Wednesday, April 22, 2009
As the economy dips to new lows we are seeing more people turn back to victory gardening to make ends meet financially. I find it so ironic and a bit amusing that such an "earth shattering" event would produce a movement that actually focuses on healing the soils that feed us. So this year I am choosing to spend Earth Day reflecting on the hopefulness that is sometimes hard to find in the current economic state.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Yellow = turmeric
Brown = onion peels
Blue Swirls = red cabbage
Lavender = 100% grape juice
Tan = apple/raspberry juice and paprika
I forgot until after I had already hard boiled a dozen that dying them this way requires boiling them in their dyes so some of them were twice boiled. Oops. But they didn't taste terrible. In fact nobody even seemed to notice a difference Easter morning or maybe they were just being really nice, wonderful people.
Being the very impulsive person that I am there was no measuring. I just filled some saucepans with water and the ingredients above, added a few spoonfuls of vinegar and voila! If you plan to do this next year beware of the stinkyness. You might want to spare your family and wait until you have the house to yourself for an hour or two. And it's not the best system to involve children in since it centers around a stove top of simmering dyes. I did mine after the kids were in bed.
Also, while I was very pleased with the turmeric and onion peels (although I must admit buying brown eggs would be much easier) I won't try paprika again since it didn't dissolve but left a gritty feel to the eggshells. And the cabbage and juice eggs should have soaked in the fridge overnight for more intense color but I am far too impatient for that.
After they had cooled I brushed them in vegetable oil to make them shiny. If the eggs are room temperature the oil isn't greasy at all but when they are cold the oil makes them slippery so be careful when handling them.
I'm no Martha Stewart but I do love how "organic" they look and they were a nice conversation piece on Easter. The process is worth it if you're adventurous in the kitchen and willing to experiment. Try this with anything that has a rich color or that stains your hands when working with it like berries or spinach.
Next year my daughter will be old enough to dye eggs so we'll probably head back to the "good old fashioned" way that I remember from my childhood featuring colored fizzy tablets and wax crayons.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Ironically and a bit sadistic I broke my eight year meat fast this weekend. Since I had my mom in town we bought a couple 4lb chickens free of growth hormones or antibiotics and she showed me how to dress and roast them. They were delicious! And the leftovers made some awesome chicken soup which came in handy since the kids and I all have colds.
On the garden front we now have broccoli, spinach, arugula, romaine, black seeded simpson leaf lettuce, ringmaster and scallion onions, and cabbage all up and doing well. So far I am very pleased with the square foot system and can't wait to harvest.
Friday, April 3, 2009
And here's part of my own flock adoring the chicks.
So far the chickens have been such a great thing for especially Evie. She is learning how to be gentle with animals and responsibility in keeping them clean and fed. My little animal lover is having the time of her life and I'm learning through her that having them around can be kind of enjoyable. Although I think most of my enjoyment will come in the form of delicious fresh eggs all year round. Mmmm, can't wait!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
The purpose of this blog is to record the process of creating a homestead in the city. So here's where we begin:
My family and I moved from the suburbs into an eight bedroom home in the city to do life with several others. While there are challenges associated with joining very independent lives under the same roof we are becoming a family of choice. Somewhere along the way we got the idea of raising chickens (I still can't remember how that one happened) and on March 22 we rather impulsively picked up our 6 "baby kiks" as our 2-year-old has taken to calling them. Now they are 2 weeks old and getting kind of fowl-like and it has me thinking that maybe we should have done some reading before committing to chickenhood. But regrets are pointless so I suppose we should just get used to the idea of being the neighborhood weirdos. On top of the mansion and the chickens I've gone head deep into organic gardening. The good people at Cincinnati's Civic Garden Center are probably sick of seeing me and I've only lived in town for 2 months. I've logged enough hours learning about compost to certify me as a "Master Composter". What is happening to my predictable little world that used to revolve around snacktime, playdates and trips to the park? Now my time is devoted to poop and worms. To make matters even more ridiculous we've started a square foot garden. Now, the square foot garden thing isn't all that strange but considering the recommended starting point for a beginner is 48 sq ft our 240 is rather lofty. The plan is to grow pumpkins and muskmelons 6 feet in the air. Our upper crust neighbors aren't going to know what to think. Most of the time I barely know what to think!
Thanks for checking me out. Welcome to my world.