dug them up to find they were froze and turned to nothing under the ground. Basically a gooshy mess. So I started over immediately.

I made homemade soap as much as I could as often as I could. I switched to 15lb molds that Bruce made to increase my pouring amounts. Which makes it more difficult to pour now.

Here you can see the 15 lb mold. I was trying to keep up with everything else and  pouring late at night mostly. I pour all the soap in my craft kitchen on the third floor of my house.

Bruce and I tended to the bees. Which I love!!

On a Sunday morning in my pjs tending to the bees and looking for the queen.

Hello!! Beautiful beautiful beautiful bees!

About every couple of days we picked tomatoes for the market and for me to can for the winter. We had a very successful and blessed season.

I canned more than a 100 quart jars for soups and sauces and salsas this winter. Oh yeah and of course tomato pudding which is my husbands favorite!

Here are my pattypan squash and tomatoes at the markets.

On a Friday morning getting ready for the
Market. Here Skylar helped me and Colten pick tomatoes. All tomatoes are organic no pesticides no chemicals just lots of love and care. I use marigolds to keep bugs out of the tomatoes.

I always have fresh eggs at the markets. On average we collect around 130 eggs a day. I use a lot in baking and just for us to eat. My chickens are on pasture free ranged fed a non-gmo feed (which cost way more than conventional feed) I try to stay away from gmos and want what I eat to also be non-gmos. My chicken are beautiful and roam everywhere. You are what you its a good idea to feed your chickens the non-gmo feed.

Chickens everywhere!

We have raised all the chickens from tiny chicks.

Egg collecting.

Of course I have the t-shirt of girls on grass. Get yours HERE the money supports ethical farming

Fruit and fruit galore from figs to apples to peaches to grapes to strawberries. I have literally spent a year in fruits. However I have spent many years but on a small scale. I know for a fact we had over 600lbs of figs this year alone. Gosh I have no idea how many blackberries, blueberries. It's unbelievable!!!

Strawberry picking.

Of course I canned as much as a factory, okay well maybe not as much but it seriously felt like it.
Don't get me wrong I love to can but I honestly have canned so much and like everyday or close to everyday. Here are the figs in Fig preserves. Talk about YUM! 
It has been a very busy year but with lots of rewarding work!! That I have greatly enjoyed. I am so thankful so very very thankful for all who have believed in me and supported me. I am ever so thankful and appreciative of this! 

This has to be one of my biggest sellers my hot pepper jam. Which I have customs who buy 15 jars a month to put on all their goods. It's not just a yummy cream cheese spread but a yumminess for all foods. I usually make about 70 jars a month. Thank goodness I had an amazing year of peppers. I even sold vinegar bottles full of peppers.
Just a few of them. I seriously did a lot of these and my customers love them. I have ones who buy them and pull the peppers out to eat. Wow those are brave souls! 

When time would allow I would paint my hand painted canvas bags for the soaps. Which these are big sellers. It just makes a great gift!!! I enjoy painting them more than you can ever imagine!! I look forward to this and it makes me sooooo overjoyed when customers buy them.

Breads and more breads I will bake around sixty loaves of bread on a Friday along with the pies. Which my pecan pie recipe is HERE you will need to scroll to the bottom of the page to see the recipe. Thank you for supporting me on my baked goods and telling me the rave reviews on them it just makes me plain happy!

Let me tell you about the John Deere Gator I had the notion that I needed and to my surprise Bruce made it happen. I was hauling everything by hand from feed, to veggies, to straw and I said you know I really could use a gator well he got one. Let me tell I felt lazy at first but when your work is never done on the farm.... One could really use it! It has made duties so much easier from hauling the heavy coolers to and from the fridges. Yes I'm ashamed to say we have six full size refrigerators and six huge freezers. They are not in one place so putting things requires a lot of caring. This gator has been a back saver and a true help for all of us. I am truly thankful for it!!

Here is one of my famous pecan pies you can find the recipe HERE.

Of course when you are making as much jams and jellies as I do you need a lot of supplies and jars are the biggest need of them all! Bruce has made a lot of trips for me to relinquish supplies. Here is when we went to get a truck load of jars. There are 100 cases in the back of my FJ Cruiser.

I made beard oil this year too which is just amazing!!

Some more pics of the garden, this year.

More garden pics oh my makes me want to have fresh squash blossoms...yum!

This one was actually taken today. We love making Chinese stir frys and today we had that for dinner. Cooper helped me pick the Bok Choy we planted in early  September. Look out how beautiful they are. I love this pic of Cooper. It makes me so happy to get them involved and teach them how to grow and raise your own food. Once again I tell them "life skills".

Cooper and I picked the collards look how big and lovely they are. I have a country ham soaking now so the ham hock will be good in the collards. Not for me but I do how to make them for Bruce.

We picked huge amounts of blueberries of course we do every year, but wanted to show you. I also have other post of blueberries you can view HERE.

Cody boxing soap trust me this is not what any of the boys want to do. 

Boxing eggs. That is a huge job in its self. Colten, Bruce and I do this on a daily basis.

I made homemade vanilla this year. I started this back in January so it would be ready for this Christmas. I have only a few left now so if you want one you better get up with me ASAP.

Packing soap up for the market each week. Usually Cody does this but a lot of times I have got to the market and not have the soap I needed so now after he packs I go back and pack what I do need.

I hope you enjoyed a wee bit of a look into this past year of how and what I do to prepare for the market. Being on a farm your work is never done but it makes me happy to know what we are eating and feeding our animals and knowing what we sell is pure goodness! I thank everyone who has supported our farm and knowing that you are getting the BEST we can provide. Truly #Madewithlove!!! Thank you and I am thankful for YOU!
Happy Thanksgiving! 
Cyber Hugs,
Dawn Gallop 

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