Thursday, January 29, 2015

rosemary salt

I'm still working on ways to use up all the rosemary prunings I cut over the weekend.  Rosemary salt is a fresh infusion of flavor, and so quick to make.

2 TBSP finely chopped rosemary
1 TBSP kosher salt
Zest of 1 large lemon, finely chopped

Mix together!  :)
Let sit a day or so until mixture is dry.

This is great on roasted potatoes, popcorn, and on top of my rosemary olive buns instead of the plain kosher salt in step 11 of the recipe.  Of course, A. likes to take a pinch and simply pop it in his mouth - no food needed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

around the farm week 4

These last few mornings there has been fog at the bottom of our hill.  It burns off around 10:00 and then the sun shines brilliantly so that we are all going around in t-shirts outside.  When evening comes the fog returns and settles back in.  I love the look of it and so does A., who snapped this picture to share.

We've been really enjoying the break in rain and have been catching up on our vitamin D.  This past week I weeded the beds along the west side of the house where I have mainly bulb and corm plants, and I weeded and pruned the herbs in the herb bed.  I was disappointed that two of my lavender plants did not make it through the winter.  My hope is to have a solid hedge of rosemary in the back near the house wall, then a solid hedge of lavender and finally the same in chives in the front of it all.  Right now the rosemary is starting to come together in some sections, but I have gaps from where I had to pull some rosemary earlier, and of course where I just pulled the lavender.  I took cuttings from both these herbs and am attempting to propagate them.  With a little luck, I can plant them later and to fill in the gaps.

Big J. and Little J. spent time chopping wood.  There are some plans to possibly sell cords this fall after we put up the wood we need for the year, and Little J. is pitching in his muscle to earn a bit of cash from the project.

A. has taken over most of the care of the tomato seedlings.  I set up a fan so we can have wind blow on them twice a day.  This will help strengthen them so when they go outside they are hardier, and it keeps them from getting too leggy inside.  A. likes turning on the fan and setting the timer on his watch so he knows when to shut the fan off again.  I like that he's so meticulous about this chore as I'm a bit flighty and would often forget to do this twice a day like I'm supposed to.

The chickens have really picked up on their egg laying.  I have a lot of young ones that have started laying and I'm now averaging 19 eggs a day - which is phenomenal as it's winter and they slow down this season (I have 45 birds if you are wondering).  I'm getting so many that I think it's time to put the word out again!  Ohhhh, and guess what?!  I got my first duck egg of the season yesterday!  Or, at least the first I found - they can be sneaky so there may be a nest that I have yet to discover.  This is really exciting as I have big duckling plans!!

Lastly, the hummingbirds are back.  I got buzzed by one on Sunday when I was outside, which prompted me to quickly make the sugar water and hang the feeders up.  Sure enough, they've been at the feeders many times.  I love seeing them!

Monday, January 26, 2015

rosemary roasted almonds

This weekend was so gorgeous that it made outside work a pleasure.  Yesterday I shaped my rosemary bushes and brought in the clippings.  I ended up with quite a bit to play with.  This led me to searching out some new recipes to try out.

some prunings

I ended up making these roasted almonds.  They are fantastic, and you can find the recipe here if you want to try them yourselves.  I used fresh rosemary, but I don't see why dried wouldn't work as well. Also, I added a bit more rosemary than they called for as I like the flavor to really pop.

yum yum!

These are great and this morning only a dirty dish is left.  I think I'll be making these again soon.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

around the farm - week 2, week 3

Things have been pretty slow on the farm front.  Right now it seems to be all about planning for the coming season.  That said, we've gotten some things accomplished:

  • Different varieties of tomatoes have been started and are just starting to pop through the soil.
  • Last of the fruit trees pruned for the season.
  • Plastic anchored on trampoline greenhouse one way - still trying to figure out best way to cover the sides.
  • Chicks ordered for the year - wanted some varieties I didn't have.  
  • Hatching plans firmed up and timeline set to fulfill orders.
  • Old green house dismantled and junk man hauled it and other debris away (super yay!).

This coming week, I hope to get more seeds started, and two pear trees planted.  I also want to clean up the herb bed and shape the rosemary and lavender in it.  

Finally, I am currently obsessed with eggplants.  I so want to grow a glut of eggplants this year. Every year, I either start eggplants from seed or buy starts.  I get them to a healthy teenager stage - and then somehow things go south.  They seem to end up doing any of the following 1) bear little, or stunted fruit 2) not bear at all 3) flat out die.  For this week, I hope to learn all about eggplanty hopes and dreams.  With this knowledge, I'll become one with the eggplant, and grow the best, most awesome eggplants ever! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

greenhouse - redneck style

What do you do when you realize you really, really need greenhouse space asap so you can start seedlings that need to be ready by May?  Add to that the following information:  1) your original greenhouse has been destroyed by the windstorm and 2 panicky goats -although to be honest, it had been limping along with annual applications of gorilla tape to keep the plastic windows from blowing out 2) Your small pop-up style greenhouse will be put to use, however it won't hold as much as you need it to 3) you don't have the moolah yet for your ideal greenhouse and don't want to sink any money into something less.

What do you do?  It's simple - you sic a Z. on it - or three.  My honey came to the rescue as usual.  He read about using the natural temperature control of soil banks for starting seeds early and in harsh conditions.  He then proceeded to shape our front hillside and took half of the metal I saved from an old trampoline to use as a frame.

Here they are at the top, getting ready to throw the plastic over the frame down to me.

Then we threw the plastic the other way and pinned it down with materials we had on hand, leaving a flappy opening for me to get in and out of.

Now, we need to clamp the plastic to the frame so it doesn't blow off in the next wind.  Inside, I have enough area for 3 separate beds.  Two on the top and one on the bottom.  After we shape the inside a bit more, and add cinder blocks to hold the soil in place it will be ready to go.  With this, I hope to start feeding the family greens/radishes by Feb/March, and have enough started to transplant and be ready for my veggie boxes in May.

This isn't the prettiest or most elegant solution.  But it works. Sometimes you hobble things together and hobble along.  I love that I have something ready to use right away and we were able to take items already on hand and reuse them.

Now for the really fun part - planting!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

around the farm week 1

This week is all about preparing for the growing season.  I always love planting and have a good idea of what we need for the year.  However, there are a few twists that I'm working on that makes this year more exciting:

1) Grow enough to feed 15 families besides ourselves from Mid-May until Mid-October.
2) Attempt my first year round/non-stop garden for our family.
3) Grow fodder for the animals.
4) Put in a cutting garden to supplement the business.

I began rummaging through my leftover seed boxes and made a list up of what I wanted to purchase for the year.

No, really! I'm not a seed hoarder!

My fellas surprised me by buying some of the seeds on my wish list as a Christmas present, and I also placed an order for some of the remaining items.  When my order came in my happiness knew no bounds!  Squeeee!

I still have about 5 more types of seeds that I want to purchase from another company and I will be doing that soon.  Other than that, I feel I'm good to go.

On the poultry side of things, my first spring orders are trickling in for chicks, ducklings, and hatching eggs, which is thrilling!  I love having chicks and ducklings running around the place and am delighted to share them with others.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Flower gifts

This Christmas, Flower received a new bed from A.  She loves it and spends quite a bit of the day snoozing all snuggled in.

If this bed isn't enough of a perk for the retired feline, she is also commemorated in this cute flowered cat from Momsie. Here is the original Flower by the new Flower.

"we're gorgeous"

"No, I will not share my treats."