Saturday, April 9, 2011

Getting to know Kristin

1. What inspires you?

Good music, birds chirping in the morning, my sweet family, singing in a choir, good coffee, laughing together, the change of seasons, eye contact, a clean kitchen, stacks of folded laundry, the smell of lemongrass and peppermint, old houses, the beauty of nature, antique shops, to-do lists that are checked off.

My darling husband Daniel and me

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

More wrinkles. A good gardener, hopefully! More in love with my husband. Homeschooling my son. More well-rounded, well-read. Still farming of course! Teaching music lessons.

Me, my son, and my nephew on our farm

3. What is one of your most fulfilling hobbies?

I love playing the piano and cello. I also love knitting. Long drives with no specific destination in mind.

My precious baby boy, about a year ago

4. What do you like to cook?

Preferably simple but delicious recipes. I like experimenting with stews, soups and stir-fry-- the combinations are endless. I like preparing meals I know are nourishing and healthful. However, if I had unlimited funds, I would hire a personal chef and spend my time doing other things!

Our sweet dog, Sadie. She found us in 2009.

5. What relaxes you after a long day of farming?
A glass of wine, time with my piano, going out to see the sun set over the mountains, laughing with my husband, admiring my clean kitchen (when it's clean, that is!), a leisurely walk, a hot shower, comfy pajamas, early bedtime, a good night's sleep.

The backyard

6. How do you deal with farm animal deaths?

I tend to feel very sad when an animal dies tragically or unexpectedly. When they die in due course, I feel unfazed and thankful that they will feed my family.

Cows by moonlight

7. With whom do you hope to share farming skills?
My little brother and his future family. My son. Anyone who wants to learn!

My husband and son

8. What do you like to read?

I like reading both fiction and non-fiction. One of my favorites is The Chronicles of Narnia- I've read those about once a year since I was a child. I also love the Sherlock Holmes collection, A Severe Mercy, The Bible. I love the Foxfire books, Joel's books, anything about homesteading, how-to books, knitting, music theory/history, etc...

You can see the roof of our little blue house behind the barn

9. What is your greatest asset?

I tend to think of myself as a very empathetic person. I'm also fairly stubborn- but it sounds much better if I call myself persevering! My husband says I'm faithful and well-grounded. He likes that I have old-fashioned ideals.

Sunset over the mountains, from our backyard

Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sit down with Sheri

     My name is Sheri Salatin. I'm married to Daniel Salatin (Joel's son) and we have 3 kids - Travis, Andrew and Lauryn. I'm a full-time Mommy, home teacher and the Marketing Director for Polyface.  I'm very active in our church as an Awana Sparks Director and Nursery Director.
     I grew up in Texas and am the oldest of six children. Never a dull moment in that family!  I was home-schooled from 2nd grade through high-school and went to college for an EMT Paramedic degree in my early 20's.  I like to think on my feet and make quick decisions. 
     I'm a people-person.  I don't get energized by a crowd like Joel and Daniel do, but I love to spend time with friends and meet new people.  One of my most favorite things to do is help people, whether that be physically by fixing a meal, emotionally by offering a hug and listening ear or mentally by talking out problems with them.

1. What inspires you?
     People inspire me.  People who do the right thing when doing nothing at all is easier. I am always amazed at the strength and courage that some folks have to step up to the plate in hard times. These folks have an inner strength that I greatly admire.
     Secondly but certainly not least, my husband inspires me. I have never seen or known a man more dedicated to his family and work. To borrow the expression, he rolls with the punches.  Daniel has a lot riding on him. He works quietly behind the scenes supporting his dad as he goes out to spread the farm gospel around the world. A day on the farm without Daniel is a day on the farm when everything is in chaos. Ask any of the apprentices, they can tell you it's true. So many of us depend on him. He's the go-to man whenever there is a problem. He organizes everything from what cuts of meat we need to keep in the freezer to ordering feed for the animals to when the cows should be moved from one farm to another. He deals with every aspect of the farm, all the nitty-gritty details. If you want to know what is really happening around here, ask Daniel.

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    I always have a hard time with these types of questions. I don't think about that many years in advance. It's just too hard for my feeble mind to comprehend.  So I'm going to answer it this way, I'll just keep on doing what I'm doing now and wait and see. 

3. What is one of your most fulfilling hobbies?
    Wow, I have so many hobbies. Most fulfilling for me would be reading. I love to read.  Books, both fiction and non-fiction alike inspire me to think new thoughts and dream new dreams.

4. What do you like to cook/favorite foods?
    This is a two part answer for me. My favorite thing to bake is bread. I love all of the steps with kneading, rising and then baking. My favorite food is chips and salsa. I grew up in Texas and love the spicy foods. I've finally gotten my family switched over and they are now tolerating the heat! Woohoo!

5. What relaxes you after a long day of farming?
    Sitting on my sofa in my house or on the porch in warmer weather talking with my hubby. We talk over the days' events or just sit and say nothing at all.Sometimes I read in the evenings. It helps my mind to process all of the days events or just forget about them before drifting off to sleep.

6. How do you deal with farm animal deaths?
     I grew up on a farm. The first time my family processed chickens, I was eight years old. I think that when you start out at such a young age, there is nothing to "deal with".  We have noticed that when families come to watch us process the chickens, parents are always more squeamish than their children. I think that innately, children don't have a problem with killing animals for food. It's a learned response. I never questioned why an animal had to die as a child, it was simply a way of life. If I wanted to eat meat, that was the way it is.

7. Who do you hope to share farming skills with?
     My children, first. Interns and apprentices, second. And finally the world. Big dreams, huh?

8. What do you like to read? 
    Christian fiction would be right up at the top of my list of favorites. I also love to read books about people's journey in lives. Whether it be something they have learned or where they are going.

9. What is your greatest asset?
    Hm, this is a hard question. I guess I would have to say that I'm a good learner. I tend to pick up things fairly quickly and apply them to all aspects of my life. I enjoy researching new ideas, but only things that pertain directly to me, my job or my family. I don't enjoy research, just to research.  Everything I research must have an application or it feels like a waste of time to me.  It helps that I'm also an extremely fast reader.

How about you? I would love to hear feedback from you as the reader. Pick a question and answer it below.  We can all learn from each other.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Getting To Know Kristen

Brie Aronson (Tuesday chick) and I are roommates here at the farm. We thought it would be fun to interview each other for this week's posts. Below are my answers to Brie's questions. Please click on the above tab "About Brie" to read her post!

What inspires you?

Sunshine, reading the Bible, being with people who love life and love what they do, good leadership, moving cows, giving hospitality, watching baby calves on pasture, sharing meals with friends, smiles, wildflowers, hugs, making memories.

What is your most fulfilling pastime?

It's hard to pick just one - taking walks around the farm, falling asleep under a tree, sitting and talking with cows, spending quality time with family and friends, listening to people, learning.

What are some words to describe yourself?

Hmm... loyal, supportive, listening, observing, honest, transparent, open, cheerful, positive, a one-on-one person.

What is your favorite song?

Amazed by Lonestar.

What is something that surprised you about farming?

I used to work on a conventional dairy, and it felt like all my time was consumed with farming - there wasn't much relaxing or "down-time." Since being here, I've come to know that one can have a well-rounded lifestyle within farming, and that you don't have to always be working, working, working to "get ahead." Life is happening now, and there are times for both work and for taking in the beautiful moments of life.

What is your favorite farm ingredient, and what you do with it?

A whole chicken, made into stock with onions, celery, carrots, lots of garlic, and herbs. It's fun to let simmer for 2-3 days, and is so versatile to have on hand - I use it in many different recipes.

Inspirational quotes that get you through the day?

"Keep your chin up." - My mama

"To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world." - Unknown

"Self-denial, perseverance, commitment, focus." - Joel Salatin, You Can Farm

What is one thing you want to share with the world?

Everyone has an opportunity to make a difference, whether it's a large-scale farm, supporting a local farmer, or even having a compost pile in your yard. We all can make a difference toward cleaner, local food.

What is your ideal date?

(Laughs). Well, um, I think it would be fun to have a date in a hay loft, take walks through the pasture, hold hands while washing dirty eggs, and do chores together.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What speaks to Grace? Buxton Farm Manager

What inspires Grace?
I'm inspired by people. All kinds of people. Children People who take risks. Honest people. Challenged people. Patient people. Funny people. Accomplished people. People who have personal triumphant stories. People who teach what they love. People who love,regardless. Nature. Ah,nature, and the glorious ocean. Full moons. Films, music, and dancing. My parents. Delicious food. Positive attitudes. Traveling the world to experience other cultures. My husband inspires me.

In five years Michael and I will be planting fruit trees in our community with children.

Two of my favorite hobbies?
 First west african dance. Feeling the rhythm of the drums  is a pure joyous celebration. Dancing can be a wonderful medicine. The pulse of the drums open the heart. Gardening is right up there with dancing. I feel alive when my hands are in the soil. Broadcasting seed, watching things, grow and take form. It's magic. 

What about cooking?
I like to cook new recipes. I have a sweet tooth so I love to bake 
with chocolate. Dark chocolate. I thoroughly enjoying raising peking duck. It's a real treat to cook duck with a homemade plum sauce.  
I have been referring to "Nourishing Traditions"cookbook for years so I have great respect for soaking and fermenting before cooking. I have developed and appreciation for foods that take time to reveal their best flavor. Especially meat and bone broths.I find slow cooking seductive, cuz it's so easy. I've been making bread from wild culture. So delicious. I enjoy making yogurt and cheese from raw milk for smoothies with coconut milk. I look forward to canning every summer season.  I long to be as good a cook as my husband!

On long farm days I gravitate towards hot food, lots of water, epsom salt soaks and  uninterrupted sleep. Sleep cures many aliments!

Death. Does Grace have an opinion? 

In countries like India death is everywhere, it's raw, seen, and honored daily. Since death remains hidden in our society there is a clear disconnection to this holy natural process but in farming you cannot hide from death. It is as natural as the rising sun. I used to get disturbed when an animal got sick and died but now I see they come in with a purpose and a path and it's only my business to nurture them while they are here and use every aspect of the gifts they bring. 
 The native americans say if you kill an animal you're responsible for that animals spirit. Another way of saying, everything is connected. I feel we are connected to the animals as much as we are the soil beneath our feet. Raising animals and harvesting them is rewarding and sometimes hard to explain. Before I slaughter an animal I always send out a prayer. I took it from Barbara Kingsolver's book, "Animal Vegetable Miracle"; "by the same power that slays you we too are slain and we too shall be consumed for the law that delivers you unto our hands, shall deliver us unto another's hands, your blood and our blood is not but the sap that feed the tree of heaven."

Who do I wish to share farming with?
I love to share farming with anyone. I feel we're all teachers no matter how much experience we have.  So many people these days are returning to the land and connecting to their food. It's a wonderful time to be doing what we love.

What do I like to read?

I read non fiction! I want to know details about everything that interest me. I like some poetry, stories, Acres Magazine, the Sun Magazine,autobiographies. I can sit and read for hours.

What's the best thing I have to offer. One asset?
As long as I can remember I have always been eager and curious. Desire has brought so many wonderful opportunities into my life. This eagerness has kept me asking endless questions. Taken my places I never dreamt I would go. "Longing" has been my friend.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Getting to Know Brie

Kristen Long (Thursday chick) and I are roommates here on the farm and decided to change it up a bit and interview each other for this week’s post. Here are my answers to her get-to-know-you questions. Stay tuned for the Q&A with Kristen on Thursday!
What is your favorite season?
When I lived in the suburbs, fall was my favorite because the changes were so striking compared to the rest of the year. But this being my first spring on the farm, I’m convinced this is actually the best season. Watching everything bloom and awaken to spring is just plain magic.
What fills your spare time?
Friends, photography, singing, playing guitar and ukulele, cooking, and paper collaging.
What are things you do to feel feminine in your farming life?
Wearing fun-colored muck boots. Wearing my hair down once in awhile, and painting my toenails even though no one ever sees them!
What is a life lesson you’ve learned from being on the farm?
I can think of two - one is the importance of living in the moment. You have to watch the weather, which can change your plans without notice. You have certain, concrete tasks to accomplish each day and have physical proof of the work you did that day. So it’s taught me about being present and doing what needs to be done right now, not worrying so much about yesterday or tomorrow. I have also learned the value of taking time to form a creative solution to a problem. I am always so inspired by Joel and how he says there’s always another option, and you can usually afford the minute to stop and think about it. There’s always one more thing you can try, and this has really affected how I think about all kinds of problems.
If you could share one message to the world, what would that be?
I really think it’s accurate to say that our nation as a whole has an eating disorder. I want to share the message that it’s not about dieting, or flashy gourmet meals, or government food labels. It’s about getting involved in the growing and preparing of food; it’s about quality, nourishment, and sharing with others. And it’s simple.

What makes you feel capable?
My muck boots and Leatherman make me feel like I can take on anything.
Random fact about you?
Most kids, when they are young, want to be something extraordinary when they grow up, right? An astronaut, a ballerina, the U.S. president? When I was a kid, all I ever wanted to be was a grocery store bagger. I thought that was simply the most amazing job. Although the novelty has worn off quite a bit since then, I frequently still offer to bag my own groceries at the store.  I suppose it all really does come back to food with me.
Also, my imaginary friend growing up was Robin Hood. (The fox/Disney Robin Hood.)
What is your greatest asset?
I have really great elbows. I’m sorry, I’m bragging but it’s true (laughs). No, in all seriousness I guess my greatest asset would be being foolish enough to make the career change into farming. I’m still na├»ve enough to think I can help make some change in the world, even if it’s small! J
What inspires you?
Hearing Joel speak gets me fired up about farming. Photography blogs make me look to capture little moments with my camera. I get inspired in the kitchen by fresh ginger. Being in nature – especially mountains and forests. Finding that seedlings have sprouted overnight. Reading and discussing business principles. Talking with people who have done brave and interesting things with their lives. Acoustic music. Fireflies.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Little About All of Us......

We decided to interview each other this week to let our readers know a little more about us! Get ready to find out more than you ever wanted to know about the Polyface Girls!! haha!

1. What inspires you? My daughter Maddie, working at Polyface, long, warm summer days, crisp fall days, pumpkins, wide open spaces, gardens, empty spaces for gardens, funny people, hiking, cooking, making pies, knitting, talking to Joel, picking berries and making preserves, local wine/vineyards, cold beer (yes I said it!), shopping at Anthropologie.......I could go on and on!
2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? hmmmm....Maddie will be 10 so the first thing that comes to mind is "WOW! 10?!" ha! I might have to come back to this question after I digest that! :)
3. What is one of your most fulfilling hobbies? Just one? Gardening
4. What do you like to cook/favorite foods? I LOVE to visit local farms and farmers markets and putting together meals with the goodies I find! Including things that actually grew in my own garden!! Making pies is on the top of the list!
5. What relaxes you after a long day of farming? Maddie and I sitting on the porch with our favorite books or getting together for a cook out with friends!
6. How do you deal with farm animal deaths? I say a little prayer.
7. Who do you hope to share farming skills with? Anyone who will listen! ha! Mostly my daughter but have been known to hold up the line at the grocery store swapping farming/gardening/recipes with the check out girl! :)
8. What do you like to read? Mostly books on farming/gardening/cooking/holistic living/raising chickens
9. What is your greatest asset? My energy?! It drives a lot of people crazy...but I gotta be me! :)

I keep pics of some of my faves for inspiration when I need it....I've included a few below.....

One of my fave stores near Richmond...

Don't know....I like the dress, the preserves,.....

 From the Anthropolgie catalog! LOVE that store!


               Another pic from Anthropologie!!!!! Cuteness!

My hometown!! Staunton, VA!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Not sure about this one? I just think it's so cozy and reminds me of an old farmhouse!

LOVE pumpkins!!!!!!!!!! Everything about them!


                           Goodies from the garden!!!

Polyface and the moon!! 2 of my faves!!!

                 Cooking out at Polyface a few years ago! 

Country Living Magazine inspires me!!!
Love all the color in this pic!!                 
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