"Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."

~ Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Patriotic Preview

The Fourth of July is a big celebration for us. Always has been. And for the past 4 years, it's become even bigger since hubby and I host it on the farm.

Tradition states, I mean, as tradition follows, hubby and my bro-in-law, Jay, go every year to purchase fireworks for their annual pyro display.




Honestly, I think this is in hubby's Top 5 things he waits all year for! This year, they left the house at 7:30a to head out. As I understand it, they were at the store before the doors were even open!

Jay and Allen pose proudly with their goods. I was still in my pj's when I snapped this pic.


And as tradition states goes, the boys align all their fireworks just so, and then I take the pictures. This year, a 3rd boy has been added to club.


And it seems he's welcomed with open arms! (while I have an anxiety attack!)





LAWD help me!






Last year's Tradition Picture ;)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Spy...

I spy an herb growing in my Strawberry patch...

You might have to click on the photo to make it larger so you can 'view' it better ;)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Purslane: Love or Loathe?

It wasn't until last year that I learned the Purslane is edible! And people really do grow and harvest it. Really!? You mean this weed that invades my gardens every year is something some people allow to grow to eat!? Seriously! I even noticed it being SOLD at Farmer's Markets!!

With all the rain we've had, it popped up and INVADED my herb garden last week. And as I started pulling, I decided, maybe I need to cut the Purslane some slack. Maybe I should let some of it stick around.


But, I have yet to actually try it. I could imagine my husbands face if I served him up a nice side of Purslane for dinner.

Herb Mother does a Purslane Pierogi - sounds interesting. She has a photo essay on it too.

If you do a google image search for Purslane, it acutally looks pretty...like something you would want to plant in your garden!


So, how about you? Do you love or loathe Purslane? Do you let it grow...hang around in your garden? Do you harvest it? Tell me, how do you feel about Purslane?


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Harvest Monday, June 27, 2011

Slim pickings this past week for Harvest! Hubby picked 2 Hungarian Wax peppers that weighed in at 1.55 ounces!

I also picked some herbs from the herb garden but I always forget to track those. Speaking of 'herbs', after all the rain we had again this past week, Purslane started showing up like mad - everywhere! More on that tomorrow.

Although our harvest was small this week, hubby's 'Discovery' sure makes up for it!!

Check out other gardners harvests' from the past week over at Daphne's Dandelions!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Discovery!

This morning, around 6:30ish AM, hubby was yelling to me from the bedroom window...he was outside walking the dogs because he'd just finished feeding the horses and I was still in bed with the babe...but don't get the wrong idea here. I was still in bed because the baby had a fussy night...and I was out of bed 15 minutes later anyways.....I digress. I am completely moving away from my point here!

Hubby told me he found something on his walk.
Can you see it in this picture?


Do you know what it is?




Here is a closer look.




IT'S RHUBARB!


After all the whining I have been doing about not being able to find Rhubarb easily this Spring, then trying to find some Rhubarb plants for trade, THEN coming home to a Rhubarb plant hubby decided to just buy for me, I now find that I have had it all along!

It was hiding in the brush on our property line along the north side of the orchard! The funny thing is, since last year when I discovered my new found love for Rhubarb, hubby and I kept saying 'I can't believe there isn't Rhubarb planted somewhere on this property', because, for everything else planted here [an orchard, grapes, nut trees, garlic, magnolia bush and all other kinds of plants, flowers, shrubs etc], someone who planted here in the past surely must have planted Rhubarb! And gosh darn it, they DID! It just took us 3 years to find it! I wish I could have seen how this property was laid out, in all it's beauty, way back when.





So now, my dilema of where to plant the Rhubarb hubby bought is solved...I will clear the area where this gem's been hiding and plant right next to it :)





And look, another lil' shooter coming up!


YAHOO!


Friday, June 24, 2011

Farm Friday - In The Garden

Typical. I try to start a regular, weekly thing - posting pics from the week on the farm, on my Friday blogs. And I have already failed! Well, kinda. I think the past two Friday's were Orchard updates, but I failed to make them "Farm Friday" posts!

Anyways, who needs routine anyways ;) Not me!

I feel like I have been inundating you with nothing but photos from the garden (and orchard), but, it's that time of year!

A homemade trellis waiting for KY Wonder [pole] beans to grow up it! We've planted a lot of beans this year, that is for sure.


*Sigh* Typical. Hanging in the garden when she isn't 'on the prowl'. What a life! As long as she doesn't stomp on the plants, I'll let her.




Cauliflower

How is your garden growing?

What are you most excited to harvest from it this year?


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Orchard Stroll

Last night we took a stroll through the orchard. Well, not the orchard, but more like the front yard to check the progress of the two apples trees out there!


Pretty neat, huh! I haven't the slightest clue what variety apple this is ;) Our best guess is possibly a Red Transparent...



He's gandering a guess too!




The photos standing under the tree looking up just don't do the 'in life view' justice!






Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
-Kahlil Gibra
n



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Another 'Savannah-sode'

Savannah-sode ..... it is an episode involving Savannah!

Last week I had not one, but two lovely posts that involved her and her lovely hunting skills.

Today, I bring you another 'Savannah-sode'. This week, it is titled, Hunting the Chipmunk!

The past few days, we've noticed Savannah hanging out in the front yard in a wooded area. Hubby then discovered she was taking up camp next to a chipmunk hole. I didn't believe it was seriously an animal hole that she was literally, patiently stalking. So I looked for myself. And I'll be darned if she wasn't seriously, waiting patiently, at a chipmunk hole!

So Saturday, my niece came over. As her and her mom (Hi, Kristy!), were standing in the back yard talking with hubby, Savannah came running by with the Chipmunk in her mouth! According to hubby, the faces on my niece and sister-in-law were priceless. (good thing they didn't witness a bunny episode)

Savannah dropped the chipmunk and it promptly ran under the lilac bush - just as the bunny had. However, the chipmunks advantage was that it was able to climb all the way up the bush and hang on [for dear life] to the highest point of the top branch. It was a pitiful sight to see; I am surprised the 'munk didn't have a stroke. He was shaking so badly the whole branch was shaking. I felt bad for it and my niece kept asking me to do something to help it. I wish I could have. Savannah continued to patiently wait at the bottom of the bush.

Eventually, Savannah got bored, the chipmunk came down, and just when I am sure he thought the coast was clear, the stray orange tabby that has been coming around (we now call him Felix), pounced from the bushes. My niece started screaming, my husband tried to intervene and somehow, that 'munk got away! I only hoped it ran back to its hole to warn the rest of the 'munks and promptly find a new place to live.

No.Such.Luck. This morning, as I was getting ready for work, I look out the window to hear hubby yelling "Savannah....VANNA...leave it alone". You guessed it. The poor chipmunk was back for another round of 'cat & mouse'. *Sigh* I can't fell bad for it when it didn't learn the firs time!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Speechless

I am unsure what to title this post?

Assumption? Because, one may assume, when they see me at the grocery store, that I am shopping for a family of 6? (Rather than 2 adults and an almost 4 month old)


Don't worry, I didn't forget to pay for the bread in the car seat with the baby....because he kicked it out and onto the floor while I was frantically placing the rest of my loot onto the counter for the cashier. *Cha-Ching...Cha-Ching...sigh*

Monday, June 20, 2011

Harvest Monday, June 20, 2011

The harvest this week was slim again since our garden is just getting going. I am hoping the flood of rainstorms we had tonight didn't do in the 'mater garden. Time will tell.

Allen harvested another Portabella this past week. This bad boy was HUGE - a Whopper. It weighed in at 5.22 ounces all by itself.



Just to help you understand how big this shroom was, it compares to my 15 week olds head! :)
Don't mind him practicing his boyish charm - picking his nose.


And, in an exciting change of events, my garlic did in fact produce scapes. I thought, for some reason, I wasn't going to get any this year as it seems later than usual for them to appear, but alas, hubby spotted them! I have no idea what kind of garlic we have. It was here when we moved in 3 years ago and sprouts up in our front yard in some landscaping where iris, lillies and hostas are planted!

We harvested 2.72 ounces of garlic scapes which will be made into pesto asap!


And, the rest of the weekend I worked on turning 8 qts of lovely Strawberries (from my Amish neighbor) into jam! I did one batch of regular Strawberry jam which gave me 3 half pints and a little extra. As I type this up, hubby has already devoured 1 half pint and the extra! I also made two batches (4 half pints) of Strawberry Balsamic Pepper Jam - YUM -- DEVINE!





Opps...and I almost forgot. I harvested one onion as I pulled it to see how they were doing. So, I guess it was more of a scallion ;)



Check out what other gardner's were harvesting this past week over at Harvest Monday, hosted by Daphne's Dandelions.


QUESTIONS!! I have three plants I need to get into the ground...all of which will be my first time growing and I am looking for any advice you can offer if you grow one of these :)


Fennel: I read that no other veg really likes fennel so I guess I need to plant this away from everything else? Does it spread?


Horseradish: I read this will spread like wildfire and some people plant it into the ground in a pot. Suggestions? Do you plant by other veggies?


Rhubarb: I came home Friday and hubby surprised me with a Rhubarb plant. I would [ideally] like to get three more and have an area with 4 of them planted. I read they like rich soil and sun. Suggestions? Do you plant this by other veggies you have?


Sunday, June 19, 2011

A First Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to 'my baby's daddy'! I can't wait to watch our son grow with you, learning all kinds of neat things!




And Happy Father's Day to my dad! The man from whom I probably acquired my smart ass demeanor from :) Love ya Dad!



Saturday, June 18, 2011

Silent Saturday - June 18










Friday, June 17, 2011

Orchard Update - Mid June

Things are looking good in the orchard! I am starting to get excited!! We definitely are seeing scab on some varieties - thank you April and May for all your excessive rain! But the apples are still edible - just not particularly pretty ;)

There is also evidence of frost on some apples, but again, still edible, just not as pretty!








{These are our Yellow Transparent Apples. We only have one of these trees and it is the first of the apples to harvest - usually late July. They are a very soft apple with a short shelf life and they are best used for sauce.}




Thursday, June 16, 2011

Quince

Anyone heard of Quince? Anyone like Quince? Anyone know what to do with Quince?

:)




Our Quince are coming along. This is a pic of them from earlier in the week.



They are the last fruit we harvest from the orchard every year. And boy do they smell wonderful, the whole orchard smells like sweet pineapple, when they are ready to harvest.


I have yet to have make a truly successful recipe with them...but I haven't tried too hard yet either! Let this season be the season! Share your Quince recipes with me :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The day that wouldn't end

Well, I haven't had many chaotic farm stories lately so I guess this one is due! Allen and I have both been having one of those weeks were it's only Monday/Tuesday and we are just exhausted.

Monday & Tuesday Allen had my car with his dad working on the breaks so I was home alone juggling baby, barn chores, animals, dinner, laundry etc etc etc ;) You get my drift. And last night became the night that just wouldn't end. It started when I was trying to clean the stalls - the baby wasn't having it. If I wasn't standing right in front of him, he had a fit. So, cleaning the stalls, bringing in the horses and feeding them took much longer than it needed too. I then attempted to get the waters gardened - I mean, gardens watered. (I really did type that. See, my mind is still lost in a black hole somewhere) All the while, my child was screaming. So that task didn't get finished.

Then, I hear Whinny having a fit. I see she's successfully wrapped her tie out around my pole beans and the trellis Allen built for them. The beans survived, Whinny is lucky she did ;) And the trellis will need fixed. All this because she spotted...wait for it...ANOTHER FRIGGING baby bunny by the house *Sigh*. If you read my post yesterday, you guessed right. Enter Savannah. *hiss, bunny cry, cat scowl* And Savannah runs off while I see 4 pink feet dangling from her mouth. Again, did I really need to witness that?

So, I get the dogs in the house, the baby settled down and I start on dinner. Right after I get a pan on the stove with some oil to heat up, the dogs start acting like raving idiots at the front window. I assume the 'never-friendly chow' next door had decided to come 'visit' at my front window again. I was wrong. It was my Amish neighbor with 4 more qts of Strawberries. I bought 4 from her over the weekend to make Strawberry Rhubarb Jam....but I am having a hard time finding Rhubarb :/ So, those 4 qts are still in my fridge....and I couldn't tell her no so I added 4 more qts. to the fridge. (when I will ever find the time to make the jam, who knows!) Of course, we get to talking, all the while my dogs are still acting like raving lunatics at the window. And there is ALWAYS some kind of scene going on when the Amish visit! I am sure they think we are quite the 'eccentric' family!

I was on a time crunch. It was pushing 8:30pm, I still needed to get dinner done, shower and give the baby a bath. I don't know if you have ever had a conversation with an Amish person, but in my experience, they'll chat ya up forever. So, in trying not to be rude, I interjected that I had to go because I had dinner on the stove (and a baby hanging out, and 2 manic, lunatic dogs in the window). No sooner did I get that sentence out than I heard my SMOKE ALARM going off. I yelled "OhmygodmysmokealarmIhavetogo!" and ran into the house to a burnt pan on my stove, smoking. SWEET!

Meanwhile, I have a baby crying in the other room, dogs still acting like raving lunatics as the Amish lady walked down our rock driveway with her wagon and the shirlls of of a cat & bunny coming from the back yard. *GAHHHH* Oh yea, and my husband calling to tell me all the things that are wrong with my car.

After all the madness, cleaning up the kitchen, giving the baby a bath etc etc, I FINALLY settle into bed. Hubby is snoring away, the baby finally konked out and I am ready to close.my.eyes! Oh no, not so fast! The next thing I know, I am listeding to a CHOIR of CATS outside my bedroom window, aka, a cat brawl about to insue. SERIOUSLY!? And I hear Maggie, our indoor cat, running circles up and down the hall way. So I get up, shut the front windows so there is no chance of escape through a screen or anything crazy like that, and then get back into bed. The choir starts belting it out, I put the pillow over my head, and I go to bed. AMEN. The day ends!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Beware the Farm Manager

One of the many 'joys' of living on a farm is 'happening upon' the 'trophies' Savannah, the Farm Manager, leaves for us. Usually, she likes to leave them along the sidewalk from the back patio to the barn. If we are really lucky, she leaves them right on the patio :/

Sometimes we witness her 'in the act'. At first, I felt bad for the mice she'd catch. Then I started to not feel so bad when I found the holes they were chewing in our walk-in apple cooler, or the poo piles they were leaving in the garage. Or when they'd give me a heart attack popping out from hay bales.

Occasionally, she catches a bird - all I can say is, "Circle of Life, right?" (like last week, when I was woken up in the middle of the night to her screaming outside our bedroom window, only to find 3 [dead] baby birds on the sidewalk in the morning.)

So yesterday, as I was making dinner, I looked out the kitchen window and saw Savannah running up from the orchard. I could tell she had something [hanging from her mouth]. I assumed it was a field mouse. She usually nabs them from under apples trees. Side note.....field mice can kill our apple trees by nawing on the bottom of the trunk :/ As she got closer, I realized something was seriously dangling out of her mouth - ugh. A BABY BUNNY :(

Seriously Savannah? Ok, I know. Circle of Life. But I do.not.need to see this :/ I felt so dang bad for that baby bunny! And of course, when she got to the sidewalk, she drop it and it hopped a few feet away from her. She sat there - stalking it. I felt so bad for it. I had to look away. I had to get the chicken fingers in the oven.

When I looked back out, I didn't see the bunny. Did it get away? Then I noticed her 'stalking' underneath the Lilac bush. Dang, it must have went under there. THEN I noticed 'Garfield', a stray, orange cat that Savannah occasionally let's stop by for some food, coming over. He took command at the feed dish and Savannah stalked them both; Garfield and the bunny. Ain't no one allowed on her turf without her 'ok'!

So, I went on with making dinner, sat down to eat and no sooner do I bite into a chicken finger and I hear a hiss, squeal, scream, hissing and more hissing. I jump up, look out the window (why, seriously, why did I even look?) and I see Garfield now with the baby bunny in HIS mouth and Savannah ready to gouge out his eyeballs. Then, he ran off, with baby bunny in tow. And Savannah went and sat under hubby's truck pouting.

I called Allen to recap everything I had just witnessed. His response "Awww, poor Vanna. She worked hard for that bunny!"

SERIOUSLY!?!

R.I.P. Baby Bunny - and hopefully the rest of your family got a clue and booked a motel at a neighboring farm!



*No photos were included with this post for obvious reasons ;)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Harvest Monday, June 13, 2011

Lots of lettuce this past week! I was packing gallon bags of it and giving some to family & friends. This lettuce was from seed we ordered from Baker's Creek; and we can't complain. It's been great.

This photo is of what must have been a seed that strayed from the lettuce bed and germinated in the lawn!




This was just one harvesting; it looked so nice arranged in the colander ;)


And another harvest picture.

And this is my handy Basil harvest holder...the cup holder on the Babe's stroller :) We just recently got the Basil in the garden, but it already had some leaves that needed plucked.



For what I remembered to weigh from our 'greens' harvest for the week, we had:


  • .63 ounces of Basil

  • 1.753# of lettuce

Check out what other Gardner's are harvesting this week over at Daphne's Dandelions Harvest Monday!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Story of My Sage

This was my beautiful Sage that came back from last year! I was surprised and so happy!!

This is that same Sage plant...a week later. I told hubby I didn't understand why all of a sudden it looked like it was dying!? I asked him if he 'accidentally' hit it with the tractor bucket while laying down manure and dirt for my marigolds. He said "No, but maybe you should transplant it elsewhere? It's roots don't look too deep".

Huh? Ok. So I left it there, because it had been fine there. And I liked it there...at the corner entrance to the big garden.

Days went by and I came to the realization, it died ;( I asked hubby again, 'Are you sure you didn't hit it with the tractor'?

"No, I might have accidentally rototilled it when I was putting down manure for the marigolds."

Nice!




So, I told hubby I would be getting a new Sage plant. He wanted to know why; what do I even need Sage for?



'Uhhh, for those really good burgers I make. And ... .... ...... for Smudge sticks'...



His response, " *sigh* Allison, you are weird!"

So, I took it as a compliment, bought my new Sage plant, and planted it in the herb garden where it probably belongs!

So, this is the story of my Sage!

And, SCORE, I picked up a Patchouli plant while I was out getting the Sage plant! I was so excited to see the nursery had these since my last one died (after a cat may or may not have been snacking on it) that my mom had bought me, by luck, at a plant auction!

Raise your hand if you love Patchouli :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
adapted only slightly from Anne Burrell!



In a bowl, mix together:


  • 1 qt fresh Strawberries

  • 4 stalks fresh Rhubarb, cut into small pieces

  • Zest and juice of one Lemon

  • 1/2 cup Sugar

  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch

And then place into a baking dish.


In your food processor, pulse together



  • 1 1/4 cup Wheat Flour

  • 1/2 cup Rolled Oats

  • 1 cup Brown Sugar

Once combined, add into the food processor



  • 1 and 1/4 sticks of cold Butter, cut into pieces

  • 2 tsp Vanilla

  • pinch of salt

  • 1-2 tbsp of water (start with one, add another if you mix isn't to the crumble consistency you like)

Spread on top of fruit mixture in dish. Bake at 350* for about 30 minutes. Serve warm with Vanilla Ice Cream :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

June Orchard Update

Things are coming along nicely in the orchard! Time will still tell what, if any damage, all the record-breaking rainfall might have done.





{Apple}

June drop has pretty much come and gone and now we just hand thin here and there when we see a need.



{Pear}


{Pears}



{Pears}



{Red Bartlett Pears}




Our Red Bartlett Pears are the first of our Pear trees to ripen, which will be in beginning/mid-August. I can't wait for some 'fresh out of the orchard' Pears! YUM


Hubby and I had a pear the other day and we both agree, store bought just is NOT the same!

I linked this post up to Farm Photo Friday over at Fresh from the Farm!