Monday, October 2, 2017

Garlic Success!


Last autumn, while at the Mother Earth News Fair, I picked up a bag of Inchelium Red Softneck Garlic from Southern Exposure Seed exchange.


Inchelium Red Softneck Garlic, 8 oz.

I was a little leery about planting a softneck variety because I understood that they didn't do well in our harsh winters.  So I thought I would try planting them in the high tunnel and mulch them with a heavy bed of chopped leaves.  

Wow did I have success!  I ended up with softball sized garlic heads.  They have a wonderful mid-range garlic taste and are easy to peel!  Here's what Southern Exposure wrote:  

[Originally from the Colville Indian Reservation, Inchelium, WA.] Higher in soluble solids than other garlic varieties we offer, in 1991 it won first place among 20 varieties evaluated for flavor at the Rodale Food Center. Clove count averages 15 per bulb with a wide variation in clove count. Inchelium Red has out-produced Chet’s Italian Purple, formerly our most productive variety. Produces bulbs in excess of 3 in. in diameter under good conditions.

The largest heads will be broken apart and replanted in a couple of days.  In our zone, Columbus day is always my target date for planting garlic for next spring's harvest.  



Monday, September 25, 2017

Mother Earth News Fair, Seven Springs, PA: We Went!


What a great weekend!  We met 100s of people, talked about our craft, talked about their crafts, and sold honey and maple.  



I arrived at the Fair on Thursday and set up my tent.  



We had a great spot... right on the picnic court area.


And I had some great shows to watch while hanging out in my booth!




Going to the Mother Earth News Fair always increases my desire to do more, be more, on our little homestead.  I watched Joel Salatin (an American farmer, lecturer, and author whose books include Folks, This Ain't Normal; You Can Farm; and Salad Bar Beef) speak and the next thing I knew I was making plans to get into largish scale chicken raising and figuring out where I would put my chicken tractors and how I would feed my chickens with just grass and bugs.  It was a great dream!  

Thankfully, my cooler head prevailed and by the time I got back to my booth I remembered my commitment to doing better at what I'm already doing rather than doing more!  

Dig into this past year's Mother Earth News Fair's Schedule of Events.  Your mind will be blown with the diversity and range of topics covered!  

Sometimes we find ourselves getting worn out and the Mother Earth News Fair is a great way to freshen your desire to pursue the homesteading/natural living/clean eating lifestyle. 







Monday, September 11, 2017

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule: We're Going!



Mother Earth News Fair



We're very busy packaging honey and maple syrup for our booth at the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania on September 15 -17.  

You'll find us at booth number 8805 - straight ahead as you go through the tunnel.  Right near the PASA Sustainable Agriculture Stage.  Come visit us!  

Here is a link to the Fair.  You won't believe the number of outstanding events and classes there are... and at a very reasonable ticket price!  Last year I went to check out the Fair and it completely blew me away and renewed my commitment to an as organic as possible lifestyle.  Take a look at this link to the magazine of Fair events here: 




I hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Coming Soon!


Hi Folks!

Sorry I've been pretty incognito the past month +.  All the responsibilities and work around the homestead have really caught up with me!

We are now preparing to be a part of the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania on September 15, 16, and 17th.  I'll be posting more about this in a few days, but preparations are filling my time!

There's lots to tell you and I'll be posting again veeeery soon!


Friday, July 21, 2017

The Garden Is Coming On Strong!


Oh boy, I've been busy staying on top of what my garden is producing!

Starting with garlic scapes from the hardneck garlic.  

One reads about the health benefits of adding a bit of apple cider vinegar to your diet.  However, there's not a much more foul tasting thing than downing a spoonful of vinegar!  But pickled items are always tasty.  So, I figured can get my teaspoon of vinegar by eating a bit of these each day. 

 I thought a couple of jars of pickled garlic scapes might do the trick.  I cut up and rolled the rounded parts of the scapes to the outside of the jar and filled the middles with the straight parts.  I boiled up my pickling mixture - there are all kinds of recipes out there to suit your tastes and put the jars in a hot water bath.  Now I have to wait for about six weeks to taste the end result.       







It has to be a much tastier alternative to drinking straight vinegar!

Last fall, I went to the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania.  What an outstanding experience!  I suggest you make the trip to go if you ever are near one of these events.  It really brings your self sufficiency mojo up to a new level!  BTW, Fitzgerald's Family Farm, LLC will be at the event in Seven Springs this September to sell our maple syrup and honey!

Anyway, while I was there I picked up an 8 oz. package of softneck garlic from the Southern Seed Exchange booth.  The variety was Inchelium Red.  Softneck garlic has a tougher time growing here because of our very cold winters.  So I thought I would put this sample in the high tunnel to test it out.  It was a resounding success!

It was so exciting to pull these giant bulbs out of the ground!





Our second high tunnel is the "berry" tunnel.  It's filled with red and yellow raspberries and strawberries.  Raspberries looooove growing in a high tunnel.  Yesterday, I spent two hours picking red raspberries and strawberries - which is a feat when the outside temperatures are in the 80s.  I can't even guess what the temperatures in the high tunnel were.... just swelteringly HOT!

But from this two hours of picking I had enough berries for a years worth of strawberry/red raspberry jam!  (the salvaged berry containers are the perfect size for picking without squishing the berries).



Now on to figuring out what to do with an abundance of zucchini, collard greens, swiss chard, kale, eventually tomatoes, and more!



   






Thursday, July 13, 2017

Skunks!


This must be the year for skunks.  They're everywhere!


Image result for skunk


Our neighbor was haying the field beside us and ran over a bunch of - skunks!

My poor little turkey whom I raised to beautiful teenhood.  Attacked and killed.  We set a live trap and caught - a skunk!



The little birds nest in the back yard.  Suddenly all the little baby birds were missing and there were signs of  - a skunk!




My friend brought over her dog who had been skunk sprayed - and bathed multiple times - and we couldn't determine if the scent came from him or from the multiple skunks who keep wafting their scent across our property!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that none of my animals get sprayed.  Our dogs don't wander too far, so hopefully....









Friday, June 30, 2017

Blueberry Pest Control


The blueberries are hanging with the weight of unripened blueberries.  This happens almost every year.... and just as they get ripe.... the Japanese beetles come in and destroy the plants and especially the fruit!  




This year I'm fighting back.  

First I cleaned up all around the blueberry bushes.  




Grass clippings are your friend to help control weed growth.






And look what I found while I was tidying up the area!  




Egg identification listed the eggs as either house or song sparrows.  I carefully replaced everything exactly as I found it and am crossing my fingers that mom and dad sparrow come back to raise their family. 

 After cleaning around the bushes and mulching with grass clippings, I covered the berries with the lightest row cover fabric I could find.  





I don't think the Japanese beetles will get through that!

I hope to get a decent blueberry crop this year!