Speaking Up

Hello, Beth Rankin here from 3000 miles west in Oregon.
I am marveling over the land here…..pretty flat or with very gently rolling hills between the Coastal Range foothills to the west and the higher, more rugged Cascades to the east.   Whenever I drive through the area I think about all the usable acreage in comparison to the rugged terrain most of the farmers in the Huntington tri-state area work with. I visited a lot of farms where the total acreage was 30 or more, but usable acres where something could be planted may have been limited to 5 or 10.DSCF5560
I am enjoying the weather.  Everyone “knows” it rains all the time in Oregon. No, not true. We recently had a storm that that was the remnants of a typhoon (think Pacific Ocean hurricane). It reminded me of some of heavy downpours with strong winds West Virginia has. Everyone here was freaking because it was so unusual. Typically, the rain is sort of misty with maybe a 10 minute shower. The clouds seem to scuttle by pretty quickly overhead…maybe it is because we are only an hour from the coast. The clouds move and the sun pokes through. That kind of weather is typical for about 6 months of the year, from October to April but not every day is dark and gloomy. The weather pattern means lots of ground water and it shows. The area is green!!!neighbor's leaves
So, the Willamette Valley is a farming area. The city of Portland is huge and has a large surrounding area of suburbs. The next city about 50 miles south, Salem, is the capital. Next, about 40 miles further south is Corvallis, and Eugene is another 40 or so mile south of that.  In between all that is farmland.
Lots and lots of farmland. Much in grapes for wine. A lot in grass for seed. This is also one of the country’s largest areas growing landscaping plants. And more.
Many small farms that would be considered huge in West Virginia. Lots of farm markets, but none like the Wild Ramp. The large farm market in McMinnville, held on Thursdays, will end for the season after this week. The smaller Saturday market is moving inside the Grange this week. I am looking forward to seeing what is sold. So far, outside, I have seen about four produce vendors and the rest are selling crafts.market Sept 26 2013
Because I was introduced to the West Virginia Small Farms Center I contacted the similar organization in Oregon. It is also located at the land grant school, Oregon State University in Corvallis, but there are extension divisions all over including here in McMinnville. I went there to get my new pressure cooker gauge tested for calibration before canning tuna. Being a novice, I needed to be assured it would not explode. :)
I  received my quarterly subscription to the Oregon Small Farms Newsletter and wanted to share it with all of you. Not just the Producers, who I expect may  find it interesting, but with anyone reading these words who actually eats food.Small Farms color logo
Hmmm, yup, that’s you.
The first section of the Small Farms newsletter invites everyone to submit comments to the US Food and Drug Administration regarding rules about produce and rules about food safety. Read the article and please make an effort to submit your comments.
Too few people chose to participate in government and then complain that things are happening that they don’t like. This is one more time to speak up and share your opinion.
Without getting too much more political…we can see what can happen when people do not have influence….don’t be silent on issues that concern you…and the rules related to food SHOULD concern you.

 

Forgot N Tymes Farm

The Sexton family calls 53 acres of rolling hills in Lawrence County, Kentucky their home. Mark and Dawn, along with teen daughters Jamie and Hannah, launched a dream in 2007 when they acquired the land from the Combs family, who settled the acreage in 1886. Their goals were to preserve the farm’s history, which includes a barn, cellar and chicken coop, and to create a new legacy for their family in the berry business: Forgot N Tymes Farm.

4gotsign

Sexton has fond memories helping his uncles on their farm, and as his own daughters grew up all too quickly (as children are wont to do) he and Dawn envisioned a place where their family could have a little elbow room. They started looking for a farm, and found what they sought just down the road from their home in Catlettsburg. Then the research began in earnest. They joined NASGA, the North American Strawberry Growers Association, and toured several farms in Ohio. Their next step was to join NCSA, North Carolina Strawberry Association, and visit operations there.

They began with a single strawberry field, and farm has grown every year, now including multiple berry fields of strawberries, red and black raspberries and blueberries. There are vegetables: squash, tomatoes, beans, peppers, corn, cucumber, cantaloupe, brussels sprouts, eggplant, watermelon and pumpkins. Mums and foddershock are also available in the fall.

The Sextons’ vision is to create a family-friendly environment to provide healthy and delicious pick-your-own foods as well as education about the plants and their fruit. So many people are only familiar with the supermarket mentality: all foods available all the time; they have forgotten the seasonal nature of fresh produce, and the wonder of plucking a sun-warmed berry off a plant with your own hand.

red raspberry
“People need to bring their kids out to do things like this,” Sexton smiles, watching a small customer exclaim over the perfect raspberry. “We enjoy educating people.”

The farm is open to the public beginning in May, when the strawberry season begins. It all depends on the weather. This year began a little later than usual due to our cool spring, and lasted until mid-June. As the strawberries stopped bearing, the black and red raspberries came on, then the blueberries: all available right now.

For just-picked flavor, drive out to the farm and choose your own, straight from the field. Forgot N Tymes Farm is located at 2770 Little Cat Fork Rd., Louisa, Kentucky. From I-64 exit 180, pass Flying J Truck Stop heading south out Ky. 3. Wind through scenic countryside roughly 16 miles, and turn right at the sign, then 2.7 miles to the farm. You’ll park near a small cabin with a bridge and frog pond. Be sure to check out the hummingbird feeder hanging on the porch near the picnic tables; we saw at least three buzz in for sips of nectar. Several friendly farm dogs roam with Sexton and appreciate a good belly rub. A cat shows up to work when he feels like it as well. Bring a picnic lunch and make a day of it. The kids can run, play in the creek, pick their own supper and use their outdoor voices. Fun can be had even if a shower pops up while you’re in the field; Sexton will wait while you dry off.

4GotFarmer

If you don’t have the luxury of time, you can find the farm’s produce at the Wild Ramp as well. Red raspberries, blueberries, peppers, green tomatoes and squash were just delivered. Half runner beans, watermelon and corn will be available soon, and pumpkin season is right around the corner!

Find Forgot N Tymes Farm on Facebook.

The Wild Ramp is celebrating its One Year Birthday! You, the community, built this market and through your generous support made our first year very successful. Please help us celebrate the new things to come by continuing your support. We ask for our birthday that you consider looking at our birthday wish list located  at http://goo.gl/moHx1 , stopping by to make a contribution to our donation patch, or to sign up for volunteer hours to help the market’s continued success. Thanks! Let’s make this a birthday to remember! ‎#TWRTurns1 — at The Wild Ramp.

Eat the Farmacy to Avoid Shopping the Pharmacy

Winter is coming. Oh sure, it’s July 1st and ridiculously hot and muggy but believe you me, winter is right around the corner.

Were you sick at all last winter? Did you get a cold or the flu? Did you know that instead of spending a lot of money on medicine at the drugs store and feeling miserable you could start NOW to boost your immune system and keep your body healthy?

The idea of food as a way to stay healthy is not new but it is true that if you enhance your regular eating with some specific foods you can go a long way to building the kind of body that tackles those germs successfully!

You have to eat anyway, so why not plan a bit and do yourself a favor?

Try these 10 best foods to boost your immune system and see if you can’t feel better all year!

1. Brightly colored vegetables. You probably already know that you should eat a variety of the colorful vegetables. But do you know why? The bright green, yellow and orange vegetables have the highest amounts of carotenoids like beta carotene. These are antioxidants which help your immune system to keep in shape. Try vegetables such as peppers, carrots and squash. Choose a large variety and don’t think you have to just eat boring salads every day. Include these vegetables in hearty soups, add vegetables to your next lasagna or grate them up to hide them in meatloaf or meatballs.veggies

2. Nuts. Nuts are full of antioxidants and vitamins. Most importantly they contain a good dose of zinc. Eating nuts may lower risk your risk of chronic disease and they are so easy to carry for when you need a quick snack.

3. Berries. Vitamin C, present in berries in very large amounts,  is thought to prevent injury to cells and is therefore very useful in boosting your immune system. Dark berries in particular contain large doses of bioflavonoids that can act as antioxidants which will attack the free radicals moving around your body. You should consume mixed berries as it is thought they all work together to give you the best boost. And they taste great too!berries June 2013

4. Chocolate. WHAT! Chocolate is junk food! Maybe not. Cocoa is an immune boosting food. And chocolate certainly contains cocoa. If you reduce the fat and sugar content and consume the cocoa you may be able to increase your good cholesterol and decrease the chance of heart disease. Now that hot cup of steaming cocoa is actually an immune booster. IMG_1803

5. Fish. Fish are a great source of omega 3 fats and many people are deficient in these. Choose the fatty fish like tuna, mackerel and salmon to get the best dose. Zinc is also present in fish. Our bodies can’t make zinc so we need to consume it. Zinc helps with cell building, including your immune cells. Lean meat is another great source of zinc.trout

6. Garlic. Garlic fights infection and bacteria.  With antiviral properties and also antibacterial features, garlic promotes the growth of your white blood cells. It’s also an antioxidant and is one of the easiest foods to include in your diet. Add it into soups, casseroles and sauces. Include it in salad dressings or roast it with vegetables. There are so many options to use garlic every day.

7. Yogurt. We all need more of the good bacteria in our bodies and yogurt is a great source. Live cultures in yogurt can help stop colds in their tracks! Eat Greek yogurt for the highest number of live cultures.creme freiche

8. Tea. Tea contains an amino acid that assists the immune system to stay boosted. L-theanine is present in all types of tea. Even decaf has healthy doses of it. So drink up!

9. Mushrooms. If you want your body to fight infection you need to eat foods that can increase the activity and new production of white blood cells. Mushrooms are that food. There are many different types of mushrooms and they can be used in all sorts of ways to give you the best benefits.

10. Sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes contain large doses of vitamin A. Our skin needs good amounts of vitamin A to keep it healthy. When the largest organ in your body is healthy, you have a much better chance of staving off infection.

So there you have the 10 best foods to boost your immune system.

Try to make your diet interesting and varied. If you get bored with fruit and vegetables, try to buy something you’ve never tried before and go for a little more than the usual apples and oranges in the fruit bowl. Remembering to mix up the colors of what you eat can be all that you need to spike your interest and enjoyment.

 

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The Wild Ramp is celebrating its first anniversary all month. We opened July 12th last year, operating the market outside on the terrace because edid not have out Certificate of Occupancy for operating inside. It sure was nice when we volunteers and the produce could get into the air conditioning!July 12

If you would like to help us celebrate our anniversary, please go to http://www.myregistry.com/Visitors/GiftList.aspx?sid=AFC92F31-701B-40F4-B574-A186E476BE21

Joy of Spring: Strawberries

strawberries may 29 2013

Picked ripe yesterday, brought to the Wild Ramp Market within hours, the strawberries that were in the rapidly disappearing quart containers confused a few shoppers. They were “too red”. Notice no white areas on the tips….this means they are RIPE!!!  Full of flavor.

Once again supermarket strawberries tend to be pale in comparison, both in color and flavor, picked before full ripeness……SHOP LOCAL!!!!  SHOP FRESH!!!!

As for these…they were combined with some rhubarb brought into the Wild Ramp Market by Stitches and Scents and are now part of a pie.

Missed both the strawberries and the rhubarb?    Well, one of the many perks of being a Friend of the Market is that you can call to request that some food you read about on Facebook as either coming in or having arrived be reserved for you in the back room cooler. The other benefit is while working your volunteer hours you get first dibs on all the yummies that the farmers deliver!!logo

Determine How MUCH Food to Preserve

When I married my youngest son’s father I entered a family steeped in the traditions of preserving the harvest. My father-in-law LOVED to plant and would prepare several gardens. One had 100 tomato plants. Another garden had many long rows of green beans and yellow squash and bell peppers. Two more gardens had more of the same.DSC_0032

He did not plant more variety and he did not tend to his garden. Weeds grew like crazy and the hot dry summer would always end up killing everything by late July. When I asked him why he didn’t water he said it was too expensive.  Then I asked him why he didn’t just have ONE smaller garden with maybe 10 tomato plants, 10 green bean plants, 10 squash plants, and 10 pepper plants and he said he had always been doing it this way.  And didn’t plan on changing it.

All we could do was pick the early output and it still was more than the family could eat.  Mama taught me how to can the green beans but that was all they ever preserved. Each member of the extended family received 50 quarts and she still had rows and rows of jars from prior years on shelves.

Church View Farm canned food storage

Church View Farm canned food storage

Planning your garden to have the right amount of harvest for your family is the first step.  Knowing how to preserve food that you grow is the next so you can eat it until the next harvest is the next.  Watch for classes to be offered by The Wild Ramp.

There are several websites that can help you determine how much of your garden produce your family will eat year round so you can plan your canning, drying and freezing needs.

http://lds.about.com/library/bl/faq/blcalculator.htm

http://pinterest.com/katieocole/preserving-the-harvest/

http://extraordinaryordinarylife.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-do-you-know-how-much-to-can-or.html

And if growing your own food is not for you, you know you can get wonderful healthy vegetables and fruits at The Wild Ramp. If you are a Friend of the Market take advantage of your membership and send a request for any quantity of anything to farmer@wildramp.com and our Market Manager, Shelly Keeny will arrange for one of our Producers to have that set aside for you.  Last summer I purchased 3 boxes of “canning tomatoes” from Fuhrman Farm over several weeks. I dried one batch of tomatoes with some and  prepared sauce with two of those bushels and the “tomato bomb” (aka paste) (http://wildramp.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/tomatoes-everywhere-try-this/)  with the other.  It was not enough to last the winter, so now I know this growing season I need to preserve more.

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Why yes, another post about strawberries. It is the big hit of the season right now isn’t it? Enjoy them fresh while you can, and preserve them to enjoy year round! One of my favorite ways to preserve that fresh berry taste is with freezer jam. Freezer jam is quicker to make than traditional cooked jam. It sets softer, but I think, retains a much fresher flavor, and brighter color.

The recipe is from the Sure-Jell package: You’ll need about a quart of strawberries, 1 box of Sure-Jell, 3/4 C water, and 4 cups of sugar.

1. Wash your containers. You can use freezer boxes, jars, or recycled food containers. I often use sour cream and yogurt container to freeze in. Just be sure to label the container clearly. Freezer bags can be used too, but they tend to be pretty messy for freezer jam.

2. Rinse fruit and hull. Crush the berries, one cup at a time. A potato masher works best. You want to end up with 2 cups of crushed berries. Put them in a large bowl.

 3. Measure out the sugar and stir it into the crushed berries. Let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Stir the box of pectin and 3/4 C water in a small pan. Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Allow to boil 1 minute while stirring.

5. Stir pectin mixture into berries. Stir constantly for about 3 minutes, until the sugar crystals are dissolved.

 6. Pour into containers. Leave about 1/2 of inch of head space.

7. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Refrigerate for up to three weeks or freeze for up to a year. Freezer jam is wonderful used like any other jam. It also makes a great topping for ice cream, angel food cake, or pound cake. Enjoy!

Stephanie is a mom, homeschooler, homesteader in the hills of West Virginia. Find more of her adventures at Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood

Seasonal Produce

Something happened about fifty years ago that was amazing.  At first it was a bit costly, but over a couple of decades, as more and more consumers wanted it, the price came down.  In fact, very few of us may remember the difference in the way things used to be and because of that lack of memory, people think it always was the way it is now. But this is a pretty new thing in the scheme of eating…..

I’m talking about having produce available the entire year.

aircargoinsights.com

aircargoinsights.com

With a wide spread rail system crossing the United States by the end of the 1800s, some produce from Florida and southern California made it to eastern markets, but it really wasn’t until air travel became more common in the late 1950s and early 1960s that green grocers and then the new supermarkets started stocking fruits and vegetables out of season. Air travel was fast, getting the produce to the densely populated parts of the nation quickly and with little spoilage. Soon we became used to eating produce from other countries.

In reality, the United States is not the only nation that imports most of its fruits and vegetables. The European Union and Asia does as well. Basically, any area with more income receives produce from the less wealthy areas of the Southern Hemisphere who are eager to sell us what they easily grow in their warmer climates.  The United States also exports a lot of the produce it grows.

International trade in fruits and vegetables has expanded more rapidly than
trade in other agricultural commodities, especially since the 1980s.

If you’d like to read more, this report issued by the USDA is interesting.

Today we typically don’t even think about where the bell peppers come from when we purchase them at the supermarket, or the grapes, or the apples. While the major grocery store chains are making efforts to source more of the produce “locally” much of what is available in our area is from outside the U.S. even when we are in the middle of our growing season.

If you want to eat fresh produce that was harvested when ripe and hours before you eat it, you have to shop at a farmers’ market. Not only will you enjoy the flavor more, but you probably will pay less AND the farmer will be paid more.

veg in season

Check this out….and enjoy local food!!

Plant Once, Harvest Annually

Growing in the United States tends to follow European patterns of sowing gardens each spring for a summer or fall harvest. There are a few plants that are perennials, such as asparagus and rhubarb, but some perennials, such as kale and potatoes, are treated as annuals.

An interesting article published by Small Footprint Family posted information about  20 Perennial Vegetables to Plant Once and Enjoy Forever! It gives the pros and cons of adding perennials to your annual garden and even lists some that could grow well here including kitchen garden

  • raspberries, blueberries and other berry bushes
  • asparagus
  • rhubarb
  • kale (usually grown as an annual)
  • garlic (usually grown as an annual)
  • radicchio (usually grown as an annual)
  • horseradish
  • globe artichokes
  • lovage
  • watercress

Additional crops presented include Bunching or Egyptian Onions, Daylillies (edible roots and flowers), Good King Henry, Groundnuts, Jerusalem Artichoke, Ostrich Fern, Ramps (yes, you can cultivate them!), scarlet runner beans, sea kale,  and sorrel. sunchoke

The Excitement of a New Beginning

45-Tomato-Varieties urbanIt’s almost time……..if they haven’t already arrived, they will in a few weeks……if you order now.

annis-annulas-seed-catalogsbaker-creek-heirloom-seed-catalogsAnnie’s Annuals catalog is a plant catalog that specializes in rare and usual annual and perennial plants.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed  sells heirloom vegetable, flower, and herb seeds.

botantical-interests-seed-catalogsBotanical Interests has over 500 seed varieties, many of them heirloom.

Bountiful Gardens specializes in heirloom, untreated, and open pollinated seed varieties suitable for sustainable gardening.

burnt-ridge-seed-catalogsBurnt Ridge Nursery and Orchards is a family-owned farm specializing in unusual and disease resistant trees, vines, and shrubs that produce edible nuts or fruits.

burpee-seed-catalogdixondale-farms-seed-catalogsBurpee is well-known, even by suburban gardeners.

Dixondale Farms specializes in onions and leeks.

gardens-alive-seed-catalogsgardens alive! says they offer environmentally responsible products that work.

Gurney’s offers vegetable seeds and plants, fruit and nut trees, perennials, rose bushes, bulbs, vines, shrubs, grasses, trees, house plants, gardening supplies, heirloom vegetables, and much more.

HarrisHarris Seeds offers many hybrid varieties.

henry-fields-seed-catalogsHenry Fields catalog is packed with vegetable seeds, flower bulbs, tomato seeds, fruit trees, shrubs, and more.

HMSWebAdCatalogHigh Mowing Organic Seeds catalog has certified organic vegetable, herb, flower, and cover crop seeds. They also have a large selection of heriloom seeds.

Johnny’s Seeds catalog offers seeds for vegetables, fruits, flowers, herbs, and crops. They also have organic and heirloom seed available.

Iko-Iko-Front1Kitazawa Seed Company is the oldest seed company in America specializing in Asian vegetable seeds. Since 1917 we have been the source for oriental vegetable seeds for home gardeners, retailers, and commercial growers.

neseed-seed-catalogsNESeed Company showcases flower, vegetable, herb, organic, and Italian seeds.

nichols-garden-seed-catalogsNichols Garden Nursery offers vegetable seeds, herb seeds and plants, flower seeds, lawn mixes, bulbs, and more, all available in their seed catalog.

ParkPark Seed Co. sells annual seeds along with bulbs, container plants, flowers, fruits, herbs, decor, and more in their newest seed catalog.

peaceful-valley-organic-seed-catalogsPeaceful Valley Grow Organic offers an organic seed catalog that includes seeds, fertilizer, pet control products, fruit trees, nut trees, berry plants, grape vines, wildflowers, and flower bulbs.

pennys-tomatoes-seed-catalogsPenny’s Tomatoes Seed Catalog will amaze you with the varieties offered.

pepper-joes-seed-catalogs1PepperJoes’s provides varieties of peppers.

Planet Natural provides quality organic products for the home, lawn and garden.planet-natural-seed-catalogs

raintree-nursery-seed-catalogsRaintree Nursery’s plant catalog includes fruit trees, berries, unusual edibles, ornamentals, and supplies.

richters-herbs-seed-catalogsRichter Herbs offers  herb plants, seeds, dried herbs and books.

Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds. Since 1975, our members have been passing on our garden heritage by collecting and distributing thousands of samples of rare garden seeds to other gardeners.seed-savers-exchange-seed-catalogs

seeds-of-change-seed-catalogsSeeds of Change offers seeds as well as seedlings.

souther expsoure-catalog-coverSouthern Exposure Seed Exchange offers more than 700 varieties of vegetable, flowers, herb, grain and cover crop  seeds. We emphasize varieties that perform well in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast,

Sow True Seed exclusively offers open-pollinated, non-hybrid, untreated vegetable, herb and flower seed that remains true to type when saved and replanted.sow-true-logo

territorialThompsonTerritorial Seed offers vegetable, flower, crop, herb, organic, and sprouting seeds. You’ll also find live plants and bulbs as well as a wide selection of garden supplies.

The Online Greenhouse focuses on organic seeds that grow well in the Northeast.

Thompson & Morgan’s seed catalog offers annual, biennial, and perennial seeds for vegetables, herbs, trees, and shrubs. They also have organic seeds.

totally-tomatoes-seed-catalogsThe plant and seed catalog from Totally Tomatoes is jam packed with tomato seeds and plants as well as pepper seeds, herbs, and much more.

urban famrerThe Urban Farmer seed catalog includes vegetable seeds and plants, annuals seeds, perennials seeds, flower bulbs, organic seeds, and growing supplies.

Veseys is certified as a shipper/handler of organic seed.

veseys

Twelve Days of Christmas as interpreted by Wild Cookery

Several times I have mentioned that I probably read about 20 other blogs. It is a fun way to hear other people’s experience as they make their life journey that in some way overlaps with the Wild Ramp experience. Wild Cookery has many interests but the one that drew me in was his interest in foraging. He describes his blogging:

Wild Cookery! was born of one man’s desire to give back to humanity and to teach anyone who wants to learn how to reduce their dependency on corporations and big industry.

By reclaiming our natural birthright and learning how to identify edible wild plants (and mushrooms), we will be able to not only save a huge amount of money on groceries, but revitalize ourselves by taking in essential nutrients that are missing in many foods that we usually consume.

As a great friend and kindred spirit of mine once said: “Taking care of the land is taking care of you.” I couldn’t agree more.

So, although a departure from his typical post, I read this Twelve Days of Christmas post with great enjoyment and wanted to share it with you.

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Dear True Love

Thank You very much for the wonderful gifts over the past twelve days.

The Drummers and Pipers were a nice touch. I do so love pipes and drums.  Their excellent performance was recorded here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8Xj-XFI-FM

The Lords a Leaping and Ladies Dancing were nice, but wholly unnecessary.Though they did put on one heck of a show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHo71o8-q3w

The next time a nice set of warm flannel sheets will do nicely and we can do our own leaping and dancing, if you get my drift.

The Maids a Milking were a very nice touch. I turned them into ‘Maids a Churning’, however and we now have several pounds of fresh butter to last us through the winter. Thank You!

The Swans tried to be a swimming, but the frozen ice on the pond prevented this. They are now Seven Swans a Smoking. In the smokehouse that is. I can smell the aroma from here. Divine. The down will also make a nice pillow stuffing.

The Six Geese a Laying are doing well, and still laying at least an egg a day. No golden eggs yet, but I remain hopeful. But as long as they continue to provide breakfast fodder in the form of delicious eggs, they won’t join the Seven Swans a Smoking.

Five Golden Rings? Seriously? Five ounces of silver would have sufficed my love. But thankfully they are just simple bands and we can trade them in for more barterable material. At nearly $1700/ounce spot price, I’m not even going to ask where or how you got them. But many thanks nonetheless!

Four Colly Birds… You do realize my love, that it’s Four and TWENTY blackbirds to bake a pie, yes? I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but if you could find another twenty of these guys we can try out that recipe…

Three French Hens. I LOVE chickens! Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU! They’re so cute with their beards and muffs and extra toes! And the eggs are just as delicious.

Two Turtle Doves. Ah, the bird of true love. Be sure to arrive early tonight, as these are already in the roaster and they won’t take very long to cook. They’ll be served over a tasty rice pilaf and accompanied by a nice white wine.

The Partridge in the Pear Tree was a nice touch. Except that it started eating the pears. Suffice to say it’s now in the freezer and will be served at a future time with a delightful pear stuffing. Perhaps on New Years.

Thank you, my wonderful True Love, for all that you do, and all that you are.

Merry Christmas!