garden Feed

Meat Birds & Tomatoes


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These days we are up to our ears in chickens and tomatoes!

chickens

A couple of weeks ago we added 28 cornish rocks to our homestead.  These are our "meat birds" that we will butcher at the end of October.   Every year a group of friends and neighbors go in together on a large order of birds, we raise them on our own, then get together for a joint effort experience "turning the chickens to meat" butchering day work party.   These are meat birds, that will live a good, healthy, but short life on our homestead.

tomatoes

Our garden tomatoes have been extremely bountiful this year.   The past couple weekends I have been busy picking and peeling.   Last weekend I made salsa.  (7 pints)  This weekend I had so many tomatoes I made pasta sauce.   This was a first for me.   I was in the kitchen for a good part of the day, but it was gloomy anyway and I started a good audio book.

I used this recipe and was able to use tomatoes, basil, oregano and parsley from my garden.   I was very happy with the results.   I ended up with 13 pints!!!

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We are definitely putting a little more work on the front end of things, but the products of our efforts are pretty darn good.  


Around Here....

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Around here...

The seasons are starting to shift.   The landscape of my lush green summer trail runs is changing to where I am seeing yellows, browns and even an occasional red leaf making its appearance.  Although we are in summer mode subtle changes are hinting of the onset of fall.   

The rhythms of our activities are changing as well as we are gradually gearing up for the start of the new school year.   I have been in school, getting my classroom ready for my new students.  This year will mark my 18th year of teaching!

The cross-country running season has also started.   Our eighth grader is training hard, gearing up for the first meet next week.  I am helping with the team as an assistant coach, as I have been doing the past couple of years.  We have both been running and doing some other cross training all summer long.  I am working through a running injury (plantar fasciitis), but still on track to complete a half-marathon in late September.   My daughter and I have been inspired by the newly published book:  Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.: Quick-Fix Recipes for Hangry Athletes by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky.  There are lots of great recipes, tips and training advise including the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (pictured above) that my daughter has been making from the "Power Snacks" section of the book.  

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I have been keeping up with our bountiful garden and lining my pantry shelves with canned goods.  Lately, I have been busy pickling cucumbers and beans.   We are having a great year for tomatoes as well!   We're eating a lot of garden suppers (BLT's, salads, and quick pasta dishes celebrating and savoring the gifts of the garden.

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I am still working on new and different avenues of publication.   I recently received the exciting news (and payment!) from Highlights for Children that two of my submissions will be published in upcoming issues of Highlights High Five. 

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We are making progress with our sauna building!  James is working hard and the rest of us are pitching in when we can. We have the slab poured and we just started framing up the walls.   We will be slowing down just a bit as we wait for our trusses order.   We are so excited about this new addition to our homestead. 


Minnesota Parent Magazine - August

The August Issue issue of Minnesota Parent Magazine is available throughout Minnesota and online now.

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My School Days Column, for this back to school issue, is titled: "Getting Ready for K".

Megan Devine - Minnesota Parent Magazine

This month I also wrote a recipe feature, sharing my mom's recipe for zucchini chocolate cake for the "In the Kitchen" column.  Be sure to check it out!

Megan Devine - Minnesota Parent Recipe

Pick up a print copy, or read the full issue by clicking --> HERE.

Find the online link to my article ---> HERE.

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If you like what you see, social media 'shares' are appreciated!

As always - thanks for reading!


Around Here...

 

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I tested a recipe for Peach Caprese from Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines that I will be putting together for a recipe feature in an upcoming issue of Minnesota Parent Magazine.  This is a wonderful cookbook with lots of great recipes and beautiful photography.   The recipe was a hit in our family.


Summer! - 5The boys beat the summer heat today on a slip and slide in the back yard.   They had a lot of fun and it was fun for me to just watch them!

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Our garden is coming along!  The rain, heat and humidity is doing wonders!    The weather has been great for wild blueberries as well.  

 

 

 


Easy Veggies and Fruits You Can Have Your Kids Grow - a Guest Post by Kylie editor of Green & Growing

Today I am happy to share a guest post by Kylie, editor at Green & Growing.

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Although growing plants require some time and work, there are several types that are great for children to grow with the help of their parents. Not only does growing garden plants teach children responsibility, but they get to enjoy and eat their crop after all of their dedication and hard work! 

Tomato plant

Tomatoes 

Tomato plants are a great starter plant for kids. They are hearty and grow just about everywhere. While it may be tempting to buy seeds for tomato plants, if you're just starting out with a garden and are new to gardening, purchasing a small, but healthy tomato plant from a nursery might be the way to go. These are great for kids because tomato plants grow quickly, and the wait time for vegetable production is very short. If you get a plant with small tomatoes already on the wine, within weeks, you child will have ripe tomatoes. Be sure to plant your tomato plant during the warm season (above 75 degree F), plant in full sun, and keep your tomato plant watered daily for best results. Your children can grow most tomato plants in pots as well, as long as the pots are big enough to accommodate your growing plant. 

Cucumbers

Cucumbers 

If your child is interested in growing plants from seeds, cucumbers are relatively easy to plant and if properly cared for, they will grow very quickly -- within a week. Children love to watch their seeds pop out of the ground, and the quick turnaround time keeps them interested. Cucumber seeds can be purchased from any nursery or home improvement store and you'll want to pick up a small planter and some potting soil to start your seeds. Have your child lay the seeds on top of potting soil in the planter, and put a very light layer of soil on top of the seeds. Partial shade is best for growing seedlings like cucumbers, and the seedlings need to be lightly watered daily. Soon you'll have plants that your children can transplant to your garden. For best results, your child should transplant the cucumbers when they're 3" tall in full sun and space the plants at least 6" apart. These plants are vines that need room to grow on the ground, so keep that in mind when helping your child prepare the garden. 

StrawberriesStrawberries 

Strawberry plants are easy to grow and fun for kids because of their small size and the ability to grow these fruits in pots, unlike some fruit trees that take years to produce and require a large yard or farm. If your child is eager for strawberries this year, it's best to buy plants from a nursery instead of planting seeds, since strawberry seeds take several seasons to grow into mature plants. These plants prefer full sun, lots of water, and should be spaced at least 18" apart if you're planting them in a garden. These sweet little fruits are not only fun for kids to grow, but are also delicious and have so many uses -- smoothies, cobblers, strawberry shortcake, juice, and more. Your child will enjoy making delicious recipes all summer long! 

WatermelonWatermelon 

While watermelon plants are a little more advanced, they're still a fun choice for kids to grow fruit. These plants love fertilizer, so making your own compost or buying fruit plant fertilizer is a essential. These plants cannot grow to maturity in a planters or bucket, and transplanting will be necessary. You'll want to grow this plant in full sun, keep it fertilized, keep it watered daily, and make sure there is enough space in between each plant since they are vines and grow on the ground. One good tip is to tell your child to cover the vines with soil, as this will encourage extra growth. Watermelon plants take a bit longer to produce a mature fruit than some other fast-growing fruits and vegetables -- approximately 80-90 days if you buy a small plant. These are good plants to teach your child patience and develop skills to care for higher maintenance plants. Starting a compost with your child for your watermelon plants is an added bonus. 

Happy growing!

Kylie is the editor at Green & Growing. She enjoy the outdoors, especially when she can go on a fun hike or adventure. She likes to focus on the perks green living. She feels it is so important to take care of our earth and hope to spread more awareness as she edits and writes.


In my Garden - June

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It's June in my zone 3 garden!

Here's what I have growing this year:

Herbs:  chives, oregano, parsley, dill, cilantro.

Salsa fixings:  tomatoes & peppers

Fruits:  grapes and raspberries

Root Veggies:  beets and carrots

Gourds:  pie pumpkins and pickling cucumbers

I am keeping things pretty simple.  I am planting and maintaining only what we eat and use.  Some things, like beans, I find best to pick up at our local farmers market when I am ready to put up some dilly beans.   I have found black plastic fabric has been a great solution to weed control as well.

If you are gardening I hope you are off to a good start as well!  Swing by tomorrow for a garden themed guest post by Kylie the editor at Green & Growing.

 


Around Here...

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The colors are reflecting the change in the seasons from summer to fall.  Our weather has been rather extreme, hot and humid one day, then cold and rainy another.  

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The garden is producing.  We have had a stretch of warm and humid days which has helped to ripen tomatoes.  I have never has so many ripe tomatoes in the fall!  I have been busy canning tomatoes and making and canning salsa to line our pantry shelves for our family to enjoy.

IMG_0328The bees are hanging in there.  The nectar flow has pretty much ceased in our neck of the woods.  The warm weather has kept the bees active, but hungry.  I made a sloppy candy board with a pollen patty and consolidated the bees into one super recently as I start to prepare and transition them with hope that this colony will make it through our long winter ahead.

Other happenings:

Athletics
We are keeping busy following our children in their athletic endeavors.  Fall extra curricular include cross-country running, a kids marathon race and flag football.

RaceI ran too!   I returned to the running scene and completed a local half marathon after having a competition hiatus for the last 13 or so years.  It felt good to accomplish this goal.

BdaySince I have last posted we have also celebrated this special boy's 8th birthday!  

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Oh how our life is rich and full!  This mindful practice of reflecting upon still images serves as a reminder of all of the beauty in my life, especially on difficult days. This simple practice fills me with gratitude and evokes feelings of joy and love.   I invite you to play along.


Around Here


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Around here....

::Garden produce has been keeping me busy.  We are doing a lot of eating and I am canning and preserving extras tomatoes and cucumbers in the form of salsa, pickles and relish.

::We passed on our layers and invited about 50 new baby chicks to our homestead.  25 are laying hens (It will be about 5 months or so until we get our first egg.) The other 25 are meat birds, which we will "turn to meat" late October.

::This mama and her four kids have started school.  It has been a great first week - we are getting in the groove!

::We are enjoying the last days of the summer season.   It has been a beautiful weekend.  I started my day with a quiet hike.  Right now James is out fishing.  Both, wonderful ways to recharge for the week ahead.

 

 

 


Garden Goodness

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Garden - 1 (1)When I am not adventuring outdoors with the kids, I find myself in the garden or kitchen.   August is the season for canning

and preserving.   So far I have put up dilly beans, cucumber dills, pickled beets and peach salsa.  I have been harvesting and drying chives, basil, oregano, rosemary, dill and cilantro.  The garden raspberries have started to produce and soon we will have red tomatoes.  Along with all of the preserving, we are enjoying eating right from the garden.

We are very pleased with our garden bounty!






In my garden - mid July

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7-13 - 77-13 - 7Summer is being shy in my neck of the woods.  We have had a long stretch of rain and dreary days, but I am trying to focus on the positives.  Today I took a slippery hike up the ridge behind my house to pick some berries, then wandered around my garden checking out the progress.  I found some berries as well as green tomatoes, herbs that were ready to be harvested and dried, and promises of raspberries, beets and carrots.  In my wanderings I also found happy chickens and a tribe of small boys.

Lots of good things.   

I hope you found some sunshine in your day today!