Friday, April 9, 2010

Here it is gardening season again. I’ve been so bogged down with the weather that I’ve not been able to do anything other than look out the window and see nothing but snow. Finally I have dirt to stick my fingers in, plants and seeds that I can plant; life feels like its worth living again.
Thanks to craig the blog hasn’t gone to pot. I’m sorry I just haven’t had anything to say but now that its spring I feel renewed. Here is what I’ve been doing this past month. We’ve planted three rows of yellow potatoes; yellow fin and butterball. Craig seems to think they are best. I’ve planted spinach, lettuce, radishes, carrots, rutabagas, peas, and a row of Jerusalem artichokes. I’ve read that the artichokes taste like water chestnuts. We shall see. We have tomato seedlings in the greenhouse and the strawberries I built the frame for last year are blooming. Everything seems to be coming together for a good gardening season. Oh yes, craig is in the process of building a chicken coop and run. We plan on having orpingtons which is a lesser known type of chicken. There’s nothing better than fresh yard eggs. Craig will send photos of the project as it progresses. My schedule is starting to get full. I go back to work at mid-town market and gardening center next week. I will do what I can to keep you up to date as to what is happening in the garden and at the garden center. Hope to see you there. Happy gardening.

Monday, March 15, 2010

i realized the finished goat hadn't made its appearance so here it is.
its locust and the wood is very yellow. hardest wood i ever carved, including many other pieces of locust, except a piece of iron wood i did one time that badly dulled my tools.
lane has planted rutabagas last week, the turnips are still good after their time under the snow, the leeks, onions and garlic are find. there are also various greens scattered thru the beds.
lane will be busy this spring with three part time jobs and the garden so it will be interesing.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

just when it looked like it had left its back. this winter's snow has made up for the last ten years and amounted to more, i suspect.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

snow again. perhaps you've heard.
just got the old melted and now here's more slipping and sliding.
so it goes. more carving and reading gets done.
the greens and turnips had survived the last round, so we will see if they do so this time.
nothing else happening as its only what we can do inside in such conditions. i remember a hundred years ago, it was out with the sleds. no more.

Friday, January 29, 2010

this from my sister, the doctor; Here's something you can post from me. Recently a patient was telling me of his problems in relationships and how his most recent girlfriend told him he had a lot of emotional baggage. He said he didn't realize that. i told him the following: we all take baggage with us through life. The question is whether you have a carry-on or a checked bag. The more baggage you take, the more you pay, so pack light.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

lane is reading "buffalo bird woman's garden" about a hidatsa indian woman and how she went about gardening, including what she grew, how she stored it and what she cooked from it. very interesting. we have had a winter this year after many years of a brown summer. the turnips and several varities of greens still live and will see the inside of our kitchen.
here is the first photo of that locust in the process of becoming a goat.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

saw this on another friends wall some years ago. carved it freehand once into a piece of mahogany. this is douglas fir which made it more interesting with the grain differences. its about thirty by eleven.
just started a ten by twelve chunk of yellow locust. looks like a goat.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

saw this comment on a friends wall in two d. the wife liked it and as its been too cold for human activity outside for more than twenty minutes at a time, i carved it in some sourwood to hang on the wall. left the sharpie marks where i did the layout for emphasis.
we have turnips, mustard and kale under the snow and ice. the greens are under plastic row covers. it will be interesting to see if they live thru this artic blast.

Monday, January 4, 2010

lane doesn't do much in the gardening department with this much snow on the ground and temps about ten or so.
she is reading up on new methods and is most impressed with the square foot methods.
this photo here is a carving i just finished for my father. its in lind about nine by five by four finished with mineral oil. its based on a character i did for him thirty years ago which in their moves and downsizing, went missing.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

this was the view out the window yesterday morn. it may have been about fifteen inches but with all of the north east winds involved in bringing it to us, there was much in the way of drifting so who knows.
today the roads are still impassable including main paved roads in the area. i ain't seen this much snow since i left WVA and even then it was january of 96 when we had this much there.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Been almost a month since last post.

Lane and I have been busy and gardening is slow.

Carving continues and I just got back my rock picking truck from the hospital so that can resume.

We have three favorite gardening authors on the shelf at present. Eliot Coleman, john (his name can't be printed here because it brings a tag that is refused by the blog servers), book named; how to grow more vegetables and the book; square foot gardening. I recommend investigating these sources for gardening improvement.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The garden chores are all finished and the clean up all done. We have put the garden to sleep, all settled down for a long winters nap. Craig and our friend jack went down to leather wood which is a riding facility. Using jack’s tractor, his truck and trailer brought home two large loads of composted horse manure to give the garden its finishing touch for the long winter’s rest that it deserves.

The garden has produced very well for us this year so to say thank you we gave it the composted manure to replenish the soil with some of the nutrients it used up to grow so many yummy vegetables. So now the garden can rest and so can I, well maybe. So why don’t you do something nice for your garden and come next season it will do something nice for you. So get up off of that couch, go find a horse or cattle farm and collect compost for your garden and to help you get motivated think; fresh tomatoes, red, ripe juicy tomatoes, delicious yellow sweet corn, yummy green beans. Do I need to say more? Happy composting.

Monday, October 19, 2009

lane's busy again for a while so here is the latest finished carving. cherry, sixteen by nine by one inch.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Remember sometime back lane told you that she was going to try her luck at growing sweet potatoes here on the mountain. At the time I was unsure if sweet potatoes would grow at this altitude. All summer the vines were awfully pretty but doesn’t mean that there any good sized potatoes under the vines. I have seen pretty vines with no sweet potatoes or at least none to talk about. Anyway I scratched mine out the other day and was I surprised. I started scratching one or two hills just to see and when I got started I was so overjoyed with what I found that I kept on digging. I dug about half of the hills on Thursday and the other half over the weekend. Some of the potatoes are huge and some are just good eating size. I ended with just shy of a bushel of potatoes. Not bad for having only seventeen hills and to be grown with nothing but dried tea out of old tea bags. Here they are take a look. This is only half of them. Did good didn’t I?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

lane creates fewer posts outside of traditional gardening season, though we are reading about how to have four seasons of garden, so here is one of my latest carvings, if it can be called that. i think for things like this, a different name would be useful.
its a cherry panel made by a friend twenty five years ago, for a table top, from much older air dried wood. there are two boards and its about thirty two by fifty inches. should you need to have this send a comment with communication links and we shall discuss how to make it yours. otherwise it shall hang in my window. it took a bit more than five months at about thirty hours a week.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This has been a stay in the house, read garden books, dream about working in the soil and watching it rain kinda week. In the last week we’ve had over five inches of rain. The road to our house is a sloppy mess but the sun actually came out for a while today; Long enough for me to plant both mustard and kale. I planted turnips about three weeks ago and there are doing ok. The collards are coming along too. We’re gonna try our luck with cold frames when craig gets a chance to build them. The rainy weather has slowed everything down but the grass and weeds. Our yard is starting to look like a hayfield but it’s still not too late to plant fast growing plants such as radishes, onions, lettuce and cabbage. Continue to plant all kinds of perennials such as English daisies, carnations, chrysanthemums, coreopsis, and delphiniums, fox gloves, forget me nots, sweet Williams, wildflowers, violas, and pansies. You can make early plantings of white narcissus, crocus, jonquils, daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips. Now is also a good time to resow your lawn, plant evergreens, but be sure to give them plenty of water, yes water, and mulch them. Now is also a good time to plant roses. Today is the first day of fall after all so get out there and get started and hope that the rain is over for a while.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Saturday night we had a small group of friends over. As the evening went along we talked about a lot of different things and somehow the subject of guns came up. We talked about what guns we had or didn’t have and what kind of ammo was good to use for what. Well somehow lane got on one of her story telling trips. Here is the story lane told and she hopes you enjoy it as much as our friends did.

My daddy used to have a bunch of chickens; A whole chicken house full of chickens. It was my job lane says to make sure all the chickens were all up and not any left out cause if any was left out a wild animal might catch it. Daddy’s chickens started disappearing and for a long time he didn’t know what was catching them. So we decided to watch and see if we could find out what it was that was catching our chickens. A few days went by with nothing to report and then a few more days went by with nothing yet. Then out of nowhere we heard the chickens cackle. Daddy and I ran up to the barn to find out what it was and lo and behold it was a big red fox that was catching our chickens. Daddy said something had to be done cause once a fox starts catching chickens it won’t stop till it catches all of them. That is unless you stop him first and that is exactly what lane and her daddy set out to do.

We decided to lay and wait for this chicken thief up in the apple orchard cause that’s the way he was traveling. We hid behind an old apple tree and watched. Daddy told me to be real quiet and not talk or we wouldn’t be able to see him cause daddy knew how hard it was for me to be quiet cause lane/I really do like to talk.

Well the first couple of times we watched for him we didn’t see anything but on the third day there he was strolling right along on his way to catch another chicken. He was a big red fox. The biggest red fox lane has ever seen. The sun was shinning on him and he was beautiful. Such a pity to have to kill him for the chicken thief he was.

When daddy saw him he felt in his pocket and brought out a shotgun shell. He said he’d been saving it for a time such as this. I/lane had never seen anything like it. it had a round ball in the end of the shell. Daddy called it a punkin ball. Daddy waited till the fox was close enough to shoot. He cut down on that fox, bam. The fox fell over and then he got up and ran. Daddy said he didn’t believe it after shooting the fox with that punkin ball he figured it would be impossible for him to get up and run off.

So we took off after him. We trailed blood all up the side of the mountain and never did find that fox. Daddy said it must have made it to his den but we never saw it again and we didn’t loose any more chickens.

Sitting here writing this story has brought back many memories. Lane says she can still see daddy as he squatted down behind that apple tree and the gleam in his eye the way he always smiled. My brother wayne does that too lane says and she can still see that red fox with his fur glistening in the sun. It makes her heart feel full and she feels warm all over and sitting here she is smiling too and thanking god for having the ability to remember.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

This year lane wants you to know she has an abundance of butternut squash, one of her favorite things. She planted two hills of butternut and off of those two hills there are probably anywhere from twenty five to fifty squash. The plants are too dense to count them accurately yet. Lane has found several recipes to use butternut squash in including lasagna, soups, salads and just baked in the oven with spices served with chicken or rice, for example. Here is a recipe lane thinks is really interesting she hasn’t had a chance to try yet but you might find equally interesting. the squash are in between the corn and mole plant.

one medium onion chopped, 3 tbsp butter, 2 top red curry powder, 2 tsp grated fresh ginger, 1/2 tsp salt, 14 oz can chicken broth, 1 1/4 cup water, 1 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut in one inch cubes, 14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk, 1/2 cup half and half, 1/3 cup chopped cilantro.

cook onion in butter until tender and clear, stir in curry powder, ginger, salt and cook briefly.

stir in chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. add squash and return to a boil. reduce heat and simmer covered for forty minutes or squash tender. cool slightly and blend. stir in coconut milk, half and half and cilantro. bring back to just below boil. serve.

Monday, August 24, 2009

this is the sign i painted and put by our new entry gate area. the neighborhood is occasionally frequented by looters as we are in a remote area, and this is intended to cause them to pause, along with the large german shepards.

Friday, August 21, 2009

as lane is busy with all sorts of odds and ends, several part time jobs and the remaining tomatoes, i thought it would be interesting to some to see what i did with some of the white rocks she keeps bringing home. we are now a gated community. here is one of the two, side by side gates. the treated one by sixes are five foot long. i also painted a sign lane wants me to include in this post, so i shall go out now and take a photo of that and post it soon.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The garden is about on its last legs. Most of the tomatoes are long gone but we still have some stragglers. The butternut squash are beautiful and lane says she is gonna have a load of them. The pumpkins are doing well also. The vines of the butternuts have run all the way down to the tomato patch. Lane says she worked the soil this morning to tear it up so she could plant turnips in a few days. Lane says Dudley wants to learn more about gardening so she is gonna teach me. She is showing me the basics right now. I already had some idea and had done some but not enough to be useful.

Lane is gonna have me assist when she harvests potatoes this week. Its gonna be my first lesson at getting my hands dirty and enjoying it are her words.

Yesterday we had friends over for dinner and afterwards we went outside to sit because it was such a nice evening. Not to hot and humid as it has been. As we were sitting outside the nats and mosquitoes started biting so lane suggested making a nat smoke. Needless to say lane says none of the city people or even me knew what she was talking about. And you probably don’t either.

Here’s how it works; get an old metal pot or pan that’s not in use anymore, set it on the ground and go find some dry grass, leaves and small twigs. Put them in the container and light the grass with a match. Let it burn for a minute or two, blow out the fire and then you are left with smoke. And that’s all you need to keep the bugs at bay. Lane guarantees that this works. Lane’s momma did this all the time for the kids when she played outside in the summer. Old remedies work as well or better than these new fangled ones that use only chemicals which are hard on the environment and your lungs. Please try the nat smoke and see for yourself how it works.

Friday, August 7, 2009

We had a massive thunder storm here Wednesday evening. High winds and strong rains gave us two inches of rain in thirty minutes and a lot of wind damage. It blew down most of lane’s one and only, first and last corn crop of the year. Seems like lane wasn’t meant to eat corn this season but to her wonderful surprise, today when she go to the post office, her friend Cathy had for lane a large grocery bag full of peaches and cream corn. Then when lane got out on the route, her friend Barry who happens to be the other mail carrier at the post office, who wasn’t working today gave lane another bag of corn which his wife had already shucked and silked and was ready to cook.

Boy was that corn good. Lane and I both ate four ears each. What wonderful true friends’ lane says she would have; Ones that would give away such wonderful sweet corn. Thanks guys she says.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lane wants to share a short story with you involving her parents.

If lane’s momma was to find out that she was telling stories about her she’d swear lane was lying but lane promises this is the true, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help her god.

It’s getting that time of year when lane’s daddy used to go coon hunting just to let the dogs run. Sometimes he went alone and sometimes he would take one of the young’uns along but lane’s momma is one of those jealous types. You know one of those “it’s all about me” kinds of women. She would get jealous when daddy would let one of the kids go so this time daddy decided to take momma instead.

On this particular night there was a full moon. Daddy said it would be easier to see where he was going so he didn’t take along the lantern. Well they set off about eight thirty and about twenty minutes later they came back. We all knew something had happened because they wouldn’t have come back that soon.

The kids asked daddy what was wrong and he couldn’t answer because he was laughing his head off and momma sure didn’t want to talk about it. Come to find out daddy said they got to about the old apple orchard when momma swore she heard a ‘painter (panther). Daddy told her it wasn’t anything but the wind. She said it sounded like a woman screaming so it had to be a ‘painter. She would not go any further.

Daddy said he told her to go home then if she was afraid but she wouldn’t go without him so he walked her back home and she never asked to go coon hunting ever again.

Ps; lane go her first Cherokee purple tomato today.

Monday, July 6, 2009

July has been an unusual month with below normal temperature, little rain, gorgeous sun and low humidity; Lane says she loves it and so does the garden. All of the vegetables are happy. We have had some good rain the past few days; around one inch total so far. Lane went to Wilkesboro today to get some organic plant food for the corn and tomatoes because it looked like it was going to rain which would be a good time to feed. Lane will have green beans by the end of the week. They are a snap bush bean with a small brown bean inside. Lane grew these last year and they were great. The taste was nutty which she likes and they cook faster than half runner beans. Lane has a new bean which is in her garden growing a new friend gave her the seed for. Someone gave her family these beans forty or so years ago. She calls them turkey craw beans because according to the story lane heard a man killed a wild turkey and cut open its craw where he found these beans. She says they are delicious. Lane can’t wait to try them. Here is a photo lane took of them running up a trellis lane built and wrote about a few posts back. The trellis is about six foot tall.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer is finally here or so it seems. The temperature here on the mountain has been ninety degrees or more most of the week. The tomatoes and peppers are loving it. Lane says she noticed some tomatoes the size of a tennis ball this morning. The peppers are blooming but no sign of any peppers yet.

Lane speaks of having gathered more squash and cucumbers this morning. Everything looks good even though we haven’t had any rain for a few days and we are starting to need some. Dog days starts July third. The old saying is that if dog days starts out wet then it will be wet all thru dog days but if it starts out dry then it will be dry all thru dog days. Lane tells me she sure hopes it rains on Friday. Lane pulled another row of garlic last week and had some nice cloves. She plans on pulling the rest of the garlic this week. The garlic needs to dry for four to six weeks and then cut the tops off and put it in onion sacks. Then we hang them in a cool place like the root cellar. Hope it’s not the strong garlic but lane says she guesses we will have to wait and see. Toodlooo.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The garden is slowly starting to produce. This week lane says she has gathered both patty pan and yellow crook neck squash. The cucumbers are coming on also. Lane says she hasn’t picked any yet but probably will in a few days. They are covered with tiny cukes. Lane is starting to harvest our garlic. So far she has pulled one short row. She has tied the garlic in bunches to dry just like her grandmother used to tie onions. She used to hang her onions in the woodshed. She tied the onions by their tops using seagrass string. Then she hung the onions from poles that were running across the middle of her woodshed. Lane is hanging the garlic tied with tomato string on clothes line using clothes pins in her greenhouse. This way the garlic can air dry without getting sunburned. So far this season we have had spinach, romaine, cabbage and sweet peas. Not bad, eh?

Good luck with your garden.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

short gardening break here to show my newest item.
this is black walnut, three inches thick, fifty inches long and fourteen tall.
this photo is before the oil using a flash.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lane says her garden is coming along. The potatoes have already bloomed which means that they are hard at work making potatoes for the fall. The squash and the cucumbers are in full bloom also. They have small cucumbers and squash on them. We should be eating them in about a week. The tomatoes are blooming but lane says she hasn’t seen any tomatoes yet. The beans are starting to have runners; won’t be long till they are in bloom. Maybe have green beans by mid July or earlier. Sure hope so. Why does it seem to take so long for that first tomato, bean, etc, or whatever vegetable you are most fond of to bring forth fruit. Then after you get it and you eat it a few times you get tired of it and move on to something else. Lane says she doesn’t know but is ready to eat something, anything. She tells me she thinks she will walk to the garden to see if something’s ready.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Last year lane says she bought three, ever-bearing strawberry plants.

She didn’t have space in the garden for them so she planted them in a plastic window box and sat them on the garden wall.

If you are familiar with growing strawberries then you already know what happened next but since some of you aren’t experienced with the growth pattern of strawberries she is about to tell you.

The strawberries did great in the window box for a while. She picked quite a few berries off of these three plants and all was fine until the plants started making baby plants or runners as they are called. Then the runners went everywhere; down the sides of the window box. They even spread out in the window box crowding out the parent plants. Still with no room to put these pesky things she pinched them off and made them into compost.

So this year when they started growing I suggested to lane that she make herself a large bed for them out of cinder block since we have many. So lane decided to take my suggestion and make a raised bed for the strawberries. First lane looked for an all day sun spot and that wasn’t in the way of anything else. After some searching lane decided to use one of her flower beds that was close to the garden. Perfect, she said to herself, Now how to go about building this thing. She was somewhat nervous about building it at first all by “myself”. Since she had never done anything like that before. She had always been the “holdthat”.

But, she says, she had watched me build many things out of block so she pretty much knew what to do and felt confident that she could do it.

She got started digging the footer for the base knowing to always get the first course level and straight. If you do you won’t have problems.

When she did run into something she wasn’t quite sure about she came to me and asked for the benefit of experience.

The project took, probably three or four hours but lane did it and it turned out well. She is very proud of herself because it’s the first thing she has ever built on her own. Its not perfect but almost she says. She really likes it and the strawberry plants do to. Just goes to show that you never know what you can do until you try.

Monday, May 25, 2009

roasted butternut squash lasagne;
3 pounds butternut squash quartered, seeded, peeled and cut into half inch dice.
3 tbl vegetable oil
4 cup milk
2 tbl dried rosemary crumbled
1 tbl minced garlic, or more should you be interested in extra servings of such
half stick unsalted butter
4 tbl ap flour
9- 7x3 sheets dry no-boil lasagna pasta
1 1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan, about 5 oz
one cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt

preheat oven to 450 and oil two large shallow baking pans.
toss squash with oil until well coated and spread in pans. roast squash in oven ten min and season with salt. stir squash and roast ten or more minutes until tender and beginning to brown.
while squash is roasting bring milk to simmer with rosemary. heat over low heat for ten minutes and strain out rosemary.
in another pan sautee garlic in butter until soft and beginning to brown, add flour and cook resulting roux while stirring about three minutes.
remove roux from heat and whip in milk until smooth, return to heat stirring occasionally for about ten minutes or till obviously thicker. stir in squash, s&p.
reduce oven temp to 375 and butter baking dish 13x9x2.
pour 1 cup sauce into dish but it won't completely cover bottom of pan.
cover pan bottom with three lasagna sheets. spread half of remaining sauce over pasta and sprinkle with 1/2 cup parmesan. layer till sauce is gone ending with pasta.
beat cream with salt until its to stiff peak stage and spread evenly over the top of the pasta. sprinkle remaining parmesan over cream.
cover dish tight with foil, tenting a bit to keep foil from touching food and bake thirty minutes.
remove foil and bake ten more minutes to brown.
let stand for five after removal from oven.