Just a quick update today. We are going to keep an eye to the sky and watch the super moon eclipse tonight. I started making moon pies but they didn't turn out so we are having these gf pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting instead...
In the Garden
I have thyme, rosemary and basil hanging in the living room to dry.
I am planning to expand the gardening space for next year. I have been working at revitalizing a couple of old flower beds that are right next to the house. I was turning my compost bin last month and notice A LOT of worms in it. So, I put down some dirt and then compost into the new gardening beds. Then, I looked through my compost bin again to find those worms to add to the new garden area. I covered everything up with some wood chips. Hoping the worms will work their magic and get it all ready for next spring...
We woke up to a most unpleasant surprise...freezing temperatures. This was not in the forecast! I know that we cannot change the weather but I would have thrown my cover on the tomatoes if I knew it was going to be that cold. Here is a picture of the patty pan squash...several leaves turned black. The changing of the seasons is coming...
In the Kitchen
My friend gave me a box of plums that they foraged from their neighbors tree (don't worry, the neighbors are in Japan...) So, I pitted them and froze them so I can make some plum jam this winter (to take to the Farmer's Market next summer)!
We still have apples sitting in our garage from our picking 2 weeks ago. I am finally getting around to processing some of them. Mark loves applesauce so I cut the apples up and put them into the crock pot overnight. Then, use the food processor to puree them up and process in a waterbath canner. One full crock pot of apples yields 2 quart jars of sauce...got more to do tonight (after we watch the eclipse!)
For more details about making applesauce in a crock pot, click on the picture of the applesauce!
The fair is ending today. Henry said he liked this chicken. It is a Buff Orpington. It is beautiful and a cold hardy breed. It is not on my "list" of chickens because it lays brown eggs and there are other breeds that lay more prolifically. However, I may consider some after a few years because they go broody and we may want to experiment with raising our own chicks at some point.
Joshua got Grand Champion on his Guinea Pig (cavy). Here is a short video of the judge making her final decision. He was very excited!
And here is a picture of Joshua on "barn" duty at the fair...
Last weekend, we went to Bishop's Orchard and picked apples. I will be making some applesauce in a couple of weeks. Also, we made some apple cider using their press. Joshua did the supervising...
In the Kitchen
Okay...second try at canning peaches. More successful and we just LOVE O'Henry peaches!
We have been so busy (see pictures of boy sleeping above), I thought I would have more to say! Henry and I went to a Shania Twain concert and want to say THANK YOU to grandma for coming out (all the way from Pennsylvania) to watch the boys for us so we could get out!
We had a great visit with Linda (grandma). Denise and Linda share a birthday! We celebrated with a salmon dinner and cherry berry pie! Denise got a butter bell and a book about chickens...it was a perfect birthday!
Just some generic ramblings this week about diversity...
When I went out to harvest my sunflowers this past summer, there was a LOT of diversity. I did plant 8 different varieties but even beyond that, there were lots of differences. Some plants had huge heads! Some grew very short and small. I have thought a lot about why this happened. I know that some plants got an earlier start and those were often the ones that were the biggest. Some germinated later and then were shaded by the bigger flowers so I can see why they were smaller.
At first, I will admit that I was disappointed in the variation of the flowers. It really bothered me that they were not all the perfect size and all the same.
However, some people actually liked the big sunflowers, especially the kids. Then, lots of people would take pictures of the bigger sunflowers. It started to change my view of the flowers. I started to see that having lots of diversity was fun! It was enjoyable to help customers pick through the flowers and design their own special bouquet. I can say with certainty that no 2 bouquets from ReMARKable Farms are alike! They are all unique and that is what makes them special!
I think the same thing can be said about people...life would be boring if we were all the same. I wanted all the flowers to be the perfect size because I thought that is what people wanted. I am glad I was wrong!
We are all unique in our own ways and from now on, we at ReMARKable Farms, will be celebrating DIVERSITY!
Also, time to celebrate the bottling of the Dandelion Wine!
I pulled up the last of the sunflowers this past week. Thanks again to Joe Raiden for helping me with that task, It went easier this week...probably due to the little bit of rain we got this past week! So grateful for the rain!
I mentioned last blog post that I am going to plant a Three Sister's Garden next year. I have 3 raised beds that are about 4 by 8 feet. So, this is really not enough space to plant sweet corn. We have a decent sized back yard, and there is room for more garden but I keep thinking we are moving so I have not taken the initiative to start any more garden beds. It appears that we are going to be staying here for at least another 3 years so I am ready to move ahead with starting a new garden bed. Also, I am curious to try a new method of clearing a space for a garden.
Starting at about 1 min 37 seconds in the YouTube video, it shows a method of putting down compost, then cardboard, and finally wood chips. Then, you let that sit for 5 months. So, we are going to try this method in the backyard and then use that area to plant our Three Sister's Garden next summer.
What is a Three Sister's Garden?
Story of the Three Native American Sisters
The three sisters way of planting originated with the Haudenosaunee tribe. The story goes that beans, corn and squash are actually three Native American maidens. The three, while very different, love each other very much and thrive when they are near each other.
It is for this reason that the Native Americans plant the three sisters together.
First, decide on a location. Like most vegetable gardens, the three Native American sisters garden will need direct sun for most of the day and a location that drains well.
Next, decide on which plants you will be planting. While the general guideline is beans, corn and squash, exactly what kind of beans, corn and squash you plant is up to you.
Beans – For the beans, you will need a pole bean variety. Bush beans can be used, but pole beans are more true to the spirit of the project. Some good varieties are Kentucky Wonder, Romano Italian and Blue Lake beans.
Corn – The corn will need to be a tall, sturdy variety. You do not want to use a miniature variety. The kind of corn is up to your own taste. You can grow the sweet corn that we commonly find in the home garden today, or you can try a more traditional maize corn, such as Blue Hopi, Rainbow or Squaw corn. For extra fun, you can use a popcorn variety too. The popcorn varieties are still true to Native American tradition and fun to grow.
Squash – The squash should be a vining squash and not a bush squash. Typically, winter squash work best. The traditional choice would be a pumpkin, but you can also do spaghetti, butternut or any other vine growing winter squash that you would like.
Once you have chosen your beans, corn and squash varieties, you can plant them in the chosen location. Build a mound that is 3 feet across and around a foot high.
The corn will go in the center. Plant 6 or 7 corn seeds in the center of each mound. Once they have sprouted, thin to just 4.
Two weeks after the corn has sprouted, plant 6 to 7 bean seeds in a circle around the corn about 6 inches away from the plant. When these sprout, also thin them to just 4.
Last, at the same time as you plant the beans, also plant the squash. Plant 2 squash seeds and thin to 1 when they sprout. The squash seeds will be planted on the edge of the mound, about a foot away from the bean seeds.
As your plants grow, gently encourage them to grow together. The squash will grow around the base, while the beans will grow up the corn.
A three Native American sisters garden is a great way to get kids interested in history and gardens. Growing corn with squash and beans is not only fun, but educational too.