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Showing posts from June, 2011

Land Steward

I have a couple of items growing in the garden that I have been meaning to write about for a few days. For one reason or another it seemed a bit too much like work and for the most part gardening and keeping this blog have never really held that sort of weight. Don't get me wrong it certainly is work but it is a work I enjoy and am normally willing to do both to exhaustion. I decided instead of writing that I was going to simply walk in the gardens and enjoy my little plots. The garden is where I wash away my troubles, the dirt drinks in my stress and leaves me feeling whole, positive and connected to something larger in the universe.

I have lots of big plans, as do most people. I want to raise honey bees, I want to have my own chickens, maybe even a few goats and a pig or two. At this stage in life it is not possible, we live in town and there is no large piece of land in the country waiting for us. But while I was walking to the main garden I started thinking about a book I am …

Movie Review (Vanishing of the Bees)

Unfortunately most of us who are stewards of the land are familiar with the term Colony Collapse Disorder. The 2011 documentary Vanishing of the Bees deals specifically with this subject. For the most part the film follows commercial bee keepers David Hackenburg and Dave Mendes as they try to deal with the ever present issue by addressing not only leading scientist but politicians in Washington and other hive owners all across the globe.

My only gripe about the film is that I feel that they could have been more aggressive in their assertion of the root of the problem. There seems to be this lingering idea that they think it can be traced back to pesticides and other products of the agriculture business but supposedly they are not sure. That is only my two cents.

With that said for the most part it was a well done documentary that addresses the elephant in the room, so to speak, and by the end of the film I think most people will not only be greatly concerned but will even secretly d…

A Day In The Garden

"I say, if your knees aren't green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously
reexamine your life.”
- Calvin and Hobbes

This has been an absolutely fantastic fathers-day. A delicious breakfast of fresh blueberries, organic maple syrup and homemade pancakes, along with chocolate-raspberry coffee, then out to spend the day in the garden while the kids laugh and play on their new swing set.

Part of my morning ritual is to walk the gardens and look for new signs of life. The yellow snap peas are out in full bloom. They have been a cornerstone of our garden for a few years now. Originally from India, these beautiful six foot plants are covered in lavender flowers that eventually turn into a delicious yellow pod.

The bush beans and the Lima beans are starting to flower as well and it should not be too soon before they are producing fruit. We even found a few really immature peaches on our dwarf peach tree, fingers crossed.

My oldest daughter and I transplanted the last of th…

A Few More Greens

Currently we are in a stage where we have more greens than we are able to keep up with. Aside from the delicious romaine I mentioned in a previous post we have also harvested a very mild Yugoslavian Red Butterhead lettuce, Five Color Silverbeet and a nice Rhubarb Red Swiss chard.

The butterhead is another one of this years veggies that we are going to attempt to save seed from but the chard is not necessarily something I am going to try gather a seed stock from this year. From what I have been reading it is a two year process and I am not sure that I am at that stage yet. There are actually a few items in the garden that take a few years to get seed from, once I have a little more experience under my belt I will attempt to save seed from items that are a bit longer. Maybe next year?

Regardless of seed saving plans the greens are delicious. We have been adding all of the leafy vegetables to our salads for a real treat to the palate. I would recommend any of the above mentioned varieties…

Lettuce-Forellenschluss

“It is said that the effect of eating too much lettuce is 'soporific'” Beatrix Potter

Last night for dinner we had some delicious salmon with my wife's fantastic coating of Soy Sauce, mustard and brown sugar. On the side we had some rice and beans as well as a few strawberries from our old patch and a some greens from the garden that included Swiss chard, spinach and lettuce, among other items.

This year I ordered two varieties of lettuce from my favorite organization The Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa. The lettuce we tried out for the first time last night was a romaine variety called Forellenschluss. As I was cleaning it I made a remark to my wife that it was a beautiful plant and I thought that its maroon and green speckled leaves would make it an interesting visual piece to a trout dinner. Upon looking into this particular variety a little further I found out that it is also known as "Speckled Trout Back" and is an Austrian heirloom variety. Seed Savers…

Spinach

"I'm strong to the finish when I eats me spinach." ~Popeye, The Sailor Man~

One of the new items that we grew in the garden this year was spinach. It also happens to be one of the plants that I am interested in attempting to gather seed from. At this point I would have to say things are running rather smoothly. We had a solid return from the spinach seed and with the quick onset of warm weather some of the plants have already started to bolt, so the seed making process has begun as well.

Let's take a moment and talk about some of the health benefits associated with this leafy green. To begin with it is a great source of calcium, since I am not much of a milk drinker this is great news for me. It is also a good source of Vitamin A & C as well as fiber and magnesium.

Spinach also contains vital nutrients that reportedly protect against certain cancers, especially colon, lung and breast cancer. It is also reported that the flavonoids, collectively known as citrin and …