Monday, March 22, 2010

Mother Earth News Garden Compost Tip

No photos today but I learned an interesting tip while riding the exercise bike this morning. In the fall when it's time to put the garden to bed take some of the space and make trenches. They only need to be about 6" deep. Cover with floating row cover or plastic to keep animals from using them as litter boxes. As you collect kitchen scraps over the winter take them out and dump them in the trenches. For things like banana peels and melon rind I would cut these into small pieces to make them easier to decompose or be devoured by our friendly worms. Cover with the hilled up dirt to the sides of the trenches and cover them back up. In the Spring next year you should find nicely composted soil thanks to the earth worms who've enjoyed the feast you've been providing them. When I saw this tip I had an AHA moment! So easy, and what a great way to compost. If you give this a try this next Fall and Winter season, let me know how it goes! I'm also wondering how this would work to try in the Spring in a portion of the garden. I'm going to give it a try....

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Have you started your garden yet?

Yes, it's time, and if you are like me, your fingers are itching to be digging through the warm soil, breaking up clumps and adding amendments to make it nice and rich for all the little plants you started indoors. While it may not be warm enough to play in the dirt yet, and for those who are ready to chastise me for not wearing gloves while digging around rest assured that when I'm adding the compost and steer manure you bet I use gloves!
Starting a garden doesn't have to be expensive and you don't need fancy equipment. Empty salad tubs from Costco, recycled 4 and 6 packs from the nursery, toilet paper rolls, meat trays from that pack of chicken and those steaks you bought last week, all can be used to start seeds. In order to keep track of what is planted in what I use clothes pins with the names of what I planted written on them. I've tried writing on the sides of the nursery packs but it washes off. Now, a warning to those with little children, they will move the clips around so watch for In the top tub with the little packs I wrote on the outside of the tub. The toilet paper rolls were cut in half. The nice thing about these is that once you are ready to transplant you can put the whole thing in the ground and it acts as a root protector from pests that like to chew on them. You can also add another half roll on top when they go outside to help protect from creepy crawlies that will chew through the stems and ruin a good plant.
I planted all these seeds last Monday the 14th, and have half of my little crop up through the soil, yay! The fastest growing are the asian greens such as the baby pac choi, and joi choi, as well as the mesclun mix and even my basil is up and going. I started all of these in window areas, but when it's warm enough outside you can move them outdoors. What I like about the salad tubs or anything with a clear lid is that they will act like a mini green house outside and also protect your seedlings from the elements. If you are still getting temps in the 30's at night move them indoors though or all your work could be wasted. This week I will be looking at attacking the soil and beds, cleaning up things and perhaps adding soil amendments. If you want a good source for seeds go to the Vesey's link I have to the right. There are a lot of companies out there that have great seeds. I would warn you about Wally worlds seeds though. They aren't the best quality and often don't even germinate so avoid box store brand seeds. Call your local nursery if you have any questions and they can tell you what seeds and so on work well in your area. If I've left anything out feel free to add to my comments. Now, let's get planting!

Friday, March 19, 2010


We had a Crockpot Olympics at our church tonight and I was asked to create the awards. In keeping with the theme of the dinner I took 3 Chinette paper plates and spray painted them gold, silver and bronze. They looked a bit plain so as I remembered what the medals for this years Olympics in Vancouver looked like I had the bright idea to use plastic silverware as the design on the front. So of course they were spray painted as well and hot glued on. I used some fabric with an apple pie theme to it for the ribbon.What could be more American than that?
Kent's scout beans took the bronze even though he didn't crock pot cook them. My favorite was his beans of course and a tasty dish called Chicken Stroganoff that is so easy. I will get the recipe and share as the creators are the folks I tend the twins for. We had a good time tonight, lots of interesting dishes in crock pots. Do you have a favorite crock pot dish?

Foodie Friday

Here's a recipe Annie tried out for us last night. It is a bit hot for us old folks, but I think she may have doubled the chili flakes...yikes! They were tasty though. If you like spicy this is the wing recipe for you. Oh, and I'm doubling the sauce ingredients as we found that there really wasn't half enough.

Sriracha Chicken Wings
ingredients: (makes about 2 dozen chicken wings)
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, crushed and chopped finely ( substitute 2 minced jalepeno peppers if you don't have red pepper flakes)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3-4 pounds chicken wings, split into drummettes and wingettes
2 tablespoons butter  
4 garlic clove, grated or finely minced
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Sriracha
My additions:
1/3 cup apricot or peach jam
grated rind of 1 lime
1/2 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

- Preheat oven to 425ยบ.
- In a small container, combine Sichuan peppercorns and salt. Sprinkle over both sides of the chicken wings.
- On a foil-lined, greased baking sheet, add chicken wings. Place in the oven until almost cooked-through, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepot over medium heat, melt butter. Take off heat, adding minced garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar and Sriracha. Whisk well to combine.
- When the chicken wings are removed from the oven, preheat the broiler.
- Transfer chicken wings and Sriracha-butter mixture into a bowl. Using tongs, mix together until wings are liberally covered with sauce.
- Return coated wings to the foil-lined baking sheet. Place in the broiler until the wings are nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes, checking occasionally.
If you would like to use another variety of peppercorns, feel free to do so. A tellicherry or pink peppercorn will also do wonders for this dish. And if you desire a spicier chicken wings, you can also add more Sriracha.
Serve with plenty of lemonade....yum!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Muse.....

I don't post here often lately as things have been a bit crazy.... Okay when are they not anymore? I saw this hymn yesterday and thought that the words apply so well to today.

Know this, that ev'ry soul is free
To choose his life and what he'll be;
For this eternal truth is giv'n: 
That God will force no man to heav'n.

He'll call, persuade, direct aright,
And bless with widom, love, and light,
In nameless ways be good and kind,
But never force the human mind.

Freedom and reason make us men;
Take these away, what are we then?
Mere animals, and just as well
The beasts may think of heav'n or hell.

May we no more our pow'rs abuse,
But ways of truth and goodness choose;
Our God is pleased when we improve
His grace and seek his perfect love.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

We will miss you little boy....

It was such a hard week last week! Bryan left for Portland so we helped Emmett and his mommy get ready for their move to Arizona. Emmett has been such a huge part of our lives for 2 and a half years. He's brought laughter, joy, amazement, wonder and love by the bucketfuls. If I've been remiss in keeping up with my blog posting it's been because we haven't quite known how to deal with the breakup of his parents and the moves. I see pieces of Emmett all over the place, from his alphabet magnets on the fridge to the beach ball in our bedroom. He left his binky, so I had to throw it away. Oh Emmett, we are praying for a miracle for you! Don't forget the prayer you and grandpa said on the corner the other night. Don't forget to pray. We love you so much!