Tag Archives: farm products

That Sweet First Bite

Well, I spent the day outside gardening, and I received those first sweet bug bites of the season. Small price to pay for all the enjoyment, I figure.

As I mentioned, I decided to do a lot of the vegetables and herbs mixed in the beds with the annuals and perennials. They’re plenty ornamental, as far as I am concerned. We have zukes alongside zinnias. Parsley with pansies. All kinds of combinations … we’re all a jumble over here. Here’s a few shots …

The herb bed, with some pansies, hosta, and baby’s breath hanging around to keep the herbs company. They’re already quite large! We better start eating! Those are snap peas to the right, below the trellis. (I actually made that little trellis out of old tomato stakes.)

This is going to be “The Sunflower Forest.” I couldn’t get a pic of the whole thing because it’s too big. Mixed in some cow manure beforehand. Giants in the back, mediums in front of those, and short ones in the front. A tip – Only buy the giants in the packets, or even better, get them from a friendly seed saver. (Thanks, Mac!) For the thousands of little ones in the front, just go buy a bag of black oil sunflower birdseed. Six bucks for thousands of seeds. It grows beautifully.

The green beans are planted along the wooden fence. There’s some corn mixed in there too, in the back. If all these flowers come up, I have no doubt we’ll start to be known as “The Sunflower Place.”

One lone tomato plant, but it’s a beauty. There’s lettuce planted underneath and around the edges. And maybe there are radishes in there too, since I forget where I planted them.

The bigger veg garden (a lot of things are planted between perennials here and there) is on the side of the swamp. Cukes, zukes, winter squash, carrots, lettuce, all kinds of things. Super rich soil! I made two teepees for the peas. Totally Blair Witch-esque.  I’m not thrilled with the way they came out. They’re okay, I guess.

Perennial bed gone mad … I’m certainly going to have some plants to move this Fall after I thin these out. There are more peas in hanging baskets above this too. I went snap pea crazy.

You have a great day too!

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Starting ‘Em Early in the Adirondacks

It snowed this morning.

A little. I don’t mind. It was melted and gone by afternoon, and I still went outside to do early Spring things. I shoveled some extra crushed stone I had sitting around into the wheelbarrow and took it over to fill some ruts in the driveway. Took the Christmas lights off the spruce trees, now that the cords are not buried in ice. I took some time to notice the robins and chickadees that have returned. The day lilies are poking up on the sunny side of the yard. The rhubarb is peeking out. Soon I’ll be raking the thatch out of the grass in the side yard, and planting new seed in the front.

Seems like it’s about time? Not so. Not way up here. Plants peeking up and birds returning in mid-March is highly unusual. It’s nice to see the plants coming alive outside, but my March gardening efforts are mostly concentrated indoors.

I started seeds indoors today – just the medium-to-hardy veggies. Spinach, swiss chard, carrots, peas, lettuce. The less hardy warm-weather stuff will go directly into the garden.

Didn’t exactly have a panic attack over it, but I ended up getting such conflicting advice, I decided to hedge my bets. One very experienced friend says never to start peas, beans, chard, corn, radishes, lettuce. Another says that because mine are in individual peat pots (and their roots won’t be disturbed), I’m fine.

So, I started half the seed, and saved the other half for later. If the starts are fine, I’ll have seed to plant for a second crop. If the starts are a disaster, I still have extra seed to direct sow. At any rate, they’re planted, for better or for worse.

Like most things, I think this Adirondack cold-weather gardening thing is going to come down doing a little experimentation and finding what-works-for-me/you.

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The Sourpuss

Well friends, Sunday was Pickle Day.

In my effort to be an official Back to the Land Dilettante, I’ve been canning – “putting up things against the Winter,” as they say. (Whoever they are.)

picklesLast week was Apple Jam. Just a few quarts, but with fruit picked from our local trees. Other than the (ton) of sugar, free food! I gave a few quarts away, and I certainly can’t imagine eating an entire quart of Apple Jam over the Winter, but I just might try. This week’s assignment is pickles and applesauce. (It’s at this point that I admit I bought all my cukes at the store, and a few apples to supplement the local haul.) Figure I’ll get four or five quarts of pickles and maybe two quarts of applesauce.

I have an awesome few recipes for pickle canning – Cinnamon Sweet Pickles (I know – it sounds weird, but they’re terrific), Garlic Dill, and Bread & Butter. If you haven’t tried making pickles, give it a shot. If you don’t want to can them, you can just put them in a jar in the fridge instead. It’s super easy, and the recipes out there on line are endless. Bread & Butter Pickles are pictured. (LOVE them!)

A fun bonus as I was boiling and brining? My favorite radio show, The Splendid Table, was chatting about the history of pickling today.

Happy pickling, Sourpusses!

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I am the Egg Man

They are the egg men.
I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob.

000_1614Further progress on the Chicken Ranch – just a few tweaks left. The door, mainly. And a few patches. And some plexiglass. It’s awesome! Now I have to begin making space for a chicken yard around it. A chicken rancher’s work is never done.

I wouldn’t say I would do things differently. However, working with super-tough 100 year old vintage roughcut board has its drawbacks. Tough stuff. I may be finished with it in a day or two, which is what I wanted. (Actually, I wanted to be done by last Saturday, but clearly, that didn’t happen.) Anyhow, she’s all closed in, except for the door.

000_1616The interior of this comfortable, spacious chicken chalet is made from 100-year-old vintage pine. The living area features luxury nesting boxes for four, a huge (by chicken standards) window facing the Southwest, upgraded perches for six, and an extra egg door on the North side. Nesting boxes feature a terrific view of the wattle fence and gardens. Truly a luxury poulet pied-à-terre. Don’t let this terrific deal get away! Room and board is free in exchange for eggs.

I started the fence for the run on Sunday night – wood with poultry wire attached. Almost done. Sorta looks neat. Matches the hen house. Now all I need is a door and some chickens. I’ll visit the feed store to find some local leads Monday eve!

000_1617


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Tomatoes and Two-by-Fours

Ideas generally come to me quite easily.

Except when I try to force my mortal schedule on them. I was thinking this morning that good ideas are a great deal like the sprouts of my new grass seed – I may stare at the underground seedlings every morning, trying to will them into being; but they generally insist on popping up here and there when I’m not looking.

2320371900083440370JjtLxv_fsEver mull something over for years? For three years, I have been trying to come up with an idea for my own little local Adirondack business. I’m pretty saavy when it comes to knowing what feels and is right. In those three years, a lot of half-decent ideas have gone by the roadside. Literally. I’d been thinking of putting a little shop at the edge of our road.

I do pretty well in Winter with my knitting shop on Etsy, but my prices wouldn’t fly here in the village. Piano lessons? That’s a better idea, since I have a “studio” in the cabin already. But really, I’m not crazy about teaching piano. And then, I was in the store the other night. Someone came in looking for green peppers. And then someone came in looking for tomatoes. Yep. I finally had the correct idea – roadside vegetable stand.

fruit standAnd imagine this – other than inventory, I can set it up for nearly nothing. Just the price of a county tax certificate. I have a nice, large, flat spot right next to the road, perfectly visible. I have a 20 ft curb cut next to it, I have space to make a few parking spaces, and we have pull-overs besides. I am on the major road. I can build the thing myself with all my free, good lumber. I have tons of wood siding. I will have eggs from next year’s hens, and there are no NY State restrictions. And … there is nowhere around here to get vegetables and fresh eggs. I’m thinking of something like the stand pictured, but smaller – 10 x 14 or so.

PA Lancaster County Roadside Stand

But you see, now I have another idea conundrum. I need a name. I like the sort of plain, no-nonsense names that many of the smaller-village businesses around here have taken. I was thinking of simply, The Lean-To, but I am quite sure someone else is already running a biz in our county by that name. Maybe The Salad Shack? Nah. I don’t really like that. Something with Greens or Farm in the title? Hmmm.

Ideas?

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My Love for Caustic Chemicals

Well, I love lye, at least.

I guess I need to qualify that. I adore real, old-fashioned lye soap. (Did you know that the supermarket bar stuff is actually not soap? It isn’t.) I like a nice, tough, serious soap. Homemade lye soap (we call it Farm Soap) is my absolute favorite.

100_0119I recently won a little something over at one of my favorite blogs, Welcome to Prosperine. Prosperine and I certainly have a lot of interests in common, so I wasn’t too surprised that the package I received in the mail was truly a box full of my favorite things.

Besides the package of saved Genovese Basil Hybrid seeds (awesome), I received a handmade bar of Red Clay and Citrus, Honey Almond, and Coffee Scrub soap. And it is amazing. Um-ay-zing. I used to make real lye soap now and then, but nothing like this. This stuff is gorgeous to smell, and gorgeous to look at. So much so, I stacked it up and took a fancy picture – that’s really the soap I got pictured here.

And in fact, I just saw late breaking news – Prosperine may have some soaps available. If you’re interested, check it out, fast.

Thanks, Prosperine!

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