And that's a wrap

Well, it's New Year's Eve and with it comes a time of reflection. I always have mixed feelings about New Year's Eve. Some years I get really excited about celebrating the end of the year and having it go out loud. Other years, like this one, I find myself in a quieter state of mind wanting to celebrate a bit more low key. Some years I feel like reflecting and some years I don't.

I do feel like this time of year can be difficult with our desires to end on a high note and start off on a high note. It's full of expectations and this sense of starting over. I definitely like those elements, but I try to not let it stress me out. I look forward to the year ahead with excitement and with goals in mind, but I also don't want to start off a new year freaking out about what I NEED to accomplish. It's healthy and necessary to reflect, but let's not have it bog us down. Let's have aspirations and dreams for the year before us, but not before we give thanks for what this past year has brought us. I realize that some folks want to kick this past year swiftly in the rear and that's fine. Sometimes that's what we need to do.

However you decide to end the year/ring in the new year, I hope you do it surrounded by good food and those you love. For some that may mean spending it alone and that's perfectly good. For others that may mean a crowd of strangers. There are plenty of ways to celebrate and I hope it's just right for you.

Wishing you a Happy New Year and blessings for 2013!



Simmons Family Farm

A couple of months ago some friends and I decided to take a trip about 30 minutes south of Austin to visit a local farm that we've grown to really like for a number reasons. They grow beautiful vegetables, take great care in growing them, and they themselves are lovely people. Simmons Family Farm is located just south of Austin in Niederwald, Texas and sits tucked in just off a dirt road. It's not a big farm, but they have a lot going on for their small acreage. Harry Simmons, along with his wife Maew, his mother Penel and brothers, are the faces behind this great farm.

The weather on the day we visited was perfect, so we were able to see all of the farm and chat with Harry and his mother Penel as he showed us around.

We started off by visiting the baby chicks, which were the newest additions to the family farm. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture because I was to enamored with the chicks! They were so cute and all I wanted to do was pick one up and squeeze it. Gently of course. I did however refrain from freaking out the chicks and let them be, but not before I had ooohed and ahhhed a good bit. After that we moved on to see some full grown chicks, or should I say ladies? I typically buy my eggs from Simmons Family Farm, but this time of year the ladies aren't laying very often so no eggs for me that day.

From the chicken coop we moved on and saw the rest of the farm and learned about some of the organic and sustainable farming practices of the farm. If we didn't know it already, we definitely saw it first hand. Farming is hard work folks! Especially small family farming. It was really great to learn more about the care and hard work that goes into some of the veggies that I enjoy shopping for at my local farmers' market. It made me appreciate them and the people that much more.

One more thing! Harry's wife Maew is Thai, so they grow a variety of Thai veggies, greens, as well as some tropical fruits like papaya. They are experimenting with avocados too!

Broccoli Rabe

French Breakfast Radish

Farm Cat in Bok Choy

Penel's gorgeous yellow roses

Last of the jalapenos

One of the fields at the farm

Papaya plant

Bed of greens