Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Three inches of rain, and we've got water everywhere

We haven't had many strong storms this spring, but boy, did we ever have some thunderstorms last night. 

When I went to bed, thunder was rumbling and I woke this morning to lightning and loud claps of thunder. 

I love a good rumbly storm, but some of the thunderclaps sounded too close for comfort.  They rattled our windows. 

After a series of downpours and by the time it was light enough outside to see, the peaceful little brook that runs down the holler and by our yard was wild. 

Now the creek is spreadin out in the valley, and I'm thinking of those poor turkey hens whose nests are getting flooded. 

Nature can be so cruel. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What a difference a week makes

Last Tuesday we had near-record low temperatures of around 25 degrees.  Today, one week later, we're inching toward record highs. 

Kentucky weather is always predictably unpredictable, that's for sure. 

I'm lovin' what the warm days are doing to the landscape, though--as in producing some very welcome COLOR. 

See what I mean? 

                                           I think it beats the heck out of snow.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Eat those pesky weeds!

I’ve been reading about all the edible plants, flowers, mushrooms, even tree leaves, that are free for the taking right from our back yards. 

I’ve pulled a lot of henbit, chickweed and dead nettles from my flower beds in times past, and I never once considered that I might be throwing away perfectly good food, but apparently I was.    

Dandelions are considered some of the peskiest weeds in the yard, but every part of them is edible-- blooms, leaves, even the roots. 

Dandelion roots can be dried and brewed to make a coffee-like drink.  The leaves can be mixed with other wild greens and cooked, or they can be mixed with other greens in a salad. 

Tonight I tried frying some of the blossoms, as one of my aunts used to do.     

They weren’t too bad at all—kind of reminded me of fried summer squash, actually. 

I picked a couple of handfuls of the yellow blooms and trimmed away as much of their green stems as I could.

(Try to do your foraging somewhere that you know hasn’t been sprayed with herbicides (but keep in mind that most of what you buy from the store has been sprayed repeatedly.))

I rinsed the flowers in a colander under running water and spread them on a paper towel in the dish drainer to dry. 

A couple of hours later, I dipped the bright blossoms in beaten egg and dusted them with flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper.  I fried some in olive oil and a few in canola oil.  I couldn’t tell a lot of difference in the taste, but the canola oil didn’t overheat as easily. 

Some of the dandelion flowers began to fall apart because I cut too much of the green part away, so I just mixed the egg, flour, cornmeal and a bit of milk into a batter and stirred the dandelions into that.  I poured the batter into a hot oiled skillet and made fritters from those. 

Both the fried blossoms and the fritters were pretty tasty.  I topped a big green salad with the fried dandelions, some green onions and an oil and vinegar dressing.  I garnished the salad with a few fresh violets, which are also edible. 

Not only was the salad fresh and healthy, but I thought it looked very pretty. 

What do you think? 

Have you every foraged for what most folks now consider non-traditional foods? 


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fresh air and sunshine

Finally!  Two straight days to get outside and enjoy fresh air and sunshine! 

...and pick some fresh green grass. 
Hurray for spring!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring-colored creek

I've lived near Station Camp Creek most of my life, and I've observed it's many changing shades and colors. 
I've seen it a wild brown torrent, threatening to fill the entire valley floor,  and I've seen it olive green and murky during the dog days of August as it flows low and slow.  
I've seen the waters clear and black in November, colored by tannins leached from fallen leaves. 
This is my favorite creek color.  Turquoise, cold, clear, and fresh. Looks good enough to drink. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Nature makes good use of the muck

The hubby and I, along with our 20-year old daughter and her boyfriend, recently piled into the pickup and headed down the road to a relative’s house to load up a couple of loads of manure from their barn lot. 

When I say load up, I mean scoop with a shovel or lift by large forkfuls.  That equals hard work. Sweat. 

But I think we all kind of enjoyed it.  Anytime someone gives us manure, it’s exciting.

I can just imagine the soil becoming looser, richer and more productive. 

Oh, the tomatoes we’ll grow, the green beans, the sweet corn, the peppers.   

Our hens were pretty excited too, to have opportunity to peck through all that muck after we spread it on our garden spot. 

They get to fill up their bellies, and we get to fill up on their fresh eggs. 

That’s the great thing about living on a farm.  You see that nature never really lets anything go to waste. 
It’s all recycled, renewed and made fresh every season.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

We keep planting...

The grass is greening, but not much else. 

The frost was again thick this morning.  I think the temperature was something like 23. 

It's April, still cold, but some crops need to be in the ground, so we planted 168 broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussel sprout plants. 

We also planted two rows of 'red pontiac' potatoes, although there's still no sign of the 'yukon golds' that were planted two weeks ago. 

Robin dug into a row of peas and found some sprouting, so I guess we just have to be patient. 

I am so looking forward to going out to the garden to gather dinner! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Purple martins have come a long way home

We first saw a couple of purple martins here about two weeks ago.  They looked kind of bewildered as they sat in their gourds and looked out at a bleak winter-like landscape.  They were quiet too--not their usual chortling selves. 

I'll bet the poor birds were expecting to see greener grass, and redbuds blooming along the roadsides, and swarms of flying insects to nibble on as they made their way back from their winter home down near the equator. 

Instead, it's been cold and dreary like winter here this March. 

They're probably thinking, We flew to South America to escape all this!

My hubby and I have been a bit worried about them, afraid there won't be enough food to sustain them, or that they'll freeze to death.  They must be tired and weak after such a long journey north. 

The past couple of days more and more martins have arrived and are beginning to settle into the housing my hubby always has waiting for them. 

They sound more upbeat as they glide, chattering and chortling, around their summer digs.

The sun's been shining though, and that makes us all happy.   

Monday, April 1, 2013

Fresh as a daffodil

Okay, I'm going to give this Nablopomo thing another try.  Posting daily will most likely prove to be a challenge as the days get warmer and I find more (and more) to do outside each day.  Still, I like this month's theme.

Fresh.  As in new. Pure. Clean.

Here on the farm, there's a lot of "fresh" to talk about, especially in April. 

What could possibly say fresh like a bouquet of daffodils?

As cold as it's been, it's hard to imagine how such beautiful blooms have flourished, but they have.