Thursday, March 31, 2011

Better than a fortune cookie

I can't remember where I found this. I may have even shared it before. Tres Zen, n'est pas?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Goat kinda day

The SB and I went out to the hinterlands today to meet some baby goats. Need I say more? I mean, really. I wanted to scoop up all 14 of them and bring every one of them home. They are pretty much the cutest most personable baby animals you are likely to meet. We picked out one. We may visit others on Friday. Somewhere in between we have to put up some fencing and get a doghouse to put them in until we get the goat barn done. The SB took lots of blurry pictures since the little critters wouldn't be still. I hope to post some tomorrow. EEEP.

That was followed by my goat cheese class. Basically exploring local food via goat cheese. Three classes and a Saturday tasting. Should be fun. Oddly, I know no one in the class except for the instructor. Weird.

Hoping the seedlings have survived the SNOW and several nights of temperatures in the upper 20s. This is what one gets for starting things too early. Worth it though if it means spinach soon. I am dying for greens. The only summer stuff left is some okra. I had to buy tomatoes over the weekend for chili. Looking forward to a few more okra dishes. We have a great Turkish okra and chicken recipe. But I will need more tomatoes.

Made butter over the weekend. Took flippin' forever for some reason. Even with a whisk and the kitchenaide mixer it took half an hour. I think that perhaps my cream wasn't separated well enough. Which may have something to do with the SB tilting my jug on its side while I was in the middle of draining the skimmed milk from the bottom of the jug (very scientific.... I punch a hole in the bottom of the jug with a knife and let the skim milk drain off). He is forgiven because he has built me garden beds and is now working on the goat enclosure. And he took pictures of baby goats for me. I am happy to cut him slack.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I know that it is only March, but I got a notice via email this AM that there was a winter storm warning in effect for this evening with the possibility of up to 5 inches of snow. Um, Really?

Like my friend at Carter and Spence posted on her Facebook page yesterday... March- in like a lion, out like a yeti.

I have piled straw on all the seedlings and will cover them with Remay. Hopefully that gets us through the next several evenings of very cold (27 and 28 degree lows). Really I worry more about that than the snow, though 5 inches could be a real pain in the butt.

The SB put in three new garden beds this week. They will be planted with potatoes as soon as the snow is gone. Can you tell I am bitter?

On the good side, so far my summer seedlings are coming along swimmingly and I have lots of peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, tomatillos, and basil. This weekend I will start the zinnias and sunflowers and marigolds. I also have a bunch of leeks started. I planted them super heavy because my seed was old and I thought they wouldn't sprout, but it turns out, I will just have, like a billion leeks. Unless you want some. Then I will have less. So let me know if you want some seedlings. There is no way I have space to plant all of these. But I will plant many and be the happier for having enough to share as they are unimaginably delicious, especially in the Season of Frost.

Also on the list for the weekend is making butter. Tried this for the first time about four weeks ago with no success, possibly the milk was not separated well enough. Two weeks later, again, but with luck. But I added too much salt (idiot!). I will try again tomorrow after my cream has cultured a bit more.

I was out weeding this AM and found the first asparagus sprouts. They are puny. We need to move them to higher ground. It is long since time for us to have a real asparagus patch. Action should be taken, but we are so tied up with goat buildings etc it is hard to find time for another big digging project. We definitely need some staff.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Well that was a near thing....

I put my seedlings out today. Some to harden on off, some to just soak up real sunlight and heat. I put them out where they wouldn't be in direct sun until noon or so, at which time I would move them. LUCKILY, I was out before that and noticed that although the sun hadn't hit them yet, some of the plants were wilting. Of course, the ones hit worst were the eggplants. If you have ever grown eggplant from seed you know that they are s.l.o.w. I packed them all inside immediately and put them on the heat pad under the lights. It wasn't the sun or dryness, but too much breeze that had gotten to the tender plants. THANKFULLY, they bounced back immediately after being inside. I cannot even imagine losing 3 weeks on eggplant seedlings. That would have been a total bummer.

I put out some fennel, cabbage and kohlrabi in the garden today. I am pushing things as I want the space under the lights to start the zinnias. Am I alone in not having enough space for gardening? Of course, it wouldn't matter how much I have, it will continue to be insufficient.

Season of Impatience

I am generally an impatient person. Really, gardening is the only thing that keeps me grounded in reality. I find waiting a huge distraction from the present. I am working on that. Being present while waiting for other things to happen. Maybe even getting something done while I am waiting. Other than mentally pacing. Right now I am waiting for greens. And radishes. And for my seeds to come up and to have space to plant my zinnias under the basement lights. I am waiting for the goats to come (though the barn is still unfinished). I am trying to be patient.

We are making progress on the goat house. I have calls in to goat people about baby goats. I would really like a couple of very wee ones, for that is where much of the fun is, no? Plus there is all that relationship building to do....

The greens are up in the garden, I will transplant some very small cabbage and kohlrabi starts into the garden today to make room for the zinnias. I may even have to pot up some of my tomatoes into larger pots. The problem with that is they then take up so much space under the lights and leaving them out during the days risks having them dry out and losing all the time and effort.

We have a huge bed of tulips that we put in last year. We will be going to Southern States today to get T-posts and filament to "fence" it as deer LOVE tulips and I hear they don't like barriers that they cannot see. It is worth a try. I would hate to lose all the blooms to the voracious pests. What I haven't quite figured out is how to put a "gate" in this sort of fencing so that you can actually access what is there for weeding etc. I have a few ideas, but we'll have to see what the garden engineer has to say about it.

The ducks are pretty much full tilt now, 7-8 eggs a day. That adds up fast. The Diner will start taking them though, so we do have an outlet.

I'll be out in the garden most of the day, or preparing to garden or other garden related things. Nothing quite like central Virginia in the spring, eh?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Great day

Wow. What a lovely day. It started as it always does, with feeding the ducks. The day was already on the way to being glorious. Then I made pizza. Turns out it was breakfast and lunch. Then I made butter. No really. It was totally cool. Except I added too much salt. I used these directions. I can tell it is one of those things that will take practice, but I am up for it. Anyone have any good recipes for buttermilk? I have a lot of buttermilk. Things are coming up in the garden, slowly, but surely. The tomatos in the basement are just getting their first true leaves. The SB and I worked on the goat pen. Really. And we visited with friends and neighbors. And we rounded up ducks from the neighbors yard. Three times. Really. When the SB gets back from work we'll be heading out for a beer at our local pub. Just keeps on gettin' better....

Thursday, March 10, 2011

At least someone has come to his senses

Thanks again, Mark Bittman for the update and the cautious optimism.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


The SB and I are on opposite work schedules these days. Yesterday I came home to a note scratched on a green paper square that said "Bad ducks" in black permanent marker.

Today he sent me and email entitled, "Bad Ducks Part II" which reads...
"in this episode, watch as we round up the ducks from TWO yards away on the other side of the fence"

Apparently the spring time is making them somewhat adventurous.

They were grounded for the rest of the day, despite the fact that we got four eggs this morning.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Must try

I don't have any idea what I would do with 5 cups of spicy chocolate sauce. Nope, can hardly think of a single thing to do with that. But I will make it anyway.

Once again from Punk Domestics. My "recipe" file is getting clogged with stuff from there....

Damp x like a million = today

It rained today. A lot. Many inches of it. In duckland, the day was a perfect one. They got out early as it was a weekend and I was home. The creek was rolling and all the auxilliary creeks kicked in too, so there was tons of water to play in. Even the duck yard is full of enormous puddles, not so good for keeping the duck house in good repair, but exctiting for the inhabitants.

We had breakfast with our friend JG, then went out to slog through the water. The SB likes to go out in this weather and make sure that the creek isn't obstructed. I came in after I started to get soaked, but he stayed out. He helped the neighbor fix a clogged downspout. Turns out part of the clog was a garter snake. Go figure. I washed dishes, attacked cobwebs and took a nap. He did all sorts of outdoor maintenance. He was probably in the pouring rain, for like 3 hours. His boots were full of water. Oh, and did I mention he doesn't have a raincoat? No? He doesn't. Soaked and prune-y he is napping.

As are the ducks, who, despite having run around all day "foraging" were starving when they finally got locked in for the evening.

I am afraid the clover we planted in the garden paths is probably in Richmond by now, by way of the James River. We have sheets of water running through the garden paths....The rain is good fro the transplants though. We got a huge number of small boxwoods over the weekend from a friend. Put in a bunch yesterday, pretty roughly b/c of the sheer numbers and the time we could devote. The rain makes me think they might make it yet.

I called the goat lady today to ask about the availability of baby goats. She wants to hang on to hers until the end of March as she is teaching a class. She has only had one goat of six kid so far. It had four babies. FOUR. Um. Wow. I also got some vet recommendations. The thought of entering this endeavor without back up is terrifying.

I hope we are ready by the end of March, but I suspect it will be later. And the rain can lighten up any time now.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Always Welcome

Common sense is always welcome, probably due to its rarity. Thanks Mark. You go. I just don't have much faith that anyone who can do anything about it has a fraction of the sense it takes to think through this.