Wednesday, January 9, 2013
The weather was fabulous! A true Michigan fall day. Sky a rich blue without a cloud in it, gentle breeze, cool enough for a sweater during the reception. The temperature in the tent was comfortable with the sides in place, no need for the tent heaters. Cut grass, level lawn, and no bugs! Bob cut, rinsed, and spun the lettuce. The last of the wedding fare from the garden. Sarah asked him if it could have been a little fresher! The wedding was beautiful. Full of family and friends. A true blessing for Katelyn and John. We were greeted by Peter, Sarah, and Randy back at the farm. The setting was perfect. A true Midwestern family gathering. Two Scottish Clans, Campbells and McPhersons, joining to celebrate John and Katelyn! The pre-party appetizers included fried pickles with hot pepper jelly, melon balls wrapped in ham, Gouda bites, grilled focaccia with eggplant and red pepper chutney, goat cheese spread with crackers, fruit display, and sliced leg of lamb with black bean puree on crackers. Bagpipe music floated through the air, pictures were taken, friends were greeted! The dinner started with a mixed greens salad with beets, carrots, parsnips, parsley root, and roasted nuts, with goat cheese and 321 vinaigrette. The entrees were served after Uncle Mac gave a short history of the McPherson family and farm. Platters of grilled chicken with lemon and rosemary, grilled chicken with blueberry BBQ sauce, grilled lamb chops with oregano chimichurri, butternut squash lasagna, ground lamb stuffed peppers, roasted root vegetables, applesauce, Aunt Mary's rolls, and jam were served family style. A toast was made to the new couple with blueberry and raspberry brandy. The desert table boasted wedding cheese cake; apple and blueberry pies, brownies, and Grandma Campbell's oatmeal cookies. The reception continued with music and dancing in the barn. The after party began at 10:30 with the service of lamb kafta with green siracha, grilled pb&j sandwiches, and roasted pepper quesadillas. The day, wedding, and reception could not have been more beautiful or delicious! Everyone loved the food and danced until the lights went out. Thank you Uncle Alec and Aunt Karen, and Craig Yeiter. Your gracious consent allowing us to have the reception on the farm and all the work to get it ready was beyond our wildest dreams. Thank you Ken Balama for prepping the lawn and all the work at the house...painting the deck, filling woodpecker holes, brush hogging pastures, wiring freezers into the generator panel. Thank you Ric and Sandi...you know. Thank you Peter and Sarah for working with all our ingredients from the farm, being flexible, and making magic! Thank you Katelyn for asking me to do this, a better gift you could not have given me. At last and most importantly, thank you Bob! Thank you for your knowledge, sweat, persistence, stool running, late hours, cheese making, and love. Your are my world. So what is next? Less lambing and more cheese making. Less gardening and more kayaking. Less watering and more cooking. I planted the garlic the week after the wedding, planning for next year. Some things don't change. Come visit us in northeast Kent County. Live well, Carmen
Today is the day! We started early. Michelle and Bethany began the task of flower arrangement. Michelle and I cut buckets of flowers and took them to the granary for final arrangement. The flowers were beautiful. I ended up with far more than we needed. A far cry from the few scrawny plants I kept watering in June. These arrangements were placed on the dinner tables, cake table, and gift table. Mike sprayed the surroundings for the small gnats that surfaced over night and cut the large sunflower stalks and placed them in the barn. The groomsmen, including Tim from England, set up chairs and tables, carried heavy plants, and got extra sides for the tent. The salsa and jam favors were labeled and brought from the house. We placed the LED lights in mason jars to light a path from the barn to the portable bathroom. Ric and Sandi have been here for several days doing everything...horseshoe pits; hanging lanterns, grapevine, and pictures; arranging, carrying. Randy Kilborn arrived mid-morning with the waitstaff from Saburba to place linen, set tables, organize the area for Peter and Sarah, put flowers on the cake table, set up the bar, and figure out any last details. It was wonderful to here him say...I'll take care of it! Did I mention, all this activity occurred before I left to get my hair done? We could not have done any of this without everyone..Thank you!
John and Katelyn arrived thankfully, to begin the final preparations and set up for the wedding. We have been setting up the reception across the street for several days now. John has vacuumed the barn until the floor is spotless. John's parents, Mary and Tracey arrived on Tuesday. They were immediately put to work repotting all the plants and shrubs, helping Grandma Susie make 10 Blueberry pies, and sewing ribbon on the bench cushions. We've carried flowers, benches, lights, hoses, cords, vases, jars, and pictures to the barn. How will we ever get all these things back across the road when the day is done? The Mertens family, my sister's group from Nebraska, arrived a day early. Thank goodness! They were also set to task carrying, spraying for bugs, cutting flowers, and general heavy lifting and set up.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
I took 35 chickens, all the lamb chops, and two legs of lamb to Saburba. Within the last week I've made several trips to Ada actually. Arriving at the back door of the resturant with coolers, bags, and containers filled with vegetables, herbs, and Goat's milk, Chevre and Gouda. Sarah jokingly told me to stop bringing produce to Saburba. What a great feeling, being able to bring the majority of what we started, what we planned on bringing. Planning from September of last year. Planning, breeding, feeding, cleaning, lambing, kidding, milking, weeding, watering, making, pressing, flipping, worming, inoculating, stool running, dehorning, vet visits, c-sections, burying, egg collecting, picking, roto tilling, canning, freezing, tomato worm picking, watering, watering, and watering. Taking produce to Saburba has it's benefits as well, great coffee and the corners from oohy goohy bars. Ahhh....Carmen
There are soooo many tomatoes. I've made sooooo much salsa and canned sooooo many tomatoes. Enough is enough. Anybody want tomatoes, need tomatoes? Bob did a fabulous job trimming, picking tomato bugs, keeping the fungus at bay. Too fabulous. The peppers will be as prolific as the tomatoes when they are finished.....which will be after the wedding. A few are available now but not enough for the pepper and goat cheese appetizer. Peter will have to think of something else. Peter did make pepper jelly with some of the peppers I gave him. It is sweet and hot at the same time. The lettuce will be ready and there will be plenty...more than enough. Arugala, spinach, butter crunch, and mixed greens. Carmen
Bob took the last three lambs to the market. These three were smaller than the first group. Two were LuLu's. She had mastitis and the two never really caught back up. Leila's single lamb was really stressed during the weaning period. She hung out with LuLu's two lambs but always seemed alone. She also never was very interested in the grain I gave them....what! I know, how could she not be interested in grain. She got shoved out of the feed trough when the bigger lambs were around. When they left she picked at what I gave the other two, preferring the alfalfa hay to the grain. CeeLo Green is lost without his friends. He tried to strike up the same relationship he had with the lambs with the goats. The goats thought his attention was a great game and turned his advances onto a game of chase. Not to be turned away, CeeLo tried being in the goat stall with them. He ended up under the divider gate, stuck. I rescued him, finally breaking the news...it is not the same and the lambs are not coming back. I did not tell him there was no Santa Claus, I'll save that for another day. The information given to him today was enough. No use in completely crushing him. With CeeLo Green out of the game the goats turned there attention to the hapless John McEnroe. Bob had opened the stall door to the chicken area and the younger hens and John Mc. had been enjoying their first day in the outside world. The goats chased John McEnroe, caught his tail feathers in their teeth and, after pulling them out, ate them! Katelyn was not impressed with the goats....how could they do that? Quite easily actually. They had great fun. John Mc was not worse for the wear, just minus tail feathers. Bob opened the middle pasture gate for the goats allowing them to roam into that pasture. They now spend the majority of their time there munching the thistle weed. Thistle must taste like chicken feathers. Carmen
Monday, October 8, 2012
Bob picked up the lamb order from the market. As he was leaving he realized something was wrong with the order. He went back inside and discovered that the two largest animals, LuLu and the largest lamb had been processed as the wedding order. The second largest lamb had been ground into burger and stew meat. The two smaller lambs had been processed correctly according to our order. The ewe and the largest lamb were combined into one order box making it impossible to determine mutton from lamb! I was devastated! All this effort to provide lamb for the wedding and it was sabotaged. We can't serve mutton and the beautiful second lamb in burger and stew meat! Emotions were running high. Bob contacted me at work with the news. He said that when the error was discovered Mr. Geukes was very disappointed as well and wanted to make the situation right. He offered to give us two of his lambs from his farm in exchange for the ewe and the largest lamb. These would be processed the last part of August and would be available for pick-up the first part of September when we brought the last three lambs in. This solution was the only viable solution. We accepted his offer, still uncertain as to wether we would use this lamb for the wedding or try and use the two smaller lambs. Would there be enough meat with the smaller lambs? After several discussions, Bob and I decided to try and use the smaller lambs for the wedding. The whole premise was to use food from the house. If Peter didn't think there would be enough we would make more chicken and possibly use some rabbit. Don Jones and Al Valk were willing to buy two Geuke's lamb halves instead of our halves so we could use our's for the wedding. Jordy Whalen decided to wait for several more weeks and purchase our lamb from the second batch of lambs to go the the market. You don't realize the emotional investment in this project until something like this mix-up happens. Hopefully there will be enough and if not, we have a plan B that is acceptable. Carmen