Crazy days and a cool veg

I do believe spring has finally arrived and it has ushered in a faster pace of life and a whole new level of craziness around here. The last snowman has been made…hopefully!

IMG_1846-blog

Yard cleanup has commenced. Oh yes, my heroes!

IMG_1890-blogIMG_1891-blog

A new generation of gardener is in training…okay, maybe we’ll give this one another year or two!

IMG_1848-blog

The greenhouse is full of beautiful little plants holding the promise of beauty and deliciousness.

Easter 2013 and baby plants 008-blog

And daily, more tiny starts are moved from the depths of our basement up to the bright light of the greenhouse where they pause for a few days before being tucked into their final homes in the garden.

Easter 2013 and baby plants 010-blog

Every year I eagerly await the first tasty morsels from our gardens and this year one of the first things that will be available is kale, which is the “cool” vegetable of the year. If you ever peruse recipes via blogs, magazines, or Pinterest, you may have noticed that kale is EVERYWHERE. We Americans like to latch onto trendy foods and it appears that this is the year for kale. I can’t think of a more deserving vegetable! It’s easy to grow, good for you and can be used in so many different ways. If you’ve every wondered what in the world to do with kale here’s a recipe to get you started. It’s main ingredient is quinoa, another cool food right now, so serving this dish should really elevate you in the culinary ranks.

IMG_1827

 

Quinoa and Kale Patties

1 c. quinoa rinsed, cooked with 2 c water and cooled to room temperature (2 1/2 c. cooked)

4 eggs whisked

1/3 c Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

3 spring onions, sliced thin

3 cloves garlic minced

1/2 t salt

1 c. steamed kale, drained and chopped

1 c bread crumbs

Mix all ingredients and let sit for a few minutes to absorb the moisture.

Heat 1 t olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Form small patties out of the mixture and cook until lightly browned on both sides. Serve with any of the following:

-avacado

-lemon juice

-cilantro

-sea salt

-salsa

Any leftovers can easily be reheated on the stove top.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Bluebird Nursery

Oh, can I please have one of each?!

IMG_1634-blog

Samantha accompanied me today on my annual pilgrimage to Bluebird Nursery in Clarkson, NE.

IMG_1633-blog

It took some serious willpower to not go home with a truckload of these beauties!

IMG_1637-blog

IMG_1638-blog

IMG_1635-blog

IMG_1636-blog

We did end up with a few flats of loveliness that will, in time, make it into our bouquets. Stay tuned!

Some beauty in our fall gardens

Well, it’s officially fall now and we’ve experienced our first light frost. It’s always sad to see the heat loving summer plants go (I’m already missing you basil…sniff, sniff) but we’re relishing in the abundance of beautiful fall crops (hello cilantro!) With shorter days and cooler temps, everything seems to perk up and colors become more intense. At our local market people often comment on how beautiful our yard must be, as if we live in some wondrous Shangri-La. After my kids get over their fits of snorting and giggling, I politely explain that most everything that is beautiful is at market and that our little farm isn’t all that gorgeous.  One of the hazards of being self employed at home is that there is always work around me just begging to be done and I tend to focus on that work and not the beauty. So, a couple days ago, I decided to ignore the voices in my head and grabbed the camera and set out to see just beauty.

I think Tom Thumb lettuce has to be one of the prettiest things we grow and it has the side benefit of being mighty tasty!

 

The zinnias perished with the frost but the roses continue to bloom.

I’m watching these brussels sprouts carefully as we rarely get our timing down correctly in order to get a good crop. Most years we get brussels peas!

The winter storage cabbages are starting to form heads and they relish the cold weather so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll make it.

The arugula and beets in the tunnel are coming along nicely and I’m looking forward to roasted beets come cold winter days. Too bad I’m allergic to arugula as I really love it.

 

This lovely rose, Mon Petite Chou (My Little Cabbage) is my favorite!

The bees are busily storing up for winter.

This solidago, Fireworks, is magnificent!

Although the plants aren’t so pretty, the tomatoes in the tunnel continue crank out lovely fruits.

After a long, hot and dry summer, I love the look of fresh new crops developing. These tiny carrots are growing by leaps and bounds and will feed our family nicely this winter.

These much underrated marigolds have been real workhorses this summer, producing buckets of stems every week.

The cooler it’s gotten, the brighter this celosia has become.

One of the final lilies of the summer.

Isn’t it wonderful how a camera can focus on just the lovely? I think I’ll try looking with a camera’s eye more often!