Monday, December 21, 2009

Pea Pod Crunk Juice

At last we've found the time to make a small batch of wine. This is our first attempt at making wine, so we're really optimistic!

We've mentioned before our love for the British sitcom The Good Neighbors (aka The Good Life) and their hilarious adventures in sustainability. One of the recurring jokes of the series is their high test home made wine that they call Peapod Burgundy.

Inspired by their antics we froze pea pods from our garden this summer. Sadly we didn't have quite enough so we had to pick up additional peas from the store but here is our improvised recipe pulled together from several wine sites.

3 lbs. pea pods (about half from our garden)
3 tiny limes (from our sad little lime tree probably equal to 1 full lime)
5 cups sugar
1 black English breakfast tea bag
1 gram Red Star Premier Cuvee dry white wine yeast
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 gallon water

We boiled the pea pods and lime peel for 30 minutes. We then strained the hot must into another container with the sugar, nutrient, lime juice and tea bag. Once all the sugar had dissolved, we funneled it into a 1 gallon jug and pitched the yeast. Since then the air lock has been bubbling away in a dark corner. We tasted the must before pitching the yeast and it has a surprisingly sweet but earthy fruity flavor something like a very sweet herbal tea.

Upon the recommendation of our good friend Pragmatiste we've christened the wine "Lady Lydia Peapod's Royal Holiday Wine" after our bulldog Lydia. It's only fitting since Peapod is her actual middle name.

Sadly the fermentation and clarification process will take a full year so we won't be able to raise a glass until the next holiday season. I'm sure it'll be worth the wait!

Monday, December 14, 2009

An Early Christmas Present

This morning I was awoken by the Gardeness showing me our first gift of the holiday season.

One of the feathered ones laid this cute little egg last night. This is the first of what we hope to be a plentiful bounty. It's so exciting!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Ahh, the smell of pine really makes the Christmas season! This weekend we made our yearly trip out to our local tree farm to cut down a yuletide pine to decorate the living room. We know there is some controversy surrounding the environmental ethics of cutting live trees, so we wanted to point out a few facts. We won't even bother arguing live vs. artificial, because buying a tree from China, which is made of petroleum products, and which will one day sit in a landfill is not even an option. We could buy a tree with a root ball and plant it, but we already have lots of pine trees and need the pasture space for our sheep instead. Besides, did you know that for every Christmas tree cut, 3 are replanted? What other reasons do we have for cutting a live tree? Our tree was grown on a local family farm that has been in operation for 39 years, and which grows 25 acres of trees. That's 25 acres of farmland being preserved from development. Land that most likely would not be suitable for other crops is being protected from erosion and creating lots of oxygen. It also provides a habitat for small wildlife creatures, which is disturbed only minimally when the time comes to harvest. When the season ends and it's time to dispose of the tree, many municipalities will pick it up and chip it, and then it's used for public works projects or it's composted. So, we get to support the local economy, support open space and agriculture, and minimize pollution all at the same time! Plus, it doesn't get much better than hiking out in the snow with saw in hand to pick out just the right tree to bring home!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Keeping Busy

A few weeks ago we had some amazing 70 degree weather, which we put to good use by finally getting out to the garden. We planted about 80 cloves of the Romanian Red garlic that we harvested this summer, and about 50 cloves of German Extra Hardy, which we ordered from Seed Savers Exchange, and which had some of the biggest cloves I have ever seen! I hope we can grow ours just as big! We also planted eight blueberry bushes which were a gift from our amazing real estate agent. Unfortunately, we haven't had a chance to do a soil test, so we didn't add any amendments when we planted them, but we did mulch them very heavily with pine needles.

On the chicken front, we're still waiting for our first eggs. We kept hearing that 20 weeks of age is the magic time when hens start to lay, and right now we're at 25 weeks and still no sign. Upon doing some further research, it seems that we may have to wait until at least the end of December. You see, if you get your chickens late, and they don't start laying before fall when the nights come earlier, there may be a delay until at least the winter solstice when the days start getting longer again. So we'll either be getting eggs any day now, or we won't have anything until closer to spring. Either way, we've located a supplier of straw from Craigslist, and got a delivery of 10 bales. With it we've made a nice nest inside the coop for laying eggs, and spread a layer of it on the ground to keep things clean now that the grass is no longer growing. We're also thinking about ordering some scratch feed for the winter, because it will help them gain weight and give them something to occupy themselves with. We're still trying to figure out some solar solution to keeping their water from freezing.

We're also in the middle of a batch of beer. We had a lovely afternoon where we invited friends over to spend time, eat, chat, and help us brew a batch of British Farmhouse Ale. We improvised an all-grain recipe made with Maris Otter barley, Fuggles and Kent Goldings hops, and Whitbread yeast. Saturday we racked it over to the secondary fermenter and it looks and smells quite tasty. We pretty much have no idea what it will be like when it's done, but hopefully it'll be a pleasant surprise. Our next alcohol experiment is going to be a holiday pea pod wine!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A New Season

Oh my goodness, where has the time gone? I can't believe it's been two months since our last post! Since then the summer bounty has given way to a decidedly colder and less lazy season.

Unfortunately, the chaos of moving meant that we never really got a fall garden going, but we did manage to find a small harvest at the borrowed summer garden. The biggest success was the fact that we had several ears of corn make it to maturity, which is more than we could manage last year. We planted two kinds, a red heirloom field variety which has been kept in The Gardener's family for generations, and a Native American sweet corn. We got some nice specimens of the red corn to replant on a larger scale next year, and some interesting crosses. One ear is bright yellow interspersed with purple, and another is red with orange swirls.

The cool weather has also inspired us to explore the small woods in our backyard. We've been foraging for whatever goodies we can find, and a big part of that has been firewood. We've decided to put off using our oil heater for a while, and right now we're attempting to heat the house with just the fireplace and a space heater in the bedroom. It's hard work chopping and splitting wood, and tending to the fire, but we've managed to keep the temperature in the house in the mid-60s, which is plenty warm. Plus, it's super cozy to snuggle up and watch the flames!

In the next couple of weeks, our projects will be to plant the garlic and a cover crop of winter barley, knit some socks and holiday gifts, and make some beer and wine!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fresh Movie Screening!

We are co-hosting a free screening of the movie Fresh this Saturday, August 22nd and we'd like to invite everyone to come! Fresh is a documentary by Ana Sofia Joanes which features interviews with Michael Pollan and a tour of Joel Salatin's farm, as well as highlighting the work of other farmers and business people who are creating a more healthy and sustainable way of growing food that is accessible to everyone.

Unlike some other recently released food documentaries, Fresh isn't about scaring us with the gory details of why the current industrial system is making us and the planet sick. Rather, it's a hopeful and inspiring collection of tales about people who are already making positive changes and proving that it can be done.

There will also be a few local growers, such as North Star Orchard, who will be in attendance to help answer questions and be a voice for the sustainable farming community in southeastern Pennsylvania. Buy Fresh Buy Local will be providing listings of local food producers.

Please join us this Saturday, August 22nd, 7:00 pm at the London Grove Friends Meetinghouse, 500 West Street Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Where Eggs Come From

It's only been two months since the little baby chicks showed up at the post office but it might as well have been two years (in chicken time). The fuzzy little chicks have been growing almost faster than the weeds in our garden and now are fully feathered grass mowing machines. Despite their appetites we still have two months left until we can start to expect eggs.

Speaking of grub, we recently found a great source for organic chicken feed practically in our backyard. After a few phone calls, a kind gentleman from McGeary Organics offered to meet us halfway to their mill in Lancaster with a bag of organic layer developer feed. The feed is top notch and we really feel fortunate to have such a local source for affordable organic feed. In addition to various organic livestock feeds they also mill organic flour.

But the biggest news on the chicken front has been that the chickens we able to finally move into their new house! We built our Eglu Cube on the day we went to settlement and the soon-to-be-egg-machines have been scracthing up the grass and eating pretty much everything in sight ever since. We make sure to move the Cube to new grass every night after the girls have snuggled up in the coop for bed. Now we just need to pick out a few good omlette recipes.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Where Do We Start?

At long last, the saga of our quest for land has come to a conclusion, but that also means that the real work is just beginning! The Gardener and I have purchased a new home about 12 miles from our old abode, and with it comes plenty of space for creating a real homestead. We now have almost 4 acres! About 1/3 of that is currently wooded, but it leaves at least an acre for sheep pasture, and more than enough space for growing tons of vegetables and fruits.

The chickens are already loving their new Eglu and have really taken to scratching around in the grass and looking for bugs. There's a lot of overgrowth that needs to be cleared, but we have found some raspberries, wineberries, and a mulberry tree that we'll definitely be leaving. We also have a huge old neglected apple tree that we're going to try to prune back into shape. This weekend we're going to be renting a sod cutter and getting our garden beds ready. We're planning on having 5 separate beds, which should be just right for rotating crops and having one permanent one. We'll probably only use one or two for Fall crops and plant the rest with cover crops. The first thing we need to do is plant our pumpkins so that they're ready for Halloween! I'm also really excited about planting more peas since our spring crop did so well and were so easy to grow.

Meanwhile, over at the borrowed veggie plot, we have plenty of kale, bunches of green tomatoes, some baby peppers and eggplants, and squash galore. Our Yukon Gold potatoes should be ready to harvest in the next couple of weeks, and the Yellow Finn and German Butterball to follow shortly. Our corn is also starting to tassel. I know our garden is suffering from our inability to tend it on a daily basis, but I'm confident we'll still end up getting plenty of goodies!

Now that life has settled down enough for us to start getting some real work done, we'll be posting up a storm about all of our new projects. The only question now is where do we start?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Summer Harvests Have Begun!

This June has been one of the rainiest I can remember, but the rains have finally let up and it seems like summer is now in full swing. The veggies in the garden are growing fast, and so are the weeds, which we're struggling to catch up with. We're also getting to harvest the first crops of the season. We pulled all of our spinach and got three bags worth to freeze. We have peas coming on, and we have bunches of kale to be picked. And today we harvested the garlic. All of our softneck garlic rotted out over the winter, but the Romanian Red hardnecks grew pretty well. For some reason, some of them grew large scapes, which we cut only two weeks ago and made pesto out of, and some of them did not. When we dug the heads up today, the ones which had had scapes turned out to be very small, with apparently only two or three cloves each. But most of them grew to a respectable size, and they're all hanging in the kitchen to cure. I can't wait to taste them!

We've been meaning to put up some photos of the garden, but we keep forgetting to take the camera. It's been great having our big 20' x 40' plot to grow in this year, but it's also difficult to find the time to tend it since we can't just walk out the back door to it when we have a few extra minutes. Since it's also difficult to grab a few leaves of kale or a few pea pods for dinner, it's making more sense for us to harvest as much as we can when we're there and then preserve it.

Our good friend Pragmatiste surprised us this weekend with the awesome gift of this classic book on preserving, which is a complete reference on everything you need to know to can, freeze, cure, dry, and cellar, with plenty of scientific rationale. Now we should have no trouble keeping all of our veggies delicious and nutritious!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Just Hatched!

At 7:10 this morning the phone rang, just as we had been hoping it would. The lady at the post office was calling to let us know that our little baby chicks had arrived! We got there before they opened, but they were more than happy to let us in to claim our box of fluffy peepers. The Gardener got to take them home (as I grumpily had to go to the office) and he was given the responsibility of introducing them to their new digs, feeding and watering them.

We spent the day thinking up names for our eight little layers, and settled on Lorraine, Benedictina, Florentine, Frittata, Tikka, Pot Pie, Buck Buck, and Begok. All of them seem to be doing quite well, even though Frittata gave the Gardener a bit of a scare at first. Now she's even pushing the bigger ones around. The lighter colored ones (Flo, Lo, Bennie, and Fritta) are Rhode Island Reds. They get the fancy names because they behave more like ladies. The dark ones are Barred Plymouth Rocks, and they are plucky to say the least.

The coop should be arriving this week as well. It's travelling by boat from England and then into Philadelphia via Greyhound where we'll have to pick it up at the station. Kind of ridiculous, I know, but we've chosen the Omlet brand because their coops are particularly suburban friendly in their Ikea-like design, and we're hoping to stay on our neighbors' good sides.

In the meantime they'll stay warm, cozy, and safe in their custom built brooder. We've even rigged up a "chickam" so that we can keep an eye on them from our computers at work!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Homemade Snack Attack

We spent a good bit of yesterday out of the garden and in the kitchen (though we did find time to plant a few replacement tomatoes). The Gardeness baked up a whole wheat batard, attempting a tricky technique that we found on the Artisan Bread in Five blog. I have to say it turned out quite nice, though perfecting the crust is still giving us trouble. Earlier in the week she had picked up two quarts of strawberries from the West Grove Farmers Market. After finding a recipe for strawberry jam, we finally had a chance to play with our newly loaned canning gear and promptly turned the kitchen into a makeshift sauna.

The latest Mother Earth News has a little blurb about making butter and I remember doing something like that in elementary school with a mason jar filled with cream and marbles. So when the kitchen got a bit too hot, I tried to whip up a batch. I didn't have any marbles or cream so I filled a mason jar 3/4 with whole milk. About an hour of shaking later we had decent little chunk of creamy butter. Adding a dash of salt gave it a nice earthy richness.

You can't beat little homemade snacks like these... Unless you're really into lime-like stuff and giant Cheetos.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Practical Experience

So today on our trip to the milk store we decided to stop by a rare and used book store in Kennett owned by Thomas Macaluso. Hoping we might find some cool old tome of conventional wisdom on gardening we stumbled upon a gem.

Ten Acres Enough: A Practical Experience by James Miller (7th Edition) was published in 1865. The book covers the real world experiences of a gentleman farmer making due with just 10 acres of land near Philadelphia in the mid 19th century. It's hard to think of a more fitting guide to get us started. I mean this is a pre-industrial agriculture DIY manual written about a "garden farm" less than 100 miles from home. Check out a New York Times review of the first edition from 1864. We'll be sure to share bits of advice over the next few weeks.

In other news we'll be stopping by the borrowed plot to plant our heirloom Bartels family corn later today. Fingers crossed that the critters don't ransack the seedlings this year.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Garden Heartbreak

Last Saturday was the Big Day of Planting, and all of our little veggie sprouts finally got nestled into their new garden plot. Things were looking good for a couple of days until a late and unexpected frost hit on Monday night. We knew it was going to get cold, but there was no frost warning, so we trusted everything would be ok. Tuesday afternoon I got an email from my dad - bad news. All of the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and basil were gone - shriveled up and dead. It was a pretty heartbreaking sight.

As I was pretty sure there wouldn't be time to start from seed again, and to avoid a total loss, I went down the street to the Amish farm and purchased some replacements. No, they're not open-pollinated, organic heirlooms, but in the end, the point of the garden is to have something to eat. We're going to try direct seeding some of the tomato varieties that we were particularly looking forward to, and hope to get at least a few fruits before the fall frosts come in.

On a brighter note, our peas, spinach, and lettuce are growing strong, and our other greens, tubers, and crucifers appear to have survived as well. Yesterday we planted some carrot and beet seeds amongst the onions. Next weekend we'll be planting beans and corn, and the week after that our baby chicks arrive!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Yay for Farmers' Markets!

Farmers' market season has finally arrived! This afternoon I stopped by my local market on the way home from work to meet this year's group of farmers and see what they had to offer. New to the scene was North Creek Nurseries, specializing in native perennial plants. I asked Erin what she would recommend for attracting pollinators, and her suggestion was Nepeta, which has small blue flowers that bloom all summer long, and leaves which have a really lovely sweet and spicy fragrance. It wasn't until I got home that I realized Nepeta is catmint, but this variety (nepeta x faassenii) is more attractive to bees and butterflies than to cats. Also new this year is Long Valley Farm, selling organically raised free-range chicken meat and eggs, and Swarmbustin' Honey with their ten types of local honey including "Totally Raw", Buckwheat, and Hot Garlic. Rounding out the offerings were Jack's Jams and Jellies, R & R Teas, and and assortment of Amish produce and baked-goods stands. I came home with chicken, oyster mushrooms, and bibb lettuce for making asian lettuce wraps for dinner tonight!

All this fresh local produce has us itching to get out and plant our little veggie sprouts, which are more than ready to be liberated from their little paper pots. We've been given a generous sized plot of land to garden in my dad's backyard, which was freshly tilled yesterday afternoon, and our seedlings are being hardened-off on the back deck in preparation for the Big Day of Planting this coming Saturday!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Urban Gardening? Try Nomadic Gardening...

All is not lost, dear readers! Our sunburned tomato sprouts did indeed wither away and die, but we replanted them a few days later and our new batch is up and growing. We've decided that a cold frame or a small greenhouse is going to be a must for next year. Grow lights just can't compete with sunlight. When we compare our stringy sprouts with the ones our Amish neighbors are selling, the difference is night and day.

Last night we planted a whole bunch of peas and spinach. Digging in the real dirt, finally! This brings us to some news that we were waiting to tell, but at this point I don't think we can wait any longer. Remember, way back in January, when we told you we were dreaming big? Well, the Gardener and Gardeness have been on a quest since then to buy some land, and though we're getting closer, we're not there yet. This means that we're now facing the challenge of gardening without a garden. We can't plant in the space we're renting now, because we don't want to leave our veggies behind. The peas were planted in a corner of my father's garden, which he generously donated. Some things, like the hops waiting in the frige and the potatoes which are coming in the mail soon, we're going to try growing in portable containers. But when last frost comes in a few weeks, I honestly don't know what we're going to do with everything. If anyone out there has attempted to be a nomadic gardener and has any suggestions, we'd be glad to hear them!

In light of what we've just said you may well consider us insane when we now tell you we have just ordered chickens! Yes, we decided that we simply couldn't wait any longer. The Gardener told me that all he really wanted for his birthday was an Eglu cube, so a shiny red one is on order and due to arrive by Greyhound freight. Late in May, eight little baby chicks will be arriving - four Rhode Island Red and four Plymouth Rock hens. Oh, the excitement!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Little Too Much Sun

On this lovely sunny spring day, we decided to try to kill all of our seedlings. We had the best of intentions. Our tomatoes, asparagus, celery, and bee's friend have been looking a bit pale and leggy, so we thought we'd give them a dose of sunshine. We left them out on the back deck while we went to an early Easter gathering, and when we got back four hours later, our poor plants were all dried up, wilted, and frizzled. We've watered them and have our fingers crossed. So I guess we've either killed them or made them stronger.

We also spent this evening planting some more veggies. Today it was cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, peppers, and eggplants. We now have, assuming they all survive, 252 little plants growing in little paper pots under the grow lights in our basement. I really hope we aren't biting off more than we can chew!

Also, in an unexpected jog through town we stumbled across a chicken hideout. Yesterday our Basset Hound decided to go for a tour of the neighborhood when the back door blew open. While searching for our little troublemaker, the Gardener found a rooster crowing from inside a shed type coop on the next street over. Luckily, I found Ginny cowering in some bushes at the end of our street but that's the second set of backyard chickens we've spotted in town. In related news our brochure from Omlet arrived on Friday. Keep your eyes peeled for more details on that!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Can There Ever Be Too Many Tomatoes? Or Socks?

Spring is officially here, which means it's time to plant more seeds! Today is the all-important day of tomato seed planting, and we have 9 varieties going in this year. Yes, perhaps that is going a bit overboard, but there are so many beautiful and delicious tomatoes to choose from out there that it's hard not to. Plus, we're looking forward to a bumper crop so that we can make plenty of sauce to preserve for next winter. We're also planting some onion seeds today, although we really should have done so about 3 weeks ago. Typically onions can be planted in the garden several weeks before the last frost date, but due to some factors outside of our control, there's a pretty good chance we won't be getting our spring plantings done before the middle of May anyway, so our late seed sowing shouldn't be a problem. Along with the veggie seeds, we'll also be starting some herbs and flowers - sweet Genovese basil, purple Dark Opal basil, sage, rosemary, stevia, lavender, chamomile, and bee's friend.

Also of note, our hop rhizomes have arrived!

In other homesteading news, we have completed our first scarves! They're very simple, just done in knit stitch. Mine is made from a nice thick wool yarn with a size 7 needle, so it's very warm and almost wind-proof. And green! I was so excited about how well it turned out, that I went straight out and bought more yarn to make a throw blanket. The Gardener's is in manly shades of olive drab, but is softer and squishier. He now dreams of knitting his own socks! Our dear friend Pragmatiste has given us an awesome set of interchangeable circular needles to try out. They will be perfect for making some thick, wooly socks for the next time the Gardener goes camping up in the mountains!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Well Worth Watching

The sprouts are sprouting and we're trying to keep ourselves distracted. I managed to mulch some of the beds with hay and bought a few supplies for creating a new raised bed last weekend. And though there are plenty of books on the nightstand that need finishing, we decided to watch TV instead.

I found a recent BBC series called Victorian Farm, which gave a much needed escape to someplace green and growing. The show focuses on three historians who try their hands at Victorian farming with authentic equipment and practices. The six part series covers the span of a year on the farm. The hosts grow and harvest an acre of wheat, lamb ewes over winter and raise a litter of piglets. Pretty much a dream year.

If you have access to a copy of the show I really recommend it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Signs of Life

A mere 14 days into our 30 day wait, what should I spy but these luminescent little signs of life! A handful of our strawberry seeds have already begun to poke their heads above the dirt. As exciting and encouraging as this discovery has been, it also means we need to hurry up and get our grow light hoisted from the basement ceiling a bit sooner than anticipated.

In other news, we've started two flats of asparagus seeds, which are surprisingly large and not at all what you would expect them to look like until you realize that they come from little red berries. Starting asparagus from seed rather than crowns means we'll have to wait four years instead of three for the bed to be established enough to start taking cuttings, but seeds are a heck of a lot cheaper. And besides, we like a good challenge!

We also wanted to mention that we've chosen to start our seeds in homemade paper pots, as you can see in the photo. Several seed catalogs sell the wooden pot maker that you can see in the photo in our last post. We thought this would be a great way to recycle newspaper, and it's also the most sustainable solution we could find. One purchase will fulfill our seed-starting needs for a lifetime, it's environmentally friendly, and it's easily shared. We did buy some plastic flats with lids, but they should last for years, and are recyclable. We also bought some seed starting mix this year, but next year we hope to be able to use compost from our back yard.

Meanwhile, as we wait for the weather to warm up, the Gardeness and the Gardener have been learning how to knit! I must say, if you ever find yourself stressing out, especially if it's due to having to wait for something, knitting is a wonderful way to distract yourself. Plus you get something warm to snuggle with when you're done!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Waiting for Spring

This week we attended the second session of a two-part program on Sustainable Small-Scale Vegetable Production given by our local cooperative extension. The organizers were really excited because they had a record turn out! It was just an introduction to the concepts of sustainable farming, so none of the speakers went into a lot of detail, but what they stressed repeatedly was the need to plan carefully, and the importance of soil testing. Luckily, a soil test kit was included in the price of attendance! Once the soil thaws out this spring, we'll definitely be out back digging up a sample, and we'll be back here with the results. If you haven't already looked up your local cooperative extension, you should - they have tons of resources and people who can answer almost any question you might have about growing things.

All this talk about growing vegetables was in stark contrast to the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures we've been having. Luckily, seed starting time has arrived, which is keeping me from going completely stir-crazy! Last weekend I started a flat of alpine stawberry seeds. Most strawberries are planted as crowns and spread by runners, but alpines (aka fraises des bois) spread by seed and are great for urban gardeners because they don't need a lot of space, and can do well even without a lot of direct sun. They take about 30 days to germinate, according to the seed packet, so we'll have to be patient while we wait for signs of life from these tiny seeds.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dreaming Big in 2009!

A new year has begun, and you know what that means: seed catalogs galore! It may seem as if the Gardener and Gardeness have been neglecting their readers lately, but we have in fact been very busy working on blog-worthy projects these past two months. One of those projects has been diligently perusing our catalogs and planning this year's garden. We've been dreaming big, and our order lists are ambitious! We'll be procuring the majority of our seeds from the Seed Savers Exchange for several reasons: they're a non-profit organization with proceeds going towards the preservation of heirloom varieties, they offer many rare and interesting seeds, and their prices are very competitive. We have also decided to plant only open pollinated varieties, so that we can try to save seeds for next year. Not only that, but we've also decided to be really brave and try growing things like asparagus, strawberries, and onions all from seed - no crowns or sets here! Oh boy, wish us luck!

In other news, in our search to find entertainment without a cable subscription, we recently discovered a wonderful old sitcom on Netflix, and have been watching it voraciously. It's a British program from the mid 1970s called "The Good Life," (also called Good Neighbors) in which Tom, along with his wife Barbara, decides to quit his corporate job and start a farm in their suburban back yard in an effort to become totally self-sufficient. They till up the lawn, plant lots of veggies, get chickens, pigs and a goat, and build an electric generator that runs on methane, all to the disdain and amusement of their snobby friends and next door neighbors. We recommend it highly!

Stay tuned, as we hope to announce more of our aforementioned projects, both BIG and small, in the coming weeks! For now, please keep your fingers crossed for us! Happy 2009!