Not Abolished!

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:17-20

Short clip from 119 Ministries:

Abolish or Fulfill

Shabbat Shalom!

Green Hills Farm Project

Founded and organised by David Schafer and Dennis McDonald way back in 1988 and bolstered by a generous grant from the Kellogg’s Foundation, Green Hills Farm Project emerged as a grassroots driven and attended by farmers, ranchers, and anyone interested in sustainable agriculture each month.  Farmers volunteer to host a farm walk at their place for nearly each month of the year and these dates are posted now on a facebook page by the same name.  We share our stories, improvements, failures, successes, and plans for the future with attendees who then volunteer experiences and ideas amongst themselves and the host.  This is an amazing group of forward-thinking producers trying to help each other be financially as well as environmentally sustainable.

With dues still at only $20 per individual or family, this is the best investment going.  Green Hills Farm Project members also put together an annual winter seminar with nationally known popular speakers making presentations in our little town of Linneus, Missouri with attendance fees varying from $20-$40!  This is for speakers who typically command upwards of $500 per person!

Farm walks have traditionally been scheduled for the evenings of the third Thursdays of each month, but have increasingly been held on moveable Saturdays at noon, include a potluck meal with meat or main dish, service, and drinks provided by the host family.  The actual walk itself typically lasts 1-2 hours followed by a very short meeting.  Green Hills Farm Project encourages families, even the youngest children to attend since one of the goals is to promote and assist future farmers.

Since 1862, the number of producers in the United States dropped from 97% of the population to today’s less than 2%!  Due in part to increased mechanisation (thank goodness!), but also that farming is hard work, long hours, low pay, and low return on investment.  Little wonder young people continue to leave the home place in droves!  The USDA agriculture census indicates that a 30 year trend of less young people entering farming as the average age of a farmer continues to rise.  Additionally, not quite half of the 2.1 million American farmers site farming as their main source of income!

With less than 1% of the population engaged in full-time farming, is the United States setting itself up for a food security meltdown?  How much do we want to depend on others to provide our food?  Time will tell as most Americans continue to buy the cheapest food possible, regardless of the cost to their own health, the health of their communities, and environments, or the welfare of the country at large.

If you’d like to join and/or participate in Green Hills Farm Project farm walks, contact me or for up-to-date information, ‘like’ Green Hills Farm Project facebook page.  Next farm walk is Saturday, November 29th (2014) at Greg and Jan Judy’s Green Pastures Farm.  Meet at 11:30am with tour starting at 1pm.  Bring a potluck dish to share.

Music is More than Fun!

Not surprisingly, music has shown itself to be helpful in learning once again.    In fact, of my three children, Dallas, who has just turned 21 and was diagnosed with Aspergers just last year, but started vocal and piano lessons at 14, showed the most marked improvement, not only in vocal skills, but in problem solving, speech enunciation, concentration, focus, and memory enhancement. (an upgraded WordPress would allow some pretty cool home music performances on here!)  I regret not having started them all on piano and vocal lessons much earlier in life, but no use wallowing in guilt about something that cannot be changed.  However, if our experience will encourage anyone to consider such lessons for their children, starting as soon as possible, that’d be keen.  Formal lessons to start wouldn’t be necessary.  Just sing, clap, tap your toes with your children – you’ll have loads of fun, too!  As they progress, introduce more complicated rhythms and/or a foreign language fun song as well.  Those brain synapses will be stretching and growing all over!  Whether you are a home, government, or private educator – put some music in those young lives!  It’ll last a lifetime!

Nathan (in Yellow coat) as a student in Les Miserable performance by Carousel Productions, Macon, MO in March 2014.  Photo by Kelly Lewis Photography
Nathan (in Yellow coat) as a student in Les Miserable performance by Carousel Productions, Macon, MO in March 2014. Photo by Kelly Lewis Photography

Speech therapy?!   Try SING therapy!

A Musical Fix for U.S. Schools – an essay by Ms Joanne Lipman for the Wall Street Journal  This essay, once again, explains the importance of music in our lives. Sadly, government and some private schools put this on the chopping block far too often.

Jessica performing at the piano at Central Methodist University her freshman year - 2010 - SAI music fraternity annual recital in Linn Memorial United Methodist Church.
Jessica performing at the piano at Central Methodist University her sophomore year – 2010 – SAI music fraternity annual recital in Linn Memorial United Methodist Church.

Jessica was very active in the music department through college, having received a vocal scholarship and was involved with the Chorale group and Conservatory Singers choir.  Now graduated, spring of 2013, she teaches Kindergarten at The American School in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where she also volunteers to direct the high school honor choir.  She continues to practice piano when she has time.  Dallas hasn’t put his musical skills to work yet, except to enjoy singing and making a joyful noise unto Yahweh!   His voice is well-suited for baritone parts.  He started out not even being able to hear a note on the piano and matching the pitch!  Nathan continues vocal lessons locally and last winter was involved with Carousel Productions in Macon, Missouri.  The six performances were sold out!  Though he had initially been rejected at his audition for singing parts, he showed up and did so much better during practices, that he eventually landed FOUR small parts in the productions.  Les Misérables has always been one of our favourite shows, so it was especially sweet that he was able to participate.

Shabbat Shalom!

Better Visibility at Powell Seed Farm

Visibility was poor at best when pulling out of the driveways at Powell Seed Farm and the house when they were installed over 30 years ago.  With our customers and ourselves being 31 years older, our reflexes and decision making skills have faded a bit over time.  Couple that with increased traffic and much of the traffic is speeding (or on the phone or texting), make this area very dangerous for pulling out onto the highway, especially for slower pullouts, like tractor-trailers, tractors, old farm trucks, and pickups pulling loaded and long trailers.  So Allen and John cut down and pulled out of the way the big pin oak along the road bank.  Allen and Nathan have torn out the old fence and are installing new fence about 12 feet further back from the highway.   Both these should increase visibility of the oncoming traffic from the south on Hwy 5 making it safer to pull out onto the highway.  Let’s hope so.

We hate to cut out trees, but this one is not valuable and has not helped with safety on the highway.  As it turned out, the middle was rotten, so perhaps we just kept this big tree from falling on the highway in the next tornado or high wind!

Pin Oak tree that Allen and John cut and removed from Highway 5 roadbank
Pin Oak tree that Allen and John cut and removed from Highway 5 roadbank

Refuge in October

Once a month, on a Wednesday (except in the summer), I make the meal for Refuge Ministries of Mexico, Missouri.  Each fall, there is a new set of faces and enthusiasm as the fifth graders from last year have moved into junior high and are now old enough to attend.  Lots of catching up to do amongst the ‘ladies in the kitchen’ from my summer hiatus.  Attendance dips a bit in the summer and I get terribly busy with farm work, so my contribution is about 8 months of the year.

The changes in some of these young peoples’ lives are subtle in some cases and drastic in others as they learn about God (Yahweh) and how He can use broken lives for His good through repentance and redemption.  For some, this weekly gathering of strong Christian volunteers are the only parental-like mentorship they have in their lives.  These volunteers are real heroes as they uplift and teach these, oftentimes, rowdy and rambunctious young people, week after week.

I’ve taken to starting the meal the day before since I get so worn out now if I try preparing all day then making the drive, serving, then drive home.  My son, Nathan and friend, Christian, leave at 4pm for Mexico, MO and return about midnight.  So, Tuesday I mixed up, rolled out, and cut 9 batches of egg noodle and stuck them in the freezer.   Since I didn’t have any sausage, I had set out 7 lbs of ground beef to thaw, then added 1/2 cup of sage, 1/4 cup black pepper, and 1/4 cup Real salt, then mixed that well (in two batches) in my Kitchenaid mixer.  Then set the whole thing in the frig overnight for the flavours to meld and it passed muster with enthusiasm, except my husband, who deemed it too ‘peppery.’  I may back off the black pepper just a bit next time.  I used spinach for my recipe today and adjusted the amounts to feed about 60 people.

Egg Noodles w/Sausage & Kale*

INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 lb lamb or beef sausage

1/2 lb kale, tough stems and centre ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped

1/2 lb egg noodles

2/3 cup water

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS: Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook sausage, breaking up any lumps with a spoon, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, blanch kale in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, 5 minutes. Remove kale with a large slotted spoon, drain over pan, and add to cooked sausage in skillet. Saute stirring frequently and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet. Return cooking water in pot to boil and cook egg noodles in boiling water, uncovered, until al dente. Add noodles to skillet with a slotted spoon and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water if necessary, tossing until combined. Stir in cheese and thin with additional cooking water in desired. Serve immediately, with additional cheese on the side. Serves 6.  Lettuce or other greens can take the place of kale. Hint: Retain some of the cooking water and add to any leftovers for easier warming up. As always, use eggs (for making noodles) from pastured hens and sausage from grass-finished animals for best nutrition and flavour. Grow your own or buy the greens from your neighbour. *adapted from recipe in the March 2006 Gourmet magazine.

Egg Noodles

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups unbleached white or whole wheat flour

3 egg yolks

1 egg

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 to 1/2 cup water

DIRECTIONS:

Make a well in centre of flour. Add egg yolks, egg, and salt; mix thoroughly . Mix in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is stiff but easy to roll.  Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll dough, one part at a time, into nearly paper-thin rectangle on well-floured surface. Cut into narrow strips with a knife or noodle cutter.  Shake out strips and place on towel until stiff and dry, about 2 hours. Or I just drop the individual fresh noodles directly into boiling water.   Cook in 3 quarts boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt) until tender, 12 to 15 minutes; drain. About 6 cups noodles. Storage: after drying, noodles can be covered and stored no longer than 1 month.

Use these noodles for the Egg Noodles w/Sausage & Kale Recipe.

Runaway Gator!

As past stories of people breaking their legs trying to do the very thing I plan to do are flashing through my memory banks,  I jump in anyway and although it hurt like the devil with bruising and bumping abounding, (once I stomped the brake and stopped, the pain from those bumps came pouring into my nervous system and I had to stop and let it pass before moving on), I managed not to break anything – praise Yah!

The John Deere Gator has suicide doors and thankfully, when I exited the machine to shut the gate, I had left the driver’s side door open.  This at least gave me the opportunity to jump in as it picked up speed heading down hill towards trees and a deep ditch.  Running as fast as a 52 year old out of shape woman can, I caught up with it and a bit ahead so I could dive in through the open door.  Remember with suicide doors I have to plan to jump be in front of the door, then adjust speed so I end up going the opposite direction to land in the seat of the forward moving Gator.

Needless to say, the lesson from this week is to ALWAYS set the parking brake.  ALWAYS!

Shabbat Shalom!