Thursday, March 13, 2014

  Next week the chicks should be ready at the hatchery! It's a "straight run", meaning they are not sexed. Knowing my luck I'll pick out mostly roos... again, so we're getting 26, That's the plan anyways. In the mix this time, we will be adding 10 Ameraucanas, 10 Buff Orpingtons and 6 Golden Lace Wyandottes.

  Waiting for Spring has triggered a cooking/baking mania in me. (That always seems to happen right after cleaning out and organizing a space.) The abundance of eggs has me making a lot of baked goods and pastas at the moment.  

  I'm keeping on top of the butternut squash from last summer, a little over 20 are left.  If you are looking for ideas on how to use squash in different ways, and right now this is our favorite pumpkin bread (the kids love it plain or with cream cheese frosting.) In the pumpkin bread recipe, I've been swapping out my homemade unsweetened cinnamon applesauce for the oil. It works really well and helps cut down the calories.  

  We go through food phases pretty hard. Not too much of a problem when it is something coming out of the garden.. but the pantry is another deal. 

  I'm trying to get some things done now, so that I have more time later. I've been making stock and reducing it down so it is pretty rich. I then am able to can it in smaller jars, or freeze in smaller containers. Quick breads, loaves of garlic bread, pastas, cookie (dough), potstickers, calzones, pastys, hamburger buns, rolls.. these are some of the things I make ahead and freeze.

  This town doesn't have fast food joints, or a grocery store. It has made me really have to stay on track with planning meals, keeping track, and cooking. I love it and hate it at the same time. The concept of going out to eat is lovely.. the reality is I don't know everything they are putting in my food, and to stay off meds, that's a problem. 

  I've started flats of seeds. We haven't fully set in place exactly what we are planting and where, but that's ok. I'm starting a bunch of pretty much everything anyways! I'm hoping that by this weekend enough has thawed out for me to see if the seed crop of leek survived, and if there was any ground heaving issues in the garlic and perennial onion patch. 

  Possibly.. a few twigs from some favorite apple trees may just disappear and find their way into my fridge..


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

waiting for spring

  Yesterday and today we actually got into the low 40's! After so many sub-zero days, it's like a heat wave. Just warm enough to make me stir crazy and not warm enough to get going. A big sloppy mess outside, but the monster snowdrifts are going to need a lot more to melt away.

 The Barred Rock and Rhode Island Red hens started laying back in January. My blue egg layers just started last week. So far so good and I've been able to keep up with using them.

 I made lemon curd and a pound cake the other day. That was the first time my husband had lemon curd, and he's hooked. I mean he's really hooked. He had a taste and then had dessert before dinner.. and then had dessert again. It took only 3 days and he's basically polished it off almost entirely by himself. I'm getting ready to make a double batch so we can take some in to the neighbor (and the nurses) at the hospital, and he can take some in to work. Curd freezes really well, so I will be making several different flavors they can have it later. (I'm diabetic, so while I love making all these things... I can't actually have any of it!)

 Next month we will be getting 26 more chicks. Keep your fingers crossed I don't pick out 80% roos again. We are going for 10 Ameraucanas, 10 Buff Orpingtons, and 6 Golden Lace Wyandottes... or that's the plan. I've been known to set limits and then completely blow them off.

 The 2 bunnies are now fryer size. Like I thought, my husband and daughter caved. They are claiming they are holding out just to make sure neither is a doe. 

 My husband built me a potting bench out of reclaimed wood and some scrap countertop. I've already put it to use starting peppers, asparagus, apple pips.. and if I can find my seeds- leek is another that needs an early start.

 Very soon it will be time to start the cold season transplants. It will go so much faster and easier with this new bench!

 This year we are scaling back to just our backyard garden. The nextdoor neighbor is in the hospital and he's in rough shape. We'll be helping the Church group with getting their gardens going, but I don't want to extend too far until I know the neighbor is ok. I may be cooking and cleaning for him if he does get out. He's been falling a lot. If he can't keep his balance, he's going to need a lot of help or assisted living arrangements. I'm selfish.. I'd like to keep this neighbor.

 This year we need to tackle the ancient rhubarb bed. Last year I separated out one of the groups of rhubarb. The one clump divided out into 18 plants+, all of which took. These are the backups. The old bed is incredibly overcrowded, the soil is compacted, bad drainage and the result is severely reduced production, thin stems, fungus, and crown rot. The whole area will be reworked. The other neighbor would like some, so just as soon as he picks where he wants it.. we'll dig up and put in a rhubarb bed for him. Juuuust waiting for him to show us where... still.

 By doing it in sections like this, I can still have some plants I can harvest while the others recover from being transplanted. 

 I'm so ready for spring to come..