Tag Archives: salad

The Raw ingredients

July 29, 2016 (2)Spring planting season was simply a blur. Maybe I am starting to feel my age, or maybe it really was that busy at school. I hardly got anything planted. My potted plants all died of neglect. Ray kept the puppies, the nuggets and fish healthy, but my pots! me oh my oh! Deer took out nearly all the leaves and fruit from the trees in the front garden, and some kind of bug ate the salad out front. Those are what I see everyday. Yesterday, I ventured out a little farther.

In the midst of all the schoolwork I had to bring home to score, I vaguely remember popping a few seeds into the soil on the occasional Sunday night. I am overwhelmed with Joy!

July 29, 2016 (6)Green rows of lush Swiss, Peppermint and Rhubarb ChardThis is Peppermint Chard

July 29, 2016 (9)Volunteer Broccoli. No Idea what kind it is. We grow open-pollinated Thompson’s, Solstice and Umpqua.

July 29, 2016 (11)Joy! I had forgotten that I put in a few rows of snap beans! This is the blossom of a pink podded snap bean, simply called, “Pink” I also see evidence of yellow French beans, Jade, Purple and I think there might be a few Dragon Beans. We like a pretty plate of tender raw beans with a ranch dip.

July 29, 2016 (15)I love seeds! This is a thick row of lush summer lettuce. Most of it is different kinds of Roman (Green, Red and one of our favorites, Flashy Trout’s Back) I’m also seeing Grandpa Admire’s and a butterhead called Divina. They are growing in a bed with some randy snap beans and the peppers that I didn’t think would get so crowded… but I always think that in spring.

July 7, 2016 (24)I also found potatoes ready to harvest, loads of apples, herbs, sweet peas, tomatoes (wow do they need some attention!) garlic and shallots, even a very few summer onions. I just had to get myself past the disaster that is my back porch. Maybe it is time to clean off the porch so that I feel more like a farmer and less like a failure.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 RSV


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It is still April in Everett

Spinach, kale and micro-greens bento

Spinach, kale and micro-greens bento

Warm days, no sweater needed (inside at least) may have seduced me into believing that early summer has come to Everett, Washington. Outside there was a gentle, north wind. Chilled me to the bone! If I had not needed a handful of parsley and a pinch of oregano I would have stayed inside. Burrr!

Later that Shabbot evening, Ray and I settled in to watch Chris Travels take us places we cannot afford. That was when we first heard the pelting of hail. Uh-oh! There was nothing we could do but wait it out. Our early food would either survive or not, it was out of our control.

At first light, everything looks good from the kitchen window. I’ve only planted the hardiest of of greens and peas. Hallelujah!

Now I’m worried about the pepper sprouts in the unheated green house.

Chickadee in a Pear Tree

Chickadee in a Pear Tree

I wonder where the birds go when the weather gets mean?

Everett, Washington; April 25, 2015 (Happy Birthday Jackie!) 56/39 but the wind has swirled around to the south-east instead of coming from the north. Twenty percent chance of something wet coming down, though the morning is honey-colored with sunshine…. which has been up since 6:01, and will not set until 8:13 for 14 hours and 12 minutes of daylight. Shabbot Shalom!

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What’s a farmer supposed to do on Rainy Days?

I’ve be waiting for a rainy day to get my starts going.

2014 in the greenhouse

2014 in the greenhouse

Late February, and I’m starting….

  • Artichokes (usually winter sown, so I’m crossing my fingers)
  • Parsley, both curly and Italian
  • Celery
  • Celeriac
  • Onions, Italian Torpedo, Cipollini (need to buy more yellow storage: New York Early)
  • Salad, (we have a lot to choose from!)
  • Leeks and Shallots
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Maybe a few peas in soil blocks instead of pots.

That’s what springs to my mind, what are you planing to start indoors this month?

Robins have returned to Everett, WA

Robins have returned to Everett, WA

Every grove of trees in Everett is alive with returning robins arguing over the best camping spot until they can get a permanent nest built. They will be building those nests in the rain today, Friday, February 20, 2015. The chill in the air probably means the rain will soon be replaced by blue sky, but today the forecast is at 70% chance of rain, 51/39 Sunrise at 7:06, Sunset at 5:39 giving us 10 hours and 33 minutes of wet daylight!


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After-school chores

Valentine Mix Lettuce

Valentine Mix Lettuce

Friday, after school, was a bright and beautiful. I spread wood chips into a few gardens by the bucket full. I hardly even made a dent in the pile of chips. Here is the check list of chores done before the sun set and Sabbath began.

One lone strawberry leaf after filling this bed with compost and chips.

One lone strawberry leaf after filling this bed with compost and chips.

•Strawberry bed cleaned up, sprinkled with lime, a layer of alfalfa meal (like candy for the worms), followed by a layer of composted horse poo (a gift from a neighbor), followed by a layer of homegrown, wormy compost and finally by a layer of wood chips. It looks pretty (I also cleaned up all the brush encroaching on the strawberry bed…love the chop and drop method of cleaning up brush, which is actually a landscape plant that I do not know the name of, I think the local bumble bees call it buzz bush). Note, I did not drop the blackberry vines, I still toss them back over the fence.
•Spread buckets of wood chips on the fava beans and peas (nothing has sprouted yet)
Garlic•Opened up the garlic-shallot box to the fresh air (and later, to the fresh rain)
•Put the nuggets in the tractor for the afternoon (too much stuff has been planted to let them roam, poor chickens) Gave the girls the bucket of weeds and cracked snails from the strawberry bed. If they see me put a bucket of yum in their run, I don’t have to argue with them about going back in when tractor time is done.
•Covered the new rhubarb with wood chips.

Lettuce and mustards under a portable cold frame. Yes that is bubble wrap.

Lettuce and mustards under a portable cold frame. Yes that is bubble wrap.

•Covered an area in the new front (and probably last) SFG with the same layers as I put on the strawberry bed. But this time I took my spade and worked it all in before putting a bucket full of wood chips back on top. Ray was going to build a hoop house over that garden but worried that it would not look pretty enough for the front yard (we hear scary stories) so he repaired and set a portable cold-frame in the garden instead. Under that cold-frame I planted the Wolf Moon lettuce and Mesclun mix . I had a peek, they both look fine.

Still going strong in the Greenhouse

Still going strong in the Greenhouse

Saturday, I putzed around the green house while it was raining. Finally gave the Wolf Moon onions a haircut. I also up-potted the Imperial Star artichokes. The Green Globe artichokes that I up potted a week or two ago are doing fine. Every year I worry that I will kill the little sprouts by transplanting them and every year they prove that they are tougher then I am clumsy. The little purple artichokes have not even sprouted yet. Both the Parsleys are starting to get real leaves. I know where I will put them, but I think they need the cold frame too. In the PNW a cold-frame does protect from cold nights, but just as important, it protects baby plants from drowning in the rain. Spinach starts are ready for the garden. I will put them in the same area as the parsley. They can probably wait a weekend or two, but the younger, the better in my book …..err, blog. I moved a tray of peas (green arrow and maestro) in soil blocks from the 2nd shelf of the sprouting rack to the wide mouth of the potato pot where they will get more light. The Potatoes (some kind of yellow from the natural food co-op) are showing sprouts but are tentative about really growing in my unheated green house. So I do not feel too bad about giving the peas temporary quarters on top of their big pot.

The one job that I have not done yet, that I should have done a couple of weeks ago, is starting my tomatoes. Mostly this is because my bin of soil-blocker mix has a crack in the lid and the mix has turned to mud. Ray bought a new bin and the ingredients that we did not already have to make another batch of mix. But it won’t be soil block mix until we actually do the mixing. I keep reminding myself that it is still February. Then I panic because really, it is the 2nd week of March. Arrrgh! In addition to the dozens of tomatoes I already have seeds for, I will trial Jaune Flammee, apparently an earlier Tomato in the PNW, and Gold Medal, a full season PNW tomato.

Summer Dreams

Summer Dreams

Summer dreams… while the rain pounds on the roof. March 10, 2014: Underground Weather is putting their best face on this sticky wet weather: Showers, becoming less numerous. Basically it is going to rain most of the day. At least it should cool down at night, a good sign, it means things are clearing up a bit. 50/38 Sun’s up at 7:31 — 11 hours and 36 minutes later it sets at 7:07. A promise of sun is coming!

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Spring 2012 countdown (20 days to go)


The transition is beginning. Life is showing optimism in the garden. Every shade of green has begun to assert themselves. To be sure, any green that I see in the garden today has to be tough enough to survive the last hurrah of winter. Hard frost glistens on the green leaves during the transition time. But make no mistake, spring is coming. The frogs in the pond are singing a song of praise to the creator. Birds spend their afternoon gossiping about it. I listen to their music and it ignites a gentle flame of energy in my soul.

New strawberry growth

In the Northern Hemisphere spring starts on March 20th this year. Why March 20th? On that date the daylight hours will be equal to the number of night-time hours. It is known as the equinox. In the beginning, at the creation of the sun and the moon (and the stars) YHVH/The LORD gave one of the very first commandments to creation. On the fourth day, before the creation of men, YHVH, Elohim set the moon and sun in their place. The moon to rule and light the night and the sun for the day. He decreed that these lights be for “signs and seasons,” the “genesis” of our reason for measuring seasons by the hours of the sun and moon. When the hours from sunrise to sunset are equal to the hours of night, we welcome spring.

Blueberries in bud

First I noticed the daffodils. Every year, along a path that I stop seeing, one day there will be a stand of daffodils insisting I pause to see them. They are not in bloom yet, but the promise of swollen buds bursting out of cold ground has returned. There are other earth signs. Days before I come with my tools and bucket to tidy up the herb garden the chives offer their goodness to my kitchen. Even this early, snipping them down brings more. From under the piles of straw and leaves come green spears of garlic, shallots and strawberries. I am sure the grass is growing and will soon need a trim.

Mixed greens started in January

My garden plans have been loosely made. Peas, my personal start to spring, have been pressed into the ground. There are two trays of sprouts that commute daily from my window to the porch and back. One tray of mixed greens for my late spring salads and one tray of broccoli and cauliflower to plant out come April. The compost has been turned and the trees trimmed.

Red Kale from the 2011 garden

Saint Patrick’s Day is my next big day outside. If the weather co-operates, potatoes will be started (they should be planted but often I just get around to cutting them up) on St Patty’s Day. Mel’s Mix (Square Foot Gardening planting mix) will need to be made; enough to fill the two new 4×8 boxes and maybe enough extra for my large pots of summer vegetables. The chicken run will need to be mucked out which means I might (as Ray suggested) need to start another cylinder for compost. With two smaller plastic bins of compost and one large cylinder I thought I might have enough already but those are full before I muck the chicken yard. Soon I will need to find a place for grass clippings and weeds from the herb and flower gardens. The boarders of the new gardens need to have a weed barrier laid that I can cover with beauty bark (it looks tidy that way).

Frosted cleric from 2011

Speaking of chickens, it is time to decide if I want any chicks. I can only have a total of 6 chickens in the city (four is plenty) and my girls are only a year old but I need to start thinking about eggs next year. I think I can wait another year for chicks. My girls should still lay enough eggs every week for the four of us.

Jason and I have been talking about bunnies this easter. We raised California Rabbits when we lived in Robe Valley. They are the best meat rabbits. Better than New Zealand in temperament. They are cute like a siamese kitten. If we get bunnies it would be nice to have hutches ready BEFORE we bring them home. They can live in the house for a short season like the chickens did. In fact, it is probably good to handle them like pets while they are young. Their poo is garden gold. Rabbit meat is loved by all three of my guys. I am a little worried about my terriers, Bomber and Rudy, who kill rats for a living. Actually Rudy only tries to kill them. Mostly he nips at them on the run. Bomber was created with the powerful jaw required to humanely kill a rat with one chomp. He is very good at what he does. I do not want them to mistake bunnies for rats. When I let the chickens out for a scratch in the compost they watch the girls with interest. Unfortunately they still get too excited if the girls have a fuss with each other and start flapping their wings.

Bomber reminds me of Bruce the Shark on Finding Nemo. The one who has to convince himself that “fish are our friends” and goes out of his way to prove it. But let one drop of blood enter his nostril and who he was created to be asserts itself. Bomber is that way with the nuggets. I watch him follow them about, fussing if one disappears to lay her egg, worried until once again all four are together. “Chickens are our friends.” But let them start squawking and flapping at each other and the heart of a good terrier takes over. So far he has responded quickly to my firm, “NO Bomber!” Good boy that he is.

Cole sprouts already getting "leggy"

Aquaponics has been moved back from spring to late summer but it would still be kewl if we could start a test pond of one or two barrels. Unless a killer deal for a greenhouse pops into our lap we need to wait until late summer, when hope is telling us Ray may be working again, to buy a the greenhouse. My spring fava beans, garlic and shallots have all been planted where we plan to put the greenhouse. We could sacrifice those but we are in no hurry.

Ray’s other project is bees. Not honey bees but mason bees. He has his “milky way boxes of bees” in the crisper drawer with my seed stash. We attended the free class on Mason Bees at Sunnyside Nursery last week. He has his book, an awesome web-site and starter straws. Now all we need is spring to sprong and the fruit trees to blossom to start the mason bees outside. Twenty more days.

Have rats will hunt. Bomber and his little pest Rudy

Winter Advisory in effect. Mostly that means that it is going to be really wet with a good chance of chunky rain (snow and rain mixed). That will keep the high temperature down to 46 degrees (the low is projected to be 36, cold but above freezing). As of today we get 11 hours and 5 minutes of daylight, wet and cloudy but day light none the less. Sunrise at 6:48, Sunset at 5:54. I’ll take it!

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Starting a few seeds in January

It is not that I dislike buying trays of vegetable starts in early Spring. I actually love doing that. I am not sure if I will have enough money this spring to choose between a tray of spicy, seductive Mesclun Mix or cream for Ray’s coffee. Since I have the seed and it is such a pretty day today, I started a whole flat of salad greens…… and reds and yellows. I am just a bit worried that they will get all leggy on me, but I have to try.

Did you see the boots at the end of the video? Suddenly I remembered I had them out in the trailer. I use them clam digging. Now I am ready to use them in the snow (except that the snow is almost gone)

Duel purpose boots....clam digging and snow chores

You can see the video on my utube channel

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Early July 2011 in the Toybox, Wet and Cold

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