Friday, April 20, 2012

The Sun Came out just for a second and I dashed out with my camera




For the first time in several days the gray disappeared when the sun showed it's face for a few minutes today. I dashed outside with my camera to try to capture some of the beautiful sights for you to see. The roses are continuing to open more each day, and the gardens are coming up from seed. According to the weather forecast, there will be a big rain beginning Saturday night into Sunday. This pleases me as there are many, many little seed under the ground waiting. The big vegetable and flower garden are planted in long rows, quiet until the rain comes. Watching as the wonder of a seed erupting into a plant never ceases to amaze me. Such a miracle really....a wonderful design.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How DO you cook Kale and bisquits








I was thinking tonight as I was cooking Kale that many people do not know how to cook fresh greens! I cook them this way partly from watching my mother cook turnip greens and partly from reading cook books. I hope this helps you enjoy one of the joys of keeping a kitchen garden.

Pick the greens just before cooking, careful to avoid weeds, and heavy stems. Put them in a clean sink, and fill with cold water. Swish in the water, and pick up small bunches loosely to allow the water to drip from the leaves as you put them into a clean bowl or pot. Empty the water, rinse the sink, and rewash. Do this at least 3 times, or until the water is perfectly clear when you are finished. Amazing how much pollen is on the leaves. Set the washed greens aside.

In a heavy big stock pot pour 1/4 cup good olive oil, 1 large yellow onion chopped, 1 slice dry rubbed black forest bacon (no nitrates) chopped, sea salt 1/2t. cook on medium until onions translucent. Add 2 cups chicken broth (or veg. organic, or made from scratch) bring to low simmer, add greens. Turn once to coat and bring onions on top. Cover with lid, and simmer 20 min. Add more salt, fresh ground pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.Reduce broth if desired by simmering more. Cut up greens with 2 knives if desired before serving in a bowl with biscuits or cornbread. A Meal!

Biscuits: Preheat oven 425F. In large wide bowl put 2 cups unbleached flour (I use King Arthur), 1 t. seasalt, 1/2 baking soda, 2.5 t. baking powder(be sure no aluminum in it, I use wholefoods brand) and mix well with wire whisk; cut in 3 T. butter until size of small peas; add 1 3/4 cup buttermilk all at once; stir from outside of bowl towards center, like folding until dough comes together. Will be wet. Heavily butter a pyrex, pottery, or ceramic baking pan. Add 1/2 cup of dry flour along side of the moist biscuit mixture. Use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop up biscuits with the dry flour to keep it from sticking. With your hands softly form by rolling in your palms round balls. Add one at a time to the pan until all dough is used. Flatten each with your knuckles and flour. Bake at 425F 10 min. then lower heat to 405F for another 15 or until lightly golden brown, do not over cook. Remove from oven and brush with butter. Good even on the second day if kept in the frig.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kale is Out of Control




The Kale I planted last fall is absolutely out of control in the one raised bed in the kitchen garden. I have eaten kale almost everyday for weeks, and now I am begging people to take some home with them!

The turnip greens are blossoming beautifully for the bees, so will leave it for a week longer before taking up to make room for asparagus crowns. Putting in 40 more soon.

English Peas, and multicolored beans are up, waiting for a trellis. Oh yes, and the Horse Radish root I put in just last year is up and beautifully lush on the south side of the Pullet House. I do love a Perennial vegetable (is horse radish a veg, or a herb...not sure). The idea of having Asparagus and horse radish for years to come is comforting. A sense of permanence.

Thinking of comfort, I have been struck again by the beauty of this place. It is gorgeous: Bright, bright green, with roses and bachelor buttons just starting. And the Bird Song is like a symphony. In early morning I am awakened by the birds singing and the soft light as it filters through the branches into the house.

Walking outside in early morn to see what the night has given, the "sound of quiet" is profound. Only the Gentle Breeze, Bird Song, the Hum of the Bees, and Silence. I take the quiet for granted, as it is normal here...but often visitors say, "Listen". "To What?" I Say...."to the silence" the visitor says as we stand still. And with a sigh they say, "I have not heard that in a long, long time".

Thursday, April 5, 2012

So Much Happening...The Day is a Whirl of Activity





Not sure where to start, as so much is going on at the same time!

Spring is a frantic time. Getting all the seed into the ground in front of the next rain; Repairing fences; Mowing and trimming paths and grass; Putting up new bluebird houses; Watching over a hen with chicks; Planning for the season....to name a few! Last night I was exhausted, and this morning I was expecting to be stiff and sore, but was really fine. I think I have gained amazing strength and endurance from farming full time for the past 3 years!

Life is so uncertain. All we REALLY have is the day in front of us, minute by minute. I greet the new day with a cup of steaming coffee and quiet with the dogs to sit or stand in awe of the miracle of the morning light. Never old, no matter how many times I see it. It is a miracle. It is magic. It is perfectly designed. The freshness, and promise of things to come. I hungrily breath it in. I am so humbled and so grateful. This time of solitude, and meditation is priceless for me.

A list on paper some days, and in my minds eye others. Yesterday, with the help of a wonderful man with a bobcat moved several stacks of rocks to a new wall I am putting up; moved a cast iron bathtub to the pasture; and generally did work that would take many people several hours in less than 5 minutes! A dry stacked rock wall along the side garden is growing out of the mountain of field rock. Rocks so intricately fit together. A wonder of physics, and a beautiful sight. I love spending time putting these rocks together...the process, and the outcome is gratifying.

Then later in the day, a neighbor farmer and good friend came over with a 1942 Farm All tractor to furrow up my big vegetable/flower garden. Then we spent at least a half hour picking up rocks...again. (this is the 3rd year now that we thought we had them ALL!) A beautiful sight...a freshly plowed and furrowed garden spot. Lovely...the promise of new beginnings. I was able to put in a long, long row of beets before the storm clouds, grey and blue gathered over us, and the wind suddenly picked up and started throwing branches everywhere. Mac became frantic, as he is terrified of storms, and Emmy thought it was a game and did not want to go inside! Oh me, what a sight we were as I was trying to get inside, and Emmy wanted to play...and run in the whirling wind!

The flower gardens are doing well. Time soon for close up tiny weeding...very time consuming and detailed work, but well worth it. The tiny flowers, and herb boom afterwards. Then in another week I will mulch them..this makes the rest of the summer fairly easy, so far as preventing weeds. I have several varieties of zinnias, cosmos, batchelor buttons, english roses, larkspur, bee balm, hydrangeas, confederate jasmine, and many herbs. Many volunteers..and you know I do love a volunteer, often re-routing the entire garden path around a volunteer.

The Java Chosen Ones selected from the flock as the best so far as breed standard are back with me again! The lovely couple who bought them last fall, are moving out of state and could not take them...so they have come home. So funny to watch them, go into their old hen house,and immediately go back on the roost poles...they knew they were home! The first day out of 9 hens I had 6 eggs, and the next day 3 eggs, so I know they are happy. So happy to have them back!

It is raining now a steady soft rain. The temperature has dropped into the 50's. The dogs are sleeping a sweet dreamy dog sleep with legs running in a dream field and whimpering softly. The house is quiet. The tick of the clocks the only other sound. Life is wonderfully good. It is a great adventure and I am grateful to have become who I am...a mother, a farmer, a artist, a steward, a nurse, and a dreamer.