HELP US KEEP GROWING

We have reached new heights and want to keep growing. Our CSA shares have doubled and we are so thrilled. Please help us reach our dreams and be able to serve our community better by helping us purchase our tractor. Our love for our community and teaching others about urban farming and the importance of local, safe food is stronger than ever. It takes a village and we promise we won’t let you down!

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO HELP.

this50MM10291354_650440048345122_1591090431817973985_nunnamed unnamed 2 6 image_2 (2) image_7 (2) image (13) garden

Thank you all for everything you do! We couldn’t do it without you!

Nicole and Nick

BITS & PIECES

Here are a few tidbits from our week so far.

unnamed unnamed (1) unnamed (4) unnamed (5) unnamed (6) unnamed (7) unnamed (8) unnamed (12)

Ice everywhere. This week we have been working outside as little as possible. Clearly, Nick doesn’t mind working outside in the sleet as much as I do.

unnamed (11)  We had one slight chicken emergency. A couple of girls at our big growing space didn’t go into their coop during the freezing rain and their feathers got soaked, then frozen. They were SO cold, but never fear, we bundled them up, put them in the truck, and drove them back to our place. By the time we got there, they were dry and warm. They are ready to go back to their home, but they are going to stay at the coop at our house until the freeze thaws so we can keep a close eye on them! Silly chickens!

unnamed (2) unnamed (3)

Here is how we have been staying warm:

unnamed (9) unnamed (10)

Wood, lots of wood and sneaking off into the greenhouse. We have gone through an insane amount of wood this week! Our greenhouse currently only has a crummy, temporary piece of plastic as a door right now, but it is still hanging strong in the mid sixties even when it’s barley twenty degrees outside. The warmth of it is a nice reprieve when you can no longer feel your hands!

Stay warm out there!

Nicole

REUSING WHAT WE HAVE: BUILDING COLD FRAMES

We are still working hard at getting our greenhouse put together and it is coming along great! We will hopefully be done next week. Last year we started a lot of seeds on February 9th. With that date quickly approaching and the greenhouse not quite complete, we decided to build a cold frame to get a few things started in. We had no money to put into the project, so we had to get scrappy again and use what we already had on hand. Our garden last year was made of cinder block raised beds. This year, we are planting directly into the earth, so we have a lot of blocks on hand that we could use for the cold frame. Here is how we did it:

We first found a location on our property that receives the highest concentration of sunlight. Next, we placed the blocks on the ground to form a tight rectangle.

unnamed

We then placed a weed barrier inside. We chose black because it will absorb and hold onto more heat.

unnamed (1)

We overlapped the barrier and placed it tightly on the ground the entire length of our structure.

unnamed (2)

Yes, it’s crooked, but we are imperfect beings and that is okay!

Then we stuffed straw into all the openings in the blocks to provide a bit more insulation.

unnamed (3)

Last, we placed windows on top to let the sunlight in and keep the cold air out. At first I was a bit skeptical as to whether or not this would work. All the cold frames I had seen before were wooden and better constructed, so I put a thermometer inside to see. Boy, was I surprised! The inside has been about 12-20 degrees warmer depending on the sun that day. I am pleased.

unnamed (4)

Peace, Nicole

HOW WE BUILT OUR COMPOST BAYS… FOR FREE

One of the projects we worked on last week was our compost bays. Last year we had a pile in the back of our garden that was an untamed mess. It was hard to turn and impossible to keep contained. When we moved the fence recently, we realized we had enough room to install a permanent composting area. We are super short on funds lately, so we decided to get scrappy and use whatever we could find for free. We had seen multiple ideas for composting systems made out of pallets and we had a pile of them at our garden, so we thought we’d give it a try. We made our system into 4 bays; one for cooking compost, one for compost that is ready to go, one for super woody stems and stalks that take longer to break down, and one for storing mulch or straw for the garden. Here’s how we did it:

Start by making really silly faces and picking the perfect spot. I feel silly faces make every project run a bit smoother. Make sure you pick a spot that is centrally located for ease of use.

unnamed

unnamed (1)

We then gathered some old t-posts we had lying around from putting up fencing and stringing tomatoes.

unnamed (4)

Next, we lined the pallets along the side of the fence and started making 3 sided bays with them. We placed the t-posts in the openings in the end of the pallets and drove the t-posts into the ground to secure them.

unnamed (2) unnamed (3)

Now, just keep going until you have as many bays as you think you will need. We recommend at least two (one for cooking and another for ready to use).

Here is the finished product. I think it looks pretty good!

unnamed (5) unnamed (6)

Peace, Nicole and Nick

A DAY IN THE LIFE.

People often ask us what we do this time of year. While it is a time where we slow down a bit, there are still many chores and preparations for the coming growing season that happen daily. We have been moving fences, designing a greenhouse, constructing cold frames, building compost bays, and planning space for more chickens. (We will be blogging about most of these, so stay tuned). Yesterday we decided to focus most of our energy on our garden layout and cooking enough food to help heat the house.

We always start our morning with a hearty breakfast. I made breakfast while Nick tended to the chickens and the dogs. This barley bowl is super tasty and filling! We were super excited to use some blueberries we had frozen from summer and local maple syrup in this dish!

unnamed (4)

Here’s the brief how to:

Add 1 cup of barley to 3 cups of water and bring to a boil

Reduce heat, cover and cook for 25 minutes

(Most of the water should have absorbed, but if there is a little left, don’t fret, just strain it off!)

While the barley is cooking, combine 1 cup of  mashed blueberries with 1/4 cup of maple syrup in a sauce pan.

Bring berry syrup mixture to a rolling boil

Reduce to a simmer and cook until liquid has reduced by half and you have a nice, bright purple syrup

Place your barley in a bowl, top with blueberry syrup, and crumbled pecans

YUM! This recipe makes 4-6 servings depending on how hungry you are!

After breakfast, I started making our bread for the week. I used a super simple recipe that can be found here. I like this recipe because it is so versatile. You can take the basic recipe and change it up to make it your own. The recipe in the link calls  for all purpose flour, but we use half all purpose and half whole wheat. Here is what the process looks like.

unnamed unnamed (1) unnamed (2) unnamed (3) unnamed (5) unnamed (6) unnamed (7) unnamed (8) unnamed (9) unnamed (10) unnamed (11) unnamed (12)

The recipe says to drape the dough with plastic wrap while rising, but we don’t use plastic, so I dampen a cloth napkin with warm water instead. It works great, helps keep the moisture in, is an eco-friendly solution, and looks pretty too!

I couldn’t resist the warm bread straight from the oven, so we made some egg salad. I used eggs from our chickens, aioli, and apple cider vinegar all mixed up. Then I added dill, paprika, cracked black pepper, a little onion, and lovage to taste. It’s so delicious. We paired this with a mixed green salad, and lunch was a success!

unnamed (13)

After lunch, we each had big projects to work on. I spent the next 5 hours planning our garden layout while Nick reinforced our rabbit hutch, and loaded up some wood that we will use to frame in our greenhouse.

unnamed (14)

My mind was boggled. We are growing 89 varieties this year. I felt like I was playing veggie-tetris all afternoon.

Before we knew it, it was time for supper. I roasted some veggies we had saved from our garden last year (beets, carrots, garlic, butternut, sweet potatoes) with some rosemary and olive oil. The beets were super bright and stained my hands the loveliest color!

unnamed (15)unnamed (16)

Then I made a risotto with the bone broth I made a few weeks ago. We had a green salad with it and it was delicious!

unnamed (17)

After supper, Nick tended to the chickens, we cleaned the kitchen, and started planning for today.

A slow, but fulfilling day indeed!

Peace, Nicole