Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

MOM’S THE WORD: Well, hello there, 2015! You’re here already? Time flies when we’re in the kitchen! After enjoying an early winter hibernation, Meet Your Neighbors is back with a mission, spotlighting members of our HOMEGROWN community and jumpstarting conversations about food.

Speaking of starting, we’re kicking things off with a bang—as in a real firecracker. Meet Jessica, a Nevada mom who is not only beautiful but strong, loving, fierce, and focused on good food. She’s also willing to talk openly about her incredibly challenging year fighting “the dirty C” and how it has affected her—and her family’s—diet. We’re lucky as heck to hear her perspective and to get to hang out with her here on HOMEGROWN.

The chat is currently two pages but can go from here 'til next Tuesday once you add your comments. Don’t be shy! Help wish Jessica welcome in true HOMEGROWN fashion.

What is Meet Your Neighbors? We can spend a fair amount of time tending our online gardens, but it’s easy to forget there’s a real person behind every quiche recipe, chicken inquiry, and hoophouse design on HOMEGROWN. Nuts to that! MYN gives us a chance to meet over the back fence and shake hands.

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Comment by Jennifer on January 15, 2015 at 1:53pm

Good afternoon, Jessica—or I should say, "Good morning!" since you're in Nevada, right? What's the weather like today where you are?

Comment by Jessica on January 15, 2015 at 2:01pm

Yes! I am in southern Nevada!

It is a beautiful day out there, 50* and no wind!

Comment by Jennifer on January 15, 2015 at 2:05pm

That sounds glorious! We've got gray skies today in Massachusetts, but it's not currently snowing—actually, I take that back. It snuck up on me! But that's winter! With such mild weather out your way, what kind of projects are you working on or do you have planned for the next couple of months?

Comment by Jessica on January 15, 2015 at 2:15pm

The winter weather is one of my favorite things about living here. I grew up in Utah with snow, and I cant say I miss it.

My husband is the green thumb in our house, so he plants it, then I can/freeze/dry it! We have carrots in the ground right now, but someone (one of my 3 daughters!) left the garden gate opened and my spoiled chickens got in there! 

We are in a rental house at the moment so the garden area isn't what we use to have, but we make due!

Soon we will start to get the ground ready for our spring garden, tomatoes, squash, peas, and broccoli are the usual's on the list!

We are lucky and have lots of pomegranate bushes in our yard and I have 15 gallons of juice to make into jelly!! Luckily it freezes well and I can do that when I have time! 

And I of course always have a crochet project going on!

Comment by Jennifer on January 15, 2015 at 2:19pm

Fifteen gallons of pomegranate juice?!?! That sounds *amazing*—as does your garden planning list. And do tell: What's your current crochet project?

Speaking of chickens, it looks like your girls are big fans. Do your kids help out with chicken care and feeding or egg collecting? And how long have you had those ladies? (Chickens, not girls—or, hey, I guess same question for both!)

Comment by Jessica on January 15, 2015 at 2:25pm

I have 2 afghans that are a work in progress, and I always have a dishcloth going! 

We got our hens, (Blondie, Clawdett, Ginger, Salt, and Pepper), last April when they were chicks! We hope to add a rooster and some chicks this spring, and I am in the market for a milk goat.

But we will see!

The girls, (Grace, 8, Addsion and Alaynna, 5) help with all the chores! They feed the chickens, gather eggs, water the garden, and help pick and eat all of the garden veggys!!

Comment by Jennifer on January 15, 2015 at 2:28pm

So, which came first: the chickens or the eggs? What I mean is, were the girls curious about animals and gardening and they requested chickens, or were you two HOMEGROWN parents the instigators? And if so, did either or both of you grow up on a farm and/or with livestock?

Comment by Jessica on January 15, 2015 at 2:37pm

My brother-in-law gave the twins baby chicks for their birthday, at the request of my husband. But once we had them, the girls couldn't get enough of them and now want a goat, pig, cow, horse, you name it and they want one, or two, or three!

Neither one of us grew up on a farm, but we both grew up hunting, fishing, and gardening. We like that we can feed ourselves, and know where our food comes from!

Comment by Jennifer on January 15, 2015 at 2:40pm

Hear, hear to knowing where your food comes from! Last question for now (well, I don't promise) and then I'll try to let you get on with your day: Are you aiming to teach your girls some of these lessons about food? If so, how? Maybe you can share one example that other HOMEGROWN parents can steal—er, borrow—even if they don't have chickens?

Comment by Jessica on January 15, 2015 at 2:45pm

Ummm... haha!!

I think the biggest thing we are trying to teach them is to be healthy. I have noticed that if we grow it they will eat it, and we all know how hard it is to get your kids to eat anything green with dirt on it!

Same goes for the eggs, and the mean roosters who now resides in my freezer. I like that they know where food comes from,

like really comes from,

not the grocery store!!


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