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Archive for the ‘Vegetables’ Category

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I’ve found that you don’t have to remove the entire brussel sprout plant at once. Instead, I snap off the lower-larger sprouts from each plant and let the smaller ones keep growing. These brussel sprouts came from around 5 different plants.

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Chop up the brussel sprouts and dice an onion. I find that if you cut the sprouts in half, they are much more flavorful, as the increased surface area soaks in the juices.

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Melt butter and olive oil over medium heat.

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When melted, add the onions, brussel sprouts, some minced garlic, salt, pepper, and the juice of a lemon or two. (depends on your taste)

Depending on how soft you life the brussel sprouts, you can optionally cover them for a few minutes. This will steam them a bit.

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Once the onions and brussel sprouts are soft, brown and the liquid has evaporated, they are good to go.

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To finish off this dish, I cooked up some egg noodles and tossed them with the brussel sprout mixture and some parmesan cheese. I also served it with sauteed chicken breast.

 

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We have had an extremely rainy spring this year and the cucumbers have loved it. The lemon cucumbers are doing especially well. I’ve been pickling like crazy, and unfortunately the cucumbers don’t always ripen at the most convenient time.

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I was in a rush, so rather than wait until the brine had come to a complete boil, I decided that the salt had dissolved, and that was good enough. Bad mistake! Turns out that when the temperature outside of the jars is hotter than the temperature inside of the jars, they break. The jars just started popping, and the bottoms cracked right off. 4 quarts of pickles in the trash.

Luckily, I have been able to make another 8 quarts of lemon cucumber dill pickle wedges, so my daughter is happy and I learned a valuable lesson.

 

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Homestead Update

So much has been happening, I don’t even know where to start …

Let’s start with, I do have a queen bee. Yea! I opened up the hive on Sunday afternoon and found capped brood. This means that eggs have been laid, and covered up. Unfortunately, with the heat, a piece of comb about 2X2, containing capped brood, melted off and fell to the bottom of the hive. When I talked to my bee-mentor, she said that if it’s a small piece, leave it, and the bees will recycle it. Lesson learned — don’t go in the hive in 90 degree weather, things are too fragile. On the bright side, the hive is buzzing along nicely, with plenty of honey and new babies coming soon.

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Berm my daughter made to try and keep the rain away

Berm my daughter made to try and keep the rain away

Next up … 2 new chicks and 1 new duckling. This is good and bad. For the chicks, Maribel was one several eggs and only one hatched. The second chick I found under where the turkey had been sitting, but apparently she up and abandoned it. I gave the chick to Maribel, and she has accepted it as her own – good mama. We had 2 ducklings sitting on large clutches of eggs, but only 1 live duckling. Our Peking, got scared off the nest and got up, the few viable eggs (with pips) dried up and the ducklings didn’t make it 😦 Our second duck, the Lavender Peking lost 4 chicks in the 5″ of rain a few weekends ago. Luckily, one had hatched before the majority of the rain came in. The others sadly drowned. It looks like we may need to incubate if we are wanting ducklings this year.

On to a happier note, the garden is coming along great. I am harvesting tomatoes, zucchini, butternut squash, okra, jalapenos, green beans, and tomatillos daily.

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I made this caprese salad with cherokee purple, wyche yellow, and emerald evergreen – plus basil from the garden.

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I’ve also starting this year’s canning, tomatoes, salsa, sweet pickles, and dill pickles.

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Due to the new induction cooktop, I had to get a new canner. Considering my other one was just a not-quite-big-enough-pot, this was not a huge sacrifice. Canning was so much easier with the large canner, and water that boils in no time.

We also just redid our kitchen, new counter tops, brick backsplash, farm sink and the afore-mentioned induction cooktop.

Before …

Double sink, difficult to clean large pots

Double sink, difficult to clean large pots

Split-Level island and centered cooktop took away all of my prep area

Split-Level island and centered cooktop took away all of my prep area

Crappy tile, which made rolling out dough a pain

Crappy tile, which made rolling out dough a pain

After …

New Farm Sink

New Farm Sink

New Island with so much prep area

New Island with so much prep area

Updated computer area

Updated computer area

We also have 4 new lambs. My daughter got her 2 FFA lambs, 1 medium wool and 1 southdown. We decided to replace our Dorpers with Southdowns. The Dorpers just weren’t very friendly and considering we will need to take them to see a Ram once a year, we didn’t want catching them to be a monumental chore. Plus, it is fun to have lambs come up to you and eat out of your hand, rather than take off in the other direction. The one negative is that we will have to sheer the Downs, but I know people who can turn wool into yarn. This weekend is sheering day, I’ll have to update on how it goes.

Think that should about do it for today …

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Today ended up much chillier than I anticipated, and with the drizzle, I wasn’t feeling too motivated to garden.

I took pictures instead (and attended a hands-on a bee class – post to come later)

My MIL worked tirelessly last weekend and this Saturday helping me clean up around the yard. Last weekend was the vegetable garden.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Onions, Carrots, Lettuce, Melons, Squash, Peppers

Onions, Carrots, Lettuce, Melons, Squash, Peppers

Newly planted pepper bed

Newly planted pepper bed

First Squash - pass-along from Ms. Black, my daughter's FFA teacher

First Squash – pass-along from Ms. Black, my daughter’s FFA teacher

First Tomato

First Tomato

Beans and corn planted yesterday

Beans and corn planted yesterday

Yesterday was the back yard, weeding, raking, and general cleanup.

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Finally got my garden gates back from the powder coater, just in time for my climbing rose to take off.

Finally got my garden gates back from the powder coater, just in time for my climbing rose to take off.

Grape Hyacinth

Grape Hyacinth

California Poppy - I miss these from Phoenix, and finally have my own

California Poppy – I miss these from Phoenix, and finally have my own

Next I took a tour outside the fence, trying to capture wildflowers

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Our lambs grazing in the background

Our lambs grazing in the background

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My garden helpers — These guys follow me around everywhere. The guineas are usually in 3s, but today she was off wandering.

Carl

Carl

Guinea Hen

Guinea Hen

Checking on some of the poultry …

Our 3 peafowl, we don't know the sex yet, no full tails until 2 years of age

Our 3 peafowl, we don’t know the sex yet, no full tails until 2 years of age

Gobbling with me ... a favorite pasttime

Gobbling with me … a favorite pasttime

Waiting for scratch?

Waiting for scratch?

And on to the orchard

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First peach!

First peach!

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Tomatoes In

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Most years I have already planted the tomatoes by now, but this spring has been very cold, and even this week is pushing it. The weather is predicted to be mid 30s and windy Wednesday night, but the veggies were getting too big, and had to go outside. I will be putting row cover over everything on Tuesday night.

This year I up-ed the tomatoes to 46. One major change, is that I decided to forgo Romas this year in favor of Juliets. I did a few of these last year, and found the production was much better, the flavor just as good, and they serve the same function as far as canning/sauces etc.

When starting seedlings I couldn’t find a sharpie, so told myself that I would mark the tomatoes later. Well later came and went and I forgot all about it. Needless to say, I have no idea which tomatoes are which, guess we’ll find out in a few months.

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I planted 13 squash, 5 tatume, 5 zucchini, 3 scallop.

I planted 4 lufffa.

I planted 10 cucs. 2 gerkins, 2 lemon, 2 white, 2 straight 8 and 2 parisian pickling.

Elsewhere in the garden I still have

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2 beds of greens

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1 bed of carrots

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1 bed of beets/kohlrabi/lettuce

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1 bed of onions (red and yellow)

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1 bed of garlic

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Potato bags, The green all froze, so I’m hoping they are still alive down there.

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1 bed that was snap-peas. I babied them all winter and they were finally starting to flower when we got another cold snap. I had them covered, but I think there was a hole in the row cover, since the next morning they looked like this.

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In all, I planted 8 new beds today. The cool thing, is that I didn’t have to buy compost for any of them. I was able to use compost from the pile I’ve been working on. This is the first spring I’ve been able to say that.

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