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WOW! Where did the year go?? Here's what's happening at Barbolian Fields, some new products, some useful / informative (we hope!) links, and our usual ramble in the brambles!
Welcome to the Dec. 2012 Barbolian Fields Newsletter

Greetings from Barbolian Fields!

My first newsletter in quite awhile! I always say I am going to send these out more often, but I’m not always sure how to make them different from my assorted blog posts (ideas are welcome!). Writing, believe it or not, is a slow, painful process for me—I’d rather have my hands in dirt than at a keyboard! 

First, a Thank You…

Now that the year is coming to a close, I want to take this opportunity to thank the many many people who have been so supportive of our little growing operation over the past year (sorry - the garlic is gone!). Seriously, you are what keep me going. I have met so many good people with whom I’ve exchanged ideas and ways of doing things, traded plants and seeds, and talked about how to make things work. I truly appreciate all the encouragement and inspiration. To all of you, Thank You. Thank you.

Independent Americans Unite!

Throughout the correspondence, I keep hearing the same themes: we seem to be on the verge of a revolution of sorts, one in which we are returning to a greater appreciation for small farms, locally grown, handmade, can-do mentality, and a bartering system. Maybe it’s that we’re all fed up with the talking heads in Washington and policies that are breaking our country. Issues affecting our food supply – e.g., being dependent on big business and a transportation infrastructure, the disappearance of heirloom seeds and declining biodiversity, the insidious infiltration of GMOs - just for starters – are outright frightening. Maybe we are realizing that it is up to us, the 99%, to be more self-sufficient and return to the ethics of helping and sharing with one another. It’s a new declaration of independence.

Win-Wins: Bartering and Farmshare/CSAs

I will say, bartering not only makes sense, it is a lot of fun, and we definitely want to do more over the coming year. Also - subscribing to our local farmshare program (we signed up with Nash’s) has also been a definite win-win, and something I would encourage everyone to do with a CSA program near you. A colorful box of ultimately fresh produce every week kept us tuned in to a healthy lifestyle of eating a variety of veggies. It was a real relief to let go of the notion that I needed to grow all our own food and focus instead on specialty items, like the garlic crop, building our food forest, and catering to the bees.

Garlic IN – Time to Kick Back? Not!

Hooray! The garlic is in the ground, and one would think we could kick back and hunker down for winter, reminding me of quiet times reading by a fire in a little cabin in the woods in Alaska – but instead, the weather has been so incredibly mild, we’ve been busier than ever: collecting seeds (watch the website – I will sort through them and share in the new year!), planting and transplanting bulbs and shrubs, taking cuttings, building new beds, raking leaves and mulching, mulching, mulching, cleaning things up, tucking things in – I really appreciate this extra time, because there has been so much to do!
 

I figure we harvested close to 700 lbs. of apples this year (thank you, bees!!!) and we’ve been making pies, sauce, butter, juice, vinegar, and dried chips (and maybe some wine?) … sharing with family and friends, church groups, the needy – being able to share the bounty makes it that much more worthwhile.

Season of Rainbows

I love this season of rainbows here in the Northwest. That’s where you look out one window and you see sunshine, look out another, it’s pouring down rain, and somewhere in the middle, if you’re lucky, right over your head, you are blessed with a rainbow! Some folks have even reported triple-rainbow sitings, which is quite extraordinary. Right now, I’m looking out our window at a big alder absolutely covered with little dewdrops – each reflecting like a thousand little mirrors. Wow.

It’s a beautiful world.

And now on to our links:

Easy Gift Ideas


New at the Barbolian Store

We have rearranged the website to make it easier for folks to find information and different products. We are adding things as we go, and we’re open to featuring crafts and products by local artisans, so if there’s something you’d like to advertise through our website, contact me!

2013 Calendars are in!

Our very own 2013 FLOWER POWER calendar (inspired by the bees!) featuring my favorite photos from our garden.  And here’s my Sweet Deal Coupon: To the first 5 people who respond to this newsletter (write SWEET DEAL! in the subject line. Yes, this is a test to see whether you read this far & whether you can follow directions), I will send you a 2013 calendar at a 20% discount - just $12 plus shipping. Such a sweet deal!
Just Email me at blythe@barbolian.com. So easy.

Barbolian Fields Zazzle Store

Art & photos from our garden and our big backyard (the Olympic National Park) on all kinds of different products – everything from aprons to zippered travel bags! We’re talking t-shirts, t-towels, tiles, jars, stickers, magnets, hats, baby clothing, neckties, puzzles, cards, shopping bags, you name it! Fun stuff. Our little vampire buddy & his batty friend aghast at the bulbs of garlic hanging like a venemous spider - “Got garlic? One can never have too much….” – it’s out there. Check it out! 

Dog Biscuits

Back by popular demand! Barkley’s favorite Thanksgiving biscuits (aka, Wolf Bites - "Give them something to Howl about!")

Coming soon!

Seeds!

I collected a TON and am cleaning & sorting through them. Happy to sell & barter. Watch the website or contact me.

Dried Herbs

Mint, sage, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, oregano, lavender, santolina, wormwood, and more. Working on making a calendula salve.
Email me if you’re interested. Limited quantities available.

Books

The gift of knowledge! I am a huge fan of Chelsea Green Publishing,  so much so, I signed up as an affiliate (take my link and I get a little kickback), so I will provide that disclaimer. Right now, they are having a sale with 35% off any purchase. Simply use the code CGFL12 at checkout from now until the end of the year. Free shipping on any orders over $100. I provide some book reviews on our site, and I keep adding more. I am seriously addicted to gardening books. And a Kindle version just doesn’t hack it. I need to flip through it, look at pictures, feel the pages.
Ok, ok - I know this "newsletter" is more like a novel.
I promise to make them shorter from now on! And more frequent!
Catching up is hard to do!

More Gift Ideas: Local Deals


Local craft fairs are in full swing.

Support your local crafter!

Farm Share/CSA Program

Give the gift of healthy food! Nash’s happens to be my neighbor, so I give them a plug - (check into the Nash Bucks program and the Pork Buying Club) – for my friends across the water, they are also available in the U District and Ballard – but of course, there are many many other CSAs, farmers markets, roadside stands, and stores that support local farms. It is fun to spread the love.  We are so fortunate to have so many sources of fresh locally grown food here– as well as one of the few sources of raw milk, the Dungeness Valley Creamery, to which I am seriously addicted. Buying local is kind of a 4-for-1 bargain: you help a local farmer, you help the local economy, you help the environment, AND you help yourself or the person you give the gift to – all for 1 price!

More ideas: Links to Barbolian holiday gift posts

Handmade Christmas Gift Strategy

Harvest Now for Holiday Gifts from the Garden

A Procrastinator’s Guide to 20 Last-Minute Gifts from the Garden

Thanksgiving Dog Biscuits (the recipe)

Heal Thyself! Food has Power! photo credit: Simi Amiet

Recipe Exchange: Master Tonic 101

I made this Master Tonic 101 concoction from the Heal Thyself ~Food Has Power website, and let me tell you – it will kick anything you got right in the a$$! Powerful stuff! And so simple:

Just 5 ingredients: equal parts of garlic, horseradish, hot white onions, ginger, cayenne, jalepeno or other hot pepper.
Directions: Chop them up, fill a jar ¾ full, top off with apple cider vinegar, store in a dark place (could even be a paper bag), shake every day – a few times a day if you can – for a couple of weeks. Strain. Use the solids in other dishes.

Take ½ - 1 ounce of the liquid, gargle & swallow, twice a day if you start to get a cold, the flu, or even the plague -- it will knock it on its rear. Stimulates blood circulation, your immune system, detoxifies, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory. Wow. Strong stuff!

And hmm, since we’re on a theme here, it would make a nice gift!

Note: Photo credit to Simi Amiet

More Good Recipes

Cookus Interuptus: Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Apples and Kale What to do with all those apples – and all that kale? Put them together of course! If you haven’t watched the soaps on Cookus Interuptus, you’re in for a riotous treat!

Little House in the Suburbs: How to Make a Rosemary Tincture

Mountain Rose Herbs Vinegar Extracts - for those who prefer something nonalcoholic.

Recent Favorite Blog Posts from the World of Cyberspace (a sampling)

Bit of Earth Farm’s Buy American sources - my gosh – this woman did some research and put together a very handy, very long list of companies that provide American-made goods. We make a statement, after all, with our choices and our pocketbooks.

Five Reasons Why Urban Farming is the Most Important Movement of our Time - Author Ro Kumar lays it out.

Are GMOs Safe? Here is Chris Kresser’s take on the questions. There is a lot of conflicting info out there, hype, bad science, mistrust (and with good reason). What do we really know?

Peru Bans Monsanto and GMOs - Another blog I follow: Food Renegade – I figure we do a lot of things to destroy our health – that’s our personal choice – but destroying the health of the planet is another matter. The impact of GMOs on biodiversity and the multiple layers of how that can affect future generations is particularly scary. That Peru is the latest to stand up against GMOs is particularly heartening.

Peru Bans Genetically Modified Foods as US Lags - Another in-depth article on the GMO issue from The Organic Consumer’s Organization.

Is it just me, or does it seem odd that other countries are taking a stand against GMOs while the US, the land of open communication, is resistant to even let us know when we are consuming products containing them? The answer: grow your own food and buy from reliable sources.

Despite all the turmoil in the world….

Don't forget to keep focused on what is real
The importance of this moment, right now. Another blog I follow, Zen Habits, and a post worth sharing: Shaken by Life’s Beauty, Shaken

Happy Holidays everyone!

Thank you so much for making this year such a huge success!
I hope to hear how your garlic (and anything else!) is growing in the next year. Keep in touch!

Hug the ones you love. Pray for world peace. 
And don't forget to Enjoy this Beautiful Day!
Blythe

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