Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

These become....

Ah, the season of zucchini and berries. Such delightful summer treats that you can't wait to get your first taste of and then by summer's end, you don't know what else to do with it - well, at least the zucchini.

Fresh raspberries...

boiling in the pot, waiting for just the right moment..

to become fresh raspberry sauce to put over ice cream, pancakes, waffles, or whatever your heart desires.

And the zucchini becomes the first of many zucchini pies of the summer. This quick recipe is always a hit at summertime cookouts! Easy to make and quite adaptable to add other goodies into the recipe.
3 C. grated zucchini
1 C. grated cheese - your choice, but hard cheeses work best
4 eggs
1 medium onion chopped
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1 C. bisquick - lowfat works too
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all together and bake in a 350 degree oven in a greased casserole dish or glass pie plate for approx. 45 minutes
Now the great part of this recipe is you can add all kinds of goodies if you like. You may have to adjust your baking time a little depending on your additions.
I've done this with cubed ham, other veggies, and different spices added to the basic recipe and they are all good!
It's a quick week night dish and a slice of this with a small salad makes a nice, light dinner.
So, if you're looking for 101 things to do with zucchini, add this one to the list.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Not so Peaceful Friday.....

This morning's round of chores led to a dead hen. Just one more thing in the battery of "what else" can happen around the homestead.
We're not sure what the cause of death really is, but, I'm going with heat stress. We've been over the 90 degree mark for days on end and yesterday was 99 degrees with high humidity. There wasn't any indication of physical damage to the hen - she was just on her side - dead. All six hens were fine late yesterday to the best of my knowledge, but then, I wasn't looking for signs of heat stress. I'm feeling a little less than happy with myself right now. I should have been more attentive.

Just another lesson learned in the life of a homesteader.
Since the forecast is to be in the 90's for a least another 5 days, the hubster rigged a fan in one of the windows of the coop for better air circulation. I'm hoping this helps. I'll keep checking for signs of heat stress and if I notice any, I'll do what I can short of bringing them in the house for the dogs to eat.....

Now comes to problem number two. The new raised garden bed. We are having problems with leaf curl on the beans, tomato's, and grapes. Once again it may be due to stress, but, we've been careful with our watering ratio's so I don't think it's that. We're thinking it is something in the soil. We are going to have it tested to see what's going on and if there is any residual herbicide that may be in it. We bought a top soil/compost mix from a local landscape company and I probably should have asked where the soil and compost came from. Another lesson learned for this budding homesteader.


Tomato's - it's on all varieties, whether they were heirlooms or store bought.
For now, we still have flowers that continue their cycle and bloom and bring forth color. I'm starting to worry that they too shall soon stop producing because of the heat and lack of rain.
I guess I'll enjoy what I can while they are sharing their beauty.

But, on one happy note, we have baby figs!
Things have been quite chaotic around the homestead with some emergencies that have popped up that have us down to one of us driving and doing all the chores until all the rounds of testing are completed. We're okay, just being cautious and making sure we stay okay! It's just another lesson in life to remind you that everything could change in the blink of an eye and to revel in the joy of everyday - even on the days you find a dead hen, your gardens going to crap, the excessive heat continues to linger, rain is a thing of the past, your $600.00 vacum suddenly crapped out(that's a big deal in a multiple dog home), and you're so tired from daily work and chores that your knuckles are dragging on the ground by 8pm.
Okay, whine over. Now to try and go improve my nitric acid levels and raise my level of internal joy... but, I have to add before finish, I've missed my blogging rounds and reading what everyone has been up to. I've missed y'all and hopefully after the next couple of weeks things will calm down enough that I have the time and energy to catch up..
In the meantime,
Have a peaceful weekend, y'all................

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chicken memories.......

There has been a lot of chicken stories and debates on whether or not to get chickens that I decided to share my blog entry from last year about my first year with "the girls"..

You can read it if you like here...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How we spend our summers.....

Come on in past the wild wisteria and take a peek at the chaos know as "the backyard".

But first, a quick snack...

While I'm picking some of the blackberries, I hear a voice in the distance...past all the berry bushes, past the gardens, past the chickens. Who is that little white dot down at the entrance to the meadow? Oh, it's just the hubsters telling me to save him some berries!

Once we make it past all the grabbing wisteria vines, we have a little pathway to get us to the decks. Mind the wee wee spots! After all, this is dog territory!

C'mon up to the lower deck aka "the party barge". This spot is know for consuming large amounts of food and spirits and sometimes, a little waltzing under the moonlight.

Finnegan keeps guard to keep all the nasties away so you have a good time during your visit. Oh, and he also says aren't the hydrangeas looking fine?

They are in much better shape than the pond and the gazebo! But, once inside the gazebo with all the twinkle lights, you'll forget the bushy mess around you and fall under the enchantment of the privacy the trees that surround it give you. It's a great place for meditation!
(Warning for the over 50's age group - the sound of the water will make you have to pee)

Not only do we have the "party barge" which is the large deck on the right, we have two other areas of decking and the porch that you can sit a spell and kick back.
The deck on the left is the place to go to relax in the hot tub. When you come out, sit at the table and enjoy the peat burning in the chiminea and dream of the Emerald Isle!
Once you're totally relaxed, hubster will be on the middle deck grilling up a storm! Ribs, chicken, filet - he'll grill it and you'll feel good about eating it because it's all local and grass fed!
Tea lights surround you on all the deck railings - because after all, it's all about "the mood"...

And, if you're into more of the granny rock, we can oblige you with a couple of rocking chairs or some comfy wicker up on the back porch! We aim to please!
We're glad you stopped on by. Just remember, we only have one spare bedroom so we'll have to take y'all on shifts!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

No rest around the homestead today. Must get all the chores done so we can be part of and enjoy this year's Potomac Celtic Festival!
Hubsters and I will be putting some time in for the morning and then will go stroll the grounds and take in the wonderful music, vendors , and clans. Once we tire of that, we'll strap on the instruments and hike over to the session tent to play some tunes!
If your around the area and want to hear some great music (our favorite players, Liz Carroll and John Doyle will be performing) I highly suggest this festival in Leesburg, Virginia.
If crowds aren't your thing this weekend, then, I highly recommend doing some of this!
Your choice, of course, on the contents of the bottle you choose!

Have a peaceful weekend, y'all...............

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Love your peaches.....

"gonna shake your tree"
At least that't what Donovan sang. Me, I'll just wait for Ms. Georgia Belle above to grant me permission to pick her sweet, juicy fruits.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Herbs and fungus potato.....

I have a very small amount of herbs this year due to lack of diligence on my part. I had started several from seed back in February and they dutifully got fried in the hot, May sun one day while we were off playing music at an all day festival. When we got back, I had fried dill, oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, and one or two others I don't want to think about.
However, the lavender and a small amount of rosemary I had started lucked out and obviously went off sometime during the day to find some shade.

Lemon balm - my first year growing and I've discovered since it's in the mint family, it spreads like mint. Oops...

White sage started with the others back over the winter. This is not used in cooking, but, it is for burning. I'll make smudge sticks with this if I am fortunate enough to have it grow and flourish. I found one great use is that it is aces in keeping bugs away and I enjoy the fragrance of sage a zillion times over citronella.

More rosemary - store bought. I know, shame on me. I couldn't help it. I love rosemary.

Lemon thyme. New herb for me. Hey, what do I have to lose?
So, that's the big tour of the herbs. If I get inspired, I'll probably restart some of the others I lost.

Pictured above is part of a very expensive lesson. I purchased my organic seed potato's from Seed Saver's this year. I splurged and bought four different varieties with the mindset that I have a lot more room for taties now that we've put in the raised bed garden. Oh, and what good Irishwoman wouldn't have taties?
So, after receiving the seed potato's, the well intended gardener dutifully put them out to grow eyes and lovingly returned them inside at night.
On a bright, sunny Saturday morning a couple of weeks later, the well intended gardener sat and cut all the taties up on the above-pictured table and let them sit to "cure" with thoughts of putting them in the garden the next morning.
The well intended gardener went through the day puttering around the yard and gardens, doing chores, talking to the birds and bees and telling all the plants how wonderful they all are. It was indeed a picture, perfect day. But, (enter bad guy music) good ole Mother Nature decided to have a sense of humor and bestow upon us some much needed rain. The well intended gardener quickly gathered all the cut taties and put them back in the mesh bags they were shipped in and brought them inside so they wouldn't get wet and moldy.
Forward two weeks later, taties still inside in mesh bags, gardener no where to be seen.
Finally, the well intended gardener came back to her taties, tells them how sorry she is and that she has just been sooo busy and then happily takes the "taties who forgave her" out to be put in the ground only to discover they had a fungus among us. Quickly, the well intended gardener hits the interenet. Google - planting moldy potato's. Oh, it was ugly. There was no way to resusitate the moldy taties without contaminating the soil in which they were to grow.
So, the well intended gardener now hangs her head in shame at the death of the little taties and consequently will not have them grace her garden. It's a stiff punishement, but, it fits the crime.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

My mantra for this weekend - "I have a strong back".
May your weekend outlook forecast something a little lighter!

Have a peaceful weekend, y'all.............

Thursday, June 3, 2010

This mornings harvest.....

On the days I don't have to travel for work, I like to get out in the garden early and putter. This morning I planted a couple more things - my sugar pumpkins, cantalope, more cukes, and more snow peas. The Sugar Pearl corn was finally planted a couple of days ago, too, by the dear hubsters.
The morning is also when I like to harvest before I water or weed. Today I filled my bushel basket with more spinach and lettuce. We're nearing the end of these two delicacies until fall and I want to get every last bite I can.

This is how I clean a large batch of lettuce and spinach. I just fill my sink with some cold water, take a handful that would equate to a "salad spinner" load, give it all a big swoosh in the water, then into the spinner basket it goes. While I'm spinning, the next batch is getting swooshed!

Now, isn't that just pretty? I think so.

But, it looks as if Fionnghuala could care less....

Hopefully I'll be catching up with all your blogs in the next day or two and also will be posting pics of the raised bed garden and what's been taking place in there. I will have to update on my potato negligence and the expensive results of that, too. Hey, gotta show the good and the bad.