Tag Archives: Children

The things you learn when you aren’t expecting it!

Educational Poster JudgesSpent the day with a bunch of amazing 4H volunteers judging the educational posters today.  We were looking for well-designed, eye-catching, informational posters.  Can they been seen from 10 feet?  Any spelling errors (a big no-no!)  Do the illustrations add to the content of the poster?  Some yes, some no.  Anyhow, a good time was had by all.  In the process I learned a few things.  For example, did you know:

  • Persian cats can have excessive lacrimation (tearing),
  • There are 13 breeds of cavy,
  • Goats can live as long as 12 years,
  • How to clip a rabbit’s claws (hint, it involves a flashlight!),
  • How much water a horse drinks daily (5-10 gallons),
  • Iceberg lettuce is toxic to rabbits,
  • Grapes are bad for dogs,
  • All the body parts of an American Cavy (commonly called a guinea pig).

As I was working with this great group of adults and teens I reflected on the good people that are working behind the scenes to make this year’s Kitsap County Fair and Stampede a success.  County fairs have struggled with declining revenues and tight budgets.  Many counties have discontinued their fairs as a way to cut costs.  We are fortunate that Kitsap County has found a way to continue their fair – and the 1000s of hours of volunteer service given by community partners like 4H, local sailors and soldiers, clubs and organizations and individuals make this possible.  In addition to giving time, pressure washing and painting buildings, staffing display areas, taking tickets at the gates, parking cars and sharing educational materials and activities with the fair-going public, these volunteers pay for their own parking and admission.  Many of the folks in the livestock and equine exhibit areas even take their vacation during the week of the fair so that they are able to exhibit at the fair.  I am sure that there are others who exhibit who do the same – I just don’t know them personally!

So, if you haven’t been to the “Big County Fair” in a few years, it is time to go back and enjoy it!  Eat some fried food, buy a couple knives in the Pavilion, eat some cotton candy, visit the WSU booth in the Cat Barn, eat an elephant ear, check out the livestock and still-life exhibits, and pay attention to the educational posters!  I guarantee – you will learn a few things!

Grocery Shopping

GroceriesI went grocery shopping the other day.  And, I spent more than $100.  That isn’t a big deal – it is just that I don’ t do it very often.   My grocery bill is typically $30-50 a month for food – and another $50 or so for other essentials like TP and shampoo.  That isn’t much considering that the “average” family spends between $150 – $290 a WEEK according to the USDA.  Why is our bill so much lower than the national average?  Mostly because we plant and grow our own veggies, raise meat and eggs, preserve our bounty, process in the home dairy and cook at home.   Simply put, we produce more than we consume.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, my feed bill is not inconsequential.  I spent $240 at the feed store last month and I do get the hay pretty cheap ($195 last month) but that still puts our food costs at about 25-50% of the cost of the average family.

Which begs the question — is there really that much savings in fermenting your own pickles??

I guess so.  I mean, we do ferment our own pickles (there are 2 gallons of cucs in brine sitting on the counter right now and if the kitchen wasn’t such a mess I would snap a picture for the blog!), preserve jams, jellies, green beans, salsa, tomatoes, grape and apple juice, apple sauce, and pickles, and make our own yogurt, butter and cheese…which is a bit more “Pioneer Woman” than most folks.  But we don’t make EVERYTHING.  This should be pretty obvious since there are s’more fixin’s and potato chips on my receipt!  I am thrifty, but not insanely DIY enough to make my own marshmallows no matter how easy that America’s Test Kitchen says it is.  You will also notice that there are potato chips (You MUST have potato chips for a BBQ!) and a couple loaves of bread on there – because I haven’t had time to bake bread lately.  Like I said, we are thrifty – but not Amish!

So what is the single thing that saves us the most $$$ on our food budget?  I cook at home and I make most meals from scratch.  Snacks are homemade (chocolate zucchini bread anyone??) and ingredients are fresh, local or homegrown, and unprocessed.  Simple.  But time consuming at times because we are more scratch than most.  Take my lasagna for example  The cow is days away from calving so we are a little light on milk right now, but I love to make lasagna because is uses 5 gallons of milk!   The mozzarella cheese takes three gallons and with the left-over whey and two more gallons of whole milk I make the ricotta.  Then, a pound of hamburger and a pound of ground pork (from our own beef and hogs), canned tomatoes (from the garden), garlic, onion (ditto!) in the sauce and the only store bought input at this point is the lasagna noodles.  My recipe makes two 9×13 pans of lasagna – which should be at least  four meals unless I am feeding the hay crew dinner.  Pop one pan into the freezer for another day and I have  a couple of cheap, quick meals for busy nights down the road.

The real cost of this kind of cooking and lifestyle?  My time.

One can feel just a bit like the “Little Red Hen” (I milked the cow, I made the cheese, I assembled the lasagna…) because it is time and labor intensive.  Is this the most efficient use of my time?  Perhaps not when one looks at the cost of a pan of frozen lasagna in the grocery store or Costco.  Is my time really worth only $9.99 for a whole day’s work?  Depends upon your perspective.  At the same time I am making the lasagna I am building relationships with my children who work with me, passing on skills that many have forgotten or never learned, and making a conscious decision about the value of producing rather than consuming.

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” ~ Albert Einstein


Happy Father’s Day

We are three days away from the first day of summer and my father the farmer never missed noting the longest day of the year.   We would be walking across the yard and he would casually comment, “Well, today is the longest day of the year.”  No big deal.  Just wanted to make sure that I knew.  As it is Father’s Day it seems appropriate to share a bit about my dad and his connection to the passing of the seasons.

As a farmer there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done.  My life right now is a testament to this true principle.  My garden is sad, they lawn is long and there are untidy little piles of stuff all over the place needing to be picked up.  Tonight as I was doing chores in the fading light I was grateful for the long day and the extra time to put chickens to bed and milk the girls.  Dad was in much the same boat much of the time.  Robbing time where he could get it to accomplish the many tasks needing attention.  Hay making, tractor repair, cattle chores, fence building, cutting firewood for winter…and so on.  As spring turned to summer the lengthening days provided precious minutes to get a few more things done in daylight.

As a child my summer days were unconstrained by the responsibilities of adulthood and my chores were quickly accomplished leaving endless hours to play with friends, ride horseback, swim in the river, and all of the other ways farm kids find to spend long summer days.  Summer nights were the best … we picked beans and peas in the cool of the mornings and spent warm summer nights snapping and shelling around the big round kitchen table watching reruns on TV and drinking lemonade.   When we were making hay we would haul bales into late into the evening, picking them up by the truck headlights.   At the end of a long hot day the cool of the evening was welcome respite.  Mom would bring dessert out at end of the day and we would sit on the tailgate of the pick-up eating pie and ice cream by the light of the moon.

I can remember Dad calling me while I was in college.  I had a summer research position and wasn’t home for haying or to help work the cattle or get them ready for fair.  My days were far away from farming, spending hours in the library, hanging out with the other grad students.  He and I chatted for a few minutes and then he said, “Longest day of the year today!” and brought me back to warm summer nights on the farm.

Martha Stewart doesn’t live here

Shannon was gracious and outed us about farm decor.  In the interest of full disclosure, the inside of my house is tidier than my back porch.  Even if I do have a latex IV set-up hanging from the suncatcher over my kitchen sink.  (It needed to dry completely after it was last used!)  This was taken last year (the BBQ is gone!) and it is much tidier (sort of) now.  We built this house and I had the idea that we would enjoy the porch on warm summer evenings.

Instead we have to battle for space with boots, recycling and camping gear.  The garage where most of this will go hasn’t gotten built and so rather than clutter up the (unfinished) basement further it lives on the porch.  The little freezer on the porch has 200# of veal in it, and during the summer it is handy for chilling fryers.  There are two more freezers in the basement…along with the canning pantry.  The garbage can isn’t full of garbage – it just happens to be convenient to store the chicken feed in a garbage pan near the porch because the layers live in a coop not far from the porch.  And, unlike Martha Stewart’s architecturally designed coop at Turkey Hill, mine is covered with a blue tarp.  Did you honestly expect anything else?

Giving Thanks

Early this summer I posted about the busy-ness of farm life in the summer.  Now that we are in late fall there is much less going on but there is still some activity.  Here is a sampling of what happened this week on the farm.

We got a new rooster the other day.  Until now we have only had roosters on a temporary basis.  When you raise chickens straight-run (from eggs instead of buying them at the feed store) at least half of the flock will be roosters.  But, on our farm – when they crow, they go – straight into the freezer!  However, a good rooster takes care of the hens in his flock.  He will call them to tasty tidbits, send out the alarm when predators come around and for natural flock behavior hens need a rooster.  So when Shannon ended up with an extra roo this year we offered to take him.  Foggy (a nod to Foghorn Leghorn!) is a handsome fellow with golden plumage and a dark brown tail.  Perhaps we will have some chicks in the spring if we get a broody hen!

Time for once a day milking!  Alexis has been dried up for about a month now, Ellie is on her way.  We went out of town for Thanksgiving after morning milking so Ellie is now down to once a day milking.  She is still giving almost two gallons a day, most of which is going to Frank.  He is the bucket calf we got last summer after I had a moment of insanity and bought a second cow!  Originally the plan was to just graft him on to Alexis and let her raise him so I only had to milk one cow.  After two weeks of tying up a homicidal and unwilling mother cow twice a day while he nursed to make sure she didn’t kill him outright, I decided that I would rather spend 5 minutes milking her than 20 minutes watching her.  Frank took to the bucket like a champ and is growing nicely.  He is scheduled to go into the freezer with the hogs in a couple of weeks.  Everyone is appalled that I am going to process a veal calf because there has been so much press around animal welfare issues on veal but  Frank is not locked-in-a-box-in-the-dark veal.  He is running-around-the-pasture-drinking-milk-being-a-nuisance veal.  We also need to have fewer animals in our pasture during the winter to keep down the mud and because both cows are going to calve in March, Frank has to go.  Besides, by Christmas there will be no more milk.

We enjoyed Thanksgiving with family.  My contribution was PIE.  I spent the last week making apple pie filling with Shannon.  I put 15 quarts in the canning pantry and I think she ended up with about 12 quarts.  I still need to do some apple sauce but that is it for canning for this year.  I called my sister-in-law all excited about the prospect of bringing an apple pie – only to have her say, “…and I will be making apple and pumpkin so how about you bring something else!”  So, I brought Pecan, lattice-topped Cherry, and Chocolate Silk Pies.  The chocolate silk pie was a last minute addition because I had extra pie crust and have been on a pudding binge lately.  When you have gallons of extra milk you get creative – and a batch of pudding uses 2 quarts of milk!  My recipe is adapted from one I found on Culinate for Creamy Chocolate Pudding.  I make a triple batch with whole Jersey milk and omit the butter (there is a limit to how much fat one needs!)  For pie filling I add a bit more corn starch than the recipe calls for and the resulting pudding is more like chocolate ganache than pudding.  It is dense, chocolatey, smooth and creamy.  Heaven!   I brought home leftovers of the pecan and cherry, but the chocolate was GONE!  Our turkey dinner will be either Sunday or Monday depending upon when my bird is defrosted.  Sooner would be better than later because it is taking up precious fridge space but I am willing to wait for turkey leftovers!

My mom’s firewood is finally done and in the woodshed.  After 40 years of heating with wood I keep thinking that she will give up and get a pellet stove.  After all, she will be 78 this year and doesn’t get around as well as she used to.  But, no!  Last year when her woodstove died she bought – you guessed it – another woodstove.  Because she has a small house she has a small stove – with a 14″ woodbox.  This means that we need to make sure that the wood is cut small enough and the pieces are well split.  Every year we put her wood up, and every year we wait until it starts raining.  This year was no exception.   But, the wood is in and she will be warm this winter.  My kids used to grumble about helping split and stack 3 cords of wood but now they are older and appreciate the chance to help their grandma.  It is gratifying to see my grown kids serving others and reaching out!

Our family is blessed by a bountiful life and at this time of year we are very conscious of our fortune.  We have a full pantry and freezer after a summer and fall of “putting up” from the farm and garden.  Our children are growing up to be generous and capable people.  We are part of a wonderful community of farm friends and others who enrich our life.  We have good health, a comfortable home and stable jobs in a time when many don’t have those blessings.

As we approach the holiday season, I try and keep in mind that the most important things in life aren’t really things at all.  We try and give experiences for gifts but if you are going to give this year, be farm-friendly.  Several local farms offer CSA’s or Farm Share programs and I can think of nothing better than the promise of fresh veggies during the depths of winter.  The local farmer’s markets have extended their season so you can still buy gifts from local vendors.  And for the kiddos on your list there are a couple books that are favorites around here and help children learn more about farm life.


Seems lately that most of the things I do happen by moonlight (or Moooo-nlight as the cows would say!)  As summer comes to and end and the days get shorter there just doesn’t seem to be enough daylight for me to accomplish all the things on the list.  Milking by moonlight has become a common affair, as well as doing the rest of the chores.  At our house evening chores consist of putting the chickens to bed, including rounding up the few that feel the need to roost on the apple trees in the orchard rather than in the safety of the coop.  Then, we milk and feed the cows, give the calf some milk and tend to the hogs.   Milking is fairly straight forward, taking about 5-7 minutes per cow on a good day, but it doesn’t take much to upset the girls and slow things down.  Cows are really creatures of habit; they thrive on constancy and change upsets them.  Elinor gets milked first, followed by Alexis.  They greedily race out of the field and into the milking shed in anticipation of the grain in the feeder – unless I have forgotten to toss the grain in, or if someone is visiting and decides to watch me milking, or if there is a wayward chicken in the feeder, or if a truck is running in the hay barn…and the list goes on.  Any of the aforementioned things can throw the cows into a tizzy resulting in them ducking out of the milking shed and ending up in the middle of the barnyard, sans lead rope and halter, while I frantically try to entice them back with a bucket of grain.  As you can imagine, this is much easier in the daylight.  Fewer shadows to spook the cows, and they are easier to see in the daylight as they run around the yard!  Fortunately, we have never had to chase them back from the road, and they are pretty easily coaxed back by their fundamental greed for grain.  After one of these merry chases, they will fuss and squirm during washing up and milking, taking forever to let milk down and dancing around during the process as well.  After all, they don’t get out much and a gallop around in the moonlight tends to get one all worked up – even if you are a cow!  After we are done milking we feed Frank(enfurter) the bucket calf and give the remaining milk to the hogs.  Frank was supposed to be grafted on to Alexis so I would only have to milk one cow, but apparently she has NO interest in being a foster parent, and after two weeks of trying to overcome her homicidal (bovicidal?) tendencies while he nursed, I gave up and he now drinks from the bucket.  This isn’t to say that he doesn’t persist in trying to nurse on the girls when he is out in the field with him, but they treat him like a very large, black and white spotted fly; they kick and swat at him until he goes away.  I don’t let him out with them very often because he is so annoying that they end up exhausted from running away from him.

Other late night activities at our house?  Snapping and blanching green beans, making freezer jam, canning pickles, processing peaches and tomatoes, and making salsa.  Seems that by the time you spend all day picking beans, berries and cucs and working on the farm, the only time left to preserve and process is after the sun goes down!  So, after all the outside chores are done, we clear off the kitchen table, dump a 5-gallon bucket of beans on it, turn on a good movie and the entire family snaps beans.  It is something I remember doing as a child, and I am sure my kids will have similar memories.   In talking to Shannon, apparently having a “family snap” wasn’t unique, though she remembers doing it while watching sports on TV!  Involving your kids in food preservation is a good way to start them off right eating seasonally and locally.

If you want to learn more about food preservation by moonlight (or even by daylight!) check out our newest series of classes.  We are partnering with the Kitsap YMCA to offer a fall canning series.  Follow this link for registration information.  If you want to learn more about sustainable farming (mostly during daylight hours!) WSU Kitsap Small Farms team is offering the Sustainable Farming and Ranching Class beginning on September 29th.  Information on this class is on the web at http://county.wsu.edu/kitsap/Documents/2011_Small%20Acreage%20Flier%20and%20Registration-%20Silverdale.pdf.  Learn what it takes to have a sustainable small acreage farm or ranch and take a realistic look at goals, resources needed and opportunities available. Guest farmers speak to the class and field trips are taken to local farms. Open to academic students and community members for continuing education units.


The Little Washing Machine that Could!

The picture says it all!  My new washing machine is definitely the farm model!  Twenty years ago when the kids were little and the laundry pile was big the washing machine portion of the stackable washer and dryer combo in our little waterfront house on Erland’s Point gave up the ghost.  With two in cloth diapers and an unsympathetic landlord that wasn’t interested in fixing the washer (What was he thinking???) we were desperate.  Hubby put a bit of farm ingenuity to work, disassembled the two parts of the machine and bolted the dryer portion to the wall in the tiny little cubby hole in the hall where the machine lived.  The house was built in the 30s, had limited closet space and I imagine that it had been installed there when the couple in the house got older.  When we moved in there was still the skeleton of the wringer washer in the basement.  There was also a hole in the basement floor next to a big concrete sink and in the day the wash water ran down the hole and out into Dyes Inlet.  That would explain why you don’t eat shellfish there – but water quality issues is a post for another day.

As a child I remember our neighbor Colleen doing wash in the rough basement of their overcrowded home in a wringer washer.  With a farm, four kids and a husband working construction every day was wash day!  I am sure she wondered why all the kids were interested in the washing machine, but the wringer made life interesting.   My parents had a newer machine complete with spin cycle, which wasn’t nearly interactive as the wringer washer!  It was wash day – with a risk!   Colleen would put the clothes in the machine, add hot water, washing soda and grate homemade bar soap into the water as it agitated.  Then, the washer would drain onto the floor, disappearing into one of those mysterious holes going who knows where!  She would add more water and let it agitate to rinse the clothes, and she would turn on the wringer.  We were constantly admonished to keep our fingers clear and “…leave the damned thing alone!”  Then, she would feed the wet, clean clothing through the spinning rollers.  It was fun to fold the half-dry, flat clothes coming out of the wringer accordion-style into the basket below the wringer.  Once the basket was full she would start another load and head out to hang the first load on the line.  This continued all morning until the piles of laundry were neatly waving in the breeze…unless it was winter and rainy, in which case they would be strung on lines in the kitchen near the wood cook stove.   As a child I was fascinated by the process.  As an adult, just thinking about it is exhausting.  And, lest you think that I am REALLY old, this was in the early 70’s.

But, I digress!  After hubby was done mounting the dryer on the wall and making sure it worked we went in search of a washer that would fit in the 24″ space.  Let me tell you, there aren’t many machines that size (one to be exact!) and it certainly wasn’t a large capacity machine!   We consoled ourselves with the idea that it was such a cheap model that it wouldn’t last long, we would be in a larger home soon and would just replace the washing machine then.

Fast forward 20 years, the kids are almost gone (along with their huge piles of laundry!), we have moved three times and until Friday that tiny, cheap machine hadn’t missed a load.  Over the years it washed a diverse assortment of nasty things from manure caked jeans to greasy coveralls to stinky truck tie-down straps without complaint but last week it began to grumble a little bit during the spin cycle and by the time the weekend it was in full scale gripe and moan.  Then it STOPPED. I should be grateful that we didn’t end up with a flood but it seemed a rather ignominious end for such a valiant little machine.

On Wednesday we made a trip to Nilsen’s Appliance in Silverdale and picked out a replacement.  “Commercial Heavy Duty ~ Large Capacity PLUS(!) ~ 2 Speed ~ Stainless Steel.”  Sounds like it should be parked out by the tractors rather than in my laundry room!  This is definitely the farmer model washing machine!  The irony is that now that the children are almost gone, taking with them piles of wet, muddy, smelly snow pants, jeans, camping gear and all the other detritus of childhood we now have a large capacity washing machine capable of handling it all in one load!   I guess should I get too wistful all I need to do is think about that wringer washer in Colleen’s basement and all those kids!

Kids Need This

My nephew recently spent some quality time on the farm with Aunt Diane thanks to the earthquake and tsumani.  He is a first grader – which in my opinion is the PERFECT age for a kid!  They are capable of putting on and taking off and putting on and taking off boots and shoes as many times a day as it takes.  They can put on their own seatbelt, and remind you when you forget yours.  They are big enough to pack a bucket of grain to the hogs, gather eggs, wrangle chickens, give farm tours, climb the hay stack, stomp in puddles and ride a bike!  As adults we get totally caught up in the things that we “need to do” and tend to forget that tasks like hunting for eggs laid in the raspberries by the “sneaky chicken” or pausing in a sunny spot on a dewy morning are opportunities to experience joy and to be relished.  It seems to me that no one relishes the day quite like a child – with a chicken!

A few days ago a friend came over to get a load of manure for his garden and brought his three boys along to “help”.  Knowing they were coming I saved up some of the chores and they fed the pigs and gathered eggs while dad loaded up the moo poo.   After some oohs and ahs over the number of red wiggler worms they got bored and my nephew took them on the  farm tour (complete with instructions on petting the cat and cautions about him being “scratchy when he acts like that!”)   Dad and I spent a few minutes chatting while they climbed all over our mechanical jungle gym (the bulldozer and tractors) and I noticed one of the boys had something in his hand.  It was a red wiggler worm, looking like it had seen better days.  He informed me he was taking it home to show his mom (she will be thrilled I’m sure!)   After washing off their boots (twice) and loading and reloading into the car a couple times they were ready to leave.  As he got in the car my friend looked around and said, “Kids need this.”

Reflecting on my experiences as a child filled with long hours of exploring the woods, swimming in the river, working on the farm, picking green beans and turning golden in the sun I know that while we were always financially strapped we lead a rich life and my childhood was a gift.  My husband also grew up on a farm and we agreed it was important to offer our kids the same gift. There are times when they are doing chores they don’t necessarily feel quite as blessed – yet.  But watching my nephew galloping around the farm for the last couple weeks I would agree with my friend, kids do need this!

“Why can’t we get this at Costco? Or, Conversion by Tomato Sandwich

“The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will cause a revolution”

~ Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)

“…and perhaps a tomato sandwich as well!”

The other day as a friend and I picked green beans and tomatoes in the blazing sun, she looked at me and said, “You know, you can get this stuff at Costco – and it is a lot less work!”  I agreed but said that I thought it was worth it for the taste alone.  She looked unconvinced, until I fed her a tomato sandwich.

I bake bread daily (which sounds impressive until you realize that what I actually do is toss ingredients into the breadmaker!) so we always have fresh bread.  I cut a couple fat slices and slathered them with Best Foods (there is no other mayo!)  We went out into the garden and picked the largest ripe beefsteak tomato I could find, brought it into the house, cut off a 1/2 inch slab and made a one-slice sandwich.   A sprinkling of Kosher salt and a twist or two of fresh pepper – and you have a piece of heaven on earth.  As we ate our sandwiches leaning over the sink, I could see the dawning realization in her eyes.  Fresh food, simply prepared, was a transcendant taste experience.   By the end of the summer, stuffed with fresh green beans, sweet berries, succulent peaches, tart  tomatoes, and sweet corn, she is a complete fresh-local convert.  Spoiled forever and unable to look at veggies in the store in quite the same way again! 

As satisfying as it is to convert an adult, I focus most of my Evangalism on my children   As they grow up and visit friends’ homes it occurs to them – not everyone eats like we do!  Now, that isn’t to say they aren’t susceptible to the wiles of a Twinkie.  In fact if memory serves, every day of 6th grade I traded my homemade lunch for Cindy Barlow’s Wonderbread sandwich and three Oreo cookies.   But, more often than not, this time of year they clamor for fresh pico de gallo or bruschetta on crunchy french bread.  My husband says I am raising picky eaters – and I will take that – with pride!

A couple years ago we were feeding the kids in the 4-H club breakfast during the Kitsap County Fair.  Our club is small, with only 4-5 families, and we pooled our resources to feed them at least a couple nutritious meals each day during the week of the fair.   We had coolers full of homegrown meat and eggs, gallon jugs of milk from the family cow and ziplock bags of crunchy veggies to snack on.   A local grocery store owner, wanting to support the local kids, donated a couple pounds of sausage produced by a prominent national company.  I was cooking pancakes and decided to use the store’s sausage because it was already thawed out.  I sliced it into patties, fried it up, served it to the kids, and 16 year-old Meika said, “What is this?  The sausage tastes funny!  This isn’t our sausage!” 

Busted, I explained it was a donation and no, it didn’t taste like the breakfast sausage made from their homegrown hogs.  Suspicious, the other kids went over to the cooler to check and make sure we had “farm eggs” rather than “those nasty things from the store.”  I dug out a package of Farmer George’s apple sausage and order was restored.    Occasionally, our kids have been teased for being “hicks from the sticks” but at that moment they felt briefly blessed for their unique upbringing and a bit sad for their peers who didn’t raise their own food.  I too felt sorrow – that they were such a minority – children raised on farm fresh foods!