Planning Ahead

The menu challenge became really difficult this week. As in, couldn’t pull together a menu in advance, difficult.

There were so many tasks crammed into each day that I resorted to my old habit of planning one meal at a time. Even when I knew this would be the kind of week where a planned menu would have been helpful and possibly even save me from some stress. I commit to doing better next week.

Despite this momentary lapse on my part, there is still activity happening at the Farm toward future meal prep.

Gardening is the ultimate planning ahead.

Donna has been squeezing early spring vegetable planting into every spare moment of her day. Not that there are a lot of those spare moments, but because of her foresight, we have a tender green salad waiting in the refrigerator.

But that isn’t all.

Snap peas, radishes and spinach seeds, in addition to the leaf lettuce seeds, are nestled into dark rich soil. Tomatoes, peppers and herbs are growing in the greenhouse, just waiting for the threat of frost to pass. We will see the fruits of her labor on the table soon.

Taking a lesson about planning for the future, I believe I’ll start working on next week’s menu now.

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Winter Philosophy

At this writing, we are experiencing a Polar Vortex dipping into the middle of the U.S. It brings us some of the lowest temperatures and wind chills in recorded history.

We have taken the steps we can to prepare:

  • Check the propane level for the house and the generator
  • Close off the porch
  • Stock up on birdseed to help our feathered friends
  • Dig out our warmest clothes
  • Make sure the vehicles are full of gas

Like many of you, we prefer long days of warm sunshine, being outside working in the garden or mowing the grass, and sipping cold iced tea in the afternoon shade. We don’t like to be cold or to shovel snow when it piles up in the driveway or drifts in front of the garage door.

Some people cope with the cold dark winter by moving south to warmer weather, but we hunker down and stay put.

There is also a beauty to winter we must not forget. Winter gives us time to do some of those inside chores we put off until after gardening season. It offers us a time to rest from the hard labor that often comes with outside work.

In the midst of the vigilance required to stay safe in bitter cold and snow, while we wait for the sun to drift further north on it’s daily rounds, let’s remember to be grateful.

Here’s a short list to get you started:

  • Long evenings to read a book
  • The beauty of pure white snow pouring a cleansing blanket on the brown landscape
  • When fog freezes on the trees turning everything into a wonderland
  • The blessing of a warm house

What are you grateful for?

How Do You Treat Your Skin?

You have probably heard that your skin is the largest organ in your body. It is responsible for protecting your delicate insides from the elements. That’s a big job. Taking good care of your skin can help protect the rest of you.

Did you know your skin is porous?

This means what you put on your skin can be absorbed into your body. In fact, there are several medicines that are topically applied. Everything from analgesics to birth control to nicotine to high end narcotics can be delivered to your system through a patch or a cream rubbed on your skin.

What about your lips?

Lips are skin too. Not only does the skin of your lips absorb what you put on them but you are likely licking your lips taking in whatever you have applied as a protectant.

So what is the point of all this?

Take a look at a tube of national brand lip balm. Do you see an ingredient list? No. If you want to know what you are smearing on your lips, you have to search the internet and even then, it is not easy to locate. When you do find the list, the first ingredient is petroleum. It then progresses through a number of ingredients or chemical compounds that are difficult to pronounce.

Our Answer.

Here at Five Feline Farm, we take a more simple approach in our lip balm known as BEEk Balm. We use beeswax for durability and protection, sweet almond oil for soothing and moisturizing, and Vitamin E oil for heathy skin support. Then we add pure honey or food grade essential oil for flavor.

That’s it. Four ingredients. Our list fits on the tiny label of a lip balm tube.

You can take this one small step to living a more pure life. Get yours here today.

Repurposing–Giving Old Things New Life

Repurposing is similar to recycling.

Once again turning to Merriam-Webster, the definition is “to give a new purpose or use to”. The in-vogue term now is “up-cycling”.

Whatever you call it, we are all in here at the Farm. Anything we can use for another purpose will extend the life of the thing plus may save money.  If nothing else, things we repurpose often turn into a great conversation piece.

Just to give you some examples of the kinds of things we do, check out this list:

—Use cheap discharge drain tubing to route rain water from the greenhouse

—Convert old wooden barrels into a trash can and table in the Mercantile

—Compost vegetable scraps from the kitchen to create soil amendments for the garden

—Transform an heirloom wagon into a display for baked goods in the Mercantile

—Craft scraps of fabric and stuffing from old pillows into cat toys

Perhaps the best repurposing project to date at the Farm is the acquisition and move of a wire frame corn crib. What was once an old, forgotten utilitarian piece of farm equipment has found a new life. Originally designed to store and dry ear corn, it now stands as a feature along the path to the Mercantile.

Named by two fans of Five Feline Farm, The A-Maize-ing Granary holds tables and chairs that beckon visitors to sit for a time and enjoy conversation or simply contemplate life.

As a bonus, just in case you are wondering how we moved the crib out of the pasture and down our country road, check out the video on our Youtube channel.