Friday, December 30, 2011

Canned goods total 2011

Spicy pickled green beans with cauliflower

Chicken (turkey) stock

Zucchini pickles

Half gallon jars of CircleFive marinara sauce

We did a lot of canning this year but I hope to can even more next year.

Marinara- 185 pints
Pomegranate sauce- 1 half pint and eight 4 oz jars
Demi glace- twenty two 4 oz jars
Bloodymary mix- 6 and a half pints
Zucchini pickles- 8 pints
Spicy pickled green beans with cauliflower- 7 quarts
Chicken and turkey stock- 50 pints ish...I didn't keep a log in the beginning of the year.

Stay tuned for our next years goals...
and have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Saved seed totals for 2011

We are still (and will always be) learning how to garden, this was our first year attempting to save seeds. These are the variety's we saved this year:

Green bell pepper 1/16 oz
Yellow sweet pepper 1/16 oz
Sunflower 8 3/8 oz
Melon 1/2 oz
Mohawk tobacco 3 1/8 oz
Celosia and other wildflowers 3/8 oz
Pumpkin 1/4 oz
Missouri Bill's pole beans 1/2 oz
Black garbanzo beans 7/8 oz
Holstein bush beans 1/2 oz
West African millet 1/2 oz
Sorghum 1/2 oz
Artichoke 1/4 oz

We will see how well we did when we start year we are planning on trying to learn more about saving seeds and hopefully save more variety's of things we grow. We just received The Heirloom Life Gardener: The Baker Creek Way of Growing Your Own Food Easily and Naturally and I cannot wait to read it. I hope it helps us push ourselves farther into the lifestyle we love living. Book review coming. Happy New Year!

Some of our Missouri Bill's pole beans

Monday, December 26, 2011

Harvest Monday 12/20-12/26 2011

Kale, Swiss chard, and spinach

Salad greens...claytonia, red romaine, deer tongue lettuce, and mache.

The last harvest Monday of 2011! We just got home and un-packed the car. I of course came in a started writing. :)

We harvested only a bit this week since we left to spend time with family for the holiday. The weekend was wonderful and relaxing and we scored some awesome loot. We received a bee keeping book and heirloom gardening book, along with a bunch of other fun seeds! We also received a flip video you can look forward to how to videos! We will be hosting Christmas next year, so the planning starts now...

We are linking up with Daphne's Dandelions...go check out what others around the world are harvesting.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Favorite things...winter

I am a cold weather person. I have always loved it way more than the heat. I love getting all bundled up.

Watching Rudolf the Red nosed Reindeer
The holidays...Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day and my birthday
Knitting by a warm toasty fire
Getting a Christmas tree and decorating the house
Spending time with family
Making homemade Christmas presents

The other day the doctor and I where bored and couldn't figure out what we used to do with all our time...then we realized that we used to be in the garden all the time. Fall/winter gardening is so much less work. :)

Happy Holiday's from Team Dean. :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Harvest Monday 12/13-12/19 2011

Frosty flowers

The first pea!

An onion popping up under the straw

We didn't harvest much this week, just salad greens and eggs. I have been saving our chard, kale and spinach for a special meal. Yesterday I made sage cheese and ricotta cheese. Tonight I will be making lasagna with the fresh ricotta, chard, kale and spinach for dinner with a close friend. Have a happy Holiday weekend and...

Happy Harvest Monday! We are linking up with Daphne's Dandelions, a place to check out what others around the world are harvesting.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Handmade Christmas 2011

Faux cable legwarmers for my niece (ViolaStitchStudio)

Earflap hat for my nephew (ViolaStitchStudio)

Every year we make homemade Christmas presents for friends and family. We always try to add to it and make it bigger and better each year.

This year we are giving (all handmade and from our own garden):

Homemade marinara (regular, pesto, and spicy)
Thai/Genovese Basil Pesto
Bloodymary mix
Spicy pickled green beans (recipe coming)
Zucchini pickles (recipe coming)
Demi glace, a french Mother sauce that takes over 36 hours of cooking, made with local ingredients
Pomegranate sauce, from pomegranates from our lovely neighbors.
Croutons, made with homemade bread
Peppermint lotion
Dried Pink Lady apples from Noble Orchard's in Paradise CA

We are also making butter and chive/sage cheese to take with us for Christmas dinner. We also usually add a few local items we love:

Massa Organic's Brown rice
Tin Roof Bakery and Cafe Bread
Vita style chicobag

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our Chirstmas Tree

This years Christmas tree, a rosemary plant.

Last years Christmas tree

Last year we decided on getting a little rosemary tree as our Christmas tree. I wanted something to make the house smell of Christmas and wanted the little guy to have the fun of decorating. We always spend Christmas out of town so it doesn't make a lot of since to get a big tree. We love this idea because you get to plant a tree instead of cut one down! Plus you will always have rosemary. We get an ornament every year to add to our collection and this year we got a chicken.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thanksgiving feast 2011

Better late than never...
Top left- corn, edamame, and sun dried tomato (from the garden) salsa.
Top Right- stuffing
Bottom left- Mashed parsnips and potatoes
Bottom right- Green beans from the garden (recipe below)
Photo by Mike Z
Everything...including the homemade chive/sage cheese, crusty beer rolls and the Cornish game hens we raised.
Photo by Mike Z
The Cornish game hens wrapped in bacon.
Photo by Mike Z

Candied pumpkin, with candied pumpkin seeds, dehydrated vanilla beans and creme fraiche.

Home made raw butter
Chicken stock from the leftover bones.

Thanksgiving is a time to bring in close friends and family to share a little something to show an appreciation for their friendship and help throughout the year. This year we hosted a renegade Thanksgiving, we invited those who had no place to go. This turned out to be one of the most satisfying Thanksgivings in recent history. The true meaning of Thanksgiving is to celebrate the harvest and bring the community together...that is what we celebrated this year.

Firstly, our plan was to use our own garden and poultry as the base for our modest feast. We planned ahead and saved some of our late summer crop. Believe it or not, freezing things like beans doesn't ruin them. They tasted like we had just made the harvest. That was the whole point; to give back to our little community with things that we spent the year nurturing, whether it be plant or fowl.

Without question the most difficult part was dressing the Cornish cross breeds. Leaving the skin on didn't work out so we skinned them. As a result I thought they would dry while roasting, but we solved that problem by flattening out bacon and wrapping the entire bird in it. We actually cut them in half, and the portion size was perfect. I believe in making each apart of the dish separately. So the stuffing and sides were not cooked with the birds.

We took the opportunity to use The One-Block Feast, by Sunset Magazine to influence the candied pumpkin desert, the creme fraiche, butter and cheese. We already shared the recipes for the mashed parsnips and potatoesCornish game hens and corn salsa on the blog.

So I've decided to let you in on an old German secret for presenting green beans...a staple during the holidays.

Steam the beans until just about perfect. Place in a saute pan with butter and finely chopped garlic. Saute until the garlic is moments from turning color, then crack saltine crackers over the entire dish and saute until some of the crackers looked toasted and golden brown. You only need to season with pepper if desired, the salt is in the crackers. This is always the first dish we run out of . It is a major hit.

The master chef (the Doctor) getting everyones plates ready.
Photo by Mike Z

Monday, December 12, 2011

Harvest Monday 12/6-12/12 2011

one little borage flower
We had lots of salads this week. We also had one with tomatoes! Crazy, they did not taste very good but they still gave us nutrition. Any more that ripen will go to the girls (chickens). We are still getting 4 eggs a day and I hope that continues. I cannot wait for our root veggies to be ready along with brassicas. We picked up 2 lbs of apples from the farmers market this weekend from our favorite apple farm that is only 15.5 miles from our house. We love there pink lady apples and get them every year to give as part of our Christmas gift. We are really lucky where we live because we can get almost everything locally.

Happy Harvest Monday! We are linking up with Daphne's dandelions, a place to check out what others around the world are harvesting.

Salad greens, a mix of claytonia, mache, red romaine, deertongue lettuce and chives

Some cherry tomatoes from our volunteer plant that is still producing

Friday, December 9, 2011

A great gift idea for anyone...a chicobag!

Sorry we have been a bit absent on the blog, we have been very busy creating our home made Christmas present that we make every year for family. I finally finished two of the big projects and now I will have time to write about them and all the other stuff I have been waiting to write about...
I use the messenger style as my purse!

The messenger style is really the perfect mom purse. It has a hook for you keys right at the height to unlock any door with a kid on your hip. It has two side pockets, I use one for my sunglasses and the other to store two vita chicobags. It has one small pocket on the inside (its what you fold it up into), which I use for my cell phone. It has a large outside pocket that zips that is perfect for wallet, chap stick, and receipts. Then there is the big, huge pocket that can fit all the kid stuff you need! Diaper, wipes, books, snacks, extra clothes, toys, another Sweet Repeats chicobag...the list goes on and on. Hey and guess what its made of recycled materials and folds into a little pouch if need be!

I also really love the new Vita's, mostly because you can fit so much in them and they actually stay on your shoulder but also for all the other awesome reasons I love Chicobags. One thing I don't like is trying to use self check out with have to set all your stuff to be weighed and then bag it after. I feel like the stores should be able to fix this problem pretty easily...its all about weight so just let me weigh my bags prior and then I could bag right into them. Some day I'm sure they will fix it! :)

PS: They make great gift wrap!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Harvest Monday 11/29-12/5 2011

Medium sized artichoke
We are still waiting patiently on our root veggies, garlic, onions, peas (I don't really expect to get much, maybe just seeds for spring), and brassicas. We were very surprised by the little artichoke and there is another even smaller one that we are trying to let grow a little more. We ate lots of salads this week along with eggs. I had an extra dozen eggs and posted to try and get rid of them. We now have a friend who wants to buy 2 dozen eggs a month! I'm excited about this because we really want to provide for more than just our family...this is the first step in the right direction.
We are linking up with daphnes dandelions for harvest monday!
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