Sunday, July 29, 2007

More Butterfly Garden

More pictures from the butterfly garden.

Some cool bug with an egg case? I'm not entirely sure what is going on here, but it looked neat.

A bee really getting into pollenating. It is covered in pollen!
A beautiful blue butterfly. This is the first time I had seen this butterfly.

And another picture of my hummingbird friend. I was finally able to get a picture of him with the larger telephoto lens. We've also had female hummingbird coming to visit. I'll try to get a picture of her next.

OLS- Week 5

This week we had homemade egg noodles with homemade pesto for our local meal. This was my first attempt at making pasta. My husband got a pasta machine years ago and made pasta a few times but didn't like doing it, so the machine has sat for over a year. I decided to give it a try and it was actually a lot of fun! From baking bread it was easy for me to get the dough the right consistency and Logan loved rolling out the dough and cutting the noodles. Here he is cutting the noodles:

I can see us making pasta more often.
Here is the breakdown of the meal:

Daisy Flour - 60 miles
Eggs - Whimsical Farm - 4 miles
Water - tap - 0 miles
Garlic - West Grove, PA - 20 miles
Basil - my garden - 0 miles
Pinenuts - not local
Olive Oil - not local
I don't put cheese in my pesto so I didn't have to worry about finding that locally.

I've found the challenge hard this week. I'm trying to make what we normally make but all local and I'm finding there is usually 1 ingredient that holds us back. I know I need to start finding some new recipes to make with what is in season and local instead of trying to backtrack our old recipes. I've also been frustrated at how many meals I make that are 50-75% local. I know I should be happy with the progress we've made but I set my goal at 100% local so every meal that isn't 100% feels like a failure. I'm trying to work on celebrating every ingredient that is local but I tend to not think that way.

I made a meal earlier this week that could have been 100% local except for some poor planning and ignorance. It was a pasta dish that had local pasta, local tomatoes and local garlic, what wasn't local was the cream and the white wine. The cream wasn't local because I had my husband pick up cream one night and he didn't think to buy the local and the wine wasn't local because I bought it months ago for cooking and wasn't even thinking of getting local then. Both things can be purchased locally and I will do so before I make this dish again, but I was disappointed.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Farm Bill passes House

The Farm Bill passed the House and will be moving to the Senate for debate. They are going to vote on it in September so now is the time to contact our Senators to try to get real change.

Friday, July 27, 2007

More Farm Bill update

The Kind amendment didn't pass the vote yesterday. The bill as a whole should be up for vote today. You can get more information here:

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Butterfly garden update

I went out the other day to take pictures of what I could find in the butterfly garden. Here is an overall picture of the garden as it is now.

The butterfly was sharing a coneflower with a white spider. I don't know what type of spider it is but you can see the remains of it's prey. Dragonfly on the wood surrounding the garden.

2 butterflies on 1 coneflower. I love when they share!
I have more pictures that I will post later.

Farm Bill Update

The farm bill is up for vote in the House tomorrow. The bill as it stands keeps the status quo, big subsidies going to industrial farms while the small farmer is left out in the cold. Here is info from Oxfam America:

"The Farm Bill will govern our food and farm policy for the next five years, and the House has scheduled a vote for Thursday. Luckily, there is still time to make a difference, but we need your help today to make that happen.

Please call your representative and ask him/her to support the Fairness Amendment to the Farm Bill offered by Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ). This bipartisan amendment will reduce trade-distorting subsidies and shift funds to programs that feed hungry families, protect the environment, and help poor and minority farmers.

It's fast and simple, and it can make a big difference. Please follow these simple instructions.

1. Please call 1-800-977-1912.
2. An automated message will give you simple instructions on what to say.
3. When prompted, press the pound key (#) to reach the Capitol switchboard and ask to be connected to your representative's office. "

Here is another place to get information on another amendment being introduced:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Farm Bill

The new farm bill is under debate right now. This is a great opportunity to let our representatives know that we want a farm bill that ends subsidies to corporate farms growing corn and soy. This is our opportunity to let them know we want support for small and organic farmers, we want access to healthy food that doesn't destroy the environment in growing it.

Here is an article about the farm bill and why everyone should care:

This website has good sample letters to write to your representative and senators, just be sure to change where it says California to your state:

Here is a webpage to find and write your representative:

And one to find and write your senators:

I've written to all of mine and hope you will too.

OLS - Week 4

The husband is out of town this week so it is just Logan and I. We decided to have breakfast for dinner this week.

Scrambled eggs - Eggs from Whimsical Farms - 4 miles, she was also an unschooler until her son started college a few years ago!
Bacon - Rumbleway Farm - 25 miles
Biscuits - Homemade
Flour - Daisy Flour - 60 miles
Milk - Natural by Nature - 24 miles
Butter - Natural By Nature
Sugar - not local
Baking powder - not local

Monday, July 16, 2007


We have a hummingbird that comes by everyday to eat. He generally comes around the same (within an hour), but I've had a lot of trouble getting a picture of him. He definitely eats and runs! But I finally managed to get a few pictures of him, they aren't very good...

The first picture is to zoomed out to see the hummingbird but does give a good overview of our backyard. You can see the deck with my container veggie garden, the drying rack, my hybiscus that I rescued from the neighbors trash about a year ago (I love that plant) and of course the hummingbird feeder. In the back corner you can see my butterfly garden, the bird feeders, and the woods behind the house which are infested with japanese honeysuckle which we are slowly removing.

Here he comes!

Bingo, food!

And this has nothing to do with the hummingbird but I like the way it is ripening.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

One Local Summer - Week 3

This week for our local meal we had a dish we call Guido's. We named it after the man who gave us the recipe. He was the head steward on a cruise we took to Alaska for our 5th anniversary. He made this dish one night as an appetizer and we liked it so much we ended up eating 5 plates of it as our entree. We then asked for the recipe and he was thrilled to give it to us. The recipe is from a native Italian that we got in Alaska, but this week it was pure Delaware (not really, but it sounds good).

The dish consists of penne pasta in a sauce made with tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, onions, dried red peppers, garlic, basil, and olive oil. It is quite spicy and very delicious!

The breakdown:
Whole wheat penne pasta - Harrisburg, PA - 110 miles
Tomatoes - my garden - 0 miles
Onions - my garden - 0 miles
jalapeno pepper - my garden - 0 miles
dried red peppers - left over from last years garden - 0 miles
garlic - West Grove, PA - 25 miles
Basil - my garden - 0 miles
Olive oil - still Italy :(
Anyone know of any local oils I could cook with that would be about equivalent to olive oil?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Good books

I've read a few really good books lately so I thought I'd do a post sharing them.

Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen by Anna Lappe and Bryant Terry

This is a good book about our food supply. They talk about GMOs, factory farms, pesticides, labor practices in agriculture and other issues effecting our food supply. They also talk about the benefits of local and organic foods. The reason I like this book is because it is a great introduction to the problems of our current food supply. It is like the Cliff notes, a good and brief overview of all the problems. For those who are interested in knowing more about what they eat but don't want to invest the time to read Omnivores Dilemma, this book is a great choice. The second half of the book is recipes so the book is even smaller than it looks. I finished it in 2 hours. Oh, and it isn't preachy at all which some food books tend to be.

The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer and Jim Mason

This book is a great follow up to Omnivore's Dilemma. The authors follow 3 families, one that eats a typical diet, one that eats mostly organic and a vegan family. They research every food they buy and how it was produced. There is a lot of detail in this book about factory farming and traditional agriculture. More detail than in Omnivore's Dilemma. There was an interesting discussion about local food and when it isn't better to buy local. This book was the first time I had heard anyone say that buying local may not be the end all be all of life. The one thing I didn't like about this book is the authors are VERY preachy about the vegan lifestyle. Not being vegan, it was off-putting, but not enough to detract from the book as a whole.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver, and Steven L. Hopp

I'm sure almost everyone has read this book by now, but in case you haven't run out and do so! This book was written by Barbara Kingsolver (Poisonwood Bible author) about the year she and her family ate totally locally. It starts with their move cross country to a small farm and talks about how they planted and cared for the gardens, what they ate and how they managed to find local food in the winter. I was surprised by how enjoyable a book this was, I thought the premise sounded a bit boring but it wasn't at all. Barbara has a great writing style and I really got into their story. She provides enough personal details that you feel you really know the family. And the recipes are great!
On Good Land: The Autobiography of an Urban Farm by Michael Ableman and Alice Waters

This is the most recent book I read, reading almost all of it last night. It is another quick read. This book is about a small farmer that was surrounded by small farms when he bought his farm but now, 20 years later is the only farm left and is now surrounded by suburban neighborhoods. Some of the pictures in the book are amazing, there is one of him plowing a field just feet from the backyard pool of one of the new houses that was built. The book tells of how he held onto the farm, the battles he had to do once the neighborhoods went in (they tried to make him get rid of his compost piles and roosters) and how he eventually became part of the new community that built up around him. This is a great read for anyone interested in farming.
What good books have you read lately?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Small Garden update

Thai hot peppers are beginning to form.

Blackberries! We are getting 4 or 5 ripe a day that all get eaten straight off the bush. Clearly when we move we will need to put in many blackberry bushes to get enough to make anything.
My pumpkin is getting oranger. There are a number of smaller ones on the plant also.
This Amish paste tomato plant has 12 tomatoes on it! This is good for me.
The sweet potato plant is out of hand! It is overflowing the pot!

My first amish paste tomato harvest. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet.

My cucumber harvest so far. Now I just need to find out how to make pickles.

Friday, July 6, 2007

One Local Summer - Week 2

We made our meal for OLS last night.

It consisted of barbeque chicken breast, steamed brocolli, and herb roasted potatoes.

Barbeque Chicken Breasts

Chicken from Rumbleway Farm - 25 miles

Barbeque sauce - not local

Steamed Brocolli - Lockbriar Farms - 46 miles

Herb roasted potatoes

Potatoes - Lockbriar Farms - 46 miles

Garlic - Newark Natural Foods - 10 miles to store, not sure where garlic is from but the sign said local

Rosemary - my garden - 0 miles

Marjoram - my garden - 0 miles

Olive Oil - Italy (whoops)

I promise I will make a meal for this that isn't grilled meat of some sort!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Garden update

My sweet potato plant just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I need to research when you harvest these.

My first onion harvest. These are a little small, the ones that are left are much bigger.

My first Cherokee Purple tomato. What is this line going around the bottom of the tomato? Is it a pest? It looks rotten, but I haven't cut the tomato open yet to see.

My brocolli got attacked by caterpillars, it looks awful now. Look back a few posts and see how well it was doing. Should I let it try to recover or remove the head and wait for the side shoots?

Here are the bigger onions poking out of the dirt.
My blue potatoes just keep getting bigger and bigger. Can I dig a few up to eat now or do I need to do them all at the same time?

Our first pumpkin. Again, I have no idea when to harvest. It is a miniature pumpkin so it may not get much bigger than this but I assume it will get oranger?