Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Craft Field Day

Lane Linnenkohl
Lane and Joanne and the Beautiful Girls Leading

Pyrenees - guarding the Chickens

Chicken Wagon-Coop

Bobby and I attended a "CRAFT" Field day yesterday. In case I hadn't previously mentioned, CRAFT stands for "Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training". It's organized through Angelic Organics and they are worth attending. There is a small yearly fee but I have learned so many things through my membership. Check it out and join. 

Lane from Equus Oaks Farm and Joanne Wiedemann from Wolf of Hidden Marsh Farm explained Horse Drawn Power. Lane even harnessed two beautiful girls up to a hay wagon and took us for a ride. It was a beautiful day in Huntley, IL and the experience has me glowing this morning. His horses were gentle giants and I totally understand plowing a field with horses over a noisy tractor any day. 

It takes me a couple of days to stop smiling after a field day.  It's just such a joy to be around farms. I'm not sure I can explain it. The pleasure of it stays with me for a few days. I can still smell the hay. 

Thanks for reading :) 

Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training - See more at:

Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training - See more at:
Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training - See more at:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Harvesting and Preserving

 Reds and Yukons

Pickled Beets and Tomato Basil Sauce

Closer Look - HOURS of work for 12 jars
The best part about the Garden is the beginning and the Harvest. I could pick vegetables for hours. It's such a joy to see the abundance one seed creates. It never ceases to amaze me.

The Top picture are the potatoes that I grew from  Wood Prairie Farm in Maine. They were so good last year that I ordered them again and they didn't disappoint. 

Preserving is the best way to keep your harvest. BUT it is a LOT of work. I had a huge amount of tomatoes so I made a tomato sauce with toms, garlic, basil and parsley. Blanched, pealed and seeded the toms, cooked them down with the garlic, added the basil and parsley then cooled it for the night. The next day, heated the sauce up, got the jars ready by washing and sterilizing everything. Poured the hot sauce in and hot water bathed the 6 jars for 40 minutes (That's what Betty Crocker recommended).

Meantime - the Beets. They are extremely messy. The color gets everywhere - especially on your hands. Ok - first you boil the beets with the skin on - I can't remember for how long - If anyone wants the recipe, just ask. Then - while they are warm, you take a rag and just slip the skin off the whole beet. It's amazing - you end up with a beautiful, skinless beet - ready to slice. Boil the vinegar, pickle mix while your slicing the beets. Wash and sterilize those jars and fill the jars with the beets and then pour over the pickle mix. Process in the boil for 15 minutes.  Your entire kitchen will be purple.

So - for a recap on preserving. Started with the Tomatoes on Saturday, about 2 hours to clean and chop and cook down. Continued on Sunday, probably another 4 hours which includes the beets. So, it took 1 hour for 2 jars to preserve, My labor, lets say it's worth $20.00/hour - one jar, not including the seed cost, compost,  harvest, and fuel to get it home, it's value is over $10.00. Now - that should be some amazing preserves!

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Apple Bagging - Plastic is not working

Cotton - WORKING!

June Petunias

August Petunias

Work event - theme - Destination 
August is already here and summer's coming to an end. I'm kind of glad because I let the garden get a little weedy for too long. I want to start over.

I checked on the apples yesterday and the plastic bags were all moist inside. They appear to have bug holes too - so Plastic is out! The Cotton covered apples however were beautiful. In two weeks I'll remove all the coverings to allow the fruit to color.

I made the pickles and they were not the flavor I was looking for. I threw out 3 jars so back to the recipes for next year. I need a Pickle Crock - not three odd shaped glass jars. I had to keep a plastic bag in each jar to weight the pickles down - rinse it each day and skim the jars - and the smell - not good in a small condo.

Last picture is one of the best costumes for a work get together - Ever - the theme was "A Destination". Did you guess his costume? "Highway to Hell". Brilliant!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Back from Atlanta

Hot past three days. Atlanta is a steamy city in August and I meant that literally.

I'm back home from a work conference and ready to do some harvesting.

Post more later.