Monday, August 31, 2009

Bench Monday

In the orchard,
on a log,
with coffee,
in the sun,
with a book,
by the bees,
on two hours sleep,

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Around the House


Fall is knocking at the kitchen door and I am feeling restless. Autumn is my favorite time of year. We've moved often in autumns past, so I am having the urge to move the furniture. I may be the only person moving the island out of the kitchen and putting the table back.

Maybe it's all those British magazines I've been scouring. Dreaming of Aga stoves with bits of laundry drying in the kitchen. I've been craving a table in the kitchen. Next stop: Ikea for a few shelves.

Ikea and I are old friends. When given the choice of pre-assembled cabinets or a wood burning stove for the living room, in the budget of building a house - the stove won - hands down! I spent a month in the basement assembling every last piece of the kitchen.

Almost fifteen years later, we still are hanging on to our first kitchen chairs. Grandma bought us those chairs for our first apartment. They are on their last legs (literally - saved by Gorilla Glue) and I don't have the heart to part with them. I love to sit at the table now while dinner is simmering on the stove.

We've turned the island into a baking center.

• • • • • • •

Everyone knows love comes in the kitchen door.
~Dominique Browning~
Around the House and in the Garden: A Memoir of Heartbreak, Healing and Home Improvement

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Urban Farm

I've been waiting for this magazine to come out! Enjoying it so far and savoring the read. There is a lovely article about 'Beekeeping in the Burbs' written by Susan Brackney. She is the author of Plan Bee: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Hardest-working Creatures on the Planet. Other fun features: Chicks & Goats in the city, getting rid of your lawn, and how to not be daunted by trying to preserve your harvest. Happy reading!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pickle Me

Picking.

Boiling.

Canning.

Eating.

14 pints pickled beets canned. 17.5 pounds picked so far..
I ::heart:: beets!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stats

Slowly picking through the corn.
So far it's my favorite thing to preserve...next to beets!
I love zipping it off the cob.

The chickens loved pecking the left-overs out in the yard.

Click photo to view larger.

When we were building the house, I grabbed a scrap of drywall and painted it with chalkboard paint. We hung it in the kitchen and it's been there ever since. This year, it's been the stat board for the veggie count!

Oh, up the ante on the corn. I froze 5.5 pounds off-the-cob last night, which takes us to 10 pounds!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Making The Rounds

Perfect day for checking on the bees.

Bees at home and at the farms.
Views from the truck with the window down.

At the end of a hidden lane, Queen Charlotte waits.

Happy bees singing today enjoying the smell of fresh mowed hay.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

James vs. Julia


Current conditions: 75% humidity and rain.
What's on my mind: soup, namely potato.

I am a long time fan of James Beard's An Old Leek and Potato Soup. After reading the book and seeing the movie Julie & Julia, I was intrigued to open my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking again. You can bet you'll never see an aspic come out of this kitchen. Duck, boning of, on page 570 isn't going to happen either, BUT Potage Parmentier (onion and potato soup) is on the menu for dinner tonight.

The recipes are similar: Onion, potato, chicken broth, salt, and butter. I am afraid however, James has won my heart over. It's his touches of cayenne and nutmeg that make this recipe sing.

Not to worry Julia, I can't wait to try some crepes and of course.. Boeuf Bourguignon!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Bench Monday: Spud Edition

Mom and just finished digging up the rest of the potatoes. Not such a fun idea on a sunny, humid, 85 degree day. So far they are looking spared by the blight, but I am keeping an eye on them.

Total Katahdin and Pontiac Red potatoes: 229.5 pounds
(2.5 rows of about 90 feet long)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday Night

It's Saturday night.
Prairie Home on the radio.
I'm in the kitchen.
First corn is on the stove.
Cookies in the oven.
Dirt still between my toes.
A new book started.
Hoping your Saturday night
was as delightful as mine.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Batty About Corn

We've been holding our breath, hoping we'd get some corn this year. It looks like it just may happen! I can remember my parents planting it when I was little, but we haven't done it for years. This year Dad said - We're trying corn!

I accidently knocked over a stock weeding last week and the corn was small, but was looking good. It's gotten quite tall for basically growing in the woods!

As I was sitting out by the camp fire last week I was sure I saw a bat go zipping by. Sure enough, this little lady has taken up residence in the picnic shelter. Glad to see "Stellaluna!"

Snuck in to try and catch a photo of her while she was napping. Afraid I caught her watching me with one eye open! Who can blame her? I wouldn't want my picture taken while I was sleeping upside down either!

Sorry about the title, but.. bats and corn... what can I say..

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blogger lost my peeps!

Husband with the ladies in tow..

I noticed this morning when I logged on to my blog that the list people following my blog (google "followers") was gone from my sidebar. I am hoping that the "Burbs" is still popping up on your follow lists, but for now all your lovely little icons have disappeared.

Next I clicked on over to the blogs I "follow" every day.

Gone.
All of them.

Grrrr.

Clicked around the help center, but there doesn't seem to be a clear answer as to why everything is gone. Filled out a few "reports" and will have to see where it goes from here. In the meantime... I'll be trying to find you all though saved links. I am already missing the quick browse to see all your new posts out there! If I haven't stopped by in a while.. send up a flare!

Have a great week rest of the week. Back on Friday..

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cooling

It was hazy, hot, and humid here today. I wasn't surprised to find the girls hanging out front on the hives to cool off this evening. They evaporate water to cool the hive and have been hitting their water dish pretty hard today too.

Dora's veranda was packed and she had a nice group hanging off the front.

While zooming in a little closer in Photoshop, I found this little gal - arms up - as if to say... hey - here- CHEESE!!!

On that note, I wonder if I can check for mites using Photoshop... Hmmmm....

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Recycle

Work in progress...garage sink.

I've been known to haul things home from thrift stores, curbs, yard sales - you name it. We were looking for a utility sink for the garage when I came across this cast iron Kohler sink for $20 at my favorite re-use store, Construction Junction. In the trunk it went. Clearance tile and left over lumber make the base. The faucet is new, but that's only because they didn't have any used ones at the two kitchen surplus stores I tried. I am posting this because it's 10:30 at night, I have pickled beets in the canner, and I've never been so glad to be able to rinse off the red juice and the dirt in the garage before hauling them in the house! Thank you Construction Junction!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Chinese Takeout


What do you do when your husband looks at you and says it is a nice night to sit in a field?

You order chinese takeout, jump in the car, and drive out to your favorite farm to sit under the big oak tree and eat dinner as the sun sets.




Thank you Mr. and Mrs. J for letting us enjoy a summer evening under your magnificent oak.
The food has never tasted better.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Plague

So remember that adorable little cherry tomato picture I posted the other day? I should have chewed it very slowly as it was the only tomato we'll be getting from the garden this year.

It started out innocently enough. Lots of rain, a few yellow leaves here and there.

Then came the spots. I knew it wasn't good.

Then the leaves went in a matter of one or two days. The green fruit was turning bad on the plants. They were gonners. I am thinking it is the dreaded late blight.

Taking no chances - all the plants were pulled, bagged, and set in the lower yard to prepare for disposal. I am sick about it. It's been a few days (and I have to admit a few tears later) and I am thinking it has spread to the potatoes. We are digging them up now as fast as we can.

It's been a rough week, between the garden and other things. I wasn't sure if I should post about it, but a dear friend reminded me that this is all a learning process. That it is!! I am in it for the long haul. Good, bad, or ugly... AND let me just tell you.. this is ONE UGLY blight.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bench Monday

Lois wanted to jump in for Bench Monday this week!
Extra points for live props and chickens - hooray!

Just getting back to all of your kind requests for the granola recipe. Not sure where I came across the recipe, but so far it is the one we like the best. Hope you all enjoy it as much as we do!

Granola

2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. flaked coconut
1/2 c. chopped almonds (I use slivers)
1/2 c. shelled unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 c. honey
1/3 c. cooking oil

I also add a handful of chopped dried fruit. Snipped dried apricots are our favorite.

Combine dry.
Combine oil and honey.
Stir into oat mixture.
Spread onto non-stick cookie sheet.
Bake in 300 degree over for 30-35 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes.
Bake till golden brown.
Remove from oven. Turn granola onto parchment paper (or foil). Press flat. Let cool.
Once cool, break into clumps.

Makes 6 cups. Good at room temperature for 2 weeks.

If you want to try making bars, I press the hot granola
in into mini-loaf pans and let it cool. It will make a
formed bar once cooled, but is still a bit crumbly.

I like to store our granola in a sealed glass container with parchment paper between the bars to keep them from sticking.