Saturday, December 15, 2012

Storing Carrots

We left the carrots in the garden a little too long this year. The plan was to overwinter them in the garden with a layer of straw to insulate them but the straw just blew off in the wind and our poor carrots were not protected.
We dug up the carrots today but found that the soil was frozen, so we are experimenting now. We layered the carrots in moist sawdust and are going to be checking on them in a few days to see how they are doing. We only dug up one row out of 5 to use as our 'prototypes'. If in a few days the carrots are rotting because they were frozen before storing, we will dig up the rest, blanch them, and freeze them. If the carrots we brought in today are storing well then we will do the same thing with the rest of them.
Some of the pointers for storing carrots in sawdust is to make sure it is not new sawdust, but use stuff that has been sitting out for a while. Also when layering the carrots, make sure they are not touching one another. That way if one of them starts to rot it won't spread to the others. We cut off the tops of the carrots(into the orange) to keep them from sprouting. Now we are leaving the covered box of carrots in a cool place that is not going to freeze and not get too warm.

The whole time we were digging these up my son Luke was eating them. I couldn't have planned a better snack. :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hoops for Heat

Here are the hoops going in over the basil. They ended up being about 6 feet long. The rebar we pounded in to hook the pvc on were 2 feet long. The big plants next to them are the turnips.
Here are my goofy helpers from this morning; chomping on carrot tops.

Fall garden update

This is the beginning of the garden. We staked each row out to be 18 inches wide with a 3.5 foot walkway. We made each bed slightly raised with edges raised even higher to keep the water in. Each bed was also leveled to make water distribution as even as we could make it.
When the beds were done around the 7th of August, we started planting. Before any seeds were put in the ground, we dug in Mittleider pre-plant fertilizer. We ran two rows 10" apart down the center of the bed to for the seeds.
Here is the garden a few weeks later. We water daily to keep the moisture available for the plants. To get the seeds to germinate we made sure that the soil never dried out during the day which was sometimes a difficult task.
After an encounter between a rabbit and a row of beets, we put up a silt fence. This picture was taken mid-September.
This is the garden today, October 3, 2012.  We have been selling veggies at a farm stand for 3 weeks and business picks up more each week. It is going to frost here this weekend, so we are pounding rebar stakes into the ground on each side of the bed, bending pvc to go over the rebar which makes a hoop, then we are putting plastic over the beds for the night. Some of the beds like spinach, beets, kale, radishes and kohlrabi won't need the protection yet, so I will wait another month and only cover what is left to be harvested (probably the carrots but we'll see.)   
I am very pleased with this fall garden. I will definitely be doing this again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Today's harvest soup

Today's lunch and dinner is soup from the garden. I am opting to cook once a day in large portions rather than spending my precious time in the kitchen all day. These veggies were all given to me from other people's gardens. I had to leave my garden in Cheyenne to the people who are renting my house so I am missing out on the fall harvest. I am bringing things in from the garden I planted a month ago, just none of these things!

The flavor of this soup came from a pound of breakfast sausage I had. I am still not buying groceries (It has been a month and a half now), so I am using what I have. The pot I used was a 10 quart one, so you can imagine how spread out the meat is. My bowl had one piece! :)

I sauteed the meat and onions together, then added some chopped garlic cloves. To that I added a bunch of water and then started throwing in the chopped veggies. I even put in oatmeal that was left over from breakfast and some leftover chili.  The veggies I added you can see in the picture are squash, potatoes, beets, tomatoes, more squash, and garlic.  The spices I added were Italian seasoning and Herbamare.

This soup turned out way yummy. Next time I would put in less water though. The water in the veggies add extra water to what I already put in. I served this soup with rice that I cooked in butter, salt and garlic. A healthier version would be to use coconut oil or olive oil instead of the butter.

Happy Healthy,

Monday, September 17, 2012

Family work

Since being at the farm, we have divided up the work between each of us and gotten it done as individuals. It worked and we got things done but we didn't see much of each other. We moved to the farm to be together though!
This morning,after a family counsel on Sunday, we tried things differently and it went very very well. 
Yummy carrots.

Thinning carrots so the ones left can get big.
  • When my oldest and I got back from his early morning seminary and my exercise, we all met in the kitchen at 7am and listened to Dad read scriptures while the rest of us made breakfast,  and cleaned up.
  • Then we all headed for the garden. We worked out there getting things watered, weeded, banks built up, grasshoppers killed, the fence secured and the carrots and spinach thinned. 
  • When that was done, we all moved down to the poultry and cows. We got them watered, fed, eggs collected and the trees watered.
  • After that, we split up and did some individual chores. 
Lots of running around in the tall grass was happening during 'find the eggs that are getting lain outside' time.
It was so nice to work with my family. I am anxious to do it again tomorrow and then the next day. We accomplished a lot and in a short time. Working together brought us together and fostered harmony even in just this one time of doing it. I can't imagine the long term effects.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Living on a farm

The work load is heavier and we have little to no money but we are together and learning to have better relationships. Worth it.

Garden Progress

The garden has been in for a few days longer than 1month. It is doing pretty good with enough problems to teach me what to do better next time.
The onions are growing, but they did not germinate extremely well.
The kale did not come up well at all but the plants that germinated are growing well.
The basil is growing quickly and beautifully.
The spinach is doing awesome. We will start harvesting it this week.
I am getting ready to plant garlic this week.
A few beets survived the rabbit that had a meal right down the entire row. I am letting them mature but the row looks pathetic.
Grasshoppers are eating the beet leaves. I have done some reading and think it will be best to use some Nolo Bait. We are going to use Neman Oil first though because it is available to us free.
I saw the first caterpillar in the garden yesterday and threw him out.
The carrots are growing really well. We have been working on thinning them every day. It is a big job because we planted so many!
I started harvesting the icicle radishes. They are huge and hot.
The cilantro is growing beautifully. Some of it did not germinate.
I was expecting low germination because many of the seeds are from 2008. The garden is doing well despite that fact.
I am working on getting materials put together for winter gardening in the greenhouse. Some of that will need to be planted in the next month and we still need to finish building the greenhouse. It will all come together.
So, that is some of what is going on in the garden right now.

Friday, August 31, 2012


 When I planted the carrots I dumped 3 packets of seeds into a 16 oz container of sand and mixed it up so as I distributed the sand, the small seeds would also be evenly distributed.

Well, that was way too many seeds and I have had areas in the carrot beds where it looks like a row of grass coming up! It would seem that I would be grateful for so many carrots but I know that if left that way, the carrots will be small.

I have undertaken the great task of thinning the carrots to 1 plant every inch or so. The beauty of this thinning is that the little baby sprouts already taste like carrots! Yum.

As I am thinning the carrots, I fill a jar with them as I go. I also have other thinnings. Turnips, radishes, beets, and so forth. They are all full of vitamins and good things.

When I come in from the garden, I rinse them off real good and either eat them just like that, or I put them in the blender and add some fruit for a delicious smoothie.

This one is carrot and radish thinnings with plums and some pomegranate juice. It was very good.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A toad in my bed

I was going to sleep in until 7 this morning because I got in late last night and was anticipating an extremely busy day today. I did not get to sleep in though, and here is the reason why.

At 6 this morning I was hearing rustling sounds in my room and wondered if a kitty had spent the night. I dozed back off but a few minutes later woke again to rustling sounds. Then, I heard a flop on my mattress. My bed is a mattress on a plywood floor by the way.  I opened my eyes and there was a toad right next to my pillow, looking into my eyes. I didn't scream. :)

I guess that is what happens when you have 5 boys and move to a place where toads abound. The poem about "snakes and snails and puppy dog tails, that's what little boys are made of" is totally true!  My life has been inundated with snakes, toads, and puppies(we have a stray at the farm this week). It wasn't like that when I grew up with sisters! My brother at the tail end of the group did prepare me minimally to what 5 boys are capable of.

So, waking to a toad inches from my face woke me up completely. Honestly the most disturbing thing about the whole situation was that I knew I was going to have to get the thing outside by myself! Three of the boys are in Cheyenne helping with the move, and the youngest two are at a friends house. I have gotten away without touching a toad for so long because I usually have a willing boy with me. Not so this morning. It took a few minutes of steeling myself for it, and a few false starts but I was able to muster the courage and picked her up. She was cold. I had told myself to prepare for slime and wiggling and was not prepared for cold. Eew. I kept hold and walked her downstairs and quickly but not harshly let her onto the ground. Then, even quicker, I ran to the sink and washed with plenty of soap.

Isn't this aweful!!?? How can I be a farmer if I don't like toads? I guess it's not that I don't like them.  They are very valuable in the garden because they eat insects, but I just don't want to have to touch them. I am glad I usually have  boys around to take care of me. :) One of those boys (I'm pretty sure I know which one) is getting a 'talking to' next time I see him....

I had to look up on the internet if this was a frog or a toad. It was a western toad (Anaxyrus boreas).  
It had bumpy skin so I read that it was a female. That helped me connect with it a little but not enough to want to go through this again. I can totally picture the smile that my happy-go-lucky toad-planting 8 year old is going to give me when he hears about this.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Personal Challenge; Spending to -0-

 For some reason I am always challenging myself to do things that pop into my head. Lately I have been going through major changes as my family sells most of our belongings in order to simplify and reconnect with who we are and who we are becoming. We are split up right now as I am living on the farm with those duties, and my husband is in Cheyenne finishing up some long bows he needs to get done ( and the older boys are getting things ready for a big yard sale along with putting the rest of our things in our shop for storage. We have rented/sold our house even though it was the best place we have ever lived and are moving forward in faith that the promptings to maked these changes will be blessed. Actually, the blessings have already been pouring in with amazing regularity.

The title of this post is Personal Challenge; Spending to -0-.  The lastest challenge I have given myself is to not spend money until September. I started this about a week ago and have not spent any money except for money that was given to me for the express purpose of spending it (gas money). I also had to spend $1 to change our address online. I was able to save the cost of a post office box by forwarding our mail to a friends house for a while until income from the bows, binders and produce gets going.

Not spending money for a month is being made easier because of the abundance of food coming from my garden right now. I took a black plastic bag to  Cheyenne last weekend in anticipation of a food shortage and came back to Fort Collins with 50 pounds of produce that I had gathered. That is so cool! The picture here  on the right is the plethora of food I didn't have to buy. It is only myself and my 2 littlest boys this week, so this amount will do us well.
 I planted my potatoes in June because I was still building my garden boxes late into the growing season. Look at these beautiful potatoes that have grown in that short time! This proves that short growing seasons can produce food too.

This kohlrabi is kind of too big for good mild flavor. The bigger it gets, the more pungent the flavor. Don't get me wrong, it is not bad, just strong. It's kind of like a turnip/radish/potato taste. Also the bigger it gets, the tougher it gets. I pulled the leaves off of this one and juiced them. I will be cutting the outside off of the main purple part and will either steam the inside, or put it in a soup. 

I have been juicing the beets and their greens. I cut the beet from the greens so they don't go bad as fast.

 I got 5 gallon bags stuffed full of different greens for this week. Turnip greens, beet greens, swiss chard, and Paris cos lettuce are waiting for me in the fridge.

Last but not least comes the summer squash. I planted these again this year because of how much I enjoyed them this year. I like zuchinni, but it seems I get higher yields from the yellow squash and they are easier to find on the plant! Sometimes those zuchinni will grow and grow before I ever spot them. :)
I planted zuchinni too, just so you know.

I steam these, juice them, cut them up and have them raw on sandwiches and in sandwich fillings, or dip them in hummus or other spreads.  There are so many uses for squash. I'm glad they are so prolific.

Paris cos Lettuce. This has been so delicious this year.
 Theses onions have grown for only 2 months. Usually they would grow from April or May until September or October. I am eating them early because I need them and because I can! :)

This picture is of my Swiss Chard. I have seen this plant thrive even through snow. It is very hardy and nutritious (and beautiful). It is fairly quick growing too.

I guess I'll have to let you know how my month of no spending money went.  So far, it is going well. There has been plenty to eat with new food sources popping up. On Monday we were invited to go pick corn for ourselves at the church farm. Last week we were invited to dinner at a friends house, a farmer in Fort Collins brought over bunches of cucumbers, a friend took pity on us and bought us treats :), and tonight we are going to a potluck picnic.  Even my other needs are being taken care of. Working with this clay soil has sucked the moisture out of my hands and I used up all of the lotion I had.  I prayed for some and the next day a friend of mine showed up with some goat lotion for me to try out. Not only did the Lord provide, but he chose a healthy option for me! :) I would have taken anything, but it was fun for it to be something I would choose anyways. I am not sure how appropriate it is for me to share that, but I thought it might be a faith builder for someone. It was for me.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Making Garden Beds

Each bed was made level so that when filled with water it won't all go to one end and leave the other end dry. I have built uneven beds before and the plants at one end thrive and the other end are short and stubby from a want of water.  Notice the dish rag secured with a rubber band to the end of the hose. This breaks up the force of the water so it doesn't dig a hole in the bed but comes out gently.
The soil was tilled and disked with a tractor before we began shaping the beds. Peat Moss, sawdust and sheep manure were added in with the tilling. I actually would have preferred to keep the sheep manure out of it because of the introduction of weed seeds and possible disease. From what I have been learning from the Mittleider Method, humus is good but not necessary for growing food. With the minerals and micronutrients I will be adding back into the soil, manure is not needed.

Each bed was measured carefully for aesthetic appeal and workability.  Between each bed is the recommended 3.5 feet and each bed is 18 inches wide and 30 feet long.  The soil is leveled along the length of the bed and then ridges are made along the length that are 4 inches above the flat center of the bed.  This will keep the water from spilling out. These beds were made using only a rake.
In this photo you can see two lines going down the inside of some of the beds. These lines are where I planted seeds and would then cover them with course sand for good germination. Before I planted the seeds I mixed into the soil a pre-plant mineral combination and a weekly feed that will help with germination.  I eventually will have a watering system that will make this garden so much easier and better, but for now I am just flooding each bed. It takes just a few minutes per bed because they are level.  This soil is heavy with clay and is proving to be difficult to work with but part of this Mittleider method I am following is being able to grow in any soil.  My garden in Cheyenne was a mixture of sand and peat moss with no soil but because of the micronutrients I am adding, the garden has flourished.  
You can find out more about this Mittleider method at . If you are going to buy any books though, be sure and get them through my affiliate link at so I can get some credit! :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fall planting

My family is moving to a farm  in Fort Collins, CO! This is a major life change for us and you are going to be taken on a ride as I blog about it. :)

Fall is coming quickly. I can feel in the cool breezes that we do not have much time left before frosts and cooler temperatures. Sounds like the perfect time to plant a garden, right?!   It is true. Many things can be planted now if you hurry up about it and if your frost date will allow for it. It will start frosting here about September 30. Some things will do o.k. with some frost like Swiss Chard and Spinach, but some others will need to be covered when it is getting cool later on. 

I am planting radishes, carrots, swiss chard, leaf lettuce, beets, kohlrabi, green onions, turnips, spinach, kale, cilantro, parsley and basil. Later in the season I put up pvc hoops and cover them with plastic to keep the frost off until I can harvest. I can also put straw down on the carrots and be harvesting them through Christmas!

In my next post I will show you pictures of my garden at the farm. It is coming along nicely but it is hot so I am having to water several times a day to keep the seeds moist. It would help if I had yards of burlap to put over the seeds. I could water through it and it would keep the seedlings more moist than without it. It would also make watering easier. The burlap would make the water spread out and not be so forceful on the seeds.

Back to watering....

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Gathering Heirloom Seeds from the garden

 This was the first plant I put in this spring. It is a Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce plant.  I had gotten the seeds from my Dad from his garden last year. I think that is totally awesome! I have been letting it grow long after it was at it's tasty stage so I could harvest the seeds. I was excited that it was finally time.

I called my sons over for a lesson in seed gathering. They got into it right away.

I explained to them where the seeds had come from and how to get them off.

Intensely concentrating. :)

4 of the 5 boys were there to help. As we worked there were seeds falling into the bed so we ended up pulling the plant out and moving to the picnic table. We were much more efficient there.

At the table. When the seeds fall we could gather them from the table top.

This is the result of our work. I put them on a paper towel in a dark place to dry out. Tomorrow they will be dry and I can separate the seeds from the chaff.

Then I will put them in an opaque container so they won't see the light and keep them cool until next spring. I actually might plant some this fall. :) I think that is so cool.

I have other plants that I will be harvesting seeds from too and I am excited!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sorting Seeds

The Non-Profit organization I work for was given buckets of seeds. The boys are in this picture sorting the seeds into categories with the payment of watching t.v. while they do it. I don't know what is up with their smiles that match. I think that they are just fake smiles because Mom was making them pose in the middle of their earned show. :)

Green Breakfast Juice Makings

Breakfast juice makings.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Squash from the Garden

 I brought in some squash, washed them and cut off the ends.
 Then I sliced them, put them in a steamer basket in a pot that had an inch of water in the bottom.
I put a lid on and steamed them for about 8 minutes.
 I brought in basil from the garden and chopped it up. (First I smelled it a whole bunch because it was so divine!)
I added the basil to the steamed and drained squash along with
  • olive oil
  • VegeSal(salt replacer from the health food store)
  • and garlic powder

Then I called in the boys and we devoured it in no-time-flat.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I am so busy. So busy. I get myself into it I know. It is nobody else's fault. Though I am busy, I am happy. Great things are happening and I have hope in even greater things. I would never have imagined that I would be where I am today.
I have acid reflux right now because of a valve I was born with that does not shut and allows stomach acids to come up into my esophogus and mouth, burning as it goes. I have learned how to keep it at bay but sometimes in the midst of stress it is triggered. This time it was triggered by lemons in my liver cleanse recipe. I am learning about acid/alkaline foods to support my body with what it needs. I am also re-learning what herbs and natural remedies help. Ginger, cayenne, slippery elm, chamomile tea, food combining correctly, staying away from citrus and acid forming foods, eliminating chocolate, peppermint, sugar, meat, and fatty foods are some of the things that will help my acid reflux (actually I have GERD which is gastroesophogeal reflux disease).
I will keep learning how to control this and pass my learning on. My next step is to write a short paper on acid vs. alkaline and offer recipes that support the research. It will happen as I have time. Right now I don't but soon.....very soon. :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Zucchini Pizza

 I started with some zuchinni from my garden and some onions.
 I made some spelt pizza crusts using a recipe in my Whole Foods Binder System.
 A quick sauce also from the Binder.
 I used a 2 cup bag of mozzarella to dust over 4 pizzas. If you're gonna use cheese, use it sparingly.