Sunday, December 7, 2014

Working on Winter Projects

I'm currently working on making little stone houses for planters that I plan on selling in the Spring. This picture is so inspirational. The grass and or moss growing on the roof is really pretty. I'm not sure where this is located but what a pretty little place. Probably full of spiders and critters that found a home in the winter.

Christmas is right around the corner but I am thinking of Spring. Can't wait to once again dig in the dirt.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Winter Farm

Perfect Winter Farm - So beautiful

Friday, November 7, 2014

Bok Choy Bloom

It's getting so cold and frosty but this Bok Choy flower is blooming strong.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Community Nursing Home Visit - this is Pat and she is happy to see me. Really!  Gave me a big hug as I left. I dropped off the Flour and baked cinnamon rolls.

Senator Dick Durbin - spoke at the Know your farmer, Know your food conference. He has heart.

Walking at work one day at lunch and this appeared behind an office building.
Just some snap shots of fall things. I like this time of year. You can put things to rest and start over. The garden has some brussel sprouts left and that's about it. I'll pick them this afternoon and clean up everything. Then, put the garden to bed for the year.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Snap Dragons

Really like this flower. The elements of surprise of each stage. From seed to flower back to seed. Each step is amazing.

This batch are on their way to Evil Twin Conjure. I can wait to see the finished product. Thanks Melony

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Anne of Green Gables - love it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Story of Rye Flour

Rye planted September 2013. It already sprouted up before the heavy snows.
Rye coming up Spring 2014
Rye starting to form seeds Spring 2014
Showing tall and strong

It's almost ready to harvest.
July - I am cutting off the tops - Bobby took this picture.
What am I going to do with all this? It's a king size sheet and it's full!
Weeks of hand removing the seeds - and I mean WEEKS

At the millers. I winnowed it 3 times and it still had little pieces

Milling Machine - Made in the USA
14 POUNDS OF FLOUR! Wow! It was warm too.
Top of Milling Machine

It's so Beautiful.

I want to Thank Ted from Ted's Organic Grains for meeting me today to grind my rye seeds into this beautiful flour. He was very generous and I appreciate it. I can't wait to bake ANYTHING with this heavenly smelling flour.

Pigs were tasting the clean out - They were squealing like crazy.

A Billy licking his lips.
Pet Me! Pet Me!
So - the pictures are a little story of the Rye that I grew at the Garden behind the Naperville Community Nursing and Rehab Center. I couldn't do this without them and I will bake each of the Angels some cinnamon rolls made with a little of the flour. So they can taste some of the love and home ground freshness. I'm searching for some little flour sacks to give them each a little bag. What am I going to do with 14 pounds? It's a lot. Then they too will have a little of the rye that grew in their back yard.

I started the seeds in September of 2013. I ground them into flour today, September 22, 2014. The process was only difficult at harvest time. In the fall, I sprinkled seeds in 4 straight rows. They started to grow in days. I wasn't sure if the heavy winter killed them but in the spring, they came up and grew really fast. It was so green and when they got tall - about 6 feet, they swayed beautifully in the wind. The calmness they projected was incredible.

Anyway - the work begins when you harvest. You forget how beautiful they looked. HA HA - After you cut them, you need to dry them. We had a very rainy summer so I couldn't leave them in the field in piles to dry. So, I dragged them all home in two sheets. A king size AND a double sheet. It was heavy and really hard to deal with. So, I cleared the floor of the spare room and let them dry on the sheets. It was like sheet sacks - I would shake them up every now and then to make sure they were dry -  I picked them all in July. So they dried for almost two months. They were bone dry by the end of August.

Then - here's the fun part. You need to remove the seeds. You would think that you can just grab a stalk and swing it on a sheet and they will just fall out. You would think that right? But No. It takes force to get them out. I saw a u-tube video that you put them in a pillow sack and then just smack the sack with a shoe. I used a boot, a mallet, baseball bat and even stomped on it. I would get about 30 kernels.  SO - I started pulling out a box full, dragged it to the living room and popped them out in a bucket by hand while watching TV. This was the only way to get them all out. I had splinters in all my fingers.

3 - 4 weeks go by and I barely made a dent in the king sheet. I was only able to get through the double sheet bundle. I still had a large amount to go and I already set up with Ted to have it ground - I needed to go back to the shoe, mallet, baseball bat method. So - I dragged the king sheet bundle back over to the garden. Got the pillow case out again and sat on the ground for 2 1/2 hours and beat them. After a while, I got the hang of it and got a lot of kernels out. I know I could of gotten a lot more but enough was enough for a first timer.

Now - you would think this is done now - wouldn't you? But No - still one more thing to do. Winnow. You need to let wind blow on the kernels to remove the little dry hairy pieces. I can't remember what they are called but they look like little airy straws.

I placed a house fan on a chair in front of the balcony door - blowing outside. I had to slowly pour the seeds with all the hairy pieces in front of the fan into a bucket. Not fast - real slow. As it's pouring, only the seeds fall into the bucket and all the none seed stuff blows in the wind. (And all over me, the balcony, the chairs and shoes) I had to do this 3 times.

Finally. They were now ready to be milled and ground into flour. After all the work just to get them into grind-able kernels, I thought - I'm getting some help on the grinding. My little coffee grinder would of burnt out with all this. So - Ted agreed to mill and I met him at Heritage Prairie Farm today. The pigs and the Billy Goat were a treat.  I didn't expect to see any farm animals so BONUS!

I'll bake next weekend if I have time and add the final picture to the rye story. Thanks for reading. Barbara

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Farm Class August and Garden

Snap shots from the Farm Class. The tractor laid out a plastic mulch ground cover perfectly. It appeared quite easy.

A couple of shots of Cantaloupe and Pumpkin that I grew on tri-pods. Then - my favorite thing in the entire garden. The Potatoes! They are so beautiful and taste really good. They are the fingerlings, yukon and island sunshine.

We have had a lot of rain recently and the garden is currently in a state of MESS! I need to start pulling things up and cleaning it.

Happy Labor Day!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Last Weekend of the Summer

I pulled this off the internet - it was called "Labor Day Rosie". I like her.

I apologize for the lack in posts. Summer is coming to an end now so I'll have more indoor computer time available.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

More Snapdragons

More Shots of the Snapdragons on our Balcony. The colors are so Pretty!  Will post more Garden pictures soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

First Potato

The First Potato! It's called "Island Sunshine". It tasted good too.  Just steamed with just a little butter and salt.

I received a sample packet of potato starters from Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater, Maine. So far so good. I am impressed with the first one!

I know there are more potatoes under the straw but the roots looked pretty deep.  I thought I'd wait until a nice rain then dig around again to find the others. The sample pack contained the following:

Island Sunshine - One so far - perfect in every way!
Yukon Gold - Plant doesn't have any flowers yet so I'll wait.
Rose Finn Apple Fingerling - Saw some tiny ones but buried them until they get a little bigger.
Adirondack Blue - Lots of flowers on the plant but I didn't dig deep enough.

According to my research, you should have potatoes once the plant blooms.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Snapdragons. My new favorite flower. They are so delicate yet bloom way into fall. I saved the seeds from last year and have them growing all over the balcony. The little bud looks like a rose. So pretty.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July 15

The wheat has all been picked and it's currently drying in my spare bedroom. First it was on the floor on a king size sheet. Now, it's on the growing table and ready for winnowing this weekend. We need a dry, windy day first. It's been raining a lot again.

So, I picked it on July 5th, and it's been drying for 10 days now. The seeds should just fall right out. I Hope.

I will post the process soon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June Weeding

 Before I weeded.  Since the days of rain,
the weeds got very thick.

 After I weeded! Nice and clean. You can barely see the
turnips, beets and carrots. Not too many made it this year. I seeded twice. Also two leaves of a round Zucchini plant. Love the round zucchini. They are tasty.

Bush beans and Shasta daisies. Tomatoes below. I used eggshells and coffee grounds in the dirt when I planted and I have been feeding them Fish Fertilizer weekly.  They look pretty healthy so far.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Red Peppers

Large container full of dry red peppers.  They were hanging in my spare bedroom all winter long. Now they are ready to crumble and put in the spice cabinet.
One year I just threw them in the blender and chopped them up but the second I opened the lid, the powder was so intense that I sneezed for about a full minute. Be very careful not to breath in the fumes from the peppers.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Garden in June

Red Bird is from my friend Darla - she made it for me and the garden. Isn't it cute? Thanks Darla.

Angles of the Rye - I read that I need to harvest in August. Cut off and place in a pillow case and beat with a shoe. Then pour it from one container to another to let the seeds separate.

On another note - the glass hot house had issues as I left it open to cool the box then it rained like crazy. 3 Brussell Spout plants, 2 cabbage, 2 tomato and 1 red cabbage survived which I transplanted. I'll post more when they grow a little larger.

Check soon - I will be selling again on Etsy.

Monday, May 19, 2014

University of Illinois New Farmer Program

 May 10th - Farm Class in St. Charles, IL - 18 of us - there are a few more that attend. A great bunch of serious farm students. I'm in the front holding some lily roots to plant in the Community Nursing home garden.

 I'm winding up the ropes that we used to pull the plastic over.
Almost finished - it was 55 outside and about 110 inside.