Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday wrap-up

Seven minutes. That is all it took to get to the dairy farm that I found. Seven minutes. We have lived in this area for three years now and I'm just now finding out about it?! I need to wake up and smell the coffee I guess. It was a fun trip and it's a trip that we will be making probably weekly. We pulled into the tiny parking lot and were greeted by this guy:

Mr. Rooster

Then we went into the little store and looked around. They had everything I was looking for except butter. They were apparently making it at that point and had none available to buy. We got two half gallon glass jars of skim milk. It is from grass fed cows and the cattle isn't fed the growth hormone that is in all the milk you buy in the stores. I also got a quart of whole milk for our coffee. It was a splurge. I got a dozen eggs and a small thing of organic cheese. In the market they also had grass fed beef and pork for sale but we didn't get any. Everyone had an ice cream cone to wrap up the trip. I was talking to the lady about the farm and asked if I could take the kids to see the animals and she said it was always open for people to go looking through the barns. They have a donkey, some sheep, some chickens and of course, the cattle. We had unfortunately already bought the milk and eggs and didn't want it to spoil in the car, so sometime next weekend we'll go back and look around.

Hillside Dairy Farm Market

Aidan deciding he wants some chickens.

Cattle in field.

part of the farm.

Two of my projects that I wanted to get done this weekend are done. Aidan and I got our bird bath made and it's in the basement right now drying so I'll show it tomorrow. Tim and I got one side of the compost done out of two. I have to go back and get more chicken wire to build the other side. I mis-calculated how much I needed. Oops.


We will do the cucumber trellis tomorrow. It's been raining off and on all day and it seems that whenever we decide to go outside to do something, it starts again. I'm going to go make a loaf of bread and do some laundry.

Funny picture of the day:

Do you see Patchy's tongue? The kids threw a pie tin of whip cream in Tim's face today. They have been planning it all week and then they ended up with whip cream all over their faces too. This made Patchy very happy. He licked both Aidan and Connor clean. Disgusting. And funny.

Have a great day!


I've been doing a lot of thinking about the 1oo mile diet. Eating foods grown within 100 miles of my home. I'm just in the beginning stages of researching our area and came across a dairy farm that is 8 miles from our house. The Hillside Dairy Farm. They apparently have farm fresh milk, organic cheeses, and fresh eggs. Can we say field trip? I might have to sacrifice one of my weekend projects so that we can scoot up there and check it out. I know the kids would be game because they have an ice cream counter with home made ice cream.

As for the other things we eat, that will take more research. I'm not too worried about the veggies because we are growing quite a bit and have our farmer's market that will hopefully yield more as the season continues. Fruit, I'm not so sure about. Although there are a couple of pick your own berry farms around here and in the fall, we'll have access to apples. Not that big on bananas (unless it's made into bread) and I suppose we can find melons as they come into season up here. We are lucky where we live because while we live in the city, 100 miles out each way you can find large farms. I would have to google and see if Amish country comes into our radius or not, but that would be very cool if they did. We scored some Amish baked goods at the market on Thursday. Those folks can bake.

Meat. This is a weird topic in our house. I know that if we continue to eat the scant bit of meat that we do eat, I want to buy organic grass fed meat. I'm sure I can find a local source to get meat, I just haven't gotten to that point yet. I was thinking about our meat eating the other day because I've been really wanting to get a couple of chickens. I would want them only for the eggs and have no intention of killing them for their meat. And then it dawned on me that if I can't bring myself to kill something to eat it, then I shouldn't eat it period. In the Country Wisdom book that I got it showed graphic pictures of the how to kill a chicken and how to cut up a cow or pig. It was disgusting. I don't think I could ever do that. So, it looks like we are going to be making a crawl back to vegetarianism. We were vegan for a year, and I'm not sure if we will go that extreme again. I found it really hard to shop when you have to read every ingredient on every package for the tiniest little thing that might be animal related. It was hard finding personal care products that didn't include animal ingredients or were tested on animals. It was hard traveling and being able to stop and eat anywhere. I'm not the type of person who likes to be a pain in the arse about making my meal special. Plus, the expense. Why does a pair of non-leather shoes cost 150 dollars?! So, I don't think we'll be taking the vegan route again, but we will work more towards being vegetarian again and eating within the 100 mile range. It's one small thing we can do to cut back on the climate crisis.

Now, here's hoping that Tim wakes up not grumpy so we can get our stuff done today. He stayed up until 3 am playing a computer game and then gets all grumpy when the boys wake up all refreshed and LOUD.

I'm sure I'll be back later. Maybe I'll have some pictures of our Dairy farm to post!

Friday, June 27, 2008


I have a question for those of you who might be out there reading. I'm interested in trying to grind my own wheat berries to make my own flour for bread. Do I really have to spend 400 dollars on a machine? I'm not too keen on doing that. Can't it be done by hand? I'm going to look around and see if I can find a source for some wheat berries.



Friday is here finally. Tim is working from home today and he only has to work a half day. Maybe we can go get the stuff we need for our projects this weekend. I also realized the two weeks from today we will be flying to Florida. We never fly, but after a lot of discussion we decided that for what it would cost for gas, hotels, and food for the 18 hour would cost the same or less to fly. I'm not a big fan of flying. I love road trips. I have fond memories of road trips with my family when I was a kid. You know, the fighting with the sibling over no-man's land in the center seat of the backseat, the asking "are we there yet?" constantly, the fun choices for road side food, the nervous breakdowns of mom...oh the times we had. Tim hates road trips. He is so much happier that we are flying. I guess we'll see how it goes. If the kiddies can behave themselves in the airports and on the airplanes, I might view things differently. Now my only is hope is that Florida doesn't have a hurricane brewing when we are due to be flying.

I got out this morning and watered most of the gardens. I didn't do the beds yet but they looked pretty good. I pulled the rest of the radishes and I'm going to weed out that area a little bit and plant another couple rows of beets. One can never have enough beets. Nancy picked some up at the farmer's market yesterday and I hope it means there will be some pickled beets and eggs soon.

My wax beans have flowers on them now. I still am kind of bummed that the green beans didn't grow. I will try to do them again but I'm afraid it's too late to plant any more now.

wax beans

Here are our two cucumber plants. They will be trellised up this weekend. I'm not sure how we are going to lean the trellis up over the lemon balm plant, but we'll figure something out.


I leave you (for now) with a before pic and an after pic as of today of our potato/tomato patch. I am still amazed at the change in just over a month.

May 17, 2008

June 27, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

First failure.

I have my first garden experiment failure. The radishes. They got so big and the greens looked so healthy but I noticed the other day that they were starting to flower. I just pulled a bunch and while the tops are gorgeous, the bottoms actual radishes are non-existent. I am going to go ahead and yank the rest of them tomorrow so the carrots have a little more room to grow. I was just googling (as I've been doing a lot of lately) and found that you can eat the radish greens, so at least we'll get some use out of them. I'm not sure what went wrong with them. Our temps have been mild lately...but we did have one hot streak that lasted about 4 days when the highs were 96 to 97. Or maybe I over-watered? I don't know. I'll try and plant some more seeds at the end of summer and see if I can get some for the fall. Although no one in my house, besides me, likes radishes.

sad little radishes

I also need to thank Nancy for dropping off this beautiful kohlrabi. I noticed these at the market today, but didn't pick any up. Nancy was amazed at how big they were so she picked us up one. I'll be slicing that bad boy up tomorrow and eating it. I know we have several kohlrabi plants growing in our garden. I wonder if they will get as big.


Farm Market

Today was the first day of the season for our local farmer's market. I've been waiting for this day for a while. I went a couple of times last year but always got overwhelmed by the amount of people there. It was no different this time as the market was PACKED!

The kids and I left the house at 11 and walked down to the public square where it's held. It was really cool out and windy which made the walk a really enjoyable one. We were marveling at how the sound of the wind in the trees made it sound like the trees were talking to us. I dug out Aidan's old stroller out of the basement and let him ride. I figured it was easier than trying to keep the two of them from running into the major roads and it would give me a place to store things if I were to purchase anything. It took us about 20 minutes to walk there and we were supposed to meet Tim there. He works in the square so he was going to come down and walk around with us and have lunch there. Here is a picture of the square as we approached. The kids were so excited and they each had a couple of dollars burning holes in their pockets.

I had to stop at the atm and get some cash before we hit the market and I learned another lesson today. One being don't use the fast cash function on the atm and two: Don't let your eight year old bump your arm while you are trying to hit the 60 dollar button. He bumped me as I was getting ready to push the button and accidentally hit 200. Gah!

While we waited for Tim to come down and meet us the kids each got a piece of pizza and we enjoyed the cool breeze and sights and sounds. As the lunch crowd in the square got out...the place got packed. I don't like when things are so busy. It's just people bumping into people.

plants for sale

lots of towns folk

Tim finally caught up with us and wandered around as best we could. There were a couple of major things I noticed. In my opinion, there were too many fast food vendors. There were two pizza vendors, a middle eastern vendor, a potato pancake vendor, a periogi vendor, a hamburger vendor, a bbq vendor, an ice cream vendor, and a lemonade stand. A couple I can deal with, but when I go to a farmer's market I want to find produce. The other thing I noticed was that there was not a great variety of produce yet. I figure because it's still fairly early in the season and today is the first day. There were a lot of plants for sale, which made me happy...but honestly, I don't really need any more plants (for now). So, what did we get?

2 delphinium plants and 1 echinacia plant

sugar snap peas, honey, lemon sponge pie and two type of cookies

Plants? Yes...more plants. I picked up the 2 delphiniums for Nancy because she had mentioned them a couple of days ago. Man, are they ever sweet smelling. Then Connor wanted to get Debbie a plant as well, so he picked out the echinacia for her.

Connor's pick.

sweet smelling and oh so pretty.

Tonight, if it's not raining we'll put these new babies in the ground. It was raining this morning so I have not had to water the plants today. I think it's supposed to rain more tonight, so that will make for some happy plants.

That is all I have for now. Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Weekend Projects

My poor husband. He works very hard all week and then comes the weekend and I have a long list of things I would like to do. I usually end up doing most of the stuff myself but I like having him there for direction and suggestions. This weekend will be no different.

First of all, I want to build a Cucumber trellis like is shown here. I think this would be a really good idea for our cucumbers because now there are squash back in the same bed and we don't want a fight for real estate going on.

Then, I want to build a bird bath. I found really neat and easy instructions here. We have three feeders all around the house and no water for our little critters. Plus, I think this will be a really fun project with the kids. They have fun watching the birds and love to show their knowledge of what bird is what.

Lastly (for now) we are going to build a big compost in the back yard. Nancy is going to be quite the rebel and we are going to build it. This is awesome because we'll have our little envirocylce and a big compost to go with it. Plus, don't forget we have our little worm family down in the basement making lots of worm poo. I think the compost we are going to build is going to be a little different than the one we had at our other house. First of all, we are going to make the sides lower than we had them. It was really hard to turn with high sides. We are also going to make it a double sided compost. That way we can have one cooking and doing it's thing while we add our kitchen scraps and yard scraps to the other side...then it swaps out when the compost is ready. Oh yeah. I love me some compost.

It's interesting how we got into composting. Basically it was because we were cheap. I didn't garden, so didn't really have a need for it, but we moved to a city that charged per bag of garbage. I was never used to paying for garbage like this. In the past, the garbage was included in our utility bills (so we never really felt the cost) or we lived in apartments that had dumpsters. We were bad. We threw everything away. When you have to start paying 2 to 3 dollars per bag to have it picked up each week, your view changes. I'm glad we have to. It forces us to recycle and compost. We religiously do both now because we are cheap. Plus it's teaching the kids that what we put out for garbage is not nice to Mother Earth. They know what to recylce...the love dragging scraps down to feed the worms and putting stuff out in the compost.

I will post more when I get out and work in the garden later. I have another loaf of bread that I'm working on and I'm going to make chocolate covered strawberries. Oh, and I got this amazing book last night and I'm going to spend some time thumbing through it today. I watched a Garden-Fork episode where Eric was talking about it and how it showed him how to make yogurt in a cardboard box. Hmmm, maybe another weekend project?

Well, the strawberries were a success. I ended up with 27 of them so some of our neighbors will be getting some. They are so good though. The berries were so sweet and juicy.

I ventured outside for a few minutes. It's hotter today. I didn't rain yesterday so I sprinkled the plants a little bit this morning. Later I will dump our rain barrels out and do a good soaking. I've been watching these two tomatoes get bigger and bigger. I am trying very hard not to pick them and make fried green tomatoes.

I will NOT pick the tomatoes yet.

Back in the back garden beds I noticed this plant taking over the brick path that we worked oh so hard to clear out and clean up. Nancy said it was Comfrey. I find it interesting that it's a good herb for organic gardening and the leaves are a good compost activator. Good to know.

Off-shoot of a large comfrey plant.

Tim's peppers seem to be happy as well. He's so cute. He checks on them every day and waters them and weeds them. They are his babies. We started these from seeds. I can't wait until we have some hot peppers!

Cayenne, Santiago, and something else..I can' remember.

I'm also happy to see that my Stevia hasn't died yet. This herb is intimidating to me. When we were with the CSA a couple of years ago, they were trying to grow some and they didn't seem to be too happy with them. It has survived a couple of days so far, so I'm happy.

basil, stevia, lavender and a Christmas cactus (that is from a cutting from a plant that was Tim's great grandmothers)

Aidan is pulling out Ants in the Pants right now. I guess I'm going to be playing that for a bit.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Quick Garden update.

All is looking good on this beautiful day. I woke up to perfect temps this morning but it is getting kind of cloudy out now. It's supposed to be getting warmer in the next couple of days.

Today I have to tie up the tomatoes again. They are getting bigger and bigger every day. I also need to add dirt around the bottom of the second batch of potatoes and do some inspections on the potatoes because Nancy spotted a Potato Beetle in the wheelbarrow that was sitting next to the potatoes. I also need to look at my radishes. The greens are huge and appear to be flowering but the actual radishes aren't all that big. I think we may have over watered them and caused the greens to grow but the root didn't get as big as it should have. My beets are looking spectacular though!

We have a couple of zucchini growing now.

Three of our four broccoli plants have small little heads growing. The kids weren't as excited about this as I was.

The four beds appear to be thriving. I'm still watching the new cabbage that I dropped in the back bed. I hope there is enough sun for them.

The rest of Nancy's patio garden. These are the tomatoes that mostly need to be tied up again. You can't even see all the peppers on the back side of those tomato bushes, but they are there.

Well, it is time to go get the bread in the oven and feed the starving kids.

Have a great day!

I tied up all of the tomatoes in both areas and in the patio garden I counted 23 tomatoes on the plants. Wahoooooo!

Also, I'm excited because Thursday is the first Farmer's Market of the year. I think the kids and I will walk down there and see what we can get and maybe score some Amish goodies.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I was worried last night because I didn't know if it was going to rain or not. We were under a severe thunderstorm watch but it stayed clear all night. I need not have fretted about it. 10:30 last night an amazing thunderstorm rolled through and dumped a bunch of rain. Now I could rest easy. We hadn't really watered what we put in yesterday because it was bright and sunny out and I didn't want to burn the leaves. We watered a tiny bit around the ground when we planted but not enough to do it any good. Woke up this morning to happy plants.

As I was getting ready to head out to plant our new stuff we got yesterday it started raining again. It was a good soaking rain that lasted probably 15 minutes and then it cleared out and the sun came out. I hope the grass can dry off enough before it rains again this afternoon. It so desperately needs to be cut. I did get most of the plants planted. All of the flowers we bought yesterday are in the ground or in their pots. The gerber daisies look perfect in their little clay pots hanging on the side of the brick garage. I also forget to mention that we picked up an Aster plant as well. It's gorgeous.

I counted how many Hungarian Wax peppers that we got for free: 40. That is insane. I got probably half of them planted. I don't know what we're going to do with the rest. I guess we are going to ask around the neighborhood to see if anyone is interested in them. They are pretty good looking plants that all have blossoms and or peppers.

The two beds in the back yard that were kind of empty are now full. I don't think we'll get much more into them. Now all we have to do is make sure it's watered and weeded.

peppers, broccoli, onions and cabbage

wax beans, onions, peppers, cucumbers, and squash (not sure if it's butternut or acorn)

I know you guys are probably getting tired of hearing about Martin, but I can't get over how well he's come back. I guess he just needed a nice sunny window and a spray of worm poo.

Connor is staring down my shoulder waiting for the computer. I'm going to go out and see if the grass is dry enough to cut and then take care of the normal duties of Monday...basically a lot of laundry.

Have a great day!

I was able to get Connor off the computer long enough to post an update. While I was out cutting grass I noticed something? What is this? Could it be?....

potato blossoms!

I need to pile more dirt up around the bottoms of the potato plants. It's neat that I don't really have to weed them anymore because the foliage is so thick that the sun isn't reaching the ground around them anymore.

Nancy's patio is looking quite nice if I may say so myself. I think everything is planted and settling in now. I hope we continue to have the daily rains.


I love this flower!

A pepper on one of the many pepper plants we have.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I learned two very important lessons over the weekend. Lesson number one: When I am going to be out in the sun for three and a half to four hours: wear sunscreen. I am one burned little bee. Lesson number two: hit the nurseries after the major planting season. Yes, I went shopping again.

After we were done working in the patio garden Nancy and I went to Herold's Farm Stand again. I wanted to get another hot pink geranium. I got that and we got much more. We picked up a few perennials. We got two Digitalis, or foxglove.

(picture was blurry...will try to get a better one tomorrow)

We got 8 Gazanias. Four bright yellow and four white.

yellow ganzia

yellow and white ganzia

We got several Celosia plants.


We got two Veronica Hybrid plants.


And then we got two Gerber Daisies. I love how simple these flowers look.


When we were done at Herolds, Nancy showed me how close I was to my original destination yesterday. It was within walking distance. I really should look around more when I'm driving. So we headed over there and yes, bought more plants. I'm very excited with what we got there. I found a Patchouli plant and I actually found Stevia. I have been wanting to try and grow stevia for a long time. We use stevia in a lot of our drinks that we make so I thought it will be fun to try and grow. I bought two of those plants.



Then we picked up some sweet basil and some parsley plants. For some reason we didn't have parsley yet. Then Nancy got talking to the owner and then owner told us to go look at the vegetables and we could take whatever we wanted because she was just going to throw them away tomorrow. We got a huge flat of Hungarian Wax peppers and several Acorn squash plants. I don't know where the heck we are going to put all of the peppers, but I am going to put the squash in the bed where I had planted the green beans. Only one green bean plant survived, so we have the room.

Acorn squash, sweet basil, parsley, and sage

Hungarian Wax Peppers

It was warmer over the weekend. Low 80's and we had rain both days.