|J. taking a break to survey the day's work.|
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Monday, April 29, 2013
We also took a couple of breaks to talk to the various neighbors that emerged to enjoy the sun. I spent quite a bit of time in the morning talking with our neighbor Christine (from The Deadly Nightshade fame) as she showed me her newly tilled garden beds and plans for the yard. While we were standing there talking, their bees seemed quite lively but I thought it was just because they were "stretching their legs" after being cooped up in their hive all winter.
Boy was I wrong! Christine came running over about an hour later to tell us they were swarming.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Thursday, April 25, 2013
What are you guys up to? I've been trying to make the rounds but still have quite a bit of catching up to do this weekend.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
J. and I spent a couple of hours on Sunday making a dinners for the rest of the week and it was fun getting adventurous with some homemade cooking. I'm talking lasagna that must have been 15 pounds when assembled, and I used up our egg supply making bacon and cheese quiches. If you've got extra eggs, quiche is a perfect way to use them up because you can bake them ahead of time and then freeze them. Then just thaw and pop in the microwave or oven for a quick meal.
It's been awhile since I posted a recipe here, so I thought I would share the recipe for the snackies that we made to munch on while we were cooking. If you've ever had brie en croute, you know that it's yummy, and gooey, and oozey and messy. When you cut into it, it goes everywhere. So why not make a "brie bite" that's a much more manageable finger-food size?
Brie En Croute Bites
- 2 sheet puff pastry, thawed in the frig before use
- Filling (optional): blackberry jam (or apple butter, apple pie filling, whatever)
- 1 brick of brie cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- On a lightly floured surface, layout the puff pastry dough and cut each sheet into 9 even-sized squares.
- Leaving the rind on the cheese, cut the brie into 1/2" to 3/4" cubes and place one cube in the middle of each dough square.
- Optional: The brie is great by itself. But I find that the taste of the cheese is enhanced by fruit. You can be creative here and use a 1/2 teaspoon of jam, jelly, pie filling, fresh fruits, dried fruit, or whatever you want on top of each brie cube. Be creative!
- Pull the sides (not the corners) up and box in the cheese.
- Then pull the corners up toward the middle so that all the insides are contained.
- Pinch the corners together to seal them and then give it a little twist and press it down (to form a top.)
- of the pastry up and around the brie/jam/cranberries and seal with a twist.
- Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden (about 12-15 minutes).
- Don't worry about leaving the rind on. You won't even know it's there.
- Pillsbury Crescent Rolls also work for this recipe, but they can be a little harder to get wrapped up. Personally, I really like the flakiness of the puff pastry.
- These are better when they're warm, as the cheese sets up again as it cools. You can pop them in the microwave if they start to firm up.
- For traditional brie en croute taste, add dried cranberries.
We'd never tried brie before, and these were really quite yummy. Brie does have a little pungency to it but I didn't find it overbearing and the blackberry jelly mellowed it out. In fact, it was sometimes a little difficult to taste the brie but you couldn't miss it's oh-so-good gooey cheesiness.
Let me know if you try these!
I've shared this recipe with this week's Homestead Barn Hop. You can find all kinds of stuff over at the Hop, so go check it out!
Sunday, April 21, 2013
The tulips are blooming...
|A gorgeous red Emperor Tulip turns its face to the sun. I shared this over on Madge's Weekly Top Shot. Get well, Madge!|
|I can't remember what kind of tulips these are, but they're unusual aren't they?|
The strawberries are waking up from their long winter's nap...
|Ozark and Ever-bearing strawberries. They survived!|
And there are some lovely Cherokee Purple and Early Girl tomatoes and red peppers waiting for the weather to stabilize so they can be planted in the garden beds.
If the weather holds today, we'll be amending the beds and getting ready for planting. But the temps are supposed to dip to a high of just 41 on Tuesday, so those tender plants can't go out just yet. We had everything out in the middle of March last year, so it's unbelievable that we're here at the end of April and still dealing with frost warnings.
I just heard J. start up the mower outside so that's my cue to get outside and get to work.
Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday!
Sunday, April 14, 2013
It was finally time to move her out of the ramshackle pen that we built for her last May. As J. put it, "it's looking a little dogpatch." And that it was. Of course, the RV and the tractor sitting in the yard may have added to that redneck-ish ambience.
Here's where Henrietta has lived for almost a year:
|Yep, that's a dog house on stilts, folks. Nothing to see here. Move along...|
Poor thing! She basically used the ramp as a chute. You could almost here the "TA DA!!!" as she hopped down from the doghouse, slid down the
I snagged a nicey-priced 4' x 4' dog kennel at an auction a couple of weekends ago and, using the existing hen pen as one side of the enclosure, we were able to reconfigure it into a 5' x 10' enclosure for 'Etta. It came with a sunshade, which will be nice on the hot summer days here in Missouri.
The nice thing about this new enclosure is that she has more space, even with placing her house on the ground. And no more acrobatics trying to get into or out of her house. Inside, we added fresh straw and a roost for her. Note the quality feeder in that picture (an old milk jug). I'd say this ought to be more acceptable to both fowl and neighbors.
We still need to finish the top and get some chicken wire around the bottom just in case the friendly raccoons that live in the sewer decide that they'd like to have some chicken dinner instead of dumpster diving.
That's right...no need to get your eyes checked. We have a raccoon family that lives in the sewer. We see them come out of the storm drain and go prowling around at dusk. I have to confess...the first time I saw them, I thought I'd had one beer too many. But I suppose that's just another oddity that comes with living in downtown KC.
Apparently, we're not the only ones that have this problem.
Ah, well...I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Til next time....tood-a-loo!
Friday, April 12, 2013
It just doesn't seem right to rip out what I thought were perfectly good apple trees. If you've been following Cranky Puppy for awhile, you know that we have 3 dwarf apple trees that were planted in 2011 and 2012. Little did we know at the time that Home Depot is NOT the place to buy trees.
J. attended an 8-hour in-depth orchard class a couple of weekends ago and it covered everything you could possibly want to know about growing fruit trees including...you guessed it....never buy your trees from a box store.
Why? It's all about the rootstock. See, most fruit trees are grafted and the rootstock that's used can determine the tree's hardiness, how much fruit you get, how big the tree gets, etc. For apple trees, the instructor recommends trees that are grafted onto a rootstock called B.9 (or Bud-9). It's a dwarf rootstock that allows the tree to grow somewhere between 6 and 10 feet in height.
I can't tell you how disappointed I was when J. came home and told me that we really ought to replace our trees. Rather than let them die, we're going to dig them up, transplant them on the 40 acres, and let them do their thing. If they live and bear fruit, it's a bonus. If they die, then c'est la via.
Now back to this rootstock thing. If you ask someone at Home Depot what rootstock their trees have, they'll look at you like you've got a third eye. Same thing with some of the online nurseries like Stark Bros. But....if you look really hard, you can find good companies that happily list what rootstocks they use. The bad news, however, is that all the varieties on B.9 are sold out by now. After 2 days of looking locally and online, I finally found some in stock at One Green World and placed an order for 1 Braeburn and 1 Honeycrisp - both are semi-dwarf trees on M-7 rootstock. They will be a little larger than the dwarf trees we're replacing at a mature height of 12 to 15 feet, which is why I only purchased 2. They're also pollinators for each other which is obviously very important!
While I was at it, I also ordered some Northstar pie cherry trees to put outside the fence. (J. is salivating right now thinking about some homemade cherry pie.)
We're getting intermitten 60 and 70 degree days now and this weekend should be in that same temp range. On tap is a trip to the dump, cleaning the chicken coop and cleaning up the garden to get ready for planting. What are you up to this weekend?
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Let's have a little fun, shall we? The folks over at Backyard Farming have come up with a fun contest called Chicken Madness where you can submit a pic of your favorite chick and folks vote on the chicken that they like the best. Well, I just couldn't resist entering that picture of Cruella sporting the latest in feathered friend eyewear.
Cruella asked me to pass along this message to her would-be constituents: "Bawk! Bawk, bawk, begawk. Bawk baaaaawk bawk chirp begaaaawk bawk. Bawk bawk."
Translated, that means "If I win, you'll have a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage. And I promise to balance the budget, pay off the debt and procure world peace. It's so easy a chicken can do it."
Okay, well maybe not.
But we sure would appreciate your vote in the Madness Challenge for Cruella. The champion of the challenge wins a copy of "Your Farm in the City" by Lisa Taylor. Since Cruella can't read, I'm sure she'd let me borrow it.
Thanks for your support! You can vote for Cruella here.
Monday, April 08, 2013
Friday, April 05, 2013
So now I'm stuck. I need to get the plants that were fine and have healed grafts into more sun and hardened off, but I'm afraid that exposing the newly grafted plants will kill them. What should I do??
(BTW, I didn't mention this before, but I'm actually using a plastic cake cover\carrier as my healing chamber for these. It keeps the humidity in nicely and the cover is easy to remove if I need access (like to take pictures!)
I've been featured!
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
|Me rocking the latest in cutting edge Hip Garden Wear by Cranky Puppy Farm. Yeah, baby!|
Monday, April 01, 2013