Had a few cuc's hanging around and we were all looking for a snack. After watching Julie and Julia the other day, I keep reminding myself that I need to try Braised Cucumber's. Well...easy and yummy! We all liked them very much. A little Smart Balance, kosher salt and a touch of lemon juice, and oh yeah, cucumbers! I cut the seeds out and cubed the cuc's. I will definitely be doing this again and again! Try it!
What's wrong with this picture? I built Garden Alcatraz...four rail wood fence, hog wire, chicken wire and half of the fence has electric wire on top and on the bottom to keep the horses off. The "cute liitle bunny wabbit" is in WITH the vegetables! UUGHH! I know the fence works, because I spent 15 minutes in 95 degree heat chasing him around and he couldn't get out through the fence. A couple of characters from my childhood that were the "villians" in some of my favorite stories came to mind as I was sweating and swearing, "Kill the wabbit, Kill the wabbit!", in pursuit of this furry little nuisance, Elmer Fudd and Mr. McGregor. Boy, how things have changed...I now despise Bugs Bunny and Peter Rabbit!
Why grow your own vegetables? Just take a look at our first tomatoes. As I sliced some up for dinner tonight, I had to remind myself that I wasn't chopping sirloin for stew. Unfortunately, this photo doesn't even come close to the incredible deep, dark red of these amazing tom's! Call me crazy, but they were so beautiful that I left them on the cutting board like a bouquet of flowers to be admired, until everyone got a good look, before I tossed them in the pot. I just love pretty food!
Most people look forward to eating out, however that is not the case with us. We love dining in, especially this time of year with the garden kickin' it into full gear. Picked our first peppers, and what better to go with them are some onions and sausage. Made some "Cosi" rolls for sandwiches. Ok, a Cosi roll really doesn't exist, but that's what we call them. Why, you ask. Well, when we lived in Queen's NY, I would take the girls into Manhattan for dance class a few times a week. There were these chain sandwich shops, called "Cosi" we would eat at alot. Similar to Atlanta or Panera Bread. But with one HUGE difference. They would bake the bread for the sandwiches in each shop. When the employees weren't making you your sandwich, they were throwing bread in the oven. Of course, how could I not quiz these people about what they were doing! They made these flat loaves of bread. Not flatbread, but flat loaves. The bread was incredible and made for a wonderful sandwich. It was like the size of a normal slice of sandwich bread, but tasted like a grinder roll. Very cool. Use your normal sandwich bread recipe that you like, (this was a 2 lb. recipe) form like you are making bagettes, place on a cornmealed baking sheet, and squish the doe flat. I brush with an egg wash (careful not to let any drip or it will stick) sprinkle with kosher salt and poppy seeds. (The salt on top of the bread is fantastic!) Give it a shot. Don't depair, give it a few tries, it's worth it!
Not many things better than watching our goaty girls havin' fun be-boppin' around this morning. If they only knew how happy they make us with all their "goatness"!
The "Great Potato Experiment" has drawn to a close and we came to a few interesting conclusions. If you recall back from blog post, dated 3/14/2011, I planted some seed potatoes in a garbage can cut in half. I also planted a handful directly into a raised bed. I waited for the green tops to flower and start to die off pretty good before harvesting.
As you can see in the pictures below, I easily pulled the garbage can off the potatoes and broke apart the mound. There were a decent amount of potatoes, but seemed smaller than the ones that I planted directly into the ground. Also, I found significant ant damage to many of the potatoes in both circumstances. Will treat soil with DE (Diatamcious Earth) next time I plant. If I had a garden with limited planting space, I would recommend using the garbage can situation. But I think next spring, I will devote more bed space to my plantings. I still will use the garbage cans. Another factor in regards to potato size may be that I need to get them planted sooner. It got very warm down here early and that may have effected the potato. We have eaten about half of them, and they were extraodinarily creamy and yummy!!!! Just as I had hoped. The thought of eating our own organic potatoes made us "giddy"! Grocery store potatoes are one of those vegetables that are inundated with chemicals.
Constant mid to high 90's for the past month leaves everyone feeling... ick. Rushing to get everything done before noon is sometime difficult, but we still manage to take time to enjoy the farm. The animals seem to be coping just fine.
Kale seed pods
I don't care if you have a million dollars or zero dollars, everyone loves a deal! Free being the best deal of all! Since I don't till the gardens, one of the benefits is that we are starting to get is "free" plants. This year, we have about 5 tomato plants, basil, kale, onions, cantalope and tons of my favorite, the beautiful Cleomes that all came back on their own. Not tilling the beds, allow any seeds from plants to regerminate. I am also collecting seeds from many different plants as the season goes on. Asparagus, kale, radishes, sunflowers, and cleome so far. The procedure thus far has been to clean the garden beds of dead or "past" plants and start to re-energize them with compost for a few months. ie: horse manure, chicken poo, grass clippings, leaves and table scraps. Everything gets layered on top of each other as time goes by and just sits for months. I don't turn or disturb it. I do try to top it off with a layer of grass clippings or leaves. Over time, it creates a "skin" and come spring, (or planting time) I just make a little hole, drop a seed or plant. A great by product of this "technique" is that I have noticed there are many fewer weeds. I have just pulled all my pea plants up and will now be composting for a month or so in these beds. They should be in great shape for fall plantings
Attended Piedmont Dairy Goat Show in Fletcher, NC, just outside of Asheville. The weather was beautiful and the mountains are always amazing. But the best part was seeing all our friends! Of course, all the goaties, big and small, are just beautiful to watch, however, with each passing show, our family of friends have become so special to us and we so look forward to seeing them each time. It boggles my mind why more families aren't involved with such a family friendly activity.
The girls have been wanting to camp out at the show, like some of our other friends do. I pulled the tent down from the attic and told them if they could get it up, we would camp out at the upcoming show in Fletcher, NC. As you can see they got it up, with a little help from Bando! Should be interesting!