017 – Food Production and Storage

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-skxx9-a19ef2

Growing and storing your own food.  The heart of sustainability.  Join Annie and Jay Warmke of Blue Rock Station for a discussion of sustainability in our somewhat real and somewhat modern world.

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016 – Sustainable Celebrations

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-q23tg-a19ed8

Formal celebrations are an important way to mark life’s milestones.  Join Annie and Jay Warmke from Blue Rock Station for a discussion of sustainable living in the real world.

It’s a cold day in OH when we post podcasts…

It happened!  We have a new format at www.bluerockstation.com that will hopefully take us one step further into cyber-Wonderland.

Oeffa group '12

Lately we’ve been hearing from people at our tours and workshops that they like our podcasts, and some of those kind folks have also heard us live on WGRN (Fridays at 11:30 am) or WOUB radio (Wednesdays at 9:00 am).   It’s fun to hear folks quote some of the crazy things we say (actually, that Jay says) around here.

On another note, I confess that I have begun my annual rant against the weather. It’s 20+ degrees colder then normal this month, and the wind is relentless. Maybe I’m just tired from working hard to get ready for the cold weather and birthing goats, but it already feels oppressive and I find myself dreaming of the beach… and feeling slightly resentful when I see photos of old friends in Florida in shorts, shamelessly sweating in January.

You can learn more about daily life at Blue Rock Station, listen to podcasts and view photos by visiting the Blue Rock Station blog at https://bluerockstation.wordpress.com/.

 

Upcoming Workshops at Blue Rock Station:

Check out some of our other upcoming classes on solar installation, goat college, cheese making and 10 Ways to Make Thrive Your Mantra…www.bluerockstation.com  Please register early because all of our events have limited space.

 

The Critters:

The hen in the chicken tractor, Isabella, and her biddies are on strike.  At dusk, I patiently hauled the hen and six biddies (almost the size of their mother now) down to the chicken chalet while they screamed their fool heads off.  The next day, Isabella had trekked all the way back to the purple chicken tractor and she and her clan moved back in. This went on for a couple of days and each night she stood patiently, waiting for me to open the door of the tractor.

I am tempted to shut her in the permanent chicken run with Petunia, the peafowl, forcing her to get used to not going back to where I don’t want her to be (chickens thrive on double negatives).  The life of a farmer is one constant puzzle where half of the pieces are covered in manure.   I will let you know how this one turns out.  Ultimately I will win.  When?…is the question.

Food, the Heart of Sustainability:

Soup weather is here,  and about time.  Thank goodness cooking is super easy at this time of year.   Soak four cups of dried garbanzo beans (or open three cans from the store).   I use home grown canned tomato sauce, but a large jar from the store works fine as well.  I boil enough rice noodles for two meals for three people, and while the water is heating I fill a separate sauce pan with the cooked beans, sauce, a small amount of vegan chorizo and another small home-canned jar of spicy salsa.

On top of this mix I add some oregano and salt to taste.  Boiling rice noodles takes no talent.  Simply boil water, dump in the noodles once there is a rolling boil, turn off the heat and stir.  At this point I take scissors and cut up the noodles so they are easy to handle and eat. Drain the noodles and add the bean sauce for a thick garbanzo pasta dish that will get the blood pumping and warm everybody up on a cold night. Bon Appetite!
Words that Guided:

Just for today I will not listen to the news.  As Jay says when I ask what’s happening in the world, “Bin Laden’s still dead, Trump’s still the president, and somebody shot somebody.”  I can do without that in my brain for 24 hours.
Kindest Regards, Annie


Blue Rock Station, 1190 Virginia Ridge, Philo, OH 43771     *  (740) 674-4300

http://www.bluerockstation.com     *   @bluerockstation.com  #bluerockstation

 

Because Buffalo Gals are Forever

The News This Week                                                                                             February 8, 2019

I am the farmer mug

 

The photo might seem like just an ordinary cup. Heaven knows I’ve been given dozens of them over the years. The only cup gift that touched me more then this one was one I never received.

Jay had been in Australia on business and brought me a handwritten note of how he had walked around Melbourne looking for just the right gift for my birthday. He realized after searching a few shops that there wasn’t anything I needed or wanted. Then he noticed a woman asking for money outside of the last shop he visited. It occurred to him that he could give her what he intended to spend on my gift, and that somehow that would be my gift as well. Even just remembering that note with Jay standing in front of me waiting for my reaction brings tears to my eyes.

So the cup in the photo represents something as powerful. It is about a deep friendship that has required a great deal of time, and effort and risks. It represents a connection between two women who have shared a too common female history, yet we do not share a generation. It’s about fun, and social justice, and being clever…and so much more. It’s about taking time to look each other in the eye and share ideas, no matter how crazy they seemed at the moment. And it’s about holding hands and choosing to walk our path together because together we are far braver, smarter and more aware of life then if we walked separately.

Every morning I will drink tea from this cup, and it will remind me that the quietest person in the room is the one I want to hear from. It will hold tea, but represent living a life of thriving and taking risks. And it will remind me of a day, in a meeting, at a time when I needed to hear it, that a story was told that made me realize I will never walk alone again because Buffalo Gals are forever.

Birthin’ Them Babies and vegan snacks for college kids

January News from Blue Rock Station:

We’re smack dab in the middle of “Thanks for Nothing Season” and we seem to barely have time to breathe.   Not exactly going according to plan.  The idea is to take a break from consumption during the winter months – which should (at least it has in the past) also include a bit of quiet time.  I’m not complaining though because it’s all pretty darn interesting.

It’s apparent that we’ve figured out how to avoid taking a break the entire year.  We have managed to save big projects for that time of year when (we tell ourselves) we will “have a bit of time to focus on them.”  So we have saved things like webinars, the writing of books, course development, podcasts and the like for cold weather.  Plus there’s no lack of interesting friends stopping by for a visit –  now that the tours and other events are waiting on warmer weather. We’re not going to pass up quality time with friends, that’s for sure.

Personally I think some of this frenzy is that we are in a transition phase with our work.  We’ve experienced this before when we moved from holding week-long straw bale builds to focusing on other aspects of sustainable living.   Now we seem to be transitioning from teaching and talking in front of people to spending more time in the even more remote virtual world.  This evolution gives us an opportunity to reach a lot more folks plus capture some of the ideas and concepts into a form that may last more than just a brief conversation.

The goats are contributing as much chaos as possible to the season. This morning when I went up to do chores before heading off to town for errands (I haven’t left the farm in over a week), Pinkie showed me she was in early labor.   She’s a bit early according to my calendar of birthing dates, so she apparently decided it was time to mess up my plans and focus me on birthing prep instead.  So I canceled the trip to town and spent an hour or so preparing for her labor – which promptly stopped as soon as I was ready.  And so it goes with goats. 

Where you can find us for solar training:

Join us for an Overview of Solar (for people interested in learning more or earning CEUs for their professional licensing) January 25th in Marietta, OH. The next week-long solar installer certification class is March 18-22 in Marietta Ohio.   Register at www.bluerockstation.com

Upcoming Workshops at Blue Rock Station:

Check out some of our other upcoming classes.  Please register early because all of our events have limited space.

January

  • January week days: Join Annie and Carie Starr of Cherokee Valley Bison Ranch for Coffee & Talk: Ask the Woman Experts 7:30 am.  Contact Annie for how to access the podcasts that feature farm women, market managers, and how to find the right piece of land.
  • January 25th:  Introduction to Solar Electric – Great for architects, homeowners, business owners – Marietta, OH
  • January 26th:   Free School: Nurturing the Activist in Me: Join Annie Warmke and Melissa Ayotte (1 pm to 4 pm) to  discover some of the basics of how to use some of that energy generated by today’s news to make changes in your everyday life, or the life in your family and community. Free School registration is required by contacting Annie Warmke.   Only six spaces available for this hands-on fun afternoon.

February

  • February 8th – 10th: Level II Solar Designer Class roll out – open to only six students (must have attended Level 1 class), Greencastle IN.  Contact us if you are interested.  This is a beta class with a special price for attendees.
  • February 16th: Free School: The Accidental Activist – learn how to take what you know and turn it into a way to make changes in your neighborhood or community.

March

  • March 6th: Farm Animal Concern Trust (FACT) webinar online 2 pm – 3 pm EST. Annie shares Setting the Course for making a living with your farm or homestead.
  • March 9th: Cheesemaking with Annie 1 pm to 4 pm
  • March 11th – 15thSmall Wind Installation Certification  five-day class, Zane State College, Zanesville, OH
  • March 16th: Goat College 1 to 5 pm
  • March 18th – 22nd:  Solar Electric Installer Certification class, Marietta, OH
  • March 24th: Join Annie in Columbus OH at the Garden Coach Homestead for a Healthy Fast Food afternoon; 1 pm to 4 pm.
  • March 30th: Build Your Own Solar Generator – Architects, engineers and more. Marietta OH

The Critters:

The goats definitely hate all of this snow – me too. We are all (the herd and I) ready for spring, and winter’s just begun. This is “kidding” week with five of our six dairy goats due to deliver healthy babies. Pinkie is definitely in labor as I write this, but she’s still chewing her cud and particular about how I touch her rear end (both signs she is not yet in full labor), so the real work hasn’t begun in earnest just yet.

This time of the year, for me anyway, is exciting and stressful.  Waiting for the labor to begin, making sure everybody survives and thrives along the way – it’s a full time job.  It’s also a marvel to think that in a matter of minutes, one of those beautiful does is simply standing in the stall, looking me in the face, and then a new life appears calling to its mama.  It struggles to its feet and tries to find the milk that doe has miraculously produced.  And it begins again.  Breathing, eating, resting, play – birth again and then, if we’re all lucky, a long time until death.   I hold that vision all day long, and when I wake up at night.  I worry, sometimes cry, and always rejoice along each step.

Food, the Heart of Sustainability:

I’d forgotten how much people love peanut butter until I had 15 young men from Zane State College here for afternoon tea and to talk about solar energy. The tea box containing a variety of teas and a giant hot water urn was waiting for them when they arrived.  I toasted a variety of different breads on the blazing wood stove. Then I set out the giant peanut butter container along with some small dishes of honey, raisins, homemade granola, sliced bananas, diced apple (tossed in lemon juice and drained) and roasted sugared pecans.   Not a single crumb was left behind – all this from guys who turned their noses up at the idea of a vegan snack.

Bon Appetite!


Words that Guided:

Just for today, tell two people something you like about them.   As I like to say, “Kindness costs nothing.”


Kindest Regards, Annie

Podcasts arrive and we Visualize Whirled Peas – the News from Blue Rock Station

At Blue Rock Station we think about sustainable living every single day. In the mornings Jay and I sit by the warm wood stove and talk about the world’s slow walk towards sustainable living, and this year we decided to take those talks to another level by creating a series of podcasts and soon-to-arrive webinars. This is our way of beginning a conversation with all of you – asking you to join us in our walk towards a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle.

To look at a preview of what Blue Rock Station’s new on-line home looks like visit us at http://www.bluerockstation.com.  And, there’s a special video message from us to you. It’s all just waiting for you to listen, learn and join with us in a new way of living.

Plus, you can join Carie Starr and me online every January weekday morning (except New Year’s Day) for a 7:30 am Coffee & Talk: Ask the Woman Expert – 30 minutes of insights into simple solutions for farm challenges, interviews with other women in agriculture and an occasional big laugh. To sign up, send a note with your email address to annie@bluerockstation.com.   #womengrowohio  #bluerockstation #ilovegoats #goatsatbluerockstation

IT’S THE HOLIDAYS!

While many of you will already be finished with your shopping, some of you may need a sustainable gift idea. Get in touch with us to put together a personalized gift – here are just a few ideas:

  • A special tour of Blue Rock Station
  • The Business of Goat Herding (Hot off the press)
  • A cheese making weekend (or consulting, personal cooking class or eBooks on goat health or business)
  • A scholarship for a solar installer class

You can learn more about how to create your holiday gift, or daily life at Blue Rock Station by visiting us at http://www.bluerockstation.com

 

Where you can find us for solar training:

The January class at Zane State College is pretty much sold out, but plenty of spaces available in our next class in March in Marietta, OH.  For more information on this class, visit our new “sister” site at http://www.solarpvtraining.com.

Upcoming Workshops at Blue Rock Station:

Check out some of our other upcoming classes.  Please register early because all of our events have limited space.

January

  • January 2nd: Annie and Carie Starr – 7:30 am Coffee & Talk: Ask a Woman Expert online with Women Grow Ohio Online
  • January 5th: Open House Tour 1 pm to 3 pm
  • January 6th: Fast Food Cooking Class noon to 3 pm (only six slots available) (no charge but you will be asked to bring some ingredients for one of the three soups, two salads or omelettes) Sign up with Annie at annie@bluerockstation.com.
  • January 7th – 11th:   Solar Installer certification class, Zane State College, Zanesville OH
  • January 25th:  Introduction to Solar Electric – Great for architects, homeowners, business owners – Marietta, OH
  • January 26th:   Free School: Nurturing the Activist in Me: Join Annie Warmke and Melissa Ayotte (1 pm to 4 pm) to  discover some of the basics of how to use some of that energy generated by today’s news to make changes in your everyday life, or the life in your family and community. Free School registration is required by contacting Annie Warmke.   Only six spaces available for this hands-on fun afternoon.

February

  • February 8th – 10th: Level II Solar Designer Class roll out – open to only six students (must have attended Level 1 class), Greencastle IN
  • February 15th: Roll out of new BRS online video training – cheese making, solar installation, and more. Check the BRS closer to the date for more details.
  • February 16th; Healthy Fast Food noon to 3 pm Free School (no charge for this vegan class but you will be asked to bring some ingredients for one of the three soups, two salads or the dessert) Sign up with Annie at annie@bluerockstation.com.

March

  • March 6th: Farm Animal Concern Trust (FACT) webinar online 2 pm – 3 pm EST. Annie shares Setting the Course for making a living with your farm or homestead.
  • March 9th: Cheesemaking with Annie 1 pm to 4 pm
  • March 11th – 15thSmall Wind Installation Certification  five-day class, Zane State College, Zanesville, OH
  • March 16th: Goat College 1 to 5 pm
  • March 18th – 22nd:  Solar Electric Installer Certification class, Marietta, OH
  • March 30th: Build Your Own Solar Generator – Architects, engineers and more. Marietta OH

The Critters:

All of the goats, like a lot of humans I know, have recently caught a cold.

I feel like I’m the playground monitor each morning, wiping runny noses after I have fed them their “snack.”  Each day I check them, evaluating snotty noses, coughs (loose or constant) and more.   They get kelp, Vitalerbs, Herbiotic, garlic, and chewable vitamin C.

So far it seems like we’re winning, but now my big concern is “Will I get their cold?”  This catching cold thing might work both ways.   This morning I told them that I can’t get sick for two more weeks.  I just have too much to do.  And as usual, they just stared at me. No sympathy.  Can you imagine?

Food, the Heart of Sustainability:

I truly hate freezer vegetables.  But I’ve finally found a way to eat them, and make them taste really delicious.   First, I saute them (zucchini, eggplant, squash, green beans etc.) in sesame oil, with garlic and whatever else I like – onions might be good.   Next add some spice – I like curry, cayenne, salt, pepper, gram masala or whatever tastes good to you.

When the veggies are cooked through, but not too done, I add some pressed and chopped extra firm tofu. When that’s heated through, I scoop everything into the Nutri-Bullet, add a little rice or coconut milk and give it a whirl. When it’s finished, I could take it to the next level by adding some nuts, but either way it is extra delicious spooned over rice pasta, noodles, or eaten with naan or tortillas (used as as a scoop).

Bon Appetite!

Words that Guided:

Just for today I am going to imagine world peace. Now there’s a thought worth contemplating isn’t it?

Happy New Year from all of us at Blue Rock Station,  Annie, Jay

Cadeau, Sophie, Reenie, Dharma, Ralphie, Nikki, Shiela, the goats, chickens, Petunia Pea Fowl and all of the BRS wild life send the same good wishes

Kindest Regards, Annie

Pregnant Goats Hiding From Hunters – News from Blue Rock Station

December News from Blue Rock Station:

It’s time for our annual vacation from consumption; “Thanks for Nothing” season.   On December 1st we began our sixth year of spending four months on a holiday from consumption.  No shopping for anything. Watch for our end of December newsletter video with news about BRS.

For now the holiday presents are waiting to be wrapped, and the calendar is full of appointments for filming the new workshop videos. The plans for Yule are almost finished, and the Christmas popper supplies are ready to be assembled. I haven’t decided how I will decorate this year – I’m more interested in creating some new dried flower/weed decorations and perhaps adding to the Yule party photo booth costumes by making some fake reindeer antlers.

The goats are getting ready for January – a month that will be filled with healthy kids coming into this world.  If you’d like to join me for some goat midwife lessons tell your loved ones to purchase that for you for a holiday gift.  We’re anxious for milking season to begin again, so we can finish the cheese making video workshop webinar.

Business trips to speak at conferences, and consulting to help new farmers form their plans for putting together a way to make a living are all on the agenda. The holiday spirit is upon us with decorations, parties and gifts.  And each year we think the winter months will be slow and peaceful.  My how we delude ourselves.

IT’S THE HOLIDAYS!

While many of you will already be finished with your shopping, some of you may need a sustainable gift idea. Get in touch with us to put together a personalized gift that can include:

  • A special tour of Blue Rock Station
  • Two days of goat midwife lessons
  • Tours for the entire family
  • High tea at the Overlook
  • A cheese making weekend (or consulting, personal cooking class or eBooks on goat health or business)
  • A day at BRS for goat kidding season (Jan. 17 to 25th)

  • A scholarship for a solar installer class
  • A day of living life at BRS with chores, lunch prep and a fun activity (to be decided together)
  • Or create your own with tiny house weekends, Earthship 101 planning days, and much more. All gifts will include a post card of either the BRS animals or buildings (you choose) and we can send a hand written note or you can use one of the post cards to describe the gift you’re giving. Let us know your budget and we will be happy to find a way for you and your loved ones to connect with us.

You can learn more about how to create your holiday gift, or daily life at Blue Rock Station by visiting the Blue Rock Station blog at https://bluerockstation.wordpress.com/.

Where you can find us for solar training:

There are still a couple of slots for the January class at Zane State College in January in Zanesville OH.   If you need a place to stay during the class, please be in touch with us for recommendations, or perhaps we will have a sleeping cabin available. You can register at www.bluerockstation.com

Upcoming Workshops at Blue Rock Station:

Check out some of our other upcoming classes.  Please register early because all of our events have limited space.

December

  • December 1st:   Release of the book The Business of Goats by Annie Warmke and Carie Starr

  • December 12th: Join Annie and Carie at the PA Women in Agriculture Network Women Growing Justice Conference at Chatham University’s Eden Hall Gibsonia PA .
  • December 15th:   Release of the new Blue Rock Station podcast series

January

  • January 1st:   Release of the book Solar Installation and Design Level II
  • January 5th: Open House Tour 1 pm to 3 pm
  • January 7th – 11th:   Solar Installer certification class, Zane State College, Zanesville OH
  • January 26th:   Free School: Nurturing the Activist in Me: Join Annie Warmke and Melissa Ayotte (1 pm to 4 pm) to  discover some of the basics of how to use some of that energy generated by today’s news to make changes in your everyday life, or the life in your family and community. Free School registration is required by contacting Annie Warmke.   Only six spaces available for this hands-on fun afternoon.

The Critters:

The goats definitely hate all of this rainy weather. Each morning they remain in their nighttime resting places, waiting for me to appear and magically bring sunshine. To top it off, it’s deer hunting season, complete with loud noises coming from the holler and the woods. Tomorrow I plan to keep the goats shut in the barn yard.  Although I don’t look forward to the giant load of soil-producing manure I will be faced with the next day, I don’t want to take a chance on some inattentive hunter deciding that one of them is a deer. The hunters this morning kept pulling off of the road and watching the goats in the pasture.   Makes me wonder if they really know what a deer looks like.    After seeing the parade of pickup trucks on the road, I decided not to take any chances for the rest of the week.

Food, the Heart of Sustainability:

This past month I’ve been busy working on creating a cheese making video.  This got me thinking about how to preserve cheese. Let’s say someone gifts you a big chunk of cheese, or your favorite kind of cheese is on special at your local market, or you have the good luck to buy up a bunch of cheese ends at the meat/cheese counter.  I like to slice the cheese into small bite-size pieces and place them into a clean jar.  I add balsamic or apple cider vinegar or olive oil with garlic cloves and tighten the lid.  After about a week, the cheese chunks will be infused with a delightful winter flavor and ready to use as salad toppings, scalloped potato flavoring or – well, use your imagination. If the cheese stays covered with the liquid, it will last in the refrigerator nearly forever. Bon Appetite!

Words that Guided:

Just for today I will tell myself that I am sorry for not loving myself enough, and then think about one way I could do better.

Kindest Regards, Annie