Simple pleasures down on the farm
October 01, 2008
Editor's note: The following guest column was sub- mitted by Teemie Eschenburg, founder of Almont's Country Heritage Color Tour. Eschenburg is an enthusiastic "farm girl," artist and businesswoman who currently operates Teemie's Country Blooms. She and her hus- band Randy live on a farm in Almont Township.
Today is "Gathering Day!" Tons of harvesting to do! I love this part of my job best of all. A beautiful fall day, the lingering butterflies, my hawk friend singing to me, Cass our horse talking, letting me know she's there as I pick and bundle.
This year brings seven foot sweet Annie, Cinderella pumpkins, cornstalks, timothy, lamb's ear, lavenders, sunflowers and various other herbs.
It's also time to preserve the bounty, and courtesy of Frieda Schuessler, I've found a fantastic way to savor the flavor of homegrown beans. We made a case of these 'Dilly Beans' three weeks ago, and I had to hide some of the jars as this recipe goes fast once anyone gets a taste.
(Recipe for four pints)
Trim and wash beans, leaving whole. Pack beans lengthwise into clean jars leaving 1/2'' head space. Pack tightly.
To each pint add:
¼ teaspoon cayenne paper
1 clove garlic
1 head dill
(double if using quart jars).
Combine 2-1/2 cups water, 2-1/2 cups white vinegar, ¼ cup Kosher salt
Bring mixture to a boil. Pour hot over beans, making sure everything is covered. Remember to leave head space of ¼". Adjust caps and process in hot water bath 10 minutes.
Note: let beans stand for two weeks before tasting to allow flavor to develop.
This recipe is so easy. A great one for beginners to advanced cooks in the kit-chen.
There's an easy way to freeze the season's tomatoes, too.
Wash them and dry on a towel. Cut them up and freeze. No blanching required. Throw in a few cut up herbs to liven it up.
We had a ladies' night out last night under the stars in the flower field behind the sun-pit. The weather was so lovely. There was lightning in the distance to light up our conversation.
Last year, inspired by a friend's garden setting, I claimed a space for a fire pit. It's quite a ways off from the house—peaceful, serene.
Ah…. The evening was so lovely with everyone bringing refreshments of wine and cheese. Cass, our horse, came by to see what all the laughter was about, an occasional kitty and the excitement of Jazz, our boxer pup of 10 months now, who met up for the first time in her life with a skunk and got sprayed. Oh yes, the country life. My husband was kind enough to give her a bath in the early a.m.—actually several baths.
With Country Blooms' huge push with the dried flowers for making wreaths and dried bouquets, prefer- ring to work with them green, there's some long hours ahead. Have to bring in help to get things ready for the Country Heritage Color Tour this weekend. Please note the sun-pit greenhouse will not be open for the tour.
Wish I could have family help but this is the dairy farm's silage season and the soybeans are ready to harvest now. The silage pile is growing fast. My oldest son, Bryon, has the job of packing the mountain of fermenting corn. I love the smell of the farm this time of year.
There's also a bushel of green beans calling my name for the last of the Dilly Bean adventure.