Saturday, April 30, 2011

what do i do when sleep don't come?

  • i scrape and clean last year's medium size bee frames. 
    • really hard work by the way!
  • i scrape and clean last year's medium size supers
  • i give my old (currently not in use) medium hive supers a fresh coat of paint.
  • i build my new shallow size bee frames. 
  • i give the new shallow size supers (built last week) a fresh coat of paint 
  • i wrap my paint brush in a plastic bag and store it in the fridge until it's next use
  • i load fresh wax foundation into the frames 
  • i talk to chickens in a semi-dark garage while doing all of the above - so as not to disturb them any more than i already am that is. i adore their cooing and sweet sleepy voices.  
  • i humor opera kitty who is now absolutely sure that i am nutso. 
  • i enjoy the cool of the eve with my creature friends and thank the gods for the simple joys in my life
  • i head back in and give sleep a second go
  • i would do this all night if it were not for all that i need to do in the morrow
  • i head back in and give sleep a second go
  • i head back in and give sleep a second go
  • sleep sometimes she comes to me real slow

Friday, April 29, 2011

a spring time walkabout the hippychick universe

greenie beans hang about

squashes beauty in the dappled light

compost and buckets and wabbit and chickens

a most excellent year for peaches - weaping the bow

apples make me smile

mo' compost - it's good for my garden

comfrey leaves add greatness to the composting goods

tarzan and rooroo seem to have struck a truce

maters sizing up

wee girl mater just getting started

beautiful eggyplant bloom ready for setting


future butteryflies of the black swallowtail kind

twins in formation


look high look low, they are all about the place


in addition, predator wasps and honey bees enjoy the nectar goodness


made in the shade


getting a good look about - psssst!  beware of birdies - i bet you look good!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

season's first beanygreens!


hippychick is out of doors watering the veggie patches and will return soon to write a bit of blather. 

stay tuned or be warned
the choice is yours

cheers!

i'm back and it's been quite a day.  a good day.  one of hauling and watering and planting and mowing and moving and cooking and cleaning and not much resting.  

a good bit of good hard labor is good for the soul i do believe.  maybe not for the souls of my feets but given a bit of time, they'll repair.

the morning started off with a bit of "still in the pajamas" watering followed by the harvesting on the beautiful beans you see in the photo.  we enjoyed these very green beans for dinner and ooh ooh baby they proved tender and yummy yum yum.
i then spiffed the yard up with a good clean mowing, moved a whole lot of chicken bedding from it's temporary "under the fruit trees" location to 2 more compost piles.  i've now got three piles cooking which means that our compost needs for the fall garden are secure.  i figured i was done with moving compost for the spring season except for the fact that i may need to relocate a few bins so that i might relocate a bee hive to the location that the compost pile currently sets.  

i got a report from a neighbor that my bees are collecting around her newly installed exterior night lights.  bees will do that because they confuse the very bright light for the sun.  the knowledge i imparted about the bright lights bit did ease the soul of my neighbor but not so much and understandably so.  so, it's best if i find them a better spot in the yard away from the lights.  in the long run, it will prove better for the bees and better for the neighbor.  though i did offer to purchase the neighbor yellow flood lights for her fixtures.  i did not get a feeling that this was going to take.  so plan b for bees in underway.

i've never moved a hive before.  and i'm not quite ready to do it as there is that 3' x 3' x 3' fully loaded compost pile that will need to move first.  that is if i feel the compost spot is really the best place for the bees.  i'm not sure yet.  i'm pondering options.  i might place them on the south side of the chicken coop.  this spot may prove too hot, too exposed in the heat of the summer.  i'm not quite sure yet.  bunbun is currently located on the south side of the coop and i've been thinking that it is about that time of year that i move him to his more shaded summer spot.

this is no small event so i'm going to take a bit of time before i decide.  my neighbor did not ask me to move the hive and i don't think she will but i would like to be the good neighbor and see what i can do to make life happy for all long term.

what am i thinking about when it comes to the plan bee pondering?
  • i am considering where i have the most foot traffic
  • where the cats and creatures travel most, protection from wind, rain and the uber hot sun we get for more than a few months in the year
  • places where my gardening will not be hindered
  • most importantly a spot where run ins with the neighbors prove less likely
this is not so easy when you're living on a 1/4 acre lot.  i'll work it out, it just takes some planning and pondering. 

now i wonder if i really should split a hive this year which would increase my current count of two hives to three.  hmmm, i think i can.  it just means that the planting planning may need some adjusting. more on the plan b for bees as the pondering develops.

i'm off track - 
so the chicken bedding got moved to the new piles.  i then roughed up the dirt beneath the fruit trees in order to mix the remaining bedding in with the soil.  the better for breaking down and not attracting flies it is.  i did make sure to keep the hot bedding away from the base of the trees which might prove too hot for the trees.  i'll let it mellow a bit before raking it in closer to the base.  once the area was roughed up, i watered it all in.

i did have a helper.  the "visiting" rooroo decided to kick in and turn a bit of soil beneath the fruit trees for me.  good for him.  i would appreciate a little eating of the baddy bugs.  after all if you are going to take up residence then a bit of holding your own is nice. yup, that's right i think this boy is going to be around for a while.  my oh my.

on another subject, i took a bit of the finished compost and placed it around a lime tree i had taken for dead dead dead from our very harsh, very winter weather this year.  most all of my citrus trees took it hard.  most lost all of their upper growth and most are showing new growth on the lower part of their trunk.  some are  now showing great promise where others are inching along.  i took this baby for lost.  wrong!  the wee lime tree has shot out two little little stems near to it's base so I laid out a bit of good compost around the sweetie and watered it in.  we'll see how she grows.  i may need to pot all of the citrus up later this year to make winter garage protection possible as the last two winters have really done a number on the babies.

i put in a few flowering, 'make the bees, butterflies and humming birds happier' plants today.  i plan to focus this year's plantings around the needs of bees, butterflies and other feeding creatures; beneficial wasps, butterflies and the like.
  • yellow trumpet vine
  • blue pincushion flower
  • white trailing lantana
each are all relatively fast growers.  we'll see how they do in our heat.  i have seen bees all over trumpet vines elsewhere.  i figure the more i can provide for my hives right here at home the better.

as i mentioned, the beans were steamed up for dinner.  i then made a most excellent pot of tapioca pudding with farm fresh milk, eggs from the ladies, raisins, nutmeg and shaved coconut (unsweetened).  i used home harvested honey to sweeten up the pot. oh baby this pudding makes a hippychick quite happy.

overall, we are doing well.  i have just about run out of steam for the day so i'll sign off for now.  the sun is down and soon shall i be too. until next time, enjoy the goodness that life brings you.  cheers.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Support local foods. Support local farmers. Keep fresh and healthy goods available as an option for all!

Call your reps to support raw milk, house bill 75 and local foods, house bill 2084 and house bill 1139.

Support local foods. Support local farmers. 
Keep fresh and healthy goods available as an option for all!
    • Location: Texas State Capital, Level E2, Room 012. Fill out three green forms found on a table at the back of the room. One for each bill, Hand the forms to the clerk at the front of the room. Stay and listen if you like. There are many bills being heard today. Or head back to work, to life, to wherever you need to be. 

    • Note: check the  SUPPORT box
    • 2 hours FREE PARKING at the capital visitors center parking lot - you can't lose!
      The lot is located between 12 and 13th and between San Jancinto and Trinity. 

      Please stop by the House Committee Hearing this Wednesday morning to fill out a form saying that you support the raw milk bill, the cottage foods bill, and the local foods omnibus bill (more info on all three below). The more in favor, the more support we will see from our state legislators!

      Can you spend 15 minutes? Come to the hearing room at 8 am, and fill out a witness affirmation form saying you support these bills. Hand... it to the clerk, and you'll be listed on the witness list even if you leave soon after. The witness list is important because, when the bill goes to the full House after the hearng, the Representatives will look to see how many people were witnesses for or against the bill. Just 15 minutes can have an impact.

      Can you spend an hour or two? Hand in your witness form and grab a seat. Simply being there and helping to fill the room with bodies who are watching the hearing in person makes an impact on the Committee members. Whether or not you testify, your physical presence helps a lot.

      Can't come at 8 am, but you may be able to get there later? Come on over! The Commitee is hearing 23 bills that day, so the timing depends on what order they hear the bills in and how many people testify. If it's after 10 am, you can double-check whether or not the Committee has already heard HB 75 by calling the Committee office at (512) 463-0806. You can also watch a live video broadcast at http://www.house.state.tx.us/video-audio/

      Can you be there all day, to show your support whenever the Committee hears the bill? Thank you!

      We need your help to pass this bill, so please do as much as you can. Not only does the Big Dairy industry oppose it, but the Texas Medical Association and the Pediatrics Association have indicated they plan to testify against it. So if you want to be able to buy raw milk at farmers markets or have your farmer legally deliver it, you need to come tell the legislators that.

      WHERE: Texas Capitol, Room E2.012
      DATE: Wednesday, April 20
      TIME: 8 am
      PARKING: Parking is usually available at the Capitol Visitors Center, located between Trinity and San Jacinto Streets at 12th and 13th. You can find a map and other options also listed at http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/SPB/Plan/Parking.htm

      Please invite all the people you know who care about raw milk access.

      In addition to the raw milk bill (HB 75), two other local foods bills will be heard on Wednesday: HB 1139 (cottage foods) and HB 2084 (local foods omnibus). Here’s a bit of information on each:

      • Improving access to raw milk: Grade A licensed farmers can sell raw milk in Texas, but only “on farm,” i.e. consumers must drive out to the farm. HB 75 and SB 237 would llow licensed farmers to sell at farmers markets and make delivery arrangements with their customers. You can read our fact sheet about raw milk at http://texasrealmilk.org/Learn-More

      • Promoting “cottage foods”: The costs of a commercial kitchen can be prohibitive for start up businesses and small-scale producers. HB 1139 and HB 2084 would allow small-scale producers selling low-risk foods, such as jams, jellies, baked goods, and dried herbs, to sell their products directly to consumers without needing a commercial kitchen.

      • Local Foods Omnibus: In addition to promoting cottage foods, HB 2084 would lower fees on small-scale cheesemakers, enable electronic food stamp benefits to be used at farmers markets, and identify the barriers to fair property tax treatment for organic, urban, and sustainable farms.
      Please come on April 20th to help support raw milk and local foods through these important bills!
      COMMITTEE MEMBERS

      Below is a list of the House Committee members and their emails. If you cannot come to the hearing in person, you can email each Committee member to express your support for the bill. Be sure to put “Support HB 75” in the subject line of your email.

      Chairwoman Kolkhorst: Lois.Kolkhorst@house.state.tx.us
      Vice Chairman Naishtat: Elliott.Naishtat@house.state.tx.us
      Representative Alvarado: Carol.Alvarado@house.state.tx.us
      Representative Coleman: Garnet.Coleman@house.state.tx.us
      Representative Davis: Sarah.Davis@house.state.tx.us
      Representative Gonzales: Veronica.Gonzales@house.state.tx.us
      Representative King: Susan.King@house.state.tx.us
      Representative Lobenberg: Jodie.Laubenberg@house.state.tx.us
      Representative Schwertner: Charles.Schwertner@house.state.tx.us
      Representative Truitt: Vicki.Truitt@house.state.tx.us
      Representative Zerwas: John.Zerwas@house.state.tx.us

      For more information, go to http://farmandranchfreedom.org/Texas-2011



      Thank you

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

- in flower - to flower -

squashes squashes where are you?

allium onions flower too

shy shy comfrey bows her head

texas red sage glowing (yes indeed) red

and she kholrabi springs up yellow we'll save her seeds for future fellows

Monday, April 18, 2011

inform yourself - act now - your voice matters



Action Alert
Texas Raw Milk and Local Foods  
Bills Set for Hearing  
    
The House Public Health Committee will hear the raw milk bill, cottage foods bill, and local foods omnibus bill next Wednesday, April 20.   See logistic details below . 

We need your help!

Please make plans to join us at the Capitol on Wednesday.  We need a large turnout to let the Committee members know the level of public support for these bills.  You don't have to testify to be heard - you can have a powerful impact just by being there and filling out a card in favor of the bills.

Our goal is to have a room packed with raw milk and local foods supporters, but to keep the testimony short so that we respect the legislators' time and the need for them to also hear the other bills on the agenda for the day.  Remember, by filling out the card, you will be listed as a witness in support of the bill, whether or not you testify.  If you wish to testify, please plan to keep your comments to no more than 3 minutes - and shorter is even better.  Focus on why this issue is so important to you and key facts.  If you are a constituent of one of the Committee members, be sure to mention that fact.

While you're at the Capitol, you can increase your impact by taking a few minutes to visit your Representative and Senator in person.  We'll have flyers available with talking points on the raw milk bill and the other local foods bills that have been filed.
CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS     
If you can't come to the hearings, please take a moment on Monday or Tuesday to call your Representative and Senator to urge them to co-sponsor the bills and help move them forward.   

You can find out who represents you at www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us  or by calling the Texas Capitol Switchboard at 512-463-4630.   

After calling your own legislators, you can help further by emailing all of the Committee members to urge them to approve these bills as soon as possible.  The list of Committee members and their email addresses are below.

Please help spread the word!  Invite your friends to join you and be part of taking back control of our food supply.

*** There is a chance that the raw milk bill will also be heard in the Senate Committee on Tuesday.  But it is not yet confirmed, so stay tuned for the next action alert ***
WEDNESDAY HEARING on HB 75 (raw milk), HB 1139 (cottage foods), and HB 2084 (local foods omnibus)

WHERE:   Texas Capitol, Room E2.012

DATE:       Wednesday, April 20

TIME:         8 a.m.  

Please try to arrive a few minutes early, so you can fill out a card in support of the bills.  The Committee will meet from 8 am to 10 am, and will probably re-convene in the late afternoon to finish the hearing.

If you can stay all day, that is great!  But if you need to leave early, don't worry. Just fill out the card in support of the bills before you leave, and you'll be listed on the witness lists in support of the bills.  You must be there in person to hand in the witness card.

PARKING:  Parking is usually available at the Capitol Visitors Center, located between Trinity and San Jacinto Streets at 12th and 13th.  You can find a map and other options also listed at http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/SPB/Plan/Parking.htm
MORE INFORMATION    
There are three "local foods" bills that are expected to be heard on Wednesday: HB 75 / SB 237 (raw milk), HB 1139 (cottage foods), and HB 2084 (local foods omnibus).   
Here's a bit of information on each:
  • Improving access to raw milk: Grade A licensed farmers can sell raw milk in Texas, but only "on farm," i.e. consumers must drive out to the farm.  HB 75 and SB 237 would allow licensed farmers to sell at farmers markets and make delivery arrangements with their customers.  You can read our fact sheet about raw milk at http://texasrealmilk.org/Learn-More
  • Promoting "cottage foods": The costs of a commercial kitchen can be prohibitive for start up businesses and small-scale producers.  HB 1139 and HB 2084 would allow small-scale producers selling low-risk foods, such as jams, jellies, baked goods, and dried herbs, to sell their products directly to consumers without needing a commercial kitchen.
  • Local Foods Omnibus: In addition to promoting cottage foods, HB 2084 would lower fees on small-scale cheesemakers, enable electronic food stamp benefits to be used at farmers markets, and identify the barriers to fair property tax treatment for organic, urban, and sustainable farms. 
Please come on April 20th to help support raw milk and local foods with these important bills! 
For more information, go to www.FarmAndRanchFreedom.org 
Below is a list of the House Committee members and their emails.  If you cannot come to the hearing in person, you can email each Committee member to express your support for the bill.   

Be sure to put "Support HB 75, 1139, and 2084" in the subject line of your email.

Chairwoman Kolkhorst:        Lois.Kolkhorst@house.state.tx.us      
Vice Chairman Naishtat:       Elliott.Naishtat@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Alvarado:          Carol.Alvarado@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Coleman:         Garnet.Coleman@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Davis:                Sarah.Davis@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Gonzales:         Veronica.Gonzales@house.state.tx.us
Rep. King:                  Susan.King@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Lobenberg:      Jodie.Laubenberg@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Schwertner:     Charles.Schwertner@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Truitt:                 Vicki.Truitt@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Zerwas:            John.Zerwas@house.state.tx.us
FTCLDF is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization made up of farmers and consumers joining together and pooling resources to protect the constitutional rights of the nation's family farms and the consumers who patronize them. 

HB75 Raw Milk Supporters needed at Texas State Capital Tomorrow! Wednesday April 19!!

Hello folks, 
WE JUST NEED 15 MINUTES OF YOUR TIME.  
PLEASE HELP IF YOU ARE ABLE.

If you cannot attend in person, please call your reps.  Phone numbers are listed below.

Thank you,
Michelle
a.k.a. hippychick

A firm supporter and a happy, healthy drinker of RAW MILK


- I will be there -


When:  WEDNESDAY APRIL 20, 2O11 beginning at 8am

The hearing on the raw milk bill, HB 75, is just two days away.  Have you made plans to be in Austin for it yet?

Can you spend 15 minutes?  Come to the hearing room at 8 am, and fill out a witness affirmation form saying you support HB 75.  Hand it to the clerk, and you'll be listed on the witness list even if you leave soon after.  The witness list is important because, when the bill goes to the full House after the hearing, the Representatives will look to see how many people were witnesses for or against the bill.  Just 15 minutes can have an impact.

Can you spend an hour or two? Hand in your witness form and grab a seat.  Simply being there and helping to fill the room with bodies who are watching the hearing in person makes an impact on the Committee members. Whether or not you testify, your physical presence helps a lot.

Can't come at 8 am, but you may be able to get there later?  Come on over!  The Committee is hearing 23 bills that day, so the timing depends on what order they hear the bills in and how many people testify.  If it's after 10 am, you can double-check whether or not the Committee has already heard HB 75 by calling the Committee office at (512) 463-0806.  You can also watch a live video broadcast at http://www.house.state.tx.us/video-audio

Can you be there all day, to show your support whenever the Committee hears the bill?  Thank you!

We need your help to pass this bill, so please do as much as you can.  Not only does the Big Dairy industry oppose it, but the Texas Medical Association and the Pediatrics Association have indicated they plan to testify against it.  So if you want to be able to buy raw milk at farmers markets or have your farmer legally deliver it, you need to come tell the legislators that.

WHERE:    Texas Capitol, Room E2.012
DATE:        Wednesday, April 20
TIME:         8 am
PARKING:  Parking is usually available at the Capitol Visitors Center, located between Trinity and San Jacinto Streets at 12th and 13th.  You can find a map and other options also listed at http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/SPB/Plan/Parking.htm


Please forward this email to all the people you know who care about raw milk access.


In addition to the raw milk bill (HB 75), two other local foods bills will be heard on Wednesday: HB 1139 (cottage foods) and HB 2084 (local foods omnibus).  Here’s a bit of information on each:

• Improving access to raw milk: Grade A licensed farmers can sell raw milk in Texas, but only “on farm,” i.e. consumers must drive out to the farm.  HB 75 and SB 237 would llow licensed farmers to sell at farmers markets and make delivery arrangements with their customers.  You can read our fact sheet about raw milk at http://texasrealmilk.org/Learn-More

• Promoting “cottage foods”: The costs of a commercial kitchen can be prohibitive for start up businesses and small-scale producers.  HB 1139 and HB 2084 would allow small-scale producers selling low-risk foods, such as jams, jellies, baked goods, and dried herbs, to sell their products directly to consumers without needing a commercial kitchen.

• Local Foods Omnibus: In addition to promoting cottage foods, HB 2084 would lower fees on small-scale cheesemakers, enable electronic food stamp benefits to be used at farmers markets, and identify the barriers to fair property tax treatment for organic, urban, and sustainable farms.

Please come on April 20th to help support raw milk and local foods through these important bills!

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Below is a list of the House Committee members and their emails.  If you cannot come to the hearing in person, you can email each Committee member to express your support for the bill.  Be sure to put “Support HB 75” in the subject line of your email.

Chairwoman Kolkhorst:        Lois.Kolkhorst@house.state.tx.us
Vice Chairman Naishtat:       Elliott.Naishtat@house.state.tx.us
Representative Alvarado:      Carol.Alvarado@house.state.tx.us
Representative Coleman:     Garnet.Coleman@house.state.tx.us
Representative Davis:            Sarah.Davis@house.state.tx.us
Representative Gonzales:     Veronica.Gonzales@house.state.tx.us
Representative King:              Susan.King@house.state.tx.us
Representative Lobenberg:  Jodie.Laubenberg@house.state.tx.us
Representative Schwertner:  Charles.Schwertner@house.state.tx.us
Representative Truitt:              Vicki.Truitt@house.state.tx.us
Representative Zerwas:         John.Zerwas@house.state.tx.us


For more information, go to http://farmandranchfreedom.org/Texas-2011


Support Our Work!

We need your help to be effective during Texas legislative session!  We need money for printing materials, keeping both farmers and consumers informed, and a public relations campaign.  Please help us with a donation today.  You can donate online athttp://farmandranchfreedom.org/join-online or mail in the donation form

Your financial support is vital to our work.  Your donation, whether it's $10, $50, $100, or $5,000, will help us protect family farmers and ranchers, homesteaders, and consumers.


Working together, we can make our voices heard.

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance
P.O. Box 809
Cameron, Texas 76520
Phone: (254) 697-2661
info@farmandranchfreedom.org

Sunday, April 17, 2011

meet tarzan, the VISITING, rooroo (yeah right!)


here's a better look at the fellow - shot through the screen door

a fine looking fellow
he's been bunking up near to the top of one of the live oak trees

i wonder
just how much visiting
and/or
(ahem!)
how much moving in is going on?

here's one more very very very quick peek at the man
you'll need to look out the garden gate immediately to catch him

greens and reds and yellows and pinks are good for you

we munching home grown goodie goods today!

chard ribs of green and red and yellow and pink,
chard greens which are indeed green, beets of crimson red
and
beet greens which are not green at all.
*above - chard ribs from fordhook giant silverbeet *
- chard - silverbeet - swiss chard -
the names you may know this lovely green by may vary
the goodness is always there in each and every one 
whatever you choose to call it

 i separate the chard ribs from the greens and wash them apart from one another.  it makes the cleaning of the chard that much easier.  rather than having to juggle huge (some at 3' in length) leaves and ribs dripping wetness all over the ribs wash neatly from the leaves and the whole lot drains and dries easily. 

*i would be cutting the leaves from the ribs before cooking anyway.*

today i am slow roasting the chard ribs and the beet roots.
above are chard ribs on the left and sauteed greens on the right
beautiful!

i saute the greens no longer than it takes to make them tender
they'll steam themselves as they wait for serving.

i have just bathed the chard ribs with a bit of organic tamari and light rice wine and topped the whole with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds.  
the smell is killing me
oh my, oh my


the beets are simply slow roasted
i coated the bottom of a ceramic pan with olive oil then placed the beats into the pan.  i sprinkled just a bit of sea salt and black pepper over the top. 
that's it!

i slow roast most of my veggies with the oven at 350˚f
i keep and eye out for tenderness
if you try this at home, just be aware that the chards will cook much much faster than the beets.
it is a density thing.

- eat homegrown -

if you don't yet grow your own or don't have the space to do so

- eat local -

the taste will make you happy.  homegrown and local taste better.  it is true.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

and then there are days when you just need to put it all away and get your selfly soul out of doors

it's been pretty crazy lately in our efforts to balance our off the wee homestead jobs, farmy-gardeny-beekeeping duties, home needs, relaxation, sleep and exercising needs as well as sharing proper time with our creature family and with one another.   
it ain't easy but we're doing it as well as we are able.  everyone appears quite content.  i know for sure they are well fed and we give scratches and loving as often as time allows.  how could we resist with such cuties around the place.  
 
some of us have things of our own to do

 
some of us are too busy enjoying a morning snooze to be bothered for a trifle photo

 
and then there are the patrol duties.  one must always be aware of one's environment you know.

 
but every once in a while one must quench one's thirst.  and the theory around here goes, "if those big upright feedy people can drink from the faucet then so can i".  

yup that's mr. t gathering a bit of drink from his "in the sink" water dish.  you see mr. t also known as teabags like to give his water a good splash before and after his drinking.  we feedy people made efforts at all sorts of splashing water containment tricks to no avail.  so... we simply placed the kitty water dish in the sink and walla!  every body's happy.  

so what's this mess?  
well this mess is about to go into the garden with fingers crossed for happy growth. this mess is a mix of butternut squash seed, one mango seed, crunchied up eggy shells, lemon peels, red rooibos tea grinds and cucumber bits - these seeds got it good, calcium and nutrients at the ready.

 
here's a better look.
yup it's just a day's bit of compost but good planting compost it is.  so in the ground it goes.  

i have decided that since mr. man is out working as a kiddo wrangler on a film shoot that i am going to put all jobby work aside and focus on out of door duties.  it will be fun.  i'll be cleaning old bedding out of chicken coops and setting new bedding in.  this means at least 20+ garden carts of bedding moved from coop to composting piles - probably a few more than that but i'll keep it at twenty so as not to get discouraged.  

the good news is that old chicken bedding equals super fantastic compost for the garden in a few month's time. 

so enough with my blathering, i need to head out, pick up new bedding and then get to shoveling.  i know, you're jealous.  try to deal with your feelings as best you can.  ha ha.  

enjoy your weekend folks. 

just remember to think twice before you trash those ready and waiting garden seeds.  they may not all sprout, but a few might and there's nothing wrong in using the whole vegetable.  you could get lucky with a buy one get 2 or 10 speical!

waste not want not.
you know the drill.

Friday, April 15, 2011

glowing garden color!

spring's sweet chard

tender ribs
 
and oh so pretty
peeking in on the progress of the missions

looking good!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

hippychick's mission olives are nearly ready!

olives in the brining vessel - lovely to see the olives leaves mingle about

- hippychick's olives are nearly ready - 
today proved the last of three fresh water rinses and brine changes.  they now move toward their final cure and let me tell you they smell wonderful.

that is a lot of olives baby - this sink is deep!

here are the sweeties poured from the brining vessel in to my spic and span farm sink. the sink is full to the top with olives.  carefully, i fill the sink up with fresh water that i let sit out for a day.  the sitting out allows the chlorine to evaporate.  you want to use the freshest water you can get.

- rinse and swoosh about -

- rinse and swoosh about -

drain
one of three vessels used for curing

nope they don't go back into the vessel quite yet.  one must now message the olives in order to gently soften the skin to allow for the final fresh water salt cure to penetrate the inner meat portion of the olive.  this does not mean breaking the babies open into two mushy bits - oh no - this means messaging.  

the benefit is that the oils of the olives coat your hands which proves a benefit to you.

the messaging takes a while if you do it right.  i am doing everything by hand in this process so it takes even longer.  considering that i am working with over 60 lbs of olives. you get what you give.  slow food is often exactly that.
after the freshwater rinse - a slight bit of massaging

messaged olives on the right - olives in waiting on the left
slowly but surely i get through the whole lot 

and back into the vessels for the final cure


then it's back into the vessels.
once everyone is back into the vessels, i cover the olives with a freshly mixed sea salt and fresh water brine.  i cover the vessels with the enameled clay pot top, fill the reservoir with fresh water which allows air bubbles out but keeps air from creeping in and the we wait for the magic to happen.  

i will begin testing the olives 30 days from now.  they may prove too salty and if so - i will simply remove a small batch and soak them in a fresh water bath to allow the salt to leach out until they register a flavor i am happy with. 

this is very exciting - i am really looking forward to the finish.
cheers folks!