Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A pie in the face

Strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, corn starch

Blueberry pie and strawberry-rhubarb pie

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day weekend, so far

watermelon chiller

Napping in the grass, it's a gas, Betsy can you feel it?

green monster water bath party

the secret white lilac house

Saint Cecilia of Argentina, our Lady of Citrus

Friday, May 27, 2011

Traverse City Toxic Cherries

Traverse City started a women's roller derby league, and their first bout is tomorrow against Jackson, Michigan's Jack Town Rollers

My friend Rochelle (team name Rochella De Ville) from yoga skates for the Cherries - go Rochelle!

the Master

A friend of a friend needed somebody local to look under the hood of a 1954 Ford he was considering buying.  Who better than Mike K?  The seller was asking an exorbitant price, and it was a pretty car, but Dad found many shortcomings.  He said it was a good '6 foot' car, meaning it looks fine if you're not too close to it.  

chicken hot tub

It was a beautiful day to plant the vegetable garden today.  The dirt was warm and dry, and the chickens took a big, communal dirt bath alongside the plants - it looked so funny

Red and Whitey, caked

Thursday, May 26, 2011

technicolor veg out

I am going to wait a few more days before transplanting this year's vegetables into the garden - night time temps are still dipping into the 30s.  Here is a list of what is pictured here - many of these baby plants came from Laurie, who grows the most interesting vegetables (from her own saved seeds) of anyone I know.  If I ever start a band, any of these vegetables varieties would make a great name for the group:


chocolate cherry                   nectar rose                          San Marzano                 orange banana                  Amish paste                        green doctors                       orange flesh purple
zebra red                              yellow brandywine             green cherry                  sun sugar orange
zebra green                          mortgage lifter                     pink brandywine           sun cherry red
Cherokee purple                  Virginia sweet                     rosa stripes bianca         pink ponderosa

buttercunch lettuce              collard greens                      purple cauliflower         red bell pepper
salad bowl red lettuce          red cabbage                        red brussel sprouts         purple eggplant
rainbow chard                     green cabbage                     jalapeno pepper             white eggplant
red kale                               white lightning kohlrabi      white jalapeno pepper   
red, purple + gold marconi pepper
lacinato kale                        apple green kohlrabi           purple jalapeno pepper        
Bulgarian carrot  pepper

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

shrooming Tuesday

Power friend and all-around Earth clairvoyant Laurie had me up for a mushroom hunt today - we began the afternoon with delicious braised greens and white beans 

Mission Peninsula apple blossoms

Beautiful cherry wood bark

My hostess pointing out a baby, baby cherry

Bee hives in the orchard

Fungi hound Jenny

The elusive morels

Our only witness

The booty - 2 pounds of whites!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

asparagus crowns

You thought it was a cast member from Sigmund and the Sea Monster, but it's 20 crowns of asparagus.  The root balls have long tendrils, you dig a trench, spread out the tentacles and next year there will be a grand asparagus patch.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Kingsley Historical Society

I attended a meeting of the Kingsley Historical Society at the library last night.  It was very interesting with all the old timers getting up telling stories about local history, events and families.  I shared the old photo album from my farm with the group, who keep an archive at the library.

This is John, a 93 year old whose farm is just up the road from mine.  He had great stories and great suspenders.  He used to hang out in my big barn with friends when he was a kid.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

the queen cage

When you buy a queen bee, she comes in a tiny cage sealed with sugar candy, that her attendant bees will eat their way through to gain access to her.  I bought an Italian queen when I got my bees, who are doing fine after their day out in the grass.

Where the bee sucks, there suck I:
In a cowslip's bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat's back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.
From Shakespeare's The Tempest

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

kinda foodie meeting #4: fresh cheese

The topic of the bi-weekly food meeting today was fresh cheese - we made fresh mozzarella and goat cheese.  We cultured the milk for the goat cheese and sent everybody home with a container full, with instructions to let it set out all night and drain the curd tomorrow.

Pressing whey from the mozzarella curd.  Everybody got to form and take home a hand-pulled mozzarella ball.

Monday, May 16, 2011

oh, beehave!

The honey bees did something very strange - they swarmed in the grass near their hive.  I called the bee guy and asked what he thought of this unusual behavior, and he had no explanation.  My theory is that for some reason the queen went outside into the grass, and everyone followed her.  We're still having frost in the mornings and if the bees remained outside they would die, but the solution was simple:  remove the bottom of the hive and drop it on top of them.  I hope they make it.

pretty birds

About an hour after I put up the new bluebird house, a handsome pair of bluebirds moved in.  They are large birds, about the size of a robin, but with brilliant blue feathers

I had seen a few orioles around the farm over the past few days, back from wintering in southern Mexico, Central America and northern South America, and I read that if you put orange halves onto trees, it will attract them.  I did, and it did. 


But to who?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder

My new bluebird house

"It was a time when...the critters were closer to the folks, the folks were closer to the critters ... and you might even say things were better all around"

- from Song of the South

Friday, May 13, 2011

Holland Tulip Parade: Pass the Dutchie

This week I was in Holland, Michigan and the annual Tulip Festival was going on.  We took in the parade, in all it's glorious weirdness.  Here were some of my favorite parts:

These majorettes had great boots with gigantic tassels on them.  There were 23 marching bands, and one of them was playing "I Feel Good" by James Brown.

Holland, Michigan was settled by - you guessed it - people from Holland, so everybody dresses in traditional Dutch costumes for the parade

These kids were from a karate school and were doing kicks and moves - sooo funny

There were several Klompen Dancer groups - they wore real wooden shoes and did stomping and kicking dance moves.  Plus the girls were crossed dressed as Dutch guys.

Pre-schoolers are even cuter when they're wearing Dutch outfits

One of the parade traditions is to "clean the streets"

There was a carnival too - I don't know what this ride is called, but I love how it looks

This ride was called the "Freak Out"

Beautiful tulips all over the place

Meet the bees

I picked up 3 lbs. of honey bees from a bee keeper in Holland this week - he told me to choose my box from the stack pictured above.  The box I chose had very active bees, plus a couple dozen more on the outside of the cage trying to get in.  I figured there must have been a great bee party happening inside.

You have to gently shake the bees out of the box and into the hive - it's weird, they kind of drip out.  We tried to grab out the stragglers with a paintbrush, but instead of brushing them into the hive, they clung to the brush.  That is a can of sugar syrup that they ate in transit.

My bee net and looming thunderstorm in the background