Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
(the kids dipped their veggies in ranch, but hey, it's better than nothing, right?)
Recipe from herballegacy.com
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans
*1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste), or 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds and 2 tablespoons olive oil
*3 tablespoons lemon juice
*1 clove garlic minced
*1/4 tsp cumin
*Salt and pepper to taste
Drain garbanzo beans, reserving liquid. Put beans into a blender or food processor. Add tahini or sesame seed and oil mixture, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and 1/4 cup of the garbanzo liquid. Blend together until mixture is the consistency of heavy batter (adding more garbanzo liquid if needed). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with olive oil or chopped parsley.
Makes 12 servings, 2 tablespoons per serving
Friday, June 25, 2010
Michael and I are attending a holistic conference today. Some of our classes include instruction on essential oils, natural sweeteners, natural pain management and making tinctures. We are really excited about the conference and hopefully will be able to pass on the information to you!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The other day I was talking to one of my coworkers who happens to drink raw milk. He was telling me about an experience he had while buying raw milk. He was walking out of the market where he bought it (yes we can buy it from a market here in Utah) and a lady walked up to him in her hospital scrubs. She said to him, "I normally don't do this, but did you know that that milk could kill you?' My friend quipped "Yes I do, I like to live on the edge. In fact, I am going to give some of this to my kids too." The concerned citizen's mouth dropped open and she turned and fled away from the crazy risk taker.
It is a funny story but it really got me thinking. At what point were we all so indoctrinated to think that raw milk comes straight from the bowels of hell to destroy humanity as we know it. Why are people so afraid of raw milk and the dangers it poses? I really wonder where this fear comes from.
Believe it or not, there are worse things than raw milk. That being the case, I have never seen an individual approach someone else and vocally tell them to stop. I have never seen anyone go up to a mom whose grocery cart is loaded with corn syrup laced fruit drinks and mystery cream filled twinkies to tell her that her kids are going to be obese and get diabetes. I haven't seen anyone go up to smoker outside my work to tell them they are going to die of cancer. No one has ever got on a podium to talk about the evils of bagged spinach and the potentially life threatening bacteria that they contain. I have never seen anyone go up to a motorcyclist to warn them about road rash or the importance of a helmet.
Not only am I puzzled by individuals but there is hypocrisy with the government as well. As the FDA is deciding whether or not they are going to approve a new drug, they look at the benefits of a drug and compare them to the drawbacks. If good outweighs bad, then a new drug is approved. Why isn't the same philosophy applied to raw milk. Why don't they look at the good and see if it outweighs the bad before cracking down on local farmers that sell raw milk to consumers that are more aware of what's good for them than the majority of the people that are chomping down on Big Macs.
Why then, when people find out about me drinking raw milk, do there faces go pale and they tell me I am going to die. They look at me and treat me as if I were the walking dead. I understand that there are potential dangers from raw milk but there are dangers everywhere. Why the extreme fear of raw milk? Let me know if you have a theory.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Some of you may get a boost in the morning by drinking coffee. Did you know that you can "boost" your garden as well with coffee? Not so much the coffee, but the coffee grounds.
Coffee grounds are excellent to add to the garden or to your compost! I'm not a coffee drinker and neither is Michael. But, I just heard that Starbucks offers free coffee grounds, I guess you just have to ask for them. They even reuse the bags the beans were packaged in, reducing their waste.
Ground coffee is high in nitrogen, making it a very good addition to the soil for fast-growing vegetables. Simply sprinkle it around your plants for a slow release of nitrogen. Studies have also found that coffee-grounds can help reduce the ravages of slugs and snails, and if you have ever had slugs, this is a great thing! During the winter, you can throw the grounds in the compost bin. When composting, it is considered a "green" material, remember that you want to try and keep equal ratios of green/brown material. There is no need to separate it from the filter if you are composting, because the filter should compost as well. If you worm compost, I hear the worms LOVE coffee grounds.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Last week I was downtown and I remembered that the planetarium sells bugs that you can eat so I went and bought a few to bring home. I bought some Larvettes and my kids thought it was pretty interesting to eat them. My youngest boy wouldn’t have anything to do with them but the rest of us tried them. It was like eating the husk of some wheat with a little seasoning. In case you are wondering, I grew up on a farm so I have eaten wheat husk accidentally.
Michael Pollan and his books. He believes that you should only eat things that have five ingredients or less. We also have talked about the problem with too much sugar in our diets and foods, specifically the evils of corn syrup. Imagine my dismay when I looked at the ingredients list for Larvettes and saw that the first ingredient was larva and the second ingredient was sugar. It then went on to list various oils, and other ingredients that I can’t pronounce. I lost the box so I can’t tell you exactly what was in it but it had to have had at least 12 ingredients and most of them sounded like something you would use in a science experiment.
Now this article is partially in jest, but I can’t believe that I can’t buy larva that hasn’t been overly processed. Why do I need sugar in my larvae? It’s not really going to make them more appealing. They are mainly a novelty but our culture has become so accepting of processing food and adding sugar that even our larvae are unhealthy.
This was just a good reminder to me to check ingredients and try to watch what I eat. One of the best ways to eat healthy is to grow our own food, or buy it from local farmers at a farmers market. It is also important that we try to cook our own food. We don’t always do this in our house and we still eat processed foods but we are trying to do better.
From now on when I eat larvae, I am going to grow my own.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Gardening can be an expensive hobby if you let it but over the years Marisa and I have found ways to make it more economical. Here are a few of the things that we have found reduce our costs and make gardening more cost friendly.
1.Plan carefully for what you want. We sit down every spring and write in our garden journal what we want to grow. Make sure that you put in staples that you know your family will eat. You don’t want to waste time and money on something that no one wants. We usually pick a few new plants that we want to try each year but we don’t dedicate a lot of space to these plants until we try them and find out if they work well in our climate, and if we like them. After choosing what we want to grow, we map out our garden in detail. Since we have everything planned out we find that we don’t splurge on additional plants that we won’t eat or don’t have room for.
2.Grow your plants from seed. It isn’t hard once you learn how. You can create a nice seed growing rack. You can start your seeds in your window sills. You can also start a lot of them in the garden. It is much more economical to buy seeds than plants. In addition, if you buy heirloom seeds, you can harvest your seeds from year to year. Marisa and I don’t have to buy a lot of seeds anymore since we harvest from existing plants.
3.Get a gardening group together. You won’t usually need a whole packet of seeds. You probably won’t always use all of the seedlings that you grow as well since you usually start more than you need. If you can find a group you can share the cost of buying new seeds, mulch, and other expenses, and you can share seedlings which can reduce costs. If you can get the group to buy in larger units it will decrease your overall costs (think Costco). It also reduces your risk. If your seedlings don’t turn out, or your plants don’t yield as muc as you hoped for, some of the others in your group can give you some of theirs.
4.Make your own compost. There are fancy composters out there that work great but our garbage can composter has served us well and it only cost $15 to make it. It gives us wonderful compost from materials that would have otherwise ended up in the garbage. This is much cheaper than buying mulch from the store.
5.Reduce water use. One of the biggest costs to gardening in the city is water. An easy way to use less water is to make sure your soil retains water. There are cheap ways to do this. You can put leaves and grass clippings around your plants in the garden and they will help the ground to stay moist. You can also put down newspapers in your garden and it keeps the moisture in. Not only will you have to water less, these methods will also reduce the amount of weeding you have to do. If you live where it rains a lot you can also create a rain collecting system from which you can water your garden.
Gardening is a wonderful hobby that yields great results but it is even more enjoyable when you can make it more affordable.What other ideas do you all have to make gardening more economical. Please comment and share your knowledge with the rest of us.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Yesterday I watched my favorite chicken die. She was a beautiful Americauna pullet - 9 weeks old. I watched as she struggled to hold onto life after the neighbors dog, not really more than a puppy, had gotten under our fence and grabbed her. I was only 10 yards away - within earshot if my window had been open. My 5 year old son had found them and said to me very calmly, "Mom, a puppy is eating one of our chickens." I said, "What!?" to which he repeated with a little more alarm, "Mom, a puppy is eating one of our chickens!" I ran out to find the puppy, tail between his legs, trying to crawl under the fence again, and our chicken gasping for breath.
I had wondered over the past few weeks if I would cry if one of them died. A couple of years ago I saw a hawk carry away a small pullet and I burst into tears - but I thought perhaps it was a fluke because those were my first hens. I wondered if I was as attached to these birds. But when I came out and found her dying, I once again burst into tears. I didn't know if I was supposed to save her - to mend her wounds or if it was too late. I felt such an immediate sense of how small and vulnerable my little hens are - and how it was my responsibility to provide a save place for them to live. I felt awful after I realized she was really gone, lifting her limp body and putting it in a bag. Since we have no backyard neighbors but wilderness I didn't want to bury her and attract predators so I put her in the trash. I felt so guilty. She was such a beautiful bird. I had told my sons that we might even want to enter her into the county fair but instead she ended up in our trash. It was a sad day.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
What's best for their "Bath's" we put out a container of ash - I heard it needs to be very small soas to choke any mites like diatomaeous earth we'd really like to use the ashes from our stove insert in an old small vegable bing from a past refrigeratorWe just let them give themselves a good old fashioned dirt bath. We haven't had any issues with mites.
My chickens stopped laying eggs. Some of the couple of the eggs I cracked had watery egg yolks, What could be wrong with them. Thanks.Is is possible that the watery eggs weren't as fresh? As the eggs become less fresh, they become more watery. Did all of your chickens quit laying eggs at the same time? It isn't a normal time to molt. You may have a pest of some sort.
I just discovered a large amount of (what I believe is) "Cup Fungi" in my veggie garden. I don't have a clue what to do about it. Is it safe for my plants? Do I need to get rid of it somehow? Please help! Thanks, Alyson firstname.lastname@example.orgYou must have had some wet weather lately. Cup fungi is a term used for many cup shaped mushrooms. The problem is many of them can send off spores and it may look like you have taken care of all of them, but they could come back. Since they are in the garden, you must be very careful how you take care of them. Do not use any old fungicide from the store, most are poisonous. If it is on just a few leaves, remove the leaves or areas it has affected. If entire plants are affected you may want to put a bag over the plant (to keep the spores from spreading further) and dig up the entire plant and dispose of them. Maybe even scrape up some of the soil below and around the plant and dispose of it as well. You will want to apply a natural fungicide on the area. You can make a Neem Oil spray by mixing 2 TBS neem oil (found at the health food store) to 1 gallon of water. Neem oil is a natural fungicide and should help prevent further spreading.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
People are like water. They tend to follow the path of least resistance, not always, but often. I think the laziest year of my life was my Freshman Year in college. I remember one time that our remote control to our TV broke. At first, we ended up watching just one channel because no one had the energy to get up off of the couch. Then one of our friends broke his leg and he had to use crutches. We commandeered his crutches, moved the couch within crutch distance of the TV, and used the crutch to change the channel. This was a lazy, path of least resistance, method to change the channel to our precious TV.
You may ask why I bring this up. Marisa and I had some free time the other night so we decided to veg in front of the boob tube for a while. We don’t have cable but we do have Netflix streaming to our TV. I found some episodes of an interesting show called The Lazy Environmentalist. It is normally shown on the Sundance channel. John Dorfman is the host and he has an interesting perspective. He is an environmental advocate but he believes that most people will not embrace environmentalism unless it is easy, cost effective, and convenient. While this is not true for everyone I think it is an interesting idea. In his show he visits people in there homes or businesses and tries to help them be more environmentally friendly. However, he doesn’t seem to expect them to make extreme measures, rather he tries to find easy ways to change what they do that will help the environment, while at the same time helping them. It is an entertaining and educational show that we both enjoyed.
I like John Dorfman's philosophy and I think it mirrors the philosophy we try to have with backyard farming. We want to encourage and inspire everyone to try to raise there own food. We know that not everyone can have a goat, or raise there own chickens. We do believe that everyone can do a little something to start raising there own food. Marisa had some great comments from a lot of you about what we can do to garden in our apartment. Now I have a new question. Think of those of your friends that don’t have anything to do with gardening. What would you tell them to do that would be an easy, unintimidating way to start raising there own food, or at least eating more locally? How can we help people start down the path of self sufficiency? Please comment on your ideas. I think, that once people eat spinach from there own garden, or once they go to a farmer’s market they will be bitten by the backyard farming bug and never go back.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Michael and I have been MIA (Moving Into an Apartment) which has caused us to go MIA (Missing In Action) and have neglected just about everything that didn't have to do with moving.
So I've had some "ugly cries" over the last two weeks. I really don't cry....ever. But I have this week. And by ugly cry I don't mean shedding a tear or two, an ugly cry is where you are slobbering and mascara is smeared all over your face. It isn't pretty.
I decided that I needed to quit being a "princess" and to get over myself and make the best of the situation. So I'm on a quest to discover the possibilities of apartment farming. I mean, that is what this blog is all about. It isn't about going out and buying a farm, it is about taking small steps in the right direction, wherever you are and with whatever property you have! All of a sudden I feel empowered.
Apartment #268...get yourself ready baby.
Please leave a comment with any apartment farming ideas you may have for me!!! I basically have a balcony to work with. I requested a south facing patio, but they only had East facing. It is about 4 feet by 6 feet. Thanks in advance for your ideas!
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
By Dale M. Johnson
I spent an enjoyable day helping friends harvest their broilers. There is satisfaction in turning these chickens into food for human nourishment. It is not cruel or abusive. It is ethical treatment of these animals. It is part of the circle of life which the Lord has laid out for us. It is a symbiotic bond. Our purpose is to take good care of these chickens for their short lives. Their purpose is then to sustain our families. They have a right to a life without pain or discomfort. We have a responsibility to raise them properly and a right to use them for food. I believe it is a holistic relationship ordained by God.
I understand some people feel squeamish about the harvesting process. I did too at first. It is not pleasant but you get used to it. You get blood on you. The smells are disagreeable. Eviscerating the chickens is distasteful. But in the end when you put an iced carcass in a plastic bag and is ready to put into soup or in the frying pan or on a rotisserie, you know that it is all right and there is a sense of fulfillment in being involved in the processing.
I am not suggesting that everyone needs to raise and harvest their own chickens. But I am encouraging everyone to understand and accept this process and appreciate the farmers who do it for you. So when you pick up a frozen chicken in the store, please remember where it came from – it once lived on a farm, a farmer took care of it, a processing company harvested it for you, and there is nothing wrong with you, your children, and your grandchildren eating it as long as you appreciate it and give thanks to Heavenly Father for it.