Hobby farm doesn’t wait for winter

While we have some big hopes for getting in some prime trail wandering this year, we also have plans to slowly expand our hobby farm. Add some rows to the garden, gates to the yard and chicken coop, and you know add some more chickens (with better rooster karma)? Maybe ducks by the fall?

Trying to balance our love of the trails with our love of growing a small farm can become difficult to maneuver. Trails can wait but planting and harvesting has to be carefully timed. I believe we can do both as long summer days give us expanded daylight hours to get it all done. Maybe.

Continue reading Hobby farm doesn’t wait for winter

Island Eats: Losing our local watering hole

Some of the challenges of moving from the city to a PNW island is that restaurants close generally by 8 or 9 p.m., you are out of luck if you yearn for delivery and, at least on the South end of Whidbey Island, it’s nearly impossible to find an open eatery on a Monday.

And if you live in Greenbank and need groceries or a dining option you are limited.

Island life struggles, I know.

Continue reading Island Eats: Losing our local watering hole

Chickens in the garden

Fall has arrived with its rainy vengeance and I’m beginning to pull a regular harvest of what remains in the garden.

This week I focused on the beets and carrots. Well, with the amount we planted, I’ll be focusing on them every week, but I’m not complaining.

What, you mean I have to eat rainbow carrots and beets from my garden each week? Yes please.

Continue reading Chickens in the garden

Blackberries are here and so is the jam

img_3713This morning I woke up and picked four quarts of wild blackberries growing in our front yard. They’ve just started coming ripe enough to pick and after my jam making class with Slow Food Whidbey Island, I thought I’d give my first batch a try.

It was pretty labor intensive the first time around, more so for the clean up because my damn glasstop stove is such a pain in the ass to clean. I really, really miss my gas stove, but that is another story for another day.

While I’ve hopped off the no sugar/no bread wagon since moving to the islanimg_3378d, I was amazed at how much sugar one batch of jam takes. I know there are recipes with less sugar, but I thought I’d start with the basics and then experiment once I got the process down. For this batch, I decided to strain out the seeds for half of the berry puree. I wanted seeds for texture and for show, but I wanted the sweetness of the blackberries to come through.

My first batch was successful enough. All the jars sealed and the jam set up as expected. I couldn’t wait to taste it for breakfast the next morning.

One day I’m going to have to get back on my no sugar/no bread wagon, but not today.