We can’t complain, it has been a mild winter but when the cold does show up it still can create chaos. This past week we got some cold weather, 12 below to be exact, and even though it may be the only super cold day of the year it still left its mark.
Translucent greens, the results of ruptured frozen cells, do not make for good eating and look even worse. So we ended up throwing away hefty portions of most plants that would fail to impress all but the most hungry persons.
This is a long winded way of saying that lettuce will be small this week, hopefully we will be one and done with the super cold, but it is only January so who knows.
We do have lovely micros, not to mention ground ginger, candied ginger and both cordials readily available and with a week or two of mild weather we should be on top with greens again soon.
it has been an emotional week as we remember Kris's Dad's life. It has been a cool week here too but I have to admit it is a bit warmer than home. The cold weather in michigan has slowed the growth but we should have plenty of lettuce and micros this week. We should also have both cordials, candied ginger and ground ginger.
We are planning on a normal delivery week so let us know if there is anything else you would like to add in.
Thanks again for all the thoughts and prayers.
Another farm year has flown by; well if staggering in 4 feet of snow for the first quarter and then suffering through a colder than average spring which delayed growth followed by a pretty decent but cool summer and early fall could be considered flying by. (shh, we are trying to forget the 20 inches of white stuff in November- it was just a bad dream.)
Truth be told, it was a tough year to play farmer, but December sure was nice- we’d order a whole winter of that kind of weather if we had the option. But hey, that what starting a new year is all about, learning from the past and being ready to tackle the future. So I’m putting on my optimist boots ready to trudge into the new year.
We are planning to add a new greenhouse next year so we can add more parsley, cilantro, thyme and chives into our year-round mix and more lettuce too of course.
We are hoping to continue developing our cordial market; we added 500 elder bushes this past year and we are planning on adding more ginger too next year.
We would like to also start making local sodas (elderflower fizz and ginger ale/beer are first on the list) come this spring, we’ll see...
And if things come together, I’m hoping to get my first book out this year too, (I’m sick of publishers, so looking at self-publishing).
I told you I had my optimist boots on, they may be a little big since I can feel my toes sliding around a bit in the front end, but that’s better than wearing ones that are too tight. I might stumble, but at least I will fall forward.
Well, that’s the list. We’ll see how it goes. We hope you all had a blessed Christmas this past week and wish that the new year will be filled with your hopes and dreams as well.
So today Steve sat down and wrote out our new seasonal holiday song. Let us know what you think!
The weather outside is delightful
Seeing the sun is insightful
And since we’ve got no snow
Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow
The water in the beds is lapping
And the stalks of chard are strapping
The pumps are running on low
Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow!
When we finally close them up
When the fires are burning bright
We head back in to sup
Knowing all is allright
Watching the houses glow pink
And it gives us time to think
We’re so thankful to see the glow
Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow
We should have plenty of cordial available this week - let us know what you'll need - both for yourself and for gifts! Sooner the better so we can make more if needed. Remember, no CSA deliveries next week (see below)...
Christmas- with the holidays fast approaching we want to give you heads up on our plans. Right now, we are planning no CSA deliveries that week. You are welcome to order extras the week before or you can pick up at the farm on Monday or Tuesday of Christmas week (please order in advance, though). We'll be pushing off our New Year's Day lakeshore deliveries to Friday, Jan 2.
What a difference seeing the sun makes. After a couple of dark weeks in November, December opens clear and bright and the difference is noticeable in the greenhouses. The plants have just jumped in size with the extra light.
Cordials- Wow… just wow. We had an unbelievable response from everyone. It was so good in fact that we blew out of what we had made by last Wednesday. We have been making more and have plenty of the Elderflower cordial ready to go but have been slowed with trying to get the Ginger Cordial perfect. Perfect of course is relative, but we are trying to keep both the taste of the sweet lemon on the front half and still have the bite at the back end.
Christmas- with the holidays fast approaching we want to give you heads up on our plans. Right now, we are planning no CSA deliveries that week. You are welcome to order extras the week before or you can pick up at the farm on Monday or Tuesday of Christmas week (please order ahead of time). We will also skip New Year’s Day the following week (pushing Thursday deliveries to Friday).
Thank you all for your continued support. We are truly blessed to work with so many wonderful people who care not only about their food but about the people who grow it. It is these relationships that we are thankful for.
It has been a tough couple of weeks with our weather more like the end of January than end of November. It has been dark and cold, not the best for growing but we have been busy none-the-less.
With Christmas just around the corner we have the perfect Christmas gifts not only for your loved ones/ co-workers, but the perfect gift for yourself too-the very first bottles of Mud Lake Cordial. Each bottle will include a recipe card.
What in the world is cordial you ask? Well, let me tell you (I’m straightening my bow tie ready to give you my best spiel). Cordial is a delightful flavored syrup. In our case, we are starting with two varieties – Elderflower Cordial and Ginger Cordial made with - you guessed it - Mud Lake Elderflowers and Mud Lake Ginger.
Elderflower Cordial is huge in Europe and we have been making it for years for our family (we even made it for the wedding this past summer). It contains only filtered spring water, cane sugar, elderflowers, citric acid and cream of tartar, and can be used in a myriad of ways. It is wonderful in hot teas (especially if you have a cold), added to mixed drinks (instead of St. Germain’s), or it can be made into a cool beverage like a lemonade (just add water) or mixed with club soda to make a soda (or as they say across the pond, a Pressé).
Ginger Cordial - If someone you love likes ginger (including yourself), this is a must-have. Our own ginger cooked with sugar in our filtered artesian-spring water with just a touch of citric acid and cream of tartar. This again is great in both hot and cold tea or you can make your own ginger ale, ginger beer, or add to a mixed drink to give it a touch of that ginger fire. (It is also good on pancakes.)
We’ve also got a limited amount of Candied Ginger for sale as well – tender chunks of yellow ginger dusted with a layer of granulated sugar. These are great for snacking or including in your favorite baked goods, and they sure pack a punch!
technically right or left, for the last several years it has been the
domain of Ron Paul on the fringe of the Republican Party.
This year that has changed, the rise of the tea party and the outcry
from the healthcare bill has re-ignited this movement and as the
country debates the national debt and how money has been spent on
the bailouts and stimulus packages it poses to open a great divide.
You may wonder what exactly Libertarianism is. There are entire
books on the subject but the short answer is that Libertarians
believe that the government should have no roll in our lives except
to protect the nation from attack and defend our freedoms. That
sounds well and good on the face of it, after all, who doesn’t like
liberty? Where we can all do what we want as long as we don’t hurt
others. What’s the problem?
Two things: first is that libertarianism is one step from being
anarchy (All government is bad) and if you listen to many of the
political ads this year you may question if some office seekers have
already crossed that line. The second, at least for the Christian, is
that it’s not biblical.
God gave Israel all kinds of rules about taking care of the weak and
the widows; ordering farmers to leave the corner of their fields un-
harvested for the poor and the year of jubilee in which all land was
returned and slaves freed. I’m not a theologian, so maybe someone
can prove me wrong. But I doubt you will find any place in the Bible
that supports a libertarian government view.
Some will argue that the Israelites were God’s people and that was
more like a church than a government. Maybe, but aren’t we the
people of God and isn’t the United States a government of the
people, for the people, by the people? Or is our government outside
the domain of our God?
Perhaps Abram Kuiper was wrong with his “every inch of creation
belongs to God.” Perhaps government is too corrupt to be
redeemed. But how can Christ be King of kings and not King of the
United States Government?
Once upon a time a slave named Joseph was asked to explain a
dream to Pharaoh. He explained how there were to be seven years
of plenty and then seven years of famine and that Pharoh should fill
stores houses now for years of famine ahead.
Pharaoh looked at the slave, and scoffed, “What are you, a
socialist? No wonder you’re a slave. It is not the government’s role
to gather food and then distribute it to those who are unprepared.
Let them die.” He shook his head in disgust. “I’m not even going to
tell you the dream about the snake coiled around the top a stick;
you would probably tell me it means we should have national health
care or something.”
Of course this never happened; in reality God used this heathen king
to show mercy not only to the citizens of Egypt but to all the
surrounding area including the future people of Israel.
God is not a libertarian, he is the opposite. He uses governments to
show his love, justice and mercy. He told us to love him first and
then to love our neighbors as ourselves. When we stand in judgment
in the final days somehow I don’t think the fact that we voted for
lower taxes will give God much pleasure.
Of course this doesn’t mean we should support every program out
there and go into debt for generations to come. That is a completely
justifiable argument, but as followers of Christ, we need to love our
neighbors and demand that our government reflects our values
whether it be reducing the number of abortions or helping the less
A government can not show love, only people can do that, but it can
show justice and mercy if we let it.
There is something fulfilling about watching chickens prancing about
a barnyard. The rooster, in his proud plumage, struts about his
kingdom and looking for the highest spot to perch, be it fence post
or wagon. He’ll then call out at the top of his voice “Cuck-a-do-a-
doo” for all to hear. The hens, typically scattered about scratching
the ground surrounded by their fluffy offspring, were the required
scenery for any wholesome farm.
This vision is still common to all of us, even if you have never
stepped foot in the country. It has been the subject of paintings for
hundreds of years and the backdrop for most every movie made that
deals with rural life. But, before a rooster can crow from the fence
post, he and every other chicken starts off as a little fluffy ball.
To be sure, there is little in this world more adorable than day-old
chicks. Soft and fuzzy like a new blanket, they cuddle with one
another for warmth. Throwing in their high pitched cheeps, they
are the picture of innocence, snuggling together, holding each other
up in a communal nap.
Chicks are so loved that they share top billing with the Easter bunny
as spokesmen for spring. They even have their own candy; Peeps
are a foamy marshmallow confection, soft and tender, that cling
together in gooey sweetness.
But this popular portrayal of innocence leaves out an important
detail. That there is a dark side of baby chicks- they are like us,
The fluffy costume that we so admire will only last a couple of days
before feathers start to appear at the tips of the wings. The naive
dark eyes that perfect the image soon develop a menacing outer
yellow iris. The pupils narrow and the look of innocence is
transformed into its true being- the cold calculating creature.
Of course just like with us it doesn’t happen overnight. They first
go through the ugly teenage weeks as feathers pop out, pointing in
every direction. During this time they grow so fast that the old fluff
is nothing more than fuzz stretched across their bare skin waiting
for their plumage to fill in. A bare neck with head full of wild
feathers wouldn’t win any beauty pageants, but in another week this
too is covered, and they soon become the elegant fowl of the
Although Norman Rockwell never showed it, the life of the chicken
is not as idyllic as it appears on the canvas. They are far more like
us than most of us would give them credit for.
Perhaps you have to be a farmer to see it; perhaps you need to
work with them every day, for in spite of their beauty and their
location on our food chain, their inner-creature is wild and cruel.
It starts day one- for when the fluff balls look to be cuddling, they
are there for one purpose: preservation of themselves. They will
quickly smother their neighbor and trample them under foot if they
are lacking the heat they crave. It is not uncommon on unusually
cold nights or if the brooder lamp fails to find a pile of dead chicks
under the live ones still massed as one.
This selfishness extends to their diet as well. We will often pick
potato beetles off the plants in the garden, gathering the pests in a
jar for a trip to the chicken run. As the contents pour out, the
chickens will sprint over to feast. The first ones there will look like
a teenage boy, eating them as fast as he can before the others can
For the larger insects like grass hoppers, they will grab hold of the
bug and dash off like a bandit with their booty in their beaks,
several others join in pursuit as if they were the keystone cops.
There are few more humorous sights then watching chickens,
especially broilers with their big bodies and flailing stick legs,
chasing each other over a grasshopper, often leaving other offerings
untouched just to keep the other from getting away with an
Not all their activities are humorous though; if one develops a sore
or a cut the others are sure to notice and take advantage. Within
hours the wound will be attacked and the flock will kill the bird,
ripping its flesh as they peck the creature to death.
It is so senseless. If we catch it in time, we rescue the bird, placing
it in quarantine for a few days until it heals. But it makes me
wonder if maybe there is little difference between our species in
We hold up our offspring as perfect the day they are born, unable or
unwilling to admit that they are as selfish as the parents that bore
them. We see them as helpless innocent bundles of joy. And though
we are quick to spot the mother’s blue eyes or the father’s dark
hair somehow we are blind to the sinful nature that we all inherit.
Don’t we too race to keep others from obtaining a prize that we
covet whether it is a spot on the basketball team or the corner
office? But it is with our wounded friends that we most resemble
these feathered fiends.
While most of us have not physically assaulted anyone, can we say
that we are as innocent of the vicious cut-down, catty back-stab or
the constant pecking at someone’s emotional or spiritual wellbeing?
Science has recently suggested that birds are the descendants of
dinosaurs. On the surface this sounds absurd, after all, it’s a chicken.
But if you watch them long enough you can see it, it in the eyes,
and if I let my mind wander…
God was walking one afternoon on the face of the prehistoric
earth, “T, we have to talk…”
“Oh… what do you want God, I’m busy.”
"That’s what we need to talk about. See, I want you to leave
those little two legged mammals alone.”
“Why? I mean, look at them, they don’t have a lot a meat on
them but they have no claws, tiny teeth and they taste like
“That might be so, but I have plans for them, so…”
“No offence God, but I’m T-Rex. I’m the greatest of the
dinosaurs, and I’ll eat whatever I feel like eating.”
God looked at the Dinosaur for a moment, “You know T, I made
“Yeah, sure you did. Look, God, that might work on
plateosaurus or stegosaurus but come on, look who you are talking to
here! A body like this” he said, flexing, “this took years of
evolution to develop. So go find someone else to sell your hocus-
pocus to, ‘cause I’m not buying.”
“Alright, T-Rex; I gave you a chance, but because you are such
an arrogant creature I curse you- from now on that little mammal we
talked about -the one on two legs- he’s going to eat you all the
time- you will be a staple on his diet, he’ll make nuggets out of you
and you’ll be the basis of his joke about crossing a road. I will even
give him your position as the greatest creature in my creation.
What do you think of that? …Maybe he’ll even learn from your
experience on how not to act.”
“Yeah, sure God… like that could ever happen,” T-Rex scoffed.
very often will raise one question above all others. The problem of evil:
that is, how a God that claims to be all-good can allow evil to exist.
They will bring up the holocaust in World War 2 and the killing fields of
Cambodia, or any instance of the plethora of evil that has shown its face
in our world and ask "how can your God, who claims to be both
omnipotent (all-powerful) and omniscient (all-knowing) allow this to
occur if he is also all-good?" That is the question: how can He? If one
were all-good and all-powerful, certainly he would end evil- he would
have to. To us, in our day and age, this is a no-brainer.
One need look no further than the recent uproar at Penn State, where an
iconic football-coach was fired because a former staffer was arrested
for sexually assaulting boys in the locker room over a period of years.
Joe Paterno was not involved, and he informed his bosses when he
found out -as the law required- but he did not call the police, and was
therefore guilty of breaking a “moral law” by allowing this to continue to
How much more, then, would an all-knowing and all-powerful God be
guilty of such crimes? Certainly, if he were omnipotent and omniscent he
could not be all-good and let this evil happen.
“In the beginning…” these are the first words of the Bible. They establish
not a book of science, noting facts and figures as some would have us
believe, nor a book of philosophy- although it certainly contains some of
that as well. However, the Bible is primarily a narrative, a story. From
this starting point, the Bible takes us on a journey through the ages,
ending at some point in the future in the book of Revelation.
To understand why God allows evil, one must put down the philosopher’s
pipe and clear their throat and tell a story. Not any old story, mind you,
but an epic story, for that is what the Bible is- the ultimate battle between
good and evil.
Before man had math and science, he had stories. We are created with
this love of the narrative, an innate love which no evolutionary
advancement has weaned us from. Only our technologies have
changed, moving from an oral tradition, to the printing press and now to
television, movies and the internet. No matter its venue, the art of story is
what makes us who we are and is passed on from generation to
What kind of book(s) would The Lord of the Rings be without the “black
lord of Mordor” or Harry Potter without “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”?
Any story worth its salt has a character of overwhelming evil who
contributes to an utterly hopeless situation; that is where the story is
born; it is a key element of good storytelling. J.R.R. Tolkien created the
world of Middle Earth, a beautiful and tragic land where millions of
readers get lost for days on end each time they read it. Does it make
him evil because he allowed evil to flourish in this land for most of the
book? Or, in reality, does it make him a master storyteller? If we are but
characters in God’s story, some of us may perish, like those in the
attack of Isengard, victims who fall before the great evil sweeping over
the land, but a few of us may play a larger role in furthering the story that
the Author has set before us.
If God does exist, as the Bible insists, then there is ample evidence that
he uses storytelling as his way of communicating to us (the Bible). There
is also ample evidence that man is universally predisposed to narrative
as a means of communication, since it exists in all known cultures
throughout history. Therefore, it stands as completely logical that God
can remain all-good and be both omnipotent and omniscient while
allowing evil to exist in this world because it furthers his eternal
Dr. Who. To those of you have never seen this cultural icon of the
BBC… It is the story of a time lord, the last of his kind, a humanoid
alien who travels with a human companion through both space and
The series started in the 1960’s and restarted a few years ago with
much better special effects and for the most part, a killer story
line. One week he will be fighting witches with Shakespeare and
the next he could be stopping cat nurses in New New York from
breeding humans as vaccine incubators.
Dr Who is written in an agnostic/atheistic viewpoint which makes
the following statement that much more ironic- pretty much in
every show, the Doctor reflects Jesus Christ.
Now this is not an iron clad description – the Doctor has faults – the
show wouldn’t last very long on TV if he didn’t (nothing duller than
perfection on a TV show). But if you look at the similarities they
There are so many others examples I could not list them all. From
end of season 3 when the entire world rose up in one voice saying
“Doctor, Doctor, Doctor…" (Every knee shall bow and proclaim Jesus
Christ is Lord), to the fact that the Doctor gives every enemy a
chance at repentance before he destroys them, just as Christ gives
us the same.
The similarities between this work of fiction and the Messiah are
undeniable. Perhaps this is mere coincidence, just the happenstance
ramblings of a collection of gifted writers. Or perhaps it is a small
statement buried deep under the language and imagery of atheistic
secular humanism. Then again, maybe it is just the figment of my
own mind, searching for any straw of faith in the barren wasteland
of modern television. Any of these could be true, but as for me – I