Monday, January 3, 2011

New Beginnings

Just as the heart becomes carefree
in a place of green, growing plants,
goodwill and kindness are born
when our souls enter happiness.

Steaming manure and hay

Our January 1st work party was wet and muddy, but very producive.  The objective was to begin preparing a large area of 5' x 20' beds for spring planting.  Mission almost acomplished...we worked hard, got wet, ate some good veggie food, and had alot of fun. Big thanks to all of you who came out in the wet weather to help out!

We started by covering the area we want to plant with cardboard boxes (to suppress weed growh and draw the worms up from the ground), then added grass clippings from the mower.

We covered the grass and cardboard with hay from the goat stalls and old molded hay that we have been saving.  

Next we spread out the thick layer of hay that will break down becoming spongy and eventually turning to compost.  After the beds are covered with hay, a layer of manure will be added, the beds will be lined with wood to define the borders, and they will be left to break down for a couple of months.  Before planting in the spring we will turn the beds, add a layer of topsoil or compost and start planting.  

Herbal candy making

 This is a fun and extremely easy recipe to make for gifts or to stash away for when you need some herbal cough drops.  Way more sugar than I am used to but everthing in moderation, right?

Herbs from the kitchen garden
Lemon and ginger geranium, peppermint, and echinacia tea bags

 Here is a recipe from Herbal Sweets, by Ruth Bass.  (A very cute little cookbook by the way.) 
4 cups boiling water
2 cups herbs
3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups brown sugar
1/2 tbls. butter
(You can also add peppermint essential oil for more kick!)

-Pour boiling water over leaves and steep at least 10 minutes.  Butter a shallow pan.
-Strain leaves, add butter and sugar to tea and bring to boil over medium heat.  Continue boiling until syrup hardens when a small amount is dropped into cold water. 

-Pour into the buttered pan and score the candy into squares before it sets.  Wrap each hardened piece in wax paper.  Store in airtight container.  

A Little the Chickens Didn't Get

Our first harvest of beets from the kitchen garden.  Small but sweet.  

Without the proper fencing up yet, we managed to grow some artichokes, beets, snap peas, and lots of herbs. 

Also...check out Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds 2011 catalog at Amazing color photographs, tons of varieties of organic, non-GMO, open pollenated seeds.  If you are anything like I am, it's worth ordering the catalog to have a copy on your coffee table.

1 comment:

  1. The beds look great! Sorry we didn't make it. We're planning to line ours with stone in the next couple of months. Over time they are starting to shift and get more narrow in some parts.

    What kind of herbs do you use for the candies?