Thursday, May 30, 2013

Golden Butterflies


The wind lifts the maple helicopters
dispersing them far and wide.
They dance like so many golden butterflies,
stretching their wings,
eager to propagate their future.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

And, Another Rhubarb Post


The rhubarb picking over the weekend has left me in a frenzied mood to cook it.  One thing about eating seasonally, you are so excited to see the delicacies of each part of the season, that you eat them like crazy while you can, almost like you are trying to overdose on the memories of the flavors to hold you over until the next time.  I read this article this morning and I really love the idea of a living protest, and making your life a sign for your beliefs.

I already mentioned the Rhubarb Cordial that we started on Sunday.  I have decided that most batch recipes handle rhubarb in two pound increments....at least the ones that I am making.  I measured carefully the two pounds for the cordial, but when you have loads of chopping ahead of you, eyeballing is just good enough!  Yesterday I made a rhubarb lavender crumble.  I cheat a little, because I use Cracker Barrels apple crumble topping.  It is the best one that I've found, and have been yet to replicate it.  I always pick up a few bags of it when we pass by one.  hmmm maybe I should pinterest it, and see if anyone else has cracked the code to this oatmeal cinnamon goodness.  And, yes I did just use pinterest as a verb.


I also took 2 1/2 pounds of rhubarb and simmered it on the stove with 3/4 cup of water, 1 1/4 cups of sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla for about 45 minutes.  This produced a lovely rhubarb compote that gave me three full pints.  It is wonderful on toast, or my personal favorite swirled in oatmeal.

I am almost half through this first batch, and am searching for more new and interesting uses.  How do you use rhubarb??


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Rhubarb Agenda


This weekend was the traditional start to the gardening weekend in Wisconsin.  Normally we push the envelope and have most everything planted well before now, but that was not in the cards this year, and as it turns out that is ok.  We had patchy frost Friday morning!

We took our time this weekend, and got better than half of the seasons plantings in the ground before the rain began.  Thankfully, B had diligently prepared and covered many of the beds last fall, so there was not the prep work to be done.  We covered the beds that we are rotating out this season, and laid drip line as we planted. 

Our deep urge to get the season started sparked lots of conversation and brainstorming.  I love these sessions.  We can develop and fine tune our vision, and search out sustainable ways to make it happen.  As you can see from above, this weekend also gave us our first rhubarb harvest.  Thirty-four stalks as big as my arm and as wide as my wrist.  Oh there are so many things on my rhubarb agenda, so I began yesterday with a new recipe for an alcoholic rhubarb cordial.


So simple!  Two pounds chopped rhubarb, 1 Cup sugar and 1 liter of good vodka.  It needs to sit for a month, stirring it daily until the sugar is completely dissolved and the rhubarb breaks down.  Then we will strain it and bottle it.  I can't wait to see how it tastes!

We had a cold misty rain all day yesterday, perfect for watering in the new tender plants and allowing for farm dreams.  This morning, as thunderstorms and warmer air are rolling in, everything is foggy like London street corner at twilight.  I almost expect Sherlock Holmes to emerge out of the mist.  Not too bad a start to a Tuesday morning after a long holiday weekend;  warmer weather on the way and an air of mystery about the week. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Alway's Look on the Bright Side



In case our afternoon of scattered torrential rain has gotten you down.



Remember, it has put a damper 


 on our current pollen problem! ;-)


 AND, you could be out practicing soccer in the torrential rain.  The kids love getting wet and muddy,  I've gotta give full credit to our dedicated coaches!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Super Food in My Book


 Few things are better than being able to eat what you grow.  Not only do you know how it was grown, but there is a sense of accomplishment that comes from being able to simply go outside and pick your dinner.  I would say the only thing better is when what you eat are lush greens that overwintered in the cold frame and are in their full abundance now.  The sheer act of surviving frigid temperatures makes them a super food in my book.


Dinner last night was comprised of some sliced chicken on top of spicy arugula, butter lettuces, cannellini beans, avocado, tomato, and to top it off, some homemade toasted cornbread croutons.  That with a chilled glass of white wine, is what I call a perfect homestead dinner.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sunshine, Play & Love

bunny love

A little sunshine

grass time

A little bunny play

siblings

A little sibling love

Around the Homestead

peas

The last eight weeks or so we have low keyed our farm work for obvious reasons.  Thankfully, it has been rather cold and dreary for most of that time.  This weekend the weather was beautiful, and we started playing a little catch up.

We have been eating freely from the salad greens that we planted last fall, and are thrilled to see some of our early crops begin to thrive.  We re-purposed this little piece of old landscape fencing to be a pea trellis.  It is the perfect size and decorative to boot!  I only hope that our transition from wintry weather to summer like weather in the last several days does not render these cool weather babies yield-less.

new coop layout

One of my most hated cherished tasks is cleaning out the chicken coop.  Nevertheless, the girls are sporting a clean coop with a little different layout, and the compost pile is most happy with its infusion of rich nitrogen.

porch

After pulling out the bushes around the porch last fall, the rest of the work needs to be finished.  We completed the relatively easy task of laying out the landscape fabric and pushing staples into the soft ground.  The next step will be to have bark delivered to fill in.  The jury is still out on whether we will attempt this task, or need to have someone come in and do it.  I think calling on some prices will be on my to do list this week.

porch apps

What better way to enjoy the weather, after a weekend of accomplishment?  A few apps on the porch.  This is Ina's tuscan chickpea spread, like a kicked up hummus, with toasted pita points.  So tasty!

B's fractures have healed so his restrictions have been reduced as far as challenging his hand.  The soft tissue/ligament damage will take about a year to complete its recovery, so now we have begun to try to get some things done.  Since B can't put much pressure on that hand... holding a chefs knife and trying to chop an onion is impossible, he has been learning to shift his weight and do stuff with his left hand.  As he begins to get more active, he also begins to notice new aches and pains that were not there before the accident, so it is an ever evolving process.  I am so proud of him, no matter how frustrated that he is, he is diligent, and focused on healing and moving forward.  What better place to heal than around the homestead.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Our Latest Dusting

To get a true sense that Spring in Wisconsin has finally arrived, all you need to do is take a look around.  The windshield of the car...


 The tops of the newly leafed out plants






The top of the BBQ





Or even, just the tracks made during the evening stroll around the homestead.





Ladies, and gentlemen....the pollen has arrived!  As you sit in awe of its beauty and how happy the bees must be, remember....take your zyrtec!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Intoxicating


It is officially one of my very favorite times of year, that two week window when my lilac bush below the kitchen window is in full bloom.  I find myself longing to simply stand in the kitchen and be intoxicated by its scent. 

In the North we have a small window between spring and summer, sometimes the two do not look wholly different.  What are some of the things that you wait the long cold months for??

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Rogue Tulip


With our heavy spring snows were quickly followed by B's accident, our tractor is still snow ready, and not grass ready.  So until B is back in operation, we have had to hire someone to come out and do some mowing for us. 


They stopped by and mowed for us while we were at work on Thursday.  When I pulled in to our parking area after work, I took in the above site.  I was shocked!  I had no idea that we had a rogue tulip growing in the grass! 


It must have been hidden beneath the shagginess of the rapidly growing greenery, a little jewel in the rough, signs of the promise ahead.  What is touching to me is that the person who mowed, not only saw it, but mowed around it, leaving it as a little oasis in a sea of green. 

Silent Sunday ~ Happy Mother's Day


Friday, May 10, 2013

Transitions


As I was driving to work this morning, I was thinking about transitions.

When in Mexico, everyone was so friendly and would easily greet us with a 'hola' at every turn.  To which we instinctively returned the greeting.  The sound of it was almost sing songy.  Though only there for a short time, I find that I have to transition myself from using that greeting now that we are home.  The word is so soft when compared to our harsh sounding 'hello', it just felt good to say it.  I guess they are called the romance languages for a reason!

Ever since Google announced that it was doing away with friend connect and the Google Reader come July first, I have been looking for alternatives.  I tried out feedly, but I am just not feeling it.  I recently came across a reader called Bloglovin' and so far it is the best that I have found.  It is easy to maneuver in, visually pleasing, and will import everything that you have saved in Google Reader with the press of a button.  My favorite app to use is flipboard; it melds seamlessly with Google Reader, and they have assured us that we will not lose the blogs that we are currently following after the deadline.  But I am hoping that as we get closer that flipboard will pick up bloglovin'. To transition, I have added a follow me button on the blog, but am also putting one right here...please press it to update your subscription :)
Follow on Bloglovin

As you can see from the photo, we finally seem to be transitioning to Spring!  We have been happily munching away at the first tender asparagus spears and had a bumper crop of spinach and kale that we blanched and stored earlier this week.  The weather has been so beautiful that I can even appreciate the rain falling today.  It is not quite so dreary when it beads up on the petals of the flowers!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Decade


Today, that boy of a thousand smiles and an endless number of expressions, reaches the double digits!  It is hard to believe how quickly the time goes.  To my fearless, thoughtful, smart little man, whose brain never stops working for a moment, the happiest of birthdays!  I so look forward to what Charlieisms the next twelve months hold!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Paradise



I left last Thursday for a long weekend with great friends in paradise.  The days were full of warming laughter and camaraderie; just the things needed to feed the soul.   More to come on that!  Those few days away transformed the homestead.  The trees are bursting with colorful flowers and baby leaves, the garden seeds have all broken through their warm cocoons, and everything feels like spring..... those few months of Wisconsin's paradise have begun.


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