Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Early spring harvest

I was cleaning up the back parking area/alley.  (Canadian thistles to dig up, trash and dead vegetation etc.)
The Jerusalem artichokes I had planted last spring failed to bloom and the stalks I had left standing for winter interest (read: garden clean up laziness) now looked sad and forlorn.  So I started pulling them up, hoping new ones will grow, but feeling pessimistic about their chances.
But attached to nearly every fibrous stem were little tubers!  I shall roast them this weekend with sage and bay leaves.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

recipe verdict


Green Pumpkin Pie would do very well when eating quality apples were a rare - like in the 1880's.  The texture was fine, but it tasted like zucchini dipped in cinnamon sugar.

We fed it to the hens, who happily gobbled it up.

The long winter recipe

I started reading The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder to Rhiannon last month.  As soon as we read the chapter about Ma baking a green pumpkin pie she begged to make one. 

I had expected this reaction, having made more than a few recipes from the Laura Ingalls Wilder cookbook myself over the years. 

So back in September, when harvesting our pumpkins I peeled and sliced a small green pumpkin, seasoned out like an apple pie & froze it.
Tonight we finally made it. 

 I told her she could eat it for breakfast. (After all, Almanzo ate pie for breakfast in Farmer Boy)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

new digs

Colorado's fickle weather has caused me to add a new step in my morning routine.  When my alarm clock announces the beginning of a new day I reach for my phone to check the weather.  The day was supposed to be in the 60's (and it was) but my app informed be that our zip code was currently 27°F.

I jumped out of bed and layered on leggings and sweats, grabbed my shoes and a flannel hoodie, ran downstairs and out the door. 

Impeding company (that would be you mom) necessitated the chicks move out of the guest room bathtub.  (Well that and the fact that they jump out but can't figure out how to get back in.)  Chris and I rolled (literally - that thing is heavy) the original coop out of the back corner of the yard and set it up again against the brick wall of the basement.  Electricity for the heat lamp was strung to the shed and the windows covered with plastic.  A thick layer of straw and a large feeder was added.  The chicks were moved in on Friday along with the older buff cochin that has protected new additions to our flock before.  We figured she would let them share her body heat.  The chicks are mostly feathered out, but vision of frozen birds was in my head.

I needn't have worried.  It was 47° inside the small coop.  Their water wasn't even frozen.  All the birds protested greatly to the open door so I closed it and went back inside to start coffee.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Double take

I rode the long way around from work today.  O'Tooles garden center called, or rather I heard the seed packets calling.  (I can't find any pea seeds in our stash)

I rode up thru old Littleton and was nearly home when I saw an older gentleman walking this guy.
The lamb was rejected by his mother and at only 3 days old the man has to take him with when he leaves his Nebraska farm to visit here.

Made my day.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Homemade cheeses - at last!

Tonight for dinner we had this pizza:
Straining the ricotta through cheesecloth. 

Although the sauce was Classico, the Italian sausage made in Boulder, CO and the pizza crust, mozzarella & ricotta were all made by me!

I am not going to post the process, as there are many online cheese making tutorials.  I used the mozzarella recipe from Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and a ricotta recipe on

The milk was organic and non-homogenized (from Iowa) and on sale.  The citric acid and rennet came from our local home brew store.
6 oz ricotta and 12 oz mozzarella from 1 gallon of milk

It was fun, and satisfying.  And even worth the $6 price tag of the milk + 2 hours of my time.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


The 15 chicks continue to feather out, becoming gawky adolescents.  I build a makeshift roost with a beer box and small sticks, swapped straw in for newspaper and placed the food and water on landscape blocks to hopefully keep them cleaner.  By next week we may be able to have the light on only at night.

I Googled "brooder in coop" and discovered I was not the only person to think there has got to be an easier way to raise and introduce day old chicks to an existing flock.  They are dusty little creatures and the bathroom will need a complete sanitizing before we have company at the end of this month. 

(Yes mom, the chicks will be outside by then.)