Beef comes from Where??

What a silly question you may be thinking. However, it may not be so silly after all. Years ago, while at a homeschooling convention in Richmond, VA, my friend and I noticed an excited bunch of folks gathering outside the mall in the courtyard. We asked the food service fella what it was all about. He said there was a milk cow out there for folks to see! Really? All that excitement over a milk cow? How odd we thought. Everyone knows what a milk cow looks like, right? Actually, no.

A lot of years have gone by since that day. It seems a milk cow is not the only thing folks think comes from Costco, the local grocery store, or farmer’s markets. So here is another insight into our lack of food source knowledge:

Beef does not come from food markets either. Neither does chicken, pork, lamb, duck, or fish. Or anything for that matter.

This seems like a no-brainer to the majority of us. But please do not ask a youngster if chocolate milk comes from a cow!

This is not to say we all should have our own milk cows or grow our own beef. However, we would do well to remember that all these grocery store items and meats are grown with care (mostly) by many farmers. However, growing a few vegetables regardless of home location is rewarding, not to mention delicious.

All this comes to my mind today because our Herefords went to the slaughter house two days to be processed. It is one of the hardest times on the farm for me. Death is hard but it is a part of life.

Why not visit your local farms? Many farms are open to visitors. It is fascinating to experience a working dairy, or cattle farm. Have your child help gather eggs with the local egg lady. A summer spent working on one of the farms would have a lasting impression on anyone. Donning a pair of muck boots and getting down and dirty on the farm gives everyone an appreciation for the farmer that works to bring us all this good food.

Our children need to know where our food comes from. It helps us understand the hardships of growing food and feeding this big country of ours. Perhaps, just perhaps, we would cease being so wasteful and careless with our sustenance.

You are welcome to stop by our little farm and meet these critters that live here. Hold a chicken, pick a bean from the garden, toss some hay out to the animals, take a tractor ride, sit on some sweet smelling hay. You and your kids will be glad you did!

This is where beef comes from.

Virginia Garden Tours—Winchester, VA

One of our favorite times of the year for my daughter and me is the Virginia Garden Tours every April. Gorgeous homes all over Virginia are open for these tours. Waiting to see which ones will be on tour are an exciting part of the Spring season for us. Though it would be great fun to visit all the homes around Virginia, we visit our town, Winchester, VA.

Area garden clubs choose homes, and should the owners agree, a fabulous showcase is put on for we guests. These tours are never disappointing. The homes are historic, beautifully appointed, and have amazing history attached to them. The flowers the ladies put all around each room are absolutely stunning. The garden club ladies give the tours of the homes. Owners are found sometimes out in their gardens. A chat with them adds all the more to the tours.

Photographs are not allowed inside the homes, only the grounds and gardens. You are invited to take a stroll with us around these lovely homes of our town.

These are privately owned homes, not opened to the public. As one of my friends said about one of the them on this particular tour, “I have been waiting thirty years to see the inside of this home!” It was well worth the wait. She told me of one of the homeowners who began last year in preparing her gardens for this tour!

Seeing the gardens and homes give fun, fresh ideas for decorating our own spaces. Visiting these historic places adds to our appreciation of our town and folks that live and work here, past and present.

The slate roof is beautiful.
The elegant dogwood (our State tree) adds extra beauty to this stately Winchester home.

Run Between the Raindrops!

We Virginians that live here in the northern Shenandoah Valley should all be a little lighter in body weight this summer.  The spring rains have yet to end in our part of the world.  Looks like rain again today as well.

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Looks like rain again today.

Our summer has been spent running between the raindrops, mowing and weeding the gardens between storms.  And storms they have been!  Torrential rains, thunder, magnificent lighting all across the skies.  Flash floods, roads washed out, downed trees, broken fences from fallen limbs, and piles of cut grass have kept us occupied all summer.  One would think a few pounds would surely be lost in the busyness of this yard work!

 

A few of we hardy gardeners have thrown in the towel on our gardens.  Tomatoes are plentiful—just green, green.  The crabgrass seems to be the main item happily taking over every space not even previously known to us,  where does it come from?  Though the field corn has faired well.  There may be some fall planting, though no commitments as yet.  Given the choice though, this wet weather seems better than drought.  Sure wish we could give some to California.

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We have had rain all summer.

We Shenandoah Valley folk take what we get as far as weather goes.  Try to see the best in it, and smile at the start of another fine day, rain or not.  There is always something worthy of our attention and good to do everyday.

 

There have been few summers that have stayed this wet with grass so lush and beautiful into August.  Well, this too shall pass, as the old adage says.  So, in the meantime, keep your mower blades sharp, fuel tanks full and good humor running full blast.  Oh, and do not forget a good, tall glass of lemonade!

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The field corn has faired well.

The old-timers say, “Make hay while the sun shines!”  Well, guess what?  The sun is shining right now.  Time for this PFO to get out there with the weed eater!

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As we old-timers say, “Make hay while the sun shines.”

Know the farmer.  Know the farm.

Homemade is best.