Monday, January 31, 2011

Harvest Monday 1.31.11

Well, it's is Monday again. This week I only have 4.6oz of buttercrunch lettuce to add to my tally. But, I do have some pictures to share. My little baby sprouts are making me happy so I'm spreading that here! :-)

I really enjoyed this Key Lime Strawberry Iced Tea last weekend especially with a couple of my strawberries tossed in and a lime for garnishment. It was a right refreshment for some good garden and House work! See my beautiful berry. It may be small, but it is mighty. They are the tastiest strawberries around! I wish I was able to have enough  plants to truly supply us with our strawberry needs but we'd have to live at a Strawberry farm, and well, Meh- those strawberries just don't taste the same. Ask my kids. They got mad at me when I gave them each a bowl full of berries the other day. 'Cause they 'didn't taste right'! At least they realize the value of our efforts.  Recently I was lectured that we can't go to Alabama any more without bringing our food from our garden because we don't have a garden there. Smart kid. But, luckily in Alabama there are lots of people that do grow veggies!

The cabbage is a thing of beauty in the garden. The intricate patterns on the giant leaves, the tightly wound heads. It's great to have these to enliven an otherwise dark space.

Garden peas are on the way. Climbing steadily towards the sky. It's been a few days and the growth on these has been exponential. I can't wait to show you next week! They have grown at least 6"!

Snow peas that are near the pool pump are still going strong even though sadly the others perished from the weather in the 20's last week.
 These tendrils always searching for something  to grasp- the kids like to try to get them to strap around their fingers. But with so little patience they don't usually succeed. Though, recently I found a pencil in the garden....
Ah, this is what has become of some of the most recently processed Tabasco peppers. HOT pepper flakes! And boy howdy they pack a punch. :-D

Stop on over at Daphne's and see how others are using their harvest or what they are harvesting!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

STROKE- Public Service Announcement!

Oh, it's so good to be back here. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.
Today I am posting my P.S.A.

Please, read this and pass it on to everyone you know and love. Seriously. It could save someones life. That life could be mine. These are signs of a stroke.
Face- Ask the person to smile. If the smile is crooked or dropping on one side, or the persons eye looks aloof ...
Arms- Ask them to raise their arms. If they can't hold them out in front of them, or one of them droops....
Speech- Ask them to repeat a simple phrase and ask questions. If speech is slurred or incorrectly answered simple questions....
TIME is of the essence. DIAL 911 for ANY ONE of these symptoms. Don't drive. Wait for the ambulance. Trust me.

Seriously. Trust me.

These don't make a great fashion statement:

but they look much better when you can put them on yourself.

Please, please please pass the information on. And-  just to let you know, if it is happening to you - you won't realize what it is even if you are familiar with these signs. That is why it is so important to let your loved ones know, too.

I am so happy to be back here in blog land with a bad fashion statement. My how I've missed you the past few days. Then again I didn't realize it had been a few days, but I digress...

:-* I LOVE you, man! er... blog! ;-)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Harvest Monday 1.24.11

Joining at Daphne's Dandelions for Harvest Monday! Stop on by her place and see how everyone is using their previous harvest or what they are harvesting now!
My harvest this week was a tiny one. 4 pea pods (little marvel) 2 oz of snow peas and 3 strawberries.

Both types of peas were thrown into a new dish I made last night. A chicken dish with green chilis broccoli and cheese (and the tiny pea harvest) I made a discovery though. The shell peas this time were completely different than the fall harvest. The winter harvest is MUCH much sweeter. Like candy even. They tasted very odd with the salty pepper and cheese mixture. There was only 17 peas of those peas total so it wasn't a complete loss, I just picked them out and ate them separately.

Considering that the majority of the garden is in transition again this tiny harvest is no big surprise for me. We were supposed to pick up landscape timbers this weekend and the compost and such next weekend but those plans were quickly thrown out. Saturday we woke to sick babies big girls. Noses like faucets, we stayed in while Daddy went to work. Turned it into a lazy day for them and that allowed me to clean the downstairs spotless.

This weekend we will try again. Hopefully soon I'll share pictures of the beds after being raised. I couldn't stand it any more so I went ahead and seeded a small section. I'll work out the details of raising that bed later. For now the seedlings are beginning to emerge and it makes my heart and soul feel good to know that once again I am growing food. The cycle continues. No pictures today. Forgot my card.

'Till next time!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Projects and laziness

This is how we spent this past weekend....

OUTDOORS! The girls really enjoyed spending time outside all weekend. Of course I spent the majority of the afternoon in the back yard tending to the composter project. But once the sun began to sink we came out front to enjoy the weather. When they were done with this little project we had houses, cars, flowers and all assortments of critters in every color of the rainbow (an a rainbow) on our driveway.  

 I also finished up a request:
SOMEONE (My Mother) was sore at me that I had made myself a scarf like this one only mine was in blues/greens.  Now of course our weather is due to be quite glorious for another week or so. While I hope she gets to use her new scarf I really hope it's more of a fashion statement than a necessity. ;-) There will be 2 more made shortly. Now that she has her she wants my girls to each have one as well. All in this pink! She didn't want a hat but the girls will each have one. I just love a matching scarf and hat I just have to figure out how to crochet mittens. Not that I can't figure that out. It's just getting the sizing right without guidance will be a bit confusing. A challenge I may just be up for. But first - I must be lazy there are 2 movies calling my name - then the scarves!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Harvest Monday 1.17.11

Linking in to Daphne's Dandelion's for this week's Harvest Monday!
'Finally something to post. Well - I can write about it but unfortunately my camera malfunctioned and the pictures didn't save on the card. To say I'm disappointed is not even scratching the surface. Especially considering it's less than a year old and cost a small fortune. So- back to the cell phone shots.

My harvest this week was one single cabbage head and 5 deformed carrots. To which I am supposed to be cooking tonight. Stuffed cigars or dolmades, or... many names but meat and rice and seasonings wrapped in parboiled cabbage leaves and baked until delicious. 4lbs 3oz after the guard leaves were removed and the head was cleaned. To whit- is there anything you can do with those outer, tougher leaves? I myself don't care for cabbage much less would I know what to do with them beyond composting them.

Ah, and that brings us to the next topic. This weekend was absolutely stellar. Weather wise you just can't ask for much better. It was in the upper 60's and clear on Saturday and Sunday n the low 70's and sunny as well. I did manage to whip up a sweat even though it was nearly perfect out. But sweat equity is one thing I don't mind putting into my garden.

I was hoping to empty my compost bin that had been filled in the fall but my not so wonderful memory means I didn't exactly remember to turn it on schedule nor did it get watered in regularly. The compost was not entirely ready and as such I didn't add it into the beds yet. This also co-insided with the moving of the compost bin, and setting up the second one. In the fall I had completely filled the large tumbling composter and stopped saving my kitchen scraps and such. Now I'll be able to have one cycle finishing while beginning to layer the second. The new bin was ubber cheap - found it on clearance at the beginning of winter when all the rest of the summer and gardening supplies had been sold out for a while. If the store would have had more of them I would have bought several. It's an inactive/laying style as it is a large bin that doesn't allow you access to turning the entire pile so it will certainly take longer for each cycle but with 2 bins now both 60 gallons I should be able to continuously cycle them.
Back to the story. I  assembled the new bin, dug out the part of the garden they would be located in, put weed prevention fabric down, put the new composter in, removed the nearly completed compost from the tumbler, and put it into the new bin, then drug the tumbler across the yard to it's new resting place. (Pictured above) It won't be the very best place for advancing the compost cycle but it will be the best place for keeping the yard cleaned up and the kids out f it. It's also much more pleasing to the eye there. I still need to put mulch on top but funds prevented me from spending to do any improvements this pay check. 2 bags of much for this area and it will be complete. The good news is while I did give up part of an existing bed the area formerly occupied by the tumbler is better/longer sun and it will be part of a much larger bed.
I also added the few bags of hummus I had left  into one of the main beds. When the compost cycle is completed it will go to complete raising that bed. While I was there I went ahead and seeded a few more carrots, radish, and lettuce- both loose head and leaf lettuce. Lettuce is probably the one thing I don't particularly see much benefit to growing in my garden. If it competed for space against any of my spring or summer crops it would be out in a heartbeat. As my beds are mostly bare in the winter I grow them from fall until my first spring plantings. Carrots as well. But that is an entirely different story. I don't grow them any other time because I can't seem to grow them. My carrot skills are severely lacking. I guess I figure if I keep planting them eventual I'll find something that works for my climate/my garden. 

'Till next time!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Don't judge a book by it's cover...

Have you seen this?

I'm judging!

I know that I personally have never paid that price for a book - well with the exception of my college text books. Even 20 years ago they were still over $100 a piece! (not the point but it does age me, doesn't it!?) It's only $40. But it's hard to shell that kind of cash out when you aren't sure what lies inside of this OH so promising cover. Not to mention that technically this would be my first garden purchase for the year. A good book to me is nearly as valuable as my spade.
I've gotta tell you I thinking about booking a date with my husband at the household helm so I can run to the nearest (25 miles) bookstore and see if I can manage to convince myself to buy it. I'm drooling here just thinking of what this book COULD be.  I sure hope it looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside. If you've seen it, have a copy or otherwise think this book looks wonderful let me know!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Harvest Monday 1.10.11

Hey it is ACTUALLY MONDAY!!! Whoot! Linking in to Daphne's for Harvest Monday!!

Guess what I got my first of this week? A strawberry! The first of the year - and I am hoping and praying there are many more to follow. My strawberry plants seem to have suddenly gotten lower. I don't know if that makes any sense at all but they are. I didn't dig them and divide this year and now that they are already flowering and producing I feel inclined to leave them until next fall. I'll have less of a harvest this year but less is better than none! So, one single 1oz strawberry. No picture, sorry. The girls devoured it before it even had the chance to get washed. Good thing I don't use pesticides!

This harvest Monday is all about the citrus.

I picked 5 gallons of citrus off the trees that wasn't ready prior to the frosts. Technically produced in 2010 but now it is succulently sweet and oh so juicy. I'm glad I waited to pick it. I turned it into 1/2 gallon of orange juice, 2 quarts of grapefruit segments, a citrus salad and loads of assorted segments for lunches. I also keep using the lemons on my salads in place of vinegar. Any time I can use lemon juice I prefer it anytime for my salads. Not to mention the 3 gallons of lemonade we drank this weekend.

There is still more fruit on my parents trees that they will never use. Namely the tiniest tangerines you've ever seen. I don't know if they are worth my while for segmenting out. As a fruit they don't last too long because the peels are thin, as a juice there is more pith than fruit...but I really ador the flavor of the fruit.
Garden progress? Well I seeded a small section. Some garden peas, carrots, a few broccoli, some lettuce and radish. I'm really just replacing what has been taken so far from the winter garden. As I've mentioned before I'm not much of one for cabbage or greens so those few things are the main stay of my frost tolerant garden. All in all it takes rough 10 square feet. Not much - it leaves a lot of the main garden empty, and the only remaining things in the smaller gardens are the year round plants like the trees, and vines.

This coming weekend is a 3 day holiday for me and I am looking forward to working my fingers to the bone. Our budget won't tolerate the new garden that was scheduled to go in but I'm going to try some 'artistic' financing to see what I can come up with. I don't technically NEED the planter finished until mid February but it would be so nice not to have to rush to finish the project if I don't have to. I've put off starting my tomato seedlings until next weekend as well so if I do need to wait on the new bed I won't feel so rushed to complete it then.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Garden Tally?

I know that many of us keep a tally of our garden’s bounty but for the life of me I can’t seem to find a good way to do this.

I should clarify that statement.

I can’t find an application for the sidebar that would allow me to keep tally and have it here for visual reference and to share. Oh, I suppose I could simply create a spot and try to remember to update the log. But, I can’t see me keeping up all that well with it that way. I’d have to keep track in my spreadsheet and then take those totals to update here…. Hmmm. Nope not on a regular basis anyhow. Ah, well – If anyone knows of an easier way to update the blog with the totals let me know. Otherwise I’ll have to steal Daphne’s idea of Harvest Monday and make a Monthly Tally post. ;-) Of course then I’d have to figure out how to do the linky thing she’s got going on over there. That will create a whole other problem.

Back to the drawing board.

Hehe, back to the seed catalogs for that matter. Not that I have any intention of buying seeds. I don’t. I don’t think so anyhow. Certainly I have plenty for my puny little plot. Heck, I could probably plant it 3 times over must.stay.strong. Ah, my diagrams are calling –


‘Till next time!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Harvest - MONDAY? 1.3.11

Oh boy, not starting the New Year with a good record am I?

Well, I have no real garden harvest to report. When I got back home all my romaine heads had bolted leaving only 2 buttercrunch and 2 simpson lettuces. I also found a hole in the ground from the one onion that was bulbing. There was no other trace of it. There is a rogue squirrel that has been yelling at me from my fence and tearing up my screen. I may have to have a little discussion with him. I believe that he and I will be butting heads even more in the spring. I'll have a complete utter meltdown if my peaches disappear like last year.

I don't eat cabbage but one of the 4 heads is getting close to harvesting and I'm excited by this mainly because it's been a month since anyone ate much of anything from the garden. The only other things still green in the garden are the strawberry plants, the 5 remaining onions and a few peas.

We did harvest a doe however for the freezer. She was much smaller than most of our does and therefore a weak link in the herd. 80% of the meat was donated to the local homeless shelter so don't feel bad that we manage a herd. We are also feeding the hungry. We were unsuccessful at taking the hog we wanted and not looking to take a sow or piglet we left the rest of the pigs be. The spring looks like it will find us busy building a trap for the cretan. He's aggressive and we won't tolerate it. Being full grown and not castrated the meat will not be wonderful so we'll donate to the homeless shelter again and take only what we want - some bacon, sausage, fat back for soup and a ham for the spit. As the piglets mature to around 100-150 pounds we'll consider trying to sort out the sows we want to keep and by fall our freezer (with any luck) will be stocked, and the homeless shelter will have enough hocks, jowls and fatback for a whole year. :-) I'm interested in splitting if someone has some trained dogs to run, or for that matter the means to clean - smoke/cure a large amount of meat at once.

Plans for the first spring planting are coming along. Richard is however not cooperating with getting the second raised bed going. I'm not sure I'm going to continue to wait on him for this one. I want it finished by the end of January. One way or the other.

Linking in to join Daphne (Late again) for Harvest Monday. Make sure you stop by and see the harvest still going on, and how people are using their stored harvests now!

Happy New Year everyone!

'Till next time!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Day...

On Christmas Day this year I apparently put the camera down hoping that someone else (MY HUSBAND) would kindly take a few pictures. No such luck. For that I was awarded the worst Mommy of the day award, thank you very much. I did catch a couple shots but not much.

After Breakfast we promptly packed it up and headed for my parents  property in Alabama. This is where we hope to someday homestead. The house is over 110 years old. Believe it or not. See the barren trees behind the house? Pecan trees. Planted about 20 years after the House was built. They provide us a wonderful gift. They also provide the people that help out with the maintenance of the grounds some pocket change each year. This year however they harvested the entire harvest without permission. Simply because in years past we let them harvest. What they didn't realize is that we let them harvest AFTER we have what we need. (About 10 gallons of pecans) They overstepped the bounds and I sure hope my parents speak up about it. These line the side and the back of the property.

Once there it promptly began snowing. MUCH to my eldest child's amazement. He did this for hours. Only, I promise you he wasn't laying down on the job (darn blogger wont let me turn it!)
Currently about 140 of the 186 acres are planted with pine trees that will be felled for my parents final gift for the grand kids. What you see in green is truly that. That my friends is college tuition. And of course the remainder is for whatever is left of their retirement. It will be promptly replanted in the same manner. Only about another 40 acres shy as I have big plans.
There are also plum trees there, and we hope to plant some apples this spring as well. There is a large pond/small lake as well. It's a hike down there but worth it. It's stocked. Brim and Bass mainly. There are several fields that get planted out each year. Last year wheat. This year corn. Only unfortunately it went dent before we got there for harvest. It's fine though it was mainly planted for feed so it's not a loss at all really. Just a shame that we didn't catch it at milk stage as it is a decent quality for roasting at that stage. I love me some fresh roasted corn. LOL.
There are so many wonderful qualities about this place. The neighbors? Oh that. They Moo a lot and occasionally howl or yip. There is one elderly lady that lives up the road and a small family about a mile down. Beyond that your hard pressed to yell and be heard. Works out well for my kids. They do yell a lot. There is an additional 5 acres just across the street that we have (paid off) for an emergency plan. Should something happen to suddenly find Rich and I both jobless and in trouble. That little piece of land is all mapped out in my head for the big what-if. As is the larger piece of land. One day, some day I know it will kill me to move away from the saltwater but this land makes it worth it. Sustainability is there. Meanwhile I will just keep practicing.

Oh and New Years Eve? Well nothing red-neck about that. We listened to gun shots (shot gun) from a couple miles down. It lasted about oh, 10 minutes and all was quiet again. Having no internet and no cable no phone takes a little getting used to but it is so nice to unwind and listen to nature. But now it's time to get back to work, and back to school, and back to normal. HAHA! Wish me luck on the last one.
'Till next time!

I wasn't kidding!

We really did get snow. A LOT of it. It snowed like this for more than 24 hours straight! Sometimes it was small flakes like this and other times the flakes were HUGE all googly gobbed together. Absolutely mind-numbing I couldn't stop staring out the windows. I burnt breakfast even. It snowed Christmas evening and the entire next day. There were a few small flurries the following morning but it quickly cleared up. My sincerest apologies for the crummy quality and nearly dropping the camera. Oh, PLEASE mute. You really don't want to hear me talking to the kids. LOL.

Well, after posting I went to see it and you can hardly see the chaos the snow really was. :-(  Ah, well. Most of you know what snow looks like. This was sideways snow. LOL THe wind was really cranking.