Archive for ‘garadening’

May 8, 2014

May already

Is it nearly May already? May 6th 7th 8th! I figure some day I may get this post up! It’s sad to say I started writing this the last part of April! About a week ago I was probably sitting by the wood stove keeping warm on a below average temp. day and yesterday I was sitting by our kitchen window drinking (eating?) a smoothie trying to keep cool!

One day has turned into another, as it usually often does. It’s been a whirlwind of activity around here!

Our (human) kids are almost out of school, it was one field trip or assembly or end of the year project(s) and goals to be met along with regular chores and kiddings and cold weather turning to warm.

We are done with kidding this year and all of our fresh does are milking well. We had 3 does kid in a single Saturday giving us 6 kids between them. Dawn had triples boys early one Saturday morning followed by Mags with a very good size flashy buck and doe out of Storm and Mischief ended the day with a single buck kid out of Andy.

Mischief and her buck kid and Morgan went on to their new homes the week before last. Several of the buck kids have found new homes and there are several individuals who are currently up for sale. The doe count wasn’t high this year but there are several that I would very much like to keep.

The count was:

Em: triplets (2 bucks & 1 doe)

Pejamy: twins (1 buck & 1 doe). Sadly Pejamy passed away one cold night. From what we are unsure, but given how quickly she went it’s probable it was pneumonia.

Flicker: twins (1 buck & 1 doe)

Ann: quads (3 does & 1 buck)

Apricot: twins (1 doe & 1 buck)

Dawn: triplets (3 bucks)

Mags: twins (1 buck & 1 doe)

Mischief: single (1 buck)

Melody: triplets (2 bucks & 1 doe)

Granite: single (1 doe)

March and April had us building a milk machine for a customer and dis-budding a lot of goat kids!

All but 2 of the piglets have gone on to their new homes. The smallest piglet developed a naval hernia and completely weaned herself from the sow when she was being offered a bottle twice a day, that turned into 3 times a day once she decided the bottle was better. I tried fixing the hernia several times with a few methods I read about online to no avail, she was just too small for it to work well. She was gaining weight but the amount of bottle feeding necessary was a lot of work. She habitated with the sows and her siblings fine but in the end, I felt she’d do better with more frequent feedings so she went to a home with lots of kids who could give her more attention than I could devote.

We’re keeping 2 piglets to raise up to butcher this fall. One’s for us, the other will be sold. Having piglets in February was a challenge and a learning experience but we got through okay. The hay usage for the goats was quite a lot more than usual and that tells me quite a bit about how “bad” the winter was. May 1 I had a fire in the wood stove to take the chill off Last year it snowed on May 2! However we’re in to thunderstorm season two Sunday’s ago it was sure nice to lay in bed an listen to the thunder roll through and the rain pour down.

The skeleton for the new milk barn was delivered and the metal roof went on the weekend before last (right after a storm and the sky offered the most beautiful backdrop!) . We were fortunate in that a neighbor (and master carpenter) generously helped us put up the trim pieces and what a hoot to watch him work knowing where to cut and bend the metal in all the places so it fit like a glove. It’s amazing how much faster the work goes when you’ve done it a time or two (or 500)! The work they got done in half a day surely would have taken Jeremiah and I at least 2!

 

Our bee hives are almost finished! Jeremiah and I built two beautiful top bar hives. Picking up the bees, however, has been put on hold. Apparently with the cold winter, separating the colonies has been delayed about 4 weeks which is just as well. I put a nice coat of linseed oil on the outside of the hives on Sunday to protect them from the weather.

Top Bar bee hive

 

We had a hard freeze come through about a week in to April which was about the same time last year as that ice storm we had that killed some of our newly planted fruit trees.  Those have since been replanted save for the apricot tree which we cannot find any locally! We put sheets around those that had blossoms this year and they seemed to fair very well. The pear and plum trees were loaded with fruit, I picked most of them so the tree puts nutrition into growth. We want big strong trees and not a lot of fruit the first couple of years.

I bought some heated seed mats in March to try out and suffice to say I wish I had gotten them sooner! What a difference in germination time they made! After using both cold frames to keep plants and the greenhouse we put up last year, I will say starting seeds in the cold frames had much better results. It may have been because the winter I used the cold frames were a lot less harsh than the past 2 (particularly this past winter), but it probably also had a lot to do with area. The cold frames did not loose the heat near as much as the greenhouse.

The greenhouse does a great job once the seeds have germinated. I started half of the seeds in the greenhouse this year and half in the house. Of those I started in the house, the 2nd half (mostly melons, squash, herbs and a few tomatoes and peppers) were started on the heat mats and compared to everything else seemed like light years faster. From now on I’ll start everything on the mats and move them out to the greenhouse at a few days old.

Unfortunately, our kitchen window is north facing and if not moved out fairly soon after germinating, even when rotated on the shelf, they can get “leggy” but once they germinated I’d move them into the greenhouse within a day or so. As long as the nights didn’t fall well below freezing, the greenhouse does very well for us. On the vry cold nights, I cover everything with additional plastic and sheeting right over the top of the plants. Additionally, it’s really nice to be in the the greenhouse when it’s chilly (and windy) outside. I found myself at times stopping off on the way to the barn to step inside and warm up! Planting seeds in there early spring is really nice.

Not knowing what the germination would be on some of my seeds, I over planted putting 2-3 seeds per pot. You’re supposed to pick/pull the smaller of the plants and allow the more growthy one to continue to grow in single pots but I can’t bear to sacrifice plants like that so the tomatoes and the tomatillos I  separated and transplanted. I completely forgot to even start tomatillos last year. This year I planted 40 seeds hoping to get a few (the seeds were 3 years old and last year I wasn’t all that careful about how I kept my seeds), 36 germinated! There’s a lot of tomatillos!!! I always go overboard with the tomatoes too. My Mom send me home at Christmas with 3 heirloom varieties to try I planted those along with several of my favorites including Kellogg’s Breakfast (a HUGE meaty yellow tomato).  The jalapeno seeds must have been no good because not a single one germinated so I started some from new but I don’t think they’ll be big enough to plant for a while. Everything else looks great though and I am really excited about the lemon grass that I started from seed. I’ve never grown lemon grass.

It’s almost time to put the majority of the plants in the ground. “Back Home” in Northern Cal. we aimed to have everything in by Mother’s Day. I aim for the same here see as how the last frost date is 2 weeks in to May. Nevertheless, the spring onions are ready for picking anyway and that has made me feel less like I am “behind”. Just this morning I got the entire garden tilled. After a few scoops of some compost that’s been “cooking” for a year and another till, we’ll be all set to plant Saturday.

We’ve decided to put drip irrigation in the garden. We’ll plant the entire garden and then install the hoses and drippers/sprayers so we’ll know where to place them. We really ought to do something like that for the fruit trees too. I water every Saturday as it is. I think the drip irrigation would save a lot of water. We get some pretty high winds here and I don’t always have the time to water everything by hand when the wind takes the sprinkler water and waters everything BUT the garden. It should be such a time saver!

The “meat chicks” arrived a week ago Thursday! They’ll be out on pasture in about 2 more week!

Well, I am sure I could go on and on about the goings on around here but I’ll end for now. Happy May!!!

 

 

 

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January 22, 2014

Seed starting/gardening

A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust. –Gertrude Jekyll

It’s almost that time again, spring is around the corner and I’ve got the fever! The greenhouse is back up and running again after a few modifications and my seed wishlist is complete. I’ve gone through all the seeds I’ve saved and was given and those I had left over and I am primed and ready!

I wanted to share the sites I use to determine when things are started from seeds and when I put my plants in the ground, where I order seeds from and a few different styles of gardening I like (or would like to try).

Dates for planting will vary, of course, depending on location. Some seeds can be direct sowed -meaning the seed is put right into the ground- (melons, corn, beans, carrots…), while others need a month or more to germinate and grow at warmer temps and thus need to be started indoors or inside of a greenhouse (peppers, tomatoes, some flowers…).

It’s important to know what zone you are in. Knowing this will help determine what dates are better for starting seeds and/or putting certain plants outdoors. Back home in Northern Cal. (zone 8A), we did not put the majority of the summer plants out until around May 1. As a general rule, the week/weekend before Mother’s Day was our target date to have most of the summer plants in (earlier for spring crops of course). Here in Central Kansas (zone 5B), I aim to start planting the 2nd week in May so I can be sure the chances for frost to kill my plants is slim. Putting some plants out too early may cause frost to harm them and that can lead to wasted money and time as plants may need to be re-purchased and re-planted. Starting them too early indoors can mean needing to transplant in larger pots or risk having the plant get “leggy” or root bound.

I haven’t come across a general “all inclusive” website that I like to use that encompasses all of the gardening advice or spreadsheets I use. I pick and choose information from a lot of different sources, including books! Some of my sources have overlapping info and it may be a bit redundant but I am including them anyway as it may be helpful to others.

I will also list several links at the bottom of this post to different styles of gardening I like, will be trying, have tried or would like to try. There are so many gardening styles it’s mind boggling and by no means is what I have listed all inclusive!

Find your zone here: http://www.garden.org/zipzone/

Look up your frost dates here: http://davesgarden.com/guides/freeze-frost-dates/

If you know your zone you can use this handy chart: http://www.food-skills-for-self-sufficiency.com/images/Frost-date-chart.jpg

I love Sprout Robot for a weekly schedule of planting/seed starting both indoors and out: http://sproutrobot.com/

By entering your zip code and “x’ing” out of the pop up window, it will give you a weekly run down of what to do. For further details (instructions, etc.), you must pay to join but I like this handy dandy free tool to keep me on track.

I also love this one! Once you know your last frost date, enter it into the box and it will tell you when to start your seeds and set out your plants! http://www.johnnyseeds.com/e-pdgseedstart.aspx

I use this plant/harvest print-out as a tool throughout the year: http://gardnercommunitygarden.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Kansas-Garden-Calendar.jpg

This guide below is in my “Kansas Garden Guide” book that I picked up at our county extension office but I found this same one through a Google image search. I have seen them for many different states. If you Google image search “(your state) garden guide” you may find one for your state. They don’t usually vary too much. I have listed a couple on a quick search. Try calling your county extension/research/ag dept., they are usually a wealth of information!

Texas: http://www.newgardenidea.me/2013/05/vegetable-garden-planting-guide.html

Mo: http://www.igrowsonoma.org/images/year-round-chart.jpg

Wy: http://myflowerland.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/vege-guide.jpg

Here is a handy general planting guide: http://parkseedjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Parks-Veg.-Plant-Guide3.jpg

It doesn’t take a lot to grow your own food. Even a container or two with a few pots of tomatoes on an apartment balcony can be rewarding. I love to see community gardens popping up!

Lasagne Gardening:

Potatoes grown in bags and containers:

Straw bale gardening:

General “all-purpose” gardening sites:

Amending your soil:

Hardening your plants:

Pinching (pruning tomatoes):

Pest control:

Gardening Forums:

Germination temperature:

A few of my favorite online seed stores (usually they will send you a seed catalog for free even if you don’t order). I like to try to stick with organic non-GMO seeds.

Books I love:

  • Vegetable Gardener’s Bible
  • Sunset’s Western Garden Book

Happy planting!

January 21, 2014

A week in photos

It was such a busy week! I managed to finish Rachel’s quilt for her 10th birthday, a project that’s been 2 years in the making. I fall into UFO (unfinished object) funks and quilts in particular fall to the wayside unfortunately but finishing it has given me renewed vigor to finish a few that have been on the back burner.

This was a sentiment I heard at one time. I don’t know the author to credit but suffice to say, these are borrowed words.

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King and Snow doing what King and Snow do. The sun’s out and it’s day time which means they snooze and relax and keep watch.

king

snow

Sunday was gorgeous and the goats were thoroughly enjoying the sunshine. We finally got the round bales off the trailer. The girls had pretty much eaten one entire bale down to 1/4 of what it started as. We unloaded it into the barnyard so they could munch on it. Most of them just turned in into a cozy bed . Most of the does are bred, some further along than others. It’s a time of growing good healthy babies!

Mother Daughter Flicker and Bourbon

Mother Daughter Flicker and Bourbon

hay bale free for all

Granite

Granite

While there isn’t a whole lot to eat from the looks of it, the pigs enjoy nibbling the grasses and rooting up tasty things. Ann is due to farrow around February 14.

Ann

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The chickens still range in the winter and find tasty tidbits to eat, there was still a little snow on the ground last week.

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Sunday Jeremiah and I finished the greenhouse by installing the back window and the plastic on front and back. we also put pipe insulation over the end of the panel and maybe that will cause a little less wear and tear. The strips of lumber that the plastic is rolled up in seems to be doing a good job. We had some pretty forceful winds last night and all it all looks good.I am so eager to start seeds. I went through what I saved from last year and what was left over. I hope to start a lot of flower seeds this year along with all the veg.

Front

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back

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greenhouse window from inside

Em kidded on Sunday while we worked on the greenhouse. I checked on her every so often. The first kid (boy) was totally breech but he delivered fine. The 2nd kid (doe) was still encased in her sack. I am glad I was there. Usually they are not delivered in their sack and there is no obstruction. When they are, if the doe is not attentive or there isn’t anyone there, they generally suffocate. The 3rd kid (a buck) was delivered about 20 minutes later without incident and Em looks fantastic. Shes enjoying a stall to herself to get to know her kids. I’ll post more photos later, these kids are super flashy!

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The following photo was not taken last week, but it is a reminder that we have our nuc colonies ordered from Butler Bees. Jeremiah and I are going to tackle the top bar bee hives and leave the langstroth hives to the construction class.

Well, there it was. We were at an auction Saturday and managed to bring home a pretty decent haul of lumber, a huge miscellaneous lot of trim/moulding/baseboards, 125 sheets of sheet rock and 13+ new bundles of shingles. I haven’t yet decided if we’ll shingle the new milk house, I’ll have to chew on that some more. We’re trying to stay somewhat color & material coordinated, the shingles on the house are brown, everything else is metal. We’re going with metal.

January 13, 2014

Weekend = Greenhouse

Ahhh, always such great expectations as to what we can accomplish in one weekend. I will say that with really getting into a good cardio routine, I am feeling SO much better! I’m not waking up feeling like my back is about to break, no pain in my hips (probably because my legs feel like they’re going to fall off from the post-workout burn HA HA!) and around about the 3 o’clock hour when normally I would really want to take a nap I am feeling just as perky as the 10 o’clock hour. That coupled with our dietary changes, a week’s time has really made a difference! Thank heavens! Not to mention I am daily getting a good look at the fencing along the property line as I quickly make my way around. I always said I need to check it more. What was fun was seeing it with snow on the ground. There were so many different prints including a bobcat and from the looks of it, he/she was hot on the trail of a bunny.

That said, part of our weekend was taken up with a trip to town to the hardware store to gather a few things to fix up the greenhouse. We had also hoped to get wood splitting in there and while the weather was absolutely gorgeous, the prior evening’s rainfall coupled with the existing snow made for a bit of a small lake which made access to the green house a pain! The wood splitter and pile was still covered by snow too so Saturday was kind of a wash. I opted to clean the house instead. It was a good trade, I guess. Jeremiah visited the neighbor to weld a tow bar, I think. Although I think a lot of his time over there was spent chit chatting…and they say women yack a lot! Shew.

Sunday we made up for Saturday’s lack of outside work and we got to work ripping the 2×4’s to make the new greenhouse door, and what a mighty nice door it is. We unintentionally framed for a window when we originally built it but covered it up with plastic last year and did not opt for a window. I thought I might like to have a window this year so we can get a bit more air flow in there on the very warm days so we built one of those too.

The window isn’t completed yet. We ran out of screws to attach the strips (top and bottom).

The biggest issue with the greenhouse was the plastic being torn off the frame. We stapled it last year but the wind proved to be too much. Friends of ours mentioned putting up a high tunnel. I looked at the plans for it and took a queue on how their plastic was attached. (Here is the link if you’d like to check out the link on how to build an inexpensive high tunnel: http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Project-Products/Western-SARE-Project-Products/Constructing-a-Low-Cost-High-Tunnel. There is a PDF file that goes a long with it with a materials list and what not). I love this idea, I’ve seen a lot like them and we often think about putting something like this up for year round gardening. For the moment however, our little greenhouse is more than sufficient.

At any rate, they cut their plastic larger than the opening and rolled thin strips of lumber up in them and attached with screws. I think we had thought about doing that last year and we did along the bottom frame but ended up not on the upper portion. I’m convinced the strips are the answer.

We also cut a diagonal to go from the door frame to the top of the shelf just as a additional location to attach the plastic (not installed yet). It’s not needed for structural support. Hopefully this fix will last us a few years.

We never did get to the wood pile and the greenhouse isn’t completely put back together but hopefully after just a couple more hours and I’ll be ready to start seeds. Lots of other little tasks were completed though and I am grateful for that. The weekends pass by so quick and particularly this time of year, the weather can make or break it.

This spring-like weather has me feelin’ the spring fever. I think it does for a lot of people but there’s still a lot of winter yet left. Seeds still need to be planted soon though and it’s nice to think about spring being on its way anyway!

Have a great Monday!

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September 11, 2013

Chile Verde

Our pepper plants have been great producers this year. I completely forgot to start tomatillo seeds and for that I kick myself because I wanted them for verde sauce but this sauce, oh my goodness!!! It’s delicious!

chile verde1

6-8 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup white flour

1 large white onion

3 cloves garlic

kosher salt to taste

4 jalapenos (or other small hot pepper, optional)

2 lbs. Anaheim chiles

Olive oil

Roast peppers over open flame or in an iron skillet until well blistered, their color will lighten some, they’ll become charred. Put into paper bag and seal or into a stainless steel bowl that you have a lid or cover for. Allow to steam until cool enough to handle. Once cool, they’ll slough their skin fairly easily, remove seeds and as much skin as you choose (some do this under water, some do not, the choice is yours).

Dice one medium white or yellow onion and skin 3-4 cloves or garlic and smash, put into large pot with some olive oil (1/8 cup), over low/medium heat saute until tender, add roughly chopped peppers & flour. Stir to coat. Add chicken stock and let it all come to a slow simmer, the stock should thicken some due to the flour. – you could omit the flour completely and allow the blended peppers to be your only thickener-.

Let it simmer for 10 minutes or so and place in a blender or use a stick blender to blend it into an oblivion. Funnel into canning jars and preserve or freeze. Should keep for 4-5 days in the fridge.

This can be used for pork verde, for enchiladas or as a salsa! It’s delicious with chips and I am not a bit sad at all that there wasn’t any room left for this small pint jar in my pressure canner! Enjoy!

chile verde

September 9, 2013

Farm update: September

What a busy summer it’s been! Each morning as I begin l livestock chores there is almost a smell of fall in the air. It’s not quite here yet but I expect it very soon.

Garden:

The garden has done very well for us this year and continues to. This morning I cut the dying sunflower blooms off of their stalks and will dry them to use the seeds next summer. We had very lovely sunflowers this year!

Some of the heirloom tomatoes are just starting to ripen while the cherries, romas and “standards” have been producing for a while. In fact, I have a pot of water on the stove as I type this getting ready to sterilize some jars as I made tomato sauce on Saturday that I need to can. A friend of mine gave me a gallon of homemade grape juice from her own grapes that I will be making in to grape jelly too.  I intend to start a verde sauce today with the Anaheim chilies. The pepper plants did extremely well this year and we’ve been eating jalapeno poppers quite often which is quite OK by us, we love them!

We’ve been enjoying melons for several weeks and green beans and eggplant. The potatoes are ready to dig. I dug some about 2 weeks ago and we had tasty fried taters with steak that night!

The bugs have been very bad this year though, no doubt due to the all the rain we got in August. I lost most of the broccoli and cabbage but I left the plants and they seem to be coming back so I think grasshopper season has passed. We put “Turkena” the turkey in the garden and she did a good job keeping the bugs down but there’s only so much one turkey can do! The carrots are just about ready to pull up and they look really good. I planted them in May and just put another hand full of seeds into the ground for carrots later on. I should get some cabbage and broccoli and all the cool weather crops started soon too.

Growing the cucumbers and melons vertically this year turned out to be a very great thing! I was super happy with the results and it’s something I plan to do again next year.

The greenhouse will need a little help before next season, I think we’ll go ahead and board up the “front” and “back”. The wind was quite unkind to the plastic in that area but over the hoop it held up beautifully and it did such an amazing job for us getting our seeds started early.

Animals:

2 of the does were bred last month for late January kids but after reading the Farmer’s Almanac Prediction for this winter I have to wonder if holding them to kid in July may not be better =). The first fresheners who kidded in June are producing beautifully. We weathered all the kids and I think I will try to see if I can keep them in milk over Christmas when we go to California so we have milk again when we come back. Though it does mean I won’t get a break except while we’re gone and I really enjoy that break! I guess we’ll play that by ear.

The piglets are growing so well, this weekend the boys who are not going to breeding homes will be castrated and next week they will head off to their new homes. I have really enjoyed them tremendously…so active and lively. Ann has been such a great mother and milk producer and it’s just been such a wonderful experience. I really look forward to another litter some time next year.

We have a fox back that has taken a few chickens. One morning about a month ago I was enjoying coffee at the kitchen table looking out onto the back yard around 6:30 in the morning and saw one jet across the yard with a chicken nearly in its jaws. I screamed bloody murder at it waking the entire house and it was either do that and have it run away or not scream at it and have it run away with my hen in its mouth…either way there was little chance we’d get a shot off. It stood there for a while and looked at me like ‘what did I do?’.

Jeremiah has been calling it in for several mornings now and saw it yesterday but it’s was just dark enough he couldn’t tell for 100% certainty that it was indeed a fox so he left it be and it’s not responded to the call since,  little bugger.

We’ve scheduled to butcher up this second batch of meat chickens for several weekends now but it’s just been so hot that it wouldn’t be at all fun but temps look like they’ll be in the 80’s this coming weekend and it’s now or never. They are small turkeys at this point and need to be processed. They all still look fantastic though and I was happier with this batch over the last and I was really quite happy with the last batch too! But I think with all the rain we had in August, the grass was so green and there were so many bugs these grew so very well. It’s definitely something we’ll do again next year and I even considered doing another batch this summer/fall because I had more customers than I had birds but I worry about volatile weather and the grass is starting to turn and I think it’s just best if we call it a summer on those.

Speaking of this weekend though, it’s the dairy goat show at the Kansas State Fair. We’re not going. I was worried I’d be sad that we weren’t but to be truthful, it’s a huge relief! We’ve just been busy and thinking about clipping everyone up again is just not on my top list of things I want to do. Everyone is milking well and I’d like to keep it that way. Not to mention the cost involved and the running back and forth and hugely early mornings and late nights, I’ll be happy to be the spectator and the helper, if it’s needed…if we even get down there for the show once all the chickens are done and there’s a lot of them…for us anyway, over 60 but we’ll have a butchering trailer this time with chicken plucker. I don’t mind plucking and it doesn’t take me very long but if I can save my hands and joints the work for as inexpensive as it is to rent, I’m all for that.

Rachel wanted specific chickens to raise for 4-H this year and after a few delays our local farm store finally got their chicks in this past Friday. I went down there and picked out 6 for her- 3 buff orpingtons and 3 barred rocks. I also have a batch in the incubator right now that will be ready to go on lock down tomorrow. I put in 16, one didn’t look to be fertile after a week and another just quit growing so of the 16, I have 14 left and they all look very good. Each new batch seems to better and better in the incubator and maybe this time we’ll be close to 75% hatch rate. I like raising chicks this time of year because it’s still warm enough most days not to need a heat lamp and by the time it turns cold they are ready to be outside with the other chickens.

General:

I’ve chosen a design for the new milk barn and we intend to start on that once the weather turns a bit cooler. I don’t know that we’ll get it done before winter but the mere fact the water and electric is in was one big step for us.

All this work around the farm means sometimes the house goes to the wayside and we’re always in a constant state of remodel. Several weekends ago I drug out the paint brush and paint and got to work putting high gloss white on baseboards and trim. We completely gutted and remodeled a 2 bedroom rental house in town and after painting nearly that entire thing alone, I seriously have a bad taste in my mouth for painting and have a hard time bringing myself to even think about putting a drop of pain on anything! But, I figure if I do a little at a time eventually it’ll all get done….maybe! Maybe though the stuff that was painted a long time ago will need to be RE-painted again! UGH!

We’ve been talking for the past couple of years of putting in one of those really large stand alone wood stoves  and piping it into the house via the existing duct work. This may be the fall to really do it instead of just talking about it.  As October approaches we start to think about wood cutting and splitting and that’s a chore that will be upon us soon. We had very little left last season. It seems we went through quite a bit and by all accounts I think it was a pretty mild winter…long, but mild. After taking a weekend in March and gathering rounds and logs from the woods and putting them in our wood cutting area, it’s all ready to go into the wood splitter.

The children went back to school just after Labor Day and I am back to being alone during the day, it’s a little lonely but I get a lot more sewing done. I am back to quilting on Rachel’s quilt and have just the smallest amount left to do. Then I can bind it and it’ll be ready! It should serve her well if it’s real cold this winter. The batting I used was bamboo fleece, it’s a heavy quilt! Several other project have been keeping me busy along with the cloth diapers.

Well, I promised the children I’d take them to the fair today and tonight is the demolition derby we intend to watch with friends. I don’t understand how people can visit the fair every day but it seem there are lots and lots of people who will go nearly everyday. It’s just too hot and crowded for me to do that more than once!

I suppose that’s about all for now. The pressure cooker is whistling at me so I need to start timing my ‘mater sauce and switch over the sprinkler for the garden. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week!

August 20, 2013

Cilantro lime chicken tostadas

cilantro lime poached chicken (home raised & pastured)

I used a pressure cooker to “poach” my chicken but you could simmer it on the stove or bake it as well but poaching it gives me such a rich broth. I’ve also talked about using a pressure cooker before to make broth (http://wp.me/pN3hE-HN). I have a gallon and a half of cilantro and lime infused broth to make chicken tortilla soup with =).

I place a whole skinned chicken in my pressure cooker with enough water to cover or reach the fill line (whichever is first), a good bunch of washed cilantro and a whole washed lime sliced thinly. A small handful of sea salt and cook for 45 minutes once it comes up to pressure or simmer for at least a few hours.

When ready to assemble:
Fry a tortilla in a little oil (I like sunflower oil) until lightly crisp (or oven bake brushed with a little oil bake at 375 for approx. 12 minutes). Shred cooled chicken and assemble on top of the tortilla.

Additions: black olives, cheese (jack, cheddar, pepper jack, queso blanco, etc.), sour cream or Greek yogurt, lettuce, green onions, red onions, tomatoes, salsa, refried beans, bean and corn salsa (black beans, red onions and corn marinated in a little cilantro and lime), avocado, green salsa or even a nice cheesy vinaigrette if you need it.

A healthy & light, yet filling, summer meal!

August 3, 2013

Greenhouse Part 3

To read prior posts on the greenhouse, go here: Greenhouse part 1 and 2

I realized, after glancing through older posts, that I never posted photos of the finished greenhouse shelving.  We started 99% of our plants this year in this greenhouse and have a lovely garden to show for it! Super happy with how this turned out!

 

We used cedar fence boards for our shelving along with some 2×4’s. I think we got 3 separate panels from a regular 8′ board. I suppose if you had a supply of pallets, you could use those too =).

Have a few upgrades to make. Please realize, we get really really bad winds here, OFTEN! The plastic over the hoop held up beautifully. The plastic on the front and back was no match for the last storm it went through with 60 MPH steam-line winds. By that point, however, it was already warm enough that everything was already planted anyway.  If we had doubled  the plastic it may have been been OK but this was a “use what we had” project and there was only enough plastic to do a single layer on the outside. Before this fall, we may just go ahead and redo the front and the back with lap board siding. TO be continued…

 

greenhousegreenhouse shelving

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