Tag Archives: gardening

Kale chips {deer version}

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So I’ve been watering very conservatively this summer, trying to save money. Instead of leaving the sprinklers to come on automatically, I’ve been manually turning them on every few days.

Well, we’ve had a nice long stretch of hot weather—and I didn’t water enough. As a result, the garden is looking rather wilty/baked—especially the kale. What’s left of it. I checked on everything today, only to find that a deer has eaten the tops off of almost every single kale! Deer version of kale chips, I guess. I don’t mind sharing. There was way too much kale growing with what I planted this year and the volunteers from last year. It was hard to keep up.

I’m pretty sure it’s a deer, because: big bites! And also, I hadn’t seen many deer this summer, but a few days ago my step-daughter found one in our front yard {where the veggies are}. My step-daughter accidentally scared her away, but obviously she came back. Makes me happy. Really.

Evening gardening; bald eagle for company

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I got some gardening in this afternoon and into the evening. The kids and I have pretty much caught up on the front herb garden and I was finally able to finish it up and spread some wildflower seeds in the large bare patches. I don’t know if they’ll get going this late, or if any of them will hold on the steep slope, but it’s worth a try.

The lavender is starting to flower. We have several large bushes: Maybe this year I’ll actually harvest some of it, leaving some for the bees, of course. Even if I don’t get to it, I love the large purple patches of gently waving flowers, and the delicately scented air.

It’s finally warmed up a bit and it was a perfectly pleasant afternoon and evening. At one point, something white caught my eye. I looked up, and a bald eagle was making her way east to west above me. She almost looked like she was flying with her mouth open and a little erratically—maybe she was carrying something I couldn’t see. We’re nowhere near the river, or I would guess a fish. I can’t imagine that there are fish in the small ponds and irrigation canals, but who knows.

I came in about 8:30 and made some fresh pesto with farmer’s market basil. Then a couple of small pizzas using our regular bread dough. They turned out OK, but I’ve got to figure out how to spread the dough thinner (crust is too thick and “doughy” for me). Since then, I’ve been hanging out with the animales and the hub (kids are at their mom’s for the weekend). Just watched episode 1 of The Newsroom on the HBO website. I don’t know why I bothered—I enjoyed it, but they probably won’t release any of the other episodes online and we don’t have cable, let alone HBO. But I had heard good things about it and I miss The West Wing, so…

Sleep, raisin bread French toast, weeding, the show = Good Sunday

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Good Sunday:

  • Slept in.
  • Made french toast from yesterday’s raisin bread.
  • Weeded most of the rest of the front herb garden (with help from the kids). It’s amazing what 15 minutes a day from each of us accomplished in a little over a week! Also, with kids that can now mow the lawn without excessive supervision, it frees me up to get other things done.
  • Spent the afternoon and evening working on Tuesday’s show.

Late nights and good CSA news

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Good news: My favorite farm stand at the farmer’s market has a CSA share available for me this year! And they don’t raise animals to sell for food (although, unfortunately, they do raise a few animals for food on their own farm, for their “family and crew.”) And they take the share in two payments—now and in August, which allows me to get a full-sized share instead of splitting one with a friend. Believe me, with 5 vegans in the house, we’ll eat all of it. I really need to start a compost this summer too, for the small scraps or accidental waste, which I can then use on my own raised beds. {I read about an interesting method yesterday, of layering veggie scraps and straw right on the beds, skipping the compost step. That would be interesting to try. Now, where can I buy cheap straw? It’s supposed to keep the weeds down at any rate.}

So pros: certified organic, great variety, good deal, great payment options, no animals sold for food and thus no meat CSAs constantly being advertised. Cons: shipped over from valley so less local, they still raise animals for food (if only for themselves).

Next year, I’ll try to start researching my options earlier and may be able to go with the super-local, non-animal-raising farm.

Now, I’m off to bed already. I was up in the middle of the night last night with a sick kid, but got to sleep in, so my sleep schedule is wacked. And earlier in the day I optimistically agreed to a 7 a.m. dentist appointment for my step-son, thinking it was great that he could get his chipped tooth looked at before school, and before he leaves on his school trip Wednesday. I don’t know what I was thinking. Seriously. 7 a.m.

So, we visited the farm today

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So, we visited the farm today, which is about 10 minutes east of our house by car. Very nice guy in his early twenties, running a permaculture farm on his own. Not interested in becoming certified organic. Doesn’t use pesticides, uses compost made with manure from the local horse rescue (we discussed how this could contain antibiotic residues, etc.). He’s slowly building up the farm—last year he sold some through a “locavore” group, this is the first year selling some at the farmer’s market and also for CSAs. Very willing to work with me on payments instead of one lump sum.

The only bummer is that he’s raising several types of animals for meat—chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, etc., and he’s very much bought into the entire “circle of life” rationalization. I realize that probably most of the fruits and vegetables I already buy are in some way tied to animal agriculture, even if it’s just the fertilizer that’s used. I’m not sure about the larger farm organic veggies, but if I look very far, I’m sure to find a connection. One positive would be that since he does everything by hand, there is going to be minimal equipment incidentally killing field animals.

So, do I go with this CSA in spite of the draw-backs? Or go with the certified organic one from last year that was pushing the larger meat animals? Or just buy organic produce from the farmer’s market this summer, from places that probably do the same thing? If I get tied in with a super local farm, could I go there regularly and learn some tips to then modify for my own garden? Would it be an opportunity to open up a discussion, plant seeds of a different kind?

I sure wish I could find a farm in my region with a CSA based on veganic gardening practices though. Some people were raised to believe that it’s impossible: Clearly it’s not.

Also called stock-free farming, vegan-organics is a system which avoids all artificial chemical products (synthetic fertiliser, pesticides, growth regulators), genetically modified organisms, animal manures and slaughterhouse by-products (blood, fish meal, bone meal, etc).

veganiculture.blogspot.com

I’ve got to learn to grow more of our own food. And to can and preserve. I did a pretty good job growing two summers ago, and hey, at least we’ll have a lot of kale this year.

Sunrise, Sunset

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Yellow Wildflowers - Awake 2

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These sweet wildflowers are growing in some sandy soil right outside our back porch door.

I remember scattering quite a few wildflower seeds there last year, and these are the only ones that have really thrived. They open wide and happy in the warmth of the day, and then close tightly when the air is chilly:

Yellow Wildflowers - Awake

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Yellow Wildflowers - Awake 3

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Yellow Wildflowers - Asleep

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Breakfast scramble at Tiffany’s, transplanting aspens, and using up the teff

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Today, I slept way in (of course), read Among Others for about an hour,  and then made a breakfast scramble. Wasn’t really impressed with it this time, but then I’ve been feeling a little weird about food all weekend, anyway.

During brunch, we watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which, if you can believe, I had never seen before.

As soon as hubby left with the kids to drive them back, I went out back to tackle the yard. It’s needed mowing for quite some time now, and I wanted to make sure to do it one last time before the winter hits. I hate to look out the kitchen winter all winter and see it all disheveled. Funny, I can let it go for  a month in the summer, but just knowing that I can’t mow it if I want to because it’s too cold or wet bothers me. Plus, the neighbor’s aspen had shot up about a dozen runners into our yard and they had grown quite a bit.

Since we’ve never been able to afford much landscaping at this house, and I’ve even shamefully bought trees before and then felt intimidated by the daunting task of digging through rock and never got around to planting them, I decide to dig up a few of the Aspen starts and replant them around the yard. I transplanted 5 or so of them, and left a few where they were. I really have no idea if they’ll survive (I have the opposite of a green thumb), but I’ve always heard that fall is a good time to plant trees. I figure if I water them for a few weeks or until it gets biting cold, that a few might take. Our lot has always been a struggle—the ground is full of large rocks and boulders that are very close to the surface—and before being cleared, only junipers and sage type brush grew here. Most of the neighbors who have trees either inherited a juniper, or used a combo of jack hammer and raised beds to plant their deciduous trees. We’ve never had the money to do that. Still, I cringe all of the time thinking how large even the smallest tree could have been after 10 years.

I managed to get several hours of reading in today, which is great! In fact, I stayed away from the laptop all weekend except for my nightly blog posts. I need that sometimes.

This evening I finally used up some of the teff that I bought at Bob’s Red Mill. I found this recipe for teff muffins and modified it as follows. They turned out pretty good, with a mild sweet taste and a tiny little crunch from some of the teff seeds that weren’t fully ground.

Oct 17—Please note: I’ve modified the recipe section of this post to accommodate the preferences of the original recipe author. Please see The Picky Vegan for the original recipe.

Teff Muffins

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup teff flour {I first had to grind up my teff seeds in the Vitamix—I used the dry container for this, but probably the regular container would have done the trick as well.}
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup tapioca starch {I actually had this on hand—one bag has lasted a long time in the fridge}
  • 1½ tsp baking powder {I had just used the last of the baking powder, so I subbed approximately 1 tsp baking soda plus 1/2 cup of soy yogurt per tsp of baking powder, which is a trick I found on another website.}
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 T ground flax seeds plus 6 T water, whipped with a fork, or other egg replacer
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup apple sauce
  • 1-2 T almond butter or other nut butter {I can’t believe I forgot to put this into the original post—the dabs of peanut butter really hit the spot!}

Mix the flax, water, and apple sauce; set aside. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the wet to the dry, mix until just combined. Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin pan (I like to use a mini-muffin pan). Put a dab of nut butter on the top of each one. (You could also mix the peanut butter in with the other wet ingredients). Bake at 400° for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick or fork comes clean when poked into the center of one.