Farm members fall gathering

I am so excited to finally show you all the details of our first farm members gathering in our organic farm Masia Escrigas.

It has been a while since I wanted to personally meet our farm members and invite them to visit our farm and see the fields where the food that reaches their homes grows. I wanted them to experience a little bit of our daily work and see what and how we do things. 

With the fall’s arrival I thought the pumpkin harvest was the perfect occasion. 

The afternoon begun with a farm tour with Ignasi, head of our organic market.

In the fields they learned some details on how we manage our organic orchard. The summer crop, the winter crop and how we avoid plagues without pesticides. 

The tour continued to the hens house where they met our happy hens and discovered some curiosities such as why they stoped laying eggs during some days and the feather change they do in fall to get ready for winter. They still managed to pick some organic eggs!

Masia Escrigas organic orchard
 Masia Escrigas farm tour
Masia Escrigas farm hens house
Masia Escrigas organic hens

The most exciting fall crop are pumpkins. In addition to that, pumpkins are for us somehow special because thanks to a bad experience with pumpkins our organic farm project begun. That’s why we decided to invite our farm members to harvest the 3 types of pumpkins we have grown this year.

Masia Escrigas organic pumpkins

After harvesting we had an afternoon tea. I was willing to set a charming outdoor space where we could sit, eat, chat and get to know each other. Autumn is also apples season, therefore I thought there was no better option than enjoying the slow life in between those beautiful apple trees.

I love decorating with what nature offers us in each season. Therefore I used a jar filled with water and some floating apples as centrepiece in the buffet table.  Some pumpkins and quinces spread over the table and a bunch of our organic kale to give some green colour.

This beautiful wooden table was stored in the farmhouse attic. I had been waiting so long to use it for the perfect occasion.  This was the ideal event. I didn’t use a tablecloth because I wanted it to be seen. 

All the tables in the old days used to have a drawer in one of the edges and it was used to store bread. So I gave it the same use.

The idea was to prepare different recipes made out of seasonal organic products from the farm. Therefore I prepared a quiche with different organic veggies, out of quinces I made some quince jelly to blend with goat cheeses produced by our neighbours, cheesecake with some strawberry jam, apple pie, apple cake, pumpkin sponge cake and some of our traditional bread with tomate and dry sausages.  

In this space and around these table there was soon a beautiful environment. We managed to spend a slow afternoon sharing experiences and getting to know wonderful people.

The kids had their own space. Picnic inside a tent under the biggest holm oak tree in the garden. A basket full of pumpkin muffins, some water and they had their dessert picked direct from the trees.

I’ll be posting little by little the recipes of all these delicious goods. Meantime I leave you with some pictures. 

Buffet of goods made out of organic products from our farm Masia Escrigas.
Bread drawer
Kids picking their dessert
Kids picnic
Pumpkin muffins
Kids picnic

Loneliness in the countryside

I was recently going through a magazine and all of a sudden I came into this article named “Loneliness in the countryside” and it made me wonder. I started reading and my eyes filled with tears, I felt so identified in some points and I had not realised that before.

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Living in the countryside is beautiful; nature all around, tranquility, animals, pure air, fresh water… when you go to town you can almost greet everyone by their name and they know yours, those you don’t know or whom you have never spoken to most of the times still wave, give a smile or leave a “hola”. We don’t know each other but we have crossed each other thousand times, we all know who the locals are. That is so fulfilling, I personally think living in a city has to be so cold in that sense.

From the other side, as the magazine was saying, when living in the countryside you can also find yourself isolated, sometimes with little or non human contact at all for days. Work never ends here. Animals cannot be stopped like an engine and when you come back you find it right there in the same place and in the same conditions, they eat everyday and they need an eye daily to ensure they are fine. Veggies need to be freshly collected everyday or they pass. Fields need constant check, a wrinkled leaf, a black spot on a plant, a bug plague… if not detected on time can harm all the harvest and therefor all the work and the income of the entire year.

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I had Jaume, my first kid quite young, at the age of 25, it was beautiful and sometimes as all motherhood tough at the same time. My parents live about 35min drive from me but they are young so they are still very busy with work and my younger siblings (my brother was still 8 then.) My closest friends due to my studies abroad live between 2 and 12 hours flights…So yes, when your best friend is Korean and you live in the middle of no-where you can find yourself isolated and lonely sometimes. Those afternoon teas, that opening the door and seeing people, that “calling your best friend” when you are in need for a drink and a chat… that doesn’t exist anymore.

One year and a half later Candi was born. So I could often find myself with a recently born baby hanging in front of me, a one year and a half baby holding my hand beside me  while walking a cattle of 60 to 90 cows around fields and forest. So… yes my friends, I constantly get messages saying how ideal my life is and yes I agree, It is ideal, I love it! But you need to be really strong mentally too at some points. I recently got a comment from an Emirati friend saying “you make life around you colourful”. I agree, it is about being positive and making things around bright.

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And my two little cuties are the best thing that happened to me. They bring so much joy in little details, a smile, a joke, a hug, when they appear with a bunch of wild flowers in their hand “for you mom”,  the freedom they have around here, all they learn observing and living in the countryside… Even there is some hard days… I still think we are in the right place. ❤️

 

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📷 Photography by Mercè Rial

Veggies that taste like veggies

I don’t have any green house, I like my veggies to grow under the sun so they get beautiful colour and amazing taste. We have that in Spain so I must make the most out of it.

The sun is shinning outside, the kids are playing around and I am sitting in my dinning room (that’s what happens when farming. Once I started working outdoor, paperwork got boring and I never find the time to do so but it is necessary too). It’s been raining quite a lot the past 10 days so while I wait for the land to dry and therefore be able to start seeding the veggies for next season, I finalise the field distribution.

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I start thinking of the organisation in the field. The amount of plants and which varieties I will be growing. It is not as easy as it may look, crops rotation is one of the most important things in ecological farming. Since we do not use any chemical products this is how we control plagues or diseases and how we keep our land clean and healthy.

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I grow plants of different families and alternate them within cycles. Different plants need different nutrients from the land. What some plants absorbe others provide so a good rotation is the main key to a successful harvest.

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I divide the field in 4 different areas.

I am thinking to grow strawberries and berries in one of those. I love baking and cakes should come out wonderful with those. Another sector will be occupied by tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. Two varieties of beans. Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. The third will contain leeks and onions. Lettuce. Spinach. And the last one will grow potatoes, pumpkins, zucchinis and cucumbers.

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While I organise all these, I imagine the results; all the green lines with the veggies growing. The feeling of harvesting the results to all these hard work and the joy in the kitchen while cooking them. I can already feel the taste of our wonderful veggies! 🍆🍅

I can’t wait to get to the field and make my hands dirty! 🙌 Let the countdown begin…

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Photography by Mercè Rial

Hard beginnings in the farm

You start a project with excitement and people around just move with interests and lack of word and commitment. And now I wonder which is the problem… Am I too young? Is it because I am a girl? Do I trust people too much? Are we farmers too naive?

After all the love we have put in growing our pumpkins, the soil gave us back its love with great results in quality and amount. After harvesting we stored our delicious and spoilt pumpkins in boxes. We were super excited to be able to start selling them. We had analysed a couple of them and they came out to be in optimum conditions in all the aspects; Colour, taste and great properties. So our dream was coming true. We managed to grow a great product and now we could give some families who believe in healthy food the opportunity of having them.

So I start calling the companies and supermarkets who had shown interest in our product. One had promised me a price and is giving me half of the price now once they are ready. The other said they would buy us, as much pumpkins as we would grow… I knock the door now and it is only excuses to avoid even a meeting. The next one will not even bother in listening to your proposal, they prefer buying cheaper/less quality product to a distributor but then they appear on magazines saying they value “proximity products” and organic food from local farmers.

Yeap… this is life.

I don’t know the answer to my questions about which is the problem. The only thing I know is that our product is wonderful and super healthy. So I won’t give up. I will continue selling in the small shops and restaurants who have trusted us since the first day and we might be setting a market stand until our pumpkins are all sold out and have meet our goal; to reach some lucky families who value our product.

We are ready for the next stage!

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Photography by Mercè Rial

Onion beating cough

With the changing season colds are quite common… Sleepless nights because the kids (or yourself) can’t stop coughing. And first you try with some water, then swallowing something and it seems it worked (you have that moment of glory thinking it is finally gone) until you lay down in bed and the coughing nightmare begins again… Do you know what I am talking about? If so, this is for you!

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A solution to this problem might be easy in a city where there is always a 24h open pharmacy nearby but for me… Finding a pharmacy might take me more than an hour drive if I am lucky. In addition to that I am quite fond of natural remedies before turning to  medicine. So there we go, the best solution to a coughing nightmare: 1 ONION.

Cut the onion in half and place it near the bed. It sounds awkward but it really works well at home. The room will smell next morning but if you open the window it disappears completely.

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Today we are picking onions in our orchard. It is one of the kids’ favourite to collect since you pull the leaves and they come out from under the ground. They can’t stop shouting “Look mom! Look how strong I am !” and they feel proud of their power.

We will now store the onions in the fresh basements of our country house so we have onions for the entire winter, they last long. We will now be ready for any cough attack! We use onions in most of our dishes too

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📷 Photography by Mercè Rial

A summer without holidays

All of us mommies know what the word “summer” means. No school, disorganisation, long days and long nights, dinners, friends, family… in addition to that, living in a farm means orchard full of veggies that need to be taken care of, picked up, cooked and/or canned and stored. Ou wait, and my main job is taking care of tourists staying in our holiday cottages and they have have been fully packed from mid june to beginning of september.

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I am participating in an Instagram challenge for a month with the hashtag #augusthomesteading. Today’s word is NEW and since I don’t have anything new at home… I decided to write a NEW post in my blog after a long time of absence during the hectic summer. And the post is about new.

The first thing that comes to my mind right now when I think of new is end of summer. We celebrate new year on December 31st but the new year for me begins in September. When summer season is over, kids get back to school, everyone gets back to routine, life gets organised again…and we also start the farming year. In september all the fields need to be ready to be planted within end of september/beginning of october, so I need to plan all the harvest for next year. I decide what will be planted, I have to order the seeds, organise the work…

In addition to all that, after 3 years of moving around like nomads, we are settling down in a new home in our backyard. I could say my first proper house and with my dream kitchen! I couldn’t ask for more! Hopefully we will be able to move by the end of september.

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Work-wise, the year begins with new projects for which I am really excited and motivated, they have to do with organic or ecological farming. We have been experimenting with organic pumpkins this summer, and it went really well so… We are going bigger this year. I will be talking about them all year long as they grow. And much more things to come!

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So… I could say that this summer was quite inspiring, after long walks within nature after tasks, inspirational talks during long cozy dinners and some internet research; I am starting “the year” super motivated, with new goals and with loads of new ideas! I hope you all enjoyed your holidays and they were as refreshing as my “non-holiday summer”.

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📷 Photography by Mercè Rial

What is going on in the hens house?

Every day after school, the kids walk out of the car and run to the hens house. Candi (21 months old) is in charge of feeding them while Jaume  (3 years old) counts the eggs and puts them in a basket. When everything is set they bring the hens inside and close them for the night, to ensure they are safe from any wild animal roaming around at night.

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I just love observing them taking care of the animals, I try to interfere as little as I can so they can think by themselves and come up with different ways of doing it if they don’t get what they want at first. And it seems to work since they do it better everyday, quicker, and they still have fun, they always come up with new games and ideas during the task. I wish I had as imagination as they do! So much to learn from kids.

One day Jaume finds an egg with an unusual shape or colour and he shouts with excitement, sometimes Candi can’t open the lid of the trough and she asks for help to her older brother, who turns to her to help and patiently shows her how to do it… I could be looking at them all day long.

A couple of days ago, Candi got upset with a hen and she threw it an egg. Both Candi and Jaume were surprised when the egg broke and the hen started eating it. So they still learned something from it and Candi realised she can’t throw eggs anymore.

Of course it is not always this perfect, sometimes the situation can get complicated and then they start getting upset and before this turns to a fight or an argument between them or with the hens because something didn’t turn out as it should. Then I enter their “working-zone”, I tell them to calm down, the three of us sit down on the floor and discuss about it. First of all I ask them what happened, then I ask them why did this happen (so they realise by themselves what they did wrong) and then we think of a new solution in committee and give it a try again. My surprise was a few days ago when I see Jaume having some issues and all of a sudden when he is about to start shouting he looks at me, he points up with his finger 👆 and a smile on his face and he says “mom I have another idea!” And he tries a different way with a successful result. Then is when I realise I am doing it right. So proud of them!

In addition to all that… we eat yummy organic eggs and they love omelettes even more! Jaume already cooks them by himself.

I consider giving tasks to the kids since they are young very important. It gives them confidence, it develops the sense of responsibility and freedom. We need to grow kids that will be able to fend for themselves.  In the future they will need to make tough decisions and move on from difficulties. They need to be ready.

So here is their responsibility, my kids are in charge of the hens and the eggs. What about yours? Feel free to comment below.

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 📷 Photography by Mercè Rial

 

How rich we are 🌿

Recently someone told me “Living in the countryside must be beautiful and interesting but tough”. Yes, it is not always as idyllic as it looks. It can be rough and tough sometimes. But at the end of the day… Your attitude when facing challenges and the way you look at things will determine your feelings, your strengths, your state and therefore your happiness. I consider very important to value those little things, observe, feel and do what you like. Is life in the city always perfect? I am sure not! It might be easier but not perfect and probably not as beautiful.

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Today I am going to share a very inspiring 20 sec reading story by Paulo Cohello that made me realise how lucky and rich we are living this way. I hope you will enjoy it! ❤

🌿 One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.
On their return from the trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”
“It was great, Dad”.

“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yes”, said the son.
“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered:
“I saw that we have one dog and they had four.
“We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden and they have a creek that has no end.

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“Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.
“We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.

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“We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.”

“We buy our food, but they grow theirs.

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“We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.”

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The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added:
“Thanks, Dad for showing me how poor we are.”

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📷 Photography by Mercè Rial

My CEO cows

I sit by the field observing my ladies eating grass. The bells 🔔 melody gets lost in distance. Chilling with them gives me so much peace and freedom. And then, laying on top of fresh grass, while the sun rays fill me with positive energy and a fresh breeze caresses my face… I start observing the cows and realise they are not so different from us, women.

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There is the leaders, when you mix two herds for the first time, the leaders in each group fight to keep the place. Those are my CEO ladies. The others stay on a side observing. Some would like to fight and you can see them hesitating wether to get into it and they keep jumping around but do not move forward into the combat. Would those be Entrepreneur cows? They feel restlessness, they want to experience, they observe to learn. They know they will be there one day, fighting to lead.

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There is those cows who are not willing to ever lead. They prefer to wait for the result and go with it. There is those who tried and didn’t get through and there is those who were leading one day and now they look from behind.

The cow is a very curious animal. Most of them will come to check what is going on. But others will always keep a minimum distance of about 20m from me. And they will never stop having an eye on you while in the field. They have fears, they are insecure, they consider you are the enemy.

They have cultural differences too, my brown cows (Aubrac) do not get along with my grey cows (Bruna). They are often divided in their own groups while in pasture. But there is something that we should learn from cows… If there is a problem (for example an animal approaches to attack any of the cows or veals), no matter if they are brown, grey, old, young, tall or short… they become a clan, they join and start running forward that enemy pointing at it with the horns . That is usually the opposite within society, when there is a problem people tend to disappear, during difficult times is when you truly find out who is worth.

But do you know what? At the end of the day… They are all mothers. No matter the status, the colour, the breed, the size, the strength, the fears… They all have the same goal, raising their little veals, just like us. And their veals follow them no matter if they are short, tall, fat, skinny, ugly or beautiful. Just as our kids do, each child has the best mom!

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And there is one more thing I would like to point out about cows… All of them after a long day of hard work looking for food, walking, eating, breastfeeding, cleaning their veals, … They are all up for a Spa treatment before going to bed! Don’t you fancy it? 😂

🐮 What type of cow do you feel identified with? Feel free to comment below! I would love to know it!

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Photography by Mercè Rial

Spa picture by me with iPhone 5

Location: my fields

 

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