We are halfway through strawberry season. We have another week of picking left, and I've already earned as much money as I did last year. I guess the deer fence and diligent weeding (not to mention the constant rain this year) is paying off! I'm hoping to have $1000.00 to spend on my hobby farm and local food this year.
I made frittata for the first time last week. It's basically like a quiche without the flour. I used some swiss chard from the garden, a few garlic cloves, a small onion, two handfuls of cheese, a little bit of butter and eight eggs. I don't like frittata as much as quiche, but it uses twice as many eggs. And we have a lot of eggs right now! I also made some frozen yogurt in the Vitamix, which was wonderful. Basically, you mix up all of the ingredients in the blender, then freeze them in muffin cups (I use silicone ones). When you want some frozen yogurt, you put some fruit in the blender and add a few chunks of frozen yogurt. I used an overripe mango to make the first batch, and it turned out very smooth and creamy. I might cut the sugar on the next batch, though.
Other than that, I haven't been doing much fancy work in the kitchen lately. I tried one slow-cooker recipe that made us all sick; another reason I skipped last week's post. I've been trying to do more structured menu planning, in order to have crock pot or pre-made meals in the evenings. Sometimes we'll be working on the house for several hours after Hubs gets home from work, and we won't have dinner until 10 p.m. or later. Since I'm getting up so early to pick strawberries, making dinner at that hour is NOT appealing. The other upside of planning specific meals and recipes for each day is that I can use garden produce before it goes bad.
It's hobby farm season! Aside from the strawberries, I'm also spending a couple hours per week in our vegetable garden and on other outdoor projects. I started a balance sheet for the homestead. I used to track in come and expenses on an Excel sheet, but doing it on paper is so much more convenient, since I don't have to open up the computer and bring up Excel every time I buy something or take in some money.
I'm really enjoying the vegetable garden. The combination of mulch and raised beds is magical for eliminating weeds. I have 12 4'x4' raised beds, but on any given year we only use eight or nine of them. Here is what I've planted this year:
1. Herbs: two and a half beds are planted in perennial herbs (mints, medicinal and culinary).
2. Flowers: I planted one bed this year with calendula, Bells of Ireland, and various bulbs (most of which haven't come up...).
3. Tomatoes/peppers: I planted just four tomato plants, on a trellis. The rest of the bed was planted in bell peppers.
4. Strawberries/sweet potatoes: One of my old strawberry beds has some sweet potatoes in it. Now it's a mix of strawberries and sweet potato vines.
5. Beans/squash: one bed has a tepee structure this year. I planted acorn squash (my favorite!) on the west side, and purple long beans on the east and south side. I left the north side open so our daughter can play in there when the plants have covered it.
6. Beets/parsnips/garlic: this bed is planted in thirds. It is my first year growing parsnips, but they are doing great. The beets are also thriving... garlic, not so much.
7. Spinach/lettuce/swiss chard: the spinach has bolted. I planted some watermelon seedlings in this bed, but the slugs ate them.
8. Lettuce/cucumber: I did the same thing with this bed; planted a climbing plant to provide shade for the greens (although, at this point it's too late for that). The cucumber plants are faring better than the watermelon seedlings.
Initially I mulched most of the beds with straw, which was fast and easy. However, grass clippings seem to be more effective and nutritious for the beds, as it makes another sheet compost layer when the season is over. Slowly I've been mulching more with grass clippings and less with straw. The straw, however, has been wonderful for our strawberries.
Well, that's about it for now!
Til next time,