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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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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 »

The gangs all here

From left to right, Butters, Kirby and Malcolm, in a moment of harmony.

Last week, our cat Malcolm didn’t show up to come in for breakfast. He had been a bit whiny for the last few days. I couldn’t remember when I had last seen him the day before (the cats have a cat door so they can let themselves out – but not back in, after one too many live mice in the house incidents). I called for him and searched the yard, but almost immediately suspected he was gone. He’s spent most of his time in the past almost 7 years either eating, sleeping near me or sitting in my lap. He was always the first one to came in for breakfast, if he even went out at all. Read the rest of this entry »

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Babies!!!!

We generally like to have our American Blackbelly Ewes give birth in March. The weather has warmed up enough by then that we don’t need to worry so much about a newborn getting chilled, or mama being stressed enough that she decides she doesn’t want another mouth to feed. Because sheep have a 5 month gestation, that means that we put our ram in with our ewes in early October.

But not last year. Kenny, our beautiful ram, had only one fence between him and his girlfriends, and he had been pining after them for MONTHS, and so he promptly rammed his rather substantial head and horns against an inadequate wooden fence post until he broke the post. That, along with the bottom of the fence not being well attached, and in he went with his girls in early September. Read the rest of this entry »

Fall LeavesWow. These last few months just FLEW by. I did my last farmers market of the season on October 29th. I did my first market of the season on April 30th. We got rained out of four. (Because all of my soap and jam labels are paper, rainy markets and I don’t mix. Even though I’m under a tent, its almost impossible to keep everything dry.) We took one additional Saturday off. So I did a total of 47 market days, in four different locations, this year. My sales were up about 40%, so the move into the Pendleton and Richland markets was a good one, even though the first year at a new market is always about building your brand and customer base with the locals. I attribute a large part of the increase to my being able to offer jams throughout the year. Jams were about 27% of my sales this year. Mostly, I am thrilled to be finished. I’ve been pretty darned brain dead these last few weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

Magic Manna Flour Corn Harvest

Magic Manna Flour Corn

When a farmer says corn, no doubt the first thing that comes into your head is sweet corn, dripping with butter, maybe hot off the grill. I know that’s what I think of. But corn has a long and fascinating history. Corn is thought to have been domesticated at least 7,000 years ago, somewhere in central Mexico, from a wild grass called Teosinte. Modern day corn is a plant that literally can not survive without human input, as it needs to be planted and harvested by us in order to continue. It is (or was) a crop with huge genetic diversity. The US Department of Agriculture’s Plant Introduction Station in Ames, Iowa holds 19,780 different samples or “accessions” of corn from around the world. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_20160920_143854353_HDRwatermarkWhen I first started canning, I’d get overwhelmed with a particular item of produce that was available in abundance, and thumb through my canning books looking for recipes that used that fruit or vegetable. For instance, I once had an abundance of peaches, and had already canned plenty of them, so I made peach chutney. The problem? We don’t really eat chutney (this recipe excepted). So it languished on the shelf, beautiful but unwanted, and eventually, several years later, I opened the jars and fed it to the chickens. Read the rest of this entry »

Pineapple WeedThis one comes with a memory. I went to elementary/junior-high/high school in a small town in northern California. This was before the trend to make “middle school” sixth, seventh and eighth grade, so we had a sixth grade graduation, then went to junior high for two years, had had an eighth grade graduation, and went on to high school. The junior high and the high school were in the same building, and my graduating class in high school was about 40 kids. It was a very small town. Read the rest of this entry »

Hobbit Hound Charlie

Because Charlie has such big feet, my husband has started calling him the “Hobbit Hound”.

So, the Saturday downtown farmers market started April 30th, and I’ve started attending the Pendleton market on the 2nd and 4th Friday evenings of the month, starting May 13th. Both have been very successful so far. May is always a good month for markets! Come down and see me. Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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