Saturday, February 27, 2021

Until We Meet Again, My Friend

This is Snickers,
the sweet pooch of a friend.
He was 17 years old,
and lived a wonderfully spoiled life.
Here, he is modeling his "Doggles",
which he used on the sunniest of days.


One of his favorite jobs was keeping his mistress
company on the little loveseat they shared. 
As seen here, he was a serious napper.
Another of his favorite activities was
chasing a small, plastic soda bottle.
He had the softest coat I've ever felt.
He will be sorely  missed,
as he gave so much joy to those who knew him.
Rest in Peace, sweet boy.



Friday, February 26, 2021

Friday Fotos


 Welcome to Friday Fotos,
which this week could be called Garden Friday.
Most of the year, Fridays are reserved for a garden update,
but during the winter, when the garden slows down,
we simply post about our homestead activities.
Well, the great news for this week is that 
We've consistently gotten 2 to 3 eggs daily for the last week or two.
(Hmmm, I'm wondering if it has anything to do with me not being here.)
Whatever the reason, I am one appreciative chicken keeper.

Another bunch of carrots was pulled up yesterday,
and I ended up using them with my hummus dip.
These carrots are sweet and juicy,
and I don't even mind them being small.
In fact, that may be why they are so good.
Baby veg usually has more flavor, am I right?
 The Vates kale is going strong.
 This stuff has been in the ground since September
and is still crankin' it out.
For the warmer months, I will switch to another variety,
most likely Premier or Lacinato.
During the winter time, Vates can't be beat!

A quick check on the leek pleased me.
They are growing slowly,
and any progress at all is a victory,
considering that I have not irrigated any of my crops this winter.
Fortunately, it's been fairly wet,
so Mother Nature did it for me.
 This Merveille variety of lettuce was a first time crop for me.
It was planted on September 8th and is still producing,
although it is starting to get somewhat bitter.
It will most likely be given to the chooks once
I replace the crops in this bed.
It won't last long in the run!

With rain forecasted for today,
I decided to get the snap peas in yesterday.
Conditions look good for the next month,
so I'm hoping we're on our way to some 
lip-smacking good snacks!
I didn't have any plant markers handy,
so I just used a piece of scrap wood.

 The strawberry tub was covered over with leaves
to get through the cold winter months.
Soon, the plants will be waking up and spilling over the side.
I haven't yet decided if I need to dedicate a separate bed for this crop,
or leave them in the tub.

These pansies just don't quit!
Their cheery faces just make me feel so warm inside.
A gal sure gets her money's worth with these plants.
Is it feeling more like spring where you are?

Friday, February 19, 2021

Friday Fotos

 It's time for Friday Fotos,
where we share some of our weekly adventures.
Last weekend I made some luscious
Blueberry Oatmeal pancakes. 
Oh my.
They are such a treat and it's hard to imagine
that something that tastes so good is actually (relatively) good for you.
Here's the basic recipe.

Our boy had his first paid job this week!
He replaced a neighbor's smoke detectors,
set her up with a CO detector (she has a gas fireplace),
and checked to ensure that her fire extinguisher is up to date.
As a momma, I feel so proud of him,
knowing that he is following his passion and
thinking about how much he has overcome to get to this point.
The bright side of his autism,
is that he is entrenched in his area of interest,
so he has a lot of knowledge to share
and will do whatever it takes to get the job done.
His main focus is that folks are safe in their homes.
This neighbor told him she will recommend him to others.
This will help him in his quest to become
a fire alarm technician.
Life is good!

The garden is rockin' on, despite the gloomy,
rain-soaked days of a frigid winter.
The spinach hasn't grown a lot,
but it is tender sweet.
You know it has to be good for you
because of that deep, dark green color.

The kale is continuing to produce sweet,
tasty leaves for salads and sandwiches.
This Vates variety is not bothered one bit
by the cold.

 A handful of baby carrots was pulled up this week.
Although they don't get much size to them,
they are super sweet and crispy.

I guess one could say our broccoli was a bust,
unless you're someone like me
who enjoys eating the green leaves.
We didn't get any heads or shoots,
but the greens are worth growing all by themselves.
I like them raw in salads, 
but truth be told,
they hardly ever make it out of the garden uneaten.

The Red Sails lettuce is still going strong!
A mess was picked for salads through the weekend
and it couldn't be tastier.
There were a couple of slugs noticed on a few things,
but overall, I'd say the row covers really helped this year.


The chooks are enjoying longer days
and when the sun blesses us with its warmth,
they get a little more time outside to scratch, peck and forage.
I'll be at a dog sitting job for most of next week,
(rough job but someone has to do it),
so things around here will be quiet.
Sweet boy Baxter and I will try to find some time to explore
the great outdoors and I hope to bury myself
in a stack of library books when the weather
keeps us inside.
Praying that hints of spring find their way to you.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Friday Fotos


Welcome to Friday Fotos!
We've been a little bit busier on the homestead over the last week,
able to tackle both indoor and outdoor tasks.
It's felt good to rack up some steps on my pedometer.
It seems the chooks have decided that the flower bed 
in front of the porch is their newest favorite place.
I'll have to come up with something to keep them out of there,
because I have plans to beef it up with perennial plants for the growing season.

This week I finally found a home for these old newspapers
my parents had kept from all those years ago.

The local historical office was happy to have them
to add to their collection.

 I'm not sure how I got them or why I held on to them for so long.
I'm just glad that they will be able to be viewed by others.

Our neighbors two doors down keep bees.
I decided it was a good time to stock up,
as I've heard from other beekeepers that they 
completely sold out of their honey this past year.

 With springtime fast approaching,
I gathered the cardboard tubes that had been collected
and made seed pots.
A new process was used this time,
and I'm curious to see how well they hold up.

 The tweak with these is that the bottoms sit flat,
so there is less chance that they will tip over and spill soil.
I'll be posting the new method soon.
We had a weekday in the 60's,
believe it or not,
and I took full advantage.
This DIY "shed" that I fashioned last year
was starting to look ragged.
It was time for a bit of reorganization.

These storage units were repurposed from C's room.
They used to house a lot of his Lego bricks,
but we redid his system and he no longer needed these.
They were ideal for use in the outdoor space.
I was able to store smaller items for the garden and the chooks.

They fit perfectly in the space and allowed me
to fit more into the same area.
Some "s" hooks will be acquired so that
I can hang up some of the items and get them off the ground.

Here's another chore I've been waiting to do
once the weather cleared up a bit.
The area under the chicken coop would sometimes get soggy
when it rained or snowed.
I'm hoping this diversion dug into the ground behind the coop
will shed the water in a different direction,
thereby keeping their run area drier.

Well, the warm weather lasted a day, and then it hit.
We were blessed with about 2 inches of snow.
Hot dog!

You'll hear no complaints from me!
It's still a magical thing to me,
and I enjoy watching it come down and blanket everything
in a serene sea of white.

The chooks, on the other hand,
are not so fond of it.
They pretty much stay in or under the coop.
I did shovel most of it in the run,
so that they could stretch their legs.
The Eglu coop is surprisingly warm inside.
When I open the nesting box in the morning,
I stick my hand in the roosting area 
and am assured that it is toasty warm.
On a side note,
we made a discovery this week with one of the chooks.
It was the middle of the day and I went out to check on them,
and Queenie was sitting on two eggs in the nesting box.
It seems we've discovered why she has been acting so peculiar lately.
Unfortunately, we aren't set up for chicks just yet,
so I took the eggs.
We are hoping she continues to be broody for another month,
when we will have another coop to use for spring chicks.
It will be our first time caring for baby chicks 
and we are all very excited.
What's happening on your homestead?

Thursday, February 11, 2021

A Very Special Birthday

sister's favorite crop

Happy Birthday
Sweet Sister!
I am so glad you were born.
What a blessing you are in my life.
We have so many wonderful memories
of time spent together
and I cherish each and every one.
May God keep you all of your days.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Easy Falafal (vegan, cf,df,gf,sf)

This recipe was one I've been wanting to make for a while.
I remember my mom making it on occasion 
(that woman could make anything!),
and each marvelous mouthful was devoured with appreciation.
The recipe I feature here is my rendition of one I found
on Cookie + Kate.
She adds cilantro (um, no thanks), 
and bakes it in a skillet in the oven.
My version is an easy and quick cook in my momma's cast iron skillet,
a sort of homage to her culinary proficiency,
of which I claim none.
This dish is a great example of how a few clean ingredients
can come together to make some lip-smackin' goodness happen.
The one thing that surprised me was that the chick peas,
or garbanzo beans, as they are also known,
are soaked, but not cooked.
Everything is simply dumped into the food processor
and whizzed until the texture is to your liking.
This may be why the outside turns out so crisp,
while the inside is soft, moist and 
The addition of cinnamon was another curiosity,
and I didn't really detect it in the delight of each magnificent morsel.
Another thing I like about this recipe, 
is that it's allergy-friendly.
It is free of corn, dairy, gluten and sugar,
it's vegan, 
 fully satisfying.
What a great make-ahead lunch or snack idea
to use when prepping for a busy week.
Without a doubt, 
this will be a welcome addition to the family recipe file.

Easy Falafel
 ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 
1 cup dried raw chickpeas, 
soaked for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator
 ½ cup onion, diced
 ½ cup packed fresh parsley 
 4 cloves garlic, quartered 
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
 ½ teaspoon ground cumin 
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine soaked and drained chickpeas, onion, parsley, garlic,  salt, cumin, cinnamon,  
and  1 T of olive oil in a food processor. 
Process until smooth, about 1 minute.
Scoop out about 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time and shape into small patties or balls. 
Place each falafel on an oiled pan and cook 3-4 minutes per side.
Makes about a dozen.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Friday Fotos


Our family gnome is about to get some company.
This week, there was a deal on a local sell/trade site
and I couldn't resist.
Two more magical gnomes will be joining the homestead.
Unfortunately, I haven't yet gotten them to pose for a picture,
(they can be very elusive),
but I'll get one taken real soon.
One will watch over the front porch,
while this guy and another will patrol the garden.
I love me some gnomes!
 These dish rags were first discovered at a friend's house.
I do some dog sitting for her and her husband,
and after having used them in her kitchen, I fell in love!
They do such a great job, they dry quickly and they can be
washed in the washing machine or the dishwasher!
There are a variety of patterns to choose from,
but this bunch just called my name.

Some time was spent planning the spring garden.
This will be the first time growing spring veg in our new location.
As it is framed with mature trees,
it will be curious to see how well things grow.
The initial garden had full sun most of the day,
but it had to be moved due to septic issues.
You can read that story here.
The garden website where I usually make my plans to print out
is no longer available.
I was able to squeeze in just before the service ended,
but I may need to find something similar. 

Flower seeds are kept in old file drawers in a spare room.
Inside each drawer, seeds are alphabetized
(yes, I'm that kind of person),
and left in their original containers when possible.
There are some seeds that need to be  chilled before planting,
(milkweed is one that comes to mind),
so we save a little space in our garage fridge for those.

Veg seeds have their own set of file drawers,
and are sorted according to type of crop
and also arranged alphabetically.
Our herb and flower seeds are stashed in a different set of file drawers.
Far from being filled to capacity,
perhaps with a bit more seed saving this spring and summer
they will be bursting with goodies for the next season.

 With the extra eggs we had on hand,
a delicious rice-crusted quiche was made
and finished within two days.
The yellow rice was leftover from a batch I'd made,
and I simply added sauteed onions, potatoes, spinach
and a bit of vegan cheese into the eggs.
Maybe when our girls are laying more steadily,
I can make it on a monthly basis.

Be Blissed this weekend!