Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category

 

eggs

kale

eggs and greens are a match made on earth.

 

eggs_1

eggs_2

eggs_4

I learned something new last week. A crustless quiche is one of the easiest, tastiest, most satisfying meals to throw together. And it’s equally suitable for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Pretty much perfect, right?

With springtime eggs and greens in abundance, this is an affordable, nourishing meal that even my not-so-egg-friendly man enjoyed quite a lot.

 

eggs_5

eggs_6

My friend Amber‘s chickens have been laying on the regular again, and I’ve been so lucky to have received quite a few eggs from her recently. They are seriously the best eggs I have ever had, and I’ve had a lot of fresh eggs! Her chickens are no doubt happy, healthy girls.

Our garden doesn’t offer a whole lot this time of year, but we can always depend on kale. It loves the cooler weather and is super delicious and abundant right now.

 

On the day I made this quiche, we were even lucky enough to share this meal with my chicken keeping friend.

 

No-crust kale, cheese and mushroom quiche

2 Tbs of butter

1/2 – 2/3 large red onion

12 ounces kale, chopped

5 medium crimini mushrooms, chopped

7 fresh eggs

3 cups grated cheese (I used pepper jack)

1/4 tsp sea salt

fresh thyme and black pepper to taste

 

In a large sauce pan or skillet, sautée your onions in butter until soft, then add your kale. Sautée the kale until brilliant green and softened.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat your eggs.

Add grated cheese.

Add the onion and kale mixture.

Add chopped mushrooms, salt, thyme, pepper.

Combine well.

 

Pour the mixture into an oiled 10 inch pie pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes – until the eggs are set.

Let cool for 10-15 minutes.

 

This meal is even more delicious with toasted sourdough… recipe coming soon.

 

And just for fun, cuz I’m like that :) whoever can first name the leafy plant coming into the top of the frame on the kale image above (2nd from top) – I will send you a gift! :)

Hope you all had a great weekend xo

 

Update: It’s an artichoke! I’ll be in touch soon, with those of you who guessed.

PS asonomagarden, your email doesn’t work so please get in touch if you’d like to receive your gift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

vernal equinox

equinox_6a_pruneThe Stanley Prune is starting to flower. Maybe we will have our first fruits from this tree this year. There were tiny bees – which I think were mason bees – buzzing around the new blossoms today.

feb25_apricot_blossom_0Flowering apricot. The prettiest pink.

equinox_5The first of the sugar snap peas, with so many more to plant! We’d like to grow more of these than ever this year.

equinox_2One single tomato seed has sprouted. Just today.

equinox_6We have been hitting the weeds hard the last couple weeks. This is the best time, while the ground is soft and they are relatively small still. They grew like crazy this year, with our mild winter.

.

Winter was pretty mild – even for here – and spring has been coming gradually and gracefully. I am so grateful for this time of year, with warmer, longer days; meals outside again, with fresh herbs at an arms length; coffee time in the sunshine; camp fires in the yard; digging in the dirt. I feel like an emerging young plant – sort of sleepy still from the dark of winter, yet bursting with life and ready to bloom. I won’t even start with my excitement for summer!

 

Happy Spring friends, even if it doesn’t quite feel like it yet where you are.

xo

 

Read Full Post »

snapshots

oxford

august_4_0

stone_0

work_table

herbs

hardware_drawers

tomatoes_aug11

Garden, kitchen, studio. These are the places I seem to spend most of my time recently. The garden is just doing it’s thing these days, making lots of food. There is a lot of food coming out of our relatively tiny growing spaces! Our main meals are almost 100% homegrown right now. The realization never gets old, that an entire meal is homegrown. I can really geek out on that sometimes, it’s just so satisfying.

The studio has been a busier place recently, and I have so many things I thought I might get done up there this summer – from painting the floor and some of the dark beams overhead, to building a new table. How does one renovate a space that is overwhelmingly occupied? I haven’t figured it out quite yet.

Speaking of the studio, my friend Camille, the talented craftswoman behind Red Onion Woodworks, has put up an infusion studio tour on her blog, Wayward Spark, if you’d like to check it out. And be sure to see her her beautiful raw edge cutting boards. I have been on the verge of treating our kitchen with one of her boards for so long. They are all one of a kind natural beauties, so if you see one you love, it’s best not to let it pass you by.

Read Full Post »

pickles_0

pickles_1A recent rainy day presented the perfect opportunity to finally do some pickling. I’m growing Boston Pickling cukes this year, just for this reason, and they have been producing pretty well. I’ve been stalling on this project for a while. Being my first official foray into canning of any sort, I admit I felt a tiny bit intimidated. The worst that could happen though, is I would lose a few pounds of cucumbers. So!

pickles_2

pickles_3I followed the garlic dill pickles recipe from Marisa McClellan’s site, Food In Jars. This is a quick pickle (she recommends letting them sit 2-4 days before eating), so you won’t have to wait for weeks to try them. The only modification I made was I added 1/2 tsp coriander seed to each jar. I also followed her guide for salt substitution, and used the sea salt I had on hand in place of pickling salt.

pickles_5

pickles_6These were pretty simple to put together, just as I was assured they would be. The hardest part was just waiting for the water to boil to sterilize my jars, and then again for the water bath.  I realized halfway through sterilization, that I shouldn’t be using the canning pot on a glass cook top (indicated on the pot, and in part, because the base of the pot is not flat), so we moved outside onto a propane camp stove for the water bath. The water bath process can be skipped if one wants to keep their pickles in the fridge, but I’d rather have the fridge space.

pickles_8

pickles_7I waited about 36 hours to pop open the first jar. And it’s true, this is a great pickle! Classic dill pickle flavor, with quite a kick of heat. If you like it spicy, I think Marisa hit it just right (I think my 1/4 teaspoons were overflowing a little). If spicy is not so much your thing, you will want to tone it down on the chili flakes.

I found that as soon as I finished making these, I felt excited about sharing them. I especially can’t wait to give some to my pickle loving sister.

I can see how people get really into canning. It’s a fun process, and the results are so satisfying. I am already looking forward to more. Next up? Maybe some tomato jam.

Read Full Post »

31st july

tomatoes_blues

August is so close; just about here. The season is changing. The blueberries are almost cleaned out, both by discovery by birds and the simple fact that they are done producing for the  year. But the tomatoes are coming on fast and the bullfrogs fill the night air. It’s always a little bit bittersweet, when the nights start to get longer again and the ground begins to look parched and worn.

Read Full Post »

going wild

garden_path_july13

leek_flowers

wild_1000_3

Hi folks! I’m over at Tend today, talking about my wild garden. Come on over if you’re interested.

Read Full Post »

all in a day

wild_berries_0aRed huckleberries, fuchsia berries; and a single, insanely fragrant blackberry.

grass_seedGrass seed in dappled morning light. The foxglove is almost done for the year.

dappledWhere we sometimes sit for morning coffee.

echinacea_0Echinacea is blooming. Snapdragons too.

arugula_flowersArugula flowers.

garden_path_july13Our wild jungle garden. It really is kind of wild this year!

july13A day’s harvest.

driveway_gardenHome.

crescent_moonRising crescent moon (with vulture circling nearby).

bear_1And a black bear. No big deal.

This was the kind of day that unfolds moment by moment. Definitely my kind of day. From coffee drinking to berry picking, weeding to watering, trellising to harvesting, food making to kitchen cleaning, mowing and picture taking – the next thing I knew the sun was setting and I realized I had spent the whole day doing what ever presented itself, moment by moment. How simple, right? But really, I felt so satisfied. I’m working on this “be here now” stuff. I know it’s so cliché, but there really is something to it.

Read Full Post »

mason_bees_0

I have a fun, simple project for you this week, and it will most likely cost you nothing, take you just a few minutes to make and will create habitat for garden pollinators. It’s also an enjoyable way to observe nature at work. With a little pile of scrap wood we made a few mason bee houses for our garden and yard, and a couple to give as gifts as well.

mason_bees_3

Mason bees are small, cute, oblong, fuzzy little bees that make efficient pollinators in the garden. They can be blue-green, or dark-colored like the one pictured above. This little lady is not the first to make a nest in this hole in our unfinished door frame.

The female mason bee gathers nectar and pollen and stashes it in the back of the hole until there is a sufficient food store for her young. Once there is enough food to supply the larvae, she lays an egg on the food store and then seals the egg in with a bit of mud. She then brings in more pollen and nectar in front of the previous mud layer, lays another egg, covers it with more mud, and stacks like so until the cavity is full. Once the cavity is full, she seals the hole with a final layer of mud. Maybe you have seen these mud filled holes and wondered what was in there.

Here is a link to more information on mason bees, if you are interested in learning more – http://gardening.wsu.edu/library/inse006/inse006.htm. I think these little bees are pretty fascinating!

mason_bees_2

We have an endless supply of scrap wood from our various home projects and are always looking for functional ways to use it up. We cleaned up some sections of 4×4, cut an angle at the top to accommodate a little sloped roof, and then drilled 1/4 inch diameter holes in the outer rows and 3/16″ holes down the center. We used all the depth we had in this case, and drilled almost to the back of the 4×4. Typically, larger diameter holes are recommended (5/16″), but maybe our bees here on the coast are pretty small, or maybe they actually prefer smaller than the recommendation. The hole in the door frame is about 1/8″ in diamter, for example.

We used sections of old fence pickets for the roof (not totally necessary, but shelter from rain is nice, right?) and as a backing to make mounting it easy.

Apparently, it is best to hang the house facing east or southeast, for morning sun. The face of that door frame above is pretty much dead south, so a little variation from that recommendation probably won’t break the deal.

mason_bees_1

I’m looking forward to observing these bees more closely. We really enjoy creating habitat for beneficial species of all kinds at our place.

How do you invite beneficial insects to your garden?

Read Full Post »

This is a repost from a blog article I recently wrote for Tend with a few additions I have learned since I originally wrote it. I have also added a list dedicated to flowers here. I have had a few searches for “deer resistant flowers” showing up in my stats, so I thought it might be useful to share this here as well.

deer

Young bucks, in the wildflowers last summer

When we first moved to our home, we felt pretty lucky to have deer frequent our yard. They are beautiful, peaceful creatures and we love to observe their antics, and behaviors amongst each other. As soon as we started to think about gardening though, and particularly landscaping, we realized we were in for  quite a challenge. Our dream landscape, which would be somewhat of an unending, textured garden; with fruit trees, berries, and a diverse array of edible and medicinal herbs and plants…. vs reality…. Oh my. Where to begin.

deer_resist_5

Lavender is distasteful to deer but so useful, fragrant and beautiful to us

One of our very first projects here was to fence in a small veggie garden, and then to fence in a few fruit trees. Fencing was a relatively easy solution, even though not ideal. The greater landscape has posed a much bigger challenge, and one we have been slowly trying to learn how to overcome. A lot of the things we like to eat, deer like to eat as well.

deer_resist_1

Dwarf Greek Oregano and other small leaf varieties are left alone by deer

Now that we have lived here for nearly 4 years we have learned some things, and finally, I am starting to feel like it is actually going to be possible to achieve a full, lush, beautiful, and even edible landscape.

deer_resist_2

Rosemary in bloom. The bees sure love it but the deer do not.

We started out knowing of very few plants we could successfully grow unprotected (we planted lots of lavender and rosemary that first year!). Some of the things that are said to be deer resistant aren’t necessarily, and there were some tough lessons involved there. And sometimes plants that are typically pretty resistant, will suddenly get eaten for a short period of time, though in these cases, it usually passes and the plants will fully recover (some recent surprises included lemon balm and catnip). With time, observation and experimentation, we have a growing list of plants we can grow and enjoy here.

deer_resist_7

Rhubarb has toxic leaves. They are occasionally tasted in the early season, but nothing more.

deer_resist_4

Fennel grows big and bushy, and shows no pressure from deer

Following, is a list of edible and/or medicinal plants that have proven to us to be deer resistant. This doesn’t mean the deer don’t taste some of these things now and then (and keep in mind, a taste can mean a whole plant if you only have a small amount), but these plants have stood the test of time, and are thriving and look beautiful – or in the case of annual edibles, are able to produce a harvest.

calendula
sage
dill
fennel
rosemary
lavender
oregano and marjoram (smaller leaf varieties)
thyme
savory
mint
lemon balm
catnip
chives (sometimes!)
rhubarb
artichoke
garlic
onions
potatoes
jerusalem artichoke (tops are often getting nipped here, so don’t be bummed if you don’t get many flowers, but you will have edible tubers)
summer squash
winter squash

.

Flowers:

foxglove
poppies
daisies
black eyed susan
lavender
calendula
cosmos (to some degree)
catnip
rhododendron
daffodils
sweet woodruff
calla lily (which is not a true lily)
iris
grape hyacinth
lamb’s ears
hellebore
fuchsia

deer_resist_8

Calendula has been of no interest to the deer. This one still surprises me.

Part of my goal for this post was to offer some of our experience to those of you who have similar challenges, but also to see if there might be some of you that have learned some things about deer resistant gardening that you could share.

We will be working on adding to this list this year. If you have anything to add, I would love to hear! With what I’ve learned so far, I have a better sense of what deer like and what they don’t, and am looking forward to experimenting with some new herbs this spring and summer.

Read Full Post »

mid June

 

june_weekend_daisies

rhubarb_greens

mid_june_herbs

A few June highlights

Hi friends. Welcome to a new week.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 106 other followers