Friday, June 24, 2011

Garden Update

I just had to go out today and snap a few new pictures of the garden. It's been three weeks since my garden post and I wanted to show how everything has grown. God is good!

Ahhh....little peppers!


The tomato plants are growing and looking healthier. They looked kind of sickly for a while.


Raised bed with dill, cilantro and parsley. The bed behind holds sage, oregano and chives.


Two kinds of lettuce and little tiny basil plants...love basil!


Some itty, bitty carrots...that need thinning.


A squash blossom:)


Tyler's tub of flowers!


Here we have some freshly watered swiss chard and onions.


 
The garlic, beans and potatoes are all doing nicely.

Stayed tuned to this blog "channel" for more episodes of "As Your Garden Grows" ;)

Family Favorite

This blog post will be short and sweet, very sweet. Tonight we had a family favorite for dinner. Yep, sometimes we do breakfast for dinner. Waffles, fresh strawberrries ( a combo of store bought and home grown) with a creamy topping. In a word......YUM!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lawn Mowing Rules for Ladies




Rule #1~ Do not EVER mow the lawn! 

Rule #2~ Do not let your husband, son, neighbor, father, father-in-law or any of the male species show you how to EVEN start the mower. If you do not understand this refer to Rule #1.

Rule #3~ If you are not used to mowing the lawn, you WILL get blisters on your hand. See photo #1. If you do not heed my warning the afore mentioned blisters will multiply; trust me. If you do not want blisters, refer to Rule #1.

Rule #4~ Do not put aloe vera on a large, open blister, it will cause quite a stinging reaction in the middle of your hand. If you would not like to feel this, please refer to Rule #1.

Rule #5~ If you choose to continue mowing the yard, you will need to wrap your hand in a bulky bandage since the blister is in an inconvenient area, (the supplies of course coming from your horse first aid kit). See photo #2. If you don’t like this new fashion statement, refer to Rule #1.

Rule #6~ If you get to close to the horse fence at the edge of the yard and come in contact with the hot wire whist holding tightly to the metal lawn mower handle, you will experience quite a jolt. If you do not want to experience this tingling sensation, refer to Rule #1.

Rule #7~ If your yard is as large as mine and you only have a push mower, it will take you approximately  five to six hours to accomplish this task. If you would rather be doing something else, please refer to Rule #1.

Rule #8~ You will get hot, sweaty, thirsty, dirty and tired mowing the lawn. This can be a good thing if you are trying to lose weight. If you are not on a weight loss program and do not care to be hot, sweaty, thirsty, dirty or tired, please refer back to Rule #1.

Rule #9~ Lawn mowers will cut grass, weeds, pine cones (these can become projectiles), small bushes, sticks and dog poop. (Note to self: pick up dog poop first).

Rule #10~ If you have pursued all avenues and cannot possibly avoid Rule #1, buy a riding lawnmower!


Friday, June 17, 2011

First fruits

I wish they were a bit more ripe, but I had to get them before the robins did! Can't beat fresh strawberries from the garden.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Baking Day

Ok, I got inspired by a friend's kitchen blog and decided to share some baking I did today.

First was the raspberry cobbler. This recipe is so easy! Granted it's not the healthiest one, but if you need a quick dessert, this works. And it tastes yummy too. The recipe originally called for boysenberries, but I have used other fruits including peaches, pears and now raspberries! These were fresh, frozen raspberries harvested from last summer. The "crust" (more like a batter) is actually under the berries.
Here it is baking away. You can see how the crust has risen up through the fruit.




And the finished product, ready for church potluck tomorrow.



Next came the peanut butter pie...yum! The pie filling is thrown all together in the blender, blended well,  then poured into a graham cracker pie crust. Ok, I cheated and used a store bought one. The top is decorated with carob chips, then the whole thing is frozen. The pie is slightly thawed before enjoying this cool yummy dessert. (I know, this wasn't really a baking project, but oh, well).



Next on the agenda was pita bread. I tried this last week and it didn't turn out that great. Thought I'd give it another shot.
After making the dough, you roll it out in little rounds, place it on the back of some cookie sheets and wait for it to rise a bit.



The bread is then baked on a baking tile on the bottom rack of a hot oven for four minutes. It's supposed to puff up and make the pocket right after you put it the oven. Last time only a couple did that. So I was really excited when I opened the oven to check and found this.....



Here they are on the cooling rack, waiting to be cut in half and bagged up for later use. I made some tasty spread to go with these too. We'll probably have them tomorrow night when we get together with family.



 I will definitely be making these again!

Chickens

Whew! Finally got that dirty job checked off my list! I'd been meaning to clean out the chicken pen for some time. It was on my spring "to do" list. I must have hauled five or six wheel barrow loads of straw, shavings and chicken manure to the compost pile. But now the pen is lined with some nice grass hay, new food put in the can and Duane put  the nest boxes up on the wall. (They'd been on the floor and the girls thought it was a good place to sleep, and poop!)

Here, let me give you a little tour...The chicken pen is on one end of our woodshed. Here's the cute old door.




A peek inside.....
A metal garbage can (for the scratch and crumbles) to hopefully keep the mice at bay.....
Here's the ladder where they roost at night. The little door at the bottom opens out to the garden. In the fall or early spring when there's nothing much to scratch up, I let the girls out there to roam around. The light is on a timer in the winter to give them longer daylight hours.



The nest boxes filled with grass hay. We've never had them on the wall before so will see how they like them up there.



Here's some of the girls out in their yard scratching around. There are a lot of these small native bushes in their pen which is nice for shade and also protection from hawks and eagles.



We have nine hens at the moment. Three bantams of mixed heritage, two Americaunas, two Light Brahamas, and two Silver Lace Wyandottes
This is what the Wynadottes look like. Aren't they pretty?



An Americauna (they call these Aracaunas at the feed store, but I'm pretty sure ours are the Americaunas) This breed comes in a variety of colors and lays bluish-green eggs!
And lastly, the Light Brahama..



I really enjoy the chickens. They're good little garbage disposals for all our produce scraps, they give farm fresh eggs. (I've been able to sell some to the neighbors, which helps pay for "the girls" food) and they're just kind of fun to watch scratching around.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rhubarb

Rhubarb had never been one of my favorite foods growing up. I mean red celery looking stuff with a tangy flavor?! But I've learned it's not so bad after all. And with bunches of it growing wild and free in the old horse pasture (that may be another blog) I thought I needed to do something with it. Can't waste free food even if it is rhubarb!
So I had the guys cut some on their way back up to the house.




I did freeze some last year. But the trouble with freezing food is; sometimes it gets lost in the freezer, I forget about it and it goes to waste. Plus if the power goes out, which it does occasionally, things in the freezer can turn to mush and end up on the compost pile. This year I decided to try canning it. When I see a can of something on my pantry shelf, I'm more likely to use it.

The recipe says to wash, cut and add sugar then let it set in a cool place for 3-4 hours. Doesn't it look pretty?
After that you just have to bring it to a slow boil, cook for a few minutes, place it in your canning jars and water bath them for 15 minutes. Then voila'!.....canned rhubarb, ready to be made into a crisp, mixed with strawberries for a yummy sauce over shortcake or whatever!




And with a little of the saved fresh rhubarb I whipped up a batch of yummy muffins! Think I'll make some more of those today.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The garden


Well, it’s finally done! The garden is in! I can’t believe how late in spring it is?! Usually by Memorial Weekend we're finally putting our tomatoes and peppers out and everything else is already planted. But they actually made it into the greenhouse before most of the other things even got put in!  We’ve just had a cold, rainy spring. Not really conducive to putting in a garden. I’m hoping we’ll start to see a bit warmer weather so the little seeds can start growing. Even after we got things planted, we’ve had more rain. Rain is nice; you don’t have to spend so much time watering, but we don’t want the little seeds rotting in the ground before they have a chance to sprout either! 

So everyone was home over the holiday weekend and pitched in to help get things done. Nice! So if all goes well we’ll have peas, carrots, beans ( adzuki, black, cannellini, & pinto-dry for shelling), cucumbers (3 varieties), crookneck & zucchini, pumpkins, swish chard, onions, beets, garlic, green beans, potatoes, melons, lettuce, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, artichoke, grapes and raspberries! Yum! A couple of the raised beds are full of herbs too: sage, oregano, parsley, chives, cilantro, dill, and basil. Oh, I love fresh basil! And if our two little apple trees and two little pears trees cooperate we may even get something from them this fall.

So I snapped a few pictures of the garden as it looks now. It doesn’t really look like much at this point, but if I take some more in a couple months hopefully we’ll see a big difference!

Now where was that hoe? I’m sure the rain has helped the weeds along!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hummers


I love watching the birds around here. We have the backyard feeders and bird bath and then there's the hummingbird feeder. As soon as we see the hummers come back in the spring (and I remember), I get the feeder out and fill 'er up! This time of year, I have to refill usually once a day, because these little busy bodies are awful hungry, and busy! Hope you enjoy a glimpse of our feathered friends around their dinner table.
video