Thursday, February 1, 2018

Spring Plans

 Planning has always been what we are best at - follow through, not so much.  We decided to stay with the Ppatch for another year, but we gave up 1600 square feet and plan to focus on slow maturing crops that do not have to be checked daily.

At home we have a lot to do before spring is here.  The old chicken coop and the clothesline need to be moved, raised beds built and filled with soil and compost.  New wood mulch laid and bins built for the potatoes.  We plan to use only what we have on hand for wood along with the misc pots and other containers we have collected over the years.  

But we are currently optimistic (as we always are this time of year).  Our seeds have been inventoried and missing selections ordered or purchased locally.  The Conservatory is newly cleaned along with our growing trays and pots.

One snag is where to get new chickens?  The feed stores we have purchased from the the last five years are closed and our choices locally are limited.  We want to raise a dozen meat birds and at least one turkey this year + replace our aging egg layers.

But it sure does look beautiful on paper.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The garden keeps giving

We have decided to grow next year's garden at home instead of the community Ppatch that has hosted us for the last 5 years.  So today I spent the warm afternoon pulling up soaker hoses and cutting down hollyhocks.  My parents always taught me to leave things better than how I found them and we want the next person(s) growing there not to have to clean up our detritus.

Hiding under dead bean vines was this turnip - the only one to make it past sprouting under my neglect.  I will serve it with tonight's dinner of barley risotto - if it is edible.

Where did he come from? Where did he go?

Indica named him Cotton Eyed Joe, after the old song.  In a move called sad and gross by some, we have purchased our Thanksgiving turkey live from a local aspiring farmer.  We have had him for 2 weeks now, and he is slowly adapting to life in a coop.  At the farm all of the birds free range across a number of acres and the turkeys roost in the trees.

Although this Blue Slate heritage breed towers over all of the hens, he seems a little scared of them, scooting away when one pecks the ground too close during feeding time.

I thought he would be louder, which had stopped us from raising turkeys before, but our neighbors don't seem to notice the noise he makes announcing that I have parked in the back.  He also makes these chirps that sound like he is underwater. 

Mostly he just hangs out with the rooster statue. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Garden Days Dinner

Yellow Tomato  Gazpacho w/ Avocado & Purple Basil 

Thursday, August 31, 2017


The Willamette Hops we planted 2 years ago flowered this year.  Chris picked them and now the floral beery smell is evident while they dry on the back porch.  After telling me for years that a few plants in the backyard would never produce enough to really do anything with he was happily surprised with the 5 gallon bucket that was filled off the single vine.

We plan to brew a Backyard Ale with these and any flowers from the other 3 varieties we also planted.  Said others (Cascade, Gold Nugget and another that I can't remember) are still small - we suspect not enough sun - although a few flowers can be seen.

With the disappointment of  Mother Nature's choice of weather this year, the hop flower harvest is a unexpected windfall.

Friday, May 5, 2017

In the Conservatory

I always saw the grow shops with their sample plants and thought it was really funny.  Like someone would really use a tent for tomatoes when they could put them outside.  Well, with annual hail storms repeatedly breaking the greenhouse windows - I am now that someone.  
This year's 50 or so tomato starts
Purple Cherokee, Hagens Little Yellow, Hungarian Heart, Mortgage Lifter & Yellow King of  Siberia

The Brassicas to be planted next week

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Rabbit Sausage

I learned how to make sausage almost 20 years ago in the kitchen at La Rive Gauche in Seattle.  It is a knowledge that I had not used since the closure of the small French Bistro.

We used it today.

But honestly, if I was a complete neophyte I am sure we could have watched a tutorial on YouTube.
The recipe was made up on the spot mostly - a little bit Taste of Home, a little Hank Shaw.  2:1 ratio homegrown rabbit and pasture raised pork belly.  Lots of smoked paprika.  Some onion and garlic.  We used hog casings, so these earthy sausages are the size of a Bratwurst.

We made 12 lbs in all.