The last two weeks of January and the first two weeks of February tend to be the most winter like in Everett, Washington. I read about snow in Robe Valley, home to us for nearly 25 years. Everett proves to be more wet than cold in 2013. We have not said good-by to the fading Wolf Moon, it could still get cold.
Still dreaming and planing
The Toy Box is keeping winter food ready for us. Celeriac, leeks, and kale. The hens have been resting, molting, but the occasional egg can be found in the nest box. Spring is coming but the pile of blankets on the bed tell me it is too early to plant or bring home chicks. Even so, I hear bird song on dog walks. My soul is ready to leap into farm girl life but my head tells me to rest a while longer. Maybe that is my right brain and left brain interacting. The flat of onions in the kitchen window smooths the gardening itch. Their spring green and black crowns give me something to fuss over while the days are still short and the school day is so long.
Seed from 2010, looks like the crisper drawer is a good place to store seed.
Peas will be the first seed into the garden, but not under this moon. That does not let me off the hook. The box they will live in is still full of leeks and celeriac that I hope to harvest this weekend. If I can get one of the boys to help me I’ll move the chicken tractor to that box so that the girls can work their magic. They will eat the weeds and grubs while turning and fertilizing the soil. Chickens are amazing. City birds connect me back to my roots. Maybe while the girls do their work I’ll find the strength to turn that compost or make soil blocks for salad greens.
Season 4 coming soon. Today (February 1, 2013) at the Toy Box: Clouds still wintering overhead but not weeping. 50/36. Sunrise at 7:35, nine hours and 34 minutes later comes sunset and Sabbath at 5:09
- 26 Eggs
- 1 lb, 1 oz fruit (mostly blue berries)
- 5 lbs 15 oz mixed vegetables.
Sweet Momma squash…maybe it will be ready before first frost.
The flint corn “BlackTail Mountain” is already showing signs of being ready (that cannot be right can it?) I have Cinderella pumpkins all over the place. All over the place being in a 10 foot circle around the base of the plant. I finally went outside the fence and pulled the vines that grew through the pickets back inside the fence.
Fortex “French” green beans
Maybe most exciting is the amount of green beans I am picking every day. Both the bush beans and the pole beans are about to go into full production. Recently I watched a video on canning beans. I am convinced that unless I can put a pressure canner on the stove part of the BBQ, I will have to be content freezing beans. The frozen french beans I get from Trader Joe’s are good so I have hope that mine will be just as good.
Empress, Dragon, and Royal Burgundy snap beans, Gold Nugget Tomatoes and a few calendula petals.
I don’t think I have mentioned that I am getting little finger carrots and three kinds of beets. I took a peek at my potatoes yesterday, I will be harvesting those very soon!
Shabot Shalom! It is a beautiful day to Rest in YHVH. Blue sky 77/57 and 0% chance of rain. WooT! Sunrise at 5:59. Fourteen hours and 25 minutes later it will set at 8:27. The Thunder Moon (Av) is in its last quarter.
March 9, 2012 Purple Peacock brocoli-kale. Planted in the 2011 garden. If these buds swell evenly, they will become dinner.
Snow, bright sun, rain, gusty wind. Early March has been such a cliché. I say that with a grin. I love that I can still count on some things even if they are just old nursery rhymes. March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. At least I hope that is what happens.
Red Russian Kale and Fava Beans that were featured in the video last November 201
I would not be able to feed myself without regular trips to the grocery but it is still possible to get some food from the garden. From the kale square I harvested greens for the nuggets and for my family. They were steamed, sautéed with leeks (also from the garden). A small steak and yellow potatoes were sliced and mixed with the kale and leeks. It was a hit.
Swiss Chard coming back.
Funny how so much of the food that survives winter has a country name like Russian or Swiss? This square of chard seems to have been pre tasted by some tiny inspector. The hens will receive the large leaves. The smaller leaves will go into some lovely cheesy casserole. Lasagna usually but I’m open to suggestions.
Next months dinner. Greens started in January and transplanted under the rain-bonnet (poly cover) March 7. So far it looks like they will live.
I am anxious to get more food planted this summer for next winter. March and April can be hungry times. Next year it would be so nice to have enough celeriac and sprouting broccoli to start getting tired of it. Brussels sprouts and carrots would be good. Same with extra kale and chard. That is a way down the path. For now I have hope in the greens that have been pressed in the soil, the peas that are preparing to show themselves, radishes, spinach, arugula and so much more. Things are looking good. God bless the work of His hands in our gardens, Bless God for a new season!
Pussy willows along the Snohomish River near Marysville.
It is cooler today. It isn’t really a storm that is moving in on gusty winds, but it is getting gray and fixing to rain for a week or so. Today sunrise was at 6:32. On Sunday it will be up at 7:28 (don’t forget!) 45/43 with 11 hours and 32 minutes from rise to set. Put your sweater on.
Focaccia with lavender and sour-cherries (I think you can click on the picture to go to the movie I made for this bread)
Lavender-Sour Cherry Focaccia for a 1.5 lb bread machine loaf
- 4 teaspoons dry yeast
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup unbleached bread flour
- 1.5 Tablespoons dry milk powder
- 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon lavender buds
- 1.25 (1 and 1/4) cups warm water
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1.5 teaspoons honey
- 2 cups sour cherries (or whatever you have)
- 1 Tablespoon (organic) sugar
- 1 Tablespoon lavender buds (fresh or dry, use the same amount)
- 2 Tablespoons oil for infused lavender oil
Add the wet and dry ingredients to your machine in the order the manufacture calls for. Set the control for manual.
Toss the cherries with the sugar (probably just before using them on the bread)
In a small bowl mix the Tablespoon of lavender and the 2nd 2 Tablespoons of oil together. You may choose to heat this in the microwave for
30 seconds to speed the infusion process. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. The bread will bake on the bottom 3rd of the oven–adjust a rack.
note you may proof the bread once after it is removed from your machine. I like to do this with whole wheat but not with white.
Generously oil a baking sheet. You can use some of the infused oil.
With your fingers, press out the focaccia. (does not need to proof/rise once it is in the pan)
With a pastry brush generously oil the top of the bread with the infused oil.
If you have not already, toss the cherries with the sugar. Alternately you can sprinkle the sugar on top of the cherries
Press the cherries into the bread.
Note; for this focaccia you do not need to dimple the dough, pressing the cherries will accomplish that for you.
Bake 20 minutes at 425. Remove from the sheet to a cooling rack right away. Enjoy hot or cold.
1. Combine 1 Tablespoon Lavender buds and 1 cup cream in a small pan. Bring the cream and lavender buds to a boil. Cool and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the lavender essence to flavor the cream. Strain the cream into a bowl and throw away the buds.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with oil.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 pound (1 stick) butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, pulse to mix. Scatter the cold butter cubes in the flour mixture. Pulse until the butter begins to incorporate into the flour (pea size pieces). With the machine running pour the strained lavender cream into the flour. When the mixture forms a ball of dough, stop the machine (not all ingredients will be part of the dough ball, do not over mix).
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a half-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter (1 1/2 inch round recommended). Cut as many as possible before gathering the dough into a 2nd ball and roll again. Cut a 2nd set of scones. Do not re roll the dough. note: for the 2nd dough ball, roll a circle and cut the dough into wedges instead of cutting with cookie cutter.
4. Arrange the scones 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with cream for a glazed finish. Sprinkle with a sweet toping such as lavender sugar, purple sugar or Lavender Sprinkles (a mixture of dry strawberries, blueberries, white chocolate and lavender buds)
5. Bake 13 to 15 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Put on the tea and savor the moment with someone you love.
Original recipe by Sharon Shipley in “The Lavender Cookbook“
A lady that I used to walk with gave me a mess of Swiss chard from her garden one evening in spring. I was not sure what to do with it. I had read that it was a good substitute for spinach in lasagna. Since I do not like spinach in lasagna I felt skeptical. Turns out that it should completely REPLACE spinach in lasagna! Actually, when I grow my own greens and use them the day I pick them, they are quite good. Those, like spinach, that I thought I did not like, are yummy when they are fresh picked.
Here is the lasagna.
Lasagna preparation is an assembly line. It helps to have what you need ready to add. If your sauce is made (and plain canned sauce or jarred spaghetti sauce both work as well for this as home-made sauce) then you can put it together easily, even quickly. By the way, this works with raw or cooked lasagna noodles. I usually do not precook the noodles but if you are using whole wheat you might prefer the taste of whole wheat noodles from salty water.
Tomato Sauce (canned or fresh)
12 lasagna noodles (half cooked or uncooked)
1 pound grated or thinly sliced mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup or more freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese mix (low fat is fine)
9 x 13 inch pan
Ricotta Cheese Mix
2 cups fresh ricotta or cottage cheese
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 bunch fresh chopped Swiss chard (spinach or a mixture of greens is fine)
Pulse in food processor or mix by hand and set aside.
1. Preheat Oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the 9 x 13 pan.
3. Arrange a single layer of noodles across the bottom of the pan (break raw pasta to fit pan)
4. Arrange half of the ricotta mix in mounds on the noodles.
5. Drizzle 1/3 of the tomato sauce over the ricotta.
6. Sprinkle 1/2 of the Mozzarella over the sauce.
7. Arrange another 1/3 of the noodles over the cheese.
8. Add the remaining ricotta in dollops to the noodles.
9. Drizzle on another 1/3 of the tomato sauce.
10 Sprinkle on the remaining Mozzarella Cheese
11 Cover the cheese with the last of the noodles and sauce.
12 Sprinkle the Parmesan on top.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
Check after 30 minutes. If the cheese is getting dark, cover the dish with loose fitting foil. Alternately you could wait to add the parmesan cheese until the dish has baked for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Original recipe adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook (1977, 1992 Ten Speed Press, Berkely) by Molly Katzen