The Start of a Dream – New Online Store

New online storeI’ve had a dream to have a store for a long time. I decided not to wait until I could swing a brick and mortar store and have launched my online store.

Polka Dot Farmer is part Etsy with one-of-a-kind creations, part vintage/antique store with special and unique finds and part retail store. It’s little for now, but we will be adding more new products soon, so check back often.  We will be adding some apparel, home accessories and farm supplies/kits for raising chickens very soon.

Thanks for the support. Let me know here what you’re looking for and we will consider it. ❤

 

Advertisements
Aside

Grandmas Molasses Cookies

Great grandma with the cow’s molasses cookies

There is no molasses cookie that tastes better than grandma’s. It’s nearly a thing of legend in the family…and what more fall feeling is there when these fill the house with cinnamon and clove scents?

The thing that makes these perfect is the slight crust on the outside and the chewy inside, amazing spices and they keep really well (if you can save any). These are different than any other cookie recipe I use but they are perfect everytime, so why change it?

Here is the holy grail of recipes. Great grandma with the cow’s molasses cookie recipe. (Note, when my kids were little they needed a way to sort the grandmas….this is grandma from Montana. Their farm was a place of renewal, acceptance, cows and lots of food.)

Molasses Cookies

  • 1 1/2 c. shortening melted (we use Crisco)
  • 2 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 c dark molasses (Grandma’s brand is my favorite)

Mix all together until combined. Add 2 eggs and mix well. Careful it’s not too hot from melted shortening, it will cook the eggs.

Mix together:

  • 1 T. + 1 t. baking soda
  • 4 c. flour
  • 1 t. cloves
  • 1 t. ginger
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. salt

Mix all dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined and then chill for an hour.

Roll into balls and place on a cooking sheet, do not smash the balls, they will flatten as they bake. Bake at 350 for ten minutes, transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy!!

Aside

Farm Lesson #5: Life Lessons from Chickens

chickens, backyard chickens, raising chickens

When we moved to the farm, my first goal was to get chickens. And let me tell you, I didn’t wait long. The first full weekend after moving to the farm (yes, after 8 days) we marched off to the feed store and picked up our girls and necessary supplies. Seven baby chicks, all laying hens, came home with us, deeming our plot of land a true farm.

Truth is, I had no idea how to raise chickens, so I employed my “fake it, til I make it” approach and with the help of Google and a Backyard Chicken Facebook group, I marched on like a boss. Six months later, we are getting eggs every day and the girls are loving their free range days on the farm. We have curbed the puppy’s tendency to chase chickens and have settled into a happy rhythm. I knew I wanted chickens, but I wasn’t prepared for how much I love having chickens.

Chickens are funny – endlessly entertaining to me. They run to me everytime I come outside, they follow me around like a little pack of fans and they just want to be close. They are loyal and forgiving. Relational and stick together. They are hard working and explorers. They get scared, fuss and flap for a second and then move on without memory. They can be counted on. Seems we have a lot to learn from a chicken.

backyard chickens

I am so blessed to have a band of girls on our farm. ❤❤❤ If you are ever feeling low, come visit, the girls will be happy to cheer you up.

Aside

Maybe I’m the problem with the church?

Bob Goff, Everybody Always

Our world feels like a mess. Media, social media and news feeds are full of negativity, hatred, disasters, political attacks, violations, biting and hateful sarcasm, angry reactions, of argument after argument. There are so many arguments.

There are also a lot of good things, cries for help, positive support, expressions of compassion, fundraising for others, prayers offered, cute goat photos ❤. There is so much good going on…and I like to believe I am part of that.

I am compassionate by nature. Pretty nice most of the time. I am the first to say I hope, wish, want and will ______. Yes, God, that’s good…oh amen, we should feed the hungry, minister to the broken hearted, take care of the orphans. But you meant, sweet, clean little Martha from church, right? What about when it’s the homeless guy, or drug addict, or down and out, or the jerk behind us, the person we don’t like the smell of? Or when your elderly relative needs a ride, their bathroom cleaned or makes up excuses to see someone because they are lonely?

But here’s the thing, often I do go clean the bathroom (and oh by the way, I’m a germ phobe), but grumble about it and then say, “no, it’s not a hassle,” when they pick up on my spirit or see me washing my hands for the 10th time, making them feel ashamed. Just a guess, but that probably isn’t what God meant. I know people who hate christians, the church and maybe God himself because so many of us (like how I included you all?) have lived agreeing with, but not really doing God’s work. Oh I’ll be the first to say I don’t like inauthenticity, even hold my pastors and church leaders to task over this (inside voice of course), but somehow I have a kinder scale for myself. I mean, they should love everyone, right? That is their job. But, guess what? It’s my job too and people see right through that kind of hypocrisy. I’m why they hate christians and the church, like it or not. I just threw up in my mouth (TUIMM).

I can send a check, share a fundraiser or post, make a heartfelt comment, give away stuff I didn’t want anyway, throw a 10 second prayer at it, even serve or say I wish something was different and allow self-righteous pride to make me feel good about it. Ha! I have even had the thought, God my part is to support those who do that work. And lucky for me, I have a daughter who is a missionary, so it’s real easy to agree. So glad, I’m not part of the problem. TUIMM again.

Whether my doing something about it is taking time to listen to someone, research and vote, care or become part of a solution for the very thing I am complaining about, I have so much good to give. I can share, give, support, connect, fund, serve, help or march. I can be available, not get easily offended, believe and love others, demonstrate love through service, create, build, honor and respect. I can be a force of true goodness and grace, acceptance and of practical love when needing a coat or food or the bathroom cleaned.

I know there is so much need in our world, neighborhood and in our families. I have to believe if we truly begin to DO what God has said and not just smugly agree from our pew or armchair, oh what a beautiful world this can be. I am so grateful for grace that forgives our shame and sin and helps us become who we are supposed to be.

Have grace dear ones. Be grace. Let’s DO this work…let’s change the world!

Aside

Sweet Potatoes and Apples

recipe for sweet potatoes

Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Sweet potatoes have basically been relegated to a Thanksgiving cameo once a year….and I never am the one who makes them or puts them on my plate. Convinced I didn’t like them, or maybe it was the marshmallow smother (gag), I have lived a happy, sweet potatoe free life. Until now.

My daughter, who lived in Mexico for a couple of years, taught me redemptive grace for the oh-so-good-for-you-vegetable. Packed with vitamin A, potassium and fiber, they are a great, low-fat partner in health. In fact, I’m going to plant them in my garden next year – now that is full vegetable salvation!

This recipe is simple (10 mins to prep), delicious as a side dish to chicken or pork, or as a meal in itself. It is gluten-free, sugar-free, can be made vegan, and would also be great for toddlers and kids. Let’s hear it for a vegetable win … and a little swagger on the GF/vegan status too!

Sweet Potatoes and Apples

This recipe makes about 4 medium servings but can be scaled up or down easily.

  • 2 sweet potatoes (peeled) and 2 apples (not peeled) cut into cubes (I do about 1/2 inch bites). Firm varieties of apples work best like honeycrisp or pinks, but any kind can work. The softer apples will just be a bit mushy, but still taste amazing. Also, on apples, the sour types like granny smiths might be a little tart since there is no sugar, but make it your way, you can always add a little honey to sweeten if that is the apples you have.
  • Mix in 1/2 c of dried cranberries
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon (about 1 T) and mix
  • Place all in a greased casserole pan or a lined baking sheet. I use a little butter to grease, but coconut oil works too for you vegans or really conscientious – extra points for less fat! I’m not all Paula Deen level, but I do love me some butter.
  • Dot the mixture with 2 T butter* cut into small cubes. *See note above about butter and swap out with coconut oil if you prefer.
  • Sprinkle top with 1/2 cup nuts. I like pistachios or pumpkin seeds, but use what you have on hand. It adds a nice texture and crunch, plus some bonus protein.

Bake at 375 until potatoes are soft when poked with a fork, about 30-40 minutes.

You can make a big batch and use the extras for leftovers. They are great for lunch, transport well, reheat well and last a week or so in the refrigerator. I cook it year round but it has all the fall feels for sure. A Thanksgiving party in your mouth, minus the marshmallows!

Enjoy.

Aside

Pears are Ready

Pears are new to me. We have a small hybrid tree with Bartlett and two different types of Asian pears on our farm, so I’m especially in learning mode.

I’ll be honest to say the gritty texture has always had me coming in with a “fine” score for pears. But, pears right off the tree are much more tasty. And the frugal side of me that hates to waste was determined to find a way to use them!

I made a homemade pizza with sliced pears, feta and a balsamic reduction, which was really yummy, but used 9nly a couple. So today I got serious and found a recipe on Ball’s website for Honey Cinnamon Pears. I added extra cinnamon, which is no surprise. And I made my own version of salted caramel pear butter (also on their site). But I made salted caramel sauce and just added it before the final reduction. It took much less sugar this way and then I could add just a little to not completely take over the pear taste. This will be super tasty on  Turkey sandwich or pancakes!

Happy Fall!

Aside

Confession of a lazy farmer

20180913_1255082800339723616609168.jpg

Late spring and early summer, I was so excited to plant a sunflower row – part of a romantic vision of happy flowers on the farm. This lovely picture is not.my.flowers.

Truth is, I did plant more than 200 sunflowers (and I threw in Shasta daisy and hollyhock seed from my previous garden) across the 300 feet of front fence line of my farm. Two grew. Two….and they only got about 10 inches high, so, there’s that.

I would love to feign shock and alarm, but truth is, although we did some hard work, I didn’t adequately prepare the soil for flowers. I got it dug up enough (by hand mind you) to get seeds in, but figured they would take off from there. Nope lazy farmer. It doesn’t work that way.

So my lesson? There is no shortcut or easy way. If I want a beautiful crop or garden or (fill in the blank)….I have to do the preparation and hard work …for months. Ok, so, there’s next year and mark my words….I will have adorable sunflowers to wave hello at anyone who passes by!