Sunday, November 24, 2013

2013 Garlic Harvest

The Holiday Season Begins! And a Recap...

I'm so excited for 4th quarter holidays this year.  Since becoming a stay at home mom I've started to enjoy holidays and their preparations a lot more.  With that being said, here are some photos from Sydney's Christmas card photo shoot.  Even with the completely mis-matched outfit I threw together she looks absolutely adorable and her personality shines right through.  I could not love this little creature any more!

Here's an awesome little project we worked on this fall...moving the garden!  The six smaller beds were relocated from another part of the yard to create this kitchen garden.  Now all I have to do is walk down from my deck to reach the garden...yay!

I think we are going to fence it in and I would also like to put in a work table on the side where my husband is standing.  We are also ambitiously planning to irrigate the beds to reduce watering by hand.

Old location of beds:

Before moving the much lawn!

Also, have you seen this?  Our new park!  The grass has finally (and beautifully) grown in and both Monkey and Sydney are thoroughly enjoying it.

 And here is my successful herb garden from this summer.  Some herbs were barely used at all and I probably won't grow them again (lime basil, sage) and others I already miss now that it's November (basil, dill,  tarragon, parsley).  I brought the oregano, rosemary and thyme inside to hopefully last the winter.  

And isn't this crazy!?  Actually, this plant climbed up into the dormers on top of the barn before the summer was over.  We only got one gourd out of it but I loved looking out the window watching it climb.  To the left are healthy beets and to the right are a lot of weeds and some onions.

I recently realized how important (and how awesome) it is to grow my own food.  Although I've had gardens for several years now this is the first time I can remember actually missing the fresh produce once it was gone.  Going to the supermarket to buy their inferior stuff is just not good enough!

As always, I learned a lot about what to grow based on what we actually eat and I'll use those notes for next year. Here are some off the top of my head...

1. No grow stand?  I think it might be worth buying all my plants as seedlings instead of racking up the electric bill indoors starting seedlings.

2. More zucchini and summer squash.  I almost didn't have any this year.

3. Carrots grew so well, I can't wait to have them again!

4. Grow some superfoods!  Kale, Goji berries and yacon are on my list right now.

5. Bulb onions were only moderately successful but it was so nice to pick fresh onions for recipes.  Definitely want to try them again.

One last thing...we recently signed the paperwork to put solar panels on our roof!  They should cover ALL of our electric needs, give or take a few kWs.  They won't go in until about March, but we are really looking forward to it.  There was a lot of stress involved in making this very large financial decision but hopefully it will work out in our favor.  I'll definitely post about that as it happens.

Friday, June 28, 2013

An Adventure in Bread Baking!

We've decided to have a short "moratorium" on spending and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to use what we already have in the house instead of food shopping.  How's that for homesteading?

This is where baking comes in handy.

I've found that once I've gone to all the effort of pulling out the mixer, huge jar of flour and all the measuring cups, I might as well bake more than one recipe. So today I made Ree Drummond's Strawberry Oatmeal Bars, Sunday Morning muffins from Sunny Anderson and these sandwich rolls.

*Note:  I am not a (good) food photographer!  And I'm using my iPhone camera today.  So there's two strikes against me.  But how about that ikat table runner? Nice, right? Got it yesterday at the best store ever, Homegoods.

I will say for the record that one reason why I am not an excellent baker is because I rarely follow a recipe exactly.  In my household this is know as "going rogue" and my husband always rolls his eyes and sighs before eating "rogue" food.  Sometimes it pays off (in that the result is still edible and fairly good-tasting) and other times I really wish I had just stuck to the recipe.  Usually I do it because I don't have all the ingredients for something that I really want to make, not because I have delusions that I can take a well-tested recipe and make it better.  For example, the muffin's I made today used strawberry jam instead of fresh strawberries, frozen blueberries instead of fresh and I threw in some oatmeal because it was sitting out on the counter.

Now, how did that work out for me?

Well, they are technically still muffins.  But they are hard.  Really hard.  But they taste good-ish!  But I probably won't make them again.

Anyway, here's how it went with the rolls:

Bread in a giant ball rising in a bowl.  So far, so good!

Roll-sized dough balls rising yet again.  I have very high hopes for these!

Spreading melted butter on the rolls and then giving them another hour to rise...

Buns in the oven! Tee Hee.


The Easy(ish) Way to Take Cod Liver Oil - The #1 Superfood!

I posted a video on Youtube and I thought it would fit in here.  Taking CLO is very important to my husband and I.  Although we don't have scientific evidence, we know it makes a huge difference in our health when we take it.  We even give it to our baby!  She gets 1ml every other day or so in her bottle.  She doesn't even notice!  And she's never been sick :)

Jam! Year 2

It came out even better than last year, if that's even possible.  I can't stop eating it!   I followed Ree Drummond's Pioneer Woman recipe again and it was totally foolproof.  Last year I had the idea that I would give some away as gifts, but once I tasted it I knew that wasn't a possibility.  I kept it all to myself!  We'll see how it goes this year...

Babies and Soap and Garlic, Oh My!

Between taking care of a baby and a household it gets really hard to post here regularly! I also had some camera/computer problems that are somewhat resolved at this point.
Here's what's been going on around here!

Soap!  And lots of it.  I've been selling at a few craft markets this summer which has been fun.  I'm sort of seeing how that goes to decide if I want to keep going with it.  It's a lot of work!

 Baby girl!  She's wild and cray-cray!  She'll be one in less that two weeks...a bittersweet moment for any mom.

And speaking of her first birthday...I've been hard at work making decorations.  Yes, I could go out and buy the typical paper princess crowns and Minnie Mouse deco, but homemade is so much better!  There's no official "theme," just a color palette I've picked out to make everything look pretty.  This photo shows ordinary streamers transformed with a sewing machine!  Simple but different. 

 Eww!  Giant spiders invading the barn.  My husband looked into it and said they were harmless tunnel building spiders of some sort.  Lovely.

 Strawberries starting to turn. That means jam is thatmuch closer!

 I over-did it on the container garden this year :)  Oh how I love fresh herbs!  There's plenty of cilantro, dill, parsley, lemon balm, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, tarragon and lime basil (highly recommended, they smell like a lime Pez candy, if such a thing exists).

 Broccoli, cabbage and bush bean patch...On the bottom of the photo you can see the peppermint that supposedly wards off cabbage butterflies.

 Garlic at eye-level.  Can't wait for this harvest.  Still the easiest and most successful crop I grow.

 Tomatoes just after I transplanted them...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April's Garden

I wanted to list out everything I have started so far to keep a record.  So here it is!

In seed trays, about 8 cells each:

Started 3/27, under lights
Red Onion
Yellow Onion

In one pot each:

Started 4/9, keeping in sunlight
Rosemary from last year

In the ground:

Garlic - 57 plants
Lettuce Mix (4/9)
Strawberries - Bed from last year

The warmer weather plants I'll start later this month, I don't really feel any rush.  I did want to get the herbs started because I feel like they'll mostly do pretty well in the spring.  I keep finding pots hiding here and there and I'm so tempted to plant something in them!

 I need more green in my life!
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