Eggs, eggs, and more eggs

It’s the time of year where we don’t really have a lot going on outside, and things have been at a lull inside, too.

The ladies don’t seem to mind the falling snow. #hens #chickens #growingtoground

A photo posted by Jen Rothmeyer (@emsundotorg) on

In the autumn, we turn on a light for our chickens to keep them laying awhile longer. At the winter solstice, we shut the light off to give them a break until spring naturally gets them all wound up again. We’ve typically been getting between 5-6 eggs everyday from our six hens, but this week our count is down. We have gotten 30 eggs so far this year, or a little under four eggs a day. That’s okay, though. I know how I felt when I finally stopped nursing: relieved because I was so worn out – and sad, too. Luckily these ladies will be back to making delicious, deep-orange-yolked, thick-shelled eggs for me very soon. I’m not sure if they enjoy it as much as I do.

Went to grab the #eggs and Buffy gave me an evil eye. #growingtoground #chickens #hens

A photo posted by Jen Rothmeyer (@emsundotorg) on

Next week I am hoping to also get some sprouts going to add to salads and fried eggs (yum!). I’m going to count that as indoor gardening. 🙂

January 1 – January 8: Harvest Count

  • 30 eggs

Year To Date Total

  • 30 eggs (Phew, that was easy. No math involved.)

Garden View: It’s Winter

View on January 6, 2016

View on January 6, 2016

We are two weeks into winter, and the snow has finally fallen in Minnesota. My raised beds were sadly neglected a bit in the fall and didn’t quite receive their cleanup. Tarragon pokes its long, slender branches up from the snow as does countless wonderberry stems – which are veritably trunks. Even a few tomato vines linger amongst the beds. In other places, snow-covered straw blankets cloves of garlic (or garlic teeth or toes, depending on what language you are using), strawberries, grapes, and a plethora of herbs.  In the foreground, we see hosta stems and other garden detritus. They make good places for small birds to perch, when they pass through on their way to better weather and better feeding grounds. Midfield we’ve got my thinking rock. Spring through fall, I find a perfect rear-end shaped hollow, cozy down, and parse the garden notebook for the intricate plans I’ve surely doodled, drawn, and scrawled into place.

This week I’ve gathered my seed catalogs into one place for I will soon start going through them in order to piece together which ones I need to order and start in the coming weeks. I also moved the wire shelving into the dining room; it has the best light for new plants. Soon I’ll be cleaning out all my seedling trays and carefully placing soil and seeds into them. I anxiously await the vernal equinox and its promise of hope. In Minnesota, it’ll be months yet before the snow actually clears, but I can get started indoors and (im)patiently wait.

It’s coming.

Fall Salad with Cabbage, Spinach, Oranges, and Almonds

We have been absolutely delighted with our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share at Spring Wind Farm this year. We’ve had plenty of delicious vegetables and fruits (botanically speaking – unless you’re on the Supreme Court), and we enjoy the atmosphere of the u-pick selection of herbs, vegetables, fruits (again with the scientific language), and flowers.


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This past Thursday I picked up another beautiful red cabbage and a half pound of spinach (and a lot of other things, of course). I’d had a delicious orange cabbage salad months back from the spring crop and knew I wanted to do something very similar. Luckily, a quick Internet search led me to a spinach, orange, and cabbage salad on VegKitchen, a site I’ve visited many times before. I altered the ingredients a little to suit what I had on hand, but followed the directions from her recipe.

My ingredients:

  • 8 ounces spinach, sliced into thin strips
  • 4 cups thinly shredded red cabbage
  • 3 navel oranges, peeled, deseeded, sectioned, and cut in half
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted almonds, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

This made me about 9 cups of non-compacted salad. We promptly ate about a third of it and I stuck the rest in two wide-mouth quart jars for the next two days. This is so simple to make and alter, but the taste is amazing. All the kids like it (from 11 to 1!)

This salad is so delicious that combined with our experience with cabbage soup (we are studying medieval times over at Our Learning Lab for history, and one of our lessons included making the soup), I’ve decided I need to get serious about growing cabbage next year. We’ve gotten several from “our farm” (as we refer to it) and it’s never been enough. Boy has my opinion on this vegetable changed!

 

Fall is almost here – time for planting!

First frost is about 20 days away here in tropical Minnesota, so it is long past due to get the fall garden in. I do wrap my raised beds in greenhouse plastic in order to elongate the season a little, but I am still nervous for these early beets I’m planting. Let’s hope it goes well.

Going in the ground in box #21, I have:

  • Flat of Egypt Beet: “50 days. In 1885 Vilmorin said, “An exceedingly early variety, and certainly the best of the early kitchen-garden kinds.” This is a very quick beet of great quality, producing flattened 3”, crimson purple roots and short leafy tops.” – Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
  • Crosby’s Egyptian Beet: “55 days. Introduced to this country in 1869 and trialed by Peter Henderson, who recommended it in 1871. This improved “Crosby’s” strain was first offered by J. H. Gregory. This beet is early, tender, & fine flavored.”- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
  • Early Wonder Beet: “50 days. An old heirloom, pre-1811 variety. Early, smooth, round beet; makes lots of tall tender greens, too! Perfect pickled, fresh, cooked, or in borscht.”- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
  • Golden Beet: “55 days. This variety dates back to the 1820’s or before. The beets are a rich, golden-yellow and very sweet. A beautiful beet that won’t bleed like red beets. The greens are also very tasty. A favorite of many.”- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

In the ground and going into the ground in box #20, I have:

  • Kohrabi Gigante (planted earlier) – “A fantastic Czech variety for fall crops with enormous basal bulbs that can reach a foot in diameter and weigh 25-35 lbs. under proper culture. Always tender, they can be used fresh or dug before hard frost and stored in the root cellar 4-6 months. Sure fire State Fair winner!” – Cooks Garden
  • Cosmic Purple Carrots (planted earlier, not pictured): “This one is causing excitement at farmers’ markets. Carrots have bright purple skin and flesh that comes in shades of yellow and orange. Spicy and sweet-tasting roots are great for marketing.” – Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
  • Shiraz Tall Top Beet (not pictured): “60 days. Dual-purpose variety! Very fast-growing tops may be harvested early in the season—red-ribbed green tops grow lush and succulent. The sweet, very smooth and stylish roots follow in due course. Disease resistance of this newer type keeps the uniform roots blemish free! Excels equally for canning, pickling, roasting or boiling!” – Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
  • Dwarf Siberian Kale (not pictured): “This tasty Russian variety produces leaves that are only slightly frilled and of top quality. 16-inch plants are very hardy and productive.” – Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

The Week’s Harvest – 2015-06-06

Radishes

This week we pulled thirteen radishes, which makes our total harvest so far this year: fifteen radishes, one quart of violets, and a million eggs. Alright, you’ve got me. I heard your mental chastising from here. I really don’t know how many eggs, but I will start counting, okay? 🙂

P.S. Look for the robot in the above picture. He is the cutest tea “ball” EVER.

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