From the Farm Blog Hop – Jan 23rd, 2015

Thank you for joining us to another From the Farm Blog Hop linky party! I can’t wait to see what you have to share this week.

 

From-the-Farm-Blog-Hop

Usually I try not to complain. Here on the blog, that is, in real life I complain plenty. But this time I have to tell you, I had a hard week. And I mean hard. Do you know the feeling? When you become so overwhelmed with what you took on that you start to question if it’s even possible?

Let me tell you, starting an organic vegetable farm from nothing is not easy. Geez, we’ve been working so hard for months now, don’t remember the last time I had a day off, and still there is sooooo much to do. Spring is not even here yet! I can’t see the end. I guess the stress caught up with us this week.

So, I try to remind myself that my problems are not real problems, and go back to focus on just one thing at a time because if I think about everything that there is to do I loose it.

BRAIDED NUTELLA BRIOCHEAnd I turn to comforting food. Food from my country, Israel. Food from my mama’s kitchen. And this braided Nutella brioche from Treat and Trick is one of those kind of foods. Oh God, it is so good, it will make you forget all your problems!

Ok, enough about me… [Read more…]

How to Cook Semolina Flour

Did you know you can cook semolina flour and make a side dish from it?

In Israel, we call it couscous. This dish actually came from Morocco, where they eat it with a vegetable and chicken stew.

My mother is Moroccan, and growing up we used to eat couscous at least once a week. It is one of those dishes that takes you back to your mama’s kitchen, comforts you, fills your belly, and make bad days go away.

 

How-to-Cook-Semolina-FlourCooking Semolina flour is not too complicated, but, like every good old fashion skill, it takes some time and work. They weren’t as lazy as we are back in the day. Nothing about food was instant, and no one would have sold you pre-cooked something in a box and called it couscous.

So you can buy one of those couscous in a box, add boiling water and top it with a nice stew or meatballs and sauce. That’s fine, we don’t always have time to stand in the kitchen for a couple of hours. But it will never, ever, be as fluffy and soft, and tasty as the real deal.

So if you feel like trying something new, let me show you how I cook semolina flour.

But before I start, there is something I have to get off my chest…

 

Israeli-CouscousTHIS is not Israeli couscous.

Oh God, it feels so good to say it on the world wide web.

What it is is pearled pasta. Just pasta, in a shape of little balls. In Israel we call it ptitim, and they should have translated it to something like Pearled Israeli Pasta because if you go visit Israel and call this couscous, someone will beat you with a stick. We don’t want that.

It’s like if you moved to a different country and found out they call a hamburger a meatloaf. Ain’t no meatloaf between these buns! (Name the movie!)

So here is how to make real couscous…

 

semolina-flour-03I start with one bag of Bob’s Red Mill semolina flour. Doesn’t have to be Bob’s, but this bag has 24 oz in it (or 680g) and I use the whole bag. This makes a lot of couscous, but since it is a bit of work to make it, I prefer to make a lot and freeze some of it for later. [Read more…]

From the Farm Blog Hop – Jan. 15th 2015

Thank you for joining us to another From the Farm Blog Hop linky party! I can’t wait to see what you have to share this week.

 

from-the-farm-hopIt is getting close to planting time! My first seeds are scheduled to go in soil blocks in the greenhouse on Wednesday. I am both excited and nervous. Not to mention the greenhouse is not even ready yet! Arrr, I hope we can finish it this weekend. It is just so wet here and cold that it is really hard to work. But my seeds arrived this week, and I have all the tools I need. My worms are pooping gold that I will use in the seed starting mix, so I might be able to pull this off and get some seeds started in the greenhouse early. We’ll see…

 

Grow a Good Life

My favorite post from The last hop is a collection of the top 10 gardening posts from Grow a Good Life. This is one of my favorite blogs. Rachel gives great advice, has lots of experience in the garden, and explains things in a way that is so easy to understand and follow. If you like soil under your nails, you should check out this wonderful blog.

[Read more…]

7 Steps For Planning a Vegetable Garden

You can clean the drool off of your chin now. No shame, it’s OK. I know what you’re going through.

I am going through the same thing every January.

They are stronger than us. They have special powers. They take over your mind, your soul, your body. They make you think of sunny days and moist soil. You flip the pages and feel the warm breeze kissing your skin. You hear the chirping of birds and the buzzing of bees.

They stare right back at you. The crisp, orange carrot. The round, smooth, pink radish. The crunchy, long, bright green cucumber. The tomatoes… Oh God, the tomatoes. Purple, yellow, red, green… You want them all. You have to have them all!

And they make you buy them all.

The vicious seed catalogs!

 

7 Steps for Planning a Successful Vegetable GardenThen Spring arrives. You stand there in the middle of your garden, swatting at the extra large mosquitoes, thinking, where the hell am I going to stick all those seeds?

Yep, I’ve been there too. Giant mosquitoes and all.

So let’s hold the thoroughbreds for a minute, close the catalog, and take a moment to plan the garden. I mean, really plan the garden, calculations, maps and so on.

It sounds scary, I know, but it’s not that bad. After a little bit of work, you’ll be ready to order what your garden can grow, and grow well. You won’t waste seeds or your money, and your harvest will be bountiful, beautiful, and much more tasty since each plant will have the right amount of room to grow.

Note – through this post I will use my garden as an example. It doesn’t matter if your garden is made of 3 pots or 7 raised beds, or 2 acres of rows and beds, the process of planning will still be the same.

Also, you can download and use the documents I share through Google Docs by clicking “file” –> “Download as” on the top left corner of the screen.

7 Steps for Planning a Vegetable Garden

 

garden map1

Click on the image to enlarger.

 

1. Map your garden -

I am sure there are gazillion softwares and programs you can use to draw a map of your garden, but I am an old school kinda girl, so pencil and paper is it for me.

If you are not using the computer to draw your garden map, use a graphing paper and a pencil. If you already have a garden, draw your beds and pots. If you want to add a bed or a pot somewhere add those to the map even if you didn’t make or buy them yet.

If you are starting a new garden, decide on your setup and draw it. Do you want rows of vegetables? Do you want beds? How wide is the walkway between those beds? Do you want to be able to access parts of the garden with a tractor? Or a lawn mower? Maybe someone in your family is in a wheelchair and like to spend time in the garden with you? Make it possible for them to move around.

Your map should show you… [Read more…]

From the Farm Blog Hop -Jan 9th, 2015

Thank you for joining us to another From the Farm Blog Hop linky party! I can’t wait to see what you have to share this week.

 

from-the-farm-hopCan you believe it’s 2015 already? I remember when it was 1997 and we used to pick our nose. Time flies. Before we know it Spring will be here and crazy planting season will begin. This week I finalized my seed order ($600!), finished my 2 acre(!) bed plan, and applied to the local Farmer’s market. I still have so much to do in order to be ready for the growing season. I need to make a planting schedule, price list, design a logo, make signs, finalize my mic. and packing supplies order, build the greenhouse and on and on and on…. I could use 5-7 employees just about now.

 

Orange-PeelsMy favorite post from  The last hop is 18 Uses for Orange Peels by Ashley at Grow, Pray, Build. We’ve been eating a lot of oranges lately. They are great for strengthening the immune system those Winter months and just a tasty seasonal fruit. I usually add my peels to the compost pile or give them to my worms, but Ashley is listing some other great uses for them that I will have to try. For instance, orange peel tea. Did you ever tried to add orange peels to your tea? I’ll have to try that.

[Read more…]

Immune Boosting Chia Seed Drink Recipe and EcoJarz Giveaway!

In this simple drink, I combined the super-seed that is chia, with fresh orange and lemon juice. Add a couple of tablespoons of honey, and you’ve got an immune and energy boosting drink.

 

immune boosting chia seed drinkBut that’s not all! It is also very, very filling. In fact, I can’t even drink a whole cup of this thing. After half a cup, I feel like I ate three steaks and seven potatoes. Not that I know how it feels to eat three steaks… But you are catching my drift, right?

If you are on your way to lose some extra weight, drink a chia seed drink.

If you want to save some money on snacks, give your kids a chia drink. They get a kick out of drinking a sweet, seedy, jelly-like drink, and it makes them stop snacking for a whole hour and a half. An unheard of event around this house.

If your immune system needs a little boost, drink a chia drink.

If you need a bit of an energy boost, drink a chia drink.

The bottom line is, you should make yourself a chia drink!

But here is where an ordinary chia drink becomes an extraordinary chia drink…. You make it in a mason jar!

You cover the jar with an Ecojarz lid and slide the stainless still straw in. Then, you go find a front porch and a rocking chair. You sip the drink, close your eyes and imagine that you are far away in the country. Where the grass is green, the cows are fat, and people drink from mason jars.

Unless you really are in the country. Then, no imagination is required.

 

chia-seed-drink-05Anyway, let’s talk about chia seeds for a moment, shall we?

We shall.

Chia seeds come from a plant in the mint family that is native to Mexico.

Chia seeds are full of omega-3 fats, fiber and proteins. They are loaded with antioxidants, contain massive amounts of nutrients, and have very few calories. They can lower the risk of heart disease, help you lose weight, support healthy bone structure, and as effective as an energy drink if you need a boost of energy.

They pretty much have it all and do it all except the dishes. Which could have been real nice.

The best part is; they are very easy to add to your diet.

Get yourself a bag of chia seeds, and start sticking them everywhere. In cookies, cakes, breads, drinks, jams, rice… You can add them to just about anything.

Here is a simple way to make a chia seed drink…

 

chia-seed-drink-04Add a cup of water to a pint size, wide mouth mason jar

 

chia-seed-drink-07Then add three tablespoons of chia goodness…

[Read more…]

Turning Buckwheat into Flour (without a grain mill)

I didn’t title this post “How to Mill Buckwheat,” because quite frankly, this is not how you should do it.

In fact, after this past week, my husband officially concluded that I have gone mental.

And he is probably right.

 

Turning Buckwheat into Flour (without a grain mill)You see, if you were to grow buckwheat (which I strongly recommend for many reasons listed bellow), and make your own gluten-free buckwheat flour, you would probably want to use a grain mill like this one. Then, follow their instructions for dehulling and grinding the seed.

But what’s to me, Lady Lee, and following instructions? Absolutely nothing. I am known around the family for doing things backwards, upside down, or sideways. And I wouldn’t want to ruin the reputation I worked so hard to build, now would I?

 

plant-in-middle-of-season8So I went ahead and planted a whole field of buckwheat. Yeah, you read that right, I said a field.

The plan was to use the buckwheat in the compost heap and to till it under as green manure at the end of the Summer. Then, plant the field with Winter cover crops. But it didn’t happen.

Don’t ask me why. I really have no clue.

What did happen is that the buckwheat went to seed, reseeded itself, grew again, and went into seed again. At that point, it was too cold outside for the seeds that dropped to the ground to germinate, and many other seeds stayed on the stems that were still standing in the field.

I was so busy preparing the other end of the field for Spring planting that I completely ignored the buckwheat.

Until last week, that is.

I was trying to measure and mark the beds of vegetables for next year. One child was pulling the stakes out of the ground, the other was messing with the twine, while the last one was stepping all over the bed after I removed him and explained 17 million times that we DO NOT step on the vegetable beds. Can’t a one and a half year old understand the principles of soil compaction for crying out loud?!

Anyway, it was either going for a walk or having the neighbors call child services.

So we went for a walk.

And came across a field of dry buckwheat.

 

how-to-mill-buckwheat-37I am not sure what is it about kids, but they love to pick. Everything (including their noses). So we started picking those wonderful stems with the clusters of dry seeds on top and we ended up with a nice bunch of buckwheat to take home. [Read more…]

7 Natural Ways to Cure Hemorrhoids

Here is something everyone suffers from but no one wants to talk about… I mean, really, did you ever have hemorrhoids? No, don’t answer that!

But if you had… They can’t be ignored, right? No, don’t answer that! Cause then I’ll know you had hemorrhoids, and I don’t want to know.

Well, the good news is that there are a few ways to cure hemorrhoids naturally at home. Here are 7 natural ways to cure hemorrhoids at home.

 

7 Natural Ways to Cure HemorrhoidsSo, if you are 15 years old and didn’t give birth yet, or if you have an exceptionally tight behind, or if you are just plain lucky, let me inform you that hemorrhoids are inflamed and swollen veins in the anus and lower rectum. Symptoms are itching, bleeding and discomfort. Oh… the miserableness!

 

natural-cure-hemorroids-04The 7 natural ways to cure hemorrhoids that I am going to list here are all using the same three natural ingredients; horse chestnut, witch hazel, and oak bark (I use white oak bark but you can use a different kind if you can’t find the white one). I buy all of those from Mountain Rose Herbs.

**Before we start, let’s get one thing clear. I am not a doctor. Nor I will ever be. In this post, I share with you the research I’ve done lately to help a family member in pain. The ways we took care of their discomfort might not be the right way to take care of yours. If you have certain allergies, if you are pregnant, or have any other condition, dig deeper and make sure it is safe for you to use the ingredients mentioned in this post.

Oak Bark – 

 

natural-cure-hemorroids-27Oak bark contains tannins, a polyphenol found in many plants, and that is said to treat inflammation.

1. Inject decoction in the rectum - To a make decoction, simmer one teaspoon of oak bark in one cup of water for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the decoction cool to room temp. Then, use a syringe to inject a couple ml of the mixture in the rectum.

2. Apply decoction externally - Soak a cotton ball in decoction and apply externally.

[Read more…]

From the Farm Blog Hop – Dec. 19th, 2014

Thank you for joining us to another From the Farm Blog Hop linky party! I can’t wait to see what you have to share this week.

 

from-the-farm-hopThis week is all about Hanukkah for us. It’s my kids favorite holiday, of course. What child doesn’t love colorful lights and candle lights, not to mention oily, jam filled doughnuts. Every year I promise myself that I will never again fry potato latkes or doughnuts, and every year, I find myself, yet again, by the stove, cursing the deep oil.

I hope you are having a great holiday season. Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah!

 


I love this cute song. Always makes me want to dance.

 

mini-hoop-tunnelsMy favorite post from last week’s hop is Are Mini Hoop Tunnels Worth the Effort? Isis from Little Mountain Heaven, shared her experience with mini hoop tunnels on The Homesteading Hippy blog. Great information about what it really takes to set up and maintain mini tunnels in the garden, and what is the return on this effort. Will it be worth it for you? This will be a good post to read if you considering mini tunnels as season extension for your garden.

**Note – the hop will be taking the rest of the year off for the holiday. We will be back the first week of Jan.

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Winter Garlic Update

 

winter-garlic-update-2The first seeds we planted at our soon to be vegetable farm were garlic. It was a beautiful Fall day (Oct 26th) when we planted about 500 garlic cloves in two beds.

 

winter-garlic-update-8If you never tried to grow garlic, I highly recommend you try. It’s a very simple crop to grow, and who doesn’t use garlic? Besides its culinary uses, garlic is also extremely healthy and can help prevent a nasty cold or the flu.

You are going to have to choose between a softneck and a hardneck garlic verity. Basically, if you live where Winter is harsh, choose hardneck, If you live in an area with a mild Winter, choose softneck verity. Here in central NC, we grow softneck garlic. This article can give you more info.

Once you have your garlic heads, break them into cloves. Stick the cloves an inch into the soil, 6 inches apart. Cover them lightly, and that’s about it.

[Read more…]