Friday, May 18, 2012

Hmmmm....I wonder... my life would be different if I had known at 28 that I really wanted to be a full time farmer in my grown up life like one of the bloggers that I follow...she just quit her full time job to become a full time writer and farmer...hey, WAIT A MINUTE, that's what I want. 

Yep, life's choices are sometimes so interesting and how things play out.  Instead of farming, I dabble at that passion in my very spare time and work at a job that is neither fulfilling or soul nourishing, certainly not enjoyable... and, I love my little deductions and would not change them being here for the world, you all know that.  But I do sometimes wonder how my life would be different if so many of my choices were not driven by the need to care for other souls besides my own.  I know it would certainly be lonelier and less fulfilled on one very important level (I ALWAYS knew I wanted to be a mother), but they do drive most of the choices Music Man and I make.  It's supposed to be that way when you have children, isn't it?  But Music Man and I discuss often how our choice of "forever home" is totally very driven by our desire (really, internal ache) to be as self sufficient as possible.  A lot of the reasons for that is the boys who we call "Son" and our desire to provide them with the healthiest life possible.  But it does not reconcile with the need to make so much money to provide that little home for them, and our need to work at jobs that are not our preference.  Fourteen years ago, when we met, we could not have known that life would deal us such a challenging and, let's face it, unfair path.  That little farm doesn't seem to be in our immediate future in any case.

Then, I wonder is that just my fear talking?  When I pontificated about how I wanted to leave my job the other day due to many particularly trying days in a row, Music Man told me maybe it was time for me to jump and trust that the net will appear.  Ohhhh, he should be careful what he encourages me to do...but he also knows that the first priority in my life is my Sprites and their needs, so I earn the paycheck working for someone else that helps keep our little family unit floating.  And I hope upon hope that somehow we will get the farm we want so badly before we are both too old to work it.  That leap is looking a little less scary as I get older, I'll tell you that.

What passion would you leap into the net for?

Feeling uneasy and a bit discontent, ~Peacemom

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


One of my favorite harbingers of spring is New Hampshire's state flower, the purple lilac.  Well, any of the three makes me breathe deeply and inhale their enchanting fragrance.  We have a lovely purple lilac and a very large white lilac bush next to the chicken coop...strategically placed to override the chicken perfume for a short time! 

As a child new to New Hampshire, my friend Sharon taught me that lilacs were edible.  You can take the individual blossom, pluck them off the stem and suck the nectar out of the end of the petal.  It is quite sweet and lovely.  So, when I found a recipe on another blog for Lilac Apple Jelly...I KNEW I had to try it!

The recipe makes 5- 1/2 pint jars of lovely golden jelly.  The flavor of this wonderful spread is very delicate and has an undertone of the flowers combined with the apple, honestly incredible flavor.  I've never tasted one like it.  It is definitely better suited to a lightly toasted English muffin or perhaps a crumpet.  This is not a peanut butter and jelly sandwich jelly, the flavor deserves a lighter handling then that!  This suggested pairing would be perfectly suited to a nice cup of tea, English or Irish breakfast would do nicely.  If you love the idea of foraging in your landscaping as much as I do, please, give this a try.  You will be so happy that you did!

Lilac & Apple Jelly

2 c lilac petals, removed from the stem (try to keep the entire blossom intact, the nectar is in the center part)
2 c boiling water
1 pkg powdered pectin
1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 c finely diced, peeled apple (I used empire, which was a great flavor with the lilac)
4 c. sugar

Rinse flowers well.  Put in heat resistant bowl and pour boiling water over all.  Steep over night.  Next morning, strain petals using either a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth.  Discard flowers.  You will need the liquid to be exactly 2 cups, so if the flowers soaked some up, add enough cold water to make 2 cups. 

In medium saucepan combine flower infusion, pectin, and lemon juice.  Using a whisk, mix until the pectin is fully dissolved.  Add diced apple.  Bring to a boil.  Add sugar and stir until fully dissolved.  Return the pot to a rolling boil, boil for one minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat.

Using sterilized canning jars and lids, ladle hot jelly into the 1/2 pint jars (5 in all).  Put in a water bath canner and process for 10 minutes after the boil is achieved.  Remove from canner and place on counter on dishtowel to cool.  Listen for the wonderful sound of the "POP!!" as your jars seal. 

Enjoy!  and if you try it, please let me know how you like it.

Wishing you flowers & apple tastes, ~Peacemom

Sunday, May 6, 2012

No Farms, No Food

There is a field next to our house that is about 2 acres.  There is also another behind us that is probably 10 or so acres.  The time that we've lived here, it's been hayed. Hay that fed livestock which in turn fed us. 

A bit ago, these stakes showed up.  And our view is going to now have a neighbor right next to us.  We have enjoyed lovely privacy up here on our little hill.  That is now gone. As is the food for the livestock that used to be grown in that field. 
It is a bit of a mystery to me how people expect that we can continue to feed the masses when the farms that make up our local food are being sold to the highest bidder.  Music Man went and talked to the developer that bought it to build the house on the two acres.  The new owner is a transplant from Massachusetts, which is not a popular thing for we native New Hampshirites. I'm sure the $140,000 he paid for those two acres is a bargain where he came from.  But it's not land someone on a smaller budget that has lived in New Hampshire most of their lives that wanted to farm it could have afforded. Not without a house, foundation, well or septic system on it.  No, too expensive indeed.  Little by little what was a farm is being sold off, money seems to be the only objective that matters. 

I'm saddened deeply by this.  Not just because we'll have to give up our beautiful, rejuvenating view, but because that's one more piece of farmland that's now housing.  And because of it's proximity to us, it sure feels a whole lot more personal to this would-be farmer.

Insert resigned sigh, ~Peacemom