Wednesday, November 9, 2011

1st Snow of the Season!

We woke up to white this morning.  The kids were happy about it, me not so much.  It didn't last too long,'s all but gone now. Since it snowed on the 9th, it will only snow 9 times this winter (so they say)...that seems a bit unlikely for Iowa.  It would be nice though!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Double Rainbow

Last week we had some rain while the sun was shining.  We went out on the porch to see if we could see a rainbow.  There was a huge double rainbow in the sky.  This is only part of it, and the picture really doesn't do it was so pretty.  It was also a learning lesson for the kids...we talked about the rainbow signifying God's covenant with us to never flood the earth again.  The kids thought that was neat...but also asked if there might be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  We can dream, can't we?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today's Harvest From The Square Foot Garden

I'm pretty happy with our SFG experiment this summer.  I would recommend raised bed gardening to anyone, specifically those who want to grow on a smaller scale or those who live in town.  You can harvest quite a bit of produce from a small amount of space.  I went out to the garden this morning and this is what I gleaned:

2 types hot peppers
cherry tomatoes

So much better than going to the store for your produce!  A quick rinse and it's ready to eat at the peak of ripeness.  We'll be adding some more raised beds for spring, and are already making plans for the new growing season in 2012. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Making Applesauce

A friend gave me some apples from her trees, so I decided to make applesauce.  It took awhile to get them all peeled and sliced to fill up my big stockpot. 

 Here is a pic as they are cooking down...

Here is the applesauce when it was finished.  I added some cinnamon and some organic sugar to taste because the apples were a little on the tart side.

I usually can my applesauce, but I decided to freeze this batch because I didn't have a huge amount.  I plan on getting more apples later to make more sauce and pies for my freezer.  I'll be glad when all my apple trees kick it in gear and start giving me some apples!

The same friend also gave me a few peaches from her tree and they were so good.  They were little white peaches with great flavor.  The kids couldn't stop eating them, but I did manage to get another double batch of peach jam made.  Yay!

I love preserving food for the rest of the year.  I hope to someday have a root cellar and pantry stocked full with our garden's bounty.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Pond For The Farm

We are getting a new pond dug for the farm.  It's pretty exciting, really. 

 This is a pic of the new crossing that lets us drive to the backside of our property.  The front and back is divided by timber and a fairly deep creek bottom.
 Here to the right of the crossing is the site of our future pond. 

There is some water in it already (very shallow).  There seems to be a spring or ground water that flows to this point.  Hopefully with winter snow and next spring's rain it will fill up nicely.  It won't be a real big pond, but we hope to maybe stock a few fish in it, or use it as a alternative water source for gardens/animals in the future.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Onions Galore!

This years onion harvest was great.  We have a TON of onions...what to do with them all...

 Clean them up and store them for winter.

 Onions braided and hanging in the kitchen.

Onions waiting to be used in everyday cooking.  I have been chopping some up to freeze, we've pickled a few, and have given away some too.  I think maybe next year I'll be planting less of these.  A girl can only use so many onions!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Blooms



Not sure what these are, but thought they were pretty.  We picked them from our back pasture this past weekend.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Random Food Photos

August is busy here as we have started back to school, plus we are canning and preserving all we can from the garden.  We have been making pickles and pickled onions (as we have a TON of onions this year).  Today we are working on pickle relish.  Tomorrow it will be peach preserves and frozen peach slices for pies and smoothies!   

 Here is a picture of Bread and Butter Pickles (they look yellow because the cucs are a yellow variety).  Also, red onions in red wine vinegar. 

 Rosemary harvested from the garden.  I washed it, made sure it was dry, then put it in a freezer bag and put it in the freezer.  This tastes more like fresh than dried.
 Another batch of green beans are starting to produce.  Love succession planting! 

 A cantalope from the garden.  This is the biggest we have been able to grow, and it came out of the Square Foot Garden.  It was soooo good.  Way better than anything from the store!

A view of the inside.  I'm going to try saving the seeds from it this year to plant next spring.  Should be interesting...I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pictures From The Square Foot Garden

I took these a week or so ago, and remembered that I hadn't posted them yet.  The SFG beds are really growing well. 

 2 very healthy zucchini plants and some Royal Burgandy beans (trying not to get crowded out)!

 Pumpkin plants...these got planted late in the season, and we do have some small pumpkins on the vines...hoping to get a harvest out of them, but we'll have to wait and see.

 Lovely little Delicata squash.  We also have some acorn squash in this bed.

 Cantalopes...these are a bit bigger now and getting their netted skin.  I think it won't be too much longer and these will be ready.  Yay!

And finally, little watermelons.  I am really hoping these grow bigger and are ready before any frost...we love watermelon!

I continue to be pleased with our square foot garden.  We added a few more beds and ripped out some flowers and spent plants to make room for fall crops.  I planted lettuces, micro greens, spinach, beets, more green beans, and snow peas. Oh, and more cilantro because I can't seem to go enough of is so good fresh.  I plan on transplanting my perennial herbs to the square foot garden, and maybe my strawberry plants as well.  Always work to do in the garden...we just need more time to get it all done!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Patriotic Potatoes

We planted organic seed potatoes this year from Wood Prairie Farms.  The varieties were All-Blue, Cranberry Red, and King Harry.  They taste great, although yields were not as high as in past years.  I think the weather may have had something to do with it, but we also tried a new planting method and wonder if that had anything to do with it.  We laid the seed potatoes on the ground and covered them with straw.  I love the concept because there isn't as much digging to harvest, but I think we should have layered the straw a lot deeper.  I am also wondering if they needed more fertilizer, as potatoes can be pretty heavy feeders.  We added a scoop of compost when planting, but I think they needed more.  Overall, we were happy with the quality and would order from them again.  An added bonus:  they are so pretty! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tomatoes and Corn!

The garden is cranking out tomatoes and corn right now, and we have been working on preserving all that we can. 

 Fabulous, fresh tomatoes out of the garden, waiting to be made into salsa.

 Salsa out of the turned out spicy this time, with some of our jalapenos added.  We like it though.

 Also, canning plain tomatoes for chili and stew this winter.  The orange and red tomatoes look so pretty together in the jars.

 We have been blanching corn on the cob.

 Let it cool on cookie sheets or clean kitchen towels.

Cut off the cob and put into quart freezer bags.  I have done 42 bags and am offically done with corn!  It was a lot of work, but I am happy to know that we don't have to buy corn for the rest of the year!  This should be enough to last til next summer's harvest. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fresh Food From The Garden

This has been a good week in the garden!  Our tomatoes are FINALLY starting to ripen.  This was the harvest from yesterday.  Some were promptly made into fresh salsa that was divine.  I could eat it everyday!

  We also harvested some cucumbers (both green and yellow) and some onions and made a fresh cucumber salad.  So fresh and crisp tasting!

Today I went out to get some heads of cabbage and more onions.  We made a slaw with cabbage (mostly green with a little red), carrots, and sweet onions.  Then we made a vinegar and oil type dressing for it and froze it for a fresh taste of summer later this winter.  I've never tried freezing it before, but the More With Less Cookbook says you can with good results, so we are trying it.

We learned a new tip today from my MIL and it works so slick...I love it!  When you want to make coleslaw, cut up your cabbage into chunks and throw in your blender.  Cover with water, put that lid on tight and chop for a few seconds.  Drain all in a colander then mix with dressing.  SO much better than grating with my box grater or by hand with a knife.  We also did this with the onions and carrots and in worked like a charm.  Highly recommended!

 Here's the cabbage in the blender

Here is all the cabbage, carrot, and onion chopped and mixed together.

Summer is the best eating all year!  Now, if that sweet corn would just hurry up!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Just wanted to share a few pics of flowers blooming in the new square foot garden.  We've been pretty impressed with SFG so far.  The plants are growing well, and minimal weeding is an added bonus!



Close-up of Sunflower

Hoping to have some pretty flowers for sale at the Farmer's Market on Saturday!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Putting Up The Harvest (Plus a Pesto Recipe)

Today I've been working in the kitchen, putting some summertime up for the winter.  First thing this morning I went out to harvest basil.  It tastes best to harvest herbs in the morning when it's cooler, the flavors in the oils are best before the heat of the day hits...although we are having a heatwave and I think it was 80 degrees already when I went out...better than 100, though!   

I made a fabulous Basil Pesto that I then froze to use later.  Gotta use up all that fresh basil while the gettin's good.  I used little jelly jars to freeze it in.  I'll use these for pizza or pasta this winter, for a fresh taste of summer!  You can also freeze in ice cube trays if you need smaller amounts.  Just pop them out and put in a ziploc when they are completely froze.

 Basil Pesto with Sunflower Seeds

2 1/2 cups basil,washed and dried
5 cloves garlic
1/2 c parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (unsalted, but roasted)
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt (use less if seeds are salted)

In a blender or food processor, mix garlic, sunflower seeds, and parmesan cheese.  Add basil leaves and chop them up.  Slowly add olive oil until well combined.  Add salt and blend.  If you want to freeze, add a little oil on surface of pesto...helps to keep it fresher longer.  You can also mix your types of basil.  I'm going to use regular and lemon basil together in my next batch.

I also blanched a big batch of green beans to freeze.  I boiled them for 3 minutes, then rinsed them in cold water to cool them down.  Then all you do is bag them up in quart ziplocs and stick them in the freezer.  I ended up with almost 5 quarts.  I will hopefully be putting up more of these later.  I'm also waiting for my sweet corn to be ready to blanch and freeze a bunch of that as well. 

I had to throw a picture in of my sunflowers I picked this morning.  They are starting to bloom and look great.  I am happy with this variety from Johnny's pretty!