Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stuart who?

 Stuart found this great book through the territorial seed catalog and it is AWESOME.  There are a few disturbing images in it, such as how to debeak a chicken and skin a groundhog, but the recipes are fantastic.  Barbecued possum?  Mmmm, mmmm.  It has all kinds of very useful info---growing lotus flowers, raising game birds, building pole sheds, making bluebird houses, canning, making grapevine wreaths.  This year I'm going to try to make our grapevine wreaths for the dried flower arrangements.  No more $2 wreaths from China.  
Since Stuart and I have quit talking to one another since basketball season has heated up, things have been more difficult around here.  The under the breath utterances and curses on UNC from Stuart, the very bad imitations of Hansbrough breathing through his mouth---it's all gotten out of control.  And as the sight of Paulus trying to orchestrate his team to the sickening sounds of the cameron crazies while glancing over his shoulder for the approval of the coaches makes me want to have my stomach pumped, we have decided to just avoid one another for awhile until things cool off.  Some great news from Florida is that Stuart's sister Randle has successfully birthed her third child, and it's a BOY!  Thomas Ransom Emmrich, and I'm sure he's going to be awesome, despite the fact he's born a Duke fan.  Congratulations Randle, Martin, Ella, Claire and Tanq for the new addition.  We can't wait to meet him.      

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hoophouse, mushrooms, and tulips

We have been going to market now for four weeks with produce and flowers from the hoophouse.  This weekend we will have beautiful turnips and broccoli raab as well as some salad mix.  Yesterday we planned out the hoophouse plantings through June.  It's really tricky trying to figure out what we can put in here when things get hot; we think we'll get a shade cloth if we can find one at a reasonable price cause if we have a hundred degree week like we did last June things are going to get fried.  
Stuart cut down some sweet gum trees yesterday after we realized we would need more logs for mushroom production.  We plugged oyster mushrooms yesterday and later this week we'll do the shitakes.  We're trying to have four times the amount we had last season.  Stuart built this great mushroom cultivation site behind our cooler where we'll set up a sprinkler system to keep the logs wet.
Here are some blue dolphin tree oyster mushroom plugs.  You just drill an inch hole every four inches into a log then hammer in one of these plugs.  This strain was particularly heavy in mycelium growth.  
This is a picture of bad anemone blooms.  So sad, I know.  The week it got down to 3 degrees here ruined so many of these blooms---I only single covered them and now I know they need a double cover for those temps.  Live and learn.  Luckily the tulips have started coming on.  My favorite bloom right now.  Next year we'll do some parrot tulips for something different, even though the bulbs are outrageously priced.  

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Documentary Pictures

Here are some photos from last season. Claire McGarry, a UNC senior, did a photo-documentary of our farm and we really enjoyed both her and the photos. Hope you all enjoy them as well! Also, we hope everyone had a great Valentines Day. Stuart and I went to Panciuto for dinner and we are now able to add another surreal dining experience to our memory archives. Fried oysters in a layer of arugula over beef tenderloin carpaccio......pork chop with a marinade and rich delicacy of taste that had Stuart gnawing at the bone to make sure he got every bite possible....triggerfish cooked to perfection with slivers of fried onions on top....and much, much more. If you have never been to Panciuto, we urge you to go. Hats off to Vandemark, we pin him blue ribbon chef of the triangle for not only his mad cooking skills, but also his support of local farmers. Sometimes I have the vain notion that I can cook, and then after a dinner like last night, I am but a meek mouse fiddling with stale cheese and bread.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Market Goodies

We are trying very hard to have some flowers for the big Valentine's Day right around the corner that happens to fall on a Saturday.  What better gift for a loved one than a Bluebird Meadows bouquet?  I think only chocolate, coffee, good poetry, a dinner at Panciuto, or a UNC victory over Duke could compare.  The amaryllis are just starting to bloom, so hopefully we will have around 10-15 stems of those.  I admit they are one of my favorites as their bloom is spectacular with 4 flowers per stem and a killa vase life.  We could quite possible have red tulips as well, tulips being another flower favorite.  They're looking like they might make it if we have enough sunny days between now and V-tines day---this Sat. is forecast for 67, Sunday for 70.  I think it's gonna happen.