Raising Jane Journal

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Challenge - Days 5 & 6

This past weekend was a busy one. So much so that by Monday a curled up on the couch and forgot all about everything but a little R&R. And so for today...
Day 5:
My cat in disguise.
Day 6:
Catching up on some much needed studying.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Challenge - Day 1

I thought it would be nice to participate in the Four Seasons: 30 Days - Spring Challenge. A glance at what spring looks like through the eyes of my camera. And so for today.....
Day 1: 
For the first time last fall I decided to bring in my geraniums to over-winter. They have begun to bloom in the last few weeks bringing a bit of spring indoors.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Adventures in Soap Making

The supplies are washed and sit drying on the counter.
The soap sits in a heaping pile in the garbage.

My first adventure in soap making. Lately I have had the itch to get my hands back into the kitchen and creating. One of the things have missed since my illness was the joy of pulling together a pile of ingredients and watching it turn into something amazing. So with a desire that just wouldn't go away I decided to completely change things up and start experimenting with skin care. 
Project number one. Soap! So with a pile of extremely expensive, organic ingredients I set to work at my first batch of soap. I nice calendula infused olive oil soap. Everything was going along so well. Mixing away as it got thicker and thicker. Ready to mold, and then it happened. The one thing I am notorious for, the over stir. The whole pile separated and into the garbage it went. But I am persistent and so I already have plans to try again, with far less expensive ingredients. Hopefully, I will have fresh soap to show in a few days. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In the Box and On the Farm

Look at the variety of color in this week's box! Red, yellow, green, white. We are really hitting the summer produce now. Look at that garlic, basil and tomato this week. 
In this week's box:
White bunching onions

My favorite this week. Oh, so much to choose from, but I would have to say that if I had to pick one it would be the purslane. I've been wanting to try this for years and was very excited to see it in my box.  I'm thinking a simple lamb chop topped with purslane sounds really good.
On the farm this week things were quiet. Coming from such a large crew last week, there were only two of us this week, but never a shortage of work. As usual, there was weeding to do, but I didn't mind since the weeding was in the basil beds. I just love the smell of fresh herbs. It was also time to put in some of the fall plants. Rows of lettuce, onions and turnips. I find it interesting the way things are planted on the farm versus my backyard raised bed garden. Functional for it's purpose and yet so different. The rows are planted and measured by the flats and offset to the row next to it. Planting goes pretty fast, but I must say that I lack really good speed at this and so much of my day was spent planting. The flats were first soaked in a tray of fish fertilized water, so they started out with a good soaking and feeding. Need to use that trick at home. It was great to work right next to the chickens, I just love the sound of chickens in the morning. It was a nice morning to work quietly, we have finally been getting some decent rain and so the ground was nice and soft, but the sun was shining and the temperatures were in the 90's, which this summer actual is beginning to feel quite cool. Until next week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In the Box and On the Farm

In this week's box:
Salad Turnips
Swiss Chard

This week's favorite has to be the cucumbers. My daughter loves her cucumbers and it is so hard to wait until they make their appearance in July. The timing for the carrots and onions was perfect and I was very excited to see their appearance in the box since I had picked up a chicken the week before and was ready for roasting.
Using this amazing recipe as a base, I added the onions and an orange to the cavity and then sprinkled with oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. I chose not to add any liquid to the pan and this had to be one of the most flavorful chickens I have ever had. The skin had that perfect crispness that just melts in your mouth and the meat was moist and tender. 
Some of the carrots and the rest of the onions were then used to make a nice rich stock.
It was an exciting week on the farm this week as we had a full crew. There are usually only two to three of us out in the fields on a given week, but this week we totaled six. With all those extra hands we were able to accomplish so much more and so I had the wonderful opportunity to do some planting this week. The celery, winter squash and melon transplants were ready for planting and so in efficient assembly line fashion we placed and planted several rows of new produce. I then got my real work out pulling the row covers off of the summer squash and placing them over the new crops. This allows the new transplants time to grow without the distraction of bugs and mildews in the air. Then back to weeding in the cabbage and potato beds.  It was a very busy day filled with mud from the much needed rain the night before and there was not much opportunity for pictures in the field this week. One speedy toad refused to have his picture taken so I decided to share a picture of the potato plants this week.
There is something about the shape of the leaves that I found rather beautiful, although this picture does not do them justice.
Some recipes I would like to try this week are this carrot top pesto and this fresh fennel salad.

This post can also be found at Fresh Foods Wednesday.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

In the Box and On the Farm

In this week's box:

Red Bunching Onions
Summer Squash
Nero Tondo Radishes

My favorite in this week's box has to be a toss up between the kale and beets. They are both just so flavorful, but I am excited to try this new spicy radish. The greens on these radishes are supposed to be pretty tasty.
The last few week's on the farm have been a variation on a theme, weed & harvest. Last week it was weeding the tomatoes for caging. To change things up I got to learn how to harvest swiss chard. It actually takes a bit of getting use to. As we harvest and bunch they are set aside in the shade of the other plants to be boxed at the end of the day. The bunches will actually begin to shrink right away and need to be soaked to clean them and perk them up before setting in the cooler for the next day's market.
Today upon arrival I learned my new tidbit of the week. When seeding a new bed, there is a small window of time between the fast germinating weeds and the germination of the seed that was planted when you can go in and torch the weeds without hurting the newly planted seeds in an effort at weed control. We spent the day fully in the Swiss Chard beds. "Harweeding". Yes, weeding and harvesting as we went along.
This little nest was found among the rows of chard. What an interesting place to build a nest. 
After weeks of nice weather on Saturday mornings, I finally caught my first hot one. At 8am it was already 88 degrees and humid. We took more frequent breaks and hit the shade for a bit. 
The Ruby Red Chard was going to seed and interestingly enough, it actually has a really wonderful smell. Similar to honeysuckle. It was a nice treat to work in.
I also found today that I have a fellow blogger on the farm who posts recipes from our box, so if you have been looking for some ways to use your CSA produce you can take a peak here, In other farm news, I brought home a nice free-range chicken to roast this week and get some stock going. It's been so long since I've done this and I'm looking forward to I good solid stock to add some flavor to all our produce. I've also taken the plunge and ordered our Thanksgiving dinner. In full mode of working for my food this year I will have an amazing opportunity to help with processing in exchange for my turkey. I am both excited and terrified but look forward to really knowing my food. 
This post can also be found at Fresh Food Wednesdays.