Monday, August 14, 2017

New Compost Bin



Isn't it crazy how the simplest things can give us such great pleasure?

 My new compost bin is definitely one of those things! I have been wanting one in the back yard for the past few years just to make life easier (I am all about trying to make life easier any way I can!). Our previous compost bin was on the other side of the house and just far enough away that I didn't get out to it as often as I should, plus it was a pain for getting the compost to the planters.

My husband got the new one built a few weeks ago and I am loving it. It's convenient to the kitchen and planters and I am looking forward to using some of the wonderful compost next spring!

Monday, July 24, 2017

The New Gardening Plan

As I mentioned in my last post gardening has become more difficult for me because of health reasons, however we still want to grow as much of our food as possible and have some to can/preserve for Winter. The solution? Planters.






We have a lovely deck off the front of the house which has become full of planters growing an assortment of zucchini, herbs, turnip, lettuce and greens and winter squash. I had hoped to get more done this year, but we will expand on this next year and have even more out front. The railing is covered with grape vines, so grape harvesting is very easy to do. We also have a large patch of thyme right outside the door. In fact, if it is raining I don't even have to step out side to pick some!


Along the drive way we have spearmint and chocolate mint growing, so a refreshing cup of tea is close by.

Out back we have another deck that has more zucchini and tomatoes in pots. Around the boules court we put in some raised bed/planters and have strawberries, asparagus, cucumbers, squash and lettuce growing there.

It's a far cry from the gardens we used to have  but I have been pleasantly surprised at how much food we are able to grow in such a small space.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Friday, August 12, 2016

Actually Had Some Rain Today!


Yesterday I posted about us having such a dry summer and today it rained! Not a lot, but enough to give the garden and plants a good drink. I should have posted weeks ago, maybe the rain would have come sooner!

Every year we try to add to our gardening tools; last year it was shovels, this year it is hose nozzles. I know that sounds odd, but I like to have a decent nozzle at every hose. We have a hose in the garden room, one on the back deck, one on the front deck and one for the garden. The hose on the front deck has the RY Gardener nozzle and the nozzle works out really well because I can use it as a light mist all the way up to high pressure. Plus the handle is a no slip grip so even when my hands are wet I can hang onto it easily. I have used it for seedlings and even high pressure for cleaning off the deck.



I am already thinking of what will be on next year's shopping list. Floating row covers. We have had ours for about 13 years and they are really getting worn out.  I use them not only for plant protection from frost, but also plant protection from chickens. They love any freshly turned ground.

I think rain is in the forecast for tomorrow as well. I hope so!



~~~~~~~~~~~~
#RY_GARDENER

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Dry Year and The Plants Are Suffering



This has been an unusually dry and hot summer for us and it is really starting to show in our garden. Our well is only a 16' dug well, which has gone dry on us in past years so we are very careful with our water usage in years like this.

We save and use as much rain water as we can but even that storage is almost gone.

This year we have grown more food in planters and large pots on the deck and have an expandable hose with a fireman style nozzle that has been very handy. The nozzle makes it easy to control the flow of water so I don't feel as I am over watering and wasting water.
The weather forecast is for rain this weekend. I hope so, but that has also been the forecast the past few weekends and we  have yet so see any of this rain. The next town over has, but not us. Meanwhile I will save all of the cooking water (full of nutrition for the plants) and water sparingly.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




Friday, July 29, 2016

Why Is It So Hard To Relax?


For years I have been trying to meditate. It really shouldn't be that hard, but it is for me. As soon as I sit for more than 2 minutes I feel as though I need to get up and be doing something....have I watered the plants, are the dishes washed, what are we going to have for supper tonight....the thoughts never seem to stop.

Instead of sitting quietly I decided to try meditating to music and then maybe I could go from there to total quite.

I got a copy of Tranquil Guitar Soothing Music For Relaxation and Sleep CD and have been playing that and trying to clear my mind. The music is very peaceful and there are ocean waves between songs that make the transition from one song to the next without any interruption.

I try to take the time every day for at least 20 minutes to just sit and listen to this CD. I have been doing it for about 5 days and I do feel more relaxed.  I am hoping to be able to take my 20 minutes with this CD and later in the day do 20 minutes of silence.  Wish me luck!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 #TranquilGuitar








Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Black Bean Brownies, Baked In The Sun Oven





I know....black bean brownies?? How could they even remotely be something that would taste good. I will admit I had my doubts. I found the recipe at Just Making Noise about 6 months ago and filed it away as "interesting."

A few months ago we decided to try to incorporate more legumes, beans and fiber into our diet and I thought back to this recipe. What the heck...what have I got to loose. Worse case the chickens will have quite the snack.

I was amazed at how good the recipe came out. I did change it from the original a bit by reducing the amount of honey to about 1/3cup (we don't have many sweet things, so we can cut back a lot on sweeteners and still enjoy the taste, original recipe calls for 1 cup) and I used chicory root as an instant coffee substitute.

I have been making this recipe every week for the past month. Today I tried it with kidney beans instead of black beans. The taste isn't quite as rich, but still VERY delicious.

The recipe says to let them cool completely and refrigerate. While that does make the taste even better I can hardly wait that long and end up eating them warm, with cream.  Fresh Jersey cream. I know.....how could it get better.

My husband likes them a little sweeter than I do, so he will top them with a little maple syrup. We also have added strawberries along with the cream. We are addicted.

I usually bake the brownies in the oven for about 20 minutes (you don't want to over cook), but today was  sunny so I decided to try them in the sun oven. The cooking time was longer (because of the clouds) but they cooked up nicely. I love the idea of using the sun oven...free cooking.

Black Bean Brownies Baking in the Sun Oven





 Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups black beans, well drained (15 oz canned is fine)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. chicory root
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup melted butter, coconut oil or combination (I use 1/4 cup each)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil or butter an 8x8 baking dish
  • Combine the black beans, cocoa powder, eggs, vanilla, instant coffee, sea salt and honey into the food processor. Blend till smooth, the batter should be thick and will be kinda soupy. Add in butter and or coconut oil and blend about 15 seconds more. 
  • Add walnuts, like large pieces of walnuts only pulse to mix in, if you like smaller pieces blend for about 5 seconds more. I like the smaller pieces and will blend them in.
  • The original recipe said to bake for 30-45 minutes. I found that to be way too long; 20-22 minutes seems to be right for me. You might have to experiment. When you press your finger in the middle it should make a dent. ( I have over baked these and they are still good, just a little dry. Cream took care of that. So would ice cream. )
  • Let cool completely and refrigerate.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Friday, July 1, 2016

Time For Some New Pics and Updates



It is hard to believe it is already the first of July. I can't believe how quickly the time goes by. Seems like only yesterday we were caring wood for the wood stove. I'm glad it wasn't yesterday...I definitely need the summer break from wood carrying!

For the first time ever we decided to buy some shares in a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to get some more fresh vegetables this year. We will still get the bulk of our food from our own gardens, but this year I would like to do more preserving and hopefully have enough vegetables to last the entire Winter/Spring until next harvest season. We always seem to run a few months short on some of our favorites. We are actually quite excited about the CSA. The farm is all organic and they also have herb and flower gardens that their customers can pick from.

Our chicken population has shrunk and grown. Friends of ours moved and we took their chickens for them. Welcome 5 new chickens. They don't have names because 2 are the same and the other 3 are the same, so we call them "the twins" and "the triplets" ("twin" or "trip" for short)

Molly and Emma (the mother/daughter team of cows) are happily grazing on the pasture we opened for them yesterday. I'm afraid Emma is developing a habit of getting out of the fence at night (how? good question) and doing a walk-about. She is in in the morning and no one has complained, so I guess she isn't getting into too much mischief. She hasn't touched any of our gardens so I don't think she's out for long. Probably just likes to prove she can.

We've had a "first" this year....Bluebirds have made a home here in one of our birds house. We see them flying around every day and we even have an Indigo Bunting. I never get tired of watching the birds. Neither do the cats.

On to some pictures:




Bees Friend in Blossom
Bees Friend


Emma
Molly
Baby Chipmunk
Jasper
 (That is not a chipmunk in his belly)


Until next time.....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~