Friday, November 30, 2007

USDA proposal on leafy greens

I've received many emails on this issue as well as a comment from Erikka. The USDA is considering a proposal to regulate the growing of leafy greens. The regulations make no sense and will harm small, sustainable farmers. To read more information about this proposal, go here:,229965.shtml

The USDA has open comments right now through December 3 on this proposal. You can go here: to make your comments. The comments can be made online, it is quick and easy to do. Click on the 3rd docket from the top.

If anyone knows anything about the top one concerning dairy products I'd be interested in hearing about it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

DDW - Week 7

This week we made use of our turkey carcass and made turkey noodle soup and ate it with sweet potato bread.

The breakdown:

Turkey - Locust Point Farm, 7 miles
Carrots, rutabaga, parsnip, celery - Calvert Farm CSA, 15 miles
Noodles - not local

Flour - Daisy Flour, 50 miles
Sweet Potato - Calvert Farm CSA
Butter - Lancaster, PA, 50 miles
Yeast - Not local

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


OK, I made the socks using this pattern: They were pretty quick and easy to make, taking less than an hour per sock. I made them very loose because my plan was to felt them. It I had used thicker yarn they would have turned out perfect. These socks even have a turned heel! No tube socks here.

Here they are prior to felting, you can tell they are a loose knit and pretty big, this is on purpose since felting shrinks things up.

And boy does felting shrink things up!! This was my first time felting and I over did it. The socks are now tiny! But felting is so cool, I loved watching the process.

So I learned making socks on the Knifty Knitter, pretty easy. Felting socks, maybe not the best idea. I'm now working on a purse I will felt and I'll make socks again with a thicker yarn and not felt them.

I'm loving this Knifty Knitter thing so much! I made another hat that I donated to a hat drive at my work and I have plans for a number of other projects.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Check it out

I decided if I'm going to raise sheep I should learn to knit. However, I am terrible at keeping the tension even so I decided to try one of those Knifty Knitter looms. It is so easy and quick! In less than 2 hours I made this:

A hat! I'm so jazzed about this. I'm working on socks now that I'm going to felt, I've never done felting either so it should be an adventure.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Local Thanksgiving and DDW Week 6

We managed to have a mostly local Thanksgiving! All the main ingredients were local with most of the support ingredients being not local. I'm counting it as our week 6 meal since we will be eating it for the next 3 days and nothing else is going to get cooked.

We started with butternut squash soup for lunch. The butternut and bacon were local. The onion and thyme weren't. I haven't been able to find local onions anywhere, the drought really knocked them out. This soup was glorious, even Mark who claims to not like butternut squash soup loved it!

For dinner, we had a local turkey from Locust Point Farm. We had to wait in line for over 30 minutes to pick it up. I was thrilled to see so many people eating a local turkey this year!

Everything on this plate is local. The corn was frozen back in August. The sweet potatoes were given to us by the CSA. And we already talked about the turkey. Not local is all the herbs and spices except the rosemary, which came from my backyard.

I also made whole wheat rolls using Farm mom's recipe using local Daisy flour and a local egg. The yeast and sugar were not local.

For dessert we had blackberry crisp with blackberries Logan and I picked and froze in July. The flour in the crisp was local, but the sugar and oats were not. I failed to get a picture of this, it was gone too fast!

I would put this meal at 75% local, maybe higher depending on if you do it by volume of the ingredients or just number of ingredients. We had quite a few non-local ingredients but they were all the spices, herbs and back up stuff, all used in small amounts. All the main ingredients were local.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sewing triumph

I made a vest for Logan, which isn't hard in itself, but I added pockets and a zipper! This is the first time I've done pockets or zippers. It doesn't look great but I'm proud of myself! This opens up so many more options now.
I also made a hat for Logan. Again it didn't turn out great but it fits and he likes it. Mark actually thought I had bought the hat which was so cool! The way I ended up cutting the fabric none of the designs ended up in the hat. Duh.

Today was a big sewing day, I finally finished the last 2 pairs of pants I've been needing to make for Logan. He finally has some pants that fit! He is at an in between size where 6/7 is too small and 8/10 is WAY too big. So he will be wearing handmade pants all winter. I still have a bunch of Christmas presents to sew, but that will be another day. Right now, I'm hungry.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

DDW - Week 5

This week we had salad, barbeque chicken breast, and roasted winter veggies.

The breakdown:

Salad Mix, red cabbage - CSA, Calvert Farm, 15 miles
Chicken Breast - Locust Point Farm, 7 miles
Roasted Winter Veggies - Rutabaga, Carrots, Eggplant - CSA, Calvert Farm

Not Local:
Barbeque Sauce
Herbs on veggies

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Grain Mill

Logan and I went to a program recently where we did things like they did in Colonial days. One of the things we got to do was pick and grind corn to make corn meal. I then brought the corn meal home and made cornbread. It was so good! And that got me thinking how fun it would be to grind my own wheat (sometimes I have weird ideas of what fun is). I started looking at grain mills online and realized they are really expensive! So, I asked for one on freecycle and got one!

After cleaning it up some I decided to grind some wheat berries I got at the health food store. Here is the mill with some wheat berries in it and some that have been ground.

Unfortunately, I ran into some problems. The ground wheat was way too big! I turned the plates as close together as I could and still be able to turn the handle. And I was barely able to turn the handle, like it took 2 hands and I could do half a turn at a time before losing momentum. Anyway, even at the tightest I could get it, my "flour" looked like this.

The grains are still way too big! I put it through a second time but it still pretty much looked like this. So, I decided to try making muffins with it. I was really excited about these muffins. They were going to have flour I ground myself. Pumpkin I picked and cooked myself. And applesauce I made myself from apples I picked myself. I was feeling all self-sufficient and proud.

But the muffins were unedible. They never cooked all the way through and tasted funny. My guess is the "flour" didn't absorb the moisture since it was such a coarse ground so the muffins never cooked.

So, I'm not sure what to do. Should I get another grain mill? Just try putting the berries through many times? Give up completely and stick with commercial flour?

If anyone with grain mill experience has any advice I'd love to hear it! I'm at a loss right now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sweet Potato Bread (again)

I've seen a lot of requests for sweet potato bread recipes lately. I realize most recipes are the sweeter, cakier type of bread, but I have a recipe for a sandwich bread made with yeast, so I thought I'd repost it. This recipe has been posted before so ignore this post if you've already seen it.

This bread was incredible! It was by far the best bread I've made and the loaf was gone that night. We've never eaten a whole loaf of bread in 1 night! It was sweet and moist, just perfect. I would highly recommend making this bread. And it was one of the easier one's I've made. I'm going to try making it into rolls for Thanksgiving.

Sweet Potato Bread

water - 1 cup

Unbleached white flour - 1 3/4 cup

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour - 1 cup

Instant Yeast - 1 tsp

mashed sweet potatoes - 3/4 cup

softened butter - 1 tablespoons

Unbleached white flour - 1/2 cup

salt 1/2 TBS

I peeled and boiled the sweet potatoes until they were falling apart and then I mashed them with a fork. My cup of water came from the pot I boiled the sweet potatoes in.

In mixing bowl, combine water, potatoes, yeast and 1 3/4 cups white flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour and mix until well combined.

Add the butter and mix until it is integrated into dough. The dough will still be very soft.

Cover and let rest on the counter for 20 minutes.

Add the salt to the dough and spread the 1/2 cup flour on the counter and knead the dough for 4-5 minutes, adding more flour if needed.

Roll the dough in flour, put it in a clean bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk (about an hour).

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured counter and shape the loaf.

Grease the loaf pan.

Put the shaped loaf in the pan and let rise until doubled in bulk (about an hour).

Preheat oven to 375°f .

Bake bread for 35 minutes or until golden brown (~195°f).

Turn out of pan onto cooling rack for at least an hour.

Both of my rises took less than an hour (about 35 minutes) but it was 85 in the house (this was over the summer, I haven't made this bread since it got cold).

We also didn't let the bread cool an hour before eating. We couldn't wait that long.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cold Frame

I recently got this on sale and got it set up just before the frost came. I don't know how well it will work since my plants are all in containers but I thought I'd give it a try here and I know it will come in handy once we move. I figured if nothing else it should help some of my potted plants survive until spring, or at least be better than just leaving them sitting out which is what I was going to do.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

DDW - Week 4

This week we had oven fried chicken, sauteed swiss chard and steamed brocolli.


Chicken - Locust Point Farm

Flour - Daisy Flour

Swiss Chard - CSA

Pinenuts - Not local

Brocolli - CSA

Spices - Not Local

The brocolli was getting old, but it still tasted pretty good. I liked the sauteed swiss chard but Mark did not.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sweet potatoes

I harvested my sweet potatoes the other day and thought it would be fun to look back over the development of these guys.

I started my sweet potatoes by growing slips from an organic sweet potato I bought at the store. I got many slips.

However, only 1 slip actually survived planting, here it is shortly after being planted.

It grew quickly and made beautiful flowers. At one point it was overflowing the pot and trying to take over the deck! This is what it looked like the day I harvested. You can see a sweet potato coming up out of the dirt.
My harvest from 1 slip. I have no idea if this is a good harvest from 1 plant but I was happy with it.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


These are the last 2 weeks of CSA shares.

The CSA thing has been interesting. Overall, I've enjoyed it. It is fun to see what we are going to get every week and we've gotten a lot of new things (for us). I have felt a lot of pressure to figure out what to do with everything we get. Some of the things I've really been stuck on. I've discovered that Mark is pretty picky on how he will eat veggies, they can't be soft at all!

When I read the description for this fall CSA they said it would be things like potatoes, brocolli, sweet potatoes, califlower, your traditional fall veggies. Of those things, brocolli is the only one we've gotten. I will admit to be disappointed by that because we really like all those fall veggies here, much more than the traditional summer ones. We are getting so many greens and I didn't expect that from a fall CSA, but I should have now that I know greens love the fall.

I'm not sure if I would do a CSA again, we really are just too limited in what we like. I think we are better off growing it ourselves or visiting the farmers market and getting exactly what we want and will eat. I hate to admit some things have ended up in the compost because it took me too long to figure out what to do with them.

Friday, November 2, 2007

DDW-Week 3

This week we had pork and fiesta cabbage en escabeche wraps.

Pork chop: Locust Point Farm - 7 miles
Cabbage - Calvert Farm CSA - 15 miles
Red onion - not local
Red bell pepper - Calvert Farm CSA
Hot pepper - Calvert Farm CSA
Olive oil - not local
Balsamic vinegar - not local
Spices - not local
Whole Wheat tortillas - 85 miles

I love this site

If you are anything like me you are suddenly being bombarded with catalogs that you don't want. I found a great webpage to opt out of these catalogs all online.

You search for the catalog you don't want to receive anymore, put in your customer number and that is it! Much faster and easier than calling each catalog individually.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Secret Chocolate Cake

The picture I posted yesterday is of Secret Chocolate Cake from Simply in Season. It is very good and moist! I know it makes me a non-purist to use my veggies to make cake, but Mark (the husband) doesn't like many veggies cooked. Especially if they get soft when cooked. So, I was really struggling with how to make the beets and decided to try this first. If we get more from the CSA I'll cook them and eat them straight.

So, here is the recipe if you don't have the book. And if you don't have the book, you should! It is the best in season type of cookbook I've looked at. I checked many of them out of the library but this is the one I bought.

This is the recipe as written in the book with my changes in parenthesis:

2 cups beets (cooked, peeled (I didn't peel them) and chopped)
1/2 cup applesauce (I used my homemade and canned applesauce)
Puree until smooth, set aside.

1 1/2 cups sugar (I used 1 cup)
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used chocolate yogurt)
3 eggs
Combine in large mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes

1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Add along with pureed beets, beat for another 90 seconds

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat for all the flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Gradually sift into the batter, mixing it with a spoon until just blended

1/2 cup chocolate chips
Stir in

Pour into 9X13 inch baking pan. Cook at 350 F 40-50 minutes, until knife comes out clean.