Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Okay, bear with me here. I have a fabulous book recommendation, but it’s title is unconventional.  I’m sure the author very much intended this to be the case, but as with many things that we really should be more comfortable with, we aren’t.

The book entitled, Holy Shit: Managing Manure To Save Mankind, is all about manure.  Gene Logsdon is a lifelong farmer, writer, and manure expert.  The book gets to the heart of local farming.  Food and Manure go hand in hand, when done well, and when they aren’t holding hands we all suffer.  The local food movement has a great root in this area, and many people are learning more than they ever thought they would about where their food comes from, how it’s raised or grown and what goes into the cycle.  I am 2 chapters away from finishing this book, and to show you how awesome I think it is, I only bought it last week, and do not find reading it conducive to knitting, which means I chose to read this instead of knitting.  The book is very informative and also super amusing.

Some of our local farms are finding that combining livestock with field veggies is beneficial in many ways.  Not only does it diversify the farm, spreading the risk of farming over more products, like if your tomatoes are hit with blight, your chickens will still be laying eggs, or your pigs will still be putting meat on the bone.  Field grown veggies, in New England is a wild ride, with all the various possible reasons for loss.  A cold snap in Spring after the buds have come on, can wipe out an Apple Crop, a summer of rain can destroy the squash crop, as the field gets too wet for the gourds and they rot on the vine, or cool rain for weeks at a time can usher in blight and make tomatoes scarce.  Raising animals isn’t without challenges, and they can have their own set of concerns, but a well managed, heritage flock or herd, can weather a great many things.

Besides the diversification, a great asset to animals on the farm is manure.  Manure is something we often take for granted, and that truth is the basis for Logsdon’s book.  Waste should not be seen as, well, waste, or something to dispose of, but rather a bi-product/value added/ benefit of raising animals.  If you raise animals you have the best source of fertility for your land.  If you do so, in conjunction with field crops, you are maximizing that fertility.

Understanding how to manage manure will give you a greater understanding of, and appreciation for, the farmers that are working so hard to keep their loop closed, by not buying in fertilizers for their fields.  As a home gardener, it will give you practical insights into how you can utilize manure in your own little plot, and it might inspire you to raise some of your own manure creating critters, like chickens, or even better, rabbits.

If you are local and think raising rabbits for meat or manure would be beneficial for your garden, I’m teaching a class on how to get started with raising them for my local permaculture group on August 20 from 1-3.  You can find out more here: Rabbit Husbandry 101

As for Logsdon’s book, Holy Shit: Managing Manure To Save Mankind you can buy it in either paperback, or for the  kindle, on Amazon.

You can hear him in an interview with Robin Young on NHPR’s Here & Now.

If you live locally and want to support farms that are incorporating the principles of utilizing manure from their farms on their fields, check out Brookford Farm and New Roots Farm. I’ve had  great conversations with the farmers at both farms about their philosophies and how they are using their animals to provide consumers with nutrient dense veggies, as well as humanely raised meat…all with the biproduct of manure at the center of their operation.

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What a week…or so!  I got very tied up with work.  I’m running a sale, and over the weekend had a show…oops.  Didn’t think that through.  The upside is that I managed to do both, pretty well, I just had to drop everything else.  But I’m back to life as usual…whatever that might be.

What you’ve missed around the farm:

Maybelle kindled a litter of 6 big beautiful babies.  I was so proud of her.  One wriggled away from the group, and got too cold, so there are only 5, but she’s an amazing mom.  Really the best mom I’ve seen through here!  Needless to say, I really like that rabbit.

Mama Muscovy#1 hatched 3 ducklings on Wednesday, the 20th. A little sad about the numbers, but it was the first batch of the season, so hopefully the other two Mama’s have better luck.  This mama will have at least one more chance for another clutch later this summer.

Mama Muscovy #2 is about a week from hatching, and Mama Muscovy #3 just went on her nest of about 9 eggs Wednesday the 20th.

No chickens have decided to go broody yet, so there are no new chicks on the horizon.

The peas are up!  The spinach is putting on their first set of real leaves, as are the radishes.  The lettuce and beets are up!  My bed of neglected garlic from last year has garlic popping up all over.  I’m interested to see what that produces.  My planted garlic, properly spaced, with straw mulch is up now, too.

The seedlings, mainly tomatoes, basil and peppers, with some miscellaneous goodies like tomatillos and ground cherries, are doing great!

What you missed in the kitchen:

Not my kitchen, but Sunday April 17, the day after the show, I had the most amazing breakfast made from local ingredients.  Sharon and Ken invited myself and a few other friends over for brunch.  We talked about local farming, the ups the downs, what can be done, education that could be spread, all while enjoying some amazing dishes!  Baked goods with local honey and maple sweeteners, local flour, eggs, shrimp…it was delicious.  All of it.  We even had sugar that was made by one of the guests.  She just returned from a 10 day field trip with a local school to Costa Rica.  She harvested and processed sugar cane and brough that along with coffee she roasted.  Not local, but done with local hands, and we all enjoyed the special treat.

My own kitchen has been fairly lonely, but I did pull some sourdough out of the fridge.  I had placed a cup of Irma in the refrigerator last month, and exactly one month later, I pulled it out, put it in a bowl with water and flour and it was bubbling in no time!  I’m so excited to have such a hearty sourdough starter.  I have big, crazy plans for that starter, very soon.

I enjoyed scambled eggs topped with tat soi and arugula micro greens and some diced chives for lunch.  What a great Spring meal, and all from my yard.  I don’t think that will ever stop being a good feeling.

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Seeds arrived today!  I got them from my favorite seed company, High Mowing Seeds, in Vermont, and I picked up a few from Sustainable Seed Company.  I ended up at Sustainable Seed Company when looking for Organic Quinoa seeds, and they had a couple other things that interested me, that High Mowing didn’t have, like parsnips.  I got two kinds, All American and Hallow Crown.  Along with my pretty small order of 6 packets of seeds they sent a free package too!  What a nice surprise.  It’s Lolla Rosa Darky Lettuce.  It’s a loosleaf head variety that is slow to bolt.  It’s a dark Magenta color, and will look beautiful at the end of my walk with some flowers in my big green pot.  I’m excited.

In my excitement I broke out my metal trays and the soil blocker, and screwed together our seed starting shelves!  I now have 3 trays of seeds done.  There is a tray each of San Marzano Tomatoes, Moskovich Tomatoes and my favorite pepper, the Corno di Toro.  I still have 3 kinds of tomatoes and a pepper variety to start, along with some herbs.  I’m also planting a tray or two of microgreens since I’m itching for green, fresh food, and the lights will be set up anyway.

I kind of got a bit of the microgreen bug because I enjoyed some freshly cut arugula microgreens on my mac and cheese tonight and that was so yummy.  Our mac and cheese is usually a mix of pasta, cheese, butter, milk and other random goodies.  Tonight it was sauteed onions, scrambled hamburger and diced carrots, so when I threw the microgreens on top it just seemed right.

They are predicting some ridiculous amount of snow tonight.  At the park today, some parents were declaring the total was to be between 6 and 12 inches.  Maybe, maybe not, but I did need to secure the low tunnels so that they don’t become filled with snow.  I took care of the bed that has all the peas, and started to secure the other one that was empty.  Then I decided that if Iplanted the bed, before I secured it, it could sit there with snow covering it, germinating away.  That seemed more time efficient as well as less bothersome than letting the snow come, clearing off the beds and planting the seeds.  So around 6pm I dragged out the overwintered hose, filled the blue water barrels, that I neglected to fill in the fall, and planted two kinds of spinach, 2 kinds of radishes, lettuce and beets. Watered, covered, secured and was putting away the hose when the cold snowy rain started.  Now I can sit in the house tomorrow, with the woodstove keeping my seeds warm, while I cuddle up with the kids, reading, coloring, crafting and knowing that my early Spring planting has a very good start.

Spring is here whether Mother Nature is on board or not.

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I have been working on a knitting project that, while I’m excited about it, is just Knit a row, Purl a row, continue…forever.  The gauge is 6 sts to the inch, the sweater is for me, this is going to be a lot of stitches.  I figure that it would be a good time to crack open a good book.  I can read and knit, if the pattern isn’t complicated.  After learning how handy it is to read on my computer using either Kindle or Nook for PC, I was super excited.  The problem with reading while knitting is that you have to stop knitting to turn the page, and since I prop the book in my recipe book holder it takes a little effort to do this.  The problem is that it takes away from knitting.  Reading on a computer, while really not romantic, is very efficient.  I simply set my cursor on the “next” arrow and tap the mouse pad from time to time.  Easy.

I turned to my Facebook friends for a recommendation and found out my friends like very intense books.  I was recommended The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Help, TORMENT – A Novel of Dark Horror, and Sarah’s Key.  They all look good, but they also all look intense.  So when my friend Jennifer recommended The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love, I decided that was the one I’d try.  It’s a memoir of farming.  I could use some farming inspiration. It’s, of course, not just about farming, it’s also about self discovery and falling in love.  I’m finding it to be a fun combo of the three, and it’s been great fun.

After pouring over the Homegrown Whole Grains: Grow, Harvest, and Cook Wheat, Barley, Oats, Rice, Corn and More, for the past several weeks, I decided which grain I’m going to try this year.  Quinoa.  It seems that it would be amenable to growing in this area, it seems to be easy to harvest, at least on the easy end of the whole grains, and we really like it.  The fact that it’s gluten free, and the plants are edible and really pretty also weighed in on the plus side.  I have a friend who is grown oats and my dairy farm, Brookford, grows two kinds of wheat and sells the flour, so this would round out my choices rather nicely.  Quinoa is great as a cereal grain, as well as a nice side dish or base for a summer salad.  I am excited to give it a try.

I have ordered my Quinoa seeds, a pack of each of the three varieties that the site carried.  I also ordered my normal seed order from High Mowing Seeds and my tree/shrub order from the Strafford County Conservation District Plant Sale.  I’m getting Peach, Apple and Pear Trees, along with Black Currents, Elderberries, and Grapes.  Lots of fruit!  I’m excited.  Sure the only thing that’s likely to fruit at all this year, is maybe the Elderberries, but in the next couple years we will have fruit, and that’s something to look forward to.

I watched a great video of Luke from Brookford Farm talking about his farm, and how it works.  It’s the first video on the page, and I think it will be interesting to folks who live nearby, but also to others who don’t just to see how a farm ecosystem can work.  I just can’t say enough good stuff about the Mahoney’s and those that work with them on that farm.  I’m so thankful to have them in my community of  food growers.

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Today was beautiful!  The weather was so inviting.  I worked outside in my nice wool sweater and was very comfortable.  I pulled the plastic off the winter growing bed, and removed the sadly abused leeks.  The flavor of the remaining stumps is amazing and the soup I made with it for dinner tonight was superb, but they were very tattered.  I did not secure the low tunnel, as I ran out of time, or ambition, or both, in October, so I put some sand bags to hold the plastic down and hoped for the best.  If I had harvested 2-3 weeks earlier, I would have enjoyed some lovely kale, arugula and tat soi, but I didn’t, figuring I’d wait another couple weeks, and during that time some sort of critter had a salad bar.  I was surprised not to see the little fella lounging on his back, hardly able to move from the full tummy, and if my life was a cartoon, I’m sure I would have, but there was no sign of him, or his comrades, when I found the sad little stumps that were once beautiful greens.  Lesson for next year: Secure the top, making it difficult for critters to get to the food.

I harvested the leeks and ran a hoe along the length to create 4 little channels to plant seeds.  I planted Sugar Ann Snap Peas and Green Arrow Shell Peas, two rows each.  I pulled the plastic over and hope to see sprouts soon.  It was so good to feel dirt again!  It was also exciting to see what good shape the soil is in.  It was easy to plant in.

I decided on peas for that bed because they can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked, and can handle even a light frost, but under that tunnel they should do just fine.  They will like the walk to the house which will be nice.  But the most practical reason is they will be pulled around Late July/Early August, which will make for perfect time to plant that bed again, for the winter crop.  The peas will give the soil a nice nitrogen fix, and the bed should be in great shape for the winter greens.  I’m still trying to figure out planting schedules to get the most out of each piece of land, but I think this one bed will be timed well.

Dinner tonight was potato leek soup and rabbit sauteed in leeks and white wine.  If you have not tried rabbit, recently, I really can’t recommend it enough.  It is a very lovely meat.  It’s delicate and has a subtle sweet flavor.  Simmered in leeks and wine, it’s divine!

I also whipped up a little skunk themed pinafore, today.  Eowyn and Christopher are co-hosting a Skunk Zoo Party, along with the great folks at the Barrington Public Library.  Tomorrow there will be a Skunk Themed Game, winner of the Skunk Zoo Coloring contest will be announced, a  reading of the book, and a live Skunk named Stella will make an appearance.  There will be a couple copies of the Skunk Zoo given away, as well as copies on hand for purchase, part of which goes to support the Barrington Public Library.   Should be a great time.  Mama wanted Eowyn to have something special for her big day.

I used the apron pattern from Carefree Clothes for Girls.  Christopher cut out the skunk, from wool felt and I applied it to the finished top.

If you don’t have a copy of their book yet, you can get one here: Skunk Zoo

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Black Friday was so clear, sunny and beautiful, it would have really been a shame to spend it in a store.  Instead I put the garden to bed for the winter.  I'm still figureing out the whole tilling/no tilling debate, but I did decide to till this year.  I let the weeds get a bit out of control, so I decided that tilling them in, would create some lovely green manure for the soil to break down this winter.  I pulled up the stakes, the hoses, the decorative buckets, and hoops and all the rest and moved them out of the garden. I'm still trying to figure out where they will spend their winter, since I really want to park my car in the garage…hmmm.

Once we tilled, the Muscovies made a bee line for their very important role of Grub Patrol.  I'm sure there were other goodies to be found, but I like to think they were irradicating the pesky grubs from my soil.  Muscovies are such great creatures.  I really enjoy caring for them.

The garlic was planted today, and this time I spread a nice thick layer of straw, like you are supposed to, and then I covered it with a layer of floating row cover, hoping to deter Grub Patrol from digging up the garlic. 

Husband and I don't spend a lot of money, especially on big things, but with the combo of rising fuel costs, the fact that we don't really feel warm with propane/forced hot air heat in the way we'd like to, the fact that wood is renewable, and there are about 7 acres of it in our back yard, and the lovely tax incentives that expire at the end of the year, we decided now was the time.  We bought a wood stove and had a chimney installed.  Tonight we started our first fire.  We have to do a slightly annoying curing process before we can really get a good fire going, but that is almost done, so tomorrow the heat will be shut off, and the wood stove will be fired up, and hopefully not stop again until Spring!

I mentioned Thanksmas in yesterday's post, but it's not the only thing we are switching up this year.  My husband and I were trying to figure out a way to incorporate some small, meaningful gifts into the giving season, for our girls, but not have them overshadowed by the pile of toys that show up on Christmas. 

Thanksmas will help with that, since one whole family has already gifted, and it's lovely that the girls got to read new books and play with new toys today, without being overwhelmed by which to pick. 

Keeping with that, we decided to celebrate Saint Nicholas day this year.  The celebration of the original Santa Claus falls on December 6th, with shoes or stockings put out on the evening of the 5th.  We are going to hang stockings that I'm working on finishing the knitting of, and then I'll make several little items that will go in them.  I'm excited about having a special day set aside, as well, as having the opportunity to focus on Santa, in a separate from Christmas, way.  I'll share with you what goes into the stockings, as well as the stockings themselves, when all is done.

Well, back to knitting…after a quick pumpkin whoopie pie, with cream cheese frosting and ice cold milk break…mmm.

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I wouldn't have picked to be doing "fun" canning today, as I have a list of not as fun things, that really need to get done, but it was necessary.  I have pears and tomatillos that need to be processed before they go bad, and I had specific things in mind.  I didn't know if I could get away with freezing and doing these fun goodies later, so I bit the bullet and got started.

Tomatillos did pretty well in my garden this year.  I only had 4 plants and the yield was a solid half bushel, or more.  I've not done much with them, as I'm not super familiar with them, but decided that some salsa was in order.  I found a recipe online, and other than substituting a sweet pepper for most of the jalapenos, and  parsley for the cilantro, I followed it.  The resulting salsa was fabulous!  I had a small amount left, after jarring, that wasn't enough to really put in a jar so I put it in a pan, laid some fish on top, covered and simmered.  It was delicious!!  I am loving the local fish lately.

I made another double batch of Chunky Spiced Pear Jam, which we have been enjoying on toast, lately. 

One thing I've been wanting to try my hand at, is chutney.  I have never made any and can't say that I've done much with the store bought form, either, but I do love the chutneys that have accompanied meals in fancy restaurants.  Pears just seem perfect for chutney so I gave it a try.  I used a couple different recipes as my inpsiration, but they all seemed pretty similar to this one, except I added dry mustard (about 1 tsp) and cinnamon (also a tsp), no red pepper flakes (Husband prefers less spice than more), Honey instead of Brown Sugar, so only about 1/2 the amount called for, as I find it to be sweeter than sugar.  I also grated, with a microplane, the garlic, instead of just letting it simmer and remove.  That just seems crazy to me.  Garlic is so yummy, you can't just take it out! 

I'm pleased with how it all came out.  I have a few more pears that I'm trying to figure out something special for, and a few more tomatillos that I'm just going to can up like regular tomatoes, for use in sauce this winter.  I love the tangy sweet flavor and I think they will compliment a tomato sauce, quite nicely.

Tomorrow, more apples!  Looking for Chuntey recipes for the apples, and I might try that Chunky Spiced Jam recipe with the apples.  I really prefer jam over jelly.

I've been remiss in introducing you to our newest breeding buck.  He came with the name Sam, and I'm tyring to decide if I'll keep that name.  My other bucks are Almanzo, Henry and Jack.  Boy names are harder to pick, than girls, I think.  I have enough bucks, but Sam needed to be saved.  He is from Virginia's first litter, and he's just too good to end up being dinner.  He has a very nice form, but he wouldn't work for Virginia, as she has his mom and full sister as breeding does.  He will stay here and she will get a different buck from me, who isn't closely related to her does.  So until I figure out how many bucks I'm going to keep, and which ones, he's going to hang out here.  He seems to like his new home, and has transitioned well to the whole food diet.


I haven't mentioned the chickens lately.  They are certainly not center stage on the homestead this year.  We have found we just really enjoying eating duck and rabbit more, so the chickens are fewer.  Chicken is still a popular dish around here, but I love the darkness of duck meat, and rabbit is just phenomenal, and so easy to harvest, that I don't really mind not doing all the business of plucking chickens. 

Well, tonight, the young laying hens were moved to the laying coop.  It was a bit of a project, so one I have been procrastinating, but Husband helped and it went smoothly.  All the old ladies had their bands removed.  I checked to see if they seemed to still be laying.  Those believed to be laying recieved a pink band. 

All the young girls were banded with clear, but there are a couple who have already started laying, so I tried to identify them, and those who I believed were laying got a yellow band.  I did this so that in the Spring I can breed from them, as they are the early maturing birds, and the older girls are still laying after the fall equinox, so kudos to them. 

The bands are just zip ties from the hardware store.  They stay on well, are inexpensive, easy to find and come in a variety of colors, so they are a great option for temporary identification.  Identification is very important if you want to form a good breeding flock, and breed well, which I hope to be able to do.

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I am a procrastinator.  It is one of the things that drives me a bit crazy, about myself.  My basil is outside my front door.  It is easy to access, right on the edge of the path, so why haven't I picked it yet?  I have no idea.  When I went out one day last week to find all the tops a deep purple, due to the frost, I was pretty aggravated with myself, but still didn't bring it in.  Well, today I finally brought it in, and salvaged what I could.  There was enough to make 5 little jars of pesto base.  It's pesto base and not pesto, because it is missing the parmesan cheese and the pine nuts.  I've been told that omitting those ingredients keeps the basil flavor stronger for longer.  We'll see.  I will probably be making some "alternative" pestos this winter, as 5 meals of pesto doesn't seem nearly enough.  Maybe some arugula…hmmm.


I'm whiddling away at the fruit that has accumulated in my life.  I processed about 75 pounds of pears today…managing to also slice my finger pretty badly, eek.  I felt a shock sensation, so figuring a nerve might have been involved.  It's feeling okay right now, and did not bleed very much, so I think I may have narrowly escaped a big problem. Note to self, do not talk on the phone while slicing fruit.

So has anyone every canned apple slices.  I don't want to make pie filling, and as you probably know, freezer space is tight around here, so I thought canning the slices would allow me to use them in pies and baked goods, like the frozen apples do, but I didn't know if they just get too mushy.  All kinds of people online say you can can them, but no one really expounds upon how good they are when you go to use them.  Any thoughts on that would be greatly appreciated.

The Baby has quite a few garments handed down from Mini, but many of my knitted goodies still fit Mini, just as a little shorter.  For this reason, it seemed necessary to make an outfit for The Baby that was all her own and could grow with her, as well.  I love this set, and there are little ruffle pants to go with it that are not in the pictures. The Sweater is made with a linen blend yarn, and has mama made buttons.  The dress is a super soft cotton blend.  All yarn from Spinning Yarns in Dover, of course.





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There are some new additions to our Rabbitry.  I've decided to add the Champagne D'Argents to our breeding stock.  The Champagne is a different breed, not just a different color.  They have slightly different standards and with the Champagnes weighing in, on average 1 pound heavier with slightly more meat on their frame.  They are are born black, and silver out, as they age, making a beautiful rabbit, with a great pelt.  They are still relatively small boned, with a good butcher to live weight ratio.  I received a jr buck, that is 4 months old, from a breeder in PA, today.  The breeder was heading out here to pick up some Cremes from the breeder that has helped get my friends and I up and running, so I had her bring an extra jr buck along.  His name is Henry.  He's a little narrow in the face, but he has a nice body form, so I think he'll make a great starter buck. He is in his gawky teen stage, and he's still silvering out, so he'll look more like his back, all over, when he's fully mature.


Tomorrow I'm driving with friends, to Maine, to pick up a Champgne Sr. Doe.  You can meet her tomorrow night.

Josie's single kit is getting VERY large.


So much so, my rabbit mentor recommended bringing it inside for 12 hours a day so it feeds less.  If you let them get too large they can have joint issues.  So we have the little one in the house tonight.  What a little chub!  She'll go back out tomorrow, for the day, but we'll be bringing her in at night for a little while to let her develop properly.


The Progressive Pioneer Make and Do Friday recommended a recipe for cough syrup.  There is a great shop, in the next town over, that is a font of information about herbs and their uses.  I brought the recipe over for a second opinion.  I wanted to know 1) if there was anything they would add, or leave out and 2) is it safe for children.  Not all herbs, even though they are simply plants, are good for everyone.

It was recommended that I take out the Balm of Gilead, Coltsfoot and Lobelia because this will be used with the girls.  Also to add in some Elderberry Flowers and Elderberry Syrup.  So in the end the recipe I used was as follows:

  • 1/2 tsp each: thyme and elecampane
  • 1 tsp each: boneset, slippery elm, wild cherry bark, elderberry flower and yarrow
  • 2 tsp irish moss
  • 1 Tbs Mullein, Peppermint
  • 3 Tbs Elderberry Syrup (I used the syrup I made from foraged berries)

Add all the above to 4 cups water.  Boil until 1/2 the liquid is reduced.  I reduced a smidge too much so added water back to reach 2 cups.  Strain, and add 2 cups of honey.  Return to stove and simmer for 1/2 hour. 

It was recommended, at The Mustard Seed to give 1 tsp every 2 hours to children and 2 tsp every 2 hours for adults.  The link on the Make and Do Friday site, has a little bit of information on each herb and why it would be helpful.  If for adults you could leave in the omitted herbs and still add the Elder ingredients, as Elder is a great immune booster.  Once I picked up the ingredients this was a very simple process and very cost effective.  It tastes, primarily, like honey, but you can taste the elder and mint as well as hints of other things.

My sprout experiment has been fun, so far.  The broccoli needed to get light sooner, it's rather leggy.  The corn is very strangely corn tasting.  Like if you took all the flavor from a whole cob of corn and packed it into one kernal.  Intense.  I'm going to try them in a sautee and see how that works.  The peas are doing well, and the basil is slow but filling in nicely.  I could definitely have sown them more densly, so I'm glad I did this random seed experiment to see how they grow.


This is the leggy broccoli.  I'm going to sow them closer and in their own tray since they move much faster than any of the other things I tried.


These are the peas, flanked on either side by two varieties of basil.   I'm going to let the peas grow into pea tendrils, and I think that when I do this "for real" I'll cover them with dirt instead of the cloth I used this time, as they are a larger seed and would probably be happier in more dirt.  The cloth was brilliant for the basil and broccoli, though.


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The second pair of mittens for Mini are half done.  I am thinking she needs 4-5 pairs for winter and I am going to see if I can make them all before Monday at Midnight…5 pair of mittens in 1 week.  We'll see.  I'm loving the pattern so much, and this second pair is made with Malabrigo Merino Worsted which is about as soft as a yarn can be.

Microgreens intruge me.  The idea of growing adorable little plants in your house, all winter, giving you fresh green food just seems divine.  A while back I was enamoured with this great little book, Microgreens: A Guide To Growing Nutrient-Packed Greens , with it's delightflul cover, amazing photos, step by step how to, a bio of the most popular microgreen seed options, and recipes!  What more could one want from a Microgreen book.  Add to all that, the fact the authors learned about Microgreens on the farm of Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch, up in Maine. 


In addition to the hoop houses that I'm working on, outside, I'm going to fiddle around with some inside growing.  I started a tray of odds and ends to see how it worked.  I'm going to put in a proper microgreen seed order, but I figured leftovers from this seasons plantings would be a fun place to start.  I have peas, broccoli, basil and I even tried corn.  I read that baby corn plants are sweet.  We'll see.


The book suggests covering the seeds with a thin cotton cloth, instead of dirt, to allow you to more readily assess the moisture level, as well as to be able to peek.  I like peeking, so that worked for me.  in 3-4 days I'll get to see if they germinated.  In a week I should be able to harvest.  I'm excited at the idea of making fresh pesto in the dead of winter, with micro basil.  I wonder if that will work out well… so many experiments left to try!

Husband had a speaking engagement tonight.  He has a fabulous process for teaching and understanding story.  Whether that is written literature, or a play or movie, it applies to any of it.  He gave a talk at the local library to a room full of educators, both teachers and homeschooling parents.  It was a great talk and everyone really seemed to enjoy it.  He's a gifted teacher, and it was so fun to be able to watch him…and push the button for the power point presentation.  He is available for future engagements, so if you are part of a school or group who would like to learn his method for interacting with stories, drop him a line. 




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