Thursday, November 1, 2012

New Adventures

I have been busy with so many other things I haven’t had time or felt like writing on this blog of mine. I am amazed by all these bloggers that manage to write on their blogs daily and do all the things they are writing about……where do they find the time? Do they get to sleep? Get to spent time on the sofa with their spouse, kids/……I don’t think I could keep up with that, nor do I want to.                                                                                                                                                                                               
I have too many things I like to do during the day and when I am done for the day, I just have no energy left for writing. I also think my evening is time to spent with my husband, family and friends not with the online community. So my blog, even I sometime think I should share more, it still will always be secondary to the life I am living, because living and enjoying life is more important as this blog.

I will try to share with you, but I won't try that hard. I'll keep finding more things to keep busy with and things I want to learn, try, do.......the list is getting longer. I've been always a hands on person, creative, crafty and resourceful. Why buy something you can make yourself? I like to tinker and make things, I like to grow things, make my own food, cakes, jams, pickles.....I enjoy eating good food, and if I can make it much better.

So I just went on another journey.....the journey of cheese making. Last year I met this women outside of town, I call her "goat lady" who has goats, milking goats, cheese milk type of goats and she is getting me goat-milk. So I started making farm type fresh goat cheeses, chevre types or hand cheeses. Then I found a young farmer that sells Raw milk herd shares. So I signed up with him. And since 2 weeks ago there is only one kid left in the house, I have more milk, then we use for fresh I have been busy making cheese and learning about cheese making.......been hanging around the internet cheese sites all week.

These are the two cheeses I have made this week. The red one is a Spanish goat cheese called "Cabra al Vino" is soaked in red vine before aging. The other is a typical farmer cheese from Europe called "Tomme" and is very variable whatever mold, rind and taste you want to try....lot's of experiments possible. They are not done yet, just went into my cheese fridge cave for aging. Never made cheeses like that so it will be an adventure. Will I be able to keep the bad mold at bay and encourage the good growth.....we will see in 6-8
"Cabra al Vino"........that one could be a bit smoother on the outside. I trusted the instructions too much and so the curd got cut a bit late and was firmer then it should be. They didn't knit together as nicely. As long I can keep the bad mold invading the crevices and wander inside it should be fine. I'll keep you posted

"Tomme" ....this one so far just looks perfect. I learned on the cheese forum about the flocculation method, where you put a sterile, small container on top of the inoculated milk and give it a push from time to time and once the container won't move anymore on the milk, you then can calculate out how long it needs to set. I tried it and it worked like a charm. I decided to just wash it with a vine-salt water brine to develop a rind.
Tomorrow I'll make goat "Feta" I made a simple clabbered milk cheese, it's still draining. It will turn into a stinky German hand cheese when I am done with it. At least that's the plan. I still have more milk to excuse me, if you can.......I have more research to do

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Drip irriation in the vegetable garden

something I like to share with you all.........
I have been using drip irrigation for quite some years in my vegetable garden, and some years, when it was hot and dry for some time, I have had really bad results, growing from seed. It wasn't too big of a problem when I was there and able to hand water the seeded areas, but this year the results were terrible. See, I spent some time away from my garden visiting family in Germany and before I left I planted all my seeds, thinking they will be growing while I'm gone being on automated watering..........didn't work out! I came back and hardly anything had sprouted.

So I researched and this is what I figured out........
Drip irrigation, even it saves you a lot of water and it works great with transplanted vegetables, does not work well for growing from seed. It just doesn't keep the surface wet enough for seeds to sprout.
So after researching, I have come to the conclusion, you really need 2 different set-ups on separate timers for the vegetable garden.
One for seeds, with mini-sprayers you use when starting seeds.......and one for the established plants, with drip irrigation to save on water.
You need them separate, because I have put little sprayers into my drip line before but this uses too much water since both run at the same time and gets it too wet, so I turned most of these off.

So now I have ordered another timer and irrigation supplies and after the Oregon Country Fair, I will be tweaking my irrigation once more again.......seems like I spend a lot of time on this already this year;)

But I bet my seeds will be happier and sprouting.
And now I should be getting ready to go outside.......have more re-seeding to do two of reseeding;)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

GMOs -- We Have a Right to Know! Label-It Petition

New Infographic! GMOs -- We Have a Right to Know!

Less than 1 week to go to demand that the FDA label GMOs--3,500 more signatures needed and we will have over 1 million! Please repost! And please if you haven't signed it yet........sign and then repost

Monday, March 19, 2012

Saving - Keeping your seeds

As some of you know I'm a Heirloom seed gardener. I don't plant hybrid seeds but only open-pollinated seeds, seeds that come true to type and can be saved. Over the years I have been saving more and more seeds of my plants. At first it was just the easy ones like lettuce and tomatoes, peppers anything that won't cross pollinate as bad and didn't need any special pollination care like isolation boxes or are a lot of work to process since I really didn't have any real seed screens instead using my kitchen sieves.
Now I save so many seeds every year, of so many varieties I really need to keep good track of what seed is in which seed bag.....I was getting to many little plastic baggies with 'unknown' variety or '???' written on them, because either the writing with the permanent marker had rubbed off or I forgot to label them right away, thinking I would remember which variety it was and then didn't.
So last year I sat down with my Print-Shop software and designed a seed pack that would fit into a 3" x 5" plastic bag.

 I added the name of the plant variety and very basic grow info on the design and added a picture of the vegetable plant. They were some nice seed packs but it took too much time to cut and glue them together every time I needed some. It ended up being a way bigger job then I wanted it to be.

I ended up just using the front side, cutting away the rest, since I was storing the seed envelopes in plastic bags anyway, I really didn't need all the paper. So this spring I decided to redesign the whole thing and came up with paper card inserts that perfectly fit into the plastic baggies and since a bit larger also were able to hold much more growing info.

I can also add many more inserts on one sheet of paper.......saving paper and trees. Also just having all the important growing info right in front of me when I need it,  is just so nice, plus instead of cutting paper and gluing I get to have more fun planting and playing in my garden.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Exploring gardening philosophies

Over the last year I have done a lot of exploring.
I just felt my garden could do better, I could do better in and for my garden.
Over the years I have experimented with a lot of ideas from books, magazines and info I find on-line, don't get me wrong they aren't all bad but after you read them all you constantly find that everyone thinks theirs is the best possible way to grow the greatest amount of vegetables possible or they contradict each other or you try it out and have the worst vegetable harvest ever, like I did last year.
Everyone nowadays seems to be an expert. Every garden show I go to have plenty of those experts some know what they are doing, but some don't, even they think they do.
I know a lot of things about gardening but I don't think I'll ever would think I am an expert to tell people how to garden.....nope I am not garden show ready.

So first here is my disclaimer: whatever I write here on my blog are my experiences and trials in gardening, and I don't take any responsibility of you are copying what I am doing and now your crops failed, your vegetable garden is a mess, whatever.......I don't know it all!

so that's being said, I have decided I am staying with the experts, I am going to learn and study organic growing philosophies that have been done for a long time, with lot's of trials and research that show it works.

Sorry weatherman, that lost his job and likes to garden and now gives lectures about his gardening experiment......your method just didn't work out for me. You don't know what you're talking about and I finally figured out why all my seedlings died on me last year, why my seeds did not want to sprout and my harvest was meager. It was the leaves I put in spring on my beds, the ones I got from the city leaf pile and were full of Oak leaves and Walnut tree leaves and you said it would be alright to put them on even that late in the season, short time before planting. Comes out these leaves have growth inhibitors that prohibits seeds from sprouting and hinders the growth of young seedlings, and those leaves need to be first broken down, composted, to use them in your vegetable-garden.

This I first learned from an old book from Rodale Press named "High-Yield-Gardening" that is out of print but still can be searched for and found used on the Internet.
I don't know about you but I trust the books Rodale Press releases, since Rodale Institute has a large organic gardening research facility that documents what works and doesn't work and they have been doing it for a long time. I also found many found references in the other books I have been reading,  "to only use composted leaves or if you put them on your vegetable-beds let them compost down on the beds for at least half a year or more until they turn into leaf mold" none said to put leaves directly on your beds a short time before planting.
I learned about the 'leave' issue in old Biodynamic gardening books,
the method Rudolf Steiner 
promoted after he found the food quality diminishing after long years of  industrial farming and tried to get farmers back to natural ways of agriculture in harmony with nature,

including in harmony with the moon, the planets and the stars .

I read about composting leaves first in the Bio Intensive books from John Jeavons

one of the founders of the Ecology Action Organization and Research facility in California. Biointensive is practically a combination of the French-Intensive Gardening technique from the 1800 and the Rudolf Steiner Biodynamic Method.

And I read about this in the Perma-Culture book "Gaia's Garden",
at least in concern for vegetable garden areas.
Perma-Culture which has the concept of using your garden and the whole property as an eco system, incorporating sustainable designs, natural areas, including backyard farm animals and food forests wants you to never have to bring anything from the outside in to feed and nourish your garden, it all is supposed to be sustained by what you grow and compost from your property and so you design your whole property accordingly......just think Permanent Culture.
Again Permaculture borrows much of its core philosophy from another method, which is Rudolf Steiners Biodynamic gardening even it lacks the mystical elements.

All of these methods tell you to compost your leaves before growing your vegetables in them, so that's what I am going to do.

At first when I started reading these books I thought it was all a bit too complicated but as I started to read all the books simultaneously I realized that all these methods really have all the same philosophy and follow the same principles. "Garden with Nature!" and "Garden sustainable!"and "Use the land to grow your food so you get most out of it with the least amount of land used!"
So I will take the principles that fit my need (sorry John Jeavon.....I don't think I'll do the double digging) and once I figure it all out, including that "Planting by the Moon" I think I'll be set.
Learning from the experts will make my garden grow better!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In Protest to SOPA

██ ████████ ██████ ██████████ ██ ████ ██ ████ ██████████ ██. ███ ███ This post has been found in violation of H.R. 3261, S.O.P.A and has been removed.