Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium eggplant, cubed
2 zucchini, cubed
2 medium yellow squash, cubed
2 green bell peppers, seeded and cubed
1 chopped red bell pepper
4 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1.Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft.
2.In a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and saute the zucchini in batches until slightly browned on all sides. Remove the zucchini and place in the pot with the onions and garlic.
3.Saute all the remaining vegetables one batch at a time, adding 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet each time you add a new set of vegetables. Once each batch has been sauteed add them to the large pot as was done in step 2.
4.Season with salt and pepper. Add the bay leaf and thyme and cover the pot. Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
5.Add the chopped tomatoes and parsley to the large pot, cook another 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
6.Remove the bay leaf and adjust seasoning.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Buying local produce is a great idea, and picking it yourself is the best way to ensure it's as fresh as possible, with the added benefit of lowering costs by cutting out several middlemen and transportation expenses involved in the process. Pickyourown.org is a good place to find established u-pick farms. There are many others that just have a sign on the side of the road, and they are usually cheaper.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I went outside to check on the chicks and discovered a pityful sight, one has been picked on and has a wound on one of her wings. While I was watching them, I actually saw two chicks picking at it. Chickens can be so nasty to each other. There is another one that also has bald areas around the wings, no wound. We're pulling those two out and setting them up in a rabbit cage till they heal. I'm glad I found a good chicken site with advice on how to deal with this, because reintroducing henpecked chickens back into the flock can be difficult. The injured chicken, the one that has her head in the food bowl, looks smaller than the rest. I think she has been kept from feeding too. Michael set up the rabbit cage and is out there soothing the two hens. He is such an animal lover.
The turkeys are getting along just fine, I'm glad we don't have to worry about them injuring each other...
I finally found a farm that will ship 6+ fertile Cuckoo Maran eggs to us. Since we already have an incubator and have used it several times, this is not as intimidating as it could have been. I hope they make it all the way here in one piece. We have a new mailman that seems a lot better than the woman we had before who refused to bring our packages down our long driveway, so I'm hoping for the best. We got the incubator out of the attic last night and turned it on to make sure it works, and it does.
While I was looking around for Marans, I found some interesting articles at the Mother Earth News site about raising chickens in a more sustainable way. The idea of Small Scale Silage is great - collecting grass clippings and fermenting them to be used in the winter using trash bags and cans. It looks doable. Even though our winters are mild, the grass does stop growing for a couple of months. We won't need to store a huge amount. A couple of other interesting articles: help for aggressive roosters and encourage hens to hatch eggs.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Don and Michael went to a Tampa Bay Beekeeeper's workshop today. They came home with lots of new information which I hope will help them harvest some honey in a couple of weeks. They won a veil for me at the raffle, that was nice. I always stand a ways off when they work on the hives, because one time when we went to visit a beekeeper we all got stung in the face. I learned later that bees instinctively go for the face as a defense against bears. One of the things they learned at the workshop was that people in Pinellas County can't have bee hives. They are considered "infestations." Ridiculous.
The garden provided us with a good bit of our dinner vegetables tonight. We had salad with our own lettuce, watercress, beets, tomatoes, and cucumber, and I made zucchini spaghetti, an adaptation of quick zucchini saute with some of the zucchini harvested yesterday.
Don and I have been talking for the last week about raising chickens for the table. We do eat chicken after all. If we raised our own, it would be a lot better than what we saw in the Food Inc. movie we watched recently, where chicken farmers were forced to keep their chickens in the dark, in appalling conditions. Plus, they would be true free-range chickens. So, this evening, while Don, Gabi, and Michael went to a movie at church, I had fun ordering 20 Jumbo Cornish X Rocks from McMurray, and since they require 25 minimum order... I also ordered five Cuckoo Marans.
I've been looking at the breeds that lay chocolate brown eggs for some time. I really like what I've read about the Cuckoo Marans, because they are good layers and can be meat birds as well. The Cuckoo Marans have a long history, they were bred in France during the late Middle Ages.
The breed originated in Marans, a town on the Atlantic coast, near La Rochelle (France). In the 12th century, with the marriage of Henri of Plantagenet, Duke of Anjou, who became Henri II of England, to Aleanor of Aquitaine a part of the south west of France was brought under English rule as part of her dowry The English domination lasted two centuries. So, English ships often stopped over at La Rochelle (near Marans) and unloaded fighting cocks which were crossbred to local hens, ultimately resulting in this unique breed. Long Meadow Ranch
These are chickens with an interesting past - I think they will please the history buffs around here. I ordered a straight run, hoping we'll get both hens, roosters, and the capability of breeding. We are going to participate in 4-H with our homeschool group again next year, and I think these rare, chocolate-egg-laying chickens would be an interesting entry at the State Fair in January.
**NOTE: The cornish X order was cancelled that same day, and I have since read terrible things about these chickens. We are now looking to raise broilers from heritage breeds such as the Marans chickens which are more sustainable because the hens go broody and are good moms.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
After dinner, we were all set to do another DIY project - grooming Molly. I think it's scandalous how much groomers ask for their services. So, armed with thinning shears and a pin brush, I set about to grooming our little bear - Molly the Havanese. When we received Molly last year, she didn't look like a Havanese at all. Her previous owner couldn't spend the time needed for a long-haired dog, so she had her looking like a Scottish Terrier, basically. We love Molly's silky-soft coat. She was bred for it. It took me three hours from bath to vacuuming up the mound of fur I cut off. One can hardly tell, but she is half the dog she was yesterday, or last week!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The darker yellow area near the center and top is where the new honey is. Once the bees fill about 70% of the box (super), we'll have to add another one to prevent a swarm.
Michael handled his first frame today. He has been very cautious around the hives. I'm happy to see he's not too bold and takes this seriously.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Knot's is another one of Plant City's oldies. I never have trouble finding anything there. The guys are always willing to direct you, and they know their stuff. We should try to support them too.
We had lunch at Fred's. If you are in the mood for some totally genuine southern food, this is the place to go. My favorites are the bbq ribs and fried green tomatoes, best in town!
Friday, May 7, 2010
Speaking of poults, we brought home three from Southside yesterday morning. We were there to pick up feed for the cows. I think we have two females and one male. They'll be big and ready for Thanksgiving. I think we may keep a pair and breed them. At $10 per chick, it seems like the thing to do. We will have to go visit the organic feed store in Sarasota on Monday. I was thinking of going to the beach then, so we may end up at one of the Sarasota beaches.
We finally decided to groom Molly ourselves. So, last night, we went over to Tractor Supply and picked up shears. While I was there I also found this magazine full of information on how to raise turkeys, including a section on how to do it naturally - with organic feed. They also have several examples of turkey houses which we're looking at. We need to find a way for the turkeys to graze as part of their natural diet. Considering the threat of predators around here, we need to make sure they are protected. I was shocked when my friend Anjie told me a few weeks ago she practially bumped into a coyote on her morning jog! It turns out that there are packs of coyotes around Plant City. Who would have thought?
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
I hope they have enough time to ripen before the heat, humidity, and bugs get to them - usually by mid-June. For some reason, the bed where the cucumbers are isn't doing so well. The pole beans are also giving, but the plants look a little pale, like they are lacking in nitrogen. There is a really huge sunflower growing in the middle of that bed, a volunteer from last Fall's planting which I didn't have to heart to pull at planting time... I wonder if it's zapping the rest of the plants there of what they need. It is a giant - surely a descendent of one of the Mamoth sunflowers I had growing nearby in the Fall.
We have a few busy bees in the garden, though less than I expected after getting our hives. I may need to go out there at different times of the day. Perhaps the they are still busy inside building comb to do a lot of harvesting yet.
Molly watches me waiting for me to move on so she can keep on with her mischief... She was eating away at a big pumpkin leaf while I picked peas. She is a faithful garden companion. I thought for sure she would be sick from eating that leaf, but it seems to have done no harm.