Saturday, December 29, 2012

One Of Our Favorite Wild Edible Food Recipes

Venison.  It's low in saturated fat, an excellent source of protein, and deer are plentiful here.  In fact, while driving home recently, we barely hit one.  We continued down the road about a mile, and we almost hit another.  Thankfully no damage was done.  
Jordan was blessed with this one just before Thanksgiving. The timing was really nice as the younger ones thought it quite authentic to have venison as a part of our holiday meal, and I thought it wonderful to have so much meat!  Of course, we had to include a bit of popcorn, too!
Some people marinade in a vinegar bath because of a sometimes strong or gamey flavor, but the recipe we used for the tenderloin in the picture was not marinated in vinegar, and the flavor was incredible.  A ratio of 2 tablespoons of vinegar per quart of water can be used, if desired, and left to soak for at least one hour. 
A 100 pound deer will yield approximately 50 pounds of meat, and a family with whom we recently had dinner told me that they can the unused parts to be used as food for their dogs.
Johnathon, no doubt, will find some use for the pretty hide.  He's become quite interested in such things.:)
And here is one of our FAVORITE recipes using the tenderloin:  Mix together 2 cups of brown sugar and 2 cups of soy sauce.  Cover 2 to 4 pounds of tenderloin in the mixture and let it marinade overnight.  Place the meat on a drip pan and the marinade , and wrap the tenderloin with pieces of bacon.  Cook at 350 for approximately 45 minutes and baste often.  If you like, you can place on broil and crisp the bacon a bit, but watch carefully.  This recipe we adapted from one found on recipeZaar, and it is absolutely wonderful.  The marinade juices can be spooned over rice or mashed potatoes, and leftover meat and drippings make an excellent base for soup.  Succanat, natural sugar, maple syrup, or honey can be used in place of the brown sugar, and soy sauce could be replaced with Bragg's Liquid Aminos.  Blessings from the Lee family!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Gift of Gifts

~Blessings to you and yours from the Lee family~

O Source of all Good,

What shall I render to thee for the gift of gifts,
thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
my Redeemer, proxy, surety, substitute,
his self-emptying incomprehensible,
his infinity of love beyond the heart's grasp.
Herein is wonder of wonders:
he came below to raise me above,
was born like me that I might become like him.
Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to him he draws near on
wings of grace,
to raise me to himself.
Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
he united them in indissoluble unity,
the uncreated and the created.
Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to him,
and no intellect to devise recovery,
he came, God-incarnate, to save me
to the uttermost,
as man to die my death,
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me.
O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and enlarge my mind;
let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;
place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemer's face,
and in him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child to my heart,
embrace him with undying faith,
exulting that he is mine and I am his.
In him thou hast given me so much
that heaven can give no more.

--The Valley of Vision--

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Frugal Farmin' ~ Storin' The Harvest on *Depression* Shelves

One of our longtime goals is to learn to grow more of what we eat and to eat more of what we grow.  
We have much to learn, and learning takes time, but we are greatly encouraged each time we realize that something else has been crossed off our grocery list.
And while we can't do everything, we hoped to do something.
Which led to one of the *somethings* we've had on our list of late...
to add some shelves to the laundry room which is located conveniently near our kitchen.
The laundry room seemed fairly large for just a washing machine (used a lot) and a dryer (not hooked up).
And since we *shop* from our pantry shelves, having items conveniently located and within easy reach would be helpful.  Not essential - but very helpful.
So while we all worked this summer and fall on canning and preserving the harvest, my seventeen year old went to work on the building of pantry shelves in order to get all the *stuff* off the tabletops, counter tops, refrigerator top, get the idea!
And I, for one, am so VERY pleased with the results.:)  The canning jars of food will be (mostly) stored here, the emptied jars will be washed and placed on the screened porch, and every time a dozen jars have filled a box, they will be moved to the barn until next seasons canning.
Once again, wood which had been acquired and collected, prior to the storm, was used for this project.  We were blessed to be able to bring it with us when we moved here this year.  The boards are rough sewn and 2 x 6 in size.  Braces were placed every so many inches apart and screwed into the studs.  The studs were found using a stud finder type gadget.  And why do we call the shelves *depression* wood shelves?  Well, several years ago, Tom found a large quantity of rough sewn wood for sale on Craigslist and for an incredibly good price.  He thought that perhaps one of our children might use it for the building of a future home or maybe a barn.  The wood was from trees which had been planted during the Great Depression as part of some work program.  They, of course, grew very large over the passing of time, and people in the state (Illinois) could get permits for cutting them down for their use.  The man we purchased them from had a brother in Illinois who would cut some every year and bring the wood to his  home in Alabama.  His intentions were to use the wood for building near the brother when he retired from his job in Illinois.  That never happened, we ended up with the *depression* wood, and now it is in yet another state.  We're now using it for various projects here on the farm, we're very thankful to have it, and we continue to think through the best way to organize in order to have a workable system.  Do you have any tried and true pantry ideas?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Baker's Dozen on Leegacy Farm - An Update

It's been quite a while since we've posted here on A Baker's Dozen, so we thought we'd give a bit of an update as to what we've been up to.
Our first year on the farm has been a productive one, and we were blessed with an abundance of beans, meat and vegetables to store up for the winter months.
Purple Hull Peas are a favorite around here, and although we were late planting them, we're thankful for the amount we have.
They are members of the black-eyed pea family and a favorite in the south.
We very much enjoyed having my mom here with us recently as we canned a variety of foods from the garden and planted shrub clippings she brought from her home.
Josh purchased a wagon frame and worked very hard to complete the new *Chicken Concern* before visiting friends painted it.  He'd just made one right before the tornado last year.  This one is very similar and also was made frugally and from wood which had already been collected.

My little chicken farmer.  The chicks he received for his birthday are now laying.  He keeps me furnished with eggs.:)  I give him feed.:)

This is Cam.  He's the newest addition and this is an unusual picture.  He's clean!
The Large Blacks are also new to Leegacy Farm.  They are growing nicely and will hopefully be ready to have piglets before to long.
Rhett, a gift from sweet friends, gets along really well with Billy (below).
But they do NOT like being separated. 
This first year on the farm has been very busy as we've enjoyed and been encouraged by visits from the dearest of friends and relatives and as we've gotten to know the WONDERFUL people in our new community.
Lots of fence repair has been done and there's still much to do.  But work is good for us, and I don't think we'll run out of projects any time soon.:)
Jordan (son), Jim and Jack put in long hours as they plow and disc the fields.  I love watching them as they head for the barn at night.  And I say an extra prayer of thanks as I watch them labor for the good of us all.
We've traveled some and had a wonderful time visiting with friends in our former state.  They've since rebuilt their home  and we enjoyed time re-connecting with their family and others.  We also enjoyed attending a family reunion and visiting a little with Tom's side of our family as we stopped by to get a piano from the church they attended when growing up.:)
My brother was able to visit with us for the first time.  He is a pilot and realized that he frequently flies almost directly over where we've settled when flying from his state to another.  What a joy to find a landing strip in a field and only a short drive from us! 
We've celebrated three birthdays since our last post, and I'm so thankful for the gift of my children. 
Which is one reason we haven't been able to post much lately...we've been doing a lot more of the above (reading together, learning together).  Now that we're *home*, finding things and getting settled, we've just felt the need to relax a little, ponder, pray, and enjoy simple pleasures with loved ones.  Like reading books together while sharing the warmth of a blanket...
Like watching young men and women who pour themselves into a project and bring beauty from a simple piece of wood.  Just as their father did.
Like being on the road we attend a conference and are reminded of the need to love our neighbor more than ourselves...of the need to reach out to those who are hurting...of the need to share the truth of the gospel...
Like watching as little girls delight in opportunities to hold a sweet baby girl and daughter of dear sweet friends who've recently moved to our area...
Like watching as my sons and daughters find opportunities to learn new skills on the farm...
Like watching the youngest ones as they enjoy playing in the cold cold water with a cousin who's visiting for the first time...
Like finding time to notice the beauty of God's creation and the softness of one of Hannah Joy's bunnies...
Like listening to the sounds of the hens contentedly clucking and noticing the wonder and beauty of an egg offered daily...
Like watching bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh as they grow up...and it happens so fast...
And finally, like rejoicing over the harvest  - corn and fat butternut squashes, purple hull peas and green beans and onions, tomatoes and peppers, greens and fresh herbs. Milk and cheese, maple syrup and meat.  And even zucchini.  And love. Especially love. And rejoicing in and giving thanks to the Giver of the harvest and all good gifts.  And that's what we've been up to.  And we are refreshed.  And we are grateful. 



Monday, September 10, 2012

Free And Yummy !

It's a member of the cabbage family and related to garden cress and radish ( you can see the patches of it in the creek bed above).  It's semi-aquatic.  It's a perennial plant and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by humans.  And the creek beds around our new home are FULL of it!  What is it?  WATERCRESS!!

I've read that early immigrants to our country reportedly combed the hillsides every spring for the first signs of it.  The taste, to me, is similar to a radish if not picked early enough. Many find it free on their property growing in and around water.  And some grow it on a large scale.  It is well-suited to hydroponics but that process wouldn't be free, so I'm so glad watercress grows here on its own.

Watercress doesn't keep, once picked, for very long.  So pick only as needed.  Also, it contains iron, folic acid, calcium, and vitamins A and C.

According to Wikipedia, New Market, Alabama was known as the "Watercress Capital of the World" in the 1940's...I didn't know that!  Wikipedia also tells of an English surgeon, by the name of John Woodall, who suggested using watercress as a remedy for scurvy (because of Vitamin C content).  And did you know it is also high in iodine and many health benefits are claimed?  But best of all, it can be grown at home and many may find it growing prolifically around their wet areas for free:)  Or perhaps you could introduce some to your property??

We've gathered basket fulls since early spring and sauteed it in butter and added garlic, just as we cook kale.  We sometimes add a bit of parmasean cheese, and we've been experimenting with using watercress as we would frozen spinach in our lasagna.  It's also good when used as a salad green, but the sooner picked the better it is.

Another good thing about watercress is that the more you harvest it the more it grows back (thanks for telling me, Vicki).  Anything we can get off the grocery list is exciting, so we'll definitely be experimenting with this wonderful green again and again.

And do you know who else really enjoys it around here?  Judson's Duck Duck and Goose Goose!  They're often seen foraging around the property, and watercress seems to be one of their favorite green things (as well as green tomatoes).   I'm just glad they aren't aware of the more plentiful patches located on the homeplace!  Have you any favorite recipes using watercress or other naturally growing free foods?




Friday, September 7, 2012

Sunday Sayin's And Thoughts

"No stars gleam as brightly as those which glisten in the polar sky. No water tastes so sweet as that which springs amid the desert sand. And no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs through adversity. Tested faith brings experience. You would never have believed your own weakness had you not needed to pass through trials. And you would never have known God's strength had His strength not been needed to carry you through." ~ Spurgeon

The storm left scattered evidence of a life- lived all over the yard and pastures of our former dwelling place and even some pictures and such in other states. So for the past several weeks, our family has been going through the remaining boxes of items lovingly collected from amongst the rubble. As you can imagine, going through such things and anticipating the lovely crisp fall days (fall was his very favorite season) has us thinking about Tom. A lot.

As I told a friend recently, papers are found and his handwriting is instantly recognized and so reminds us of the man... letters so straight and tall and neat and in order, and we remember. His clothes are found, and we remember. His style. His shoes, and we remember. His boots sit in my room and next to the bed. The boots he wore when he breathed his last prayer, and we remember.

In fact, we've been taking time to rejoice in knowing where he is and to thank God for the time we breathe, and we remember.

Do we miss him? Absolutely! It's good to miss, and it's good to be missed. If we could, would we bring him back? Absolutely not! We believe and rest and trust in God's sovereignty and plan for our lives.

But memories are stirred as we go through familiar items....and we miss...only our Lord knows what all. We can't really put our finger on it all. Our loved one? Our friends and family? The familiar? Everything has changed. Is it a place? Things? Sameness? All of the above?

What we do believe, and what we are reminded of daily, is that we all crave security and sometimes expect to find it in people, places, things, and the familiar. While people, places, things, and the familiar are good gifts from the Lord, our security is not to be found there, but rather in a PERSON. And that Person is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

As I also shared with my friend, we are so very thankful for the wonderful people God has placed in our lives and that we belong to and are loved by HIM. C.S. Lewis said, "When pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all."

So many of you experience hurts or losses greater than our family can even fathom, but we know the One who can. Our prayer is that, whatever the storms in our lives, big or small, whatever the changes or unknowns we may be facing, and we all face changes and unknowns...daily, our trust will be in the Lord, and we will offer our circumstances to God. May He cause them to bear fruit...and may we remember and find comfort in His unfailing grace.