Thursday, December 29, 2011
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Cabbage, Red Chard and a close up of the broccoli.
Indoor Gardening. I started my own micro greens this fall and they are delicious. I snip off the leaves when I need them and toss them into a salad or on a sandwich. They take only days to sprout and in a couple of weeks, you eat them! Very Easy. Get a small container, some organic soil, sprinkle of seeds, water and a piece of plastic wrap for germination. Sunny location and ta da. Greens!
Sage and Basil
Herbs in a large pot. I thought I'd make a mixture. Sage, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and I had some caraway seeds I tossed in. These two were the first to pop out. So Fresh and green. Incredible colors.
On another note, I meant to comment on my cookie donation to Garfield Farm. I drove out and dropped off some butter cookies and Carmel corn. They were setting up for their two day event of cooking and grilling the 1874 way. I only met a few folks but I think I was an outsider and while they appreciated the goodies, they weren't too sure about me. I wanted to learn about farming but they are into teaching how folks lived at that time. Reenacted events - not farming they way I think. Anyway. I got chased by the numerous geese walking around then went home. Beautiful place but not a farm.Christmas is in a few days. Happy Holidays to everyone.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
Added to my Etsy page. The little Chinese inspired pin cushion is the cutest. I started it sometime early this year and thought I'd finish it and put it up for sale. I've always liked the little pin cushions you see in China town.
The strawberries are 6 in a basket.
Check out the site. Some cute little things for sale. www.etsy.com and type in dykes4000 in the "Shop Search"
Since it's almost winter here in Chicago Land - farm tours are on hold so I'm in my sewing room trying to create cute things.
Thanks for stopping by.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
This is a felted tree picture that I made. My sister bought it and didn't know it was from me until she purchased it. Isn't that cool? Something she liked and then yo and behold, her sister was the seller. Cool.
Off to Garfield Farm to donate some baked goods for there year end get together. I'll post more about the farm later.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
My Grandmother had this incredible garden in her back yard. I think this was the shed before it was built. It kind of looks like an island bar in the tropics. Just thinking about my Omi and Germany.
The weather in Chicagoland is rainy and gray. Thanksgiving is right around the corner but we haven't had any snow yet.
I'm searching the web pages for farm activities and found a seminar in La Cross, Wisconsin in February. I'm so antsy to learn all I can but with winter coming, gardening and farming is kind of on hold.
I check farms for sale almost everyday and there are some beautiful properties all over. Can't wait.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
The garden plot is empty. The only thing remaining are 3 brussel sprout plants with lots of tiny sprouts. I've been picking them and the past two meals, they tasted a little bitter. I think that's it for them. They never grew very large and the bitter flavor isn't right. Maybe something in the soil has contaminated them. Not sure. Last year they were delicious.
I met with the residents of the Community Nursing Home this past Saturday and baked Carrot Cake cupcakes (last of the garden carrots) and a bread pudding with Whiskey sauce. That was some good stuff. The sauce I mean. The attendance was almost all ladies with only one gentleman and they had a great time. I asked them all what flowers they would like to see next year and all said Roses. Well... I don't have the space but maybe I can find a climber to place on the trellis. One of the residents, named Barbara ( I like other Barbara's) was raised on a farm in her youth and had over 1,000 chickens. She had some stories. I can talk to them all day long.
Future plans for next year is that I'm going to enlarge the plot and plant a field of multi-colored sunflowers. Not the tall ones, the shorter cuttable flowers. And Wheat as my previous post mentions. Wheat - just a small few rows. Grind and bake some bread.
I've also been reading about Sugar Maple Trees. You tap them in the winter and have syrup. Our Condo complex has quite a few so I need to drill a hole, place a bucket and wait. Oh yes - and ask for permission. Ha Ha
Thanks for reading.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
TWO SALES! Yes - I sold a veggie scrubber and a catnip mouse! Shop is open and selling. I'm one happy camper. The farm fund is growing.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
They were in the ground a little too long but I cooked one of the medium sized ones and it tasted great.
Heading to the plot today. I read about newspaper and leaf mulch so I plan on covering as much as I can for the winter. Weather is still very beautiful but the big winter is close.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Bobby and I went on two more farm tours this past weekend. The weather was just perfect and the farms were too. I'll write more later.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Friday I'm planning on a major garden cleaning. Need to get rid of all the overgrown plants and clean it up. Still have a lot of tomatoes but almost everything is finished. I want to plant Winter Wheat that will come up in the spring. Just a few rows. I should have room to produce a bag of flour. I read a book that the man said "I Grow Pancakes". Nice. We'll see.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Willow loves these little guys. They are cotton tees that are stuffed full of 100% organic catnip grown in the garden. The strong smell drives her crazy. She dragged the prototype all over the house.
I'm adding some more wonderful things for the house on the shop later today. Stop by anytime.
I am adding things each day. So far I have 4 items. Click here to access my page.
I'm so excited. I opened my Etsy account in 2007 - around Christmas time. I made a few Santa Elves to test the site. I think my photos were poor and descriptions hasty. No nibbles. Which is fine. My friends received some cute felted elves for Christmas.
This time around, I'm going to sell something. I have a purpose for my shop now. The Farm. All sales go into the account.
One last thing - we cancelled the goat farm tour. Thursday I emailed the farm. She was a sweetie. I can't wait to see the place. But I thought I'd give Bobby a break from too many tours. Good thing too as Saturday was rainy and nasty weather for a farm tour.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
My evaluation of the Ottawa Sustainable farm is that it was a little messy. The farm had 85+ acres. Most was pasture that was not currently in use. Just blank acres that I just about cried cause nothing was growing. I guess the 7 cows they had could feed and the chickens in their little "Free Range" cages could but it was missing something. Why not grow corn or wheat? They were currently selling Chicken and eggs. Taking the broilers to a butcher and then selling them on a CSA program BUT they didn't have any pigs and I'm not sure on the cows. Maybe they too were sent to a butcher. Little confusing.
We enjoyed the tour but again, it was messy. Over 500 chickens - the egg layers - had free range of EVERYTHING. They were in the truck bed, all over the house yard, in the drive way - just everywhere. Because they had unlimited access - they pecked the yard clean. I mean clean. Down to the dirt. Now, I have never had my own chickens but others I have seen, have the chickens at least confined to a fenced off area so the house yard at least looks neat and tidy. My thoughts are that if you are giving tours, shouldn't your entrance look inviting? Shouldn't you plant maybe a pot of flowers? Maybe that's just me. I clean my house before company comes over.
None the less. I learned about "Free Range Chickens". Those that were sold for meat were held in large cages. Not over crowded and yes, they had access to grass but they were kept inside to keep the muscles tender. Are we all eating chickens with weak muscles? I guess I never knew that. Hmmm. What would the happy hen that was a layer taste like? Too tuff from exercise? That's why I want a Farm. I want to taste a happy hen. Not one that's in a cage. Even if they are outside, does a large open air cage constitute Free Range? Not sure.
Money for the farm is my main project now. I'm working on the donation site. I should be able to add it to my site soon. Also maybe a fundraiser. I'm even thinking about a reality show. Wouldn't that be a hoot? The whole process on maybe the Discovery Channel. Thinking about it.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Some snap shots of the 3rd year of the Community Nursing Home Garden. Wow! It's getting large! I picked green beans for dinner and a few small zucchini were ready. You have to watch them as they can grow as long as your leg! Last year one was hidden between the leaves and I didn't catch it until it was too large. So I made Zucchini cake. Not Bread but cake. It was delicious. It probably would of made a hundred cakes as it was that large. I should of weighted it.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Friday, July 8, 2011
I think this is the one. Not sure if it will be available next year but this is the type of farm we want to buy. It has a stream running through for constant water, enough pasture to feed the animals, out buildings already in place eliminating the building needs and it's just plain cute as anything. It has that feeling. Again, it might not be available next year but it's going on the blog.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Where? It must be close to people because they need to visit it. When? It must be soon as I'm not getting any older and How? How am I going to finance the whole venture? I should put the HOW first, right?
I have some ideas and need to just keep trudging along until it falls into place.
We are visiting a couple of running farms in July and August and I'll ask a ton of questions. One is a CSA and the other has lots of animals. Both are two different ways of farming and it's a start to my research. The Fundamentals of Farming the State provided helped a lot but I need to visit an actual farm. Poor Bobby. I'm dragging him along with me. He was born a City boy but hang with me and you will be a farmer. HA HA
More to follow - I'm hoping to document the process.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
I took a Farming 101 workshop this past Saturday. I learned a few things and the speaker on Marketing was very informative. Lots of options. CSA or Agritourism. Or just grow and sell. I know it's in the cards and hope to have a farm in the next 3 years. Research and money. Need to find some funding. I hope to not have to keep the day job but I don't think that will happen. Of course unless we find something too far away. :)
That's all - Farming on the brain today.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
I have been making soap each weekend. Real soap. One batch with Lard - rendered from fat I bought from the butcher. One batch with just oils. I am making a Castile Olive next. Apparently the trace takes forever with just olive oil. We'll see - Lots of stirring on the balcony.
No chemicals except for the NaOH (or Lye). Just can't make it without. One of these days I'll make lye from scratch. Apparently, you take wood ash - like from a fire pit and place it in water. The next day, the water which has soaked in your ashes, is the lye. Hmmmm... sounds too simple. You can't use coal or any kind of fire ash other than straight wood. I'm very curious on how it would work. More research is needed. In the meantime, I bought some Lye and it works beautifully.
Stay tuned. The Chamomile Tangerine soap will be ready in four weeks.
I am reading everything I can on farming. I even signed us up for a workshop this Saturday called "Farming Fundamentals". The Illinois County Farm Bureau puts this together and it's the start of my research on obtaining a farm. I'm not sure what I'm getting into but it's worth it. It gives me a purpose. A goal.
This is a what my German Omi's back yard looked like. A small yard but Lots vegetables.
Many great stories out about city to country people. I think I was born to farm. It must be my German/Italian genes. My German relatives each had mini farms in Aschaffenburg. Chickens, pigs and lots of vegetables. The Sicilian side probably did too.
All I have to post this morning. More to follow.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Last Saturday I was able to plant lettuce, spinach, peas, carrots and radishes. I need to wait though until no chance of frost for the rest. Last year I planted all of the Zinnia seeds too early and once the little plants popped up, a frost came through and half died so this year, I am waiting.