First Day of Spring Inspiration

Happy first day of Spring! I don’t know about you but spring happens to be my favorite time of year. I think it’s because everything gets the opportunity to start all over, begin again. But, still just as beautiful as it ever was.

Sunday was incredibly beautiful out and although it was snowing in most places around the valley, right above our little house on the hill was a circle of blue sky and sun. Honestly, it was exactly what we needed. After being in the sun and warm weather for a month straight, coming home to snow, cold and rain was a little disheartening

When I went outside in the morning to let the chickens out of their coop the birds were singing a lovely tune from the tree branches above and their was a hint of that familiar scent of spring in the air.

I love spring for so many reasons. First, I love watching all the trees, plants, grass and flowers grow again and come back to life. I get so excited when I see tulips starting to pop their heads out from beneath the dirt I can barely contain myself. And although we live in the Pacific Northwest and know better then to get too excited, I still always hope that this year we will get a dry, sunny and warm Spring.

I also happen to love the sound of lawn mowers being fired up and the smell of the seasons first fresh cut grass. I love the way the sun feels on my skin when I work in the yard or take the pups out for a walk around the vineyard. In a few weeks here I’ll be heading out into the garden to start getting things ready for the impending planting of an array of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers.

Oh how I love spring!

Spring also happens to be a great way to clean out the old and organize what’s left behind.

So today’s post is all about the top5 things I’m most excited for this spring!

1. First and foremost, spring colors! There is nothing else like it when you are just coming out of the dead of winter when all of the sudden you start seeing beautiful pastels and bright and fun colors everywhere. It starts to wake your senses and gives you a new found energy. I’m mean, pistachio and horizon? Beautiful!

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2.My favorite flower: Pansies! My mom planted them every year and from the time I can remember I have absolutely loved this little gems. With their ability to withstand cooler temps they are often the first touch of life and color for many gardeners and will be a staple around our home as well.

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3. Lambing Season! We bread our girls with Goober Jr in late November, early December. If you missed the post I wrote about Goober Jr. well, you can find it here. We are hoping he got all seven of our girls and if so, they should start lambing within the next 4 weeks up until early June. If you’ve never held a baby lamb oh my, you are missing out. Seriously the cutest little things ever.

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4. Starting our garden. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for this. Besides the fact that it’s just really fun to watch something you worked so hard on grow, it’s also equally as fun to walk out to the garden and harvest your dinner that day.

5. And last but not least, OUR WEDDING! How could I leave this one out? We are having a spring wedding in the backyard of D’s parents house in Las Vegas on May 18th, 2012! I’m already practicing signing my name Amanda Moore. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
Well, I truly hope today bring you a dose of inspiration, a little motivation, and a whole lot of warm and love!
What is your favorite thing about Spring? I’d love to know!!

the planning of our garden part 1

D and I started planning our garden for the spring the other night and as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, we have decided to grow our garden to where we can live off it as much as possible throughout the year.  Basically, we are growing from two raised beds to about 10 plus and several half wine barrel planter beds. It’s an overwhelming task to say the least but one that both D and I are looking forward to.

Over the weekend I went into the garage to find all the bags of seeds that we already have. We needed to devise a plan centered around one questions: What are we REALLY going to eat? Last year we planted too much of most items and not enough of few others we surprisingly enjoyed eating and all at the same time. So, when it came time to harvest, we had more broccoli,  snap peas, and pickles then we knew what to do with. And for the record, we DID try to can the pickles but they didn’t work out so well. If any of you have a great pickling recipe I would love to hear all about it!

So this year we are devising a plan. A few weeks back I jotted down what I thought we would eat and find use for.

 

Then David and I looked at some different sites that offered heirloom seeds and decided that we wanted to order  from Botanical Interest. The reason for picking them out of the hundreds of others basically came down to how easy the website was to navigate. Honestly. I have this funny thing about websites. If they are chaotic and cluttered I will exit out of them as quickly as I found them. I like clean, organized, and informational. Botanical Interest has it all! So as we looked over the site, D took note on which seeds we were getting, as well as spacing for planting and rows.

Since we are starting most, if not all of these little guys inside, we want to be well prepared to start planting when we get back from our trip from SE Asia AND hopefully start working on building my potting shed! {More to come on that later!}

I’d love to know: What are you planting in your garden this spring? Any great advice for starting from seed inside? 

 

 


 

 

tomato jam (more like chutney)

I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed with the amount of tomatoes in my garden that are still green. It’s September 27th and my tomatoes, despite a few, could be mistaken for one of the green variety yet they are supposed to be red or orange. However, I did manage to harvest some red Roma and orange Heirlooms and they are beautiful.

I was wondering what to do with them and I knew I didn’t want to go the traditional route, ie: slice them up, throw some salt and pepper, a little olive oil and just eat them or make tomato sauce. I wanted to think outside the box a little and then David mentioned I should make tomato jam and that is what I did yesterday. Despite being was weary about how it would actually taste, to my surprise it turned out delicious!

I adapted my recipe from one I found in the NY Times and from one I found on the blog Sassy Radish. Here is what I ended up doing:

I used about two pounds of various tomatoes.

Then I began by removing the skins from each tomato but take it from me, don’t do it with a vegetable peeler. Did you know there is actually a specific technique for removing tomatoes skins? I didn’t until David walked in the kitchen and saw my messy attempt at peeling them and chuckled when asking me what I was doing.

“Removing the skins” I said.

“You know there is an easier, not to mention cleaner way of doing that, right? He replied

“Oh” was all I said in return.

After he explained said technique I decided I would just continue doing it my way telling him I wanted to feel rustic when in reality, I was already on the last tomato and it seemed a bit of a pain to boil a pot of water, cut an X in the bottom of the last tomato, place it in the boiling water, and then effortlessly pull the skin off.

After I peeled all the tomatoes I placed them into a pot and added the following:

1 green apple, peeled and chopped up

1/2 chopped onion

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup cane sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. coriander

dash of cumin

Juice of half a lemon

Put all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let ingredients simmer for about 3 hours.

This morning I had breakfast

 

 

the fruits of our labor

I was walking around the property today taking in the last bit of warmth we had here in the valley as the clouds drifted in and signs of autumn crept in with it. The weather is supposed to change to rain tomorrow and I made sure to take a moment (or two) and really enjoy wearing a tank top and walking barefoot through the grass. I happen to have a camera with me and captured a few shots as well.

one man’s junk is another man’s treasure: composting

Between the two of us, David and I go through a lot of food and garbage. Sometimes it is rather amazing that we take out the garbage up to once a day. Before you jump to conclusions, we do recycle and I’ve set up a fancy system in the garage to separate glass, cardboard, plastic, and miscellaneous. However, we still manage to fill er’ up at a rather disturbing rate.

Aside from all the recycling we do, we still have a lot of waste, mostly food.

Growing up our neighbors had a compost bin. I never really understood it and honestly, I thought it was gross and at times it scared me. I mean, it had big worms crawling throughout it and it smelled.

When I grew up though and understood composting a little better, I always thought back to those neighbors and now I am rather proud of their efforts at being kind to the earth and their garden.

So here David and I are, in the mist of building our super cool 3-compartment composting bin. Well, we aren’t building it, his cousin is, and it’s going to be a beauty!

We have the space for it not to mention the waste. There is the want and need with my plan of expanding the garden 10 fold next spring. Now I just need to do a little research on the process of using it, finish slapping a few pieces of wood together and wala! We will be composting in no time!

Here is where the compost bin will go:

Here are the blueprints for the compost bin we are going to build:

Here is the compost been thus far:

And here is to saving the world (and our garden) one eggshell at a time! Cheers!