Hope y’all are enjoying these beautiful spring days after a long cold winter!
Here we have had very warm and very cold days back and forth which is common for these parts!
Last week we had the indoor wood cook stove going, at least in the mornings, so we were able to get the chill out. Then we would get any cooking done that may be needed for the day and because a water pipe goes through the stove to heat our water we’d have hot water for the rest of the day.
Now that warmer weather has arrived we are using our little Stanley wood cook stove on the summer kitchen.
The windowsills are full with little plants, sweet potatoes in jars, rootings and flowers. We love to gather wild flowers and bring them into our home to enjoy! The Sweet Williams are some of my favorite this time of year! Simple life joys!
I can deal with finding eggs or not finding eggs for now, cause these little chickens are the best at keeping ticks away! It's wonderful they do the best job at eating the ticks! These busy hens keep the ticks from hanging out on us, our barn cats and Fleck (our dog) these Bantys are sure worth their keep! On top of that they are the best foragers and don't have to be fed, although during winter I do give them a bit “extra” and loads of scraps.
Soon we hope to add some larger, heirloom laying hens to our little homestead just for eggs, well also for and their manure (even though their manure is great -its very “hot” when it is fresh so let it age some before using) and their action of “tilling”, but for now we have neighbors who have wonderful eggs at a good price and sometimes when we have extra herbs or vegetable starts we trade for eggs!
Many of last years herbs in our gardens came back this year, earlier than usual, and are vibrantly green and healthy!
The comfrey is blooming and about three feet high! With so much comfrey I was able to cut off many leaves, (about a third of the plant) chop them up and put them in a bucket after that I covered the chopped leaves with rain water. (This prolific plant should give me at least three more cuttings through summer) I will let it steep for a few days and then strain. Comfrey “tea” is a wonderful, natural, high in calcium and other great minerals, made-at-home, nutrient rich, additive for your soil and plants!! (I may need to warn you since the brew does ferment -it will have a strong order you might want to wear your bandana over your nose when you go to strain and pour it) Or if you want you could just cut the leaves of this helpful plant and let place them around your veggie plants and or your compost, this is very good for your soil and plants and acts as a natural fertilizer- this method is not smelly at all (except the cucumber like smell the comfrey has when you cut it ) and is a very quick job, just make sure you leave at least a third of your main comfrey plant so it will continue to grow back again. Its good to pour this green brew all around veggies and herbs, just before it rains, to give them a great boost this spring!
We have a small greenhouse set up that is up against the south side of our home, this spring, and it’s filling fast as seeds pop up and tiny starts are being transplanted. I have lots of basil which we grow almost like a crop! And of course, we have lots of zinnias! This year I’m planting the Zinnias along the garden fence to help protect them from the strong winds, I also think it will look pretty! You can check out our Zinnia YouTube here.
A new sheet compost about 3’ by 9’ has been started, which will become another raised bed for our garlic which we plan to plant this fall from the nice large, healthy garlic bulbs that are growing now. It’s a lot of fun ”building“ it over time, with materials that we gather: cardboard, hay, food scraps, carrot pulp, newspaper, coffee grounds, aged cow manure, eggshells then more hay, then leaves-lots of leaves! If we keep layering and allowing it to compost by November it should be ready to plant the garlic! This could be a great project to get the children involved in it's so easy and fun, they would get to make their “beds” out side! In the fall when the garlic cloves are ready to be planted, share with the children that they can help put the garlic to “bed” for the winter! I could go on and on about all the ways we can involve our children to have fun learning while they help in the garden! For more gardening inspiration see our Gardening DVD.
Some time ago I posted a picture on our Instagram, @Homestead-Blessings, of the best tasting Pizza we’ve ever made with a cauliflower, herb crust! Most of the grain free pizza crusts we’ve seen use lots of cheese, we’d rather enjoy the cheese on top if we use it, this one uses chia seeds and egg! You could even make a dairy free pizza by topping with a nut cheese if you like or just the sauce and toppings.
If you are hungry for a pizza but want to stay away from the gluten or grain - this pizza crust recipe is for you! And it tastes great! Really!
Gluten Free -Cauliflower/Herb -Pizza Crust
Roughly chop up 2 med heads of cauliflower. Roast with a drizzle of coconut oil and pinch of salt until tender. Let cool, and grate the cauliflower with cheese grater. Place grated cauliflower in a cloth strainer, and squeeze out all the liquid. This is easier to do in small amounts.
In a large mixing bowl, knead cauliflower (it will now be squished) together with:
1Tbs Nutritional yeast
2 Tbs Chia seeds
1 tsp. Onion powder
Salt to taste
Fresh or dried Italian herbs such as, Rosemary, Basil, Thyme, Oregano, etc, to taste.
Form into a ball and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or a pizza stone. Press down with your hands and cover with another piece of parchment paper, then roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Remove top parchment and bake @ 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Finish pizza with pizza sauce and favorite toppings.
Sure hope you get to try this out! It’s a lot of fun to make the toppings (as much as you can ) out of the food you grew from your own garden! So that could be cauliflower, the herbs for the crust, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and so on. A good way to get your children involved in loving to grow their own food, is let them grow a pizza garden of their own! The creative garden ideas are endless! The wonderful thing is there is so much joy that gardening brings- being out doors, oh yeah, there's food too! Healthy, clean, locally grown (can’t get much more local than your own garden!)
This is the time of year when everything is happening at once and everything needs doing right now.
But its also the time of year when we have days that are a bit longer, meaning more beautiful sunlight, skies are displaying lots of beautiful blue with fluffy white clouds, birds singing and wildflowers blooming, fresh cool air, soft, refreshing spring breezes and the greening of the trees and little hills all around!
Goldfinches are making their appearances in flocks of bright yellow specks flying from the ground up toward the tall trees.
The Dogwoods with their dainty white flowers are lacing the hillsides.
The other evening there were fireflies shining their lights on and off up in the night sky. Its so wonderful to see the bluebird pairs busy at building their nests.
Children are so happily playing outside again!
And gardens every where are being plowed, and planted What natural blessings we can enjoy throughout our busy spring days!
Now and then you see folks and families fishing off the banks of the creeks, and of course wading too!
Springtime is also a great time to gather a few wildflowers and bring them in your home and grace your supper table or windowsill for everyone to enjoy! Simple but greatly appreciated!
I hope you have many joyful moments that this time of year can bring as you go about your house work, farm chores, gardening and tending to your family.
And for all you Moms, I hope you all had wonderful Mother’s Day!
And may you all enjoy this spring and its fresh, new beauty!
Oh, by the way ,since I started this writing- we found where the little hen started laying her eggs again! A new nest loaded with eggs is in the coop’s nest boxes! (where they belong :) She has 15 eggs so far! Good hen! We will let her keep laying eggs and not collect them cause this is the time of year when it shouldn’t be long before she’s setting and hatching out tiny fluffy chicks! Wonder how many she will hatch out? What a Springtime Blessing!