Friday, June 28, 2019

Garden Update

Anyone who knows me knows that organic gardening is one of my passions!  Raising our own organic vegetables makes eating healthy so enjoyable. There is nothing like picking a handful of fresh basil to make a pesto, or grilling up a fresh vegetable medley to go with salmon.

We typically start our plants from seed in the greenhouse in March.  This season, we planted corn, zucchini, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, crookneck squash, green beans, beets, carrots, spinach, lettuce, 3 kinds of tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, hot peppers and cantaloupe, as well as some medicinal and culinary herbs..

This time around, we opted to ditch row gardening in favor of raised beds. I have to say we should have done this years ago!

Our raised garden beds are small, 16 x 16, so they are easy to maintain.  They are a breeze to keep free of weeds  When we go out to water, we  pull whatever weeds may be sprouting up as we go.

We purchased ready-made bed forms from a catalog.  We currently have 16 of them in the fenced-in garden area and plan to add more next year.

When we put in the beds, we used burlap instead of traditional weed block, to avoid chemical leaching  Since our soil here is poor, despite amending it with compost, we used organic gardening soil mixed with manure.

The plants are looking very happy! Everything in the garden that flowers is blooming.  There are some small crookneck squash and spaghetti squash already growing on the vines. 

My husband has been mowing the grass and weeds around the beds with the hand mower.  I am not sure how this will work out over time.  We may end up reseeding between the beds with grass seed or replacing it with pea stone next gardening season. We also plan on deepening the beds in the fall to accommodate more root vegetables next spring.

Our garden is definitely my happy place!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Getting Rid of Those Pesky Ants

I enjoy all that the summer season brings... fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden, homemade ice cream and summer evenings on the porch watching the fireflies dance.  However, one thing I don't enjoy is when pesky ants invade our home and outbuildings.  Since we don't use any chemicals anywhere here on the farm, I always turn to this tried and true method of getting rid of them.


Supplies:
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Borax
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • cotton ball






Directions:
  1. Mix the Borax and sugar together in a jar or covered plastic container until well blended. (You can purchase Borax in the laundry detergent aisle of your local grocery store.  )
  2. Add the warm water and mix thoroughly until the powder is completely dissolved.
  3. Dip a few cotton balls into the liquid mixture until they're saturated.  Squeeze out excess moisture just enough so they're not dripping.
  4. Place the cotton balls on window and door casings in the rooms where you see the ants.  Try to place them close to the point of entry, if possible.
  5. Cover the container of Borax/sugar mixture to save for future use.  Be sure to label the container.  
  6. Within several hours of placing the cotton balls, you'll notice the ants will have a feeding frenzy.  After feeding for awhile, they almost appear to be drunk.  However, the next day, there will be very few ants on the cotton balls.  This is because they eventually return to their nest, bringing home the mixture to feed the other ants.  This is a good thing, as soon the entire nest will be wiped out! 


It is wise to repeat the above process daily until the ants are gone, which is usually within 2-3 days.

It is also a good idea to seal up the point of entry, so the ants can no longer get into the house.

Have a safe and happy summer!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Savory Oat Hash with Avocado and Egg



When you think of oats, you probably think of something sweet, maybe oatmeal with fruit added to it. While that sounds delicious, I heartily encourage you to think savory and try this healthy breakfast dish incorporating oats.  You'll be glad you did!


Ingredients (for 1 serving, double recipe for 2)

  • 1/4 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/4 sweet red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/4 onion cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup bone broth
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • avocado half, cut into wedges
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook onion and pepper strips in olive oil until tender; remove from heat.
  2. Heat bone broth until boiling; add oats.  Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in cooked onions and peppers; add salt and pepper to taste.  Cover pan and set aside.
  3. Cook the egg sunny side up using the pan used to cook onions and peppers; once cooked, add salt and pepper to to taste.
  4. Spoon hash onto a plate, then arrange avocado slices on top.
  5. Place the cooked egg on top of the avocado and enjoy!

Nutritionally Speaking

Let's break it down:

Eggs

Eggs are a healthy option for breakfast. One egg has only 75 calories but 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat. Eggs contain the following essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants:

  • Selenium, a mineral antioxidant, which protects our body and immune system.
  • Folate, for growth and maintenance of healthy cells.
  • Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5 ) releases energy from our food for our body to use.
  • Vitamin B12  for brain and nervous system functions and blood formation.
  • Vitamin A, for growth and eye health.
  • Iodine, to ensure proper function of the thyroid gland
  • Vitamin E, an antioxidant to protect our bodies against disease.
  • Phosphorous, which helps build strong bones and teeth.
  • Iron, to produce hemoglobin, which carries oxygen around our bodies.
  • Thiamine, to turn carbohydrates into energy our body can use.
  • Zinc, which helps in growth, wound healing, blood formation and maintenance of tissues.
  • Vitamin D, which is important for bone health and immune function.
  • Calcium, for building and maintain bones and teeth.
  • Biotin, which helps cell metabolism and the utilization of fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
  • Choline, which is important in many metabolic processes, including those of liver, heart and brain
  • Lutein, which is important for eye health.

Oat Hash

Oats are high in fiber and loaded with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidant plant compounds. 1/4 cup of oats contains the following vitamins and minerals:
  • Manganese: 90% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 20% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 17% of the RDI
  • Copper: 12% of the RDI
  • Iron: 10% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 10% of the RDI
  • Folate: 5.5% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 19.5% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 10% of the RDI
  • Smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B3 (niacin)
Sweet peppers are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, folate, potassium, copper and manganese. 

Onions are a good source of dietary fiber, and Vitamin C, B6, folate, calcium potassium, and manganese. They also contain quercetin, a flavonoid and antixoidant.  In addition, they contain allicin, a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.   

Avocado

Avocados are rich in healthy fats.  They are high in fiber and are great sources of  in  B-vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E and vitamin C.