Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer Dinner

 Bok choy and mustard greens from the garden with a few foraged greens as well.

Heat olive oil in a pan, add minced garlic, shredded carrots and sweet peppers - saute.

Add chopped greens - saute

Stir in cooked rice (I also added some corn and peas which were in the fridge and needed used up).

Serve with a fried egg and saracha.

This is one of my favorite meals to make right now.  It's hearty, filling, and can be used with any variety of vegetables on hand.  It's versatile and can be amended with whatever is growing.

This is best served on the deck at dusk with a glass of cucumber-mint water.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Berry Picking

 We just planted two blueberry bushes in our yard, which isn't nearly enough to sustain our love for this fruit throughout the year.
Luckily, we have a blueberry farm not too far from us.  We need about 10 gallons of blueberries (which we freeze) to last us the year.  

 They have five varieties.  We go a few times in order to collect some of each since they ripen at different times.  
These will be added to smoothies, pancakes, muffins, pies, or just eaten with coconut milk or yogurt.   

Friday, July 18, 2014

Paying homage to our Rooster

Our rooster, in his knightly splendor, was a valiant hero.  He risked his life, and sadly lost it, to save his flock against the attack of a raccoon.
 In the meantime, his legacy will live on through his offspring.  We only have two chicks that hatched and we are doing everything to ensure their safety.
We believe one of the two is a rooster, so he may have a successor after all.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop....

I was invited to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop this week by Nicole.  She is an artist, gardener, and mother.  Her photographs of flora and fauna, design, and her life are an inspiration.  She is also a super sweet gal. 

Before I answer the posed questions, I just want to say I am not a self proclaimed artist, writer, or gardener.  I dabble in things that interest me.  I work full time and squeeze in as much of life as I can.   

1.  What am I working on

There are always a ton of things "in the works".  I work best with a deadline, otherwise things may never come to completion.  

I am currently curing our first garlic crop.  If you follow my blog, you know we live in the woods and sunlight is limited.  All of our crops have stunted growth due to this, but we take what we can get.

 I've been trying to manage the direction our squash is growing,  so they don't overtake everything else.

 I love giving homemade gifts.  This is one I just completed for my nephew's upcoming birthday.

 And this is the ever and ongoing quilt which I have been hand sewing for a few years.  I pick it up off and on through out the year.  It's getting really close to completion now.

I make our own laundry soap & cleaners.  I've been learning about foraging foods and making tinctures. We raise chickens and quail, grow a modest garden, and try to live simply.  I try to find ways that we can break away from the reliance of the main-stream world.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?  

I can't say I have a genre.  I like simple, useful items.  Everything I make is imperfect, but created with good intent.  I am not a master of any art.  

3.  Why do I write/create what I do?  

I like to be independent and knowledgeable about things that I feel are meaningful.  The process of doing something and seeing it come to fruition is pleasing beyond words.  Creating something is good for the soul.

I also enjoy taking photos.   There are so many magical moments that happen everyday that I never want to forget.

4.  How does my writing/creating process work?

Normally I read or see something that sparks my interest.  After that, I try to learn more about it and if it seems like I can pull it off, then I give it a try.  There is beauty and inspiration all around us.  

I'm also surrounded by super talented friends  that give me a lot of motivation and inspiration.  In addition to those great gals, I like to surround myself with reference books that keep me focused on my goals.  There is so much yet to learn, so much yet to do.  I have dreams that I want to live out.  I don't want to regret not having tried, even if it ends up in failure.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Long Summer Days

The mother-month of Summer holds her place
Not only by the grace
Attending on her many winsome ways...

I hope you are enjoying these long summer days...they will be gone before you know it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wild Edibles - Part 3

I hope you were encouraged to see what plants were growing in your back yard.  Looking through this new lens of foraged foods is pretty exciting.  

Pictured below, among ALL that poison ivy, are a few leaves of dandelions.  I think most people know they are edible, but in case you forgot, those pretty yellow, flowering weeds in your yard can also be food.  The leaves are best eaten before the plant flowers, but the flowers are also good battered and fried.  I've also used the petals as an addition to zucchini bread and in cookies, just because it's fun to eat flowers.

 This is called Dock.  Plants found closer to water are known to be less bitter.  Steam slightly and use like grape leaves.  It's a great green to wrap foods in for cooking.  It's rich in protein and vitamin A.

 This is a Green Brier - these grow all over our fence and I hate them.  They can be invasive.  However, the very tendril tips look like a pea plant, and guess what? They taste like peas too.  The root-stocks of many species can be used as a gelatin substitute.

 This beautiful flower is from a Black Locust tree.  Oddly, only the flowers are edible on this plant.  They taste and smell like honeysuckle.  It seemed like such a treat to eat one after tasting so many bitter or zingy plants.

 We found Wild Grape Vine.  The leaves are edible. You can boil and eat them or use them for wrapping and cooking foods.  Wild grapes are also edible.

Heading up the hill, Santiago the Turkey still touring with us.
 The last plant on our foraging expedition is Mallow.  I've seen these pretty plants before - perhaps you have to?  You can eat the tiny leaves.  Each plant bears a few pods.  When opened, they reveal the below. These can be eaten just as they are or pickled and used like capers (much safer than the marsh marigold). You can also eat the root of this plant.

We headed to the tee-pee and fire circle to eat a salad of foraged greens mixed with some spring lettuce mix.

We have owned this book for quite a while, but I just looked at it with slight interest.  Taking this class definitely gave me the push and confidence I needed to go exploring on my own.  Knowledge is soon forgotten if not practiced, so I plan on keeping up with this whole learning thing.  

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Wild Edibles - Part 2

Continuing on our forage walk, with Santiago the Turkey in tow, we also learned about these plants:

 Toothwort - this plant has a whiteish root-stock that can be used in place of horseradish, just mix with vinegar and a pinch of salt.

 Jewel Weed is great for soothing poison ivy or the sting from nettles.  The stem has a liquid similar to aloe which can be directly applied to the skin.  Not surprisingly, this plant is normally found close to poison ivy - our Creator's way of giving a helping hand.  The leaves of this plant are also edible and nutritious.  Cook them up and add them to quiche for a delicious dinner.

Wild onions - this plant is getting ready to flower so the stem was a bit woody.  On younger plants, you can use the stem just like spring onions or chives.

This is another plant that grows in our yard that I just assumed was a worthless weed.  This is actually field mustard.  Who'd a thought, right?  This plant has a lot of nutritional value: vitamins A, B1, B2, and C. Mix the leaves with other greens to spice up a salad, saute like spinach, or add it when making pesto for a little zing.

This is Sassafras, which our family is very familiar with.  We make home made sarsaparilla, which is the most amazing, refreshing drink.  You can also use the root in teas as well.  The leaves are dried and used to flavor gumbo - which was new information for me.

These plants might be a little less common for your backyard, but we have mustard and sassafras growing on our property.  If you have any overgrown spaces, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.