Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cooled Down Piggies

Hot weather and no cool place to wallow led us to giving the piggies a nice little hose down. 

The wallow stays mucky for a couple of days and gives the pigs a place to get nice and muddy.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Local Restaurant Supports A Local Farmer

A delicious example of our local Coudersport, PA restaurant, Olga's, supporting a local farmer, Wooleylot Farm!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tomato Fertilizer Recipe

Last year I had some problems with my tomatoes getting blossom end rot.  The usual reason for a tomatoes getting this sunken pit at their base is a lack of calcium.  Sometimes the lack of calcium comes from not enough calcium in the soil or it may come from too much or too little water and draught stress.  Sometime it's due to rapid, vegetative growth due to excessive nitrogen fertilization.  These conditions reduce the uptake and movement of calcium into the plant.  

Last year's draught made watering problematic so that probably created the stress that led to blossom rot in my tomatoes, but this year, to cover my bases, I wanted to make sure that my plants had plenty of calcium in the soil.

I came across this recipe for a homemade tomato fertilizer from

Shannon’s Homemade Monster Tomato Fertilizer recipe:

2-3 dozen crush egg shells (I hadn't save enough shells when I made this, so I also added some crushed oyster shell - the same oyster shell I offer to the chickens to strengthen their shells)  
2 cups bone meal
1/2 cup Epsom salts
14 crushed aspirin (a natural rooting hormone!)

We put a heaping spoonful of this mixture into each hole as we planted each tomato plant - and the leftovers went in with the peppers and cucumbers.  

The plants have taken off!  Now I just have to wait to see if the calcium and regular watering will take care of the blossom rot problem! 


Did you know?

Tomatoes are thought to originate in Peru. The name comes from the Aztec “xitomatl,” which means “plump thing with a navel”.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Scapes 'n' Steaks


Venison Steaks and Garlic Scapes on the Grill

Monday, June 18, 2012

Garlic Scapes Are Back!

Garlic scapes are the "flower stalks" of hardneck garlic plants, although they do not produce flowers. These stalks start to appear a month or so after the first leaves. They are usually cut off of the plant, since leaving them on only diverts the plants strength away from forming a plump bulb. If left on, they eventually form small bulbils that can be planted to grow more garlic, but it takes 2–3 years for them to form large bulbs. Many gardeners simply toss their scapes in the compost, but garlic scapes are both edible and delicious. (Source:

It's absolutely fascinating that the hardneck garlic plant will grow it's flower into an artful circles  Why not just grow straight up and be done with it?  Maybe it's nature's way of adding a little extra beauty to the world.  In any case, it's unique and lovely!

Absolutely lovely too is the taste of grilled garlic scapes.  Drizzle them with a little olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and toss them on the grill for a couple of minutes.  They have a gentle garlic flavor and an asparagus-like texture that pairs very well with any meat.  Fantastic!

I re-posted this from last year.  Garlic scapes will be here for a VERY short time (possibly only one more week) at the Potter County Farmer's Market (Coudersport Courthouse Square, Fridays, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.  They freeze well and make a wonderful pesto. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

One Big Project Done: Herb Garden

My beautiful herb garden had turned into a mass of weeds.  It felt wonderful to finally get that cleaned up and looking tidy again!

The weed filled beds before I cleaned them out.

During cleaning...

And after.

The back left bed is all chives.  The two diagonal beds have oregano, mint, thyme, rosemary, sage, and tarragon.  The front right bed is bee balm, tiger lilies (for pretty) and a corner of freshly planted basil  seeds all surrounding the pipe for our well.  

To complete the tidy it up I wanted to trim the weeds around the outer edges, but after about a hundred pulls on the weed trimmer I gave up!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Beware of Eggs....

Did you know that eggs are a "potentially hazardous food"? In Europe the eggs were sold from a shelf and not even refrigerated... no one got sick. 

I was told by the Pa Dept. of Ag that have to buy an $82 license if I want to sell eggs at Farmer's Market. I sell a few dozen eggs each week and I would have to sell 41 dozen eggs to make that up! My eggs are now contraband. I'll be giving them away - and if you would like to throw a couple of dollars ($2)? towards chicken feed it would be greatly appreciated.  I'll put a donations can up on the stand.  It's more economical for me to give away eggs or feed them to the pigs than it is to pay an $82 fee!

Here's what past guidelines have been and now I guess our current government administration has determined that an $82 license will make the eggs even  safer:  

For those producers with less than 3,200 laying hens, the following protocols must be followed for retail sale of shell eggs:
Eggs must be sold within five (5) days from the date of the lay.  Are store eggs sold within five days?  I think not.
  Eggs must be sold predominately within a 100 mile radius of the production or processing facility. Again.  How does this compare to store eggs?  I'm pretty sure they're not coming from within an 100 mile radius
  Eggs must be maintained at 45 degrees or less from the time of gathering to the time of sale. This includes the period of time when the eggs are at the farmers market.  Done.   
Each carton, flat or container of eggs must be labeled with the following:
o o o o o o
Name and address of producer Date of lay Fair enough.  I put my phone number too.  I want you to let me know if there's a problem with your eggs! 

Statement of identity (Eggs) This would be in the event you can't recognize what you're buying?

Net contents (in letters at least 3/16 of an inch high) I guess for people who can't count.

“Keep Refrigerated” Egg handling instructions.  Really?

If you do not weigh the eggs or if they are mixed sizes and you do not wish to assign a grade, the carton, flat or container must be labeled as “Unclassified.”  O.K.  My eggs are much better than store bought grade A eggs anyway.

Dirty, leaking or cracked eggs must be removed prior to sale. Yup, I always sell leaking and cracked egg to my customers (note the heavy sarcasm).  I've had people complain that I wipe off the dirt because they say I'm removing the "bloom" - the natural protective coating on the egg. 


I can understand if you're buying eggs from a huge corporation and Lord knows how they've been handled and how long they've been shipped and stored.  But I'm at a Farmer's Market.  I'm looking at your face and you're looking at mine.  I'll be standing there next week and you know where I live!  

It's time to put up a gravestone.  This truly marks the death of common sense and personal responsibility.  


Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Apologize

To my readers....

I apologize.  I will be back with you when the flurry of early summer activity ends.  Hang with me!