IMG_4335This will be short and sweet :)   It’s just 9 days till Christmas and I’m selling all 7 Christmas scents of soap, lotion, and scrubs at 25% off!  Even if you don’t need more gifts, it’s a great time to stock up for yourself!

There is a limited supply available, and the sale applies only to these 7 scents and only to the items on-hand, ready-made.  (If you want a lotion or scrub in one of these 7 scents that I’ve run out of, I can mix it up for you, but it will be full-price.)  Soap can’t be made and ready that quickly – so when it’s gone, it’s gone!




Here’s the list of what’s available.

Christmas Tree – 8 soap, 3 scrubs, lotion: 2 – 8oz, 3 – 4 oz, 1 – 2 oz.

Frankincense & Myrrh – 5 soap,  lotion: 2 – 8 oz, 2 – 4 oz.

Gingerbread & Spice – 3 soap, 2 scrub, lotion: 1 – 8 oz, 3 – 4 oz.

Candy Cane – 5 soap, 1 scrub, lotion: 1 – 8 oz, 3 – 4 oz.

Bayberry – 8 soap, lotion: 1 – 8 oz, 3 – 4 oz, 2 – 2 oz.

Pumpkin Pie – 6 soap, 1 scrub, lotion:  2 – 8 oz, 2 – 4 oz, 2 – 2 oz.

C’Mere Deer – 7 soap, 1 scrub, lotion: 2 – 8 oz, 2 – 4 oz, 1 – 2 oz.

Email me at to order or send me a message on Facebook.


Small Business Saturday is over.  Now it’s time for Cyber Monday!  Yes, it’s a little early, but it’s my sale – so I can do what I want! 

You get the same 15% discount the Small Business Saturday guests received, PLUS if you need your order shipped to you, you’ll pay only $5 for any size order!  To order, send me an email at: or send a private message to me on our facebook page:  Farmer in Odell LLC, or my personal page if you are my “friend”.  There is a limited supply of all items, so first come – first served!  I can take payment by check, money order, Paypal, or Credit Card through Square (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express).

Soap, lotion (2-oz, 4-oz, and 8-oz sizes), and scrubs are all available in the following scents:  Hinoki Wood, and Cherry Blossom – both of which are still being sold to raise funds for our daugher’s trip to Tokyo in 2015; Tangerine Lime, Monkey Farts, Vanilla Musk (1 left), Eucalyptus Mint (2 left), Luffa – Almond scent (2 left) or Osmanthus scent (1 left), Plumberry Spice, Bitter Orange Orchid, Oatmeal/Milk/Honey, Pumpkin Pie, Unscented, Bayberry, Candy Cane, Gingerbread & Spice (4 left), Frankincense & Myrrh, C’Mere Deer (Anise-Licorice scent), Christmas Tree, Patchouli, Coconut Lemongrass, Lavender, Tahitian Vanilla (2 left), Lily of the Valley, and Lilac.

Also available are Oily Skin Soap and Shaving Soap.  The shaving soap is also available in a gift pack with a mug and shaving brush for $12.75 after the discount, regularly $15.

Let’s not forget lip balm!  Available in the following flavors:  Root Beer, Buttercream (smells like vanilla frosting!), Orange Vanilla, Peppermint, Chocolate Cream, Vanilla, Lemon Lime, Watermelon (5 left), and just ONE Black Cherry.

And last, but not least, are our two herbal products:  Herbal Salve in either a 4-oz tin, or in a lip balm tube.  This is great to use on very dry skin patches or to put on a minor cut or burn.  I’d mention the bug bites, but unless you’re in the south, that isn’t a likely need right now.  But it will still be good in the summer, so you could stock up on it now while it’s on sale.  We also have Bath Tea sachets in packs of 3.  You just drop one sachet in the tub and pleasant aroma and the properties of the herbs are released.  There are three kinds:  Lavender Bud, Rose Petals, and Baby Bath.  Baby Bath Tea is a combination of lavender buds, rosemary, red rose petals, and yarrow flowers to soothe and cleanse your skin.

If you want to add a unique touch to any gift, for an extra $2 I can pack your gift into an old-fashioned tin with tissue paper.   I have a couple of dozen tins here.  I’ll pick one that will be the right size for your gift.  I’ll just need you to let me know which items are to go into a tin.  Some are very small and will fit just one bar of soap, a small lotion, or a small bunch of lip balms.  Some are larger and will hold several of the large items.

Here are some photos of our little store-on-the-porch:

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The LAST Zucchini

IMG_4047This is it.  Today we cut into our last zucchini for 2014.  So sad.  But, it was a BIG one, so it’ll serve a few purposes.  We baked zucchini fries to eat with our BBQ ribs for lunch.  I just tossed the slices in a bag with some olive oil, broil them till they start to brown and then salt them.  YUM!

Then for dinner I made Zucchini & Cheese Latkes – one of our favorites.  Actually a surprising favorite.  I knew I’d like them – but wasn’t so sure about the rest of the family.  Especially my squash-hating husband, but everyone likes them!  I picked up the recipe 14 or 15 years ago while on a homeschool field trip at the Rosenbaum ArtiFact Center in Chicago.  The kids were doing a pretend archeological dig of a tell, and while the kids were playing with that I was looking around the area and they had a few recipe cards.  This was one of them.  Sometimes I add ground beef for a more hearty meal, but today we just made them according to the recipe.  Since I already told you that I had one very large one left, I obviously didn’t use 6 medium zucchinis.  I used about half of the super huge zucchini.  I usually make some other substitutions based on what I have available.  The nearest grocery store is 6 miles away.  The nearest one likely to have what I need is 11 miles away.  So if I don’t have an ingredient, I substitute or leave things out.  I’ll put my substitutions in parentheses.  Here’s the recipe:

Zucchini & Cheese Latkes – Recipe from the Rosenbaum ArtiFact Center

6 medium zucchini, grated
3 eggs
5 scallions, thinly sliced widthwise (I just use a small onion, diced)
1/2 c. chopped parsley, without stems
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint leaves (I actually have this growing outside, so no subs needed!  Unless it’s winter.  Then I just leave it out.)
1 c. shredded mozzarella, Gruyere, or Swiss cheese (I never have Gruyere or Swiss, so it’s always mozzarella at our house.)
vegetable oil
1 to 1-1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste.
Combine zucchini, eggs, scallions, parsley, mint, cheese, salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp. oil in a large bowl.  Add the flour, a small bit at a time, and mix well after each addition.  Use enough flour to give the batter body but not too much to make it thick.  Heat 1/4″ of oil in a large heavy skillet.  (I actually use just enough to coat the bottom of the pan or they’re too greasy for us.)  Using a tablespoon, spoon the zucchini mixture into the hot oil and flatten with the back of a wet spoon.  (I use more like 1/4 cup or so for bigger pancakes.)  Cook on both sides until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels or brown paper bags.  (If you use less oil, you won’t need to do this.)

Give it a try :)

And, by the way.  I still have a little bit of that monstrous zucchini for one more meal or snack.  I’ll have to think about it.  Maybe chocolate zucchini muffins for breakfast :)


Harvest in Early Fall

IMG_3892THIS is lunch today.  Well, for Noah and I anyway.  Because he’s the only child still living at home that will eat pretty much anything.  Seriously.  A boy who eats baby octopus at a Chinese buffet can’t possibly balk at anything I make :)   But before I tell you more about our yummy lunch, I want to show you what I did BEFORE lunch, which brought this meal to the table.

For the past month the only garden products I’ve dealt with in any way, shape, or form, are eggplant and zucchini.  The eggplant has been going to restaurants in Chicago, with one now and then on my table.  The zucchini has been getting canned as pineapple-zucchini which is a very tasty treat.  Well – I did pick 2 cabbages to cook for dinner for Tasha’s college roommate, Gabby, who was with us for a weekend and wanted a yummy farm meal.  Back to the point:  I knew there were a few beans out there still, but that was ok.  I could lose a few.  The chard was looking great, but it keeps, so I ignored it.  The broccoli – yeah – pretty much done.  Cauliflower – picked.  Turnips and beets – too small to worry about yet.  And, mentally, I was “done” with the garden.  Didn’t care.  Fed up.  Time to enjoy some warm weather before the snow flies.

But, today it’s cool, and I wanted some chard for my lunch.  And ratatouille sounded good.  How about a combo of the two???  So out to the “other” garden I went.  First I picked a few leaves of chard. IMG_3886IMG_3891 Then I picked more and gave it to the goats.  They REALLY liked it.  Here is a pic of me with the chard.  Some of them are over 3′ tall!  (Ignore the bad hair and clothes of the woman holding the chard.  She doesn’t care much about her appearance until chores are done.)  Then I decided to see if there were any cucumbers that were NOT orange.  Uh, yeah.  About a dozen of them.  That brought me to the row of dragon tongue beans.  Yikes!  Tons of them!  So I started picking.  There were too many to fit in the crate, so I brought the crate to the house and got my big bowls.  IMG_3885By the time I was done, I had an overflowing LARGE bowl of dragon tongue beans, half a large bowl of lima beans, some broccoli, peppers – sweet and hot and a few tomatoes.IMG_3884



I also found the brussels sprouts starting to sprout.  We’ve never harvested any before because they always get a late start.  Maybe this time?  IMG_3888




Looking through the rest of that area I saw that our other two beans haven’t stopped producing like I thought.  This is one row of purple pole beans.  IMG_3887There’s another just like it.  And a thick row of another type of green bean.  No time today to deal with them though!



Just for fun, here is our trellis with gourds.  I sure wish I hadn’t planted so late.  I can’t believe how many I have even though half the seeds didn’t germinate added to a late start.  It’s very exciting!  IMG_3882 IMG_3880









And LOOK at this radish!  I don’t know if it’s good to eat, but I picked two of the ones that are full of leaves and flowers but have small roots and fed them to the goats, too.  They were thankful for the treat.IMG_3883




Back to lunch.  So what is this concoction on my plate?  One small eggplant.  One extremely large leaf of chard.  Half of a medium zucchini, one small onion, three cloves garlic, two small tomatoes, bacon (and a little bacon fat), lemon juice (fresh), and salt.  What I did is chop the bacon and then cooked it in a large skillet till browned.  While that’s cooking cut the chard first – cut the leaf away from the stem.  Chop up the stem like celery, and cut the leaf into large pieces or strips.  Chop the onion, zucchini (seeds removed, peeled, though you don’t have to peel it), eggplant (I left the skin on), tomatoes.  When the bacon is browned, remove it with a slotted spoon and put it in a bowl or on a plate with paper towels to drain.  Pour off most of the grease, but keep a tablespoon or two of it in the pan.  Add the chard stem and onions and saute on a low-medium heat.  After about 2 minutes, add the zucchini and eggplant.  After several more minutes add the tomatoes, chard leaves and garlic and continue to cook until all is done – about 5 more minutes.  When it’s all cooked, squeeze the juice of half a lemon over it all, and sprinkle on some sea salt and some of the bacon pieces.  I’d cooked a pound of our American Guinea Hog bacon, but didn’t use it all for this.  The rest of the pieces I’ll save for another meal.  Then I divided it up onto two plates – one for me, and one for Noah.  YUM!

Garden Update – End of August

Here are a bunch of pictures that show the current status of our garden – good, bad, and everything in between.

IMG_3583  We’re getting several quarts of tomatoes every few days, but most are cherry tomatoes, so we eat what we can and if they go bad, they are chicken food.  Next year I’ll have to make sure I plant more paste tomatoes instead.







The zucchini is doing wonderful in the straw bales.  I might not use the straw bale gardening for other things, but it sure worked well for zucchini.  No squash bugs or borers!  This is the first year in 2 or 3 years we’ve had enough zucchini to make Hannah’s favorite pineapple-zucchini.


IMG_3577Some acorn squash are arriving.  We won’t get a lot, but there are a few.



IMG_3585IMG_3588The kale has been taking quite a beating the past few weeks.  Cabbage moths like all the cole crops and kale is one of them.  Today the kids and I stripped all the old leaves off half of the kale and fed it to goats, chickens, ducks, and compost piles.  The picture above is after we stripped the leaves.  On the left is the other half that we’ll take care of tomorrow.  (It was lunchtime and we were hungry.)  I’m hoping that it will continue to grow up from the middle and in the meantime the moths will die off.  Or at least that we removed all the eggs and worms so the kale will be healthy.  Soon it will be colder and the worms will die off anyway.  But some of the kale stalks were rotting in the middle, so I’m guessing it won’t all come back.  I’ve considered replanting some, but it’s a little late and I don’t want to do all that work and then be disappointed.  Plus, I don’t have low tunnels to protect it when it gets cold anyway.  So I think we’ll just hope it comes back, at least for a little while.


In the middle of the kale is a bunch of eggplant, and between the two rows of eggplant were onions.  The onion tops were all dead or dying, so we just picked all of them and set them on the benches to dry.  With them is a bowl of tomatoes and a large bowl of super big cucumbers.  That’s what happens when you don’t pick them but once a week or so.IMG_3560











On an arch next to the driveway we planted some gourds.  They are just starting to form, as they were planted rather late in the season.  I’m not sure we’re getting anything out of them, but we tried.  The vines and flowers sure are pretty, though!IMG_3563 IMG_3564





Out front the sunflowers are finally blooming.  I planted a variety of colors and sizes.  They are so pretty along the road.  And the bumblebees are loving them!  IMG_3574 IMG_3572The VERY short one was knocked over by a garbage can that blew into it last week during the storm that dumped 5″ of rain on us.  We thought the two that got knocked down were dead, but they have bloomed anyway and are just continuing to grow up from where they are.IMG_3578




Other miscellaneous shots:  Sage.  Blackberries still ripening.  The arch leading to our back door which is covered with morning glories.  The black-eyed-susans which are slowing taking over our yard.  Dill and cilantro.  Cabbage.  Two large bowls of two green bean varieties.  I forgot to harvest the third kind.  Guess I’ll have to do it tomorrow.  It was a very pretty morning :)



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Today’s Harvest

I haven’t been in the garden since last week, I think.  At that time I saw that there was some broccoli that could be picked, beans were flowering, beets needed some thinning.  Today.  Well, today there was lots more!  Lots of broccoli, a few small heads of cauliflower, peas – still peas in August!  A testament to the cool summer.  Our first beans – two kinds.  Several large kohlrabi, chard, our first eggplant, some tomatoes, more onions.  This is the time of year when it seems everything is ready at once!  We are blessed, indeed :)

P.S. – I know the picture of the broccoli looks fake.  That’s what happened when my cell phone used the flash.  Weird.  But I promise the broccoli is real – not computer-generated!

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Yes, getting fancy with the terminology.  It makes a more impressive title than “Garlic and Onions”.  Garlic an onions are both members of the allium family.  Your word of the day :)

This afternoon Keith and I were in the “kale” garden weeding for about an hour.  Now that the kale is so huge, there are only weeds in the spots where the kale didn’t come up the first time.  Or the second time.  About half of the gaps are filled now, but those gaps gave a few weeds free reign for a while which made the young kale difficult to find.  We have actually done a very good job weeding this year, so there really weren’t many – they were just large.  Because there were so few, we got the whole garden done in just an hour.  Two months ago it took 2 or 3 hours.

The “kale” garden, though mostly kale, also has a row of onions and two rows of eggplant.  While weeding I found one spot where somehow I’d planted 4 onions in a 6″ square area.  I’m not sure how I did that, but 3 of the 4 were pretty large and the 4th is pretty small.  So I picked two of the largest to make room for the other two.  Then there was another very large one at one end of the row I just had to pick to keep ready for dinners this week.  I’m so impressed with how well they did this year!  IMG_3089That large onion is 4″ in diameter.  That might not sound like much to some people, but we haven’t had any get that large in years.

Something that’s been on my list of things to do all week was to dig up garlic.  In the fall I planted garlic in two old compost piles.  Two years ago a bunch of barn litter was dumped in two spots outside of the garden fence.  I figured they would be perfect spots for the garlic.  After 2 years of composting, the soil was nice and soft and would make the harvest quite easy – unlike the strawberry patch where it was last time.  Ever dig garlic out of concrete?  Not fun.

Each pile had a different variety of garlic.  One softneck, one hardneck.  Apparently they finish growing at different times, too, as the one was almost completely dried up and the other is still green and standing tall.  Today I finally took a few minutes and dug up the one that was obviously done growing.  I got 16 bulbs.  A few less than I planted, but back in the spring I weeded while they were still small and uprooted several of them.  Some of the bulbs didn’t have their stalks anymore, but most did, so I looked up “How to braid garlic” on the internet and found a 2 1/2 minute video to show me how to do it.  I went out, braided my garlic, and now it’s hanging on an old curtain hook on the back porch.  Since the porch is all cleaned up after Wednesday’s cleaning event and I can open the windows again, it’s a good place for the garlic to hang and cure.

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This kind is Broadleaf Czech.  It’s a softneck variety that is able to be braided for drying and storage.  According to the Seed Saver’s catalog, it’s sweet and mild when cooked and has a full, pungent garlic flavor when raw.  To be honest – I chose it just because of the name.  I am about 87% Czech and Keith is half.  Cute story – when he and I had just started dating  in high school and his grandma found out what my last name was, she asked what nationality I was.  When she got the answer she said, “Oh!  She’ll bring it back to the family!!”  I guess she knew something we didn’t, because we’d been dating only a few weeks :)   Since the half of his family that he spent most of his time with was the Czech side, and because his name is Czech, that’s what he considers himself.  So, now and then I’ll choose a particular seed variety simply because Czech is in the name.  Silly, maybe, but how else do you choose between 20 different kind of garlic and 100 different kinds of tomatoes?IMG_3090 IMG_3089







I’ll be harvesting the other garlic in a few weeks after the stems start to dry out.  That one is a hardneck called German Red.  Did I mention that half of the tiny part of my heritage that isn’t Czech is German, and so is part of the other half of Keith’s??  He, he :)


Garden Pics

I don’t have much to say.  What do you say when your whole life is eating, farm work, and the summer children’s community theater?  One more week….  So back to the farm!  I thought I’d post some pics of the very early development of the straw bale garden.  Radishes, beans, and zucchini are the first sprouters.  I think there are some beets coming up.  It’s very exciting :)   The “kale” garden is doing well.  It’s in quotes because there are also eggplant and onions and a few herbs in there, though they haven’t come up well.  I noticed that there are little green tomatoes alreadyIMG_3008 IMG_3007 IMG_3005 IMG_3004 IMG_3003 and just for fun, I threw in one of the area that is quickly becoming my Monarch butterfly garden :)   Over the years I’ve been allowing milkweed to grow wherever it pops up to help the Monarchs.

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Tending the Gardens

Keith tilled the unplanted part of the kale garden on Saturday.  Tasha and I filled in the many gaps with new seed.  Today I planted marigolds at the end of the rows just to make it pretty – and maybe they’ll repel bad bugs.  We also got the eggplants in, which are in the middle of that garden with onions.  I’m not sure what to do with the other empty section…  This morning we did some weeding in “the other” garden.  Not perfect, but it will slow things down a it.  I assessed what’s growing and what’s not and will have to do some replanting there, too, but it’s not as bad as I thought.  In places.  Planting early this year definitely didn’t help as much as I thought it would.  Every year is a new adventure!

Here are some pics from Saturday’s replanting session.

My planting tools: some cool tea, new kale seeds, and popsicle sticks to mark where the new seeds went.

My planting tools: some cool tea, new kale seeds, and popsicle sticks to mark where the new seeds went.

This is part of a row that's not too bad - just a few gaps to re-seed.

This is part of a row that’s not too bad – just a few gaps to re-seed.

This row - not so good.  Just one plant.  I think I used old seed in this row.

This row – not so good. Just one plant. I think I used old seed in this row.

April Showers Bring May Flowers

If you live in the USA, you’ve probably heard this saying.  As an aside, I can’t think of this saying without thinking of this little joke:  If April showers bring May flowers, than what do Mayflowers bring?  Pilgrims! ;)

So back to the flowers…  Our April was relatively rainy.  Especially last week at the very end of the month.  And it did seem to help bring about some new flowers!  I know I haven’t finished my series on the small farm workshops, but today I just wanted to take a few minutes to share some pictures of the flowers that are currently in bloom on our farm.

Bradford PearThis Bradford was bought at Aldi for $5 at the end of our first spring here – 15 years ago.  I thought I had a great deal.  A whole fruit tree for only $5!  Unfortunately I found when reading the tag on our way home that it produces “insignificant fruit”.  After a few years we figured what that meant.  The pears are about the size of my pinky fingernail.  But it’s better than the dead maple that was there before!

May Day giftThese flowers were delivered to us on May Day by a dear friend and her children.  Hannah put them in our hanging pots out back.

Nanking Bush Cherry




This is our Nanking Bush Cherry.  The first cherry tree we bought didn’t survive the massive 2-year Japanese Beetle invasion a few years after we planted it.  It only produced a handful of cherries and died.  A few years ago we planted this bush cherry instead.  I figured it was small enough that we could cover it with some kind of netting, if needed, to keep other critters from eating the fruit on us.  This is the FIRST time it’s flowered!  So, maybe we’ll get a few cherries this year.

ForsythiaForsythia.  We have several of these along the driveway.  Last year I took a beautiful picture of them on the other side of the drive.  This is the only one that is halfway blooming this year.  Not quite as impressive as last year, but better than nothing.

DaffodilDaffodil.  No big story here.  Just one of bulbs we’ve planted over the years.  I love daffodils.  They’re so cheery :)

Chives with budsThis doesn’t quite count as a flower – yet.  But the little brownish buds in the chives will be purple flowers in a few days.  The chives look amazing this year.  Tall and full.  Perfect for putting in goat cheese!

DandelionAnd, of course, the humble, perennial dandelion!  I know that there is an ongoing war on the poor dandelion, especially in the cities and suburbs.  But I’ve always liked them.  My moms’ yard was the only one on our block with dandelions because we didn’t have the money to spend on killing them on a routine basis.  My best friend’s mom once light-heartedly laughed about all the “pretty yellow flowers” we had in our yard.  We like them around here.  They brighten up the lawn.  They are also well-loved by goats and pigs.  The other day I had some greens in my lunch salad, and I think I’m going to have the children pick some flowers later so we can make fritters with them.  I did it once about 10 years ago.  Quite yummy, actually!


Happy Mother's DayAnd last, but not least!  As I was putting this together, Hannah brought me this little bouquet of wildflowers as an early Mother’s Day gift.  One day they’ll all be grown up and won’t bring me flowers so often and I’ll miss it so much!  But, by then I hope to  have lots of grandchildren to do it instead.

Have a great week, and take some time to at least look at the flowers, if not smell them!