Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I just saw that a local u-pick has peaches....for $50 a bushel!!! What?!?!

I will be planting peach trees this year...just saying.

Have you had my peach salsa?  (Recipe gifted to me by the wonderful KimV) It is just the end all!

OK...taking a deep breath....back to our regular programming.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Zucchini Spread

Everyone I know is currently overrun with zucchini!  This is the first year I have had this "problem"  I have always lamented that "for once" I would like to be the one with WAAAAY too much zucchini...rather than having to go buy some.  Well, God answered my plea and we have zucchini everywhere!  I grew both green zucchini and the golden variety.  So in searching for fun ways to eat the stuff (we love it grilled, but after a week, we need to try something new) I've found some outstanding recipes.  Of course, I usually take recipes as a guideline...so my variations are somewhat different.

3 pounds zucchini, cut into a 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
5 garlic cloves, gently smashed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4-5 turns of a pepper grinder

Place a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter and allow them to melt together. Roughly chop the smashed garlic and add it to the pan. Add the zucchini cubes. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the zucchini has begun to soften. Strip the thyme leaves off their stems and add them to the skillet
Reduce the heat and continue to cook, stirring often. The goal is to melt the zucchini into a spreadable paste. The goal is to cook the liquid out of the zucchini and intensify the flavors without reducing it to total mush. If at any point, the zucchini starts to brown, add a splash of water (or white wine if you happen to have an open bottle-I don't know how it happened...I didn't have any wine to add) and reduce the heat a bit more.

Total cooking time should be right around an hour. Three pounds of zucchini typically yields around two cups of spread.

Once cooked, the spread will last up to one week in the fridge. Serve on toasted baguette rounds or crackers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More beans....and it is HOT!

We are still harvesting beans and zucchini and anxiously awaiting tomatoes and peppers.  I am disappointed with the amount of cucumbers we've gotten this year.  Usually by this time we have had cucumber and tomato salad about 47 times....only twice this year....Sheryl:  The secret to the salad is to premake it and leave it in the fridge for about an hour (at least)...and sssshhhhh the secret sauce is.....italian dressing from the packet made up instead of from a bottle.  :)

It is supposed to be 98* today...with I think 150% humidity.  I don't mind heat it's the "stupidity" I don't like!!  But we need a few heat days so the tomatoes will start changing color. So....

The juvey chickens are doing well as are the young turkeys.  I let them free range yesterday and they came back to their coop last night.  We haven't had any more raccoon killings since the dogs have taken their posts.  I think it may be time for the cats to live near the house....I keep hearing mice in the house, and we've caught 2 in the past two days.  I have seen Tommy carrying a mouse so I know they are doing their job out in the barn.  Timmy (formerly Molly) is very shy and that's perfect for a barn cat.  Tommy is shy in the morning...but then in the evening, he'll come up to the gate to wait for us to come out and do chores.  He will climb up on the wood pile and get up onto my shoulder (I'm the only one not allergic, so I'm the one they climb on.)

Funny thing is that now Drake (the older male duck) is now following us around when it is chore time.  If you were afraid of ducks, this might freak you out as their way of communicating is hissing.  So he is always bobbing his head and hissing at me.  But this is not because of meanness....he wants dog food.  He will eat the "fowl" food....but yumm....if he can have some kibble....his life is complete!  So I made the mistake of feeding him some as I took food to the working dogs...and now every evening when we are getting everyone put to bed....he follows me everywhere...and I give in and give him a few morsels...pretty much guaranteeing that he will be back tomorrow!

So I get to go pick up my kid from camp in about 2 hours!  Woo Hoo!  And then we have a day of running around town doing errands (not his favorite thing to do....but I'll get to hear everything about camp!)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Life on the Farm

It's gotten really busy around here! I've been mentally blogging as I do other things, but dont' seem to get it actually down.  Geez, whoever can come up with a mind-to-type system has my $$

So it's over half way through the summer and what is happening.....

Today my boy is at sleep-away summer camp.  I'm praying he has found a friend.  His buddy that was supposed to go with him ended up staying at his grandfather's for over 3 weeks. His friend's"Pap" was involved in an accident and the family stayed with him and Grandma while Pap was in the hospital.  "Pap" is doing better, but it was a very serious accident and he has a long road to recovery.  Praying for them!

So, luckily for this overprotective mama, the camp is just past the corn field across the road.  We can hear the kids in the evening when they are singing in Chapel.  This is the same camp he went to last year, so things are at least familiar.  He'll be home on Wednesday.
We lost our beloved Arica last week.  We're not sure exactly what happened, but Arica and Buffy both started limping. I checked their feet, but couldn't find a sore or cut.  She was still eating, but couldn't get around very well.  She was staying in the yard near the "pond".  Well, something got her.  I found her feathers and distinctive beak yesterday...sigh.  Boy put Buffy in the moveable coop with the juvey birds to keep her safe.  He is not happy that we are planning on sending her and a few of the other older girls to "freezer camp." 

We have two broody chicken hens...one of which is sitting on TWENTY eggs! She made a nest in the middle of the overgrown asparagus. The other has about 5-8.  Then we have two ducks that have started setting eggs too.  I can't get to their nests, so I have no idea how many eggs they are on.  The funny thing about my Comet chicken sitting on the 20 eggs is that all the books say the Golden Comets are NOT broody birds.  Apparently she hasn't read any of the books :)

The garden is doing very well in the bean and zucchini department. The first crop of bean plants are almost done...maybe 2-3 more pickings, then we'll have to pull those plants out and put more in.  I've started another few rows already where my kidney bean experiment failed.  We have tons of green tomatoes.  It is supposed to get in the 90's this week so that will likely start the tomatoes turning.  We also have 5 of the cutest watermelons.  There is one Kohlirabi that I need to find out how to fix.  And we have harvested 3 acorn squash for the winter.  I'd leave them on longer, but the chickens like to get into the garden and that seems to be their favorite thing to eat.  Funny thing is we have a nest of guinea eggs in the middle of one of the cucumber trrellis squares.  Occasionally we find a chicken egg in there too!  The tomatillos are set. We have peppers of all kinds starting out...they seem to be taking longer this year.

My Man has started a new hobby that has really taken off!  It started with my Kefir.  (Which is still going very well).  It is "Lacto-Fermented".  He was reading Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions and came up with a newer way to lacto-ferment food.  It's basically pickling things in salt brine, but instead of using crocks that take awhile and get a "scum" that you have to scrape off, he made a new lid that makes an airlock.  The CO2 and other gases come off the food, and bubbles out of the trap and oxygen can't get back in to spoil the food.  It takes about 3-5 days to ferment the food, and when it is done it is VERY good for you.  Because it is not heat processed, the good bacteria is not killed off.  So basically it is probiotic (like Activia!:) )

So far, we have pickled: Cucumbers (of course), a medley of veggies including cauliflower & radishes, zucchini sweet relish, beets, green beans, onions, eggs, and most recently KETCHUP!! Oh, and the mung beans that we have been sprouting...we did those and they turned out like a crisp sourkraut.  We had hotdogs yesterday...with home fermented ketchup and "SaurSprouts" and DELISH!!!
cucumbers, cucumbers & onions
So what is going to happen in August.....I am going to have 31 days of Lacto-Ferment recipes.  I will try them out, share the recipe, and tell you what I really think about the taste.  Tune in...tell your friends!  Some of the first recipes we are going to try are lacto-fermenting Pizza (at least the sauce) and Jelly! (of course)

We took his "creation", the lacto-ferment jars to the farmer's market on Saturday...and sold out!  Plus, we have become friends with another local lady who runs the only licenced cannery in Central Ohio.  She bough some before the farmer's market...and She sold out!  She bought 10 more that we need to get to her today because she is having a "pickling" class this evening and she wants to show both methods...and the Big City Newspaper will also be in attendance.

I also sold out of green beans, and half of my zucchini...and would you believe...I took the camera and forgot to take a single picture!!!  I was so mad at myself.  I took it specifically so I could blog and keep you in the loop. NUTS!  Well, I think we will do the market again this week, so I will take pictures.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

10 pounds of beans today

Monday, July 11, 2011

Home Educating Family Publishing

These folks have a really neat site! They are also giving away some Junior High and High School curriculum. Be sure to check them out and if you have a older homeschooler, be sure to enter their contest!

Home Educating Family Publishing

What needs to be done in / for the garden...13 weeks before frost

Sow Outdoors:

Bush Beans
Lima Beans

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fun with Beets

OK...before you go running away...stay with me here!

It's time to expand our horizons.  Time to quite turning up our noses at things we wouldn't even consider as kids.

So tonight I needed to try the beets we bought at the farmer's market today.  The farmer and wife we got them from was telling us that you can use the greens in salads just like lettuce.  I read online that Aussies & Kiwis both put sliced beets on their hamburgers like tomatoes or lettuce.  I also read on a recipe site that you can cook the greens like kale or spinach.

Well, I've been eating spinach from a can like I was popeye lately, so...we had raw beet greens and sliced beets on our hamburgers.  Also, sliced beets.  Then I cut up the greens and stems.  I cooked one slice of bacon in my pan, added diced red onion (also from the market) and about 2 Tbsp of water and then the greens.  Put a lid on it to wilt and steam the greens.  Gave it some salt and pepper and stirred it around....


To be honest...sliced beets are still not my favorite....HOWEVER....I am loving the cooked greens!! And the raw greens are good too!

From left to right: Hamburgers, Yellow & Green Zucchini (garden), lettuce (garden) Beet greens & onions (market), sliced beets (market).  Our supper was 85% local!  WOOHOO!


Yeah!  Last year my beans were a dismal failure and I think we ate green beans out of the garden only once,  and then I bought a bushel of beans from an Amish farm market to can.

So far...
4 pounds today
7.5 pounds yesterday
4 in the first harvest

I think I should start a "bean ticker counter" and see how much we get out!  The beans doing really well are the "contenders".  The Kentucky wonder beans...not one bean yet!  Beautiful plants.  Also, the Brittle Wax are doing better than...umm...now I can't think of the name.  I put them on the row markers so I would know what beans were the best.  I've planted another few rows of contenders to extend the season, too.

We also got some yellow zucchini and green zucchini out yesterday, a few cucumbers and another acorn squash.  Oh, and found a nest of guinea eggs in the middle of the squash patch.  Man picked a few of my pepperocinis.  He's been doing some lacto-fermented pickles.  I've asked him to write a "guest post" as he is really excited about this and it is becoming a neat hobby.  He talks about it at the farmer's market and everyone is anxious to try it once he is done talking...in fact some of the other vendors have been trying to get him to set up a table....well see.  I picked up from another farmer 26 pounds of cucmbers yesterday...keep tuned on that! (I don't normally care for sourish pickles...at all....and I LIKE these!!)  He also pickled some of my green beans yesterday!

Today was the farmer's market day, we love the farmer's market we go to.  Everyone is so friendly and shares "secrets".  The jelly lady gave me some great ideas to try and even told me where to find the recipes.  Today I bought a bunch of beets...I am growing beets but they aren't big enough yet...and frankly, I don't really know what to do with them once they are ready...so the farmers selling the beets told me the best way to process them and where to find good recipes. Same with the guy with the rhubarb.  (I bought a plant last week, but I can't pull stalks off of it until next year...so I bought 8 big stalks today.

 Hopefully more posts, pictures and recipes coming up.  Oh, and we are thinking of something cool for the chickens...I'll update on that if it works out.  And if I does...will I have a story to tell and pictures to share...so much so that I may actually get more than just the beloved 3 readers I currently have

Monday, July 4, 2011

What needs to be done in / for the garden...14 weeks before first frost

Sow Indoors:


Sow Outdoors:

Bush Beans
Lima Beans

Saturday, July 2, 2011

First Big Harvest

Today we had our first big harvest out of the garden...Green beans...with a few wax beans for fun.  Also we picked the first set of cucumbers.  I have a few acorn squash that are close to being ready to pick! 

We got about 4 pounds of beans and 2 pounds of cucumbers.  I snapped and blanched the beans and packaged them to freeze, except a pound for dinner.  Two of the cucumbers were cut up for cucumber/tomato salad for dinner.

We went to the farmer's market this morning and despite the downpour (that weather.com said was going to stop at 9am--it didn't) we had a great time.  I talked to a lady selling jelly and have some great new ideas and recipes!  And...I know there are a million jars of jelly in this house...but I bought 2 more.  We also purchased a rhubarb plant so I can use it for jelly next year, more pickling cucumbers for Man's lacto-fermentation process, early tomatoes (in tonight's salad) red onions, and yellow squash (grilled for dinner), OH, and homemade horseradish!!  Very yummy on my hamburger!!

Came home from the farmer's market and went back to bed.  I am still really wiped out a lot of the time.  The spirit is willing and all that!  I have been wanting to write blog posts and actually plan them out in my mind, but the time it takes to get them down....well, let's just say, I finally understand the appeal of the limited characters on facebook!