Monday, August 8, 2022

God is so Good

Beets and Cayenne Peppers
 Wow, we have been so blessed this year with our harvests, that we have been too busy to blog.  Here we are 3 months after deciding not to go to the grocery store eating gourmet meals and storing up so much that we are running out of room.  It reminds me of the loaves and the fishes story in the bible.  We started out with just some seeds. . .

For breakfast this morning our meal was so beautiful I had to take a picture of it.  Sweet potatoes fried with bell peppers, sunny side up eggs cooked in a little gravy left from last nights country style steak, and some Crimson Sweet watermelon.  I didn't make it for a picture, and believe it or not, this meal was not an anomaly.  Life is good!

Okra and Spaghetti Squash

Juliette Tomatoes
 Every day we are harvesting and putting up   vegetables, herbs, spices, drying seeds for   next year.  Life is never boring, nor are we   sedentary.  We have invited friends to come   and pick as well, so their pantry benefitted   while we enjoyed keeping the plants in condition with someone else's labor.  The more you pick, the more food the plants produce.  

Monday, June 27, 2022

Harvest Season in Full Swing

 First of all, two months into our no grocery store challenge, we decided we had to go to the grocery store.  Not for our day to day cooking - that is going fabulously well.  With the garden coming in the food has moved into great variety.  However, we discovered we had not planned for our canning and preserving supplies.  And letting produce go during this crazy time in America would not have been a good idea.  So we bought walnuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil and sugar.  The sugar for jelly and winemaking, the rest for pesto sauce.  Life is good!

Our garden has been going crazy.  Just look at today's haul:  

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Harvest Season Has Begun!

A month and a half into the challenge of not going to grocery stores or restaurants, the broccoli came in.  Yay!!  I was getting tired of asparagus.  So far, in addition to eating everything we wanted, we put 14 bags of broccoli and 12 bags of asparagus into the freezer (quart sized bags).

Then the zucchini, yellow squash, some blueberries and a cucumber came in.  So two one gallon bags of yellow squash were added to the freezer in addition to using some for a meal or two, 4 quarts of sliced zucchini added to freezer, some blueberries added to a freezer bags.

Next, I picked all the string beans and we put up 7 quarts of green beans and 2 quarts of frozen green beans.

Some friends came over.  Anna was the ringleader, and showed us how to make lasagna using strips of zucchini for noodles.  

Then I used all the leftover sliced zucchini to make some spicy zucchini relish.  

Let me get this straight.  We ate all the vegetables we wanted and put some away in the freezer and in canning jars?  Learned how to make Zucchini Lasagna with friends?  Then was able to make some spicy zucchini relish with the leftovers?  God is good!

Sunday, May 15, 2022

No Grocery Stores or Restaurants for a Year

Herb Garden
Yorkshire/Duroc Cross Pigs
 On May 1st, we challenged ourselves to no grocery stores or restaurants for a year.  Now keep in mind, this is after working on our farm for 10 years, expanding our knowledge of growing things, our fruit and nut trees aging into fruitful years, and reading everything we can get our hands on.  We are already successful in growing our own beef, chicken, and pork, growing gardens, trees and vines, equipping our place with plans B and C, and have indeed not been going to the grocery store much.  

The Blueberries and blackberries are ripening in a few weeks, so they are next on the harvest list.

The gardens are planted, both the main garden and the one we call the chicken garden.  We originally called it this because it was designed to grow food for the chickens and was located near the chicken coop.  

Main Garden

Chicken Garden
We have raised a fresh batch of egg layers, and they are keeping our egg cartons full, as well as providing us with some to share.  

Free Range Egg Layers

This also looks like a banner year for our fruit trees, and here are a couple of examples.  Life is good!


Asian Pears

Friday, May 6, 2022

Busy Spring

 So much going on.  Made strawberry rocks to keep birds from pecking my strawberries.  If I can just keep the dogs from carrying them off.  lol

Got an LGD Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd mix.  Even at 4 months, he was already as big as my border collie mix dogs.    He is a sweetie with our grandchildren.  

Put new shoe strings into my old farm work shoes.  Lol.  I keep thinking it won't take long to work them in.

Made more rain barrels.

Had an Easter Egg hunt.  Chocolate - mmm, mmm, good.

And opened our produce stand (among other things.)  Life is good!

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Spring Tree and Vine Planting

 Today we planted some trees and vines here in zone 7B.  We planted male and female fuzzy kiwi vines in the growing area.  We left plenty of room to construct a trellis beside them.

An All-In-One Almond Tree next to our hazelnuts in the backyard.  This time we chose to put it in a dog protected area as the deer killed our others by trying to scratch their antlers on the young trees.

Lastly, we planted three hazelnut trees as replacements from some that did not make it.

This year we ordered from Burnt Ridge Nursery in Onalaska, Washington.  I have to admit that so far I was impressed by the size of the bare root stock.

May God bless these vines and trees to be fruitful and healthy.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Pre-Spring Farm Work

 Past experience helps with planning for the year and making it happen.  We knew we needed some pork for the freezer coming up, so bought two piglets to grow.  Meet Pinkie and Dottie.  We often sing to the old song "Frankie and Johnnie".  Luckily we had all the equipment from the past, but had to drag it out and put it together.  We have had them for not quite two weeks and they have already grown quite a bit. 

Speaking of having grown quite a bit, The seedlings have grown and several of the plants have been transplanted to have more space to themselves.  Some new items we have added this year are:  Chicory to try as a coffee substitute, cumin which I use all the time, sage which I have been buying as a plant, and Tulsi Basil which can help regulate blood sugar and is a good all around medicinal.  

Last year was the first year our Paw Paw trees bloomed but did not make fruit.  Upon further reading, it seems that the trees need to draw flies over to pollinate the blooms.  As the blooms are a non-descript brown, many recommend adding something that will draw in flies.  Some suggested hanging a dead fish in the branches.  Me, I figured if I could clean out the barn, surely that cow manure would bring over the flies and two jobs done at once.  Fingers crossed.

My husband went to help a friend with some pigs and brought home meat for the freezer on which he is practicing his charcuterie skills.  Great job honey!  Thanks Kirsten and Walter!

Life is Good!

Saturday, January 29, 2022

January Farm Work

It's so nice to work in our greenhouse on a cold day! My husband actually had the same idea, so we had to share.

 He was working on getting a bee hive up to par as we hope this year we can split the   hive instead of having them all fly away. . .Wish us luck! It's really good to have some inspiring friends like Victor and Nancy! Thanks guys!

I was working on planting our peppers for the spring.  Today I planted 24 bell peppers in mixed colors (Ferry Morse), 6 of cayenne (seeds saved from last year), and 6 jalapeno (mild saved from last year's seed packet).  

Our other seedlings are making good progress.  In these two flats are broccoli (one flat), snow peas, cauliflower, and cabbage (second flat).  So far, so 

New herb rack from scrap wood, leftover paint, saved peanut butter jars, and printed labels.

Other than that, this is the time for home maintenance, growing out some new pullets (chicken flock maintenance), starting our lean-to shed on the nice days, and experimenting with cooking all of our wonderful garden treasures and sitting in front of the wood stove.  Life is good.