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Backyard Blessings

Editor's Note from July/August 2012 Hobby Farm Home

By Stephanie Staton, Hobby Farm Home Editor

Hobby Farm Home editor Stephanie Staton and her son Jasper enjoying homemade frozen pops. Photo courtesy Greg Staton (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo courtesy Greg Staton

With this spring’s unseasonably warm temperatures, I had the opportunity to indulge in outdoor activities with my family far earlier than in previous years. While the early warm temps had a few negative side effects—namely more mosquitoes and garden pests buzzing about earlier and longer into the summer—I can’t say that I missed those lingering days with random snowfalls and temperatures in the teens. That said, I still look for ways to cool off without beating a hasty retreat indoors as the mercury rises, so I was psyched to see Lisa Kivirist’s mouthwatering recipes for frozen treats and jumped at the chance to prepare, photograph and scarf down these delicious goodies.

Kid-tested and mother-approved (literally—just check out my son and I at right, partaking of the end product), the recipes in "Cold Comfort” afford more than a refreshing treat; they also offer peace of mind. I’ve always gone to great lengths to ensure the food my son eats is fresh, healthy and made from scratch. From puréeing and freezing the best fruits and vegetables to planning a nightly menu using fresh, local products, I put a lot time and energy into the meals that grace our table. It therefore comes as no surprise that I seek to do the same with the traditional childhood treats of yore: ice pops.

Eschewing the standard chemical additives and preservatives, Kivirist teaches you how to turn an abundance of fruit (and even some veggies) into thirst-quenching, heat-chasing delights suitable for all ages and occasions. The best part of all: They’re super-easy to make, so the kiddos can help!

In addition to knowing what goes into your meals, maximizing your farmstead;s family-feeding potential can save you money. Whether you’re foraging for wild edibles to add an exotic twist to your menu ("Nature Calls”) or hosting a tomato-tasting party with fellow gardeners ("Tasting, Tasting: 1, 2, 3”) to experience new flavors and share heirloom seeds, your hobby farm holds a wealth of potential for meeting your homestead needs.

That not-so-hidden potential doesn’t end when the food hits your table. As a matter of fact, it’s just coming full circle. Harvesting beans in the garden, lugging them back to the house and stringing them on the porch all share one common denominator: a means of transportation. Sure, the bottom of your shirt will carry a small batch, but large bushels? Not so much! Rather than stretch out (or worse, rip) your favorite gardening shirt or turn to yet another plastic, prefab bucket, consider repurposing natural elements of your farm, such as gourds, twigs and grasses, into beautiful, sturdy baskets and bowls that hold the harvest while reminding you of the beauty that is all around. Flip to "A Tisket, A Tasket” for step-by-step instructions for crafting four carryalls from your farm bounty.

Next time you take a stroll through the woods or amble in the fields, consider the opportunities that exist there for your home, cooking and crafting needs. After all, it doesn’t get more local than your own backyard.


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