Posts Tagged ‘potatoes’

I knocked down one of the 1 layer potato towers today.  You may recall the saga of the potato towers and how, at one point, I thought I had lost the whole crop, well they did survive.  I will not have the kind of crop that I could have had, but that one tire held a dinners worth of potatoes.  Not bad, all considering.

I got a lot done on the Jack Frost Jacket today.  The color work was a lot of fun and not frustrating!  It’s charted, so I was a little nervous, because working color work with a chart is a lot like cross stitch, and as you probably picked up previously, I’m not a fan.  However, this pattern was easy to follow, repetitive (in a good way), so it made sense as I went along.  I am pleased with my tension, which can also be an issue with colorwork.  I have little experience with it, so was very happy it came out so well.  I still have to do the zig zags on top.

This is the image I wanted to share last night.  Sleeves and the start of the back I just showed, so all that was done today!

That is what the finished jacket will look like.  Mini is very excited and thinks it will be cozy and fun.  She’s so cool.  I hope she appreciates handmade things later into her life than I did.  Mom made a lot of clothes for me as a kid, but once I was about 8, I was having little to none of that.  Probably I was a brat, though in my slight defense, she didn’t pick the best fabrics…but probably I was a brat.

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My friend came over, with her daughter, to pick up their 3 chickens that I was taking care of until their coop was ready. My daughter showed their new owner the ropes, such as feeding them strawberries, and grass. The coop seems so empty with just my 5 out there.

i made the bias tape for the Lola Apron. It calls for 12 yards, but I made 19ish. I’m hoping to make the apron tomorrow. I had to clean my craft room so i could find the bias tape maker, and that ate up most of my crafting time.

The potatoes are looking quite well today. I’ve definitely lost a couple, but for the most part, they are pulling through.

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This is going to be a long post, so go ahead and get a tasty beverage, and listen to all the news and gossip of the day.

Today was the first day of the town farmer’s market. It was a little slow, but that’s expected for the first day, in the beginning of the season. I did find a couple bunches of Beet Greens, a few garlic scapes and a basil plant.

A little town gossip: There are some new signs in town. Calef’s, the general store that has been THE store in Barrington for over a hundred years. It is not longer owned by the Calef’s but has maintained the look and the name of the original store. Calef’s has been selling donut’s made by the Robie’s for over 45 years. I know it’s been that long, because they’ve been selling them since my dad worked there, back in 1963. Well, the other day I noticed a sign in front of the other Calef’s (George Calef’s Fine Foods, which is still owned by member’s of the Calef family). The sign advertises having Robie’s Donuts and Bread. (Today it only said bread to make room for the Strawberries).

Hmm. Robie’s bread and donut’s advertised at the “Little Store”. Then driving by the “Big Store” I saw another sign…

Well, that was quite a surprise. New and improved donuts? What is going on here? I decided to get to the bottom of it. I was going to go ask. A girl at the counter responded to my inquiry with the explanation that the Robie Donuts had been going down in quality, but up in price, so they switched suppliers to Stonehouse Donuts further up Route 125. She let me know that the new donuts are lighter, fluffier, and yummier. I was not convinced. I had to try them myself. First they were served in a paper bag, instead of the plastic sleeves that Robie donuts came in. I opened the bag and sampled the first one…Yes, I think they are better. They taste like the old fashioned donuts my great grandmother used to make, and lightly sugared on the surface, just like her’s as well.

I enjoyed my donut, along with a bottle of Squamscot Dry Ginger Ale. It was sweetened with Pure Cane Sugar and does not contain any over processed poison high fructose corn syrup. It was quite delicious.

Mom met a woman in Calef’s who had a new kids book that she purchased next door at the gift store, so off we went. While I was wandering around the store (having picked up a new Strawberry huller for an outing planned for Monday), I came across some very neat earrings. They are made out of beans. Yup, dry beans. But they are really pretty. I wish I wore earrings, but for now I can’t, they bother my ears.

On to the local feed store, where I ran into my friend Kim who was picking up her adorable little Runner Ducks. (She was also convinced to take two lonely white ducks, as crested and a peking.) This is the next bit of town scuttlebut… The owner of the store was telling that the other day his pigs escaped the pen. He arrived home to find town police from ours and the next over, at his house trying to round up the sows and a new boar. After the pigs were safely in the pen, the neighborhood kids informed the man that his pig was going to have babies soon. When asked how they new that, since he knew the sows were not pregnant he was informed that the kids had seen the boar and sow “together”. Well, now.

Finally, after all that fun, we made it home where we cut the sidewall out of some tires to form the second layer of the potato towers. We have decided to fill the tires with hay, as all our soil contains green manure, which can rot the taters in the ground. It seems I there is a trick to easily cutting the sidewalls. I’ll share:

Make an incision in the wall.

Pull up on the inside wall.

Put the knife at a 45 degree angle to the tire and lift the side wall away from the blade.

Pull firmly, but there should not be much effort needed. The knife should glide through the tire if the angle of the blade is correct.

Be careful to not pull directly towards yourself, and use a sharp blade, as a dull blade will cause you to put to much energy into pulling and could allow you to lose control of the blade.

We did up a couple…and still needed more.

After mulching all the towers, we used what remained on the other veggies, and went in for lunch. It was a delightful meal of local fare.

Chicken salad made with chicken from the farm up the street, some of the basil from the market and some garlic scapes, also from this morning and a bit of salt and pepper. The scapes are tops to the garlic plant, and are used similar to scallions. They have a light garlic flavor. Absolutely delicious! We used a mock mayonnaise to hold it all together.

Here is the mayo recipe:

Mom’s Mock Mayonnaise

1 Cup Cottage Cheese

1 Tbs lemon juice

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp dry taragon

1/4 tsp celery seed

1 tsp orange juice

1 egg

Salt, Pepper and about 1/2 small onion coarsely cut.

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree.

The mayo will not be thick like mayonnaise, but similar to a creamy dressing. It does thicken a bit after being refrigerated, but still not what I would call thick, or really spreadable. It works great for tuna fish or chicken salads. I’m excited to use it in potato salad! It’s very tasty and much healthier than mayonnaise.

My mother was amused that I photographed all my food today.

The wild strawberries are ripe! This means that the Pick Your Own Strawberry Farm, here in town, is open! I’ve planned a trip, with mom, on Monday at 7am! That is when the fields open and today they stopped letting people in at 7:30am! So I’ll be rising early to get over early to be sure to be let into the fields. Strawberries are $2.80 a quart, and if you buy the already picked berries, they are $6.00 a quart! Mom and I plan on getting enough to freeze, and to make jam.

I’m inspired to make up one of the gathering aprons, that I’ve been wanting to make for some time. I think that it would be most helpful for Monday, and lately, with all my greens and radish picking, I am needing one more often.

I picked some wild daisies from our back yard to put in a cool mason jar vase.

The garden was beautiful today! Here are a couple close to the ground pictures.

I got the organic bug spray that I ordered. I made some up to spray on the plants that were effected, but I think that my vigilant bug squishing did the trick, as I’ve not seen any of them lately. I still sprayed, since it’s safe and I want to be sure I’m not about to have some unfound eggs hatching. The family all went for a walk to our neighbor, Andrea’s house, to share some of our bug spray, as she mentioned having problems with the same insects I had. She wasn’t home so we’ll have to connect another time. it was a very nice walk, and a lovely way to wind down the evening. I think we need to start walking, after dinner, regularly.

I hope you enjoyed your Saturday, and enjoyed hearing about mine. Thanks for stopping by!

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I have been searching the internet for information on gardening in tires. It seems to be a very efficient way, as well as economical, to create raised beds. We have enough space to plant in the ground, but raised beds provide better drainage, can save on water, are physically easier to access, reduce the amount of weeds and provide defined rows…all good reasons to consider them.

I found the following website, that had a great idea for potatoes: www.thegardenhelper.com

This is brilliant! A great way to maximize your potatoes, while keeping them safe from crazy spring and early summer rains.

“Potatoes without a garden

If you have no established garden plot, or if there just isn’t enough available space within your garden, you can still grow a respectable crop of spuds, and do a little recycling at the same time. Potatoes thrive in the warm environment of a soil filled tire!
Four tires + Two pounds of seed potatoes + Good soil = 20-30 pounds of winter potatoes!
Pick a spot where you can stack your tires which is out of the way and preferably out of sight. Loosen the surface of the soil just enough to allow for drainage, and set your largest tire in place. Fill the inside of the tire casing loosely with good topsoil, and then set 3-4 potato seeds into the soil. (Use sticks or rocks to keep the casing rings spread open.) Add enough soil to the tire “hole” to bring it to the same level as the soil inside the tire.
When the new plants are eight inches tall, add another tire and soil to the stack, as in the first level. Repeat the process for your third, and if desired, fourth tires. As you add tires and soil to the stack, the 8″ of the plant stalk is covered with soil. By doing this, the existing stalk essentially reverts to a root status and the plant is forced to grow upward to once again find the sunlight which it needs. (much like if you were to try to eliminate a dandelion by covering it with a scoop of soil) By raising the soil level this way (in 8″ increments) the plant is able to continue growing without suffocation, and at the same time you are creating a 24-30″ tap root from which many more lateral roots can develop. Each lateral root can then produce additional potatoes (at 3-4 levels rather than the normal single layer). When you water, be sure that the soil is thoroughly moistened all the way to the base of the pile.
The tires act as an insulator and heat “sink” for your potatoes. This added warmth will cause the lateral roots (where the new potatoes form) to multiply more rapidly, thereby giving you more potatoes. When you need fresh potatoes next fall and winter, harvest the crop from the top tire, and remove it from the pile. More potatoes??? Next tire…”

I decided to give it a try. There is a very good local organic farmer who lives in town, so I was talking to him about the “Potato Towers”. He’s grown them that way and says it works great. He also suggested a thin layer of pine needles under the potatoes. He finds it confuses the potato beetles, which can be a real problem in this area. So I collected needles and planted my first two potato towers. I have 4 more to plant, but possibly 8 more, depending on how crazy I decide to get. I think I have the space. I also planted my spinach today.

Behind the towers is the fence I’ve been putting in. I just need to create the gate and it will be done being built. To the left is the lattice I installed for the peas, which poked their heads up today!

The seedlings spent their first day out in the real sun today. Oh, and do you see on top of the knitting basket, peeking out…it’s the now finished Tangelo Sweater! I finished it in class tonight!! I’ll show pictures tomorrow.

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