Monday, December 28, 2009

Late post

So here it is the winter solstice again.
In our part of the world it seems to come too late to mark the beginning of the winter and too early to mark it
s middle. One thing it does do is mark the end of another solar cycle and the beginning of a new one. Or at least it would if cycles had endpoints and beginnings. For me it is always a happy event to know that the sun will start to come back soon. Living this far north the days tend to get too short for my liking. I dont really tolerate the absence of my dear sun to well. During the waning of the sun I tend to get all bearish. All I want to do is eat sleep and growl at people. I put on a layer of fat and very much wish to be left alone. I am always aware of it and try to rise above it but it is a deep drive, a chemical certainty that is only really effectively countered with significant amounts of will, which is sadly in short supply. But the return of the sun always gives me hope.

Here is hoping you all had a good holiday and are warm and safe this winter.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Winter is for baking

We had the chance to bake a loaf of no knead bread today. Wish we had time to bake a loaf everyday.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sometimes I think I should move!

Seriously, Why do I continue to live here!

Jess and I spent several hours and what might have been my last nerve shoveling and clearing the 3 foot drifts. All this with high winds and temps near zero. And to top it all off the plow took out my mailbox again!! I end up repairing my mailbox a few times each year. I tried to move it further away from the road but the letter carrier started sending me nasty grams, first it was too tall then it was too far from the road. I think I am going to have to talk to the local post master or something before I reinstall the damned thing!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Garlic planted.

I finally got the garlic planted back on November 21 st. It was an awfuly late time to be planting but the outside temp was near 50F. So first the soil was forked over to remove weed roots and loosen the dirt. Then I added a quick dusting of agricultural lime as this was one of my oldest beds. I didn't check the pH first but it may have been a bit sour as I have added aged chicken litter and compost over the years. I then worked over the clumps with the tiller attachment for my weeder until it was a fine tilth. I then leveled the bed by raking until it looked like this.

I then set out the garlic cloves to get my spacing. I used the bottom of a one gallon bucket to space my cloves out by around 8 inch centers. And pushed them in to a depth of approximately two inches.

As you see below a 4 x 9 bed can allow you to plant quite a lot of garlic.

After planting the soil was firmed up around the cloves of garlic. I didn't water them in as rain was predicted for the next afternoon. I finished it all up by bedding the new planting in with a covering of some of the straw that was left over from our fall festival.

Now all I have to do is wait till I can enjoy the delicious garlic scapes late next spring.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Minnesota winter hardy plants

We all know that Kale is hardy and ours has survived well into the freezing days of November. This is the plant from last year that I let grow again this spring and provided us with leaves in spring and seeds in the fall.

We also discovered last year that chard is also quite hardy. It is hard to believe that these plants have already been completely frozen a number of times.

Some of the new discoveries this fall have been...

Carrots, I guess that makes sense and probably applies to all root crops.

Parsley is also quite hardy which I was surprised to find out. I figured it as a warm weather crop like cilantro but man was I wrong.

For greens we really like how late in the season Mizuna lets us have spicy salads. I think it is a brassica so I guess that makes good sense.

Well that is a few of the things still growing in our garden as of today.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Make Hay While The Sun Shines

We had one heck of a lovely weekend here. Sunny and highs in the 60's. Which while a little concerning was at least helpful in getting things done. I finally got most of the leaves gathered up and put into a new leaf bin. I still have a number of leaf piles to gather up and add to the bin. I also picked up a number of sticks from the yard and added them to a growing stick pile I hope to burn soon. I also got a bunch of room made in the garage by taking things to the pole barn.
Jess was a wizard on the home front as well. She made a nice ragu of Callister chicken with home grown carrots and herbs. She also added some of our home made tomato sauce and cooked it down until the meat fell off the bone. We also made a batch of home made pasta and served it over that. All that and managed to bake a loaf of no need bread as well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Overdue Update

Well not a lot has gone on here as of late. We had one of the coldest and wettest Octobers on record and that has slowed down happenings in the yard and garden, not to mention sapping much of my usual fall enthusiasm. I usually go into "bear mode" some time in mid November but this year I have had to fight it off much sooner.
I did get the chance to clean up the spent tomatoe vines and the bean trellises last weekend. I also recently acquired 3 waste packing crates from work. So far they are destined to be a duck house next spring, a possible fish house this winter and a garden shed next summer. I really hate to see decent materials go into the waste stream and I was glad of the opportunity to divert these to re-use. Currently they are in a state of partial reassembly in the pole barn. I hope to have them finished soon.
It has been too wet to deal with the leaves yet. I am hoping to gather them for use as bedding in the chicken coop this winter. The chickens shred the leaves for me and along with their waste it makes a great addition to the compost pile. You can also make such great soil amendments and mulches out of leaves and so many bags of them have been residing by the curb up near work that it is a good thing we don't have a truck yet or I think I would have brought home half a ton already.
Also I got a wonderful care package from Jo over at 14 Acres. We had talked about trading seeds so Jo sent me a bunch of seeds. I can't wait for the opportunity to sit down and go through my seeds and send her a bunch as well. Well lots to do and preciouse little energy to do it. I guess I should get to it .

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall Festival

Well last weekend we had a little celebration of the fall season here at the farm. It was so great to see so many wonderful people and gather around the fire with them. We roasted a pig and had tons of great side dishes as well. There was a canned goods swap and a pumpkin pie contest. I think a great time was had by all. My lovely wife wrote all about it over at Lefse and Kimchee so I won't go on too much about it. But it was a lot of work and bit of an extravagance financially but we will still be doing it again next year.


Saturday, October 10, 2009


In a place like Minnesota snow is inevitable. But it still always fills me with a bit of sadness to see it happen. This year it has been made worse by the fact that it happened so soon. Usually at this time of year we can get by with covering the tomatoes against a light frost. But this year it seems we will be losing most of the non freeze hardy perennials today. Hopefully it will warm up a bit soon as now I will have plenty of space to put in my garlic.