Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

My good friend and neighbour Eve has a tractor and no time for a garden. I have time for a garden but no tractor. She likes fresh veggies. I find that a tractor can be a very handy thing around here from time to time.

Our solution? A mini CSA program.Click here for the Wikipedia definition of CSA . Basically, Eve and Bud get to eat what we eat. If something does well in the garden we all eat lots of it, and if something does poorly, we all miss out. 

I delivered their first box today. 

 In the box this week: Rhubarb, green onions, baby beets, chinese greens, radishes, basil, flat leaf parsley, oregano, and cilantro. 


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chicken Day!

We like to eat "happy animals" as much as possible. Animals that are raised in a healthy, humane manner.  So, every year around February we get a call from one of the neighbouring farms asking us how many chickens we'd like, and every year around the end of June we get a call letting us know when to pick them up. 

Today is Chicken Day. 

Chicken Day is a Happy day!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This and that

Out in the field...
the first of this year's lambs turn 2 months old this week. I'm really pleased with how quickly they're growing, as well as the consistency in the group.

and over in the garden...

pretty much everything is up. Some of it is up again, and some of it will need to be reseeded again. You might think frost, but you'd be wrong. This year the frost hasn't claimed anything, but cut worms sure have. 

Here's another way that our sheep provide. All of the mulch in the garden is last year's bedding, waste hay and manure. We did an experiment a couple of years ago using it a mulch around half of our tomatoes. They wound up being twice the size of the others, with no blossom end rot - something we've had trouble with in the past.  The mulch is a great source of natural fertilizer, helps keep the weeds down (and the ones that do push through are easier to pull), helps the soil retain moisture, and makes the garden paths nicer to walk on.  Added bonuses of using sheep manure compared to other manures - it doesn't smell,  and it doesn't burn plants.  

We've liked the results so much in our vegetable garden that this year we did the rest of our beds as well. 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dinner with a show

Our hummingbird feeder can be seen from our dining room, and our living room, and our kitchen...because it's all one room. 

Tonight while we were eating supper Travis noticed that there were a couple of hummingbirds fighting. It was a really good fight that seemed to go on for a quite a while. Then we noticed that they seemed to be making contact... maybe all the fighting we've been watching hasn't been fighting at all? Maybe it's been more of a "dinner and a movie" kind of meeting. 

Then we saw this. 

That's right folks...hummingbird sex. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Travis comes on board

Travis has never been a lamb eater.  He's not a fussy eater, he'd just never met lamb that he liked.  Till now...

Here's the "recipe" that converted him. 

Butterfly a leg of lamb. If you're buying your lamb at the grocery store, you can ask your butcher to do this for you. If you want to do it at home and aren't sure how, here's a nifty video. 

Take the lamb and put it in a ziplock bag with some roughly crushed garlic, fresh lemon juice (I cut a lemon in half, squeeze it and then throw the halves in the bag as well), olive oil,  herbes de provence, or rosemary, or oregano ( I used herbes de provence because I have some), salt and pepper. Do that the night before if you can, and throw it in the fridge to sit and marinate. 

The next day, take it out of the fridge a bit before you're going to cook it so that it isn't stone cold. Heat up your barbecue and when it's good and hot, take the lamb out of the bag, let the marinade drip off for the most part, and then toss it on the grill. I like my lamb  rare, so I'd say I leave mine on the grill for about a total of 20 minutes or so - 10ish minutes each side.  Afterwards I take it off, squeeze another lemon over the top and then let it rest for about 20 minutes (it will keep cooking a bit while it's resting which means taking it off the grill a little less cooked than the finished product). When you're ready to serve, slice it up and then pour the resting juices over top.

Delicious! Travis is now looking at the lamb out in our pasture with a whole different perspective. 

What's left of the meal that changed Travis from a "never going to like it" to "when can we have that again?" kind of guy.  The rest of the meal consisted of potatoes fried in duck fat with lemon, garlic and parsley, and fresh asparagus out of our garden and zucchini - both grilled. Note that the fresh garden asparagus disappeared lickety split.