Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Going Local-Burton Family Farms

Saturday was absolutely dreary,
but the bright spot in my day
was when sister came for a visit.
I gave her a tour of the homestead to get her up to speed
on all of the recent changes.
Then we headed into town to do a bit of browsing.
I'm not much of a shopper,
but anytime I get to spend with her is precious.
We paid a visit to Burton Farms General Store,
which is a family-owned business that carries lots of things to love.
If you'd like to learn more, here's their website.

There are quite a variety of foods to choose from,
everything from apples to zucchini and more.
The shelves are lined with locally made jams, preserves, and pickled items
as well as bulk beans, local honey and gifts galore.

Whenever possible, Burton's supports local farmers.
The strawberries were one of the most popular items when we were there.

There is someone giving out free samples,
which is always a hit with shoppers.

Along with all the delicious goodies of which to partake,
there might be something your garden is missing.
Potted plants, flats of seedlings and yard art
are some of the items featured at the shop.

Even on the dreariest of days,
it is a fun place to amble through.
Give yourself plenty of time to peruse the offerings
and you may find your spirits just a bit cheerier.

 Although we haven't been venturing far over the last year,
it felt good to be able to get out there and enjoy some bff time.
We still have a ways to go, 
but we are getting closer to having more getaways.
Any time spent with sister is time well spent.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Garden Friday

Welcome back to Garden Friday!
The weather has been fairly gorgeous of late,
and it gave me time to get some serious work done.
This lovely creature brought all of her friends to visit!
 One of the first tasks completed
was to get these drought-tolerant plants
installed into the pollinator bed near the veggie garden.
When the first hint of spring hit our area,
I found myself bringing home a boxful of beauties.
Unfortunately, it wasn't warm enough to plant them,
so they sat in the garage for a week or so.
I did lose some of them,
but the rest were planted in their permanent home.

A few things came back in this bed from last season,
including coneflowers, rudbeckia, and shasta daisies.
Ample space was left between plants,
as they will fill in as the season progresses.
Our mile-high sunflowers will also be planted in this bed.
  It was finally time to get the veggie beds started.
Although our last frost date isn't officially until the 15th of this month,
there is nothing in the forecast to fear.
Using the garden plans I created for each bed,
I couldn't get out there fast enough.

My seeds, gloves, plans and amendments
were all placed in a box to make it easier to carry.
I added crushed egg shells and coffee grounds to the entire bed.
When installing transplants, a little of each amendment is placed in the hole.
Green Oakleaf Lettuce
 Before the planting began,
the beds had to be cleared of any remaining crops.
This included beets, broccoli, chard, kale, lettuce and spinach.
No more snacking in the garden for a while.
I've been enjoying the broccoli leaves, kale and lettuce
since September, when it was sown.
Although this broccoli has bolted, it still tastes sweet.

The chooks were happy to clean up the leftovers.

Potatoes and sugar snap peas were planted a couple of weeks ago.
The two beds that were sown yesterday
contain beets, broccoli, carrots, green beans, kale, lettuce, 
parsley, squash, and thyme.
The remaining beds will be planted in the next few days.
The irrigation will be hooked up by next week.
With ample rain ahead this weekend, it isn't needed just yet.
 Several "tidying" type of projects were tackled
on my days off.
I finally transplanted a clematis from behind the house,
to this sunny spot next to my homemade shed.
There was also some placed next to the chooks' arched cover
and I'm hoping the vines completely blanket the frames.
I'd rather look at lovely flowers instead of the tarps
and I'm sure my neighbors would agree.
Three Rose of Sharon bushes were moved from a darker location
to a sunnier spot and I think they will be much happier.

At work yesterday, I was gifted with this splendid sedum.
I'm planning on adding it to a pot on the front porch.
These plants are so care-free and easily multiply.
I am so blessed that my employer shares her bounty with me.

These next three photos were taken at work yesterday.
The blooms are magnificent and so amazing to study.
Each one is a work of art.

God has some imagination, don't you think?

My wish for you today is that spring's magic 
is upon you and that you take the time
to enjoy it in all its splendor.


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Crispy Rice Treats

Four ingredients.
That's all it takes to give your tastebuds a real treat.
No dairy.
No gluten.
No sugar.
I'm not really a marshmallow fan, 
but these goodies might remind you of a similar confectionery,
popular for decades using comparable ingredients. 
Not having used brown rice syrup for years,
I had forgotten how much like caramel it tastes.
There's a "maple-y" flavor to it, but it is still subtly sweet.
The website My Quiet Kitchen
features healthy, clean recipes, both savory and sweet.
If you go to the site, you may notice the recipe is from 2019.
Well, it's no surprise to me that I am late to the party on this one.
I usually am.
But who cares, when it's this good.

Here's my version with the link for the original recipe.
Next time, I may add some Lily's dark chocolate to the mix.
One suggestion-they are better not refrigerated,
as they tend to dry out.
Believe me, they won't last long,
especially if you're feeding a crew,
so no worries about leaving them out for a day or two at room temperature.
Note:  (I halved the recipe, 
as it was the first time I was preparing it,
so I used a brownie pan instead of the 9X13 size.)


1 C Sunbutter
 1 C brown rice syrup
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 C crispy rice cereal 

Melt nut/seed butter, syrup and vanilla over low heat.
Add to the bowl of measured cereal and mix well.
Press into a 9X13 pan and let cool.
Keep at room temperature for two days,
then refrigerate the rest.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Garden Friday

 Welcome back to Garden Friday,
where we share what's growing on our Piedmont Homestead.
While out walking yesterday,
I couldn't resist taking a shot of a neighbor's lovely mailbox planting.
So many cheerful colors in one spot encouraged me on my outing.

The gravel walkway behind the house is being enjoyed
by all of us.
I love to hear the crunching sound it makes
when I venture that way to let the chooks out in the early morning.
We had over three inches of rain this week,
and it seems to have done a great job helping the water move away from the house.

So many things are waking up on the property,
like this yarrow planted in the mailbox bed.
This plant was new to me last year,
and it's had no difficulty coming back all on its own.
This trouble-free perennial has virtually no pest issues,
fosters pollinators in the garden, and requires very little care.

The dogwoods are leafing out,
and I was thrilled to find another specimen in our wooded area.
I would like to transplant it elsewhere,
as it is rather hidden where it grows now.
This has become one of my favorite trees since moving here,
especially after learning about the meaning of the flower
as a symbol of rebirth.

This apple tree is certainly a beautiful sight when in blossom,
but because it was not well cared for earlier on,
it isn't the healthiest specimen.
We are debating whether or not to keep it.
It does provide food for wildlife,
but its location is far from ideal,
and the thought is that something else would do better in the spot.
Until we decide, we'll enjoy the flowers.

The front porch bed is starting to come alive.
There are perennials planted here,
including salvia, coneflowers, rudbeckia,
Shasta daisies and lantana.
I'm looking forward to adding much more to fill in the empty spaces.

The red cabbage that was planted in fall
has finally started to bolt.
It's just as well, as we have plans to fill the bed
with spring veggies.
These will be given to the chooks as a treat.

Some of the strawberries were placed in this pot,
but there are many more plants to be transplanted to a bed.
Our usual resource for compost is having difficulty with his supplier,
so we have had to put filling our raised bed boxes on hold.
The plan is to create long, narrow boxes for the remaining strawberries.

The snap peas drank up every bit of rain we got this week.
They are due for a feeding,
and I look forward to watching them scale the cattle panel trellis.

The mint patch behind the chicken coop is coming back gangbusters!
This was already here when we bought the house,
and I'm hoping to use it for sun tea this summer.

Between rain showers, I worked on digging the drainage trench deeper,
to encourage the rain water away from the coop.
 The trench leads down to the septic field and out towards the street.
We plan to fill it with gravel, once we get another load.

Not sure how easy it is to see here,
but some recently acquired liriope grass was garnered
and used to create a curved border in front of the flower bed.
More work will be done in this bed
once our worry of frost is over, somewhere around April 15th.

The blueberries are doing well,
and as a matter of fact,
several more bushes were acquired to add to the collection.
There should be enough berries for the birds and us!

first tulips of spring

With overnight temperatures predicted in the 20's,
we are hoping this is the last blast of winter
before spring arrives in earnest.
I am looking forward to seeing all that Mother Nature 
has in store for us.
Here's hoping Ole' Man Winter is on his way out!