July! finally an Update

This is  going to be a longer than usual post as I try to make up for my tardiness. We have been real busy around here with one thing or another so here is a bit of a rundown of what’s been going on.

Finally we got the wood chipper working correctly after getting a revised design of chute, vent panels  and revised feed tensioner hooks. its like a different machine. I had a lot of catching up on the wood chipping front. all the braches that where removed for the installation  of the perimeter fence. The limbs from the long over due pruning of some of the big old cherry trees and the clear up of the two trees that fell over in the winters storm and just general spring clean up.

I began chipping with gusto, sorting the wood in to the cedars and other types of wood to chip to use as mulch on the front gardens . with the fruit tree wood , apple, cherry and also the alder I chipped those up to use for smoking fish and other foods ….alder being my favorite for smoked tuna but  I thought it would be nice to try some of the fruit woods. After they are chipped I put them in paper grocery bags to dry out before use .I also sometimes sell a bag or two to people who what to use it in their BBQ.

Cherry wood chips  Cherry chips bagged to dry

 

The bees have been doing well and for a brief spell I was up to three hives here when the local nuc arrived. That was only short lived because I found that the back hive was queen less . so I combined it with the nuc and now have two very strong hives, both with two honey supers on. the front hive had the honey super on first and I just had to try some of the honey so I removed a frame of honey but without an extractor we had to mash the comb with a spoon to get the honey out and then filter it . The honey tasted great but it was a lot of work for just one frame , so I decided we better purchase an extractor before the rest of the honey is ready .

IMG_5138 honey extractor

 

On to the gardens . The wild flower mix I had planted in a shady planter had really turned in to a surprise. I had no idea what would come of it but it has turned out looking really great , adding some much needed colour to a shady dull part of the property.

Wild flower mix  IMG-20120625-00173

The Vegies are doing great , we have had some nice beets out , the colours on which were just so awesome I had to take a pic of them the third round of radishes are coming up, the rutabagas are doing great as are the peas and potatoes .

raddish seedlings  IMG_5175

Pumpkin Harvest – Happy Halloween

More harvest fun!

we had been saving the last of the corn for a family visit and it turned out it was past its prime but still tasted good , just not as juicy as the previous ones .

We have had quite a lot of pumpkins from the 4 or 5 plants we planted early in the year , i had already made 4 pumpkin pies before i decided to harvest the rest of the pumpkins.  Processing so many pupkins at one time is quite hard work , i did 10 at once and decided to bake them rather than steam them just because it was easier to put them all in the oven to make the pumpkin goop. i scooped out all the seed and roasted them separately. i just froze most of the goop but i did make pumpkin soup with some of it which turned out to be delicious. the recipes will be below .

i also had the last of the chilli’s to do something with so i decided to air dry them and use my grinder attachment on my kitcheaid mixer to grind them in to powder , kind of cayene pepper. i just air dried them whole and then cut the stems off broke them in to pieces and fed them through the grinder , just the little particles in the air had my nose and eyes running .

This Pumpkin Pie is a combination and modification of two recipes i found on the web, one on http://www.pickyourown.org and the other on some cooking channel i forget . the soup is just a basic vegetable broth i use and added pumpkin.
Pumpkin Pie
==========ingredients
3cups of prepared pumpkin (1 pumpkin 8” or two smaller ones to make 3 cups)
5 ginger snap cookies
¼ cup of walnuts
4 large eggs
1 ½  cup of whiping cream(not whipped)
1 cup of sugar
1 ½ teaspoon cinamon
2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
pie crustsMaking the prepared pumpkin
========================
cut pumpkins into halves, remove the stalk and scoop out the seeds (save seeds for roasting recipie)
steam the pumpkin for 30 min
remove the pumpkin meat from the skin and then put the meat in to the mixer (use paddle) for about 5 min just to change it to a smooth texture.
Then measure out 3 cups

Everything else
============
Pre heat oven to 425F

put cookies and walnuts in to a food processor until they are crumb like use this to thinly  coat the bottom of the pie crust .

combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix together until combined.

pour the mixture in the prepared pie crusts

put the pies in the pre heated oven at 425F for 15 min and then reduce the heat to 350F and bake for a further 45 – 60 min , check at the 30 min mark.

Pumpkin Soup
===========
2 x onions
3 x carrots
2 sticks of cellerry
5 cups of  prepared pumpkin
1 tspsalt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayene pepper
1 tbspn minced garlic
1 qt of water aprox
2 tbspn gapeseed oil
Dice carrots , onions and celery
put oil in a large soup pot add diced carrots , onion , celery and garlic
heat over medium heat until they get soft (about 10 min)Add a cup of waterthen blend mixture in a blender until smooth (usually takes two blender loads)

pour the blended mixture back in to the pot  add pumpkin , salt , pepper and cayene pepper .

gradually add water until you get the desired thickness

simmer the mixture for about 20 min

serv . season to taste.

Dig ‘em up.

It was time to do some harvesting , until now I had only harvested what I needed when I needed it but the potatoes where ready so it was time to dig them up. I decided to harvest some of the other veggies that were ready too

potatoesturnip

 

the last of the turnips were ready , these are the ones that I had thinned out earlier in the season and replanted , they turned out to be some of the largest turnips this year. Potatoes came along really well with lots of large one and lots of small new type potatoes …yummy.

 

carrots and squashcannedbeans

 

I had given up on the summer squash because the leaves had started to die off and there had been lots of flowers but no fruit . After the recent hot spell the summer squash had just sprung in to life and started to fruit like no tomorrow .

The hot spell had kicked more than just the summer squash in to gear , the beans and peas were ready to pick .With all these beans and peas I figured it would be good to can them in the pressure canner .

All this harvesting made the way the next round of veg to be planted . I have planted more carrots and some spinach, so we will see how they get on with the seasons changing.

Water ,Cats and First Tastes From The Garden

image

What a crazy few weeks since the last post . we had four days without water because a water pipe broke . The pipe that broke was the pipe putting the treated water in tot the tank so of course this forced mud and other debris in to the tank and through the water system .We had to pump out and de sludge the tank and clean out all the lines after having a new pipe fitted , then the water treatment wouldn’t start up so after we get that fixed and get a good tank full of water the domestic water pump failed which summed up 4 days without water …its very hard to go that long and continue to get the place up and running when you don’t have any water.

After the nightmare without water we managed to water the garden just in time before it started to wilt . i had to thin out the rutabagas so i figured it was a bit of a waste to just compost them so i googled to see if they are edible , guess what not only are they edible but rutabaga greens are delicious. blanched and then sauted in olive oil with garlic and mushrooms. The romain lettuce have come along well so we have had a couple of caeser salads mmmm.

After seeing all the field mice whilst we have been mowing and brush cutting , i thought it would be a good idea to get some outdoor cats . i looked on craigslist and saw that there was a rescue center looking for homes for outdoor feral cats. sounded great so i contacted them not long after we moved in but becasue we would be keeping them in a garage and not asecure room we needed a cage to confine them for 7 – 10 days to get them thinking of this new place as home , so there was a waiting list for the cages . We finaly got our new feral cats all fixed and healthy  and kept them caged for the required time . i felt a little sorry for them being in a cage but really it is better than the alternative for feral cats at a shelter .yesterday was release day, after i had fitted the cat flap in to the side of the out building and built ramps for the cats i left the doors to the cage open and left them to check out the new place .

This morning i came to clear the litter trays and feed them as i had for the previous 10 days expecting them to be in the rafters or some where int he garage , but no they had indeed found there way out through the cat flap and gone exploring i set up the remainder of there shelter and dismantled the cages but put there bedding in the new location and let the litter trays near to the cat flap for a smell they can home in on . i fed them and left i checked back late afternoon and no food had gone so i do hope they come back , i had read that they do go missing for a couple of days when first release and then return , i do hope this is the case . i am still not a cat person but i think we could have a mutually beneficial relation i dont want mice , they need a place to live . i will keep you posted on if they re appear.

More From The Farm .Trimming , Tidying and Fertilizing

This week has been another very busy week.

as i started to weed the front garden from its dense weed ridden state after years of neglect i found some very beautiful plant and noticed a lot of work had originally been put in. there had been some of the spiral trees in that had not been trimmed for some time and only vaguely showed the spiral so i decided to give it a go at reshaping them i am not very good at it and the great thing is that they will grow back but i managed to shape them something like all with the exception of one of them that had a nest in as i noticed a bird fly out as i was triming the bottom so i left that some what unfinished to be completed when the babies have flown the nest.

On checking on my vegetable beds finally things had started to happen there. and i realised that it is not so easy to remember what plants i had planted where when they are just seedlings . i should have really marked them ….well you live and learn and next year i will but in the mean time i found a website that showed images of new seedlings and what they where so i was able to identify which ones they are so i can thin them out , but there are still no signs of carrots yet .

i also recently bought a book on organic gardening called organic gardening for the 21st century by john fedor in there were directions for making a plant feed tea from nettle leaves so off i went to the back of the property and filled up the trailer on the back of my little ride on . i had bought some burlap (Hessian) sheeting earlier so i stitched it together with garden twine in to a bag that i filled with the nettles , put it in a garbage bin full of water and there it will sit for 2 weeks when i will mix it with water and apply ti the plants. the book says to dilute 1:15 with water or it could burn the plants …. i will try it on  a small scale at first just because what can go wrong generally does .

 


 

Moving to the country

We are in our new house now and the previous owners had let the gardens go somewhat , so reclaiming and tidying them up is proving to be quite a lot of work, added to that the fact that as always I like to grow my own vegetables and moving at the end of planting season meant even more work getting all the veggies in the ground.

with not having much time to get soil ready and for easy management I decided to go with some raised beds. I didn’t really plan sizes or anything I just saw that there was some wood left over from some construction or something that was left near the garage the are 8 x 2 in 12ft so I thought that would do. Being new to this farm life I was eager to test out the tractor that came with the

place and some of its attachments so I hooked up the tiller and got to work, I tilled 4 strips 12ft long and then used the front loader to just take off the top sod . I then placed my boards to make may raised beds and filled them with organic soil. After filling two of the beds with the front loader on the tractor , the tractor got injured on a different job so I had to fill the remaining two by carting the soil by hand in a wheel barrow . yes very hard work

with all the beds filled with soil I got to planting. I planted corn, potatoes, carrots, beets, summer squash, pumpkins, beans, lettuce, onions and probably some more I have missed out. I did some googling and companion planted where I could , if you are not familiar with companion planting it is where plants help each other out in some way like replenishing soil nutrients or helping stave off disease etc. with all the seeds in I wanted to set up some sort of watering system , so I linked up some soaker hoses , it is best to water with soaker so the water does not go on the leaver of the plant to help reduce blights and fungus.

I am looking forward to the fresh veggies this year , and there is lots more work to do here so I will have lots to post about but getting the time to do so is another matter.

raisedbeds-buildingraisedbeds-completedseeds-planted

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