Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm no potato farmer

I have been watching the potatoes wilt a bit as of late so I decided it must be time to dig them. I turned them out unto a tarp. I was less than impressed with the amount of potatoes. I think I wasn't providing them with enough extra water. The soil near the bottom of the bin was quite dry and there were no potatoes in the area of additional soil that I added. I am not sure about that, but I think perhaps if I was going to do this again I might put fewer seed potatoes per bin and keep them watered better. I watered all the other bins well and will hope for better results with those.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weekend update

Things are really picking up now. We are definitely into squash season. We have been harvesting Zucchini like crazy and Jess has already made 2 zucchini breads and a batch of zucchini cookies. We are also seeing a few delicata squash starting to form. The delicatas are a sprawling squash. The kubocha is also coming along nicely. We have also harvested a few beets this last week. Jess roasted them and we had them in salads and zuchini stirfry. This morning we had a fritata made from our eggs and green beans flavored with our herbs.
I also have been going out nights and picking slugs off the rhubarb. I probably harvested a few hundred the last few days. I add them to a bucket along with some chard that had gotten long in the tooth and give the whole thing to the chickens as a midnight snack. I also placed a few beer traps out in the garden to drown the slugs. The rhubarb already seems to be doing better. This afternoon I did some digging in the garden and gave the dog a bath.

Always something to do

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Vampire Defenses Ready

I picked the garlic yesterday evening. I was afraid it was too soon but I think everything is about right. So now I am drying it on racks and getting ready to store most of it for later use. I will also have to save a few of the best garlic bulbs to replant. I am really looking forward to roasting some of this garlic this fall. I had hoped for 52 heads so as to have a bulb of garlic a week for the next year. I think taking the cloves I will need to start next years bed into account, I fell a little short of my goal but I am still happy with this years harvest.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Food Saturday

Today was a food day. Jess and I took a spin down around lake Pepin to dine at a few restaurants we had heard of recently. First we went to the Rabbit Bakery in Lake City. I had a frittata with summer vegetables and Jess had their Roast Beast sandwich. We also got a loaf of bread to take home. Then we continued to Wabasha and toured the town a bit, to include picking up some gourmet chocolate before continuing on to Nelson. We stopped into the Nelson Cheese Factory as is the law. Every year it is more and more crowded but also has such great foods it is worth the hassle. But the real treat of the trip was the Stone Barn. It is an old barn foundation that has been turned into a gourmet pizza restaurant. I really liked their pizzas it was a shame there were not more of us as we had to settle for tasting just two kinds. I also loved their massive raised herb garden. We came home with fully bellies and lots of good food and drink.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Dodged a bullet

Last Thursday we had a heck of a storm role through the area. Jess and I were at work where we lost power and had all kinds of mechanical issues. Jess told me it had looked bad in our neck of the woods. For some reason I felt unconcerned I was sure we were doing fine. But as we got closer to home I began to see corn field striped down to ribbons on a string the way hail does. Then as we got closer we began to see bean fields beaten down to mush and the occasional down tree limb. Then we got closer and we saw whole trees down and sheds and a roof with a tarp. Then as we got close to Cannon there was less damage in the valley but I was still a bit concerned. As we got closer and closer the conditions improved. I still figured we were going to lose a tree but that happens about every other year so I figured we were due. To make a long story longer, we got home and had only a few branches on the ground and some severely leaning sunflowers. I had heard that a tornado had passed close by in Vasa and Welch. So I went to Red Wing on Saturday and was shocked to see whole barns blown down not 5 miles from my house. As I continued in to Red Wing I saw grain bins that looked like they had been punched by giants and trees snapped off as if hit by low flying aircraft. Now 5 miles may seem like a long way off but remember that around here that is perhaps only as many neighbors as a city block or two. So I feel close to these people, but close like you feel to a neighbor a couple blocks over. Close enough to be concerned but not close enough to know the families or feel right in stopping. So I just drove on. Besides there were so many damaged homes and farms. I guess like my hail storm a few years ago, all you can do is mend what you can mend and hope for better weather tomarrow.

Stay safe,

Sunday, June 29, 2008

More notes on meat

In the news this morning there was a story about South Koreans rioting due to the governments decision to allow the import of American beef. Should it not worry us that the populace of a country would take to the streets and riot at the prospect of eating the food we eat everyday? What is it about our beef that leads to violence in the streets? Is it possible we should also be concerned? Am I phrasing all of this as questions to avoid being sued by the cattle industry?
Perhaps we should be looking at eating more pastured, grass fed meats. The good news is that it isn't hard to do. With the internet, today you can find a local farmer and purchase directly sometimes online and have it shipped directly to your home. And best of all is that if you have the ability to store a large quantity in a freezer you can even save money over the grocery store meat you are used to.

That is my opinion anyway.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

New chick's home

I modified the old chicken tractor and Jess helped to set up the fencing and we set up a broody coop for the new chicks. My hope is that by having them inside chickengrad and getting them exposed to the other chickens slowly they will become part of the flock gradually.
I also planted up a half dozen Aurora peppers and a few herbs in a planter on the deck. I also planted three hills of kobucha squash in the garden.


Chicks !

I had one of my hens go broody on me a few weeks back so I decided to see if she was able to actually hatch them. Well she could and she did. I went out today and found this.

Friday, June 20, 2008

a weeks work done

I spent this week working around the property. I managed to make some repairs to the house that I hope will result in a more efficient home. I repaired some damaged siding on a small section of the house. I had to tear off the old siding. The first thing I found was no sheathing under the cracked siding on that part of the house. I removed the cellulose and old foam insulation. I then upgraded the framing in that area. I then had to caulk the joints and seal off the air leaks with expanding foam. I then installed new fiberglass insulation and plywood sheathing. I finished it all off with extensively modified cedar siding and plenty of paint. I also repaired a basement window and installed some storm windows a friend helped me make up last fall.
On the garden front I got a bit more digging done. I have been impressed by the potatoes growth. I am unsure if they are growing tubers but the plants have really been growing well. Also the scarlet runner beans are starting to flower and are quite attractive.