Monthly Archives: August 2016

The best marinara

August on the farm is kind of boring. We can’t spend much time out there because it’s dangerously hot. So when we go, I quickly water the garden, squish bugs, maybe do some laundry, and then get back to the air conditioning as fast as I can.

In lieu of farm posts and photos, I think I’ll type up some of my favorite recipes. Here’s my favorite marinara recipe. It’s nearly essential to make this in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.

1 large yellow onion, diced
Coconut oil
1 lb lean ground beef (grass-fed tastes best)
3 cloves garlic, diced
3 15 oz cans diced or crushed tomatoes – do not drain
spices to taste: salt (about 1.5tsp), dried basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes
Optional: 1/2 cup red wine

Heat the oil in your cast iron pan over medium-high heat for about three minutes. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and saute until done. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes (with juices) spices, and wine. The amount of each spice is entirely up to you, but don’t skimp on the salt.

Simmer on low until the water and wine has reduced to about 1/4 of the original volume. Serve over any noodle of your choice, or zucchini noodles, with plenty of Parmesan and crusty bread.

Two steps forward, one step back

We aren’t feeling as stuck as we were a couple weeks ago, but we do feel like we’ve made progress both forwards and backwards.

We’ve been talking to some concrete contractors. One of them has been really helpful. He offered to bid on our piers, and quoted us a number far below the helical piers. That was great news! However, when he looked at the plans we had engineered, he discovered that they are very much overengineered for what we need. He said that if he built the foundation as it is in the blueprints, it would cost over $35,000 and he would not be able to do the work because of the specialized equipment necessary.

$35,000 is WAY TOO MUCH for a shop foundation, by the way!!!

The contractor then told us about certain elements of the design that are, in his very experienced estimation, completely unnecessary, and advised us to get a second opinion on the engineering. He couldn’t rewrite the plans because he’s not a licensed engineer. We are going to do that; first we have to have the second firm come drill a soil sample, and then they will have a look at our plans. That’ll take a couple weeks.

And while these conversations are all happening, our Excursion broke down. We knew it was having some trouble, and we were very glad it chose to break down in town five minutes from a Ford dealership with a diesel mechanic on staff! Just the day before we’d been using the truck at the farm, and it would have been much harder to get it towed from the farm! The diagnosis was that two of the eight fuel injectors had gotten stuck open. Plus the high pressure oil pump was all but shot. This was very expensive, and because it’s our farm vehicle, we had to use farm money to fix it. Which means we don’t have the money to build our foundation/plumbing/septic system any more.

When Andrew told me this, I started crying. This setback was a hard one to accept. Our girls (who are 5&3) were with me and saw that I was upset, and asked what was wrong. I said, “Well sweeties, the truck broke and we have to pay a lot of money to fix it. So now we don’t have enough money to build on our farm and be able to move there.” They put their heads together and whispered for a few seconds, then piped up, “You can have our money! We have some in our piggy bank!”

And then I was crying all over again!