Winter Prep

By the time I roll out of bed in the morning, the temp’s have been in the low 40’s. And since my animals eat before I do….burrr baby it’s cold outside! This morning the steam was rising from the bovine girls into the crisp cool air. They’re starting to grow their winter coats getting ready for snow and ice. The dew has been very heavy, so I think it’s time to put the row covers over my raised beds just in case. I’d hate to lose my lettuce at this point. It’s good for at least another 3 months before it freezes under cover.

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The mullein needs a trim to fit inside the hoop. The spinach, beets and kale are up. I love kale in the winter for soups. I’m hoping these cold temps will give it a nice sweet taste. I’ve spotted a few Harlequin Bugs and have been squishing them. I better make sure they are all gone before I cover things up or they will do a number on my kale like they did last year. They suck the juice right out of plants in the Brassica family until they kill them. A soapy spray or pytrethrin will do the trick. Last year I used a mixture of Neem Oil and kitchen soap.

Harliquin Bug

Harlequin Bug

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I pulled the rest of the carrots and have been very very slow about sowing more seed. We might and we might not have carrots this winter.

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Most of the peepers have been picked. Although there are still a few growing. I had 4 volunteer pepper plants in last years bed and they all seem to be HOT!

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I will cover my Rosemary plants and pray that they make it again this year. If I do get my greenhouse built, I’ll pot them along with my Holy Basil and move them into the greenhouse for the winter. I love having lots of fresh dried herbs on hand for winter cooking. I buy my sausage from a local farmer and it’s plain ground pork so I can add my own seasoning of black pepper, salt and lots of freshly dried sage. I dry my herbs hanging them upside down in the cool, dry basement. Then placing them in a paper bag whole. I crush them when I’m ready to use them to keep their essential oils in tact.

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I picked out my choicest garlic from last years crop. Planting only 1/3 of what I ordered last year and using 16 Elephant cloves and 16 ??? I’m not sure what the other is….I know….a short pencil is better than a long memory. I didn’t mark them and I couldn’t remember what went where. I thought I planted them by alphabetical order….to help me remember…..but that didn’t work. I’ve plum forgot! Whatever they were, they are a nice medium compact bulb. The small variety didn’t do quite as well and that might of been the German that the company said they had some issues with. I don’t really care, when I chop it up and put it in a sauce no one cares what it’s called. If I end up passing it down or along to a friend, I guess it will get a new name….Peaceful Acres Garlic or something of that sort.

I guess we’re ready for old man winter. The dark days are coming. But I’ll enjoy the beauty that surrounds me now.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

What summer vacation???

Honey spent his day off on Friday in the office, working to finish up a project that is due on Monday. Deadlines are good, I suppose. He’s been quarantined for a couple weeks and no one was allowed to bother him without permission from his supervisor! FINALLY!

We both spent the 4th working all morning. But as far as a vacation….well, with a cow that will calf in a month….there won’t be one this year. 😦 Unless we figure out how to get him out of quarantine and find someone to watch the animals this month before the calf comes….well….it ain’t happenin.

But today….with that sunrise and 65*F weather, it almost felt like vacation in the North Carolina mountains….except for the car noises.

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This is what I did on my 4th of July.

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I dug potatoes. Almost 5 gallons. They are beautiful! Mmmmm

I was hugely disappointed with the seed potatoes that I bought. I averaged 1 potato per plant!!!! That’s disgusting! I will let you know if the company stands by their satisfaction guarantee. If not, I’ll be sure the publish their name and if so….I’ll be sure to publish their name!

The Yukon Golds at the top are from potatoes I bought at the health food store for a couple bucks! Why I buy seed potatoes….I’ll never know. I’m always disappointed. Make note to self: NEVER BUY SEED POTATOES EVER AGAIN! No matter what they claim!!!

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My sunflowers are huge with squash, melons and pumpkins plants growing underneath.

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It’s the first year I’ve planted the Three Sisters! Corn, Squash and Beans. I planted beans to climb the corn and squash and cucs under the corn to also climb. It’s working.

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We’ve almost eaten all of our brined pickles from last year….all 2 gallons!

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I hung the garlic under the deck to dry. I still need to dig half of them. The elephant garlic turned out great….in fact all the garlic did. I bought these from Territorial Seed Co. I’ll use lots of them in our brined pickles! Mmmm

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I’ll probably cut the cabbage soon and make kraut. Last year I let them go too long and the worms got most of them.

It’s time to start planning my fall/winter garden with several beds emptying. I’ll start some eyes on my potatoes and plant them this month in the pea bed. Then they will be ready by the first frost in mid October.

I hope you had a lovely 4th.

House Keeping

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Rear View!

Today, was a house keeping day for the chickies. I’ve only had them since November and their Cozy Coop is only 12 sq ft, so there’s really not a lot to keep up with. But, I’ve noticed that the area under where they roost is getting rather, stinky. It was starting to pile up and is probably not a nice place to sleep….looking into a pile of poop.

I took a bale of straw down from the shed in the kids old Red Radio Flyer Wagon that Auntie M gave them for Christmas ages and ages ago. It’s a great little wagon that helps me with all kinds of chores. I find it easier to pull than pushing a wheel barrow. Rockie and Annie the two top dogs, I mean chickens, of course had to check out the new bale.

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Annie in her finest!

My new Manure Fork that I got for Christmas finally saw some action. It’s for mucking the cows when they arrive, which should be soon, but it worked rather nicely in the chicken coop.

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I spread out the manure on three of my raised beds. It should have time to break down before I plant in the spring.

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I noticed that my garlic is up and looking very nicely. I added a little bit more straw to keep them warm until spring.

All 100 of them!!!

Spring by the way is only 32 days from today!!!!

Whahoo!

Planted Garlic

I ordered several garlic varieties from Johnny’s Selected Seed Co.

We should get our first frost tonight, so I got about 110 or so bulbs planted today.  They are about 2-3 inches deep and 6 inches apart.  I’ll mulch them with straw after they come up and before winter sets in.

I forgot to get a total count but it was something like, 5-6 Organic Elephant-mild (those were HUGE), 36 Organic Red Russian-stiffneck, 45 Organic White New York-softneck, and25 Organic Extra Hardy German-stiffneck.

This is my first year growing garlic.  I sure hope they produce, cause after I spent the money on these bulbs….well, lets just say, I had second thoughts!  Man what was I thinking.  I guess I can sell them at the farmers market next year to recoup some of the money!

Indian Dahl~Mmmmmm Good!

I’ve gone to India twice now on missions trips to help and encourage at an orphanage. While there I fell in love with the people, who are generous and would give you the shirt off their backs while feeding you what meager offerings they had. I arrived in Mumbai which is a bustling city of over 13 million people. I saw great poverty and yet a city that was touched by the West with fashion and food. I spent my 3 weeks in the rural part of Maharashtra.

This is the scene behind the Indian owned hotel we stayed at for a night. A woman with her sacred cow, yet she was begging and very frail. It was a scene I’d see repeatedly.

This is McDonald’s in Mumbai.

This is the train we rode on for 14 hrs!

What you see is mostly men selling food threw the windows to those on the train. It didn’t stop for long and you had to throw all your baggage off in a matter of a minute or two. Then the train was off again. It was quite an experience. We did have western potties on the train, but I left my mark all over India!!!! 😀

When we arrived at our destination, Children’s Fellowship Of India, we were greeted by all the boys lining the driveway into the compound. I was hugged and kissed more than one woman should be allowed in a lifetime.

Our arrival at CFI after 14 hrs on the train.

The children were so hungry for touch. They soon learned I was the Auntie with 10 fingers! So ten could hold my hand. Kisses were given away like candy.

Even the dog wanted in on the action.

Meals are all eaten on the floor. I soon became accustomed to eating with my hands and enjoying every morsel.

This is Christmas Day 2004. We had no news of the Tsunami.

Christmas Day~joy in the eyes of a child receiving his package that we helped assemble. Each child received a new school outfit made by the tailor, Daniel. A couple pieces of candy, a small toy, a towel, a handkerchief, and firecrakers!!!!! I soon learned where the expression “wild little Indians” came from!

A mother and her child that lives at the orphanage. She is probably a widow or her husband left her for another woman and she can’t afford to keep her son. They spent Christmas Day together.

The children have donated shoes. But they prefer not to wear them. This day they all decided they wanted to show off their shoes and have their picture taken. Soon after off with the shoes.

These are women who were picking cotton on Christmas Day. Christmas is celebrated in India by Christians. However, I’m sure these ladies had no idea that it was Christmas nor did they even know of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

A typical scene. I loved hearing the water buffalo coming down the road with their bells ringing.

This is a typical scene in the towns. The roads were filled with animals. Water Buffalo pulling carts. Shepherds with their flocks. Camels in a caravan. Cars tooting their horns and dust every where.

We drew a lot of attention where ever we went. So, on this day when we went into the “bazaar” we covered ourselves so we could do some shopping without flocks of men following us. I wore my marriage beads, they are the black and gold beads around my neck. It is to symbolize you are married. Non the less the men were taken by our blue eyes and fair hair. It made my young companion and I laugh and giggle.

Oh and the food was to die for!!! I ate so much and enjoyed every bite. Every trip I lost at least 10 lbs though. I wish that would happen here!

Here we are at the saree shop. See all our shoes at the door. It’s customary to take them off since they don’t have Hoovers!

I learned to enjoy so much of the food, especially on my second trip to CFI. Here’s one of my favorite recipes called Dahl; lentil soup. Sorry I didn’t get a photo of it at presentation…..but I’m so hungry I forget to take pictures instead of digging in! Last night I enjoyed it with my fresh cooked greens tossed in!

Indian Dahl

(the way I learned it)

EVOO (a good covering in the saucepan)

6 Large Cloves of Garlic (more if desired) diced

1/4 Onion chopped

1 Tomato chopped

1 cube of beef stock (if you have it for nutritional bang)

1 C Red Lentils soaked for 8 hrs (I’ll address this at the end)

Toss in some Chili peppers if you have them.

Season with a good helping of salt, cayenne, and turmeric!

Sautee the the garlic and onion in the EVOO. Toss in the tomato and cook a little more. Add the drained lentils and cover with water. Allow to simmer for 45 min’s – 1 hour. You can add more water or allow it to cook down so there’s not much broth. Pour over Basmati rice~ enjoy. If you can tolerate wheat then eat it up with a Chapati and your hands!!! YUMMY!

Nutritional Value: “Lentils: are one of the oldest of all cultivated crops. Extraordinarily rich in protease inhibitors, genisten, and lignans, all kinds of lentils are proven them selves capable of reversing cancerous cellular changes and helping cells repair damaged DNA.

Garlic: is queen of cancer-prevention and cancer-inhibiting foods, counters the initiation, promotion, and recurrence of many kinds of cancer. Unusually rich in anti-tumor elelments selenium and germanium, garlic also contains an abundance of antioxidants, isoflavones and allyl sulfides.

Greens: Dark leafy greens are rich in cancer-preventing carotenes, chlorophyll, antioxidants, folic acid, flavonoids, and if fresh and lightly washed Vitamin C.

Olive Oil: of good quality is an important part of any anti-cancer diet. Exceptionally rich in antioxidants, olive oil has a special ability to help cells protect themselves from free radical damage, and it’s the oil most likely to make it to your table with its antioxidants intact.

Rice: is a good source of protease inhibitors. Women who eat the most rice have the lowest rates of breast cancer. Brown rice is the staple anti-cancer food of the macrobiotic approach, and rice in many forms, is one of the most important grains in any anti-cancer diet. ”

These facts were taken from Breast Cancer? Breast Health by Susun Weed.

Chapati

Enough whole wheat flour and water to make a firm ball. Allow to rest. Roll out on a floured board into a round disc. Heat up an oiled skillet and toss the dough onto the skillet. Move it around continuously until it begins to puff. A good chapti cook with have good puff! Toss it over and brown the other side.

soaking lentils with whey

Soaking grains helps to break down the Phytic Acid. It allows them to become more digestible. When I make goat cheese I save my whey and freeze it in ice cube trays. Then I just pop one in with my soaking lentils and soak them for 8 hrs. At that point it only takes a short while for them to cook.

You can search for my previous posts on how to make kefir cheese and then obtain the whey.