Sunday, March 22, 2009

Finally, there is life afterall...

I was outside looking at the garden since the temps have finally begun to behave. We had one of the coldest winters I can remember in a very long time and I have been so looking forward to getting out to see what survived the single digits we saw for so long. I was pleasantly suprised that my french taragon and my fennel both are making a comeback. I never expected either one to re-appear since both are listed as being tender.

There are also signs of life with parsley, thyme, oregano and chives as well as most of my normal flowering perennials.
I love nothing more than getting out and digging in the dirt. I have loved gardening since I was a child when I stuck a twig into the ground in our yard and it managed to root and grow into a nice maple tree. I am planning on potting as many of my good plants up to take with us when we move. Not the best time of year for moving them but I don't want to leave them. I have too many years of work and love put into my garden to just abandon them to the possibility that the next person here won't want them and tear them out. That happened when we moved the last time, 50 feet of flower and herb beds just turned under and seeded for grass of all things!
I saved seed from all the various heirloom tomatoes I grew last year and will be getting them into pots for starting very soon. Can't see not having them at least started nor can I justify having to buy plants once we get where we are going.
I have spring fever in a big way, I spent part of today just wandering around our property looking at what is starting to grow as well as listening and watching all the birds that are already collecting nest materials and courting each other. This is one of my favorite times of the year but I will be even happier once it starts to realy get green out there. I even saw the first turtle on the pond.
I hope everyone is seeing the same things in your yards, life beginning again and warmer temps!
Happy, Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Better late than never! it is no longer St. Patricks Day, we had our corned beef with roasted potatoes and cabbage today! I used a recipe from Simply Recipes for both the beef and the cabbage and they were truly delicious!!
I have not posted any photos as of yet since I am far from very good with our camera but I am going to try this time. Whether I can figure it out is the BIG question.
I roasted the beef in the oven for about 3 hours, boiled the potatoes until they were just barely soft then cut them in half and roasted them in the juice from the roast for about a half hour so they were nice and golden. The cabbage was sauteed with onions and garlic in olive oil and butter. This is the first cabbage I actually liked!! The added bonus was that it did not stink up the house as it does when boiled. Over all this was a really good meal that I would do again in a minute. It was also very inexpensive since the local Krogers had the corned beef on sale.
Big plus?? leftovers for another meal or two.

One of the things I want to do this year is start growing more vegetables for both our consumption as well as possibly taking a space at the local farmers market. So today I got what I will need to start seeds of heirloom tomato plants that I grew last year as well as some other vegetables and herbs. We are going to be moving very soon but if I wait much longer to start the seeds I will not see any usable produce until August. If we can find the right place to rent, I also want to have a flock of hens for eggs. I have done this before and the eggs from free range hens are so much better than those lame white eggs at the store!
I have been reading lots of small homestead type farm blogs and have come away from those with the thought that maybe sheep are another possibility. Again, finding the right rental home will be the clincher on what we will be able to do.
The end of April is coming alot faster than I want it to. I have to start looking for enough boxes to pack all of our things and then figure out when I will go to North Carolina to look for a place to rent. We are moving near to where my sister and brother in law live outside Ashville. We need to find housing and employment. Here in Ohio jobs are just non-existent so we need to do something other than what we have been for the past year. I am tired of wondering where the next dollar is going to come from.
We have been having garage/living room sales to try and downsize over the past month and so far we have sold alot of things but the major items are still here. Though I hate to part with it, the tractor has to go as well as the whole house generator since the money from those will be what we will live on until we find work. Being part of the national statistics is not my idea of fun but sometimes reality is not a choice.
I hope anyone that reads this is having a wonderful early spring. I would love to hear from any of you!!
Grumpy, the parrot in my profile photo says "are you ok?".

Monday, March 2, 2009

Good? Intentions

Well, I actually thought I would be able to write on a regular basis when I started this thing but you probably know that life often gets in the way.

I am not going to bore you with reasons and excuses, though I could as I have many. Life has not been particularly nice to us in the recent months but I believe we will get past that and be better for it so onward and upward as "they" say!

I did the tomatoes as mentioned in the first post but never did get the pizza made. The tomatoes were wonderful with just good bread. Pizza someday.

I have done lots of cooking since that long ago post in August, some really great and some just ok. The most wonderful was a slow cooked pork shoulder roast with rosemary, garlic and sage as a coating. It was so good that I am making it again for tomorrows dinner. The house smells like heaven right now and will do so again tomorrow when I finish it. Hopefully, I will remember to take a photo of the finished item. Then, of course, I will have to learn how to post a photo. The recipe I sort of followed was in an issue of Bon Appetit, one of my favorite food mags. I am not good at following recipes as they are written, I always have to add my own spin. I guess that is what makes cooking fun for me. My husband doesn't complain either, so far anyway! :)

We are going to be moving in the near future and part of what I aim to do once relocated is to start a sizable vegetable/herb garden so that I can not only preserve things for my use but also offer some of the goodies for sale at farmers markets and maybe even local restaurants.

Of course, all of this hinges on finding the right place to live with the right land to grow things on.

In the meantime, I will hope that I can find the time to post more info as it happens rather than leaving such huge gaps in time as I did the first time.

If anyone is reading this, thank you!! I really will work at being here more often.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Brand New!!

I discovered food blogs just a few weeks ago and have had an amazing time reading several that I have found to be entertaining as well as informative. How I came to read my first food blog was an article in an issue of Bon Appetit written by Molly Wizenberg about Mixed Berry Jam.
I live on 7 acres in Northwest Ohio and there are a ton of wild blackberry brambles growing here. This year we had a huge crop and though I normally don't pick them, Molly's article motivated me to go out and pick berries despite the hideous mosquito horde we have had to deal with this year.
You see, the part of Ohio I live in used to be called "The Black Swamp" so when we have the kind of rain and snow that we had from January to July, about three quarters of our property is truly a mucky bog and the perfect incubator for growing horrible biting mosquitos that do not care if it is 9AM or 9PM. They are hungry and they will eat.
To get an adequate amount of berries for Molly's recipe, I had to douse myself with a pint of insect repellent and still move REALLY, REALLY fast. With all of that, I still donated at least a half pint of O negative blood to the local winged beasts. I had never done any caning so I was determined to make this recipe a success and I really did!! It is wonderful jam and I will be enjoying it for at least a few weeks to come. You MUST try it if you haven't already.

Given this is the very beginning of my blog I hope that I have not put you to sleep. Bear with me as I learn how to make this interesting.
Today I made the roasted tomatoes that Molly wrote about in the September issue. I am planning on using then on top of the Pizza Bianca from Cooks Illustrated tomorrow. I will let you know how they taste.
I will also work on letting you know how I became interested in food and cooking. I am a late bloomer to this hobby but I guess it is better late than never.

Enjoy the evening,