Tuesday, May 31, 2011

End of May Garden

I can hardly believe how much everything has grown in the past two weeks. The zucchini plants are once again trying to take over the world, which makes me very happy since I did not have any last year. They were destroyed by squash bugs as soon as the started bearing fruit. This year I planted dill and nasturtium between the plants and so far (knock on wood) I don't see any sign of the dreadful bugs. The biggest of the plants has two blossoms. I also picked my first peas today and quite a lot of raspberries.
Unfortunately the weeds are growing just as well and we have to do some serious weeding tonight, especially behind the herb garden.
Last night we had a big owl in the garden! About 10 minutes before midnight I was woken by some noise and looked out the window to see if there were any kind of critters in the garden, that would
a) destroy the garden 
b) get into the garbage cans or
c) try to steal our car
I did not see anything move around but suddenly a big shadow swooped over the garden (it is rather bright out there at night because of a street lamp on our neighbor's property). It landed on the roof of the shed but behind the bush so I could not see what it was. Then is sort of sidled along the roof into view. It was a rather big owl. I woke Del so he could see it too. It sat on the roof for a while and then swooped noiselessly into the south field.  And I think I saw my first humming bird this morning, it went by really fast while I was hanging laundry and it was too big to be a bug (although we do get pretty big bugs around here). I have not yet heard any cicadas so it is not yet officially Summer.
Here are some photos I took this morning of our luscious green paradise. I am very happy that the garden is doing so well this year, we did invest a lot of work and money to bring it back to life after last year's complete failure.


Just some random shots of things I cooked over the past few weeks.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lettuce Anyone?

After another night of heavy rain I decided to harvest the rest of the loose leaf lettuce. I just finished picking, washing and bagging 8 1-gallon bags of lettuce and one of spinach. I see a lot of salads in our future.

Farmer's Market and Kitchen Experiments

Our plan to go to the market before breakfast worked out, although we got there almost a little too early, not all the stalls had been opened yet and the guys we buy our meat and chicken from were running a little late but they did show up. Here is what we bought.

1 dozen eggs, peaches (ripe and yummy, we had some for breakfast), blueberries, yellow cherry tomatoes, chicken drumsticks for Sunday lunch and ground beef for burgers on Monday, a red cabbage I want to make some slaw with.

An update on my recent experiments: I am giving up on sourdough, after three days it smelled bad once again, I have no idea why, maybe I am just not meant to bake sourdough bread. The beet greens kim chee turned out well, with a definite note of beet flavor under all the ginger and garlic and nice and hot from the red pepper flakes. The beet kvass looks lovely but I have not tried it yet.
Next on my list of experiments is sauerkraut and lactic fermented pickles. Stay tuned. ;-)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


This morning I pulled 5 of my beets to see how big they are. They looked nice so I decided to play with my food and make some beet kvass. I had read a lot about it on several blogs recently and it does sound good (if you like beets as I do). Then there was that big bunch of beet greens, they look too good to throw away and they are edible. I have been playing around with an idea for a while now, why not make kim chee with something other than chinese cabbage which is horribly expensive in the store (I plan on growing some myself, but the planting has to wait till Fall). So with not much to lose I decided to start a batch of kim chee with my beet greens. I will let you know how it turned out.

I also have a sourdough starter going, which, I confess, is the third try this month. The first two stopped any activity on the second day and smelled like rotten vinegar rather than having a nice beery smell as the instructions say. I hope this one will survive, it is rather warm in the house now, that should help.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Farmer's Market and Garden Pictures

I am back. I have been 'under the weather' for a while now, emotionally, physically and mentally and I was in a really bad place. But I am digging myself slowly out of the pit and I am returning to the light.
Today we went to the farmer's market and it was crowded. We have decided to try and get there earlier in the future, going first thing in the morning and having breakfast after we get back. It was already very warm when we got there and I am no longer used to such crowds, they also make it hard to interact with the people you buy from.
Our purchases today came to $ 19.- and they were: 1 dozen eggs, 1 lb fresh chicken sausages, 1 quart strawberries, 1 pint blueberries, a savoy cabbage and some new potatoes.

Our garden is growing really well this year. These photos are about a week old and everything has grown quite a bit bigger in the meantime.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Farmer's Market

Today's purchases:

1 lb ground beef, a dozen eggs, 1 quart strawberries, 1 pint blueberries, 2 bunches green onions, 1 lb broccoli and one parsley plant, because mine is not coming up. Total cost: $ 18.50

Lots of greens of all kind are showing up in the market now, but my loose leaf lettuce and the spinach are growing well so I did not buy anything (still not sure about the swiss chard). My radishes are doing well too and although we have strawberries in the garden we keep buying them as long as the season lasts, one can never have too many strawberries. ;-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Knitting and Reading

As soon as I finished 'Saroyan' I cast on a new project. I am still working on using up all yarn in my stash that has not been bought for a specific project. So, today on my needles is 'The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief', easy to knit and looks pretty good. I am using some Simply Soft in a medium grey.
In my reading basket this week are two books that I saw on other blogs and that looked very interesting and our library had them both. 'Preserving Food Without Canning or Freezing' is definitely on my wish list. 'Alabama Studio Style' looks interesting so far but I have not looked deeper into it yet.

Linking with Ginny for this week's yarn along. Hop on over and see what everyone is knitting and reading this week. I have found quite a few interesting projects and books through this and even made some new friends.


My 'Saroyan' scarf is finished. The first picture, taken without flash, brings out the pattern nicely, the second one, with flash, shows the true color better. I like how it turned out and wonder if I would be able to come up with a matching hat.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Farmer's Market

Another Saturday trip to the Farmer's Market. Lots of people and more vendors. It seems that as more stuff ripens on the farms and in the green houses there are more market stalls. Today we bought a whole chicken, a big head of romaine lettuce, a quart of strawberries and a dozen eggs. Total cost: $ 19.-

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Project of the Month - May

Since my main project for April was spring cleaning I am happy to say that I achieved it. The house is clean, the garden is planted and doing well. I did a lot of knitting, a little stitching and I finished 4 small quilts and two blocks for the Civil War Diary Quilt and I got in some reading, I'd say that my POM for April went well.

There are three things I want to achieve in May:
  • knit a lace project
  • sew a purse
  • give sourdough another try
Everything else I will take as it comes. I am sure that between garden, cats, house and crafting I will be busy.

Have a wonderful month of May everybody!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

First Harvest

After yet another night of thunderstorms and heavy rain I went out into my wonderfully wet and squishy garden to check if anything got damaged. Luckily all is well. I picked strawberries, spinach and radishes.
 That makes all the digging, weeding and bending over worth while. My kitchen scale is broken so I put my strawberries into the box from the farmer's market just to get an idea how many there are.

I just can't get enough of the prettiness of radishes.

Knitting and Reading

Happy Wednesday everyone! Time to link with Ginny for another yarn along.

Last week's shawl is finished and ready to be mailed. And because I finished one project I allowed myself to start a new one (I actually started two, but more about that next week). I am working my way through my yarn stash. This week I am knitting Saroyan, the yarn is Red Heart Soft Yarn in leaf. It will probably become a gift for somebody.
I am still reading 'Home Cheese Making', before I can start experimenting with any of the recipes I need to buy some essential equipment. I also got 'Local Flavors' from the library but the recipes seem to be a bit far removed from my usual simple and good style and sound rather exotic.
Speaking of cooking. Can anyone share some yummy recipes for Swiss (or Rainbow) Chard?

Monday, May 02, 2011



The comfort shawl is finished and ready to be mailed.

Happy Cats


Sunday afternoon we went to the open farm day at Rising Meadon Farm and Goat Lady Dairy, always very enjoyable although I got rather car sick on the way up.

Can you spot the froggie?