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Happy Sunday Morning!

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Thought I’d write up a little update though I’m still temporarily camera-less (my girls are away for the weekend). We finished filling 2 more of the tractor tires as well as one of the tubs yesterday, and Friday combined, I had gotten a Rhubarb plant from the MFA for $.75 and it went in the tub for now. We figure if it grows exponentially it’ll wind up in a tire.

This morning I planted some red onions, bushel gourds, and cantaloupes. Tomorrow I should have my pole beans in and my cucumbers as well. I also need to do more of my green bush beans. Not to mention getting in my herb seeds. One of the Zucchini seeds has sprouted so if nothing else comes up by this Friday I’ll replant the rest. I have about seven acorn squash coming up as well.

I noticed something yesterday in my sun choke bed. We have a volunteer tomato plant. Since I have no clue what kind it is I am leaving it where it is, as it’s on the edge of the bed anyway so it should be safe. I’ll just have to figure out how I’m going to stake it up. My peas are starting to flower, the spinach is doing well and I’ve been getting a little of it daily. (waiting for it to really take off) The eggplant looks to have a flower forming, and the bucket tomato is flowering.

My two Does are looking fatter daily (I wish I knew exactly when they got pregnant), I am hoping to have two sets of twins but as long as they are healthy and grow well I don’t really care. Still need a boyfriend for Strawberry, also a better cage for her too, but we’ll get there. We should have ducks any day now, as they have hatched and it’s a matter of when they get here.

I spent half of last evening making banana bread on our new (to us) gas stove. Our neighbors gave us a small propane stove. Makes me happy I can stop using the electric one. I have over a case of bananas in my freezer that I’m going to be making into more quick bread. One of those fun freebies we received.

We’ve been eating lambs’ quarters now that it’s growing everywhere. Silver gets a small amount in the morning with his breakfast wilted and dressed with a vinaigrette. Then we have some with our evening salad. The girls have about twenty days left of school, then when they are out we will move our big meal to midday-ish. Then have a snack like meal in the evenings. I like summer times as we eat better especially once the garden is doing well. I have hopes for over abundance. The acorn squashes no matter how many we get will be saved for winter eating..

Hope you’re all having a fun weekend.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Pictures to Post

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I have a few “around” the home pictures to post today a couple are from the garden.

That is one of my vine peach seeds sprouting in the tire planter. Now I am hoping they all sprout and take over as so far I’ve had no luck with melons.. or winter squash for that matter, my pumpkins (the only one that sprouted) seems to be dieing.

I am considering planting where one of the luffa gourds died some kind of melon maybe Oran’s Melon or a Swan Lake.  I’ll have to think on it, as I don’t believe that they will cross with the vine peach.  However, I don’t know; I am willing to try my luck though.

As I said we got rain last night, now the sun is out and it’s hot again. 70 inside the house and I don’t want to know the temp outside. I was afraid that if I wanted any more Lambs Quarters I’d have to water them soon, so the rain is defiantly a blessing; my day lilies almost needed watering too.  Which they are getting flower buds now, I’m going to pick all the buds this year once they are a bit bigger and save them for soup and stew thickener.  I’d pick the flowers this year, but as far as I know they don’t freeze well as flowers, and I’m not sure we’ll get the solar dryer built in time for them.  Who knows though, my thought is if I get all the buds though; it’ll give the plants time to really get a “foothold”.

 

This is the first of the tomato pots that I planted (tomato/dill), it has lots of new growth.  On both the tomatoes and the dill, I am wondering if we’ll have to come up with support in the next week for them.  Considering how fast they are growing, the earlier ones I planted in the garden (tomatoes) are all getting tall too.

Now… IF I did this right, and I am hoping  fingers crossed that I did.  I have Cherokee Orange fleshed Purple Smudge in the “pots” and my Amish Paste tomatoes are out by the garden.  Knowing my luck the trays got swapped and they are reversed.

My plan next year is when I do the tomatoes and dill, I am going to add some basil into it as well.  Plant it dill in the center, then tomato, basil, tomato, basil around the outside of the “pot”.  I am thinking of using fresh pots next year and grow some carrots in these next year.  As by then all of the chicken manure should be composted down by then.  Leaving a nice loose soil (I hope).

 

 

Now this… while I am “cultivating it” is not something I planted.  However I have been pruning it and training it:

This, of course is one of the wild roses we have.  It is the one I have been training through a fence we stapled..yes stapled, to two trees.  It is in  flower finally and it is buzzing with happy insects.  I am hoping for some nice hips from this one this year, and if I get them they will be added to jams

I am glad this year they are pink as the white one in the foundation that we had the first year.  Seems the pollen spread and last year almost all the roses were white.  At least I am guessing it was due to transfer of pollen, because hey.. it makes  sense right?  One year one white rose… next year tons of white roses.

This is not the only wild rose around here either.  We have tons throughout the woods here and there is a pretty good sized one across the street next to the pond.  I have noticed that these “wild” roses  have a much stronger scent than ones that you find a the every day garden.  It might just be me though.

 

 

Now this picture is going up just for CUTENESS factor:

This little guy is going to Queen Sized Tink from Blogger for her nephew, and I have four of his sister available if anybody near me wants a Chocolate Lab.  The parents both chase birds (chickens included), so with a little work the pups would make great hunters.

Our Paris (the momma dog), had a litter of six pups. Only one male, only one black.  The rest are Chocolates and are all female.  My son has claim on the one with white patches on her.  So the remaining four also have zero white on them.

They are also a month old now.. and AAAAAWWWWW ain’t he cute?  ..and def doesn’t want to pose for a picture!

 

 

 

 

Well we’ll be having chicken and ‘taters for dinner tonight on the grill, to keep our heat inside down.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Friday catch up

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Well yesterday we were able to gather some black raspberries, and a few slightly under ripe wild blueberries.  Seems our wild berries are going:

black raspberries

dew berries

blueberries

blackberries

 

Somewhere in there we might have wild strawberries (no flowers yet), and the wild grape harvest; I am hoping that we’ll get rain soon or the blackberries might not get big.  We dug out about 12 wheel barrow loads of dirt from the pond yesterday, today… well… we did decidedly less as my back is seriously hurting today so I can’t bend to do the cutting of the soil.

 

I got the remaining tomatoes planted this morning out in the garden itself as my other type of tomato is up in front of the house in “pots”.  I don’t want a repeat of last year’s cross pollination lesson.  So the tomatoes varieties are separate, as are my pepper plants.  I also got my bushel gourds planted this morning, in the spot we had our potato experiment last year.

 

Speaking of the experiment, we  have our potatoes planted in the same manner.  I need to get more straw as they are getting tall now, so we need to go and cover them more.  I am thinking though that next year we’ll use that spot to try to grow some heirloom corn, and I’m going to use the “weedless gardening” method as after the ‘taters are done all the current plants there should be smothered by all the straw.  So all I’ll have to do is cover the straw with dirt, compost, and manure.

 

Hope everyone has a good weekend.

 

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Flour-less Chocolate Cake

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Yes you read the title… flour-less, no flour.  It’s a protein shot, granted it is a little on the rich side and some people probably would have fits over what the ingredients are.

Here is the cake unfrosted:

Here are the ingredients:

6 whole eggs

20 oz of chocolate chips(bitter-sweet)

1T of vanilla extract

1/2 lb of butter

Yes!  That is all there is in this cake.  What you do is you first get your eggs to room temperature, fresh eggs are the best of course.  Whip them to stiff peaks, and yes it’s possible; it just takes time.  While that is whipping melt the chocolate chips and butter together, I have to say this is probably the only thing we use a microwave for.  Add the vanilla to the chip/butter mixture and mix it all till that is smooth.  Fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs carefully.  Then pour into a spring-form pan and bake at 350 degrees (pre-heated) until the surface cracks.  Cool thoughly before eating or frosting, it does tend to be crumbly and a tad rich.

This is the cake frosted with real butter creme:

Yes, there is only frosting on the top as we are running out of butter.  Silver who is a trained chef and once worked at a resort that served this cake un-frosted at $8 a small slice.  You know those kinds of slices, you see them in TV shows when someone goes to a fancy restaurant and their plate for dessert is at least three times the size of the cake.

Please also note there is no ADDED  sugar to this either, so it’s fairly safe for a diabetic who is eating properly.  But please, do not take my word for it other than the fact that Silver is a diabetic, and he eats this cake.

 

 

 

I hope you all try this cake out it’s heavanly!

Update Again (Sorry)

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 Sorry that I’ve been a bit lax here.. I seem to be giving Blogger all my time. I have a few extra minutes of sit down time right now so I figured I’d try to give somewhat of an update to my wordpress readers. Sorry again if I cover something I have already covered here.

 

My red cabbages in the box our tomatoes were in last year are getting huge, I am just hoping they will be ready to pull when I need to plant my cucumbers in about a month. However I do have a few cucumbers volunteer in their place from last year.

 

Speaking of volunteers I have about 4 volunteer squash plants of unknown type. They are growing where I just planted my bush beans on Sunday. I am not moving them, but planting around them. I am hoping for at least one pumpkin and one winter squash out of them, plant wise. I hope I get more than one squash from each plant.

 

My wintergreen that I planted a month (?) ago all have new growth on them, I hope they take over the ground where I planted them. I have them in the same area as my Elderberry trees(?) are and I am hoping the wintergreen will cover the ground there keeping it very moist for the Elder.

 

I had been worried that my potatoes were all eaten by the chickens when they got loose, well I discovered on Sunday when I went to go put out some sprouted potatoes that the potatoes are growing. So the chickens did not get them all. Which is wonderful, but still creates a slight problem. I was trying to find out based on how many seed potatoes we put in how many actual potatoes we get. I don’t know how many got eaten, and I need to know how much we produce on our soil and method of growing them to figure out how many we really need to grow to sustain ourselves based on home usage. .. I hope that made sense…

 

I have been harvesting lettuce from our garden, and so far we have gotten more than we did last year. I am hoping to get at least the same amount next spring, I just don’t understand why the seeds sprouted in “clumps” instead of the “row” I planted. Anyone got any ideas?

 

Our pea plants have huge leaves this year, I am not sure as to why. Considering the hot/cold we have been having so far this spring I wonder if that is partly to blame. We also seem to have gotten less rain than last year. I am hoping it flowers soon, and that we get some peas out of them before I need to plant this years summer squash there.

 

We seem to be getting our onions to grow this year, as we have tried these last two years to grow some and they didn’t do anything. This year I planted them between my two Elderberries, but I didn’t put them into the soil. What I did was put down a layer of composted manure I bought, perlite, and chicken manure from our chicken house. Then I just worked the sets in, also the few that I started as well were set into the ground then.. The onions seem to like this much better.

 

Our chocolate Lab, Paris; gave us a surprise on the 20th. Well, I had noticed about two days before that her nipples were getting large.. and on the 20th she had 6 pups. Now this dog according to the vet we had in New York before we moved here was spayed. ..somehow… I don’t think she is. The pups are 1 black Lab (male) and 5 chocolate Labs (all female). I am hoping I can find them homes, then she is getting spayed. I have a home for the little guy.

 

I have a lead on buying at least one meat goat, I might know of a way to get more; but I need to check on it. One of my girls told me this morning one of their friends is selling rabbits, so I might still get to have my meat rabbits this year. I do hope so as they really are the best for feed to meat ratio. I also have a place I want to stop at and ask if they are selling any of their rabbits.

 

I just set up this morning an orange rosemary vinegar, that I am hoping will be ready in two weeks. It’s sitting in a dark part of my pantry right now while it “blends”, I am hoping to use it to make some nice salad dressings. I will be checking it in two weeks to see if it is the strength I want, if not it’ll go back in for a week at a time till it is.

 

So I think that just about covers my updates for now… and I am going to try to make sure I post here as well as on Blogger!

 

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

 

 

A “New Age” of protesting?

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I’m not afraid to admit I belong to a facebook group called “Take Back Urban Home-steading(s)”.  It is a facebook group created to show the distaste for the D-family in California’s claim on the trademark on the term “Urban Homestead” and “Urban Homesteading”.  It has well over 7,000 members on it’s page all becoming a wonderful community in support of those with the same idea.

They also do “cyber protests” against the D-family  and it’s trademark.  I think this is wonderful how people can get together and do this via the internet.  i am also glad about how visible it has made these things that we probably would not have really known about before hand.

I do have a proposal for all those out there to try something kinda new kinda not.  the not new part as it requires getting of the computer to do it, but that does not mean you can’t post what it is online.  The new part is what it has to do with.

I and many others have big problems with the idea and use of GMO products.  I suggest a protest of sorts against GMO products and for sustainable farming. Here is what i am suggesting:

Having an “eat -in”, I know the term sounds weird; but listen to the explanation.  Sustainable farm owners, green chefs, “Urban Homesteaders”, CSA owners, and foragers get together and either in D.C. or on Monsanto’s steps (so to speak) host a “lunch” with food they have grown/foraged with the “green chefs'” cooking help.

Even offer for FREE a plate of the food to anyone (yep even the Monsanto employees) , as a showing that THIS IS THE “GOOD STUFF”.  That will feed the hungry world.  I think with some press attention it would get at least some kind of point across to the world.

With this the internet would be a tool to make it partly possible, by reaching out to the people who would/could/can be a part of it.  Even if that part is a bushel or less of something they grew, or just a really good recipe for something fresh.

What do you think?

What is the Date?

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That should be a simple question correct? Even when talking about food correct? Well it isn’t sometimes, as I have learned the short time I worked a stint in a meat department. Yes, I said meat department; and in this age when we have to worry about E Coli in our foods on a dramatic increase. To have to worry about the date on your packaged meats in the grocery store isn’t a good thing.

 

A few years back I found myself in a job working as a meat wrapper in a grocery store and it was a first time doing that particular job. Having worked in fast food I was very good about checking dates on things and that was one of the few things my boss did not have to teach me.

 

Now my boss had learned the butchers trade back when they still taught by having the students work from the “primal” cuts, which effectively means just cut from the carcass; then cut into the “cuts” we know today. Most butchers are not taught this way any more, my boss also had a side job of butchering people’s deer for them in season.

 

He loved to complain about how long some of the people would leave the meat hang before calling him to butcher it for them. One man it seems left it hanging for two weeks before calling him and well, at that point it was way to far gone for him to do anything with it.

 

He would also complain about one “full service” butcher shop in one of the other towns. His complaint was it’s sanitary practices, which I do have to say seemed a bit lax. My bosses where much better sanitary wise, but I’ll leave that there for now.

 

Now here is a bit of useful info for any meat eaters out there. By law (in most states) ground meat can only be sold for 24 hours, after that they must be tossed due to possibility of bacterial growth. Meat departments will put them on discount to get them out instead of tossing them. This is a fairly normal practice from what I have seen and asked about.

 

Now my boss in the store I worked when something would come into the back due to a date, my boss would “check”. Now to check anything, he would open it, sniff it and move it a little and see if anything is discolored past normal loss of color. Yes, red meats do lose color as they sit. Well if there was no bad smell he would have me re-wrap it and put a one day date on it and then after that day we’d do the same.

 

Now sometimes, he would take red meat and put it into the ground beef if it was past the initial date. Sometimes if a turkey was past date he would open them, cut them up, and have me wrap them with a 2 day date on them and then they’d be tossed.

 

Now a days due to seeing all this I am very careful about meat I buy. If I buy something “old dated” I make sure I know it is before I decide to buy it. I will buy something discounted, I have no issue with this. However, I do not like it when there is a possibility of the meat being bad and I don’t know it. I have gotten sick off of foods and not knowing why. Until I worked in that meat department. I no longer buy fish unless I live close to a water source big enough that there are fishing boats, or it is frozen.

 

Food poisoning is no fun, I’ve experienced it before. Also, when I took the food safety class I learned something that most people don’t know. I learned that there is no such thing as “24 hour flu”. My instructor told my class that these people most likely had food poisoning and did not realize it.

 

The time I spent in the meat department is one of the reasons I am working towards growing all my own food, even the meat portion. I’m no vegetarian, I like eating meat to much for that especially chicken and fish. I do want people to keep their minds and eyes open while they shop. Otherwise you might wind up with a surprise in your fridge or freezer and not know it. So make sure you know what the date is.

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