Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Farm In Bloom

Last week I moved the ducks down to the pond. And they haven't left. Seriously, they are refusing to go back to the coop. I didn't have much time to spend with them while they were 'growing up' (they're two months old now, and pretty much fully grown, its insane), so they aren't the tamest of creatures. I mean, they know I'm the woman that brings them food, but they're not tripping over themselves to snuggle in my lap. Which isn't a biggie, I enjoy having ducks on the pond so we'll always have a handful, but I doubt we'll be raising a ton of them over the years. If they start gettin' busy makin' babies (fingers crossed!), we've talked about processing ducks for meat in the future. But lets not talk about all that business... instead, look at how majestic they look floating on the pond! And who can blame them for not wanting to leave? They have a peaceful little pond all to themselves, complete with a mountain view. Lucky ducks.

Fishies! Feed them, and they will come. They remind me of the dogs when they hear me open something up that has a wrapper. We have several large catfish in here as well. I actually had to pull a frighteningly large, dead one out of the pond last week. My guess is that he froze during the winter, and died. He was pretty decomposed. Smelled great.

Our fruit trees are blooming. It seems that the whole farm is blooming really. Things are coming to life, and its just gorgeous. Nature leaves me in awe every spring. Each seemingly more beautiful than the last. I was going to add to our little orchard this spring, but I'm gonna wait and see what we have first. Based on the shape of the tree, and the pink bloom, I think this first one is a cherry tree. Fingers crossed!

I discovered a random patch of rhubarb in the yard. Its in the strangest place too, back by the chicken coop. I know nothing about growing rhubarb, so my plan is to just check on it every once in a while and hope for the best. Strawberry rhubarb jam, perhaps?

Hope you laid a pretty egg for me today Clover.
Clover: "So you're the egg thief!? How dare you!"

The little ones are ten weeks old now. They're getting so big, and sassy.

My pride and joy: my tomato plants. After a few years of unsuccessful attempts at growing plants from seed, this year I finally got it right. And you know what the secret is? Fluorescent lamps. If you live in a colder climate in which you have to start seeds indoors in late February/Early March, you must have grow lights to have strong, healthy plants. I fought it for so long because I didn't want to spend the money, but boy, oh boy was it worth it. I just moved them out to the greenhouse yesterday because the temps have been in the high fifteens/low sixties. These twenty beauties, and their fifty-two tomato sisters will be going in the ground in two weeks, and need to be slowly hardened off to the outdoors.

Thank sweet baby jesus, my peas are finally coming up. Three weeks ago I planted a packet each of snow peas, sugar snap peas, and shell peas in the ground. The next day it snowed. The weather went from sunny, mid sixties, to overcast and mid forties for the following week and a half. So I was quite annoyed, and worried my little peas would rot in the ground. This row of sprouting peas I found over the weekend was a sight for sore eyes. I'm relieved!

I've never been much of a flower kinda girl, but apparently the folks who used to live here really enjoyed them. We have daffodils, hyacinth, and rose bushes all over the yard. They're quite beautiful, they smell heavenly, and just might convert me over to the flower loving dark side. I'm dying to see what other surprises are waiting to spring up all over our property. I'm crossing my fingers for some honeysuckle, elderberry, and wild blackberry bushes. I hear wild wines calling my name.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Two Ingredient Energy Bars

It's HERE, it's finally here! What you may ask? GARDENING SEASON. I've been waiting all winter for this very time of year. If you're a gardener, goat keeper, or chicken keeper like myself - you need all the energy you can get. These bars are not only energizing thanks to the natural sugars in the dried fruits, but also filling thanks to the healthy fat in the nuts. These bars would also be excellent to take along on a hike, foraging for wild edibles such as dandelions, or mushrooms, or whilst simply enjoying nature. They're super simple to make - just TWO ingredients, and you probably have them in your pantry right now. So get to work whipping these together, then get outside and enjoy the sunshine.

Two Ingredient Energy Bars

1 C. Dried Fruit (Prunes, Apricots, Cherries, Blueberries, etc)
1 C. Nuts/Seeds (Walnuts, Pistachios, Sunflower Seeds, etc)

Combine dried fruit, and nuts in a food processor. I used one cup of prunes, and a 1 cup combination of pistachios, and walnuts. Feel free to play around with this recipe by combining different fruits, and nuts. You can also double, or triple this recipe. As long as there are equal parts of fruit, and nuts, ya can't go wrong. Process for a few minutes, until nuts break down, and mixture becomes sticky.

Dump out onto wax paper, form into a ball, and flatten out to your preference using your hands, or a rolling pin. I used my hands 'cuz I'm lazy like that. You can make the bars as thick, or thin as you like.

Refrigerate for thirty minutes. Cut into bars, and enjoy. All this fruity, nutty, healthy goodness - they are delicious, no joke. I would imagine these bars can be kept in the fridge for quite a long time, given that they are made of foods that have a long shelf life themselves. The bars can also be frozen for longer storage if you want to make up a super-sized batch.