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Sprouting Onions

When the inevitable happens and your storage onions sprout

Onions are cheap in the grocery store. And according to the Environmental Working Group’s annual list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15, they have very little pesticide residue, even when you don’t buy organic.

So why do I love growing my own onions? It’s hard to say exactly. But they are such a staple. They are used as the base in about a gazillion recipes, either as Mirepoix (2 part onion, 1 part celery, 1 part carrot) or the Holy Trinity in Cajun/Creole cooking (equal parts onions, celery and green bell pepper), or Sofrito in Spanish heritage cooking (onions, garlic, and…well, it depends on the region, but often tomato and peppers). Having a larder of winter storage onions at the end of the harvest season just makes me feel like no matter what the world throws at me, at least I can feed myself well, and inexpensively, if I have onions to start with. Read the rest of this entry »

Close up of Ground Ivy Flower

Ground Ivy, aka Creeping Charlie, Glechoma hederacea.

So a few days ago, I was wandering around in the yard, enjoying spring unfolding, and suddenly noticed this low growing plant with small blue flowers growing under and around one of our backyard willow trees. The area had a bee hive on it last year, and whatever the plant was, I had never noticed it before. Perhaps it come in on the bottom of the hive? Or maybe it just had a really good year last year and I was finally paying attention. Read the rest of this entry »

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18 lambs and counting…we have one ewe who hasn’t given birth

We try hard to not have our lambs until the weather warms up a bit here in Walla Walla. We don’t really have an enclosed barn for our ewes, just a few open ended horse stalls. And the ewes don’t want to be in a horse stall anyway. They want to be out in the far end of the field when they give birth. And catching ONE ewe right before she gives birth is nigh impossible on our farm. We want them to have as natural an experience as possible, keeping ourselves out of the picture and letting nature lead the way. But that means NOT having babies in January, when there is snow on the ground. Read the rest of this entry »

InstantPotDuo60

Six Quart Instant Pot Duo © Instant Pot

My husband bought me a six quart Instant Pot Duo60 for my birthday about a year ago, when it went on sale on Amazon. I’d started to see comments on them from fellow foodies, and I thought – slow cooker and pressure cooker and rice cooker? Sounds great! (Current number of reviews on Amazon: 26,925 with a 4 1/2 out of 5 star rating). This appliance is REALLY trendy right now. Whenever I mention I have one, I get asked about it. Read the rest of this entry »

ClayTestAllSamplesSome people exclusively use essential oils to scent their soaps. I don’t, for a couple of reasons. 1) They are medicinally active and you really need to know what you are doing to use them safely (see this post for more on essential oil safety). 2) They tend to be quite a bit more expensive than fragrance oils and your options are limited by price and availability (there just isn’t an essential oil that smells like coconut or pears, for instance). 3) Often times, the scent tends to fade rather quickly in your bar. That grapefruit essential oil soap that smelled amazing when you cut it six weeks ago? Three months in it now smells like, well, soap. I DO have several all essential oil soap offerings though (Lavender-Lemon, Fresh Lemon, Rosemary Mint and Peppermint, and occasional seasonal mixes like Orange-Patchouli), and am always looking for new combinations to try that won’t break the bank and will hold up over time.

When the “how do I get essential oils to stick in my soap” question comes up in soap making groups, the answer from the soaping brain trust is almost always “use clay to anchor the scent”. I’ve seen it repeated over and over and over in the last 8 years. And so I started asking, has anyone ever done a side by side comparison with and without clay? And the answer was almost always no, or an anecdotal “I can tell the difference”. Read the rest of this entry »

DrOz3DaySo, if you know me at all, you know I’m not one to go in for fad diets or super trendy detox fasts. Because, well, science. Read the rest of this entry »

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So we try to get away from the farm for a bit every winter, before we start having lambs and need to tend to greenhouse seedlings. The criteria for our destination is simple. It needs to be warm, culturally interesting, and someplace we haven’t been. This year we chose Los Angeles.

Los Angeles! Literally every time we told someone that’s where we were going, they looked at us like we were nuts, and said, “why”.

Here’s what we liked about LA. Read the rest of this entry »

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Seriously. This just makes me happy.

It’s January, and my mail box is groaning with the weight of seed catalogs. Normally, I’ve inventoried my seeds by now and have put in an order (Fedco, Johnny’s and Seed Savers Exchange are my go-to seed sources). But this year I’ve been catching up on bookkeeping instead. Oh the joys of owning a small business.

But as I flip through the catalogs, I almost always turn to the pepper pages first. You see, I love peppers. All kinds of peppers. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you already know this. At least 17 of the recipes listed on the recipe tab of this blog contain peppers, NOT including the spice mixes. Was there ever one vegetable that was so versatile to the homestead? That has SO many uses, not to mention being a nutritional powerhouse (hello vitamin A, C, B6, E and Folate? My top two things to grow are tomatoes and peppers, but if I had to pick only one, it would be peppers. Read the rest of this entry »

IceStormSo, I’m not much into the holidays. If it were up to me, I’d leave the country the day after Thanksgiving (which is my high holy day because, ahem, it’s all about the food and company) and go someplace warm until March 1st, and just skip the whole debate about whether we should put Christ back in Christmas. (If this holiday has significant religious meaning to you, I genuinely respect that. I’ve read some really moving pieces on the four weeks of Advent this year. Just leave me out of your “lets see how far we can get people to share this” messenger messages.) Read the rest of this entry »

HawthornInFallWell, here it is December. Whew. What just happened?

I had my last farmers market October 28th. Phew. Always a huge milestone to finish up with that full 6 month stretch of every Friday/Saturday markets. Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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