Photo: Great grandparents at their farm in Blandinsville, IL, with five of their six children .. my grandpa was yet a twinkle in grandma's eye. Stable boy and governess also pictured. Hodges farm, circa 1903-4

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lawn Mower Problem

... resolved!  Our semi-self propelled push mower had a broken lever.  The lever made the wheels turn.  For the past season I've been pushing the very heavy mower and ever so politely complaining that we need a (used) riding mower.  Then I stopped mowing.  Then hubby took over.  Now he ordered the part.  I have no need of a used riding mower at present ;)    The End 

Post typed as I sat sipping tea from my front porch (perch) observing my man mowing the hundred acre wood.  End of rant.  Beginning of new found freedom :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Is Heating Up The Garden

... ever so slowly .. or perhaps I'm just impatient ... not a good trait for a gardener ;(  We've had good success with sugar peas, lettuce, raspberries, onions, herbs and rhubarb.  My potatoes are being eaten 'alive' by the voles and I'm having to harvest them early so I have some for ourselves ... which means the spuds are rather puny.  Next year all root crops will be planted in raised beds lined with wire mesh to keep the pests at bay

Garden Medley Potato Salad:

6-8 cups boiled, diced Yukon gold/red new potatoes
red onion, diced
chopped celery
diced sugar peas (in their shells)
potato salad dressing (recipe below)
salt & pepper to taste
celery seeds
1-2 pieces crispy bacon, minced

Boil desired quantity of potatoes (I ended up with about six cups when diced).  Cool slightly and dice leaving skins intact.  Place in large bowl.  Add diced red onion, celery, sugar peas (about 1 cup each).  Toss with potato salad dressing and add salt, pepper and celery seeds and minced bacon to taste.  Chill.

Potato Salad Dressing:  (makes approx 1 cup)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder

Crack egg in a small sauce pan and whisk well.  Add remaining ingredients, whisking well.  Cook over medium heat stirring continually until the ingredients are bubbly and thick.  Pour into a small mixing bowl to cool.  Add 1/2 cup mayo and mix well.  Toss with potato/veggie mixture and mix well.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Harvest 2010

This is a list for my records to use as a reference for next year:

  • 18 pounds green beans
  • 30 pounds potatoes
  • 7 quarts Swiss chard (for freezer)
  • 8 quarts raspberries
  • 20+ pounds rhubarb
  • 10 pounds sugar snap peas
  • 1 quart dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup dried lime thyme
  • 1/2 cup dried tarragon
  • strawberries (June) 1/2 pound
  • 3/4 pound radish
  • 28 heads red sails lettuce
  • 1-1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1 cup dried oregano
  • 30+ pounds red and Yukon gold potatoes
  • 55 onions
  • 15 heads of cabbage (what was I thinking;)

    Saturday, July 10, 2010

    Garden Temptations

    Three years ago I purchased two bareroot blueberry plants that were on sale after season for $1.00 a piece.  This is the first year they have given me berries and they should be ripening up shortly.  Though not enough to bake a pie ... it does look hopeful for the coming years as the bushes have put on much new growth. 

    The two apple trees have actual fruit this year.  These trees, along with a sour cherry tree were damaged last winter by our resident moose ... their fencing was reinforced and the distance from fence to tree was increased to keep Bullwinkle at bay.  No cherries this year.

    The raspberry vines were from my neighbor last year. 

    I wish growing up we had the good fortune of having garden fresh fruit and veggies.  The only time we had such treats was when we'd visit family in the Midwest on summer vacations.  Gardening would be easier had I learned how as a youngster. 

    Friday, July 09, 2010

    Too Much Rhubarb

    ... can be washed, patted dry, diced and placed in vacuum sealed bags and stored in the deep freeze.  It's lovely to pull out a package in the midst of winter to have another reminder of summer. 

    Thursday, July 08, 2010

    Stewed Rhubarb

    We're still picking tender rhubarb.  The first stalks that grew this spring were big fat and green.    Now there seems to be a gazillion more slender bright red stalks.  I know you're not supposed to pick too many at a time ... and I thought that by now the plant would be less productive .. perhaps from the long spring, my plants have not realized it's summer yet.  Years ago, we would eat dinner at Knott's Berry Farm .. they serve a side dish of stewed rhubarb with their chicken dinners that was still intact after being cooked; mine always fell apart until I tried this method.

    Stewed Rhubarb

    3-4 cups one inch diced rhubarb
    1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar (or to taste)

    Place the diced rhubarb in a sauce pan and barely cover with water.  Add the sugar and bring to a boil for about two minutes.  Turn off the heat and allow the rhubarb to sit undisturbed for about an hour.  This allows the rhubarb to cook and keep its shape.  The juice will be a lovely pink. 

    Wednesday, July 07, 2010

    Yesterday's Yard

    Blue skies and white clouds make a beautiful backdrop for our garden home.  Here are a few pics that were snapped showing summer's green fashion in both maintained and natural areas around our home.  Spring and early summer rain has kept the landscape very green ... and in some parts a jungle of overgrowth that needed to be cut back around the veggie gardens.

    Saturday, July 03, 2010

    To Market .. To Market ... To Buy A

    ... Fat Pig ... Home again .. home again jiggity jig.

    Off in a bit to pick up our yearly supply of organic Selkirk area beef AND an organic hog .. complete with hams and chops!  Last year we ordered a quarter of beef and that amount lasted our family of four with lots of company (so far) eleven months.  Only thing left is a prime rib, short ribs and two roasts.  The chest freezer has been cleaned out and defrosted ...ready and waiting.  This is our first year buying a hog.  Hoping my freezer space is big enough.