Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Becoming Spring

I'd like to think its becoming spring already, it feels like it... smelling like it... and soon will be tasting like it. Things are really moving along here at Fogl's Roost.

The chickens are broody, and the trees' buds are swelling up. Tulips have popped up from the dirt, daffodils are blooming, and its nice enough I can go out and get all that garden work done. So I wanted to share some pictures of things coming back alive again. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Things To Be Done Today!

Today, getting up to 75 degrees, so I decided to go out and do a few things.

I had a pile of horse manure from last summer that has sat and broken down since then to a beautiful black pile of goodness, so I used that to fertilize the fruit trees. Its a bit windy today, so I opted not to spray with Neem oil until the winds die after 5pm. I also turned more compost into an empty bed and planted peas & brussel sprouts (in a good spot on the east side of the house where they will get sun until about 2-2:30).

Its been so gorgeous... its making me feel like spring, but I know its not quite yet. roll

Though the flowers are surely fooled... daffodils are blooming everywhere, and there are buds on several trees swelled to the blooming point.

What blew my mind yesterday is I noticed the leaves on the weeping willows have returned and the swaying branches look like perfect whips of green all around the pond!

When should you plant in NC?

Well, I have this local chart available to share with you on when are good times to plant. Its from Wyatt Quarles Seed Company. Believe it or not, here is an excellent time to plant a lot of things. Don't let this amazing spring like weather fool you now. Just because today is 75, we are no where near time to put watermelon or tomatoes in!

Greens are good thing to start now. Chinese greens, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, kale... and maybe some root veggies too, potatoes, carrots, radish....

Take a look and see what is possible for you:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Getting Ready For Next Season's Fruit

I read a fabulous snippet (a tiny blurb in a magazine, from someone leaving a comment they published... not an article) and the lady mentioned how the magazine had published people suggesting to use ziplock baggies to put over their fruit to keep bugs off, and not having to spray. However, quite simply there was BAD air circulation and ripening and bad spots were still a problem.

Luckily, she ran into a organic orchardist (or whatever they are called) who helps people change over to less spray methods on small scale and large scale... he told here the zip bag idea was good, just take it up a notch to GREAT by making her own bags out of row cover material instead.

So that's what we're doing, making 6"-8" draw string bags out of row cover material to put over our fruits. The 8" bags will be for clustered fruits I may come across and only thin slightly. This will allow good air flow, drainage and sun exposure while keeping fruit bug free.

Monday, February 14, 2011

73 Degrees on Valentine's Day

Someone must love me, because it is LOVELY out!

So since, even with all the wind, that I went out and trimmed all the perennials (including my roses) and planted spinach and carrots. Tomorrow I'm expecting another nice day, so I'll be doing lettuce and maybe broccoli as well. I have my row covers out to protect them from evening frosts, as I'm sure there is a still another 45 days of that or so.

I didn't realize how close to spring we were until I noticed below the river birch tree, there were 10 tulips sprouts. Awe in the signs of spring!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Unexpected Things Today!

Even though the daughter hasn't gotten much better, she's eating well... and she helped me with the bread. Then I got an odd email about a pressure canner. I've been wanting one... BADLY! I was planning on a less expensive one before my budget... well, its next to nothing most days.

But the email was in response to my ad on craigslist asking for a used pressure canner in good shape. It been up a few times over and over again with no response. I have not been able to find one. The ad I put up included I would LOVE an All American Canner. You know, the top of the line, laugh in my face brand I could never afford. A 25 quart goes for $250 and up online.  Used ones can but $225 and up. So I get this email and someone has one, a 25 quart All-American for $160!!! Its in like new condition!!!

So, yes, I asked hubby (begged via text, I look less desperate that way) and he said YES! Our anniversary is next week, and he's been looking for one for me anyways... he was thrilled!

Now I just finished printing up the manual, and off to read the safety stuff and then a test run to make sure it seals properly and I can get the lbs on the gauge to hold as steady as I can get it.

Even better... I did manage to talk it down to $140! :)

Its a MONSTER!!!!!

Did I mention I got a job?! HOORAY! I got a part-time job I've been trying for, and I'm very excited. Its a wonderful company.

Cold Days and Warm Bread

What to do when you wake up to snow, and cold temps... again!? You just bake bread! So I figured today would be a good day to fill our freezer with bread for the up coming week. Right now I have more sour dough rolls going, then I'll do a loaf of italian bread (perfect for sandwiches) and a load of rye.

I did some rye yesterday, and they came out flat. They crashed in the oven after the second rise. I am unsure what that was about, I assumed it was the yeast, so I bought another container of fresh yeast yesterday for today's baking adventure.

If anyone can think of what it could have been, let me know!?

I will return with pictures as soon as my piles of warm yummy breads are done....

Cold days are good for something huh? :D