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Posts Tagged ‘Garden’

Amish Pepper Butter

I joined my husband on his inspections yesterday.  He had a busy week doing contract work in Columbus and was scrambling to catch up with his own clients before a new week began.

It was a beautiful day, very hot.  We traveled across the southern-most portion of the state.  We didn’t lose site of the Ohio river during most of our trip.  It was a treat.

As we headed back home we spotted a new Amish produce store.

The children were sitting on the front porch as we drove by.  Waves commenced, and my husband honked. 

We ended up turning back, visiting the store.  What a joy.  Not only was the produce beautiful, the family was just as special.  The husband was proud of the new kitchen.  We could see the wife cooking through the glass paned door.  The family was barefoot (our Mennonite neighbors are often barefoot too), except for the men.  The kitchen floor was absolutely gorgeous.  The gloss on the white oak floor was mirror-like.  The husband grinned at us and said, “Well, it is new, it won’t look like that for long!”  He was definitely proud of his work.

We headed straight to the tomatoes.  They were marked as grown in an area just a short distance from our farm.  I looked at my husband and said, “How do they have ripe tomatoes already?” The Amish husband said, ” They are grown by the Mennonites, in their greenhouses.  They are not hydroponic though.”  Honest.  Thank you.  The tomatoes are wonderful, by the way.

I moved on to the back shelves that contained jams, fresh bread, and assorted jars of beautiful canned items.  I picked up a nice-sized jar of honey.  Have you priced honey recently? Goodness! And then the one jar caught my eye, pepper butter.

The wife was heading to the basement as I  began asking about the pepper butter.  She stopped and talked about the pepper butter being her sister’s recipe, canned by her.  It contains peppers, mustard, onions, sugar, salt, and a few spices.  I cannot wait to find the perfect use for pepper butter!

And now I am homesick for canning.  I still do not have a garden in (except for a small herb and flower garden).  My husband taught me how to can about 9 years ago.  He was the teacher, based on childhood memories.  I fell in love with canning as soon as my nervousness went away.  I was sure I was going to poison us somehow! Right now, I would love to hear the pressure cooker doing its thing, canning beautiful green beans.

So…the garden has to happen.  No later than next year.  I want to move the garden shed, put in a propane tank, move the extra stove to the shed, and begin canning away.  Dried herbs, infused herbs, canned and frozen vegetables, and beautiful flowers.  And, Omar, our local hay person, is supplying the plans that he used to build his wife’s greenhouse.  You ought to see his wife, Naomi’s, begonias.  She starts her seeds and plants each spring in her greenhouse.  Ask her about her plants, she lights up and forgets her shyness.   

I am tired today, after yesterday’s 10 hour drive, but renewed in so many ways.  I am going to sit outside with the goats, contemplate a garden spot, contemplate making more farm-house goat milk soap (not today), and thank God for our many blessings.  And rest.

Have a beautiful Sunday!

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Lamb's Ear

Today I come to you with a photo of two sadly neglected plants.  Neglected before they were given the opportunity to be planted in soil.

Yes, I did it (or didn’t do it). 

I purchased two Lamb’s Ear plants (Latin name Stachys byzantina).  I have always admired Lamb’s Ear.  I love the fuzzy fine “fur” on the leaves.  I also love how they bloom and spread.

What did I do to neglet the plants so badly? I set the newly purchased pots on my back porch and did not plant them.  I kept watering them.  I kept watch over them.  But I never could find a place to set them in the soil until today.  I figured I had better do the deed before I killed them altogether. 

We have had a lot of rain.  What is normally soil that is easy to rake is saturated, almost like clay.

I have a plastic tag that came with the plants.  It says they like full sun, and to plant them 12″ apart.  Ooops…they are planted side by side.  Nothing like planting first and then reading.

What I like best about tending to any new plant, is learning from the “experts.”  Hearing from folks that have grown a particular plant.  Folks that know how to divide them, what type of sun they like, how often they like to be watered.  That is you, hopefully.

I think the Lamb’s Ear plants are salvageable.  I can even see them being moved in the future.

I hope you say the same.  Any experience with Lamb’s Ear?

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I had forgotten how therapeutic digging in dirt can be…
This evening we put 12 small rose bushes in the ground.
When we were first married we had a large rose garden. Our favorites were the Sterling Silver, Tropicana, and any red or yellow variety.
Tonight it felt good to be on my knees, pushing the cool soil back into its place. It felt good to get dirty (not that I don’t as a goat farmer). It was like taking all of the cares in the world and hanging them on a hook, good-bye worldly thoughts, hello to God’s earth. And it felt good to stand back and have high hopes for a beautiful rose garden.
And if all goes well, I will be sharing beautiful photos of blooming roses in the future with you. And if the spot proves to be successful, more rose bushes will be added. We can call it the Annie’s Goat Hill Rose Farm. Soap and goats and roses.
Have a lovely evening!
The “real” baby rose bush…the photo above is a borrowed one:

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I just returned from a lunch break. This morning I fed the bottle kids, checked on the expectant mothers (two does should kid today), and then headed to the quiet office to put my head into some much needed desk work. I am better rested today. My dear husband stayed up past midnight, making several trips to the barn last night. The does were still kidding late into the evening. He made sure the newborns were dry and well fed by their dams before he turned in after midnight.

My mind and eyes keep wandering out the office window. It is a bright sunny day, but with a single digit wind chill of 7 degrees. Very warm out there! I am happy to report that the kids in the barn are fine, in fact, some are romping outdoors. I like to give them a choice after they are a few days old. Similar to human kids, playing outdoors seem to make for healthier kids.

So, with the glimpse of the bright blue sky occasionally on my mind, I also rummaged through some of the recent seed and garden catalogs received in the mail. The beautiful photographs, and listing of seeds just makes me long to begin digging in the soil. This spring I hope to begin a garden with a corner dedicated to herbs only. I love to cook, and I love to can, but I also love dried herbs in soap. I want at least 1/4 of the garden to be dedicated to future soap. I would absolutely love to make infusions, and to dabble in essential oils. But the latter would be a very costly venture, and I think I will stay away from that thought for now. Never hurts to dream!

The catalogs that I show in the picture (above) are from Country Corners Greenhouse and Garden Store, Gardener’s Supply Company, and the Sand Hill Preservation Center. The magazine on the bottom left, turned sideways, with a “Think Spring” message and photograph, is from a company called Andy H Weaver. It is an Amish catalog. The Amish used to own our house. I still receive their mail. The catalogs intrigue me. And the gloves I have bought from Mr. Weaver’s company, oh my, they are white nylon, but are the best work gloves I have ever worn! So very warm. Stick them in the washing machine in a lingerie bag, along with the rest of the wash load. They wash and dry to a perfection for years!

The photograph below (sorry for the quality) are items sold in the Amish magazine, all from the state of Ohio. Imagine a gasoline powered wringer type washer machine! I actually own a wringer washer, I am going to plant flowers in it this spring. I bought it at a farm auction a few months back.

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