Tuesday, June 28, 2011

another school year gone by...

yayyy, today is the last day of school for the boys! school went really late this year because we had 6 snow days over the winter. i cant believe how much kids change in just one year! these are "before & after" pics...taken on the first and last days of school (the boys were not feeling photogenic this morning, but still cute)...i even put them in matching shirts for the occasion...dont worry they go to different schools :)
pat...1st day of 2nd grade
last day of 2nd grade

DD first day of kindergarten

last day of kindergarten!

Friday, June 17, 2011

strawberry~cranberry jam :)

here is my recipe for strawberry~cranberry jam! me & the kids picked the strawberries and the cranberries were harvested last fall, from a family friend's cranberry bog...enjoy!

~4 cups freshly picked strawberries, roughly chopped
~1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
~7 cups white sugar
~1 pouch of liquid pectin
~1 tsp of ground cinnamon
~1 tsp vanilla extract
~1 tbsp butter

combine the berries, sugar, cinnamon in a large sauce pan; heat on medium/ medium high; use a potato masher to mash the berries as they cook down; bring to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesnt stop bubbling when stirred);  add the butter and boil for 3-5 minutes (stirring constantly); stir in the pectin and stir constantly for 1 full minute; laddle into prepared jars! 

hive inspections and the start of summer!

yesterday we had bee~utiful weather, so we suited up, and went to check in on our girls! we started with hive #2...this was the hive we started with a 3 lb package. things are going good so far, but these bees have alot of building to do! the queen is laying eggs...we saw lots of capped brood and alot honey stored. but, this hive has me worried because they only have about 4 framed built out with comb...i have been checking in on them a couple times a day, there has been lots of activity, and i am still refilling the feeder every couple days...so i thought there was going to be much more growth...hive #3 was a split from hive #1, being beginners we had never "split" a hive before so we were really worried that we didnt do it right, and would loose our bees. BUT, this hive is going gangbusters! they had 6 out of the 8 frames covered with comb and bees, so we added a medium super on top. these bees are sucking down the sugar water i have been feeding them...i filled it yesterday afternoon, and this morning it is half empty!...hive #1 also has me kinda concerned...they seems to be having an ant problem. i read online that if the hive is healthy, they can keep invaders, such as ants, at bay. but it looks like alot of ants to me!...did you know that bees need plenty of water to drink? we used a chick waterer as our new bee waterer! we filled the base with small stones, so the bees have a landing spot!

yesterday, i harvested the first batch of peas! within a week or so we should have more peas, beans, lettuce, and strawberries... we built another raised bed, and i planted my herbs...chives, basil, parsley, cilantro and rosemary! in the big garden, we planted 5 rows of corn, 3 rows of pumpkins and 4 rows of onions! the corn was a local "early" growing variety, and has already sprouted!

our laying hens are about 16 weeks old now! so in another 5 weeks of so we should start getting eggs! finally, all our work/ expense will pay off!
my little boo, enjoying the weather!

Monday, June 13, 2011

linguica & cheese quiche...

this easy quiche is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner...i used ground linguica for this recipe, but you could also substitute bacon or ham...i also made my own pie crust, but you could use store bought/ frozen crust.

5 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
8 oz/ 2 cups shredded cheese (i used a "pizza" blend)
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup ground linguica
1 medium potato, chopped into small pieces
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
pie crust

~preheat oven to 350 degrees; combine the beaten eggs, milk, shredded cheese, salt & pepper; pour egg mixture over unbaked pie crust; add potatoes, linguica and onions over egg mixture; bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until top browns.

Friday, June 10, 2011

growing mushrooms...

i love mushrooms, not only do they taste good, but they are really good for you...shiitake mushrroms even have anti-cancer properties! i also didnt know that you could grow shiitake mushrooms in your very own backyard! when i read an article on it, i was immediatly interested...so i did some research online, and found out that it is pretty easy to do...so, i ordered some shiitake spores/ spawn on little wooden dowels. you can buy spores in a couple different ways and there are alot of different mushroom types that you can grow, including shiitake, oyster (pink, blue and even yellow colored!!), morrel, portebella, and white button...go to this site: http://www.fieldforest.net/ they have a ton of info on buying & growing shrooms!
here are my mushroom spores on wooden dowels!
all you need to start is a good sized log from a freshly cut hard wood tree...i used maple! it has to be freshly cut because you need the moisture from the tree and you do not want your log to be infected with any type of "wild" spores...some wild mushrooms can be poisonous!! drill holes in the log using a large drill bit...you want to drill the holes in a diamond pattern. next, you push the dowels into holes you just drilled. once you have all the holes filled you can cover each hole with a food grade wax, like cheese wax, to keep moisture in.
my holes in a diamond pattern.

so once you have finished that, you can move the log to a shady corner of your yard! do not put directly on the ground (again "wild" spores)...i am going to put this log up on a cement block...hose it down every once in a while, to keep it moist. the mushrooms will take a long time to grow...somewhere between 9-12 months! but it will be worth the wait!