Archive for the Urban Farming Category

1st snow proves that Henny & Penny are hardy lasses, indeed!

Posted in Urban Farming on October 11, 2009 by xxxicana

I was awakened Saturday morning to Tom’s loud exclamation, “Oh, F@#k . . . it snowed last night.”  Needless to say, Mister Man is not favorably disposed to the winter season.  Fortunately, it was just a light dusting.garden ball in snow

But, it did require some “farm” chores.   Henny and Penny weren’t too sure what was going on . . . it was their first snow.  So, I raked up the snow from around their yard so their little toes wouldn’t get too cold.  Maybe I should ask Onion Tears to knit them some gloves!  Tom had already fortified their coop with straw bales to keep out the wind and retain heat.

winterized coop

Here’s a video of the chickens enjoying the brisk winter air (and Balam, too).

I fortified the “chickie cave” to keep the snow out . . .

photo chicken cave

The girls seem to appreciate it!

The rain barrel had to be drained

rain barrel

So, that was Saturday morning . . . trying to winterize in early October . . . frankly, we were not prepared for snow.  We still had not taken the garden hoses off the spigots and Thursday evening we were out at 11 pm picking green tomatoes in the dark.  Global warming is perhaps a misnomer . . . we should call it global climate change.  Our summer was very cool and winter has made a fairly early appearance.  The cats, however, don’t seem to be too phased by the whole thing

interloper

They spend most of the day sleeping

fast asleep

The kitties are best buddies now.

Tom & cats

Mister Man enjoying cat company

cleo & car sleepingCleo and me taking a nap

What better way to enjoy the cooling weather?

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Phew, what a day!

Posted in Musings, Urban Farming with tags , , , , on October 4, 2009 by xxxicana

Mister Man had a gig with the New Delta Boogie Boys at the 4th Annual Veg Fest held in the “Historic Havelock District”.

VegFestPoster

This event was organized by several organizations that we support . . . and they invited the NDBB to play.  It was a brisk afternoon, pleasant enough, but hard on the musicians (stiff fingers).  As always, Tom, Stan, Pablo, and Patrick served up some great  blues to entertain young and old alike.

Delta boogie BoysYou can keep track of upcoming gigs at   http://www.ruminentrecords.wordpress.com

Veg Fest also hosted a salsa contest (the condiment, not the dance) with the stipulation that the ingredients had to be locally grown and include melon.  Luckily, our neighbor Keith had just given me a watermelon earlier in the week. So I diced, seeded, chopped, tasted, salted, sawed, scooped, and garnished a recipe I made up for the contest.  Here’s my entry:

Watermelon and Mint Chiffonade Salsa

salsaJudging was by Pepe Fiero (owner of Pepe’s Veggie Mex Bistro), Maggie (owner of Maggie’s Wraps), and Judy a la Carte  (radio host on KFOR).  It was a blind taste test . . . competition was a little lacking . . . only 3 entries until the final minute when two more showed up.

judgingJudging. . . . .

Ta-da!

certifFirst Place!!  And there were prizes!

1st place

Woohoo!! A Rain Barrel!!

1st place 2the long view

At the end of Veg Fest a few of us headed over to

Bobs taverto enjoy a few brews with friends.

Dave and Joan were kind enough to schlep the barrel to our house since it wouldn’t fit in my car even if it hadn’t been filled with Mister Man’s guitars, gig bags, guitar stand, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Had beer & wine with Dave and Joan.  Ran out to DeLeone’s for quick Mexican food  . . . and then just enough time to powder my nose, touch up my lipstick and drive over to Q to join my BFFs for the Drag review.  We had a great time.  Girls looked great  . . . I was complemented by a couple of performers on my hair and boots !!!  YES!  What we all need sometimes – validation that our internal diva-ness is workin’ it!

A lot of fun packed into one day!  Phew.  I think I’ll take it easy today.

Domestic Diva and State Fair Winner!

Posted in Urban Farming with tags , , , on September 5, 2009 by xxxicana

bandana, cropped

Never thought that I was going to adapt to Nebraska . . .  but I realize now that my upbringing pre-adapted me to Midwestern living.  My grandmother taught me to embroider when I was in kindergarten; I still embroider as means of keeping busy while watching TV [after all, idle hands are the Devil’s playthings].  My Mom and Grandmother can/canned, so I learned to appreciate the process of “putting up” food for the winter.  My Mom has recounted her childhood memories of her grandmother drying squash to make calabazitas in the winter.  I vividly remember my Grandmother’s chokecherry jelly.  On a couple of occasions I helped my Grandma roast, skin, and bag Hatch green chilies.  If you check out Onion Tear’s Blog, you’ll see that this tradition has been passed on to my daughter.

sanchez women[I “stole” this photo from Onion Tears Blog . . . 3 generations of crafty and domestic diva women]

This culinary “herstory” is not the stuff of books, but rather of tradition.  Generations of women, from many different cultures, regions, and walks of life have passed down food preservation techniques, recipes, arts and crafts, and other over-looked domestic tasks.  However, how much do we acknowledge these oral traditions, folkways, and women’s experiences?  For me, cooking, canning, embroidering, and other domestic tasks provide great personal satisfaction.  Now that I live in Nebraska, I have found a means of showing off the skills I learned from my mother and grandmother — the State Fair.

expo bldgThis year I entered four projects:  embroidered tea towel and pillowcase, canned Hatch chiles and escabeche (mexican pickled cauliflower, carrots, peppers, and onion).  I won three ribbons — the escabeche didn’t win (the vegetable colors faded and I think the taste might have been too “exotic”).  So, here’s how things turned out . . .

1st place pillow

First Place Ribbon for Embroidered Pillowcase

pillow case

This is the full view

2nd place tea towelSecond Place Ribbon for embroidered tea towel

tea towelFull view

I thought I would take 1st place by capitalizing on the Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign.

But I was blown out of the water by the first place winner

1st place tea towelVery nice work!

2nd place hot peppersMy New Mexican Hatch chiles won a Second Place Ribbon.

cannerMister Man gave me a HUGE pressure canner last Christmas . . . I had to wait until this summer to use it.

Now I am able to can all kinds of things, including . . .

corncorn.

winnerHere I am in front of my chiles.

Note the western shirt . . . when my sis and I were little, our mom ALWAYS got us new cowboy shirts, jeans, and moccasins for the Monte Vista, Colorado Stampede.  I still love to wear western shirts . . . especially the grotesquely gaudy fringy types!

After checking out the exhibits it was time to get food.  Mister Man and I opted for Polish sausages with onions and peppers.   Following up we had dessert . . . .

cakesFunnel Cakes!!!

funnel cakeCaught in the act!

While we were sitting eating our deep fried dough and probably laying down a coating of cholesterol inside our arteries . . . I noticed this food vendor . . .

beef sundaeNebraska is a major beef producer . . . but what the heck is a Beef Sundae?????  I didn’t have the nerve to ask.

Regardless, the notion is just gross!

So that was our State Fair experience.  We didn’t stay for the evening’s entertainment: Brett Michaels.  I didn’t care for Poison the first time around, I wasn’t going to be tortured by him cover bad hair band  tunes out of tune.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

More Domestic Diva stuff.  Yesterday I drove out to Martin’s Hillside Orchard to pick peaches and raspberries.  I picked up a small bag of apples since it’s still a tad early for the really good apples.  I spent about an hour gathering this beautiful fruit.  The peaches are DIVINE!  I’ve never eaten a fresh picked peach.  The scent wafting from the fruit in the trees was intoxicating . . . I ended up picking 20 pounds!  We’ll eat some, I’ll make a cobbler or two, and then I’ll can the rest for later in the winter.

fruitSome raspberries will be individually frozen and packed.  But my favorite is raspberry jam, so I’ll load the canner up for that.

Speaking of canning, I’ll be directing a boiling water canning workshop next Saturday for Community CROPS.  We’ll be canning tomatoes.

So . . . that’s some of the recent news from Lincoln, Nebraska.  Henny and Penny are doing well, laying progressively larger eggs.  Balam and Amby (who’s nickname is now Bunny) are getting along very nicely now and chase each other around the house.  All’s right and well in our little home.

We finally did it . . . ate the pullet eggs

Posted in Urban Farming with tags , on July 14, 2009 by xxxicana

Mister Man and I were pretty busy this weekend.  We didn’t get around to eating them until Sunday evening.  I made Huevos Rancheros topped with Mexican white cheese.  Here are all the eggs collected since July 4th:

HP eggs

The eggs cooking in sauce:

HR cooking

Huevos plated

plate of HR

Yesterday I made pickled vegetables, Mexican style (Escabeche)

escabeche

yum.

How to lay an egg

Posted in Urban Farming with tags , on July 12, 2009 by xxxicana

Either Henny or Penny laid an egg this morning . .  and I was able to catch the process on video.  Nesting thru crowing took about 12 minutes.   This video is of the last few minutes; you can hear the egg drop.  Oops . . . I didn’t put enough nesting material in the box.

The girls have gotten quite big and should probably get even bigger now that I’ve switched them to layer feed.

Here are a couple of other photos from the garden.

P1010013

Tom was going to throw out these old work boots, but felt bad to let them go.  Instead I put them in the garden and planted petunias.  The leather will degrade over time, but meanwhile we’ll ejoy the silly juxtoposition.

P1010015

I planted a row of sunflowers for the winter birds.

P1010011Potatoes growing in a recycled container.  I’m hoping to get a good crop of little reds.

Mister Man and I attended Zoofest last night.  Here’s a photo with our pal Pablo

zoofestI got a new rodeo style top for the occasion!

Chickens don’t like mice

Posted in Urban Farming with tags , on July 8, 2009 by xxxicana

Fortuitous circumstances found me with my camera just as a mouse tried to run the gauntlet of the backyard.  The mouse did get away . . . but I’m not sure if it survived.

Just a quick post of yesterday’s antics on the S & M Ranchette!

Hey Baby, it’s the 4th of July

Posted in Urban Farming with tags , , on July 5, 2009 by xxxicana

One of our girls decided to celebrate the 4th of July by laying her first egg!  Our party had just started when someone noticed there was something in the coop . . . a little brown egg.   The girls are on their way to helping us eat local, fresh food.  Mister Man and I were as proud as new grandparents!  Here are some photos from yesterday:

1st eggThe Proud Grandpa

(notice the resemblance?)

car wth 1st eggThe proud Grandma

chickies in coopThe mamas

Early arrivals to the party were witness to the first egg . . . thanks guys for sharing this great moment!

dave, joan, timDave, Joan, and Tim

duncan, tomDuncan and Tom

4th of julyFolks enjoying food, drink, and conversation

Our party turned out to very fun, casual, and relaxing.  Here are Joan and Kim enjoying the evening:

joan, kim

Entertainment was provided by Tom Martin (playing his new National), Stan Martinez (drums), Pablo Rangel (harmonica), Gunter Voelker (Guitar), and Tom Voelker (harmonica)

july 4th jam 2

(left to right: Pablo, Tom, Stan, Gunter)

Phew, another great party . . . the day after has turned out to be exciting.  While Mister Man and I were enjoying our coffee outside, another egg was laid.  I took video of the process . . . .

Nesting

(nesting material is shredded bills, thus foiling (or should that be fowling) identity thieves!)

egg #2Hen fruit #2

Proud mamas

I always thought that chickens squawked when the egg was popping out . . . but we have now learned that once the egg is laid the hen jumps out of the coop and starts yelling out “hey! look what I did!”  Since we can’t tell the chickens apart we don’t know if only one is laying or both . . . but from the video you can see that both are happy about the new egg.

Pullet eggs are the first eggs laid and are small.

egg #2a

Comparison with store bought large eggs

eggs in carton 2

The only down side to this is that I just bought a 50# bag of feed for growing chickens.  Now I’ll have to go back out to the Tractor Store to get layer  feed.   Nevertheless, Mister Man and I are so happy with our chickies – we enjoy their company and antics.  Hope y’all enjoy them virtually as well!