Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Today's Take - 7/31/13

Zucchini - 15 ounces
Yellow squash - 1 pound, 5 ounces
Sweet basil - 6 ounces
Garlic chives - handful
Eggs - 6
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Today's Take - 7/30/13

Zucchini - 1 pound, 13 ounces
Yellow squash - 1 pound, 8 ounces
Snow peas - 1 ounce
Strawberries - handful
Blackberries - 1 pound, 8 ounces
German chamomile flowers - handful
Eggs - 4
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon

The Guinea hens have either abruptly quit laying, or have yet again decided to move their nest. It seems like they will only lay in a given spot for 2 weeks or so, before finding our daily raids bothersome enough to warrant moving on to a new, increasingly difficult to reach location. If and when we do find a trove of Guinea eggs somewhere, the piggies will be getting a whole lotta eggs for their supper.

Speaking of piggies, the count down to bacon time is officially, unofficially on. We're hoping to get them finished in the next 6 weeks, but it'll depend on whether or not they gain well in that time, and whether or not we go bankrupt trying to keep these porkers in food. :\ Seriously, between the three of them, they can devour a 40-pound bag of pig grower, half a dozen loaves of stale bread and anything weird/bug eaten that comes out of the garden. Lately they've been getting 5-gallon buckets of some beautiful Yellow Transparent apples from a friend of ours' yard, and they can and do lay waste to that in under 5 minutes. They are eating machines!

So, come mid-September harvest time, our checkbook will finally get a well deserved break from both buying endless quantities of pig chow, and from spending in the neighborhood of $10 per pound for organically raised pork every week. I'll be sad to see our piggies go, but the freezer full of pork and the dollars saved will be awfully nice.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Today's Take - 7/26/13

Blackberries - 2 pounds!
Zucchini - 1 pound, 3 ounces
Yellow squash - 14 ounces
Chamomile flowers - handful
Lavender - handful - I think I waited just a little too long to try and squeeze one last harvest in. :(
Eggs - 7
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon

I was so happy to see my German chamomile finally start blooming that I gave myself a case of over-analysis-paralysis about when/how to harvest it. Today I googled the heck out of harvesting chamomile and as it turns out, it's just like anything else - try to pick them on a warmish, dry day, just pop the flowers off and set them on screens (or paper towels) in an area that has good air circulation and that's that. And just like pretty much every other plant, the more you harvest, the more it stimulates it to produce more blooms. So we may just end up with fair amount after all.

The honeybees were thick on the chamomile and borage this afternoon. I was going to bring in a few borage blossoms as well as the chamomile, but thought better of it when I saw the bees working the heck out of the borage. I didn't want to take food from their hardworking little mouths.

We're hoping to have the farm stand open this Sunday, to coincide with the first day of blueberry season. We should have zukes, yellow squash, kale and eggs aplenty, and maybe some basil as well, though it has started to bolt. I'm thinking of have some homemade scones on offer as well. We'll see if tomorrow feels like a baking day or not. ;)

Today's Take - 7/24/13

Zucchinis - 1 pound, 4 ounces
Strawberries - handful
Peas - handful
Eggs - 10!
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon
Blackberries/Marionberries - 3 ounces

The corn has both tassels and silks out now - hooray! The sunflowers are officially taller than me, and Scarlet and I spied two kiwi-sized cantaloupes on one plant today. The garden is happy!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Today's Take - 7/23/13

On my garden walk today I noticed several of Bill's Italian bees working the heck out of the borage. :) I'm glad that they like it, because the stuff is threatening to take over the whole flower bed! The lemon cucumbers are setting fruit like mad, though none have ripened yet. I hope they keep pumping them out until market time in August!

Zucchini - 7 ounces
Peas - handful
Golden beets - 2 pounds (These are the last of them. They were too small to harvest, but had been so ravaged by slugs that I thought I'd pull them and feed them to the piggies before the dang slugs could eat them completely.)
Eggs - 6
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon

I heard a pair of ravens gwawping just outside today. I find them and their intellect fascinating, but my interest is tempered by fear for my poultry. I have heard more than a few stories lately about ravens flying off with eggs, young birds, etc., and our Brahma-caunas are still petite - maybe 2 pounds each - which sounds like a reasonable serving size for two hungry ravens.

Speaking of birds, last weekend when we were out in Budd Bay, fishing and crabbing for our supper, we got to see a bald eagle up-close and personal as it swooped down to grab our discarded leftover crab bait, some freezer burned flounder. It's easy to forget how massive they are when you ever only see them high above you against a scale-less sky. we do get to see them here at home fairly often, being as close to the water as we are, but when wearing my figurative farmer hat, I am generally less inclined to just sit back and appreciate their size and beauty, and more likely to fret over whether my animals might catch a hungry predator's eye.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Today's Take - 7/22/13

Russian Red kale - 2 pounds, 14 ounces
Basil - 2 1/2 ounces
Golden beets - 2 pounds, 2 ounces (I really need to just pull the rest of these. The slugs seem to love these the best. :\ )
Bulls Blood beets - 2 pounds, 14 ounces
Blackberries - 3 ounces
Eggs - 8
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon

Today was the first day selling our goodies at our farm stand. I wouldn't have chosen a Monday to start, but the girls were very keen to sell their marionberry lemonade to passersby, so I figured, what the hey? They didn't sell a thing, and ended up drinking all of their own lemonade, but then again, it was a Monday, soo... better luck next time, I hope! If the blueberry farms open this weekend we should see tons of traffic, so hopefully we'll have at least one customer.

Aim high! ;)

Yesterday I forgot to mention that I noticed a bud had formed on one of my Hungarian Blue bread poppies. I don't know why, but growing your own poppy seeds seems so badass to me! I hope that I manage to get a worthwhile amount out of them, or short of that, that they at least self-sow and bring a bigger crop next year.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Today's Take - 7/21/13

As you may have noticed, daily dispatches have been... less than daily. My record-keeping has never been stellar, but I really was hoping to get a whole month straight of farm product on the official record. Guess not. :\

Anyhoo, today's today's take is even better than usual, because we took the boat out in the salt and brought home a few crabbies. Yum!

Fisherman Bill with one of our soon-to-be tasty crab. 

Red Rock Crab - 3
Goat Milk - 1 gallon
Eggs - 9
Blackberries - 4 ounces
Zucchini - 7 ounces
Yellow squash - 5 ounces
Peas - handful (are these things every really going to take off or not?)
Russian Red kale - 8 ounces
Oregano - 1 ounce

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Today's Take - 7/16/13 & 7/17/13

Goat milk - 1 gallon plus 1 pint
Eggs - 12
Bulls Blood beets - 3 pounds, 14 ounces
Cylindra beets - 1 pound, 4 ounces
Cocozelle Zucchini - 3 ounces
Russian Red kale - 2 pounds
Marionberries - 2 ounces
Blackberries - 2 ounces

Golden and Bulls Blood beets, about to go in the oven

Corn & Melons - The corn hasn't grown much taller as of late, but the tassels are finally starting to pop out and open. Our cantaloupe vines have grown long and beautiful and are blooming like mad, but so far, no fruit has set. :\

Squash - The zucchinis have just begun blooming sporadically. I've picked two small zucchinis every other day this week. The Yellow Straightneck squash have just started blooming and fruiting too. I think I'll have a few ready for picking as soon as tomorrow.

Beets - I've been harvesting a few per day this week, mostly because the slugs are trying their level best to eat them before we can. I've been roasting them in small batches and freezing them. Hopefully they won't turn to mush when they're thawed. I've been giving the greens to the pigs, but am going to start socking away a few for us soon too.

Greens - Still harvesting upwards of a pound of kale per day, lately, I've been sharing it with the pigs, since our freezer is already well stocked with kale. They pigs go nuts for it!

Berries - They're just starting to ripen, so I've only managed to get a handful here and a handful there so far. Something about this year's weather has them growing like mad right now. when they finally do come ripe, we're going to be buried in them!

Herbs/Botanicals - I was so happy to see that my German Chamomile have finally started blooming! My coneflowers aren't far behind. :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Today's Take - 7/15/13

Zucchinis - 4 ounces
Golden beets - 2 pounds, 10 ounces
Eggs - ?
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon + 1 pint (The girls always seem to have a little bump up in production when they eat mostly pasture, rather than hay.)
Lavender - 7 ounces
Hollyhock blossoms, borage leaves (for soap & tea) - a few handfuls

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Today's Take - 7/14/13

Russian red kale - 1 pound, 12 ounces
Leaf lettuces - 1 pound
Snow peas, cherry tomatoes - handful
Eggs - 7
Goat milk - 1/2 gallon

Today's Take - 7/13/13

I thinned the Cylindra beets a little more today. I think that my "helper" at the time may have decided to put in two seeds per hole, because that's what I'm seeing a LOT of. So we may have some slightly deformed beets coming up. Oh well, it's all good!

The pigs managed to completely undo their string of hot wire, so lucky Mr Bill got to go out there and straighten that mess out, a task for which I do not envy him. The smell down by the pig pen is getting intense. I'm wondering how exactly we determine when they've reached slaughter weight. Do you just eyeball it, or use a weight tape, or...? when the time comes I know that I'll miss those squeaky little pigs - stink and all - but I also know that their meat will come in mighty handy in the coming year. Organically raised meat is crazy expensive and I can't wait to take a break from having to buy it for a while!

The Turkey Boys seem to be settling in fine. In the evenings when I go out to water the garden, I can hear their little ascending whistle-y peeps coming from their run inside the coop, floating all the way over to my little ears in the garden. :) Here is a video of some young Bourbon Red Turkeys that sound remarkably like our Midget whites -

Tomorrow is scheduled to be our first soapmaking day of the year. Bill pasteurized and froze the milk this afternoon, tomorrow, it's go time. I'm 99% sure that we're going to do a double batch of Homegrown Lavender, since if we can only get one type of soap made in time for the Love our Local market, we want it to be one that is sure-fire awesome. ;)

Busy, busy!

Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon
Eggs - 8
Cylindra beets - 2 pounds, 12 ounces

Friday, July 12, 2013

Today's Take - 7/12/13

Russian Red Kale - 1 pound, 12 ounces
Sweet Basil - 1 ounce
Snow Peas - 1 ounce
Eggs - 7
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon

I spotted my first baby zucchini today. YAAAAAY!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

And so it begins... teeny harvest at a time. :) 

Those there 'maters are the sum total of my pickings, (minus one) for the past two days. The tomatillo was accidentally picked by a very eager helper.

We have 30 tomato plants in the ground, 28 of which have only just begun to bloom. According to a few different sites, the average yield per plant can be anywhere from 8 to 20 pounds of fruit per plant. So, if our plant performance only reaches the bottom of that curve, we should still be looking at close to 250 pounds of tomatoes. I know that number should terrify me, but it doesn't, I'm excited!

Talk to me again in 60 days or so and we'll see if my enthusiasm has waned any. ;)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Today's Take - 7/10/13

Once again the peas needed picking today, in spite of my plan to let them go until the weekend. I think I'll leave off picking them from now on though, unless they get redonkulously big, in which case I'll keep on pickin'.

I had my first ripe cherry tomato straight off the vine today - heaven. I have a few more sitting in the kitchen windowsill ripening, and quite a few more still on the vine, all in varying degrees of greenness.

The tomatillos are blooming and fruiting like mad, though none have reached harvest size just yet. I anticipate that we'll be able to make another good sized batch of verde salsa if the plants keep on kicking them out like they are now. Speaking of verde salsa, that reminds me that I need to add more apple cider to my vinegar jar, so that we have enough for canning salsa when the time comes. Note to self: Get your ACV going!

The only other thing that I picked today were a handful of borage flowers. Bill and I hope to make a batch or to of soap this weekend, so I set some borage in olive oil to infuse. I think we're going to make a batch of Homegrown Lavender soap, and maybe a second batch of something else if we have the time and gumption. I don't know just yet.

By the way - we saw one of Bill's honeybees (one of the Carniolans, I think?) in the garden today, checking out the beet greens for some weird reason. At least we know that they know that the garden is there, I guess.

So, the pickin's were slim again today, but everything is still steadily moving in the right direction. :)

Peas - 1 ounce +/-
Borage flowers - handful
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon
Eggs - 7

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Today's Take - 7/9/13

I had meant to forgo harvesting anything between now and the weekend, when we're hoping to have the farm stand open for business. what I didn't count on, however, was that my sugar snap peas, who are not used to having 2 days in a row unmolested, would spaz out and grow 4-inch long pods, like, overnight.

And so, between Scarlet and I, we picked 20 some of the biggest pods which ended up weighing in at just over an ounce and a half. Snow peas weigh practically nothing. :/

I also went ahead and harvested some kale, just because I want to keep it happy and growing, and hopefully stop it from bolting in this heat. Tomorrow I'm going to go and give the lettuce what-for in the hopes of keeping it from bolting as well, though it may already be too late, in which case it shall be piggy salad.

The 'maters are looking lovely! I predict that our tomato landslide is about 2-3 weeks away. I know that I'll regret saying it once I'm up to my eyeballs in red orbs, but right now I say - bring it! Our basil is also doing beautifully, so I anticipate being in for an epic spaghetti sauce canning season.

I know that our paltry harvest isn't much right now, but the garden is right on the edge of it's tipping point. Any day now the zukes, cukes, corn, melons and tomatoes are going to positively explode. :)))

Russian Red Kale - 1 pound, 2 ounces
Sugar Snap Peas - 1 1/2 ounces
Eggs - 9 (Plus a few under the Policauna hen known as "Bitey Pants" that will have to wait until morning to be retrieved. D'oh!)
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon

Monday, July 8, 2013

Today's Take - 7/8/13

Nothing from the garden, except two strawberries and one cherry tomato. I'm letting things beef up between now and the weekend, since we're hoping to open our farm stand up then. The eggs are fewer today, which is always a disappointment. I wonder who is not holding up their end out there? Hmmm...

Anyhoo -

Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon
Eggs - 3

A picture of my lovely farm stand, pre-paint job -

we've already had a few passersby inquire about what we're up to. :)  I'm hoping that between word of mouth and the impending blueberry season, which brings tons of folks from all over the area to our little out-of-the-way place, we'll do a fair bit of business. The girls have decided to throw a lemonade stand in the mix to fully capitalize on the warm weather. Keep your fingers crossed that folks will like what we have on offer!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Today's Take - 7/7/13

On our garden look-see today Scarlet and I spotted a garter snake between the strawberry and sunflower beds. Wikipedia says that they like to eat, among other things, slugs. Carry on, brave fellow!

Two of the kale leaves that I harvested today showed insect activity. One had the characteristic tiny, bright yellow eggs of a cabbage white moth on it's underside, while the other had something that looked more like aphid or thrips of some sort. Lovely. I wonder if our snake friend has a thing for caterpillars and moths as well?

It looks like the verdict is in on my most recent transplants - the German chamomile is hanging tough, while the calendula went belly up. D'oh! Oh well, next year I'll try direct sowing them instead.

Red Russian Kale - 12 ounces
Sungold cherry tomatoes - 4 (You have to start somewhere, amIright?)
Lavender - 1 ounce
Lettuces - 6 ounces (Just enough for dinner)
Cylindra beets - 12 ounces
Sugar Snap Peas - handful
Eggs - 4
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon

About half of the measly amount of lavender that I harvested today went to make a few glasses of my boo's favorite, lavender lemonade. After all, he did spend his Sunday building me a beautiful new farm stand (pictures soon). A farm stand so beautiful, in fact, that before he was even done building it, some guy drove up and asked Bill if he could have it. Uhhh.... no? But thanks, I guess.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Today's Take - 7/6/13

Nothing pulled today except dinner veggies and a few sugar beets, just to see how they're coming along. They're still pretty small but their greens are massive! I hope that the piggies like enjoy their little after dinner sweet. ;)

Lettuces - 8 ounces
Cylindra beets - 13 ounces
Sugar beets - 6 ounces
Sugar snap peas, Alpine strawberries, Garlic chives & Sweet Basil - a handful for our salad
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon
Eggs - 4

Friday, July 5, 2013

Today's Take - 7/5/13

Lettuces - 12 ounces
Basil, thyme, lemon balm, chives - Just a few sprigs, enough to make an herby viniagrette
Beets - 8 ounces? I didn't weigh them, just thinned a few, then incorporated them into our dinner plan.
Eggs - 10!
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Today's Take - 7/4/13

Happy, happy Independence day to you, 'Murica!

I spent much of my day of freedom bushwhacking Scotch Broom and blackberries in the chicken yard, followed by a few hours spent curled up in a ball of pain because I accidentally ingested the teensiest bit of coconut oil in the form of a dollop of canned whipped cream on top of my fancy coffee beverage. Coconut and palm oils are the darling of the Paleo/GF diet movement, and therefore are now showing up in EVERYTHING. Booo.....! :\

Anyhoo, before agony struck, we managed to haul in -

Russian Red Kale - 15 ounces
Eggs - 7
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon
Basil - 2 ounces
Oregano - 3 ounces
Rose petals, Hollyhocks, snapdragons, borage & lavender (for soap, tea & potpourri)- Handful of each

 The greens bed that giveth and giveth :)

First Minnesota Midget Melon blossoms! :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Today's Take - 7/3/13

Nuttin' fancy today, but the Kalepalooza marches on!

Russian Red Kale - 1 pound, 6 ounces
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon
Eggs - 7

By the way - I noticed the very first blossom on our pumpkin plants yesterday. Wahoo!

Today's Take - 7/2/13

Besides taking from the garden, I gave a little too, finally putting in the chamomile and calendula that I started indoors Way back When. 

(By the Way, if the text/font in my posts looks Whacky, the sudden death of my dubble-you and kyoo keys are to blame. I'm having to past letters in When auto-correct doesn't catch my drift. Oh, bother...)

Russian Red Kale - 1 pound, 12 ounces
Lavender - 4 ounces
Goat Milk - 1/2 Gallon
Eggs - 6

Monday, July 1, 2013

Today's Take - 7/1/13

Russian Red Kale - 1 pound (2.99*)
Buttercrunch Lettuce - 11 ounces (2.49*)
Romaine - 12 ounces (4.99*)
Basil - 1 ounce (2.49*)

Eggs - 10 (found those hidden Guinea eggs, 2 days worth anyway...) (4.29*)
Goat Milk - 1/2 gallon (Chardy still sneak-feeds Bramble, so her output is pretty slim.) (10.38*)

*Prices based on similar, comparable, organic products at Ralphs Thriftway (, our neighborhood grocery store. $27.63! Not too shabby for a day's take on a little hobby farm. ;)

Today's Take - 6/30/13

Russian Red Kale - 14 ounces
Lavender - 6 ounces
Greek Oregano - 4 ounces
Eggs - 4 (Somewhere there is a hidden nest of Guinea eggs that runneth over. D'oh!)

Oregano, Lavender and a lone little volunteer Hollyhock flower 

I'm hanging the herbs and flowers to dry this week, as it is too durn hot for this Washingtonian girl to even consider firing up the food dehydrator. So I have half a dozen little rubber-banded bundles of lavender and oregano hanging on on unused picture hangers and oddly placed nails here and there around the living room and pantry. 

Six ounces of lavender isn't all that much of a harvest, but Billy's honeybees are so digging the stuff right now that I was reluctant to take any more. Maybe next week if the plants are still going strong.