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Thank you Mom for all your help this summer!

posted Aug 11, 2013, 12:43 PM by Dan and Caroline Swansey
So, perhaps a few of you check our Blog in the hopes of reading more about what is happening on the farm and constantly get disappointed that there is no new posts. My mom who has been at the farm since June 17th, helping us with just about everything from collecting and cleaning eggs, harvesting, to taking care of our little son Isaiah, is leaving in a week to return to her home in California. Well, if we were too busy to write on our blog now, I imagine writing on the blog when she is gone will be even more sparse. 
So, with this blog I take the opportunity to write about the summer and thank my mom who I love infinitely.
I can't even start to write about how incredible it is to have my mom help us at the farm. I am indefinitely grateful to her. Because she was here I was able to rest as a pregnant Mom without getting too behind on farm duties or chores and I was able to enjoy the couple of weeks my sister and her family came to visit even more. 
Many of you met my mom at the farmer's markets in Camas and in Battle Ground as she helped Dan and I run our booth week after week. The markets this year have been going very well. Both Camas and Battle Ground markets seem to be attracting more traffic and more interested customers which makes us soo happy. It is really amazing to see how these new markets have evolved in the past 3 years thanks to people like you! As farmers we see and appreciate our loyal customers that stop by week after week to buy their weekly produce and we get so excited to see new people coming to the markets and telling us how they are surprised to see how much produce and other quality products are available to them. It is these farmer to customer relationships that we depend on. To me, markets are some of the most powerful community building places. We have met all of the friends we know now through the markets either directly or indirectly.
When my mother arrived in June, we were able to harvest soo much more as we took turns harvesting or playing and caring for little Isaiah. My mom participated in it all, starting with loads of different types of greens and spring roots for our CSA and markets, and progressing with peas and beans, broccoli and cabbages, onions, garlic, potatoes, etc. to finally cucumbers, squash and our first tomatoes. We also harvested loads of strawberries for our family. As strawberry season slowed down, raspberries started to ripen and then cherries, plums and blueberries and now the first blackberries have been tasted. Although berries and fruit are not sold yet at our farm, we are planting more berry bushes and more fruit trees and as they mature, we will surely have organic berries and fruit in bounty available. 
When we had more than we could sell my mom was in the kitchen canning jams and pickles and making patee from our lamb livers. We always eat so well when my mom is here as she dug up our last pieces of farm raised meat from the freezer (as we are making room for this seasons harvest) or brought in some of our fresh eggs to accompany the farm produce in some amazing dishes.  She has been teaching me about using all of the organ meats from our animals which have been a big part of last remaining meat pieces in our fridge as I am still very new to cooking with hearts and livers. This year our farm bounty also includes fresh milk from our dairy goats.  It was so helpful to have my mom present to be with Isaiah while I could tend to the labor of the goats and get used to my new milking routine, which I will have to continue without her help when she leaves. We've made yogurt, cheese and ice cream together with great success. I was so happy as my mom keeps telling me she never liked goats milk but "this goat milk is soooo good!". Of course, nothing compares to fresh milk.
My mom's real pet project however has been the chickens as she's told me her favorite part about the farm is collecting fresh eggs from the coops. When she stays with us she insists that I let her take care of the eggs. As a math teacher she loves to count them every day and reports to me with the total number of eggs collected from each of our flocks, as we now have 3 flocks of different ages. You can be assured that when you buy eggs from us when my mom is here, the eggs have been collected with a lot of love. I cannot honestly say that I am as excited as my mom about taking over the egg cleaning and coop cleaning duties but I am soo grateful to have been given this enormous temporary break from a major farm chore.
My mom was really my "Mary Poppins" as she participated in everything, even helping me weed for countless hours and seed new crop rows. As an organic farm we really deal with a lot of weeds and since my mom could watch Isaiah both Dan and I were able to have an undisturbed meeting with our organic inspector when he inspected our farm for 4 hours such that our certification could be renewed.
As our farm is still in its very early stages and the income is still mostly being used for investments that will benefit the farm in the long run, we cannot afford paid help. Thus, it is an understatement to say that we could not run this farm without the help of my mom and the rest of our family help and support. I am so happy that my mom enjoys the farm as much as we do such that this farm truly runs on passion and love. It is her who has always taught me do put love in everything that I do. 
Mom, I am so amazed at your energy, your will to help, and your positive attitude. You are a true example that inspires me and many others every day. I feel soo lucky to have you as my mother and I thank my dad and family for letting you spend the summer with us away from them.

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