Thursday, July 11, 2013

Canning Beans

So my daughter told me instead of posting on Face book or my web site that I need to keep my blog going and just point my facebook & website here. I believe it will cut down on my time spent at the computer.

Of course I really don't have a recipe. Maybe that is why my daughter is gently guiding me to do this. So we have it in writing. Most of what I post is from memory of my Mother and Grandmother & Mother-in law has taught me through the years.

First I wash the beans in the sink, then carry them out to the front porch.
Then you break the beans, this is one of the best parts, because you get to visit with folks and sometimes they join in. Make sure you allow at least an hour or two for this.
I have a basket or bowl what ever is handy at the time, that the beans are in on my left. A towel on my lap to throw the castaways in and a bowl to my right to break the beans in. You can do it however you like.

 After the beans are all broke, I wash them again. and pack them in Hot Quart Jars.
You can use smaller Jars if you wish.
 Add a teaspoon of Salt for Quart Jars, adjust for smaller jars.
 Then Pour Hot boiling water over the beans up to the shoulder of the Jar.
 Then you want to make sure all the air bubble are out, by running a butter knife down along all 4 sides of the jar. If you need to add more water and repeat.
 Make sure you lids are bowling in hot water.
 wipe the rim of your jar, to make sure there are no pieces of salt or beans on it and it is clear to put the lid on.

 I have to use tongs to get the lid and band out of the hot water and put on the Jar.

Follow directions with your pressure cooker to know where to fill water to. Bring the Pressure Cooker up to 10 lbs of pressure, then set the timer for 25 min. you may need to stay there to keep track of the pressure and adjust the temperature  so it stays at 10 lbs for the 25 min

My cooker will do 7 jars at a time. So now to do this a few more times for our winters supply. Have fun and enjoy!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Don't you just love Mushrooms?

Mushroom Omelet, Mushroom Quesadilla, Mushroom Gravy, Sautéed mushrooms in spaghetti sauce, Stuffed Mushrooms, Mushrooms on Pizza. I could go on and on.
We grew mushrooms years ago and they were so easy to grow. This year we are starting mushrooms on the Farm.

Shiitake Mushrooms to be exact.

Some people liken them to Lobster or Steak. When we get the large ones off the logs about 7 inches in diameter, I like to soak them in a little Salt water and then sauté' them, and just eat them like you would a steak with a salad and baked potato. They also have medicinal qualities check out

First we make sure we have healthy Oak logs, this one happens to be a scrub oak. We really don't want a tree bigger then 5-9 inches in diameter, this makes it easier to handle. Oak trees seem to last longer meaning they should produce for 5 or more years.
Once the tree is cut down, we cut it up into about 4 foot lenghs. Also making it easier to handle.

We put the log on Gary's homemade table, or you can put them across saw horse's. 
We drill holes in a diamond shape pattern, then you start inserting the plugs with spawn on them into the holes.
Once you insert the plug you will need to use a mallet to pound it down into the log.
You then put a thin layer of wax over the plug so the spawn will start to eat on the log to produce mushrooms. 
We try to do this in the late winter or early spring so when they are outside they get a lot of rain water to keep them wet.

Just in case you want to know where we get our mushroom spawn check out They have other mushroom spawn also, check them out.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Planting by the Moon

Have you ever heard what the old-timers say about planting by the moon?

Some friends were visiting the other day and of course we were talking about the farm.
They asked us, “Why did we have beautiful plants last year and not much fruit?”
Gary asked them if they plant by the moon? The look on their faces showed they did not understand what he was talking about.

Gary said, "You plant the above ground fruiting plants by the light of the moon. The below ground plants by the dark of the moon."

That means the plants you want to bare a lot of fruit like Tomatoes, Peppers, Egg plant, etc. that you would plant before a full moon. The plants you want to have a lot of bush to feed the below ground fruit like Potatoes, turnips, carrots, beets etc. you plant after a full moon.  Not to be confusing, but things like Spinach, Kale, Collards, Cilantro, Lettuce,  bushy greens you want to plant after a full moon because you also want them to be all plant.

Some people don’t believe this theory of planting.  But, Gary's Mom & the old farmers have used this method for generations and has proved to be a successful way of planting their crops.  Last year we tested “Planting by the moon” and it worked great for our farm.  We had more fruit and vegetables above ground and below ground than we have ever had.

Gary made another comment that I thought was really good. "If the moon is powerful enough to move the ocean, why don't people think that it has anything to do with the garden."

For us not just ordering seed, deciding where we will rotate the plants to this year, we also get the calendar out to see when the full moon is, and schedule our planting around the moon.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kale! Kale! & more Kale!

This year we planted a lot of Kale! It seems as if everyone wants Kale. It is so good for you!

Wikipedia can say it better them me, so here goes Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties.
 Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying do not result in significant loss.
 Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.
 Kale is also a good source of carotenoids.

There are so many ways to prepare Kale, Some people make Kale salads, I have not tried that. I have evan heard of people drinking straight kale juice for a pic me up.I have put it in my juices, & Smoothies. mmm!
I have also put it in my quiches. But here is my Favorite way to fix Kale.

Kale Chips

One bunch of Kale
1-2 Tbs of olive oil
Sea Salt to taste.

Destem your Kale and chop in about 1 inch squares, place in bowl and drizzle the olive oil over it and sprinkle on sea salt. Mix untill well covered and lay on cookie sheet in single layer. Bake 250 for 20min. turn out on plate and dig in. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Herbs Are Oh So Good!!

Herbs are among the easiest plants to grow. Evan if it is only a pot on your front porch. But I love to have them in the flower beds right out side the kitchen.

Especially in the winter there is nothing more satisfying and simple than snipping off just what you need and enjoying the garden fresh flavor without having to run to the grocery.

Here is my Top ten 'Can't Live Without' garden herbs.

1) Rosemary Use it fresh or dried, the flavor is fantastic either way..

Favorite uses: Chopped and sprinkled in pizza dough before I add the liquid, Holiday Gifts in vinegar or Oil.

Plant with: beans and carrots to repel: bean Beatles, carrot files, mosquitoes, & moths

2) Thyme is a low growing plant and is really a ground cover. It is perfect for edging beds or placing in the front of a mixed container planting. The plant is very hardy.

Favorite Uses Chopped and sprinkled in pizza dough before I add the liquid, Holiday Gifts in vinegar or Oil. Home made stews & soups.

Plant with: Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts to repel White Fly

3) Sage Love the smell of sage & I always use it fresh, but you can dry it too. Once you have a herb garden by the kitchen I cut it all year long.

Favorite uses: I like it in vegetable soups, After I open one of my canned soups, & I add
it fresh to the soup.

Plant with: Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts & Carrots to repel: Cabbage White fly, carrot root fly, moths, ants, ticks

4) Parsley Parsley is ones of those super foods that do more good things for a body than seems possible for just a little leafy green plant. Among other things, it contains vitamin C.

Favorite uses: I'll chop about a 1/2 cup and add it to my Potato Salad, It gives it such a fresh taste. You can make lots of things with it, and pretty much chop and sprinkle it on most every dish that comes out of your kitchen.

Plant with: Roses and Carrots. To Repel: Rose Beatles & Carrot flies

5) Basil This is the herb that you must grow. harvest leaves all season. Make sure you keep pinching off the flower heads so that the plant will keep throwing out new leaves all season. I seed this inside in Feb and then transplanting plants late spring

Favorite uses: Everything - Salads, pesto, pizza, sauces, and with summer's treat, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.

Plant with: Tomatoes, Peppers & Asparagus. To Repel Horn worm, Aphids & White fly

6) Chives - Another perennial favorite

Favorite uses: I add it to anything that call for onions, It is really great in salads.

Pant with Tomatoes to repel Aphids

7) Mint - I strongly recommend growing this in a container or a contained are because it will fill whatever space you give it. It's a lovely plant to have around, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Favorite uses: In all kinds of juice, and lemonade.

Plant around your garden to repel, ants & mice.

8) Oregano. This plant also acts like a ground cover but it is generally polite and doesn't spread too aggressively..

Favorite uses: Chopped and sprinkled in pizza dough before I add the liquid. add to the pot when making sauce from abundant garden fresh tomatoes.

Plant with: Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts & Carrots to repel: Cabbage W
hite fly,

9) Dill: This a annual plat, so if you want this to season dishes in the winter make sure you dry some.

Favorite uses: Every one knows that it is good with pickels, but I also like to cook with it. It gives a great flavor to casseroles.

Plant with: Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts & Carrots to repell: Cabbage White fly, carrot root fly

10) Cilantro - Cilantro is easy to grow from seed and I start planting it about this time every spring. I find that it bolts easily so I think that it is handy to plant a few seeds now and then a few more every few weeks for the next month or more. This way, you will have a ready supply through out the summer.

Favorite uses: Gary's Salsa. While there are many other ingredients you could add to make a great guacamole, I think that you could actually get away with only two, cilantro and avocado.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Carrots in a Coke bottle

As promised, I am sharing my carrot and celery experiments, so this is how it is going so far.

Not a lot going on at the farm last week, other than Gary almost has the Greenhouse ready to put the plastic on, I have transplanted the cabbage and broccoli. The Kale got to spindly to transplant. I might put it outside with a white storage bin over it to see what happens. It is fun to experiment with plants.

Today, I did took about 36 cuttings off of my rosemary bush. I would really like to have a large herb garden this year & start a lot more different Herbs that I usually don't grow. I'd like to try and make tinctures, and learn more about medicinal uses.
Getting back to the farm life, is so rewarding, relaxing, & mind stimulating.

See you next week!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

This is what we were able to do on the farm this week. Gary got the Greenhouse up, except we need to get the plastic on it.
I had seen where someone had taken a coke Bottle and planted some carrots in it so we could grow them inside for the winter. I am going to try it. and when the Grandkids get here, I have some for them to try with too. Another thing that I read was how you can cut the bottom off of the celery and start it in water then plant it 1 inch under the ground and it will grow another celery stalk. So follow me to see how these to grow. I'll try to give you a picture every week so you can see it happen.

I also started seeding Broccoli & Cabbage & Kale, I know that it is a little early for the Kale, but I just want to see how it will do. Hopefully we will put it in a hoop house in a couple of weeks.

We also ordered Tomato and Cucumber & purple Cauliflower. We have grown all the these varieties before. except for the Purple Cauliflower. We really like the flavor of the tomato's. I thought you might like to know the story about the "Granny Crantrell Tomato" taken from the

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Catalog

This meaty beefsteak-type tomato is named after Lettie Cantrell, who received seeds from a soldier returning from Germany during World War II. She grew this tomato in the hills of eastern Kentucky for many years. This was her favorite tomato and the only one she grew. Each year she saved seeds from the largest tomatoes, some of which reached 2 1/2 lbs. Our growers find it to be quite productive. Ahh! What a flavor! This variety was named best tasting tomato of the year at the 2006 Heirloom Garden Show in our taste testing contest.