Spring Vacation – Day 8 – Gardening

Spring break is almost over and what a beautiful end to a busy week.  The skies were clear and the sun was shining brightly……

Garlic shoots getting bigger
Fennel seeds started in the greenhouse
Greenhouse lettuce coming up nicely
The first signs of sprouting carrots
Year two of celery started from cut off celery bottoms from the grocer. They overwintered in the bed outside. I’m so curious to look at the root system.
Mishka may be old and stiff, but he does love a sunny day and a walk down the lane
Homemade goodies out, ready to barter for some stinging nettles tomorrow.
Yesterday’s Cheddar out of the press and drying
Broccoli starts in with the garlic


Spring Vacation – Day 6 – Food Projects

As Spring Vacation winds down, we’re trying to tie up some projects here at the Beavercreek Backyard Farm.  The weather was rainy this morning, so we decided to clean out the garage instead of working on the pig pen.  It’s not finished yet, but it looks so much better.

We had 2 gallons of whole milk that had been on clearance sitting around so it was time to make cheese.  I didn’t really want to as my last batches had turned out so disappointingly, but I decided to go ahead and try to make a Farmer’s Cheddar.cheese press I used the whey to make some ricotta.


The ricotta worked well this time and the cheddar is in the new press overnight.

DH brewed a batch of Coffee Stout last night and it’s bubbling away like crazy.

We also finally were able to get Christmas, the turkey hen, to thaw enough to try and cook.  She’s been in the Big Green Egg for about 5.5 hours and is almost ready.  The skin split a little, but it looks fantastic.

smoked turkey

The weather cleared this afternoon just in time for a few photos of the vegetable beds in the back yard.  Here’s hoping tomorrow brings clear skies.

back garden 1back garden 2

Spring Vacation – Day 3 – Piggy -Palace

Today marked the official beginning of the series “How to raise Pigs using the least amount of cash possible”.  Wednesday’s episode begins with a trip to the local farm store to use our $5.00 coupon on the purchase of some electrical wire fencing tape.  0

One the way home I spotted a plastics manufacturer with some pallets laying around.  We stopped and they were kind enough to let us have them for free.  This brings our total pallet expense to $13.00.


0-2This afternoon we began installing our pallet pig pen inside of the existing chicken yard.  We got the divided sections done for pig dinning hall, pig 1 bedroom, and pig 2 bedroom.



So far we have spent:
$13.00 – Pallets
$39.98 – Water Nipples
$13.98 – Food Bins
$26.95 – Electric Fence Tape

I also cleaned out the hen house – they were very grateful!



Spring Vacation – Day 1 – Checking the Cheese

It was an exciting day at the backyard farm today….
First, I checked on a couple of cheese wheels I had made this winter. One had blown up like a balloon. When I cut into it, it literally farted gas at me. My Parmesan cheese was full of wholes and looked just like Swiss. It smelled good, but when I checked in with Jim at New England Cheesemaking, he thought I should toss it. Definitely something icky making that gas blob.

We had much better success with our smoked salmon. I’ll add some pictures tomorrow, it was too late this evening.

The most fun was the trip to Ace Hardware. We went to pick up some black spray paint for my new chairs and left with a bunch of veg starts. The four packs were only $.99 each. I got broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, Savoy cabbage and artichokes.

All in all a good start. Tomorrow, the pig pen…….


March Planting – 4/10

This weekend, according to the moon phase, is a not particularly good time for planting anything.  It was, however, a dry March weekend in Oregon, so planting happened.

Saturday was beautiful so I added compost and fertilizer to the kitchen garden beds  and planted 2 rows of Nantes Carrots.  I also cleaned up around the garlic that I planted in November.  In the greenhouse, the lettuces are germinating well.  I started 6 cells each of Sugar Pumpkin, Butternut Squash, and a Green Squash that starts with a K?. I also started 18 cells of tiny pumpkins.

This morning DH set out some cinder blocks that were lying around for a potato bed and filled it with compost.  We planted 3 Cherry Red Potatoes and 3 LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes.  I also put 4 short rows of Detroit Red Beets into the raised beds in the backyard.  Eight varieties of beans also went in this weekend up in the fenced garden: Jacob’s Cattle, Pebble, European Soldier, Appaloosa, Tongues of Fire, Cranberry, Snowcap and Steuban Yellow Eye.  It might be a little early, but I thought I’d give it a go.

I also went to an interesting class this afternoon about growing mushrooms at home.  Not much how-to, but some great ideas and contact information for the Oregon Mycological Society.  I think it would be fun to go on some of their outings.  The gentleman told us its a good place to start learning to identify edible mushrooms.  He also said that in France you can take mushrooms to any pharmacist to have them identified – it’s part of their training.  How cool!