Gardening in the Blind


Giving Thanks
November 28, 2011, 5:49 pm
Filed under: Cooking/Canning/Drying, Garden Planning, local eating, Tomatoes

What does herbs still growing outside have to do with giving thanks?  In my house it made a terrific blend for the turkey. (The turkey was from Many Hands Farm, organic and free-range.  The BEST!) As I glanced at my thanksgiving table,  I was proud of myself in knowing that Deron and I have completed a full year of organic eating.  The food is better all around.

So just what am I thankful for this year?  I am thankful that I am not worrying about GMO’s because we are eating organic food.  I am thankful that this lifestyle has only encouraged more changes for us.  We are going to the gym more, we signed up for the Tough Mudder in May and have a big adventurous year planned for next year.  We are not only getting into the best shape we have ever been in, but we are also going to expand the garden for next year!  Too much excitment I tell ya!

On top of all this, I got a new digital camera.  My new Nikon digital camera will hopefully make the pictures more exciting and encourage everyone to get out and start growing!  Starting in January I will be starting a once a week blog about different types of tomatoes.  Just in time to start planning your own garden.

I am hopefully going to start a make shift hydroponic system that I am building myself in January as well.  I will blog all about it.  Yet another item to look forward to.  If you have anything you would like me to discuss, please feel free to let me know and I will do my best to include it.

Most of all of this I give thanks for having readers like you!  Thanks for finding me at least a little interesting!

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Snow is here
November 2, 2011, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Cooking/Canning/Drying, Herbs, local eating, Uncategorized

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It has been trying to get all the fall chores done.  I have found it to be overly challenging this year.  So when word came of a bad storm to hit, I panicked.  I knew the rain would start in the afternoon, then changing to snow.  So in true Robin fashion, I waited until that day, woke up early, skipped my boot camp and frantically started dumping out all the containers, cleaning the beds, and most importantly – harvesting everything I could salvage before the snow hit.  It was cold and wet, but with the help from my husband in the morning, we were able to get it all done with only a little of “playing” in the snow to get the garden hoses in the garage as well as patio furniture.  But at lass, I was not completely done.  I had to deal with all I harvested when the outside was done.

I first started with the 45 leeks that I pulled from the dirt.  I cut the excess leaves off, cleaned them up and packaged them in groups, freezing for future use.  I kept a few out to roast sometime during the week as they are one of my favorite.  Next I moved on to the carrots.  I didn’t have many left and I divided them up between dogs and chickens.  The animals were overly excited about it.  Then came the loads of herbs I pulled.  I knew that the parsley and lovage would not last that long, so I started with them in the dehydrator.  I figured it would be good as it generates heat for the downstairs as well.  Great idea, except we loss power around 4 am.  It was enough to dry the herbs, but not heat any downstairs. 

I have never fully understood my dependency on electricity, until it was gone.  I started to panic thinking about the thousands of dollars of beef and chicken in the freezers downstairs.  I had just got off the phone with my mother in law a couple of days before when she mentioned that I needed to look into insuring the meat through my home owners insurance.  Her timing could not have been better.  Mine was not as I didn’t even look into it yet.  But as the time progressed, my husband was getting more irritable and I realized that I needed to do something.  I went with my neighbor to a different town and found a dollar store to purchase a sponge for dishes and some candles.  Wouldn’t you know just as I was paying for the items, my husband called to say the power was back on.  The meat was safe for this time at least.

So, I was able to continue with the dehydration of herbs, make kale stir-fry and kale chips, and use some hot peppers in dinner.  Everything has a happy ending, except the tree branches that didn’t make it…But then again what is a little more clean-up??



Random thoughts
October 18, 2011, 9:22 am
Filed under: local eating, outdoor gardening

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I hate this time of year sometimes.  You spend glorious days outside digging up the garden and preparing it for winter.  Say good-bye to the tomatoes, hello fall feast of leeks and parsnips.  So much to do and so little time to do it in.  But more importantly, you realize all the projects that you wanted to accomplish that you did not.  Such things as dividing and transplanting the iris’ or building the window boxes.  Time flies and before you know it there is snow on the ground (Sorry it happened so early for you mom!)

This weekend I am taking pictures of projects that I want to accomplish.  I am going to create a sheet with each project.  A picture of what it looks like now and a sketch of what I want it to look like, along with description and approximate timeframe to do it in.  All the sheets are going into a binder, so I can grab a sheet and instruct Deron to help me on weekends creating the final sheets with a picture of the before and after on it.

I have decided to embrace the lack of employment and do stuff around the house.  I am going to find someone to teach me the table saw and router.  I am then going to do the pantry this winter.  I am going to create more and learn more.  I am so excited.

But most exciting is the fact that I am going to explore hydroponics this winter.  I don’t want to have a lack of greens through the winter.  It is important to keep on eating well.  This will be interesting for me as I have never explored it before.  I can’t wait to see it working.  Once I get it up and running, rest assured, you will be learning with me!



Corn dreams
August 2, 2011, 10:01 pm
Filed under: local eating, Uncategorized

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Food, Inc., King Korn and many other must watch movies crossed my mind on a recent trip to Lancaster, PA.  It is stated over and over again, corn production has gone wrong.  The end product is for the most part inedible and heavily sprayed with insecticides
I saw corn growing everywhere, even surrounding strip malls.  I could not help but wonder about the use. 
Would it be possible to grow usable corn on a mass scale organically?  Would there be a need for it?  Could the soil handle it?
But the most important thing to cross my mind….what am I breathing?
This is what I ponder while stuck at the airport waiting for an extremely late flight to take me home.  There is nothing quite like leaving my home at 3:30 AM and getting home after 1 AM.  I am delirious and tired.
Maybe that is why I am dreaming of organic corn- even with the ugly worm!
Here is to sweet corn dreams,  sometime soon!



The first of the tomatoes
July 13, 2011, 8:56 pm
Filed under: local eating, Tomatoes

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Yes, that is a small tomato sitting on a nickle.  The first of the tomatoes to ripen, it is time for celebration!
Matt’s Wild Cherry has a sprawling habit that will take over your entire space, if given a chance.  The fruit is small and production is very high.  It is not for everyone though.  If you are looking for something sweet and juicy, look at something else.  Matt’s are much more acidic then most little tomatoes.  But it is one of my must haves.  I can count on harvesting right up to fall.  It just keeps growing and producing!



Trying something new
June 11, 2011, 2:36 pm
Filed under: Cooking/Canning/Drying, local eating

Rhubarb Wine in the Primary

Our neighbors grow rhubarb for us.  They don’t like it, but they leave it by the shed for us.  So this year, Deron went over and picked a lot at once.  That left me having a little over 5 pounds of rhubarb sitting in the refrigerator.  After trying a rhubarb upside down cake (which was delicious, but only took 3 stalks) I decided I needed to see that else I could find.  One thing led to another and before I really realized just what I was doing I spent $15 and got everything I was missing to make rhubarb ginger wine. 

Today I started the wine making process.  Now keep in mind this is the first time we have attempted to make wine.  We have made beer – well mainly Deron – but never wine.  I will keep you updated as it goes.  It is a slow process which starts with 5 pounds rhubarb chopped, bruised ginger, 2 pounds of sugar and one crushed camdon tablet.   It will need to sit for about three days stirring everyday.  After that is the yeast and nutrient among other things.  If it turns out, I will post the entire recipe for you to try next year when the rhubarb is in season.

Here is to keeping your fingers crossed I have a great wine!



My new toy
March 20, 2011, 7:17 pm
Filed under: Cooking/Canning/Drying, local eating, Uncategorized

Dried Citrus for work!!

So this isn’t about what I planted, it will come this week.  This is about my new toy for continuation of food preservation.  I have been saving up for this for a long time.  I think it will help me a lot when it comes time to harvest.  It is a food dehydrator.  Not just any dehydrator, it is the excalibur 9 tray dehydrator.  In my yahoo groups I belong to, this is the top of the line for dehydrators and even better it is made in America.  I decided I would save now for the best so I can have it for many years to come. 

What was the first thing I used it for you ask….Well I just so happened to have some organic japanese yams that I needed to use up.  So I made chips.  Then the next day I made dried organic citrus fruits for my hot waters at work.  I feel like I hit the jackpot!  More to come I am sure over my additional method of preserving my food from the garden!