Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Garden

The garden is looking great. The main reason that there has been such a gap in posts is that we have been crazy busy for the last month or so getting the garden planted, weeded, watered and maintained. My days have been easily 12 hours long and that at 7 days a week, so once I get done work, it’s dinner, a few beers, maybe some target practice with the .22 and then off to bed. This leaves little time and energy to write, that’s reserved for rainy days, like today...
Lettuce field number one is in full swing, with field number 2 being a few weeks behind, meaning that we’ll be in lettuce for the rest of the summer, and there aren’t many things as tasty as fresh greens from the garden simply dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. The beets are looking amazing, as is the chard. Yesterday I picked an English pea which was so good! Unfortunately the pea patch had bad germination, so we will only have peas for house use, pea risotto anyone? 
We have plenty of potatoes now, with more on the way and our cabbages are looking great. We have a whole 50 foot row dedicated for Napa cabbage, which is destined for Kimchi, which I cant wait to make. The regular cabbage will be eaten fresh and turned into sauerkraut, another of my favorite things in the world.
We now also have just over 300 tomato plants in the ground and over 500 pepper plants, both sweet and hot. I think it will look great in a few months when all the different shapes and colors of peppers and tomatoes hanging off the plants, not to mention the amount of tomato salads, and grilled peppers we’ll be eating!

The sweet potatoes, asparagus, carrots, onions, garlic and kale are all looking very good, and we will start to harvest some of them soon. We removed all the scapes, the flower shoot, from all of the garlic and have been making pesto and using them instead of garlic for weeks now. The garlic is starting to dry out and I think we are only a couple weeks away from getting it out of the ground. We have about 17 different varieties, and about that many 50’ rows, so we will have garlic galore....

Monday, June 18, 2012

First Harvest and a Recipe

Last week Thursday was out first harvest day! It wasn’t huge, but it was really great to pull some food out of the garden and to see some fruits to all of our labor. Friends and local farmers go to Cumberland every friday for the weekly farmers market, and they called us Wednesday morning asking us if we wanted to send some stuff along. It was a bit short notice, so we had to scramble to get potatoes, red and golden beets, spinach, chard, scapes, and lettuces pulled from the garden, cooled and packaged in time, but we made it happen.  
Like I said, it was really cool to get some food pulled out of the garden for market. I remember planting the seed potatoes a few months ago, burying the plants in after they reached about 6 inches tall, checking them daily for Colorado potato beetles, and then finally pulling them out of the ground to find 5-6 beautiful potatoes per plant. I cooked up some for dinner that night using my favorite technique for roasted potatoes, and they were simply amazing...
Super Tasty Roasted Potatoes
(serves 6)
2 Pounds small new potatoes
3 Tbsp butter, olive oil or lard
1 Tbsp Thyme (fresh or dried)
1 Tbsp Rosemary (fresh or dried)
1 Tbsp Paprika
Salt and Pepper
Pre heat oven to 450. Put all the potatoes in a suitable pot and cover with water. Add a bit of salt and bring the water to a boil then turn down to a simmer, once simmering, cook the potatoes till they are about half cooked. Drain through a strainer and let cool for a little so you can handle them. Using a small pot, crush the potatoes a little, so they crack in a few places and have lots of rough edges. Toss the crushed potatoes with all the spices, salt, pepper and fat and place in a single layer on a roasting sheet. Roast in the oven for 45, turning them half way through, making sure they get really nice and crispy. Enjoy!


We have so many piglets! Both Fern and Willow have given birth in the last ten days, and we now have 22, we have two more pregnant girls in the barn that are due by this weekend! We will be swimming in piglets, so much cuteness shouldn’t be allowed.
It hasn’t all been easy and fun however. Because we have four pigs pregnant at the same time, we decided that the two senior sows, Fern and Willow, who had already farrowed once before, were to give birth in the woods, while Juniper and Strawberry would be moved down to the barn to farrow. We prefer having the girls give birth in the barn as it’s close to the house and we can keep a good eye on the pigs and piglets, as well as start the socializing process of the piglets. Accidents do happen, the piglets are really small compared to their moms, and they like to hide under the hay and they run the risk of getting stepped on or squashed. This happened twice with the infamous Ruby farrowing, but because this happened in the barn, Dan and I were able to get there fast enough to save the pigs. Unfortunately with the pigs in the woods being so far away, we have had more piglet mortality than we would like. Willow lost five of her seventeen piglets and I found two dead piglets this morning in Ferns den, leaving her a total of ten.
It’s hard to see these tiny little dead bodies, and I think in the future we won’t be having pigs farrow in the woods. There are just too many variables and there is too much risk. 
The surviving piglets are doing just great! They are super cute and soft and smell like babies...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Well, after a long delay since my last post and weeks of really hard work, we finally have a rainy day which is giving me the time to write. Lots and lots has been happening here, so instead of a long post, i am going to divide all the excitement into a few shorter ones. First, we have turkeys! Just over a week ago we got a call from the Clearville Post Office saying that we had a box that was making peeping noises. So I drove down and picked up a box of 15 Narragansett turkeys. They were tiny and made a super cute peeping sound. We had a box ready for them with a layer of straw, water, feed and a heat light over them. Poultry hatchlings need a very hot environment for their first couple weeks, somewhere around 110 degrees F. 
They are now just under 2 weeks old, and are at least twice the size. They are also getting bolder and whenever we open their box, they try to fly out. I think these birds are going to be a bit of a handful once they reach full size, but they will be oh so tasty come Thanksgiving time!