Saturday, November 13, 2010
We have been wanting to plant more fruit trees here on the land for quite some time as fruit production is one of the areas we felt we were slack in. This morning we took a trip over to Johnson's Nursery and got our little orchard trees. We came home with 3 apple, 3 plum, 2 peach, 2 pear, 2 cherry and 2 currant bushes. We spent this afternoon planting them in the holes that I dug during the week in anticipation of getting them.
We had another beautiful fall day here in the South and the nursery is in a very pretty area of the county, not that I know of an ugly area, so while waiting I took the liberty of taking a couple pictures of the area.
The gentleman helping us was a kind feller and he walked us through the process of choosing trees, giving a pruning lesson and talking about the state of the economy and business. He was the only one working today so he was multitasking and dealing with other customers the entire time we were there, but it was a really relaxed atmosphere so waiting was not an issue and was almost enjoyable. Prices and service were both quite excellent and they have a very good reputation. If anyone is looking for orchard trees, they do ship all over the US with the exception of a couple states so consider giving them a look.
By the time we returned from the nursery and our monthly town supply trip we had quite a truck full of stuff so in order to get them all home we laid them down. Unfortunately small trees planted to form an orchard do not make an impressive picture, especially in November so pictures will be along in a few years when they get a might bigger and they can actually be detected in the photo. Many of the trees went on the hill behind the greenhouse that we terraced off a couple years ago. Because of difficulty keeping between the beds weed free and the layout of the hill, we decided that fruit trees would be a better solution. The remainder of them went down in what we call the bowl below the terraces. This should be a great location for the trees to grow in to a nice little orchard and maybe next year we can get a few mores to add to it. Either way, in a few years it should provide us with as much fruit as we can eat.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
This is not a light soup, it is very filling like a stew but simple to make and is versatile. While I used a bit of bacon in it, it would taste just as good with no meat in it or a substitution. Many different veggies can be added to it and it can be served chunky or creamy. I served ours with a fresh salad and garlic toast but would have been satisfied with just one or the other to accompany the soup. Total cost of the meal for us was for two slices of bacon, flour, some spices and milk used as everything else was grown and made here.
I used left over baked potatoes for our soup and left the skins on. I like chunky soup and only mashed the potatoes with a hand masher rather than a food processor or mixer. I used powdered milk rather than whole milk because we do not use enough milk to justify keeping it around.
4 strips bacon cooked and crumbled
2 – 3 tbsp. Bacon drippings
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes (use left overs, it cuts prep time way down)
2 cups water (veg or chicken stock is called for, I use water and add my own spices)
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook bacon using until crisp. Allow to cool and chop or crumble into small pieces. Reserve several tablespoons of drippings. In large pot over medium heat add 2 tbsp. bacon drippings and cook onions, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally for a few minutes. Add enough stock to just cover potatoes. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender. Mash potatoes roughly with a potato masher. Scoop out about half of the remaining mixture and puree in a blender or food processor. Add milk and any veggies you may want and stir to combine well. Taste for seasoning and add more stock if soup is too thick for your liking. Stir in bacon and bring to simmer, stirring often. Serve hot. Garnish with additional crumbled bacon and chives or other herbs.
I intended to spend an hour or two, no more on gardens and other outside work when I spotted the garlic bed and thought to myself, what a waste. I grabbed the shovel and started digging them up on by one, all forty two clumps of plants until they were all out of the ground and divided into 204 individual plantlings. I then found myself in a predicament of having near 300 plants or seeds that absolutely had to go in the ground very soon because of weather patterns with no idea where I was going to put that many plants at once. My two hours worked in to three then four and in total near 7 hours of time spent. So much for getting the school work for the week caught up but all my little greenies are now in the ground to enjoy the next few weeks of crazy weather patterns until winter settles in. Thank goodness alliums are early growing plants come spring so I will be able to keep track of all the places I planted them in.
This bed is completely planted in walking onions and garlic, even between all the leafy greens.
Some of the garlic plants that I separated and planted in other areas where I transplanted out some perennial herbs. There are also two other beds that I put elephant garlic and garlic in as well. We should have no shortage of garlic next year.