On August 19, I planted some broccoli and cabbage. A few weeks later, I released my chickens to roam free for the winter. What I found out is that chickens like to eat healthy too, so I’ve had to put up a small fence to keep them out. I didn’t have much wire, so I choose the group of plants that looked the most promising, and placed the wire around them. They are growing fairly well, and I’m actually looking forward to eating some broccoli. I’m not a big fan of most cold weather veggies, but when you grow your own food, it always tastes better. I figure I can stomach them if I add a little cheese, or maybe some bacon and cheese…. now that sounds good !
The cabbage is also growing pretty well, but I’ve only got a few plants protected, so there won’t be enough to make home made sauerkraut. I hope to build a chicken house before spring, and attach a fairly large run for them. Then maybe I can grow a larger cool season garden. It just doesn’t feel right not having row after row of veggies. Spring won’t be here soon enough.
I’ve had a great deal of luck growing most plants from seed, with the exceptions of Pak Choi, Cabbage, Onions and Celery. The one celery plant that grew, I gave up waiting for germination, and reused the soil for a tomato plant. After planting the tomato in a flower box on my Mother’s porch, this little bugger decided to take root, and grow. Being the only celery plant that I’ve successfully grown from seed, I couldn’t let the cold weather take it away, so I dug it up and brought it inside for the winter. The plant seems to be growing well indoors, and has joined the ranks of all the other indoor plants I have, including two tomatoes, and two pepper plants. This winter I’ll try to discover what I did wrong with the rest of the celery seeds, and maybe I’ll have more luck next year.
This spring, I started some white pumpkins hoping to grow enough for the kids to carve them for Halloween. However, In the shuffle of over a thousand plants out of the greenhouse, I lost track of them, and they found their way to my sisters farm. The vines grew out of Sandy’s garden into a berry patch where no one noticed them, and the chickens couldn’t see the light colored snacks. When Sandy found these pumpkins she brought them over to my house so I could save the seeds from them. I had them sitting outside on my lawn mower as decorations when I snapped this shot with the moon included.
Next year, I hope to grow them again, maybe then I’ll get enough of these spooky pumpkins for the kids to carve them.
After chasing the chickens out of the greenhouse, I noticed a row of green in the garden. The Swiss Shard was still growing, and had not been killed by the frost. I did a search, and found that shard will grow until the temperate dips into the medium twenties. I also found a recipe for sauteed chard with onions, and garlic. I didn’t think it would taste very good, but after reading about the vitamin content, I had to try it.
When it was done cooking, I added some Romano cheese, and tried it. Yum ! Not only was this delicious, it improved my mood as well.
Here’s the simple recipe:
Place a few tea spoons of olive oil in a frying pan.
Cut the shard leaves into inch by inch sections, add to the frying pan with onions and garlic (garlic salt will work as well).
Cook on medium heat till the leaves wilt as shown in the photo.
Add shredded cheese after serving while the greens are still warm.
The little pig that was barely taller then her water bucket is now twice as big, and just as messy. Since the garden is devoid of all things except broccoli, and cabbage, I’ve switched Babe’s diet over to Sow and Pig feed. She eats about a bag every two weeks, bringing the total investment so far to about $95.00. I’m keeping record of all the money invested as an exploration of sorts. If raising a pig each year is economical, I’ll continue to practice. It’s not hard to take care of a pig once you get in the daily habit of feeding and watering them.
There is also the ulterior motive for having this pig: Manure for growing great gardens. I’ve started a new garden area right next to the barn where it’s easy to transport this growing additive. The area is a more conservative garden, measuring about 10 Feet by 30 Feet. The main crops growing here will likely be tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers. So next year, there will be four garden areas, as I’ve decided to move my tomatoes due to the Late Blight this year, and my doubts about whether the cold will cure the soil this year.
I noticed an interesting pattern of frost on my car this morning. It was quite unique, probably resulting from the rain we had last night. The shot is a perfect reason to write about the growing season, which I’ve got a much better grasp of after a few years of trial and error. Non-frost tolerant plants will grow from roughly the end of May to the middle of October.
Now that the first frost has cleared most of the garden, it’s time to enjoy the harvest. Throughout the summer, I’ve been dicing and freezing various veggies for use in the months when they would not be available. I’ve got a freezer packed full with sliced peppers, onions and zucchini, shredded carrots, kohlrabi and turnips. Having these items frozen makes cooking simple.
I like to add vitamins to every meal I eat, if possible, and an omlette is a prime canidate for adding shredded veggies. Above you can see green peppers, onions, and hints of meat and cheese, but what the photo doesn’t show is shredded kohlrabi, carrots, and turnips. These extra veggies add very little in taste, but pack a lot of extra vitamins. I even add these shredded ingredients to spaghetti while cooking the noodles.
The process is quite simple, however, if you’ve never prepared an omlette before here is a breakdown:
For two or three servings, crack 5 eggs into a mixing bowl. Add a small amount of milk, about a 1/4 cup or less. Stir until all the egg yolks are broken, and the mixture is an even color.
Add shredded veggies, raw or frozen.
Add sliced up meat such as salami, ham, etc, and cheese if desired.
Warm up the skillet with bacon greese or cooking oil, then pour in the mix.
Cook until the eggs start to firm up, then flip the whole omelette.
As part of my commitment to lower my Carbon Footprint, I’ve decided to no longer throw away paper, or cardboard. This will reduce the amount of carbon that I put into the atmosphere, since this paper will no longer be burned. These items can be composted, and in turn the bio mass in them can be turned into beautiful black dirt. I’ve built a bin to compost the paper in, and placed it right next to my walkway, for easy access in the winter.
The process is fairly simple:
Rip up the paper, or use a paper shredder.
Add in other compostable items, I’ve added some compost from another pile as a catalyst, and some manure from my chicken coop.
Then throw in some weeds or other green items, such as the discarded portion of fruits or veggies.
Do Not include meats or bones, eggs are safe though.
Here you can see the inside of my bin with the first layer of shredded paper, some compost and a bit of greens. I’ll keep layering the paper, and mix it every few months.
There is a story about a fire which was consuming the whole forest, and all the animals ran into the river and hid from the flames. Soon, they noticed a little humming bird which would scoop down and take a beak after beak full of water, then return to the fire and let the droplet fall on the fire. The other animals asked the humming bird “what are you doing, your such a little bird, you will never be able to put out that fire”, to which the humming bird said “I’m doing the best that I can”.
We are all humming birds, and if we each do our part, we can greatly reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, hopefully in time to fully understand the changes that are occuring to our planet. Now, if I can only find a way to melt down plastic into useable objects…..