Tag Archives: sustainability

Garden Fence

Today’s weather was beautiful.   I decided to burn some brush, and noticed that some of the branches still had some bend to them.  B and I had wanted to try our hand at building a garden fence.  The photo is the result.  The only thing we didn’t find in our yard was the nails we used to construct the frame.

To make the fence, get five fairly straight branches that are approximately the same length.  Take two to make the top and bottom.  The other three will be the vertical supports.  Nail the vertical ones to the top and bottom.  The start weaving branches that are still a little flexible in whatever manner you see fit.  We used sumac and some thin birch saplings that had been growing in inconvenient places .

While we were making our fence B heard some noises coming from the brush along the property line.  We discovered a mystery flock of chickens in the brush our chickens enjoy spending their time.  At about the same time our neighbor at the top of the hill drove along the fence line.  We didn’t see the chickens again.  We can only hope that they followed our neighbor home.  Although part of me was ready to adopt however many chickens were in there.  I saw at least two. It was surprising there weren’t any scuffles between the two flocks.  At the time our chickens were enjoying an afternoon snack of sumac horns.  The photo below is a few of our chickens resting in the brush after the other chickens disappeared.

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Yucky American Cheese

This weekend we had to do some shopping at the big grocery store because we had to get a few things that our local store didn’t carry.  K loves cheese, and immediately started asking for some the minute we walked into the store.  I caved and bought 1/2 pound of American Cheese from the deli.

When we got home I decided to make grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.  As I was getting the sandwiches on the griddle, a piece of cheese fell off.  I absentmindedly popped it in my mouth as I had the hundreds of times I made grilled cheese sandwiches.  Shock! It was incredibly gross.  I could taste the refrigeration.  We have only eaten the cheese from our CSA and a few other leftovers from our fridge.  It was amazing how much I could taste the processed nature of the cheese.  Just another learning experience, it was eye opening for me.

CSA Week 4

B and I were saying that it seems like we have been doing the CSA forever, but it is only week four. We have 14 more weeks to go!

CSA week four

This week we received  chard, Napa Cabbage, scallions, spinach, sugar snap peas, mesclan mix, Italian herb goat cheese, chevre soaked in basil, pine nuts, and olive oil, and yogurt.

Cocoa

This is Cocoa.  One of our newest bug eaters.  Hopefully, she will soon start giving us some eggs too.  She was hoping for handouts.

Drowning in Greens

Here is a lesson I have learned- if you join a CSA don’t plant your own greens!  Last weekend I was drowning in greens.  I had four huge heads of bib lettuce, two bags of spinach, the head of lettuce from the CSA, a freezer bag and a grocery bag full of arugula, left over salad mix from the week two CSA, plus the romaine still growing in the garden.  What was I going to do with it all?

I gave grocery bag full of arugula to my neighbor.  He insisted he was taking it for his wife, but I know he’s a chef.  I saw his eyes light up when he opened the bag and realized what was inside.  A large amount of  the bib lettuce , along with some arugula, and some of the CSA lettuce  went to a friend.   In exchange she gave us a new salve to try on K’s eczema.

We made kale chips- recipe in the previous post.  I blanched some of the spinach to use later in the week.  We made a huge salad for the guests we had Sunday night.  It went well with the lobster (yes, that was also local).

On Monday it was still driving me nuts that I had so much arugula (its already coming back in my garden).  I decided to make pesto, and we have eaten the pesto several different ways all week.

arugula pesto

The recipe is very general.  I didn’t measure anything.

Some nuts (I had pecans still in my pantry)

Several handfuls of washed and dried arugula

Parmesan cheese- we still had a chunk in our fridge so I used up what we had

Olive Oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Toast the pecans until fragrant.  In a blender combine the toasted Pecans, arugula, cheese.  Pulse the blend on low.  As you are blending start to pour in the Olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to blend and add oil until its the consistency you like.

We mixed this sauce with goat cheese, orzo, broccoli, spinach, and garlic scapes.  We mixed it with gnocchi and mozzarella.  We also had it on homemade pizza this week.

Our progress this week

I think overall this week was a success.  I did have a couple incidents of buying Dunkin Coffee without even thinking about it, and Friday was a bit of a wash.  I had a coupon for Old Navy tanks, which K and I both needed, and we ate at chain restaurants, but to go from living that way all the time to once in a week, isn’t too bad.  I didn’t realize how many of the restaurants in our state capital we chains until I tried to think of a nice sit down place that wasn’t one.

Here was a pasta dish we made this week from mostly local ingredients.

Pasta dish

1 box of bow tie pasta

1 container of goat cheese packed in herbs and olive oil

1 small bunch of broccoli, cut up

1 small onion, chopped

few mushrooms, sliced

Cook pasta.  In the meantime saute onions, broccoli, and mushrooms.   drain pasta and combine with veggies.  Toss goat cheese and olive oil in hot pasta until cheese is melted.  If you want you can add shavings of Parmesan cheese.

The First Few Days

We have had several successes so far, and a couple times where I wondered if  I was doing something truly “local.”

First the successes:

We are considering our Beet Green Casserole a success.  It had the consistency of a cornbread oddly enough.  I’ve tried it hot and cold so far this week, and I prefer it warm.  Here is the link to the recipe I generally followed:   http://knox.villagesoup.com/business/brief/made-in-maine/local-food-recipe/412091   I didn’t have Barley on hand, but had half a box of Quinoa in the pantry.  I also didn’t have green garlic so I used two cloves of mature garlic.

Beet Green Casserole

One of our other successes was the Kale we had with our dinner tonight.  We cooked up some frozen stuffed chicken breast.  I just realized that even though its frozen chicken the company that produces it is based in Maine, but I seriously doubt the ingredients are local.    B used the recipe that came with the CSA share.  It was very asian-inspired.   We scarfed it down before either of us thought to take a picture, but here is the recipe:

2tbs of toasted sesame seeds (toasted in a dry pan until light brown and fragrant.)

2tbs of white granulated sugar

1tbs tamari soy sauce

1 bunch kale or any dark leafy green

Using a mortar and pestle, grind sugar and sesame seeds together until coarsely ground.  Add soy sauce and stir to make a paste.  Strip kale from stalk.  Coarsely chop then steam until tender.  Toss greens and sesame paste to coat the leaves evenly.

The one time I’ve questioned myself was in pursuit of coffee.  On Monday afternoon I was dragging at work.  Besides the fact that I was having a “case of the Mondays” I had also spent over an hour sitting in the sun for a high school graduation.  By 2:30 it was hard to keep motivated.  It was unusually warm in the office and my water wasn’t doing anything for me.  I suddenly had the grand idea of getting an iced coffee from Dunkin’.  The minute I spoke the thought out loud my coworker’s ears perked up, and we went off for our coffee.  Even though I was telling her all about this experiment while we were getting our coffee, it didn’t occur to me that I was at a fast food place ordering food. It is amazing how ingrained that sort of thing becomes.  I never thought about what I was doing, just that I wanted coffee.  It just gives me pause to think…

CSA day 1 and Father’s Day

What a truly beautiful day!  The Sun was out all day and the temperature was in the 70’s all afternoon.  It was a bit windy, but that just helped the clothes on the line dry faster.

This morning B made pancakes from scratch.  They are light and fluffy on the inside and a little crispy on the in outside.  We smothered them in our homemade raspberry preserves and butter.  We also cooked up some of the breakfast sausage we got from Beth’s yesterday.  There was very little grease, which was surprising, but they were very enjoyable.

Here’s the recipe for B’s pancakes:

2 cups flour- we use unbleached whole wheat, but all purpose would work too.

1tbs of light brown sugar

2tbs white granulated sugar

2tsp baking powder

1.5 tsp baking soda

2 large eggs (ours come from the backyard bug eaters)

1 and 3/4 cup milk

2 tbs melted butter

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

pinch of salt

mix dry ingredients together first.  In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients together.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.  Mix together being careful not to over mix.  Brush a skillet with butter and ladle batter onto skillet.  Flip when bubbles appear in the middle- about 4 minutes.

After a very filling breakfast we got ready to start our day.  B got K ready while I cleaned the chicken coop.  We drove down to Rockland to run errands and most importantly pick up our first CSA share.

Here is a photo of what we received in our first CSA share…

We have Kale, Broccoli, Pea Shoots, Beet Greens, Mesclan Mix, Spring Mix Spreadable Goat Cheese, Goat Cheese in Olive Oil, and Feta Cheese.

K fell asleep on the way home, and after tucking her in for a nap and putting our treasures away it was time for lunch.  We spread our goat cheese on some crusty bread from our local market.  Then we piled on some thin sliced radishes that we had drizzled in olive oil and some arugula from the garden.  So simple and so delicious.  While we ate we came up with a To Do List for the next couple weeks.

Later in the afternoon after doing yard work and playing we made dinner, and did a make ahead meal using the beet greens.  I’ll post more about this later.