The farm has been busy this spring. The first crop of lambs has sold, we had a road pushed around our woods and now the garden season is upon us.
Early in the winter, the sheep shed was cleaned and the spent bedding was spread over the garden plot. Boone turned over the ground in early spring. When it was time to plant he did the tilling while I got all the supplies together – the seed planter, seeds, eggshells I had been saving, and a few plants that I had bought. Boone had started tomato plants under a row cover a month previous so they were ready to transplant.
This is a seeder that an gentleman in our neighborhood gifted us with when he gave up gardening a few years back. He enjoyed much produce from us in return for his kindness. The seeder is the handiest thing ever as it saves our backs from bending over to plant.
There are different discs sized for beans, carrots, peas, spinach, etc. The only kind of seeds it does not handle are melon seeds due to their shape I suppose.
First, you select the disc you need then pour in the seeds. See those little cups along the edge? They pick up the seed, then there is a little plow down behind the front wheel that digs a trench, the seed drops out and a chain drags soil to cover it up. So nifty. Son Josh came out to help so we made short work of the planting. The eggshells were scattered around the tomato and pepper plants to keep slugs and cutworms from getting to the plants.
What we have planted so far:
Cantaloupe – eat fresh
Crimson Sweet watermelon – eat fresh and for beverages
Green, red, and yellow bell peppers – eat fresh, freeze
Now that the holidays are over, this is the time of year I start planning….planning on what to put in the garden this spring, where to go camping, what farm/house projects to tackle, and more. From now until around March, Kentucky is normally too cold and raw to do much outside so I sit inside and make lists and plan for warmer days.
Boone is working on putting a woodstove and more lighting in the garage so we can tackle small projects in the evenings in relative comfort. I have already got the Small Project list going: painting lamps, finishing a covered headboard, and painting tins to name a few. The first thing to tackle is the garage itself. Being on a farm brings lots of mud, tools that need sharpening, empty canning jars, feed sacks and such to the garage. It is a catch all for just dropping things off that we will get to later.
The big snow storm left us with around 20” of snow. We were lucky in that we did not lose power. It was hard getting out to feed but we got all the animals taken care.
If you are a gardener like me, then you are always looking for new ways to use the bounty. Pickled bell peppers is a great way to use up some of your garden peppers or if you do not garden stock up on peppers when the prices drop during the summer. They can be sliced and frozen and then used as needed. Peppers are one of my most used vegetables during the year.
No. 1 son recently located from Chicago to Charlotte and stayed with us in between for a few months. I keep many bags of sliced red, yellow and green peppers in the freezer and noticed some canning jars of yellow peppers popped up in the refrigerator. When I asked about them my husband and younger son thought I had made them and proceeded to tell me how good they were and that they were eating them like crazy. Turns out No. 1 came across this recipe from Simply Scratch and adapted it using yellow bell peppers.
No. 1 son relocated, the peppers ran out and my husband has been asking if I could make more. They’ve been on my to-make list and with chicken fajitas planned for one of our weekend dinners I made a batch of the peppers to go with them. They were an excellent addition and give a bit of a bite to the mix. In addition, they would be great chopped up in potato or macaroni salad or on pizza. As mentioned before, the guys in the house love them on subs, burgers and just about any sandwich that includes meat.
Wonderfully tangy peppers. Great for Italian subs, pizza, fajitas, sandwiches, salads and much more.
Author: Adapted from Simply Scratch for Bell Peppers
Serves: 3 half pints
4 large bell peppers, any color (I used red and yellow)
3 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
2 tbsp. Kosher salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1 garlic clove, smashed per jar my garlic was very strong so I only used a ⅓ of a clove in each jar
Canning jars I used 3 half pint wide mouth jelly jars because it’s what I had on hand. How many jars needed will depend on the size of the peppers
In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine the vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil to make sure the salt and sugar dissolve. Set aside to cool.
Rinse, dry and slice the peppers to your thickness preference, avoiding the seeds.
Put a bit of smashed garlic in the bottom of each clean jar, then put the sliced peppers in. Really pack them in there leaving a room at the top so they can be covered completely by the vinegar mix.
When the vinegar mixture is cool, pour over the jarred peppers. Top with canning lid and ring and into the frig they go! They need a day or so before you start eating them. It’s hard to say how long they will last as the first batch was gone within a couple of weeks.
The recipe can be halved if you want to start with a smaller amount to try them out.
Husband and I left Kentucky on a Friday morning and rolled into the Nashville, TN flea market around noon. The flea market is held one weekend a month and is free to the public but there is a $5.00 parking fee.
It was hot as blazes with the temp at 99°. We found a nice shady spot to park under a tree. Being that the flea market is located at the Nashville Speedway and Fairgrounds there are quite a few buildings that you can step into and cool off. This flea market is said to be in the top 10 in the nation size wise. It was certainly large. We stayed for a few hours on Friday afternoon going through the vendor booths that were located inside.
Saturday morning we got there right after they opened as we anticipated the crowd to be much larger on the weekend. I purchased 4 cute and surprisingly sturdy folding chairs for camping that I need to paint and reupholster. We didn’t really have anything in particular in mind to purchase so we just browsed and talked to a lot of people. Everyone was very friendly and mostly willing to dicker on the prices. For the flea market schedule go here: Nashville Flea Market dates. We plan on going back in the fall!
For a long time I have used a few simple items to clean with such as baking soda used as a soft scrub in the bathroom and lemon oil to polish wood furniture but I’ve never made an all-purpose cleaner. So, about a year ago I started searching online for a recipe and found an orange cleaner that I really like. Being a major fruit lover, I am all about the citrus; I love to eat it, smell it, wear the colors of it. The recipes I found call for soaking dried peels in vinegar for a week or so. I’ve been making it regularly and really like it.
Well, this past weekend I was cleaning out my laundry area and found a jar of orange peels that had been soaking for going on two months. Way past time to mix up some cleaner so after straining, I added essential oil to enhance the smell even more and added a couple of drops of dish detergent just to give it a bit of oomph. This stuff is really good! It cleaned up a greasy stove top easily and smelled nice to boot.
15 drops or so of Tangerine or other essential oil, optional
Save peels from oranges, lemons or citrus fruit of your choice. Dry in sunny place such as a window sill. Pack into a quart jar and top with white vinegar. Store in dark area such as a closet for at least a month. Strain, saving liquid. Pour into a clean spray bottle, add 2 squirts of dish detergent and about 15 drops of essential oil if desired. Shake to mix.