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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Menu plan

I know that it's Tuesday already and haven't posted this week's menu, but that's because we're still working on eating leftovers from last week (I really don't like wasting food).  But, we've been enjoying our thyme polenta, our couscous and broccoli, and our pumpkin and Parmesan pasta.  We've got enough for lunches tomorrow, so we'll start this week's menu with Wednesday's dinner.

Wednesday: pad thai with mung bean noodles and various yummy veggies (and using up the pea pods and adding carrots)

Thursday: falafel with our homemade baba ganoush from last summer (like hummus made from eggplant instead of chick peas).

Friday:  If it's sunny, we'll grill out and have chicken, corn on the cob, and baked potatoes.  If it's rainy, then we'll have grilled cheese and creamy wild rice soup.

Saturday:  homemade BBQ chicken pizza.  It's very easy.  Just make your dough (we've got some in the freezer still), and top with BBQ sauce, tiny bits of chicken, chopped red onions, and mozzarella cheese. 

Sunday:  leftovers.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pumpkin recipes - clearing out the freezer

I know that it's not the season, but after spending only $25 a week in groceries for 13 weeks, and refusing to buy a lot of foods when I know I'll be getting some from my own garden soon, we have a plethora of pumpkin left in the freezer (and rhubarb, and zucchini).

A few weeks ago I saw one of my FB friends post a recipe for a pumpkin and cream cheese roll.  I couldn't find it again but I found this recipe.  With much pumpkin left even with just the one quart bag we thawed, I found this site and followed a link to this delicious looking recipe for pumpkin rotini.  I think our toddler will be helping me make this, but we'll be making the pumpkin rotini with butter rather than margarine, and chives instead of shallots.  I'm looking forward to trying out some new recipes.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A friend's garden walk in Illinois

I love this wonderful garden report.  This is from my friend's blog.  You can certainly tell that one state down they are growing things much earlier than we are!
Garden Walk, April 2012
Out I went, into the blustery day. Quite a difference from last time!
Starting at the house, the toad bed is getting a bit overgrown with weeds, but most of them are edible, so when I get a chance and the weather straightens out, I will be weeding it and eating it. Along the ramp, the flowers I had planted last year do not look to have reseeded, but it is still early, the Salvia may come back yet. Grandma Arlene’s Rose is about four foot high already, and had buds at one point. They froze, although the plant itself seems to be doing fine. The Hollyhocks and poppies I planted in the former Geranium bed are slowly struggling to overcome the transplant shock, while the new rose bush, Tammy’s Rose, is bravely growing taller after being planted this spring.
The lilies under the window are totally grown, while the Spirea is all leafed over. The Spirea, however, has many little black and drooping clusters, from the cold and wind. Luckily, no flowers yet, hopefully the weather will hold off.
The West flower bed along the house has not been planted, so nothing there yet, but around the corner on the north side the Wild Geraniums, Solomons Seal and the Spiderwort are all growing nicely.
Over by the gas tank, all the daffodils are done blooming and are going to seed, but the Iris and Peonies are coming on strong.  Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandma peony is getting ready to bloom. It’s an old, single one, given to my Ojibwa five times great grandmother by her new mother in law. Or at least, that is what my great grandma told me when she gave it to me!
The snowball bush over by the garage is already covered with light green snowballs, soon to start turning white. Around the corner, on the back side, the Mother Wort, Mug Wort and False Dragons Head are all coming along nicely. The Prairie Patch, however, has decided to go CRAZY with growth, I have more plants than before in there, seems like every single seed that dropped may have seeded. Anyone want some prairie plants? I have an overabundance!
The ‘Jungle is growing rampantly, as expected. We will be moving the path to the Fairy Shrine this summer, and then making another path through the jungle, so lots planned for this area. In the meantime, the Bleeding Hearts are blooming away, the dogwoods are filling with leaves, the oft cut never killed blackberry vine is twining it’s way through everything, the Butterfly bush is starting leaves, the Rose of Sharon is starting leaves (yes, I know it is not yet May, tell that to the darn bush) and the ferns are a good six inches already. The Swamp milkweed has not yet made an appearance, but considering the weather, probably a good thing. The Siberian Iris are up, although no buds. All the Grape Hyacinths are done blooming, and have just about disappeared into the back ground.
At the herb beds, the Marsh Mallow is about an inch tall now, still just waiting for the warmer weather, I think. The Echinacea, Joe Pye and Wild Astor fill out that row, and they are all coming along about as well as they should for this time of year.
The next row has also gone a bit crazy. The Lemon Balm has totally overtaken the Spearmint, which I never thought possible. The only thing it has not taken over is the Lemon Thyme. The two are filling that bed. Next is the Lavender, which has gotten huge- I had an entire bouquet of blooms last year, am looking forward to more this year. The next two beds are a compendium of plants, including Surprise Lilies, Blanket Flowers, Asters, Yarrow and Creeping Thyme. Next are the Anise Hyssop and Catnip, and finally the Oregano and Fleabane.
The following bed is the rhubarb, which I did have to cut down this week because of frost (rhubarb will get poisonous if frosted, best to cut it down, let it grow back up), and then the chives, along with the unbelievable ‘lasted through the winter’ parsley. Next is the horseradish, already flowering, and last is the sage.
The Phoebe has already built her nest in the former sandbox/now wood shed, and when I checked this morning already has eggs. The strawberry bed is blooming, sadly, since we are supposed to get frost again this week. Looks like I will probably be plucking blossoms off at some point. The garlic is growing nicely, and both the old garden and new are ready and waiting for seeds/plants.
The grape trellis is steel, which is good, because once again the grapes are coming on strong. The raspberries, not so much. Still haven’t decided what we are going to do with this, we both love raspberries, but have not gotten more than a handful since moving it to this spot. Am wondering if perhaps it is time to cut these down and actually go and (shudder) buy some raspberry plants, rather than getting them from people I know…will have to think long and hard on this one!
The little raspberry patch is growing, still too small to have berries, and the Jeremy Rose is growing well.
The Apple trees, well, what can I say? IF the bees found the blossoms, and IF the cold does not kill the little apples, and IF they stay healthy, we just may have more apples than ever before. Pay attention, you who come to the annual Apple Cider Making Weekend over Labor Day weekend.
The new Peach, Cherry and Apple trees all made it through the winter in great shape. The Peach trees were covered in blossoms, but I pulled off all but one on each one. They are just in their second year; do not want to stress them just yet. Did have to leave one on each, though, just to see….
The Mums we transplanted, in full flower, to the west side of the shed last year from Jeremy’s all made it through the winter and are coming up. The Clematis on the East end, where we put the lattice panels, are about two –three foot high and have flower buds, the comfrey on the east end is up about 8 inches, and, believe it or not, the deer decimated Hostas from last year have all come back, they are about four inches high. I am delighted, and amazed, lol.
The Pear trees are half and half- one was full of blossoms, looks great, the other had maybe two limbs of blossoms, the rest of the tree has been killed by the Black Walnut next to it in the draw. Will probably cut it down this year. The new lilac line (must think of a new name for these, they are now about three years old) are growing well, as is my one burning bush at the end. The Old Lilac line, which was in full flower before all the storms, has about half their flowers now. The wind was so strong this past weekend it blew a lot of the flowers off.
The dogwood/rose of Sharon/American Cranberry/lily line on the south side of the property are almost all coming up, although once the lilies bloom and I get them marked they will be moved to- they are maroon and gold lilies, Stockton’s colors, so once marked will put one of each at the four corners of the shed, house etc.
The birds are always here, the Phoebe is back, as I said, as are the Robins and Tree Swallows. No barn swallows yet, no hummingbirds yet, no Baltimore Orioles yet. I am concerned about the Barn Swallows; this will be the first year with the shed and no barn, so am very worried we won’t get them back. Oh, and no sigh of my little brown bats, but then again, no bat house just yet, either. (Anyone know where I can find one, cheap??).
The cats, well, Mama, Tigger, Sonny, Junior, Scrappy, Ringo, Duke and Princess are fine. Casper, Missy, Zebby and Duchess, not so much. Mama is pretty much chasing away all my girls, except for Princess who is 14 and ignores her. Missy, in fact, came over to eat yesterday and she is skinny- this means somewhere across the road in the timber is a litter of kittens. I hope. There is not a chance in heck I could find them out there, so all I can do is offer up a prayer and keep trying to find a home for Mama. Tweety is gone, crossing the road at the wrong time. I buried her and her three unborn kittens over in the jungle, by the ferns she loved so well.
Otherwise, we are all doing well here. I bought boards to try and keep the meditation deck up dated, new garden fencing for around the house bed, am redoing the mediation deck to represent more of a garden room so have bricks, totes and other lovelies on the deck itself, waiting to be turned into something wonderful. The pond has not yet been uncovered and set up, that is waiting for warmer weather too.
There is a lot of weeding waiting to be done, but with the warm weather in March a lot of trimming and weeding was done early, so that will help when it finally decides to warm up and Sister wind decides to stop singing quite so forcibly!
I hope you all have good things growing in your life, with the things you have no control over, (like kittens in the timber) able to be handed to those in control so you can continue with what you can handle. Many Blessings on all!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Menu plan

This week I'm heading out of town for a conference for a few days and Jaimie is with the girls alone, so we needed a few days of meals that were not time consuming.  This is what is planned for the week.

Sunday: chicken breasts, roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes
Monday: stir fry with broccoli, pea pods, carrots and bean threads
Tuesday:  bean and cheese burritos, with homemade salsa
Wednesday: Steak, rice & broccoli (we bought a pretty large broccoli), and probably pickled beets and cukes too
Thursday: Three cheese stuffed pasta shells
Friday: tacos
Saturday: quinoa with shredded zucchini and creamy thyme polenta made with chicken stock

Have a great week!

Fire starters

Campfire and backyard fire season is upon us.  It's the perfect time to make some fire starters to help create the perfect fire.  This is a trick that Rendezvous goers use. (Rendezvous-ers are people who are living historians). With the recent Ostara/Passover/Easter holidays over you may have some egg cartons lying around.  And maybe, since you were likely using your dryer over the winter rather than putting laundry out on the line, you may have some dryer lint lying around.

If you also have some spent candles, then you've got all you need.  (If you don't have any spent candles, you could buy some cheap paraffin.  The point is not to spend a lot of money on this).

It's an easy enough process.  You just pack the egg cartons bottoms with lint and then cover it with melted wax (it doesn't have to be completely covered, just enough to hold in the lint).  You can toss two or three pods into the bottom of a fire pit and light 'em up under a stacked pile of wood.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Important movies to watch

Nourishing Joy has a great post about the 7 movies you must see.  I loved watching Food Inc. and it was quite disturbing, and Joe Salatin's farm was discussed in Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma.  The Story of Stuff is also quite disturbing.  Ok, all the movies are disturbing.  As the quote goes, if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Menu plan (4/9/12)

Monday:  Out to eat.  It wasn't planned, but we had a lost kitty and we needed to run to the store to buy ink for the printer so we could put out flyers (but she was stuck under the neighbor's porch and we didn't need to put up flyers - yea!)

Tuesday:  We have cube steak in the freezer.  I don't believe I've ever had it before, so we're going to try the Paul Deen recipe for country fried steak.   We'll have mashed potatoes and corn along with it.  Oh, and asparagus, fresh from the garden.

Wednesday:  fish, rice, green beans (we found more in the freezer!)

Thursday: Pasta.  Maybe we'll have zucchini and tomatoes in it, or maybe we'll make pesto from the oregano in the garden. 

Friday:  Mexican night.  I think we'll have tacos or quesadillas. 

Saturday: Fish fry, with roasted veggies. 

Garden planning

Is it too overwhelming to figure out what to plant, when to plant it, where to plant it, and how to keep it going?  Try out this website.

Good luck with your garden planning!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Naturally dyed eggs

It's that time of the year for dyeing eggs.  After reading about all the harm that artificial dyes cause, I thought a post on dyeing with natural ingredients would be a great idea.  Though we're not getting around to dyeing, some friends of ours posted some beautiful pictures of their eggs, I had to ask if I could share them on the blog.  They are absolutely gorgeous. 

The photo credit goes to Anne Marie Forrester and she participated in making these lovely eggs.  She explains what was used to make these colors.

The terra-cotta colored eggs are boiled in a pot FILLED to the top with brown onion skins (and water), the green ones are boiled with 1/2 cup of Yerba Mate, the yellow ones are boiled with a handful of Tumeric, the lovely purple comes from 2 TBS of logwood, the blue ones were pre-boiled and soaked overnight in purple-cabbage water. We were also making hibicus-colored eggs after this photo was taken.