other people’s stories: urban farming
June 28, 2010, 8:44 pm
Filed under: farm, gardening, goats

novella with friends

Photo from Flickr here.

Novella is an urban farmer in Oakland CA. Many of you have heard of her, she wrote a book on about her experiences last year–very popular book–she raised pigs and rabbits on a city lot. But this may be news for some of you. So here you go!

A lot of her issues we can relate to. Swiss Chard rules! Corn, not so much. And she apparently pays 18.00 a bale for alfafa for her pygmy goats!!? Holy cow. Makes our 5.00 crappy hay seem not so bad! She’s a funny lady. She admits that the pigs were too much. I heard a story with her on the radio and she was talking about dumpster diving to feed them–fish heads!!! Ye-uck. And now has goats, but admits they’re not really a great money saver. Obsessives: Urban Farming : Novella Carpenter’s backyard is a pigsty.

Here’s a link from a segment on NPR which has the first chapter of her book.


cheddar buttermilk drop biscuits
June 27, 2010, 8:55 pm
Filed under: bread, buttermilk, recipe

We had some carrot soup lounging around and I wanted to serve it again, but needed something to jazz it up a bit. A nice biscuit fit the bill. I haven’t made too many biscuits in my day, but these were easy, quick, and pretty good. I’d try them again. I love buttermilk. I think they’d be good with other herbs and things too.

Recipe here..
Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 biscuit)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1 cup low-fat buttermilk (what is low-fat buttermilk? I dunno. I used plain old buttermilk)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese shredded
Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; cut in shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in green onions and cheese. Add buttermilk, stirring just until flour mixture is moist.

Drop batter by heaping tablespoons onto a baking sheet with a silpat on it. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

feeding bees
June 27, 2010, 7:30 am
Filed under: bees

The bees sure eat a lot. We’ve been using the baggie system to feed them and it works pretty well. Here’s how we do it.

get your supplies together

Fill a 2 qt pitcher with water to the 48 oz. line. Then add sugar (I read somewhere to use only cane sugar but I don’t know why really). Add sugar until you fill up the pitcher. This will equal 6 cups of sugar to your 6 cups of water. It’s a pretty convenient amount to make and it will fill two gallon baggies moderately full. If you really want to, you could make two batches this way and put the whole amount in a baggie–but that seems more risky! Out of all of our feedings the one accident we had (somehow it leaked out) was when we put the whole amount in one bag.

load the baggie in a bowl

use a serrated knife and make a small- 1"- slit in the bag

The surface tension keeps the contents from leaking out all over. The bees just walk on top over to food. Yum.

quarter pounder, turdacres style
June 25, 2010, 1:51 pm
Filed under: chickens

Hmmm. So the little doode came in with two eggs. He was a bit freaked out. And frankly so were we. What was this monster egg??!! Who laid it? Why did we hear no real over the top squawking? You’d think we might have.

normal eggs and one not so usual one!

We put it on the scale and it hit 4 oz. Holy Cow! Double the size of the other eggs. The egg had a crack in the top–I imagine the girls pecked it in amazement–so we didn’t eat it. But we did crack it open and yes, it was a big double yolker. We haven’t seen any doubles in a long long time. Which makes me think maybe it was Liz’s egg.

double yolker quarter pounder

And in other egg news….Hey Mr. Pointy, apparently lots of other folks name their weirdo eggs too.

barley and herb salad
June 24, 2010, 8:43 pm
Filed under: barley, herbs, recipe, salad

This is a nice salad to showcase some fresh herbs and green onions. It would be really great as a side dish (the flavors are green and mild-ish), but of course we just ate it as a bowl dinner. I found the recipe on whole foods website and modified it to suit.

Barley and Herb Salad
Serves 4 as a main dish

Water (at least 3 cups)
1 cup pearled barley
1/2 cup green onions chopped
1/2 cup red pepper chopped
1/4 cup italian flat leaf parsley chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp fresh mint chopped
1/4 cup canola oil
1 minced clove garlic
1/2 lemon –squeezed for juice
salt and pepper to taste

plus–we added 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella diced
and 1/2 cup garbanzo beans
you could make other additions as you wish

Cook barley in water in saucepan simmering til tender about 20-30 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Mix rest of ingredients in bowl. Adjust seasoning as needed. Serve warm or cold.

maple syrup
June 20, 2010, 8:22 pm
Filed under: canada, food | Tags:

Around these parts we do like the sweet stuff. (Bees get busy!!)…One of the things we especially love is maple syrup. On our cottage vacation in the bruce peninsula, we made sure to visit different farms to pick up some vats of the stuff. We had a great time talking with one couple who are living the dream. They have a nice house in the woods a barn and this insanely modern sugar system–tubing in the woods and the most amazing copper boiler. Little doode asked a load of questions and was keen to learn about the man’s woodworking stuff. In the end we left with some knowledge, some syrup and a stile–that we hang on the christmas tree!

A little while back I checked out this Serious Eats Interview with Schoolyard Sugarbush on making and using Maple Syrup.

Here’s a great tip I need to remember:

“In pretty much any recipe you can use a half cup of syrup instead of a cup of white sugar and you’ll get the same sweetness. You just need to take out three spoonfuls of liquid from the recipe, because of the liquid in the syrup. The calories for syrup and sugar are the same for the same measurement, so by using half a cup of syrup instead of a cup of sugar, you are eating half the calories.”

How cool is that?

kale pasta salad sort of greek style
June 15, 2010, 8:57 am
Filed under: kale, pasta, recipe, salad

A forest of kale. Pasta salad good in theory yet somehow hard to pull off. Discuss. Sometimes it’s just too bland. Anyhow the forest of kale needed some tending so this salad came into being. I’d been thinking about something like it for awhile and didn’t really find the right recipe, so mixed, matched, used what we had. Little doode pronounced it a 9.5. And the rest of us loved it too!

No tomatoes yet, which was the first thought, so I put roasted red peppers in instead. Worked great. 1.99 from Trader Joe’s = 2 roasted peppers. Which is cheaper than buying them fresh I think!

Kale pasta Salad with olives and roasted red peppers

Serves 4 hungries as only course with extras for lunch the next day.

1 lb. pasta (i used medium shells)
8 large leaves of kale chopped remove big stem at bottom (also picked 5 extra for the chickens!)
1 jar roasted red peppers (2)
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/2 cup or more feta crumbled
1/4 -1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic minced
salt and pepper to taste
sprinkle of dried basil (i’m lazy–must plant more basil in garden near the house)

Boil pasta as directed on box. In last 3-5 minutes add the kale. Drain and rinse with cold water. Cool pasta. (I put some ice cubes in the bowl). Add other ingredients. Mix dressing and pour over. Taste and adjust seasonings (I didn’t exactly measure the dressing part amounts above are estimates of what I put in–the salad gets extra taste from peppers and olives).