Thursday, November 26, 2020

Monday, November 16, 2020

Birthday Wishes for Boo

My boy C is turning 20 today!
Where has the time gone?
Hoping your day is what you want it to be.
You are my heart.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Garden Friday

Welcome to Sludgeville,
 I mean, Garden Friday!
With over 4 inches of rain in 36 hours,
our homestead is one saturated, sopping scene.


Just look at the waterfront property we've acquired
during this deluge.
This is the culvert that runs along our parcel,
although it looks like a bewitching brook dribbling down the hill.

The garden has been reaping the benefits
by getting much needed moisture.
Although we employ a drip irrigation system,
plants respond to rainfall like nothing else.
Our carrots, lettuce and other goodies are growing
by leaps and bounds.

There are greens galore,
including beets, broccoli, chard and tat soi.
I've been sampling each time I check on the garden.

The spinach is the greenest I've ever grown
and the kale is sweet and tender.
It must have to do with the dose of turkey poop given,
the cooler temperatures,
and the magic minerals that rainfall provides.

 Unfortunately, I've noticed that someone else
has been nipping at the leaves.
I think the chooks are helping themselves to some tasty tidbits.
It was thrilling to notice the first blooms on the snap peas.
That means that these will soon be gracing my plate.
Who am I kidding?
These never even make it into the house!
I was happy to see the garlic coming along.
This will stay in place until late spring,
when the bulbs have finished maturing.
Garlic is one of the easiest crops to grow,
and something we use almost daily.

 My lunchtime salad yesterday consisted
of fresh-picked greens.
We have colder weather coming early next week,
so the row covers will go back on where lettuce is sown.
Now that I am reaping the harvest,
I hope to be able to enjoy this bounty for months to come.

How's your fall garden doing?

Thursday, November 12, 2020

DIY Suet Feeder


Shortly after we moved up to North Carolina,
we rented a house with a great yard for bird watching.
These suet feeders were made out of the branches that were found
on the property.
They took only minutes to create using a paddle drill bit and some string.
We've been using them for a few years now,
but I wanted to find a way to improve them.
 Our original version of these suet feeders can be found here.

After thinking about it for a week or so
and noticing some scrap wood pieces in the garage,
an idea came together.

I fashioned a reservoir by screwing two pieces alongside
another piece, creating a long trough.
I used pilot holes to prevent the wood from cracking.

The bottom pieces were all flush.

 A length of wire was pushed through the sides
and looped around with a twist at the top.
It was filled with our own homemade suet.
You can find the easy recipe here.

The main purpose for the new feeders
was so that they didn't have to be filled quite as often.
So far, so good.
The birds have been enjoying the goodies
and entertaining us too.
With just a few scraps and a little time,
they should be pleased with the extra cold weather calories.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Garden Friday

We had some fairly cold mornings this week on the homestead.
Next week should warm up a bit,
and allow us to enjoy this gorgeous fall season.

The row covers were used on several beds for the first time
and left on for a few days,
until the overnight temperatures again reached the 40's.
The main crop I wanted to protect was the lettuces,
as most of the rest of what we have growing is cold hearty.

The covers were dried in the sun and will be put in our cattle panel storage
for the next time they are needed.

Once I took the covers off,
I was thrilled with what I saw.
Everything was a deep green and completely hydrated
(thanks to our drip irrigation system),
and nothing looked affected in the least by the cold.

I can hardly wait to taste this spinach.
I don't care for cooked spinach,
but eaten raw in salads or on sandwiches satisfies me fine.
Everything I've been sampling out in the garden
has been crisp, juicy and oh so fresh.

Most of the beds filled in nicely, although I do have a few crops
that never germinated too well.
These bare spots will be filled with transplants from other beds.

I'm hoping the beets will be able to mature
before any serious cold comes through.
My farmer friend Lynn tells me that they are tough,
so I will keep hoping for the best.

The carrots, leeks and lettuce seem to have appreciated 
the row covers, as they look no worse for wear.
Any day now, the snap peas should be flowering
which means goodies are on the way!

I'm hoping to have a freezer full of leek.
These do well over the winter 
and require very little.

This parsley volunteer came back up in a pot,
even without irrigation hooked up to it.
The caterpillars in the spring will surely be thrilled.

This sweet thing surprised me this week.
I haven't seen many butterflies as of late,
and I had assumed most have hunkered down somewhere for the cooler season.
It was a real treat to watch this beauty
enjoying the nectar on the salvia.

All of the raised beds were covered in shredded leaves,
to ensure the soil stays moist and warm.
We have an abundance of leaves on this property
and our neighbors also save leaves for us.
We will be starting a leaf pile this fall to use as mulch
throughout the garden.

Thankfully, there has been a profusion of sunshine in the last few days.
What a blessing to get to spend so much time outside.

After the winds we experienced during the remnants of Hurricane Zeta,
all flowering plants were pulled up.
I'm grateful for the months of beauty these plants gave us.
Seeds have been saved so that we can do it all over again
next spring and summer.

The cattle panel compost bin will continue to be filled until December,
and then we will start using the other side
so that we have two different stages going at once.

Our carpet of white Dutch clover is growing.
This easy to grow ground cover takes no maintenance at all.

Look at this cutie I spotted at one of my jobs.
It's always such a treat to find one of Mother Nature's wonders.

May you notice each and every blessing today.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Gluten-Free Zucchini Muffins

I've been enjoying recipes from Minimalist Baker for a while now.
The love was so great that I even bought her cookbook.
Dana's recipes are often gluten-free and very allergy friendly.
Uncomplicated and quick to put together,
they speak my language.
Here's my version of her 1-bowl zucchini nut muffins.
These are gluten, dairy and processed sugar free,
but you'd never know it from the taste.
You can find the original recipe on page 51 of her cookbook
These can be kept vegan by replacing the egg
with a flax egg
(1 Tablespoon flax seed meal to
2 1/2 Tablespoons water).

These are dense, moist and oh-so delicious.
They are a great addition to the breakfast table,
and handy enough to take on the go.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Gluten-Free Zucchini Muffins

1 egg (or 1 flax egg)
1 C grated zucchini
(squeeze out liquid in a tea towel)
1 banana, mashed
1/4 C coconut oil
1/4 C maple syrup
1 apple, grated
1/2 C coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
2/3 C rolled oats
1/2 C almond meal
1 C plus 2 Tablespoons gf flour mix
1/2 C chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place paper liners in muffin tin.

Into a bowl or mixer, add first seven ingredients.
Mix until well combined.
Add remaining ingredients, 
wiping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Fill muffin tins all the way to the top.
Bake 30 minutes until deep golden brown.
Let cool completely.
Makes 12 muffins.


Tuesday, November 3, 2020