Sunday, June 01, 2008

Independence Days Week 5

Wow! It's already week five of the Independence Days challenge, and it's been both motivating and satisfying to look back on what we've managed to accomplish.

Plant:

I transplanted about 300 tomato plants and around 150 pepper plants. For those who don't know, we have a small CSA, which accounts for the crazy numbers. Though I admit to being nearly incapable of killing anything green. Deliberately anyway, though I sure did my best with these guys. We have a hodge-podge of plants in the market garden that only time will tell what they are. I tried to plant them based on similarity, so we may have some semblance of organization down there.

Harvest:

Harvested variety of lettuces, kale, chard, radishes, strawberries, green onions, snap peas, thyme, cilantro, sorrel, chives, milk and eggs.

Preserve:

Picked 6 quarts of strawberries and made jam out of 4 quarts to yield 16 half pints. Froze 2 quarts for use in smoothies and ice cream.

Skimmed 9 quarts of cream! This will go towards making butter and ice cream. Yummmmmm!


Store:

Put up 3 bottles of "cheap ass" vodka, according to Jim, for use in making tinctures; 3 bottles lamp oil; matches; organic lemon juice; 50# hard red winter wheat berries; 25# arborio rice; 25# brown basmati rice; 50# organic sugar; vanilla; Em's favorite graham sticks.

Prep:

Picked up 25 buckeye chicks to round out our breeding program. Purchased a book called Spinning in the Old Way, which talks about spinning obviously, but also about wool prep. Jim picked up 10 cattle panels.

Manage:

Weeded in the market garden, laid tarp to keep down weeds in the staging area, covered spinach with shade cloth, continued to slug-hunt, pulled out soaker hoses.

Cook:

I made ricotta cheese for the first time this week, and it was pretty tasty, though the curds were quite firm—almost mozzerella like. The first batch didn't come out at all, but the piggies and the chickens didn't mind one little bit; they thought it was just marvelous.

We also made our first ice cream, and boy was it just amazing! We made vanilla for everyone to fix up the way they like. Jules and Em had chocolate syrup, Jim and I had sugared strawberry topping I quickly whipped up from our garden, Sam had both! Em kept saying, "It's like heaven in cream form!"

Add:

CSA delivery to three local families. Natural foods co-op, volunteered for unloading and check in.

Reduce:

Used my chico bags again while shopping. I love having them right in my purse for those times I forget to grab my canvas market bags.

Learn:

Learning all about cheese making.

13 comments:

Christy said...

What is the name of that garden journal you got that has 5 years on each page? I'm ready to order one but didn't seem to bookmark it.

tansy said...

do you have access to everclear? it's twice the amount of liquor for the same price as vodka. do you have richo cech's book making herbal medicine? i love it, he has formulas for the amount of alcohol:water ratio for tincturing making and whether it's best to use fresh or dried for each herb.

Danielle said...

Christy, it's called Journal 10+ and it covers 10 years. It's very, very cool. Now, if I could just find one that had a little motivational prod each evening to get me to write in it more regularly!

Tansy, yes, I ordered his book this winter and really love it. The vodka was an impulse buy and I couldn't remember what I was supposed to get. I thought I remembered Everclear, but when I looked at the proof, it seemed a bit ridiculous. Ah well, I'm sure I'll be able to use this.

tansy said...

the vodka is usable, i still use it time to time but everclear is the way to go.

i have 'a gardener's journal' from lee valley that is a 10 year journal. i love it. it used to be good at writing in it daily. now, i sit down 3-4 times a week and update it. it's nice to be able to look back over the years and see patterns and changes.

Sarah said...

Danielle, how do you support all of those tomatoes? Do you have them on trellisses, fences, panels, or just laying on the ground? I think I have too many tomato plants for growing up my garden fence this year...

Angie said...

I just spent a good 3 minutes laughing at the picture of the 'rear view'.

So cute.

I'm completely coveting your cow - she is beautiful.

Caroline Freedom said...

What a hilarious rear view! I'm still grinning. Can you give instructions on making the ricotta?

Wendy said...

I love reading about your progress. It makes me a little jealous, but at the same time inspired.

I use vodka for my tinctures and extracts. I made peppermint extract and vanilla extract, both of which I use in baking. This weekend, at a wedding, I had cherry vodka with sprite. It was really good, and I was thinking if I can find some local cherries I'd be making a nice cherry vodka. I know at least one couple who would be happy to have some as a gift ;).

Ren said...

I just looked at that 10year journal and WOW! Very cool. I need one. Now I know your secret.;)

I talked about you at the beekeeping meeting tonight...met a really neat couple who are organic farming here AND starting a CSA!! Woohoo!

She happened to be a doctor/farmer like you (has her phd) so maybe they'll stop by your blog and say hello.:)

Verde said...

I come over here so I can see what really can get accomplished in a day! Ha!

The cheese making is a learning experience.

Country Girl said...

The kids and I are starting a farm stand this year. How many families do you provide to? Do the kids enjoy? That Journal 10+ is a good idea.

Danielle said...

Sarah, I really love using cattle/ hog panels for trellising tomatoes, but this year I have way to many to make that financially feasible. So, we'll be using t-posts and high tensile wire, which we need to get in this weekend before the tomatoes get any bigger. I'll still be using the cattle panels for my pole beans, though since I have far fewer of those.

Jenny is the one who turned me onto the Journal 10+ last year when she visited. I totally geeked out over it and had to get one for my birthday.

Caroline, I'll do a post soon about my cheese, and I'll include the recipe there. I hope you'll enjoy the Home Cheese Making book!

Country Girl, we have 10 members in our CSA, which is a good number for me, considering I do most of it by myself. The kids help off and on as they're interested, but it's not something they're required to do. We don't have chores for them or anything. The farm is my thing, and I want it to be fun and interesting for them. They can help out and earn money whenever they choose, but that kind of wore off pretty quickly. If you click on the CSA category on my side bar, you'll find lots of details from our first year.

I'm glad everyone got such a kick out of the rear view photo. I still crack up when I see it. And Woody's right: if Jim had posted that photo, it definitely would've elicited a "Jiiiiim," said in that special way that he's learned to dread.

Ren said...

Hey, just a thought...not sure how it would compare price wise because I am going to pick mine up today.

I'm going to use concrete reinforcing wire for trellising my tomatoes this year. I saw in organic gardening magazine how some of the big tomato producers use it and it seemed very sensible.

They had rolled it in a circle around each tomato plant, just like a cage but I think I'll pound some rebar in the ground and attach it at two ends, like a fence and trellis them up both sides.

This picture shows it with 6x6 wire:
http://home.howstuffworks.com/staking-vegetables.htm