Thursday, April 29, 2010


Because sometimes what you really need is ridiculousness.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Things have been busy despite the fact that there isn't really anything going on. The grass is growing like crazy with the rain and cool nights. The seedlings are growing like crazy with the fertilizer and heating pads and 18 hours of light a day (we are working on hardening them off now). The first wave of tomatillos are in, with more to come. I have ripped out a bunch that reseeded from last year in the wrong place. The garlic is growing along. The strawberries are bursting out of their beds. The ducks are laying 9 eggs a day. I pulled out the bolting kale and rutabaga. We still have chard from last year. The potatoes are growing great guns. I can't wait to figure out what the hell I am gonna do with all the tomato seedlings that I have.

I had a jet set little trip to NYC, up on the train Saturday and back on the plane on Sunday. Less than 24 hours. Went up to fly back with a sick friend. All is well. My friend was staying in Chelsea and the train dropped me off mere blocks from the fabric district, so of course I had to shop. The big stores are totally overwhelming and a little too spendy for me. Who wants to ruin $120 worth of beautiful fabric? I found this great little hole in the wall shop where the China silk is $4/yard and the 60 inch linen? $5. I restrained myself but will be keeping that one on the books.

With the unexpected trip, I didn't get to do as much this weekend as I had planned, but I did get some delightful empanadas and Murray's bagels to bring home. New York.... so much food, so little time. Walking down 8th Ave, I was tempted by an Italian deli with Zagut signs outside boasting of their home made sausages. I ducked in thinking I would bring some for the SB, but then realized that if you can't get on a plane with shampoo, they probably wouldn't let me on with fresh sausages and a bag of ice. And to throw away lamb sausage would be a SERIOUS crime.

The SB took care of the ducks for me while I was gone. They seem none the worse for wear.

It is amazing to see the changes in the garden in such a short time. ' Tis the season I suppose. NEXT weekend is bee weekend and the planting of some warm season things. And rearranging the bees.

I also picked up some raspberry plants from the garden swap list serve and promised to trade tomato plants... They weren't ready when the raspberries were, so I need to take them over. And I need to plant those raspberries. Cuz you can't have enough of those. I think we have figured out where to put them... up by the orchard, which, BTW, looks like hell. Two of our new trees didn't make it over the winter. $60? Bu Bye! GAH.

Oh, and look at this stunner of a dress I saw over on Sew Retro.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Super busy week with three nights of kid sitting, tons of planting, dinners, etc.

Last weekend I *finally* made a bunch of pasta. Six eggs worth on Sunday morning and we had fresh noodles all week. I let them dry to the point where they weren't likely to clump and then put them in plastic bags in the fridge. I kept it pretty simple. Some angel hair and some linguni.

Today I have been cooking. And cleaning the fridge. The crafty girls are getting together chez SHG for an evening of braided rugs and a bean swap. And of course, dinner. We are all bringing fabric and some kind of bean. We will braid the fabric and all take portions of different kinds of beans home for the freezer. It will be nice to have the variety. I made quiche to contribute to the dinner. And while I was at it, made one for here too. Though the SB is not a huge fan, when you have eggs...... I am also making sandwich bread. A loaf for the chicken salad I made and some for the freezer.

Really, I have been trying to empty out my freezer for months in prep for the upcoming vegetable season, but it isn't going very quickly. It seems to be two step forwards and 1.75 steps back. On a good week.

Yesterday I harvested the parsnips. What there was of them. Talk about a fail! Sheesh. I am lucky if they were as big as a pencil after being in all winter. I did learn that you are supposed to start them in early spring and then harvest them over winter or early spring the next year. No wonder no one grows them. Way too much space taken up... maybe one day. Right now, they are lined up for adding to stock or perhaps some potato soup. We'll see. The only good thing is now I have more room for the potatoes that still need to go into the garden. I am running a little late this year. We went to Southern States and got some organic fertilizers. I think I don't fertilize enough... We have this lovely loamy soil and add tons of organic stuff to it, but with the rain and the porousness, I think all the nutrients just leach out faster than I think they will. Crikey. This gardening thing is complicated....

The gimpy duck is back to gimpy. She actually put herself up today and decided not to participate in flock activities. Which makes me worry some. But I put her in the duck house so that she isn't tempted to run out after everyone and I will check on her a bit later and see if she is resting.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

First Summer Supper

We are blessed with wintered over greens.... lots of spinach and mache. Tonight, I made one of our favorite summer quick suppers.

While a pot of water for pasta heats, combine olive oil (I added a bit of truffle oil too since I had it) and a crushed clove of garlic. Add salt and pepper and grate a carrot into the mix. Add some vinegar, I combine red wine, a splash of raspberry and just a teeny bit of balsamic. Roughly chop some salad greens. I also added some asparagus that I steamed over the pasta water briefly. Boil the pasta and toss with the mixture. Throw on some grated parm and some toasted pine nuts. The greens will wilt and the whole dish will be only slightly warm. Perfect for a summer day. Fresh and very veggie. I am thinking about adding a poached duck egg to this, but haven't tried it yet.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010


I harvested a bunch of kale today that was threatening to bolt. I *hate* being held hostage by the garden, but I suppose it is what we must agree to. Sort of like having children..... I will be making notes as to the varieties that do well wintering over and those that are less obliging. Ditto the chard.

I sauteed some of the kale with some of our leeks that made it through the winter and some garlic (not our own) and I am thinking a quiche later this week might be in order since we are currently getting 9 (count 'em N.I.N.E.) eggs a day. Some of the kale I just cooked on its own. I am betting it ends up in pasta by week's end.

Early in my long weekend I made some really lovely stock. I bought two bags of chicken bones from the butcher and made a huge pot of stock, which I then reduced. It sits in my fridge, all jellied and delicious and like kitchen gold. It will be the basis of soup and sauce for as long as I can stretch it out. Really, you cannot go wrong with good stock.

Tonight after processing the kale, I made dinner. I took a bit of bacon and chopped it up finely and cooked it in a large frying pan, then added some of our leeks that made it through the winter and some purchased garlic. Then I added a few cups of finely chopped Brussels sprouts salvaged from last winters plants (I know nothing of the culture of Brussel sprouts, but hope to learn more). I added some of the stock and let things simmer while a pot of pasta cooked. I kept adding stock until the pasta was just about done and then added a dollop of cream from my farm milk (which rocks). This sauce was tossed with pasta and sprinkled with toasted pine nuts and some black pepper. Absurdly simple. Ridiculously delicious. Definitely one of the recipes for Bistro Night. Have I told you about Bistro Night? No? Remind me.....

The SB, not a Brussels sprouts fan previously, was ensnared by my devious bacon cream sauce plot. But truly, there really was no chance of failure, he was but putty in my hands.....

Pictures (woo hoo)

OK, and again with the try at photos... Still trying to figure out how to eject the photo card hookup with out getting the grey screen of death on the mac.

The obligatory seedlings. I am soooo far behind. Since it is going to be 90 degrees this week (WTF? Where did spring go?), maybe I'll just go ahead and put everything outside... (not)
The strawberries are blooming. WooT.

Getting ready to plant potatoes.
Some potatoes planted. They are in the troughs, then I will pull the extra soil over top of them as they grow and then continue pulling until the mounds turn into troughs. Clear, eh? Then I will put straw on top. Cuz we loves us some straw around here.

The garlic planted last fall. Since we finished up the garlic from last year about a month ago, I am TOTALLY looking forward to this. Sometime in June we should be ready. Last year I wove the ends through the garden fence and let it cure out there for a few days.

Gratuitous duck picture. The gimpy duck is still gimpy. She did get a chance to go out of the pen yesterday afternoon though for a while. There was much ecstatic duck mumbling on her part. She clearly can't keep up with the flock though. I let her out for a while this AM and brought her in for rest time after about half an hour. She just pushes herself a little more than I think is good for her when she is out. But motivation is good.

And the most exciting thing.... Yesterday we moved the garden fence so that we can start on the new beds. Look at all that space! Look at all that future back breaking work!! Just look!!

We won't be doing it all at once, but we are probably adding about 35-40% more space to the garden by the time all is said and done. Which we will need. Because I have a LOT of seed potatoes to put in. And all kinds of other goodies as well.


Sunday, April 4, 2010


So I have a teeny love/hate relationship with Spring. Most of it is Love... but....

A list. For SHG, as always.

Love sleeping with the windows open.
Hate moths.
Love linen.
Hate ironing.
Love gardening.
Hate being out of the sewing room.
Love spring color.
Hate hand washing sweaters.
Love getting rid of the draft stoppers.
Hate putting up the blue jeans.