Forcing Spring Bulbs for Winter

If you are like me you probably start to go a little stir crazy after the holidays and find yourself dreaming about when you can get back out into your garden come spring.  Well with a little bit of planning and work now you will be able to enjoy some cheerful spring flowers indoors through the dead of winter.  October is the perfect month to start your indoor garden.  So pretty! You will need: Good quality bulbs.  Look for larger bulbs that are firm and don’t show any signs of bruising.  Hardy bulbs that are good for forcing include crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and snowdrops. Clean flower pots, coffee cans or sturdy containers can also be used as long as they have drainage holes in them. Potting mixture of equal parts sand, soil and peat moss. Fine pebbles, gravel or chips to provide good drainage You will want to start…

Planting Garlic

If you like garlic (and who doesn’t) then you would love The Garlic and Harvest Festival that my hometown has every year.  It is a pretty big event in my area with live entertainment, amusements, garlic cooking demonstrations, garlic growing lectures, crafts, fresh garlic and farm produce, garlic specialty food vendors and a garlic food court.  All the vendors have samples for your to try so basically you start at one end of the fair and eat your way to the other end.  Yumma! Lots and lots of garlic Every year they have a few booths that sell hot sauce and every year my son has to try it.  The hot sauce comes in different varieties and different heat levels.  My son always goes for the hottest one there is. I really don’t know how he does it (or why?).  I am amazed at how anyone can eat something so…

Growing herbs indoors for the winter

If you enjoy cooking with fresh herbs as much as I do then you probably want to have a steady supply for the winter.  Many herbs can be grown indoors although they will have a much shorter life then if they were grown outside.  Like many other houseplants they need water, nutrients, enough light and good air circulation.  Can anything be better then having a fresh supply of your favorite herbs right there at your fingertips?   Right now would be a good time to start preparing your herbs for indoors. You will need: Clay pots – they allow the herbs to breath better as the pots are porous. good potting soil herb seeds, cutting or plants a south side sunny window or a form of artificial light When you choose which herbs you want to bring inside keep in mind that not all herbs do well indoors.  Dill for…

Heavenly herbs

As the days shorten and the temperature cools, my herbs are constantly being cut back in the hopes that I can keep them going just a little bit longer.  I’m drying and freezing as fast as I can.  Basil is being churned into pesto almost daily. Lavender and russian sage transformed into potpourri and others are bundled waiting to add rich aromas to an open fire this winter.  I love herbs more then anything else I grow. I just love me a basket of herbs This spring I claimed part of the small barn as my potting shed.  It is home to my ever growing collection of pots, baskets, seeds and bird nests. It also makes a great place to dry my herbs.  It is warm, dry, dark and it has great ventilation. My beloved potting shed I find mid morning is the best time to head out to the…

Dilly Beans

My veggie garden has kicked into high gear so with an over abundance of green beans on my hands I’ve been busy making Dilly Beans.  If you have never had a dilly bean it is similar to pickles.  They go great with sandwiches or added to salads and are easy enough to make if you have some time.  If you have never canned before don’t be intimidated.  It really isn’t that hard and the sense of accomplishment you feel when you see all those pretty jars filled with yummy goodness lining your shelves is worth the time and effort. The hardest part about making dilly beans is preparing the beans themselves.  You need to trim the ends and then you really want to make sure they are all about the same size and length.  Then give them a good washing and they are ready to go.  Make sure you start…

Welcome Home

I just got back from vacation.  I went to Disney with my daughter and her family.  I was able to see my 4 year old grandson experience “the happiest place on earth” for the first time.  It is a memory I will hold forever in my heart.  From there we traveled to our home in Naples, Florida where we were able to finally get some much needed rest and relaxation!  I was gone for 8 days.  The weather was perfect.  I had an amazing time.  But….. I missed The Hippie Chicks, Dutch and my gardens.  I thought about them every day and longed to be home.  I missed my early morning garden inspection with my first cup of coffee, the way the girls would run and greet me to see if I had a treat for them or hopeful they would be allowed to free range.  I missed the way…

I think I’m a Farmer ya all!

You know you are a farmer when: Your day starts before sunrise and ends shortly after the dinner dishes are done. You wear your PJs to do chores like tending chickens, watering plants, picking veggies and running to the store to get milk.  What?  You don’t?? All your shoes, even your high, spiky heels, night on the town shoes have chicken poop on them. You get insanely excited when the latest issue of Grit Magazine comes in the mail. Your idea of a good time is watching chicken T.V. and cracking open a cold one. Your new favorite vehicle to drive is your John Deere. You start making your own soap, detergents and fabric softeners.. All your shelves are now filled with jams, sauces and Dilly Beans!! Your French Manicure is now a dirt manicure and your little black dress is your husbands flannel. Your favorite store is now The Tractor…

“Blackcaps”

We have black raspberries growing all along the fence in the garden.  I’m sure that they were planted there many many years ago.  I’m also sure that no one has taken care of them, ever.  They are one big jumbled mess.  One big prickly, thorny, sharp, knife like daggers, pick at your own risk jumbled mess. The jumbled mess But I was on a mission and that mission was to pick enough of these beautiful babies to make something yummy.  So out I went, cup in hand, visions of those beauties baked into a pie, camera around my neck and a “How hard can this be” attitude. Don’t let this picture fool you.  They are Killers!! Well I am here to tell you folks…. It is damn hard!!  You will be taking your life into your own hands.  Picking these deadly delicious little berries is not for the faint of heart.…

It’s just Betta with Butta!

This time of the year I find myself with an over abundance of fresh herbs.  I’ve been filling our house and The Hippie Chick-Inn with them.  Drying them, freezing them and tossing them into everything I cook or bake.  Today I decided to pull out the old food processor and make up some Herb Butter also called Compound Butter.  They are really easy to do and they add such a great flavor to just about anything you cook.  I use Herb Butter on everything!  Vegetables, fish, meat, bread, eggs.  They just all taste better with homemade herb butter! All you will need is about 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, whatever you want to use, finely grated lemon rind (optional) and 1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature. Throw it all into your food processor and give it a spin.  Or you can forget the machinery and just mash it together with…

My Herb Garden

I love my gardens.  I can get lost in my gardens. This is my Herb Garden I love to grow herbs more then anything else.  They are very forgiving.  They don’t seem to require a lot of care.  Perfect for me. The best part about growing herbs is that I can use them for everything.  From Teas to cooking and baking to feeding my chickens and keeping their coop smelling great!  I think my favorite herb right now is my Comfrey.  It works wonders in my compost bin and my chickens love it.  It’s a very hardy perennial that is rich in protein and minerals. My Comfrey Another favorite herb of mine is my Lovage plant.  It was given to me years ago by my sister and I have moved it with me to 3 different homes.  I think we have both finally made our last move,  finding our place…