Thursday, March 31, 2011

Found In Two Magazines This Month, FREEBIES..

Page 64 in Chickens, page 130 in Real Simple..

The Pioneering Flower Beds, Hatched Log Style, Re-Purpose Removed Trees

So I was thinking of how to use more trees that I needed to cut down and use. If they were hardwood, I'd saw them up for firewood. Pine has lots of sap, and it builds creosote and can cause a fire in your chimney. Bad stuff to burn.

Do you remember what I did with the last logs from the trees that had to be cut down? I am going to share some pictures in a minute if you weren't around. But I tried to be more creative, and I could have been I suppose but this was a last minute project, that I just wanted to get done. I also had some concerns because it is near a road, and I didn't want to create a ramp. Planting of all the flowers, as well as the flower box, has several ideas behind it. The most obvious is to make the homestead look pretty, the second was to give people a reason to slow down and look at the pretty stuff and stop speeding.

Some wild Asparagus I found that day! I got a patch
So this time the flower box is going to be in my yard, so I decided I am going to use some of the logs to build a new flower bed. This time, I will be able to hatched them log cabin style. I like adding interesting objects around my property.

Look for this video in the future as well.....

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kindle Readers, A New Gardening Book By Jason Akers

The self sufficient gardener, Jason Akers has completed his ebook, The Process Oriented Gardener.

Product Description

The Process Oriented Gardener is all about gardening the efficient, responsible and sustainable way-by looking at gardening as a process. A process is full of inputs and by reducing these inputs and providing them for ourselves we can reduce the cost and the "toll" of gardening. A process includes steps that allow us to do better work faster. By following the steps I lay out you will do things the ways that are easiest and best. And a process concludes with outputs. In the garden this is the harvest. Learn how to best utilize your harvest.

Check it out, it could help you grow more food efficiently, with less effort, and cheaper. We all love that, cheap and better!!

Morel Mushrooms, How To Cook, What Are These Tasty Treats? Pictures

When it comes to gathering mushrooms, most people are scared to adventure into the dark realms of fungi hunting no matter the rewards. But in truth, with the correct information and pictures, you can find the finest of fungi in the woods while out on a day hike or adventure with your family and friends.

Armed with a good book, Morel Hunting can mean the difference between you and a wonderful meal. There are hundreds of edible mushrooms growing in your backyard, a good book with hundreds of photos can be the best pocket guide when your out hunting for fungi. I am not armed with just one guide, I have several, two I take in the field with me. Beginners Guide is a great place to start, my field guide that is small enough to fit in my pack and a great field reference guide is this field guide.

Today, I am sharing with you some of my favorite eats. If you are not willing/able/scared to go hunting for Morels, than you can buy Dried Morels on line. If by chance you have not tried these wonderful treats, take the plunge and splurge a little, perhaps as a romantic meal, or you want to impress some guest.

I started my own Morel patch, and after some research, and a second try, I finally had some come up. I harvested them, ate a few and dehydrated a few and froze them. These treats can be found everywhere in the United States, and the wild patches are a close guarded secrets, closer than the Ginseng patches.

People were camo, cover patches with branches, and go into the area in different ways not to expose their patch to other people, and trust me you can never tell who a hunter is or not. People plan their vacations around the Morel spring season just to gather the wonderful fungi. I am one of those people who take some extra precautions when hunting Morels, and not to expose my own two patches. I will take you Morel hunting later this year, via video on youtube.

I like to do a egg wash, than a seasoned flour, and into the fry pan until golden brown. I also love these things with gravies, soups, meats, or sauteed in butter with a touch of garlic. They have a very profound unique taste like no other mushroom has. I have two wild patches I visit in warmer weather as well as a puffball patch on my own property.

Soaked in chicken stock for 20-30 minutes, they are nice and moist again ready to batter. Reserve the chicken stock for an awesome gravy or wonderful soup base.

Get your flour, egg wash, and oil in pan. Depending on the meal, I add different spices to my flour to season the batter.
I do a light egg wash
 You should wash in one hand, and flour with the other, but it was hard to take pics with dirty hands

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Anti Bird/Blueberry Project, Save The Cherries... Re-Purpose Bench Photo

I also am working on a anti frost/bird project in the Blueberry patch. The idea is to be able to gather ripe fruit, protect the flowers and fruit from frost and the birds. If I can get this right, I will also build the same hootch to protect the cherries too... A simple recipe from my moms kitchen was to use an Angel Cake, Blueberry yogurt, and fresh blueberries cooked in sugar just till they popped, cooled, and both poured over the cake. Simple, easy and yummy.....

This will be used to cover the bushes with a net, as well as plastic to protect them from frost. This year they are finally large enough to spend the $23.00 it cost me for this build. I have on hand a bunch of old post as well as welded wire I got at a auction for 30 buckets last fall.

I am going to take a few moments and talk about my cherry bushes. From what I understand the root stock of a cherry tree was grafted to a bush stock, many times over till it became a cherry bush. Last year I got just a few cherries after the frost, I was out of town and didn't check the weather before I left. Don't you just wanna punch yourself for not doing what can put food on the table? I was so mad I looked at myself in a mirror and said, stupid....

So are they sweet or tart cherries? That's a good question, the ad that sold them stated you could pick them from the bush, and eat them. So that makes me think they will be sweet ones, we'll see this year. I want to share a 3 year photo of them with you. These were just wee little twigs when they arrived home, and now are 1 1/2 at the base, and ready to start producing this year. I so look forward to having my very own cherries... I love these little bunches of flavor!!!

Do you stop by road side trash piles? Me too.... Me too.... (assuming you do) and I find useful stuff to fix or re-purpose. But I am strict on myself these days what I bring back home. In the beginning I would take stuff and said, yes I will find a purpose for that. The fact of the matter is that I ended up making a run to the dump and paid to put that stuff in the land fill.

Two years ago I saw this bench and thought how nice it would look near the pond.... There it sets, covered in dead plant stems. But that is going to be a new project this summer, honestly, I double dog promise I will get it done... Can you imagine this bench in your garden? I know, right.. LOL

Monday, March 28, 2011

Some Early Spring Flowers, 850 Bulbs Later. Garlic, Shallots, Cherry Bushes.

I invested in some Cherry bushes a few years ago, last years late frost and my lack of attention killed those off. Last year was to be the first year of production. I did harvest 5 berries, but not enough to say how good they are. Interested in their sweetness, I dug back to the folder, it states the cherries are to be sweet. I am not so sure about the grafting of the root stock and how this came to be.

I have tended to them well, and here they are along with a neglected raised bed. I have reclaimed that bed this year....


I am glad to see some of the bulbs coming up that I planted last fall. DS and I planted 850 plus bulbs, making this place a little more colorful this time of year. I planned the beds out, including wild plants and flowers located in natural habitats on my homestead. I took certain areas, examined them for what might look pretty, and might be wild and grow there.

Thou the flowers are starting to come up, they should grow and bloom until late May, and I forgot some as a few pieces of paper has gone missing. I trust I planned well and it will look nice...

 Shallots and Garlic

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stakes And Gates, Making Money From Being Self Sufficient, Easy Peasy..

I am going to open this by telling you about my SS (self sufficiency) fund. My budget started out at $3000.00 and I could only barter, trade, or sell to add cash to the fund. When I would do shows I would sell my homemade jam for $3 pint, and so forth. I will dumpster dive, barter, or even beg if need be to get anything as cheep as I can. I will even set up a veggie table at the flea market to sell my goods. A trick to do, or a few. Grow something that isn't common, take it to sell. Have a working cook station to share how the finish product will taste, take lots of the norm stuff, but having something different brings attention to your stand. Be active and say words like organic, heirloom seeds, and other words that will draw in people who know organic is wholesome.

So first I am going to share a project that I decided to spend my money on. I did a couple proto types, and some anchoring ideas. For years I have been tied up in knots with spending money on a fencing system I just can't get the nerve to buy one, the stakes alone, the thin metal green ones are 9.79 each. I can't see pounding them in the ground and expect a 20 year life out of them.

So I designed my own system, and picked up some plastic 48" fence from the flea market at 50% off retail a few weeks ago. Because my garden changes yearly, I wanted a removable system so when I want to change it, I can without removing dug in post.

These Medevil/Roman looking staff/arrows are my removable stakes. Although they cost me $14.79 to make, they will out last those cheap ones 10 to 1, making this a cost effective build in years to come.

This next project started out as a serous problem created by a truck driver who happened to be a few bricks shy of a load. Personally, his company solved the problem right away, but I think he was on something. He hit my ten foot gate, and driving  a big truck like he was, it didn't take much to destroy it. The post broke off and the bent gate was pushed onto the ground. Within 2 hours a new gate and post were up, and I saved the bent gate.

With my tractor, and a tree,  a couple slings, I took the gate which was shaped like a parallelogram tied one of the slings to the top, the other to the bottom, and pulled it slowly back into square. The pops and kinks while bending it back into place weren't alarming. So I took the gate into the shop, did some hammering, bending and some spot welding to increase the strength. I also welded some 3/16 by 1 1/2 flat bar to one side after I cut the gate in half with a cut off wheel. I now have two gates that I need for a couple projects in the planning phases.

Today was a good productive day for me and I am pleased with the amount of work I did, even thou it didn't get warmer than 34, the sun shinning made me do it... LOL...

If you might have read, or might not have, I am a Coppersmith by trade and own and operate a Copper manufacturing shop as well as metal fabrication company. So I do have more machines at my hands than the standard gardener.

I also wanted to share a picture of a lamp I built for my own house four years ago. The patina is correct and beautiful, the shades on the sides is amber mica, and the bottom is green/white/yellow stained glass. Its very pretty at night. Day and night photos