Monday, August 3, 2015

Canning freshness straight out from the garden…





Yes, I don't know what better way to explain this new interest or rather a process of mine. I have been navigating the internet how to pickle beans (I mean green beans) and I found a way which I like very much. No idea how it all going to turn out but sounds like a great plan to lock away the freshness of backyard vegetables. 

Perhaps for some Bloody Mary’s in future and I feel it is not that fancy without pickles as a garnish. Moreover you need few pickles after drinking few of those. I also found out that I cannot find okra pickles from MA because that is not a northern thing. I had to buy a bottle while I was in VA. 


One thing I like about this particular recipe is it really adds heat to pickles with few black peppers and red chillies. I can’t wait to try some with my salad. 


A bit late post about 4th of July...


This is our first official Hydrangea bush and they were tiny when I first planted them. I love these mainly for two reasons one for the neat flowers the other during Fall the foilage turned into this beautiful deep maroon like red. I truly love a four season garden and I am still working on this tiny stamp size garden. It is always a working progress…


While we were in VA, Niegel decided to run a 5K ( we did planned this before hand) and It was fun. He did great but most of all he enjoyed it very much because he consider this as his home town.


As always Nicolette managed to find a dog to pet while her brother finishes the race. It was a great joy to watch her.



We were able to carve some time to sneak into the National Gallery of Art. We all took turns in enjoying various parts of the museum. Mostly the early paintings…



After a long stroll we were hungry and it was almost time to have dinner we all unanimously decided to dine at China Town, DC. 



Found a spot see the fire works and not too far from the capital; yes it was smokey but had a great time.



We had plenty to cover from taking care of the house, to running a 5K, visiting the museums, having dinner at China Town, and finally finding a spot to watch the fireworks. It was a great week!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Our first gathering for 2015


For 2015, gathering was much better term mainly because we received few vegetables from our friends as well. Largely few neighbors who is growing in their backyards. Some went to ladies who is always get anxious if I am at the compost bin(chickens)

We love our wax and green beans from our yard because they are so tender and yummy. I am working on canning few for winter so I can have some at school lunch. I have heard from few friends they are so crisp. Hard part is not picking them when they are in abundance. Tomatoes are all steak this year and I hope I might get a bumber crop this year. 

It is a delightful experience to go to our tiny backyard and pick few eggs from the coopand at the same time pick few vegetables for a meal. Tender turnips adds so much flavor to a salad. I traded few eggs for handful of summer squashes this year. Beets were doing much better this year and we had it twice so far and there is few more to pull. 


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Butterfly Bush



Some plants stay with you no matter where you move. Our first butterfly bush is dead and gone in VA I have no idea what happened but I planted total of three bushes at our MA house why? because I love them so much. 

This spring I was able to cut down one bush to my heart content but I had to stop because there was a finch family residing in one of the bird houses and I did not want to bother muma bird and she was bit feisty. I fled the scene and decided to head inside. we have not seen much of the butterflies this season yet but when we do I love recording them. Little Nicolette loves observing them and keeps a great track how many visits per day. Her data accumulation is very interesting and hilarious too. 

The other day I was able to capture this image of this flower which was porking out from the bush. Purple adds a cooler tone to the garden during warmer months. Butterfly bushes come in various colors including white but it is well known for its sweet nectar which attracts butterflies. 

Visiting the idea why I stick with the butterfly bush is very clear because it attracks butterflies and humming birds.   

Monday, July 20, 2015

My love for hydrangeas....

I still recall the day I saw this plant when I was in sixth or seventh grade. It was at one of my mother’s friends house. They had a bush and their neighbor had a bush as well and it had these beautiful huge clusters of flowers together and they were pinkish violet.
And my next encounter was at a garden show which I must have begged my mother to take when I was young teenager. I can recall to this day that she had no interest in gardening and if she did someone helped her to make our garden. During this time I showed an interest in house plants and other colorful foliage. Mainly the lovely begonias which had beautiful 
foilage. They were stunning and had different textures as well. 

This heavy influenced came mainly from a classmate. Her mother was a phenomenal gardener. I always loved and admired her garden and the energy she had to take care of her garden cannot put into words. I knew she was a teacher and mother of three who was very much interest in gardening. She gave me the first seedlings, I was very thankful to her and to this day cherish that single moment.
I was determined to change our garden to somewhat of a jumble. My mother had a lot of patience with me, she did helped me in getting pots, fertilizer, and at the end I am sure she did enjoyed our little garden coming to life as well. Her friends offered me cuttings and plants when possible. I was a young gardner back then. 

I first plated our first Hydrangea bush in Virginia. They were very young plants back then. I saw them when I visited them this year I mainly choose them for its foliage because they turned bright copper like hue in fall perfect to add color to a cookie cutter stamp size garden. I added more during this visit as well they were a pink and blue bush, I can't wait to see them next year. 
Then I planted some in MA and waited and waited they bloomed last year but this year they add so much depth to our yard. I simply could not resist the urge to photograph them day after day. 

Will I add more this fall may be if time allows how about next spring I want to say heck yeah !

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Ladies and Chiks...


Our little chicks are no longer little chicks. They are getting bigger and yes I am certain I have two roosters.  One Plymouthrock and a RhodeIsland Red but I have still not figured where to pack them hope to find a petting zoo soon. I am a bit disappointed with the whole drama. The local feed shop did guaranteed 99.9% they are hens so you do the math. Last year feed shop owner sold three hundred hens and there were three roosters but the irony is this year I bet she sold the sameamount or little more but I have got two roosters from that batch. From a total of six chicks which I purchased early spring. Well I got that 0.1% well protected in our coop. 

That being said most of them seems to getting along with each other. Bright side of this story is we will be having two less from the six. I initially wanted only two more extra hens so they could be cosy during winter. Older girls like to hang together leaving the younger group alone basically but they seems to be content together as well. Occasional pecking from older girls are hard not to notice. Placing a pecking block has somewhat reduced pecking at each other and constant distraction from gander bounty keep them all check and happy!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Our Vegetable Patch...


I remember three years ago I started our own patch of vegetable garden. It was a raised bed and I frantically plated everything I can in a 4 x 6 feet space. Well, it was an experiment but a successful one and that year we had so much tomatoes but not much beets. I recall I would clip few beet greens to cook and that’s about it. Since then we have expand our growing space one foot at a time. I have had successes and failures during this three years but in all I have learned a lot. 
This tiny bit of raised bed had taught me a great deal from feeding my family to preserving food. I have reduced my trips to grocery store and made conscious decisions what I put in my children’s food. I have also integrated their little hands and young ideas in implementing in our vegetable patch. 
We have reduced the weight of our trash can by adding much to the compost. This little raised bed let us explore the idea of backyard chickens which in return made our compost the best by adding chicken coop waste. We learned nothing goes to waste is a TRUE concept not a myth. Our left over vegetables goes to chickens and in return we make less trips to the local feed store. I am adamant about cutting down my visits to the Midwest cornfield. Again there is a lot to learn about how corn could end up everything we eat and the food industry in the US. 
This summer I panted broccoli, green beans, parsley, sage, thyme came back from last year, swiss chard, and many more. I have already clipped my herbs for cooking, and harvested green beans twice. Chickens are fed with fresh green every day. At the end of the day I feel happy about this tiny edible raised bed of our!




  

Monday, June 29, 2015

Lavender Garden…


This past winter had been a very harsh winter for New Englanders. Out lavender hedge is fairly young and the corner garden is about a year old. I did plant some last summer as a hedge which I plan to grow more as the years come. However to my surprise they did extremely well this year. It is a wonderful feeling to see them com back and produce bloom after bloom. 
We have notice so many bees and butterflies visiting this corner with delight. I love to see purple smoke from a distant. I have always loved lavender as an herb and as an essential oil. It can elevate headaches and minor aches in minutes. Lately I am using them in my chicken coop mixed with bedding seems to helping chickens a lot and with bugs. 
I have been surfing the internet to see what else I can do with a bumper lavender crop. I love making lemonade with it; that is about it right now. I might take on the challange of making few pillows for winter with seeds if I am up to it.