Saturday, March 16, 2013

And the Goose Egg Season Begins!

The first goose eggs
It has started.  Each year for a brief time, geese lay eggs.  Often I ship a few to my parents.  They tell me goose eggs make the BEST omelettes.  Ken says they add great lift to cakes and make the smoothest pudding.  And I think goose egg mayonnaise has the richest flavor.

Goose eggs and two chicken eggs for size comparison
A goose egg is about the size of three chicken eggs.  Order now before the season ends.

Friday, March 15, 2013

New Rug

When asked how I would like to spend my birthday, I said weaving!  I had finished the first rug last week, and had an idea for the next one.  This sectional warp will allow me to try many experiments.  And I hope to use up some of the large volume of denim that I have.

Denim, even old denim, is stiff enough that it does not pack in tightly very easily.  No one likes rugs with spaces between the weft, so I have tried soaking in fabric softener, adding other fabrics with denim in the weft, and then I read a tip in a weaving periodical Called Weaver's Friend.  

One weaver suggested adding some rug warp to act as a cushion and the denim would pack more easily.  It takes more time, but I think it does help.

I also want try to make the rug warp part of a design element.  We will see how that works.

And finally, in the filler, I tried a combo of white and blue as at some point I want to try an old Shaker style chevron pattern.

Birthday Treat

My birthday comes during peak egg season.  That means I often make myself custard or sponge cake.  Each year Ken asks where I would like to go out to eat for my birthday. 

 I always ask for a souffle at home.  This year it was a salmon souffle.  The best!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

CSA Newsletter

Window greens
Greetings from the Garden!  This box has salad greens, potatoes, onions, garlic, shallots, carrots, beets, black radishes, celery root, and the last of the squash

Field Notes.  The days are getting longer and now we are in daylight savings time.  I still have not figured out how to "save" daylight, and would prefer to just leave the clocks.  The animals here are sun, not time driven.  And I am no exception.  But "springing ahead" is yet another sign of the nearness of spring.

Ken and Loring
While Loring was visiting from Arizona, he set aside his postman's uniform and borrowed Ken's bib overalls.  He helped Ken plant in both tunnels. 

Ken's new blade
They also tapped some maple trees.  We are hoping weather this season is more conducive to maple syrup making - last year simply put was a bust!  optimum is sunny, windless days in the 40's and nights in the high 20's so the sap goes up the tree each day and down to the roots each night.  Last year at this week we had several extremely warm days and no cooling at night.  Not only was it a poor syrup year, it also was tough on many of the fruit trees that set blossoms early and were frosted out.  As much as people say they wish the snow was gone, I like a cool, gradual spring so the plants don't get ahead of themselves.  We often have nights in the teens in May!

It is EGG season here, and we have them.  You can call and add to your box or get an eggstra egg share - sorry it was just to tempting!  We also have sauerkraut straight from the crock.

From the Kitchen.  While Loring was here he ate eggs and vegetables!  In a dutch oven I sauteed onion, added sauerkraut and topped with pork chops I had rubbed with herbs and browned - baked the combo at around 300 for about a half an hour.  I used the meat drippings to make a gravy for boiled potatoes.  And I boiled and slipped some beets, sliced them and placed in olive oil and butter and crushed fennel.

photo form last August
We had several soups - sauteed onions and chopped cabbage  with our home canned tomatoes, and our frozen corn, cubed turnips, and peas with thyme and oregano.  We had eggs poached in chicken stock and chicken soup with onions, carrots, cabbage, and potatoes,  I took some pureed broccoli from the freezer and added that to sauteed onions, soup stock, ran it all through a food mill and added a dash of cream and some freshly grated nutmeg for cream of broccoli soup.

And I made custard to go with thawed strawberries for break and dessert.

A smaller Hubbard variety
Today's squash is great stuffed - Lay the squash so it sits flat, cut a jack o lantern type cap, scoop out the seeds and stuff with either a bread sage or rice and spicy sausage type stuffing. Ken oils the skin to seal flavors and give it a nice firm skin. Set on a pan or plate.  Bake around 350 'til done Depends on size of squash.  I usually allow 2 - 3 hours.  Lift lid and insert knife into squash to test to see if it is done.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Greenhouses in Snow

The mobile high tunnel in March
After last year's unusually warm temperatures, this year seems cold and snowy.  We are glad to see all this snow.  Most of the time snow melts into the soil and we need soil moisture.  Snow does present challenges in planting the greenhouses.

Today, after the snow, Loring and I snow shoed out to check the temperatures inside the greenhouses.  Here is Loring at the end of the medium tunnel out in the field.  Note how the snow falls down the sides.

Loring could easily move enough snow from the front of the door to check the temperatures inside the medium tunnel.

I wish the door was where there is less snow!
Then we walked back to the mobile high tunnel.  This tunnel moves back and forth along a track.  This provides many benefits - soil is exposed to air and rainfall when tunnel is in one of the other two positions, for example.

The mobile doors are on the sides so they do not need to be removed when the tunnel is moved over crops.

Unfortunately that means that they are covered with snow as it falls off the roof.  Here is a photo of the snow on the door in the corner that I took from inside.

Thanks to Loring for shoveling out!

So there is much shoveling to do before one can get into the tunnel.  I think I would prefer to take the door off when we need to move the tunnel.

Once inside it is amazing! Today both tunnels were in the 60's!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Greenhouse Planting

Ken has been monitoring soil and air temperatures in both the greenhouses here. Although air temperatures had risen with longer and sunny days, the soil stayed too cold to plant.  Because there was water in the irrigation pond in the field last fall, he had fall planted some crops in the medium stationary tunnel.  Ken is watching for those plants to come up.

This week soil temps got warm enough in the mobile tunnel to plant.  Ken planted some root seeds on Thursday March 1st, and today he transplanted some seedlings.  He had help.   Our friend Loring has come from Arizona to visit.  When asked what he would like to do, he told us he would like to do what we do.  Ooh, be careful what you say!  He has helped butcher ten cockerels, plant seeds, and today he hauled water and he helped  Ken transplant.  

The soil in the mobile high tunnel is dry because the nearby irrigation pond dried up last season.  We hired a heavy equipment operator to dig the irrigation pond deeper, but he couldn't get here early enough for Ken to plant in fall.  Ken did water once, but it was too cold for plants at that point.  The soil is still dry.  Ken filled a tank in November and watered then, but as the water froze...  He  and Loring hauled out water for the plantings of both seeds and transplants by sled.

I walked down after I finished some tasks and got these photos.  

It was fun to see Loring, a mailman and actor and dapper guy,  dressed as a farmer!  He looked good in Ken's bibs.  Because he has done so many things - masonry work, etc, he could see what needed to be done and pitch in as needed.  Thank you. Loring!