Saturday, November 19, 2011

Celery & Horseradish!

Horseradish! Armoracia rusticana So cute - like a creature.

Some celery, variety Utah 52 - 70. Despite blanching it with plastic collars, it's still a tad more bitter than grocery store celery but still good. Very strong celeryey flavor. Next year I'm going to try growing in tight rows and blanching it with boards leaned against the rows as I read in an old gardening book.

From left to right: dried cayenne, hot pepper mix, tomatoes, sweet peppers, garlic, and tomatoes. I highly recommend the Excalibur 5 tray dehydrator. A gift from my folks last is just awesome!

Dug the horseradish...but its more pungent when its dormant, so going to try throwing it in the fridge for 2 weeks like Bert suggests here . He has all kinds of good horseradish tips. One root is still in the ground though so we will try digging it later. Maybe not growing much but holding well under hoops and row cover at the garden: leeks, scallions, chard, arugula, lettuce, kales, collards, mizuna, mustard, and parsley.

It was in the mid 50s today so I checked on the beehives for what might be the last time in awhile. I made them some bee fondant - sugar and water, heated, whipped, and poured into molds, that I placed on the top bars in the hives. Even though we didn't harvest honey, one hive got robbed in October of 8 frames of their honey. When nectar is not flowing and winter is nearing, honeybees are on the prowl to extra extra stock up for winter. Just as I had read, I came to look at their honey stores and where there used to be honey, there was chewed away wax cappings and empty honeycomb. My ladies must have been so pissed! I had the top of the hive vented to let out moisture but apparently also let in robbers. To remedy this, we notched the inner cover for a vent and placed screen over it. Hard to picture if one isn't familiar with hives - I will post some beehive drawings soon. The fondant is a poor substitute, but hopefully it will get them through.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Visit to Blackberry Meadows Farm

Today we had super nice fall day for a drive up to Natrona Heights, just about 30 minutes from Wilkinsburg/Pittsburgh, to visit our friends at Blackberry Meadows Farm. Here are some photos of what Jen, Greg, Lynn, Nate, and Kristen have been up to.

A colorful flock of many chicken breeds, many of them dual-purpose heavy breeds such as Black Australorp and Rhode Island Red.

Eggmobile exterior.


Quail tractor.

Turkies in their cattle panel welded tractor.

And More Blackberry Meadows...

Eggmobile interior

An eggmobile resident resting in a nest box.

Gravity fed chicken waterer.

Nate distributes treats in the form of kitchen waste.

Moving the turkey tractor to fresh grass.

More Blackberry Meadows...

Nate works on the brick oven, adding more concrete so 3 batches of bread will hopefully be able to be baked without having to rebuild the fire. CSA members that pick up on-farm will get treated to homemade pizza. Yum!

Closer view of the beauty.

Planting garlic.

Maggie surveys the fields.

Lynn's sweet new (old) Allis-Chalmers G tractor.

And More Plackberry Meadows!


Where all the seedling magic happens.

Salad greens growing in a high tunnel for their first ever winter CSA.

A manure and heat lamp heated germinating chamber for seedlings.

Awesome water catchment system Greg built using corn syrup containers from a candy factory.