Tag Archives: urban farming

from our cupboards

I don’t think I’m going to get to the trio of watermelon canning projects I had hoped for this week, but we’ve got to figure out some good storage solutions for our canned food anyway. Every year I end up crafting some labels for our jars. It’s a little too time intensive for big batches, but we like to have some on hand that you can just slap a ribbon on and give as a proper gift or trade when needed. Really I just do it because it’s fun. It must be the same kid in me who keeps eyeballing the giant, pristine box of crayons at the store (you know, with the built in sharpener).


black pepper cherry jam


cherries in light syrup


Raspberry jam made with Pomona’s Universal Pectin. We’ve been using this a lot since you don’t have to use so much sugar.

Little known fact: if we didn’t name our chickens after characters from Cry-Baby, naming them after characters from The Outsiders was high on the list. Tell me Sodapop, Ponyboy, and Cherry Valance aren’t excellent chicken names? For now we will settle for a reference via golden raspberry jam.

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Chicken TV

Before we got our chickens, Jess used to talk about how we would spend so much time in our backyard watching “chicken TV.” I was more excited about getting the chickens for backyard breakfast production, and I couldn’t quite picture what she was talking about. As soon as our tiny little chicks arrived in the mail, I got it. We would pull up a chair to their brooder and watch. And these days if you’re having a bad day, the cure is often to go outside and let the chickens out to explore the yard. It always seems to cheer us up. They’re just that funny.

Here’s Cry-Baby and Pepper, hunkered down in the dirt next to some rhubarb, making themselves at home.

This blur of feathers is about what it looks like when they dust bathe. Sometimes they flop down in the dirt and roll around and you can’t see a head or tail – just a big ball of feathers. But you don’t have to imagine it, today we have video!

Be sure to watch if you want an update on Hatchet-Face, the little runt we thought wasn’t going to survive in the early days. She makes her presence known at about the 1:20 mark. Ramona also makes a couple cameo appearances.

And that hum of traffic you hear is Interstate 5. We don’t even really notice it when we’re back there.

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could somebody bring over some scones?

Stat!

I remember buying honeycomb with my mom at a farm stand as a child. I learned recently that a lot of people have never tried honey in the comb. What!

I guess I better get to baking. We’ve been on this whole grain kick, but I think this is asking for some buttery, white flour-y scones, don’t you?

Thanks, honey, for taking all the stings.

(No, the stings don’t happen too often but we had one angry hive this week.)

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hurray for the first tomato!

Growing tomatoes in the northwest is always cause for celebration. This year, with a record-breaking wet spring and a chilly start to summer, we decided to really celebrate our first ripe tomato.

And we literally only have one ripe tomato at this point. I hope to have a lot more, but this good-sized, bright yellow Limmony was the first to cross the finish line.

To really do it justice, I made a balsamic reduction, bought some smoked mozzarella, and harvested some basil to go on top. Now I really hope we get a lot more tomatoes. We found a little blossom end rot in the community garden that we’re trying to nip in the bud. It’s important to celebrate the small successes!

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20 x 20

Things are happening in our community garden plot!

Probably the biggest surprise: the artichoke starts that nearly died when we first planted them out are looking like they might actually produce! Last year our artichoke plants at home in containers never produced any food, probably because we didn’t choose a sunny enough spot for them. Our new plan is to dig these up before winter and store them in the garage in pots. We’ll see.

We’ve got a ton of green tomatoes over there. FINGERS AND TOES CROSSED!

Corn. Probably not going to happen this year but the sight of it still makes us happy.

Soy, corn, and volunteer borage gone wild behind. Our borage makes our plot very popular with the bees.

amaranth

nasturtiums and zucchini (and maybe some weeds)

Jess has some interesting plans for this calendula

Jess’ favorite gloves

the view from our neighbor’s plot

the food bank squash plot

So glad I finally hauled my camera over there on a day I wasn’t going to get covered in dirt.

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a little garden bounty

My wife may be a “master gardener” but we have a lot of room for improvement and learning in the gardening department. It’s our second year gardening in this yard, and our first year in our community garden plot, and we’ve learned a lot. While I may not be as obsessively photographing everything we eat, our big win is in eating nearly everything we’ve grown. Sometimes that seems like half the battle. Here’s a small taste of what we’ve been harvesting from the yard lately:

Everytime I look at fresh peas from our garden I hear Gordon Ramsay saying (in his nicer Master Chef voice), “THE MOST AMAZING FRESH PEAS!”

I’m pretty sure Ramsay would agree with me that those Chioggia beets are stunning.

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Inside the coop

I am so happy to report that the ladies are greatly enjoying their full-time outside lives. They still seem to love us a lot even though they are big girls with their own lives. Bribery, treats, and special attention will get you everywhere with chickens. I like to peek into the egg door and see what they are doing. Usually they are being cute or funny, or both.

The inside of the coop is pretty nice. The roof is clear as to not interrupt their stargazing.

They’re good at putting themselves to bed when the sun goes down. They are learning to use their perch. They love the bugs and dirt. I enjoy not having chickens in my house. If we ever raise baby chicks again, I would prefer to do it in the garage. Or at your house. We’re friends, right? You’d let me keep a flock of chickens in your house, wouldn’t you? Now, that’s settled.

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