A Week or Two in Pictures (3/27-4/10)

I’m starting this post out with a picture of my lovely girls enjoying a treat block. That block sure didn’t last long but we had fun watching them attack it! I like to give them a treat every now and then. Usually we just let them feast on the scraps we throw out from our chicken (ends of cucumber, carrot peels, etc) in addition to the layer pellets/corn we toss out.

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I planted an Ichiban eggplant in my garden bed. I love eggplant though and hope to pick up at least another variety to add to my bed. A great way to use up eggplant is to make Baba Ghanoush – it is delicious!

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My pineberries are looking good in my garden bed. Thankfully the recent burst of cold weather did not phase them as I see little berries forming! I’m awaiting on some Old North Sea strawberry plants to arrive from Baker Creek seeds any day.

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We potted up a bunch of plants for the front porch. One contains herbs I started last year (lemongrass, chives, thyme, parsley), one contains violas, two contain a mixture of Rainbow Chard and Brussels Sprouts. There’s a rosemary lurking in the back (along with my Belle watching me from inside the house, she’s never far from me). The red pot and the pot in the middle contain shallots that I got from my grandfather’s house – apparently they’ve been passed down for a few generations!

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On these pretty evenings, we’ve been working with the dogs a lot more than usual. It helps Belle run off some energy and it helps Jake (Robb’s dog) stay in shape for when duck hunting season rolls around.
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The peach tree (located within our chicken coop) is doing fabulous. I’m glad that the cold weather didn’t damage it either. I love a fresh, juicy peach picked while still warm from the sun.

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My comfrey is rocking it! I like to use it in products that I make for The Southern Belle’s Garden. In fact, most of the herbs I use I actually grow myself.

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We went for a walk on Sunday. Robb wanted to check on a couple of potential turkey hunting spots. Though he really didn’t see what he was looking for, we did spook up a couple of deer and I found my first ever shed antler! Okay, so really Robb found it but only because he was walking in front of me!

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All in all, it’s been a good couple of weeks! The next few weeks will fly by though and I don’t know how many pictures I’ll be able to snag! I enjoy letting you all have these little peeks into my life (plus it helps me remember to jot down information in my garden journal) and I hope you enjoy them as well!

A Week or Two in Pictures (3/12 – 3/27)

We started the week off with a gorgeous – HUGE – full moon.

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After a bout of cool weather, Spring hit and the temperatures have been lurking somewhere about the 50-60° range. It’s been so warm that I’ve moved my seedlings outside along with my citrus trees.

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One of my lemon trees has been doing especially well and is covered with sweet smelling blooms. I attempted to hand pollinate some of the blooms but after moving it outside, I’m hoping that the bees will take over the job for me. I just realized yesterday that I had an orange tree. My citruses were all left at mom’s for the year or so I was transitioning to Robb’s house and included a lime tree. One tree died and I was so certain it was the orange. I was sad to discover that it was my lime!

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Robb and I went down to the beach last weekend and had a great time, depsite the rain. We ate at Two Roads Tavern, picked up donuts from Duck Donuts, and had a fun time at the Manteo Aquarium. For more of a recap and a review of Two Roads Tavern, visit The Edible Coast.

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This past Sunday was a great day for outside chores. We messed with the chicken coop (the chickens received new straw under the coop and new pine shavings inside of the coop), planted Swiss Chard and Brussels Sprouts, and generally enjoyed the good weather.

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Our newest chicken, Ipsy, is the chicken on the left hand side (below photo). She is a Silver Laced Wyandotte and as you can see, she is missing quite a few feathers on her backside from an overzealous rooster. Since I’ve brought her home, she has already put on a little more weight and I can see feathers starting to grow back.

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The straw from the chicken coop gets put into the garden to give the plants an extra boost.

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We officially listed our house for sale! We are going by the route of “for sale by owner” and I am confident that I can get the house sold. We are determined to move forward with finding a place with more space so we can grow our homestead.

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I tried to get a nice picture with Belle as we were all relaxing on Sunday, this is the one that came out the best. She saw the camera and just started acting like a diva.

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I decided to make fish tacos on Sunday, so I made a fresh pico de gallo. Unfortunately none of the produce was from our garden but hopefully the next time I make it – it will have all homegrown items (except for lime… sadly).

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Our delicious Alaskan halibut tacos with cilantro, pico de gallo, coleslaw, and a lime crema. What a great end to a busy weekend!

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A Week or Two in Pictures (3/4 – 3/12)

The past couple of weeks have been busy! The weather has been halfway decent (up until this week) so Robb and I were able to get out in the yard. In between our yard work and housework, we made it a point to go see “Logan” in theaters (review) and I was able to make a pie in honor of Pi Day (recipe).

Since I love looking at pictures more than reading text sometimes, I thought I would make this primarily a photo post!

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Robb readied his part of the garden for broccoli and kale which we planted Saturday afternoon (I think).
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Broccoli plugs purchased from a local small business – they had just arrived that day and looked so nice and fresh.
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I started my pepper plants back in February – they are looking so good! I’ve never had such a high germination rate for peppers.
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My slightly messy looking beds – garlic is planted in one, onions in the other. The dogs, for some reason, like walking through my beds the most.
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Belle making sure I don’t go anywhere with her moose.
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I got up close and personal with my girls.
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I was gifted with 4 duck eggs at the Edenton Farmer’s Market. I’ve never cooked with duck eggs before but am debating a nice cake or custard maybe.

One thing not pictured is the new chicken I picked up on Saturday. She’s a Silver Laced Wyandotte (I named her Ipsy) that’s just starting to lay. She has a huge bald spot on her back from being bullied but I know that her feathers will grow back soon. She’s still checking things out in the coop but so far, everyone is getting along decently well. I’ll post of picture of her soon, once the weather warms up again and I can spend more time in the coop.

Fall Goals!

I love fall. I love how crisp and fresh the air becomes. I love being able to snuggle under a thick blanket to watch TV. I love being able to wear my flannel shirts and jeans (though I do stretch out wearing flip flops as long as possible). Between my upcoming trip to Alaska (!!!) and being booked for a show almost every weekend, this season is destined to fly by faster than I would like it to.

So I’ve developed a list of goals that I would like to accomplish during the fall season. Most are simple ones – no brainers – but a few tend to be a little more in depth.

  • Tan deer hide – This is my biggest goal. I’ve mentioned tanning a couple of times in the blog but haven’t done it yet. It’s almost time for Robb to kill and process a deer so if I want him to get me more hide – I need to get on the ball with what is in my freezer and start the process.
  • Make my own almond milk/discover uses for almond meal – It is amazing to me that I’ve gotten Robb to switch to almond milk. We actually both prefer the taste of it over regular milk now. The only issue is that store bought milk has so many additives added. I’ve been wanting to make my own almond milk for a while now and will be doing so this week.
  • Make homemade Skyr – Simply put, Skyr is a type of Icelandic yogurt. I had the opportunity to try some a few months ago during a cheese making course (used in a Mango Lassi) and I fell in love with the taste.
  • Keep my Etsy shop updated – If I ever want to make The Southern Belle’s Garden my living, I need to make it a habit to list items on a regular basis to my Etsy shop. I have a slew of nice items I’m developing for this holiday season and just need to carve out a chunk of time (maybe on Sundays) and make that my time to photograph and list the items. I also wouldn’t mind starting to post some of my photography for sell in my Etsy shop. I take hundreds of pictures every week and for the most part, keep them locked up on my memory card. Maybe it’s time to share them with others.
  • Get my garden planted for Winter – This is highest on my to-do list at the moment. I’ve slowly been working on it, but I wanted everything planted before I leave for Alaska. I pulled up my sweet potatoes the weekend and most of my pepper plants last week. I have planted my garlic and plan to plan onions this week (both for Spring harvest). We have broccoli planted, collards, lettuce, spinach – but I do want to have a few root vegetables tossed in as well. The okra and eggplant are still rapidly producing and the beans are almost ready to be picked.
  • Homemade flour tortillas – For some reason, I have become obsessed with the idea of making my own flour tortillas. Everything that I have read on the process leads me to believe that they are easy to make and the taste is out of this world. I thought that this might be a fun little weekend project when I finally have a free moment.

Do you have anything that you wish to accomplish this fall?

Heritage Harvest Festival (2 of 2)

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post detailing my adventures at the Heritage Harvest Festival at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. If you missed part one, please check it out.

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This is probably my favorite photo out of them all.
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TJ and I

For lunch, I ate at Gryffon’s Aerie (grass fed beef burger with aioli, arugula, local tomato) while my mom ate at Bada Bing (philly cheesesteak). My burger was absolutely delicious while mom’s cheesesteak had a nice heat to it. For dessert, we shared a refreshing popsicle from King of Pops (lemon basil). It was delicious (which I’ve had their popsicles a couple of times before in Atlanta).

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That afternoon, after leaving mom in a nice breezy spot, I went to watch Jeanine Davis’ presentation on Unusual Edible Plants & Fungi for Home Gardens. Fun fact: Jeanine is a horticulture extension specialist with North Carolina State University (my alma mater). Listening to her presentation made me want to try growing wasabi again and is making me very curious about the status of the ginseng I planted last fall. It was a great presentation and she brought lots of goodies – grey griselle shallots and Japanese hull less popcorn seeds for us to plant and a dried ramp spice rub (which smells delicious). I haven’t had the opportunity to try ramps before and am delighted experience them.

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We walked around, checking out some of the other sights – such as the farm animals. I love goats and cannot wait until I can have a goat of my own!

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Before we left, I made it a point to stop back by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and take advantage of their 3 for $5 seed packet special (and no shipping!). SESE is one of my favorite companies to order from every year, right next to Baker Creek. I went with some seeds that were on my wish list (White Sage, Tulsi Kapoor Holy Basil, German Chamomile, Resina Calendula, Carolina Gold Rice), a few that sounded interesting (Seminole Pumpkin – which Jeanine discussed in her workshop, Rouge d’Hiver Romaine, Monticello White Sesame), and one “practical” seed packet (Georgia Green Collards).

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My goodies.

Thank you to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation for making this a great weekend for my mother and I! I hope to come back again next year and encourage everyone to go at least once in their lifetime.

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For a review of several of the places I ate and stayed at – Virginia Diner, The Fitzroy, and the KOA Charlottesville – please check out The Edible Coast. My post on the KOA Charlottesville is currently up and the others will be added soon.