garden Feed

In the Garden & In the Kitchen - Mid August



















Oh August, a month of abundance!  

This month is delivering an abundance of garden (work and harvest), preserving, gatherings with friends and family -and lots of lake time.   We have been so busy, but in a full, rich and wonderful way.   August, has its moments, but overall it is a wonderful time to be.

::garden notes - late July


















This is such a fun , yet busy time of the gardening season as progress can be noted every day!  

Notes from my north-woods garden:

  • I am continuing to harvest herbs, which I enjoy using fresh in our summer meals.  I have been continuing to dry herbs in our dehydrator to use in the kitchen and for use in my soap making escapades.  I am also making some herb infused vinegars.
  • We are starting to find - and enjoy - ripe cherry tomatoes.  I am finding other larger green tomatoes in the garden too.
  • The pickling cucumber and pie pumpkin vines are spreading, flowering and starting to bear fruit.
  • I am finding pea pods, which are getting eaten as quick as they grow.
  • I'm continuing to harvest bunches of kale, which I am either using, dehydrating or blanching and freezing.
  • And the raspberries!   This is our third year of these berry plants and it is the first year we are harvesting a significant amount of fruit.  We are picking every day - eating, freezing and I just made my second (and last) batch of raspberry jam.  

How is your garden growing?


::garden notes -mid-July

IMG_3796 (1)











Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 9.11.41 PM

My north-woods garden is making progress!  

  • We are starting to get raspberries!  I am looking forward to a bountiful crop this year.  Hopefully we get some in the freezer.
  • I am continuing to harvest herbs, which I have been using and also drying.  
  • We are seeing blossoms on our peas and beans as well as in our corner flower garden.
  • I noticed a couple of apples on one of the trees we planted last fall.
  • I am up to my ears in kale!  I planted enough to feed a small army. I have been using a lot, but the surplus I have started to blanch and freeze into kale ice cubes to use in smoothies.  I also have been dehydrating some kale and sharing some with our bunny.
  • We have also been very busy with our backwoods harvest of wild blueberries.  We have been going out almost everyday.  The kids are becoming good pickers.  We are working on our fourth dozen in the freezer - in hopes for more to enjoy over the winter.

herbs, ketchup, peppers and pizza










I had a productive afternoon in the garden, kitchen and pantry.   I harvested some herbs to use and to dry.   When I was tidying up and taking inventory in our pantry I found some hiding pickles, salsa and canned tomatoes from last season.   I decided to use up our canned tomatoes to make some ketchup - a family favorite, especially in the summer when we do a little more grilling.   I also ground up the peppers I dried last fall so they are a little easier to use.

 The season of harvesting, preserving - and enjoying the garden's bounty has officially began!



I spent a good part of a rainy day yesterday in the kitchen and pantry drying herbs, making ketchup from the last of our canned tomatoesI gathered my big first harvest of herbs.  I collected some basil, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano and chives.  After those were washed and drying I decided to go through the pantry, where found our last jars of pickles and four jars of home canned salsa that were overlooked in all


In the Garden:: the season begins!








IMG_2855We have a new garden space this summer!  James designed and created a 28'x32' raised bed garden, complete with doors, deer netting - and aesthetic appeal.   We have been working hard over the last few weeks getting this ready for the gardening season.  The garden is now planted, mulched and ready to go!

This year I planted:


  • tomatoes
  • pickling cucumbers
  • sugar pumpkins
  • purple beans
  • sugar snap peas
  • kale
  • rainbow chard
  • asparagus
  • onions
  • carrots
  • beets
  • radishes
  • broccoli


  • rasberries (established)
  • grape vine
  • apple trees (3 planted in the fall)


  • oregano
  • rosemary
  • lavender
  • mint
  • thyme
  • sage
  • cilantro
  • dill
  • chives
  • lemongrass


  • mammoth sunflowers
  • jolly joker sunflowers
  • poppies
  • dahlia
  • cosmos
  • candy corn vine

It is sure to be a lovely season of gardening!  I will be posting photos weekly

Making Bug Stay Away




When spending some time in our expanding garden earlier this evening,  I was visited by some pesty insects.   

Although I am happy to see dandelions blooming (our first nectar flow for honeybees), I am not all that fond of the bugs that eat away at my hairline or that fly in my mouth or up my nose while I am digging in the dirt.

I was happy to find that I had had all the ingredients and containers on hand to make a few batches of "Bug Stay Away" in my dogeared, bookmarked copy of Rhythm of the Family, which I frequent every spring to make natural bug repellant.  A little Eucalyptus Oil, Citronella Oil and Lemongrass Oil diluted by some Witch Hazel can help ward off the bugs this time of year.

I also now have a nice addition to the gift bags I am creating for the dedicated volunteers I have had this year helping to support the learning of my kindergarten students!

Interview with Dina Rudick (plus a giveaway!)


I am happy to share a recent interview with author and photo-videographer Dina Rudick!  

I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to speak with Dina and to be able to glean some insight about who she is as an individual and what inspired her to write her first book, Barnyard Kids - A Family Guide for Raising Animals.  Given my lifestyle and interests, the book caught my eye.  When I got Dina's book in my hands, I was immediately drawn in by the captivating photography and great content.

After speaking with Dina, learning about her unique story and a little bit about her values, purpose and drive, it was quite apparent that she is a pretty remarkable individual - one that I hope to have the opportunity to meet in person some day.  

I hope you enjoy the interview!

Dina_Rudick_author_2Can you tell us a little bit about yourself ?  

I grew up in the countryside of Northeast Ohio.  During my childhood I grew up around all sorts of animals including goats, chickens, geese and horses.  

My life then transitioned from living in a rural area to life in the city.  I have a career as photojournalist.  I currently work for the Boston Globe.  I live with my husband Erik, who is also a photojournalist and our 2 1/2 year old son, Wendell, who we named after Wendell Berry - who inspired us as a farmer, writer and philosopher. 

After living the big city life, my husband and I were drawn to our spiritual roots - and actual roots - and our dream of running an organic farm.  My husband attended a year at The Farm School - a specific farm that is run by adult student farmers.  There he was taught everything, ranging from organic vegetable farming to raising farm animals.  From that experience we developed our enterprise - Plough and Star Farm - a CSA in Massachusetts.

My interests?  I am longingly interested in yoga.  I just lack the time to commit to my practice the way I could pre-baby and pre-farm! I like walks in the woods and to be outside.  I like to cook, especially cooking for people that I love.  I also enjoy down time with family.

What inspired you to write Barnyard Kids? 

My husband and I shared a lot of writing and imagery on our blog  We wrote about what is is like to be city-folk photographers who would like to be farmers.  The publishers at Quarry Books reached out to us to write a book.  At first I said no, but they kept asking and I pitched this book as they were looking for great instructional books that were intelligent for older kids.

Can you tell us about the process of writing the book?   

All of the photos in the book come from my husband's year at The Farm School.  When organizing the book I first decided on the structure of the book, then which animals I was going to include, and then I how it would be best to learn the information.  I spent a lot of time researching each animal in succession (chickens, pigs, sheep & goats, cows, horses and rabbits).  I wrote the book not from the perspective of an expert, but that of a researcher and compiler - not just giving my opinion, but offering practical, research grounded information - and from that the structure of each chapter would flow.

Out of the farm animals that are highlighted in your book, do you have a favorite? Why?

Oh a favorite?  It is hard to choose.  First I would pick chickens, because they are incredibly useful, easy and fun -and sometimes hilarious.  After chickens I would say sheep.  I love whitnessing the process of lambs being born, especially the nuzzle ewes get aroung the time of pregnancy.   Then there are pigs.  I respect pigs.  They are sturdy cylinders of muscle.  Pigs are smart and cunning, they have unique personalities, but are easy to underestimate.  Horses are great, but they are a big investment - and goats, goats are like big dogs.  I guess I really do not have a favorite, but I do know I would really like to get my own flock of sheep.

Anything else?

One of the things that I have learned is that raising animals is a lot like raising kids.  There is always more than one answer to a given situation and a multitude of strategies.  When writing the book I had to be careful of what to say.   I needed to be sensitive, aware and right - but not exclusionary.

Thank you so much Dina for your conversation!   

Now for more fun!


To enter my giveaway to win your very own copy of Barnyard Kids - A Family Guide for Raising Animalsleave a comment below.

Comments will close by 9am CST on Saturday, December 26th.

Winners will be chosen by Random Number Generator and announced in this post shortly after.

comments closed, the winner is:

Heather S.

photo credits in this post:  image 1 & 2 Juliette Lynch/, photo 3, 4, 5 & 6 Dina Rudick and Erik Jacobs 

Congratulations and thanks for participating! 

Garden Notes 7/27 - a photographic garden journal







IMG_0991 IMG_0994


Today I pulled what was left of our garden and spent the day drying and canning.  I pulled carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkins, gourds, chives, oregano, lemon balm, lavender, rosemary, sage, basil, and peppers.

It was a full day of harvest and preserving.  I made one more batch of salsa and a large batch (12 half pint jars) of cucumber relish.  I am also drying herbs to use for cooking and to use in soap and other experiments (some tea and herbal tinctures).

It was a busy and productive day.  I am grateful of our bountiful garden this year and proud that my pantry shelves are full with wholesome goodness to be enjoyed over the winter.


garden Notes 9/13 - tomatoes!




I had a nice Friday evening date with several windowsills full of ripe tomatoes, boiling water and jars.

We have had a bountiful tomato harvest this year and the fall frost is holding off so there is likely more to come.   I have had some critters who enjoy taking bites out of our ripe tomatoes in my garden so my strategy has been to pick the tomatoes when they show signs of turning from green to red, then letting them ripen on our window sills.  

We have been eating BLT's, tacos, and tomato salads, but I needed to spend some time preserving a large batch of tomatoes, because they were starting to overrun the kitchen and dining room.....I should have taken a picture of our kitchen window that had tomatoes stacked three and four rows high!

The good news is that this task is complete (for now) and our pantry shelves are almost full.  We currently have 23 pints of homemade salsa and 10 pints of canned tomatoes.  Every year it seems to get a little easier that the kids are all becoming more independent, but at the same time everyone is eating a lot more!  But it feels good to have some homegrown produce to enjoy over our long Minnesota winter. 

Garden Notes 8/15- a photographic garden journal








Oh how I love my garden in August!

We are in cucumber season where we have been picking and pickling garden dills and sweet pickles.  Every time we are in the garden we get to pick a few tomatoes and watch the pumpkins and squash grow and evolve. (Maybe next year I will get it right and I will remember to record what kind of pumpkins and squash I planted!)  We have some sunflowers showing their beauty as well.  

Indoors I have had lots of volunteers in the kitchen, signing off today with a snapshot of my most recent assistant pickler.