Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Review: “MaryJanesFarm” Magazine

If you have barnheart you will love “MaryJanesFarm” Magazine.  My mom first introduced the magazine to me last year, and a dear friend gives me her back issues.  It’s all about being a “farmgirl at heart”, weather you live in the city, suburbs or in the country, with a very strong organic, sustainable slant. It’s got articles on gardening, cooking, livestock,  organic products, crocheting, sewing, and other fiber crafts.  It gives ideas on how to transition to a more green lifestyle, use less electricity,  and how to be more “Do It Your Self”.   It looks like Martha Stewart designed the magazine, but with a “shabby chic” bend, which is beautiful, but it’s very commercial.  In fact Mary Jane seams kinda quite a bit like Ms. Stewart, but with a bit more dirt under her nails.  Mary Jane has her own line of products for sale, from organic towels, to baking mixes, to her own “Farmgirl” sewing fabric.  She even has a “Farmgirl Sisterhood” club complete with badges like girl scouts for adults.  It’s seams  like “Farmgirlism” is a good idea that got caught in the web of capitalism.   Still, if you can avoid the “Ooh I have to have that!” trap, the magazine is full of good info, recipes, and crochet and knitting patterns.  One issue even taught me a new slogan for eating local slow foods:  SOEL Food, meaning:  Sustainable, Organic, Ethical, and Local Food.  And commercialism aside,  if “Farmgirlism” can replace the “Princess” fad that so many girls toys are marketed to, I promise not to complain too much about the marketing. Just promise me not to buy the $47 clothes pin bag, please! (My clothes line didn’t even cost me that much!)

Swap-bot: Belated Beltain Postcard

Here’s the post card I made for my Beltane Postcard swap, sorry about the crappy image! I took this with my cell phone because I couldn’t find my camera! I have the next swap for Litha/Summer Solstice up at http://www.swap-bot.com if you want to join in the pagan postcard passion!

Beltane Post Card

Beltane Post Card

Giving Up Angel Food Ministries

Julian helping me in the kitchen

Julian helping me in the kitchen...

It’s been two months since I’ve ordered food from AFM.  When I first quit my job to stay home with my son Julian and raise some chickens, I was freaked out about money. We started buying food from Angel Food Ministries, and it’s been a big help! But since then, I’ve done enough comparison shopping to know where to find the best deals  (around here, Sam’s Club)  and we just don’t want to eat the processed foods anymore.  We have been eating most of our vegetables from Provident Organic Farms CSA or from our

Vincent learning to Vaccume

"I love vaccuming!" said Vincent! No really that's what he said!

own garden, and this year from “Sharron’s Natural Gardens”.  The Processed foods that come with AFM  taste so salty that we can’t  really eat them!  Also their cuts of chicken come so badly mangled that they are only good for making soup.  One good thing about living on the Eastern Shore is that chicken is very cheap! Until we have our new “Chicken Tractor” (a portable coop) built and we can raise more of our own meat, we will be taking advantage of the $0.88 a lb roasters at Sams Club, and the $0.95 a lb chicken thighs.  We are also considering raising our own pigs.  I’ve begun reading “Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs”.   The nice thing about being a part of the Transitional Movement is that over night progress is not expected…. and I’m proud to say that in this time of “economic re-evaluation” (aka Resession) we have been eating more local home cooked organic foods than we ever have in our entire lives!

The Eggs are Hatching!

Update: Four have hatched, and several more are pipping! I did some research and discovered that yellow skin is a recessive trait, and the only birds I have with yellow skin are the RIRs, so all the chicks with yellow skin are pure RIRs. The Speckled Sussexes have white skin, but since it’s a dominant trait,  a pure SS or a SS x RIR will both have white skin.  Did I mention I have a BS in biology? I guess it’s coming in handy finally!

Day old Chicks!

Here are the first two which hatched on May 2nd.

Incubator

Incubators keep the eggs warm until they hatch.

The Brooder

Our Brooder was a gift from Sharon of "Sharon's Natural Gardens". We made some repairs to it and painted the top.

Brooder Lamp

Inside the brooder we use a plastic storage box and lamp to keep the chicks warm and out of drafts.

Kitchen Gardening Cookbook: Asparagus to Zucchini

Asparagus to Zucchini

Here’s another great kitchen gardening cookbook from the “Madison Area CSA Coalition” via www.localharvest.org.  Even if you aren’t gardening yet, you can still learn to cook like you are!

Fool’s Grove Homestead Update

Spring has sprung and we have gotten quite busy outside!  In addition my eldest son has been home for a few weeks on Intercession, which is what the extended breaks are called in Year Round school. Here’s a summary of what we have been up to. I’m sorry to say I don’t have pictures, as I have misplaced my camera, but I will be sure to make up for that ASAP!

  • Cleaned up Vincent’s Room, including under the bed
  • Made several balls of Plarn, and crocheted a plarn grocery bag
  • Tie Dyed 6 shirts, 2 sweat shirts, several baby bibs, and onsies
  • Bartered with Sharon Carson, a local Biodynamic (Ultra Organic) farmer,  for a consult on our homestead
  • Watched “How to Save the World” a documentary on biodynamic gardening in India
  • Made another batch of fire starters
  • Pruned the grapes, apple tree, blackberries, and ornamental plants
  • Trellised the blackberries, and raspberries
  • Removed wire grass from around blueberries  (and put down bark mulch) and in the vegetable garden bed
  • Started a new compost pile, with several layers of cardboard and an old rug under it to try to keep the wire grass out of it
  • Set up two raised beds with black plastic liner under it, again to keep out the wire grass
  • Planted three kinds of potatoes, red onions, head lettus, radishes, bush beans, and beets
  • Picked up a truck cap from Freecycle to use as a roof for a chicken tractor (a portable coop)
  • Received  a portable turkey brooder we are using as a chicken tractor, and will also use as a brooder
  • Set up the egg incubator, as the hens arn’t interested in going broody
  • Made about a dozen grape vine wreathes of different sizes, and started some cuttings
  • Listed my homestead at Localharvest.com
  • Purchased my first 50 lb bag of  “Lancaster Agriculture Products” brand Layer Mash (chicken feed) which is made from grain on farms that are transitioning to organic, but don’t yet have the USDA Organic certification

I promise to get some pictures as soon as I find my camera!

Our Not So Quaint Min-Vacation

Relaxing at the Hotel

Relaxing at the Hotel

Instead of buying a bunch of presents for each other this past Holiday Season, I decided we would have a min-vacation. To be honest, we haven’t been on a vacation that didn’t involve visiting family, since we got married! We decided to spend a weekend at the Francis Scot Key Family Resort in Ocean City, MD and take advantage of their local discount package which includes a free pizza and access to their indoor pool for a family of 4 for two nigths for $110. The room was just right: two double beds, a small refrigerator (which is a necessity with all the milk Julian drinks),  TV with cable and DVD player, and we asked for a crib, which they provided.  I had the sense to bring outlet covers to keep Julian from poking his fingers in there, and beyond some button pushing on the TV,  and moving the trash cans up out of his reach, it was pretty child safe.  The pool was perfect for kids, the deepest part was 4 ft deep, with a volley ball net, there was a slide, and a kiddy pool that was only a foot deep, and a hot tub for the adults.  They even had life preservers to borrow, and a laundry room. My only complaint was that the ice machines cost a quarter.  We brought sandwich fixings, cereal, milk and soda, so we didn’t need to use the snack machine or soda machine at all. We also splurged and ate out at Happy Jacks Saturday morning. They have the best Seafood Omlet I’ve ever eaten, and I’m not a huge crab fan, but it was HUGE! The sweet potato pancakes were also delicious! And it took less than 5 minutes for it to get to our table!  For lunch we had the free pizza delivered to our room. For Dinner we went to the Surkura the hibachi place  right across the street. It was WOW! Vincent had the Lobster kids meal with a Japanese soda, I had the fillet minion with shrimp, and Paul had the fillet minion with scallops.  The food was WOW, and even Julian loved the fried rice.  It was such a splurge to eat seafood and fillet minion, but I also really enjoyed the mushrooms and the zucchini,  I don’t think I’ve had fresh zucchini since this past summer!  The total vacation, including going out to eat and the food we brought with us was about $350.  All that and only a half hour from home! We don’t really like tourists, or long car trips anyway! Would we do that in the summer, probably not, but I think this will become a Martin Luther King, Jr Day Weekend tradition.  It was a nice break from winter, and from the daily grind!