Fifth Anniversary at Seven Oaks Farm – Celebrating With “Coulter’s Garden”!

Today marks our fifth anniversary as owners of this sweet bit of suburban land that we call our little farmlette, Seven Oaks Farm. Although we signed all the papers and the ink was certainly dry on that day, we couldn’t take possession until the following morning. I vividly remember meeting our fabulous real estate friend, Kathy Bussmann, in the driveway at 8am that next morning and receiving the keys from her! We had so much to do in so little time since we had approximately 3 weeks to get the house in livable condition before we had to be out of our other house. That day we had a dumpster delivered and tore out all the old carpets and drapes and anything else that was not attached. And then we continued in the weeks to come by also tearing out much of what was attached such as wallpaper, light fixtures and tile. It is quite fun to review all those photos and see the huge differences that five years of nearly constant work has brought to the table both inside and out!  Although the farm blog is not about the house, we are very pleased with what we have accomplished with both ends of this property so perhaps I’ll share the house transformation pics at some point too.

Our grandson, Coulter Allen Ward, also turned 5 months old today, (hurray!) and is rapidly becoming one of our most promising future customers! Due to the paucity of our harvest this summer, we have resorted to making his first bites of solid foods from (gasp!) store bought veggies (more on that later) but we are on a roll now with the fall plantings. We now have most of the the cool season planting done and are hoping for a nice turn out. (We also threw in a couple of rows of heat lovers like green beans since we had the seeds and who knows what the late summer season will bring!?!) We are calling these fields “Coulter’s Garden” since we have planted many of these veggies with him in mind knowing that with two new teeth, he has begun eating solid foods recently.

Emerging now in 20 foot rows: green beans, carrots, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Swiss chard, peas, leeks, turnips, radishes, onions and lettuces. We have high hopes that we can get enough good fall weather to get these to be fruitful. Here are the Green Beans…IMG_8825The Peas…

IMG_8826the Broccoli…

IMG_8833Swiss Chard…

IMG_8829Spinach…

IMG_8832and Carrots.

IMG_8828Since our carrots are behind schedule, I recently made some organic carrots for Coulter from (gasp!) the store. Here he is eager to dive into the rice cereal and carrot puree! (Am I the only one who sees the resemblance to little Prince George???)

IMG_8868I think he would just love to play with the carrots and rice cereal as much as eat it! Today continued with other home prepared goodies…I made him sweet potatoes (what?…is this the season of orange foods?) So simple to do this. First, I started with a sweet potato from the (gasp) grocery store.

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I peeled and steamed it (although baking it in its “jacket” would have been fine too but just takes more time.)

IMG_8920Once it is cooked, I whizzed it thru my mini processor until it was nice and soft…ready to eat after cooling.

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This seemed to be another hit since Coulter downed it all rapidly and was hoping for “more, sir, more” as he tried to eat the empty bowl…

IMG_8929as well as promising to feed himself with his spoon in the future!

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We are continuing to harvest modest amounts of eggplants…enough for making eggplant burgers!IMG_8834 And tomatoes…enough for daily salads, sandwiches and finally some pasta sauce…

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As well as side dishes such as tomato gratin!

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Some of the newest fall plantings are already on our plates…radishes, onions, lettuces with turnips not far behind.

Image 9-20-15 at 3.39 PMGood news – the orchard seems to have rebounded from some pretty dire months of weather. The trees that we staked after the high winds in June are all still alive. We replaced one of the two new plum trees that virtually drowned in the massive rains and need to replace one of the pears as well at least one apple tree but may leave that to next spring.

The flower beds at the farm are in constant need of my attention and at times are neglected but I believe these planting beds develop a richer, more complex nature given some time so I do not wish to rush them. Case in point, this weekend I meandered (with Coulter in his stroller) through the nearby Kirkwood Greentree Festival and stopped at both the Iris Society and Daffodil Society booths. I bought bulbs from each but am particularly pleased with the irises. I saw a large (meaning tall), white variety called “Marilyn’s Skirt” and thought I would add these to the northwest front area in honor of my mother, Marilyn. They should fit nicely with the peonies and salvia that I planted this past spring. Despite the description, this area gets a good amount of sunshine and I will hope they do well there. Image 9-19-15 at 5.45 PMIn celebration of our fifth anniversary, I am announcing the first retail offering of our Seven Oaks Farm Jam. Our dear friend, Kim Good, who owns and operates The Artery (the best framing shop in our bi-state area!) has kindly offered to sell our strawberry and blueberry jams in her store. Here is the display that she and one of her wonderful employees, Josh, helped me to set up today. Go to The Artery http://arteryframing.com/ to take advantage of her fabulous framing services (I trust no one else with my prints and artwork!!!) and also to buy our local jams. Please contact me for any interest in mail orders, but please do visit Kim for all the best framing services in town!!!

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