Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday Festivities

I felt the need for 2 holiday posts because I am aware that many find my gardening just too weird and geeky.  Here's what else went on this weekend.

First, a brick (literally a brick) of hops showed up at our house.
In case you are wondering, this IS legal and is for some upcoming batches of homebrew.
The beer that we started last week was moved into secondary fermentation.  Carson wanted to help.
C got a sweet Wagon on Christmas Day (Notice its still dark out, that a boy!)
I know, he still looks asleep.  After breakfast we took it for a spin.
Then Sunday it snowed.

You already know how much we all like snow.

PS We even had a gingerbread house....
Awww a family of 3 with a little house and a garden, kind of like us.

Happy holidays Love, J, T, And C

Holiday Garden

The much awaited (OK so maybe me and 2 other people are in suspense about this) Hoop House looks... the same.  On the bright side, the low tunnel is cranking.  Check it out.
Pictured above: Beet greens (red and golden), Broccoli Rabe, Frise, Mustard Greens

We picked Beet greens for Tacos and Arugula for Salads.  We'll pick most of the Rabe for a midweek pasta dish on Wednesday.

Oh yeah, and carrots.  These are literally the sweetest carrots I have ever eaten.  So here's the crazy part, they have no covering.  If you are wondering how they are still alive I have a theory.  We've been lucky enough to have a snow storm before every really cold spell below 32 F this winter so far so I think I'm getting an igloo effect.

After all that Winter Gardening Carson and I wanted to show you our serious gardening faces.  You dig?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gray skies outside, inside ...

There was cookie baking.  For the second year I decided to make big boxes of cookies for my co workers.  It started like this

 This is a citrus sable from Joy the Baker.  Don't know about her blog?  She rocks, she also bakes the most delicious things.  Anyhow this log was cut up into many buttery citrus spiked cookies.

Then I made chocolate cookies on and later stuffed then with caramel.

I rolled out soft cream cheese based pastry dough and then sliced, coated with sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up tasty bites of rugelach

Oh my...

Meanwhile outside it rained and Tyler started his inaugural batch of home brew with assistance from Cale (note Tyler is hiding from the camera)

Carson tried out his new winter boots
All in all it was a good weekend.  Soon after these photos were taken the rain turned to snow.  After making all of this yummy stuff, it didn't feel cold and gray.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hoop House Planting

In mid November we built a simple pair of hoops over one of our raised beds.  We have not tried this before but are taking the year round garden attempt seriously, so thought we would give it a try.  You might ask, where does one find instructions about this sort of endeavor for this climate?  Long story short, we can't find any.
Then, before we could decide exactly which seeds to plant, it snowed like crazy.  It got really cold (like 10 degrees F cold) and we thought, hey look at that...row cover is awfully tough stuff.  We decided to try skipping the plastic.

 And then, like it often does here in Utah, it got pretty warm for a week and all the snow in the valley melted.  The soil temp has stayed above 40 degrees F for 2 days so I've gone and planted 1 row of Bloomsdale Spinach and 1 row of Sputnik Arugula.  I layered on a thin bed of straw and buttoned up the fabric.  I'm promising myself I won't look again until Christmas.
I'm also promising myself I won't be sad if all that I see is straw after 2 weeks.  It is an experiment after all.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What to do when the ground is frozen. Part 1

Inventory your seeds. You know you love to do it, plus it is useful.
This helps me reign the seed catalog drooling a little bit because I am aware the the average family of 3 does not need more than 5 kinds of radishes. Conversely, I really do need to restock on carrot and tomato seeds.
My seeds come mainly from 3 suppliers: High Mowing Seeds, John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds, and Seeds of Change. They all support organics and heirlooms. Their seeds germinate successfully year after year. A real person answers your email questions and knows a heck of a lot about gardening, need I say more?

Play ball with your dog. Look at Whisky, she's finally not too hot to chase that ball all over. Can you believe she is almost 10? After 30 minutes of catch, she wasn't even panting.

Introduce a toddler to Sushi. He liked it. It was messy. I think he ended up flinging bits to every corner of the kitchen. You've got to love this boy.

More coming soon... I think it will be frozen for a while.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankgiving Weekend

I have a lot to be thankful for this year, beautiful son, the best husband, a warm house while it snows outside, you get the picture. So I am super lucky, I won't dwell on it. Here's some of what we did this weekend. I'm sure its not surprising, but it involved a lot of cooking.

The "main" dish. This Turkey is from Whyte Farms in Ogden Utah. Its a local free range turkey. It will probably be the only bird we will cook all year, but it came out pretty beautiful. We thanked the turkey for being on the table. We thanked the farmers for providing us with healthy food.
This melange is most of the ingredients for lentil soup. All of the ingredients pictured came from our backyard garden. The lentils came from Idaho. It was delicious!!

Home made bread. I am on an ongoing quest to make the perfect loaf of bread in my oven. I'm getting close. This obsession was inspired by my friend Diane who is a bread guru.
This is a cranberry cheesecake pie. Can you say Yummm? I have been saying this a lot. I learned how to make this from a blog called Created by Diane (this is a different Diane, not my friend who makes bread.) I don't know this Diane, but after a few slices of this cheesecake, I'd like to give her a hug. Thanks lady.

Next week, Tyler's birthday and maybe a party. We'll see.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


We grew potatoes for the first time this past summer and I think it was a swimming success given that I didn't really make a special bed or think a lot about sun exposure and drainage. I figured geographically speaking I'm in proximity to potato Mecca aka Idaho, and what could go wrong. OK so my spuds were not perfect, but went well overall.
I grew 3 varieties: Purple Viking, Milva, and Red Norland. All were procured at Millcreek Gardens, my local garden supplier.

Our first harvest is above and took place late August. I did not mean to grow such an array of sizes but the white flies were starting to descend on my plants so I employed whole plant removal and this was the result. We ate the really small ones right away, pan fried with butter and salt. DELICIOUS.

We stored our potatoes in well ventilated baskets like this one with burlap sacs over the top in our basement. This is what 1 basket looked like after 1 month of curing.

This is Papas con Rajas. Perhaps my favorite thing to make with potatoes, but the options are endless.
Next spring a bigger potato patch? Yes, certainly. But do I dare try fingerling? I'm not sure.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2010 Summer Garden Highlights

Raw ingredients for pickles
The best garden helper ever
A bountiful Garlic harvest
Strawberries, so sweet

It was a good summer garden even through we encountered challenges including late snow, white flies, and hungry birds. All in all we did OK. We ate a lot of fresh food this summer and learned a lot about some new plants to us, like potatoes and fava beans. Perhaps more on those later.

Winter, finally (and seriously)

I planned to start this blog last spring as my garden flew into action, but then got into the actual work of gardening and abandoned the task. However, today its winter, really winter. I'm wearing long underwear and sitting under a blanket and I'm still cold.
Today is the shortest day of the year so from here on in it gets better. I look forward to longer days, that's for sure. But I'll also tuck in and enjoy winter's freeze and snow, it does mean skiing after all. Maybe more importantly is the snow pack - without snow there isn't water for the West.
The end of the year and the solstice are a good time to think back on the last 365. I have no reason to complain and feel really lucky about the last year and really hopeful about the year to come.