Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bird dogs, Bird Eggs, and Bird Guts (you've been warned)

Bubba truly believes he can climb this tree to follow the nut hatch.  With his whole being  he believes it. 

Joe worked so hard making sure there was enough room for all the chickens to lay eggs.  Still, each day we find all the eggs in one box.  Maybe we need more chickens...

And turkey season begins.  I love the unintentional Deliverance thing going on here.  I have to admit, and sorry to all you veggies out there, our family ate this bird the very day Joe took its life. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saving Seeds

I've been attempting to dry sunflower seeds in order to eat them.  Some people leave the flowers right up on the stems to dry, then cut them off when the seeds are dry enough to fall off on their own.  Others cut the flowers from the stems when they are still, well, flowers, then let them dry in the sun or inside in a dry place.  I've split up half the flowers to try both methods.  However, I already understand that unless you live in a land where no birds, rodents, or other wildlife live, which would really then also be a place where sunflowers probably wouldn't grow, you just can't let the suckers dry outside on their own.  The zillion birds picking off every last seed of those helpless flowers are set for several winters as far as I'm concerned.  So, I'm going with the indoor-drying method for sure.  We don't have the bird issue inside of course, but I must say the seeds have been tough for Boogie to avoid.  The new pup eats everything.  I loved this when it meant I could throw Joe's ridiculously old Teva's out in the front yard and know they would be shredded in a matter of minutes.  However, I did not enjoy coming home to the total destruction of every couch pillow, along with the actual couch arm itself.  Ugh.  Anyway, back to the seeds.  I rinsed off the first batch of seeds, put them in a pint jar filled with water and half a cup of salt, then let it set overnight.  Then I roasted them on a cookie sheet, not unlike pumpkin seeds, for 4 hours at 250 degrees.  They came out just fine, like you'd expect home grown seeds to taste.  A little less salty than when you get them in the store, and a bit smaller too.  But do they look gorgeous in a jar!  Matt and I prepared some more tonight during happy hour (aka unplanned-opportunity-to-get-together-for-a-beverage).  I'll add more salt during the roasting process, then put them in jars to eat later on or give away.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Monarch Release '10

Well, we finally felt like the poor lonesome monarch ought to have a chance to fly free into the cruel world of birds, bats, and our own butterfly-chasing dogs.   So we opened the jar and let her go.  What she did next was stick to Addie for about an hour, then crawl back into the jar, before bravely creeping out again and flying away while we were off at the grocery store.  At least that's what I hope happened.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Butterfly Life Cycle: Article with Lots of Pictures
We actually got to see this happen this morning in our make-shift, temporary butterfly home.  Charlie wanted to name her Charlotte, Addie chose Alice, and Ruby liked Henrietta.  I am a fan of Henrietta myself, but we're pretty much calling her Monarch.  The photo above is courtesy of thebutterflysite.com.  Here's the "live" version of our new little one.




Sunday, October 3, 2010

Jar Swap, 2010

We had a terrific turn out for our first ever Jar Swap--  yes, I capitalized it.  I should probably come up with a different name for the actual event though.  Jar Jam?  Jar Bar?  Extravajarza?  Jar Swap will suffice for now.  Fifteen of my favorite local ladies showed up with 15 of whatever they had processed in jars to share with the masses.  Everyone was so proud of their accomplishments-- especially our first-time canners-- and with good reason!  Check out the results:

What we have here is a batch each of stewed tomatoes (grown and made by the farmer herself), apple pie filling, hot pickles, zucchini relish, cinnamon apple jelly, cranberry-apple jam, raspberry jam, chunky apple sauce, peach salsa, cinnamon apple butter, pesto, caramel sauce, hot plum-pepper jam, marinara sauce (thanks, Mom!), and caramel corn (in a jar, gone in moments).  A nice variety of seasonal local fruits and veggies.  The whole process was truly a highlight of my year.  Who knows what next year's swap will bring?  Regulars at the farm-stand have been jealous hearing about the event.  No, really, they have.  I even had one lady tell me on Friday that she was going to show up to my house with 15 jars of canned stew and hope she could snag a few jars of everyone else's stuff on the spot.  I told her I'd trade with her instead.  Besides, she doesn't know where I live.