Monday, April 27, 2009

Garden work

It was time to get at the main vegetable garden, as I really need to plant spinach, peas and lettuces. But before that can happen, the whole garden needed a bit of tidying up, and I started this morning by knocking down the remains of the Jerusalem Artichokes, raking out an assortment of dried plants from last year and burning the whole lot as I went along. I also began transplanting Horseradish from one side of the garden to the other. This particular garden is an outlined block "U" shape, perhaps a hundred feet long by 25 feet wide, though the center stretch is only about 15 feet wide... so as time goes by, I realize what works and what doesn't. I try to keep perennial plantings at the ends, so I only have to worry about the center for annual crops. I have a large Asparagus patch at the farthest end, Garlic and Beebalm patches near that, and now the Horseradish will join them all. On the opposite end, I have Rhubarb, Catnip, Horehound, Egyptian Onions, Welsh Onions and those cursed Jerusalem Artichokes... which MUST come out soon. Why I stuck them in there is beyond me... sigh!
I have two gardening tools that I could never be without... a stirrup hoe and an old tiller, which I purchased at a yard sale a few years back. I prefer not to turn over the soil, but on occasions when I have been lacking in my weeding skills, I use this to skin off the surface weeds and top few inches of soil to prepare a new bed for planting.
As I was working, the Guineas were putting up an awful fuss, so I walked over to the fence to see what the commotion was all about. A red fox was near the outhouse, daring the Guineas to come closer, so I chased him off back into the woods and proceeded to till the garden. About half-an-hour later, they started again. I was expecting to see that fox, but this time, an big old Tom Turkey was strutting alongside the back fence with about a dozen shreiking Guineas beside him on the opposite side. The more the Guineas shrieked, the closer he strutted... til finally he yelled back. After about 5 minutes of backtalk, he strolled off towards the pond.
Mom was up over the weekend to give me a hand at cleaning out the back Berry Garden and re-running the fence around the perimeter. I made the mistake of letting the fence be a trellis for giant gourds last year, and the sheer weight of them brought the fencing down, which allowed the deer to get in throughout the winter and nibble off the raspberriy and blueberry bushes. The following day we weeded out the Strawberry patch... so things are coming along. I should be getting fresh Asparagus in another week, and Strawberries in another month! And my mouth is yearning for fresh Spinach, so I hope to get that seeded within the next day or two. It has been unusually warm today... in the mid-eighties, but rain and more seasonal (60 degree) temperatures will come back tomorrow. Well, it's getting close to dinner time, and I need to wash the dirt off! Til next time...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Welcome home

It's been a busy weekend, but in a good way! My fourth "son" Forrest came home to New Hampshire from North Carolina... he's been back from Iraq and will soon be heading to Afghanistan... but he and his girlfriend came to visit and reconnect with my boys and family. (He is my friend Greg's son and Kaitlyn's brother, whom I've spoken of in other posts!) It was so good to see him in real life, and to wonder how the little boy he was could have possibly grown into this strapping young Marine before me. And to feel that same way about my three sons as they all posed for the picture above! And how funny that they could all so quickly revert back to that pile of mischievous, rambunctious boys from years past!
After the rounds of hugs and hellos and introductions, Forrest and Jake disappeared out back and found their old potato gun, and that gives you a good idea of what they spent the weekend doing! Needless to say, he didn't stay long enough, and they had to leave yesterday afternoon. But I laughed when I walked down to the barn last night to do chores, for there were chunks of potatos all along the way.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Blessings...

Wishing you and yours a Happy Easter!

My daughter, mother and I have been busy refinishing the pine floor in the livingroom. We rented a commercial floor sander and edger and stripped it down to the bare wood. We spent the next three days applying a Tung Oil Finish cut with Citrus Solvent, and hand-rubbed the seven coats we applied. It looks lovely, but the rest of the house is utter chaos! Needless to say, we celebrated my daughter's and my birthday at mom's yesterday, and will spend Easter there too! We cannot put the furniture or braided rug back on the refinished floor for at least a few more days, so what's the use of having everyone come just to be confined to the kitchen?! I'm not sure what we'll do when we refinish the rest of the floor (kitchen, hallway, diningroom and foyer), but I'll worry about that when I need to. Well, I have a cake in the oven and rolls to finish shaping, so I'm off! Happy Easter to all!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring has come!

Just had to stop in for a minute with some lovely news; spring has come to Wildenblue Farm! How do I know this? The weather is rainy and cold... we may get snowshowers, and it's only in the forties... so why am I sure? Could it be the flock of almost 50 Red-Wing Blackbirds that have ousted the Bluejays from their usual spot under the maple tree these past few days? Or the many flocks of Canadian Geese that are returning to their northern home? Perhaps it's the mother Goose settling on the two duck eggs she's claimed as her own in the barn...

No, the harbinger of spring that caught my ear as I headed back from the barn last night has always meant REAL spring to me since I was a child, and that is the singing of the Peeper Frogs from the surrounding wetlands... hundreds of tiny voices announcing that the end of winter has come! Happy Spring to all from Laura of Wildenblue Farm!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's Day recipe

Hmmmm... If April showers bring May flowers, then what do May flowers bring??? PILGRIMS!

Good morning friends! Please pardon the awful April Fool's joke. Hope this first day of April finds you all well. I'm still waiting for the mud and muck to dry up to commence outdoor work. The snow in the fields is all but gone, though it remains throughout the woods. The barn critters are happily roaming the fields and scratching about once again, although we've had daily visits from a red-tailed hawk who's nabbed a few of the smaller chickens. They will feel safer once some foilage appears on the trees and plants, as everything is still bare and stark, which makes them easy prey.

I have collected a few dozen Goose Eggs over the past several weeks, and finally finished emptying them of their insides in preparation for decorating them. My daughter already claimed a few, and I've listed some for sale in my Etsy Shop. I used to display an Easter Tree when my children were younger.... I keep thinking I'll put it out again, but then think of the fun times the kittens would have tearing it apart in short order... so I won't do it after all!

I made Creme Brulee last week for dinner's dessert, and made a batch of Meringue Cookies with the left-over egg whites. I'll include the recipe for you to try... enjoy!

Meringue Cookies

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine 3 Egg Whites and 3/4 cup Sugar; beat with an electric beater for perhaps 8 minutes til the egg whites thicken and stiff peaks form and the mixture becomes glossy. Then add 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract til blended together well. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and drop the meringues onto it using a tablespoon, keeping the cookies about two inches apart. Bake for about 1 hour... if they start to brown, lower the temperature to 175 degrees. After one hour, turn off the oven, but leave the meringues inside with the door closed so they dry for another 30 minutes. Cool and eat!