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A Veritable Schmorgasbord Orgasbord

August 7, 2009

veggiessmall

My garden-fresh offering for tonight’s potluck–cucumbers, broccoli, young green beans, green peppers and cherry tomatoes (which look a lot better in real life) with a homemade cream cheese and sour cream dip with chives, oregano, parsley, basil, and garlic.

After that, the opening night of the play! Hope I don’t forget any of my three lines, one of which often gets accidentally skipped anyway!

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And the harvest begins!

August 4, 2009
Credit for this absolutely beautiful photograph, despite its subject matter, goes to Joel.

Credit for this absolutely beautiful photograph, despite its subject matter, goes to Joel.

Completely unconcerned (except for the potatoes) by the presence of late, or early, or right-on-time blight on the tomatoes, all the other plants are happily producing fruit and vegetables for us to eat.

berries

The blueberries and raspberries were enjoyed atop locally made Maple Walnut icecream. I am sorry that those who planted and tended these bushes are not here to enjoy the berries, but we are certainly reaping the fruits of their labor. (I mean, literally. Like, even if we didn’t eat or enjoy them.)

I also made a blueberry pie, but since the blueberries for that came from a different farm, I didn’t feel it deserved a picture on the blog. (Also, I just didn’t think of taking one and I don’t feel like getting up to take one now, either.)

I had separated some yogurt into cream cheese (not curds) and whey last week in preparation, and today the lacto-fermenting began in earnest. I made a jar of dill pickle chips with some fresh dill flowers from the garden, and some beet kvass, which is a traditional eastern European/Russian drink. Right now the lactobaccilus bacteria are doing their thing and on Thursday morning both will go into the refrigerator. I have had mixed success with lacto-fermented vegetables. Dill pickles are one thing that have turned out to my liking in the past, so I have high hopes for those. As for the beet kvass, I am not entirely confident that I will like it even if it is successful, but it’s supposed to do wonders for your health. Its very pretty, anyway.

kvasspickles

This morning I spied a good-sized zucchini in the garden, threatening to get bigger. Fortunately, I have adapted my sourdough blueberry muffin recipe to zucchini bread. Bring it on, zucchini. I’m ready for ya.

How to catch a skunk

August 4, 2009

We had been finding digging at the chicken tractors every morning for quite a while. A skunk was suspected, and we kept intending to set out a trap, but it wasn’t until last week that we finally got around to it.

We got out the Have-a-Heart trap, which captures the animal but does not kill it (I personally think one that kills it might be easier, especially with a skunk!). Joel put some tuna inside, glued down with peanut butter, which was suggested to him by the guy he works with at camp. When the animal moves the platform with the food on it, two panels of metal fall down on either end and a wire arm also falls down and holds them in place.

setting trap

Then we covered the trap with an old tablecloth, to block any skunk spray from reaching the chickens or us when we approached the next morning and cut a hole for the trap handle.

Joel scattered some grass on top for good measure.

Joel scattered some grass on top for good measure.

We woke up the next morning and put on our “skunk clothes” with eager anticipation to go check the trap. It was empty! BUT–the food was gone! How could this be?

trap empty

We decided to try another approach. That night, Joel tied a piece of bacon to the platform, the idea being that the skunk would have to pull on it and be more likely to trip the trap mechanism.

Well, he tripped it all right. The next morning, the trap was closed but there was no skunk (0r any other animal for that matter) inside. What a mystery! We got busy with other things and the trap and tablecloth (which the skunk, or something, had pulled off and flung aside the second night) remained on the ground for a day or two.

On Friday night, we went to the potluck dinner and sat next to our neighbors, who happened to ask us why there hadn’t been any eggs to buy recently. I told them that there were some, but they were being bought very quickly. Then we told them about the skunk. Scott asked us, “How big is your trap?” Joel motioned with his hands. “You probably need a bigger one; if it’s too small it won’t close fully and the skunk can just back right out.” Mystery solved!

So Scott and his two little girls brought over their much bigger Have-a-Heart and set it up. The next morning, sure enough the skunk was there. Joel said it was a small one, but I didn’t want to risk it to try to get a picture (sorry). Joel approached the trap holding the tablecloth up in front of him, to fool the skunk. (Personally I think I big square white thing with no legs or wings coming towards me would be a little scarier than a person, but I guess that’s why I’m not a skunk.) Here he is carrying the skunk in the trap.

Gotcha!

Gotcha!

July 27, 2009

3small

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Hints of harvest to come

July 22, 2009
red onions

red onions

beets

beets

carrots

carrots

cherry tomatoes

cherry tomatoes

cucumbers

cucumbers

and more cucumbers

and more cucumbers

beans

beans

broccoli

broccoli

turnips

turnips

bell peppers

bell peppers

red cabbages

red cabbages

apples

apples

While I was taking pictures, I heard this snake behind me.

While I was taking pictures, I heard this snake behind me.

It’s some kind of conspiracy!

July 19, 2009

It’s been a busy week! We came back from a restful visit with my family (pictures on Facebook) and dove right in. By ‘right in’ I mean Joel had to go to work an hour after we got back. On Monday I spent a lot of time getting ready to launch my new business. I am selling 100% whole wheat sourdough bread and bagels from the shop. I make them the day before and let them have one rise, then shape them and put them in the refrigerator overnight, so I can bake them as soon as I get up and have fresh baked bread available in the morning. So far bagels have not taken off, but I have sold 3 loaves of bread! I have also taken some to play practice and the church coffee hour and people really like it. I don’t think there is very much potential in the way of income because of rather limited facilities and demand, but I am enjoying it for what it is. I also plan to expand my line to include frozen pizza crusts and dried pasta soon, once people are aware of the benefits of sourdough for the taste and nutrition of whole wheat products!

Here's my little display in the shop. Signs on the right explain "Why Sourdough?" and product availability.

Here's my little display in the shop. Signs on the right explain "Why Sourdough?" and product availability.

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Another fun thing that happened this week was harvesting garlic.

Pull!

Pull!

This year's harvest. Apparently it's a good one, but I can't take much credit for that, since all I did was weed it a little.

This year's harvest. Apparently it's a good one, but I can't take much credit for that, since all I did was weed it a little.

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beeker

June 29, 2009

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Rachelle