Friday, September 18, 2015

Taking Back The Language Of Gardening

Chemical Carrot vs. (Organic) Carrot sold as just "Carrot"
Chemical Tomato vs. (Organic) Tomato sold as just "Tomato"
Chemical Potato vs. (Organic) Potato sold as just "Potato"
Chemical Green Beans vs. (Organic) Green Beans sold as just "Green Beans"

Which would you buy?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Blast From The Past: Summer Vegetable Tian/Ratatouille

I've been awfully busy and not able to post.  So I thought you might enjoy a few posts from the past.....

Enjoy this post from September 9, 2014.

I had green and yellow zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes.  What to make?  I scrolled through the internet and found a recipe for a vegetable tian.  Its very similar to the recipe for baked ratatouille, and I had to substitute vegetables.  So I think you could call it either.  The finished dish not only looks appetizing, but the herbs make it smell and taste amazing too!

Here's my version: 

Summer Vegetable Tian/Ratatouille

eggplant, peeled, sliced thin, salt and drain for 30 minutes then pat dry
green and yellow zucchini, sliced thin
tomatoes, sliced thin
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 med. onion chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried, or 1 Tbs. fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary 
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheeses

Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until translucent.  
Grease an 8 x8 baking dish.  Spread onion and garlic over the bottom of the dish. 
 Place the thinly sliced vegetables in the dish in an attractive pattern.  
Sprinkle with the thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper.  
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil, top with the cheeses, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more.  Until the cheese melts and is slightly browned. 


(If you make this dish ahead and let it sit so that the flavors meld its even better!)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Bread And Butter Pickles


Bread and Butter Pickles. 

My favorite!

We've been having some very cool, damp weather and I'm starting to see signs of powdery mildew on some of my plants.  I'll combat it as best I can, but I know it's jut a matter of time.....

Oh horror.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

My Sheer Curtain Experiment Was A Success!

Last year, I acquired a box of sheer curtains and thought that maybe they would help keep the cabbage moths off my growing broccoli. 

 I'd grown broccoli in the past but was completely grossed out by the number of green worms that fell out when I steamed it.  "How many did not fall out!?!," I thought.  

I had tried using garden row cover fabric, but even the lightest fabric seemed to generate a lot of heat underneath.  The growing vegetables had a "cooked" smell to them!

Inspiration hit.  I clipped the sheer curtains to a string above the growing broccoli and tented them into a loose teepee.  As the plants grow larger, they easily push the teepee up and away.  

I picked and cooked my first broccoli heads last week and not one bug or worm fell from the whole bunch!  (And trust me, I checked!)  


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tiger Lilies

It's bloom time for the tiger lilies.  Growing up in New York state, tiger lilies could be found in ditches everywhere.  To me, tiger lilies around a mailbox epitomize rusticity and "hominess". 

What I know as tiger lilies are also known as ditch lilies in parts of the country.  

There is much confusion about Tiger Lilies. An oriental variety is very similar. The major difference is that the oriental Tiger Lily propagates through a bulbs that forms at leaf axils. The common wildflower Tiger Lily  is a profuse propagator by means of tuberous roots. Both varieties have edible roots and have been used for medicinal purposes. Source:

The oriental tiger lily seems to have more defined spots than the wildflower variety and not grow as tall or prolifically.  I love that I can plant a few of the wildflower variety along a wall and within a few years they completely fill the space.  

Aren't they just lovely?!?

Friday, July 3, 2015

Update: Sad News About The Duck

Well, I have sad news about our adorable little duckling.  The mother duck stood on it and killed it.  The rest of the eggs never hatched and upon inspection I found that they were not good.  So, no new ducklings on the farm.  For the future, I think, I'll take any ducklings away and put them under heat lamps.  I think they'll have a better chance.  

The three little chicks are doing well!  They're tiny but growing fast!

The nest I found, that I thought was a bobolink nest is not.  I checked the other day and some type of little brown wren flew off as I peeked at it.  The eggs have hatched and there are three naked little chicks lying in the bottom!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why I Can't Mow Inside My Chicken's Pen

I've been wanting to get out and mow the tall grass inside my chicken's pen.  I feel like they're not utilizing all the area they have because they can't get through the grass to catch bugs. 

But then yesterday morning, while I was feeding the chickens, a hen came out of the tall grass and I heard peeping.  

After looking around through the weeds I found three little chicks!  I was able to catch one and take a picture.  

Then with some poking around, I found the nest buried deeply into the bottom of some weeds.  

I don't know if the hen is still sitting on the remaining eggs.  I guess I'll find out in the next few days!

While I was looking for the hen's nest, I found another nest.  I don't know what bird's eggs they are, but they're pretty small - about the size of a robin's egg.  

And this is why I can't mow the grass in my chicken pen!  I don't know how many other nests might be hiding in that tall grass and I sure would hate to destroy them!

Now I'm trying to decide if I want to take the new little chicks inside under the heat lamps or leave them with the hen.  The mortality rate is much, much higher if I leave them with the hen so I think I may try to catch them.  

Three very wet chicks came out of the weeds this morning.  The other hens were not kind to them and I decided they had a much better chance of survival if I brought them in and put them under lights.  So far they are thriving.  

Research tells me the eggs in the bottom nest are bobolink eggs.  We've had a huge uptick in their numbers this year!