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.

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.

Heritage Harvest Festival! (1 of 2)

I finally made it to Monticello! I have been wanting to visit Monticello for years now and ended up going this weekend for the 10th Annual Heritage Harvest Festival. The Heritage Harvest Festival is this huge even

The first thing that you will notice when you arrive at the top of the mountain is the view. The view is gorgeous.

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The garden at Monticello is amazing. It is basically my dream garden. There were so many varieties of plants (many, like fish peppers, I identified by sight) that I could probably have simply explored the garden all day. I want to go back on a non-festival day and really browse the garden.I’m also jealous at the large amount of fig trees and the size of the orchard! One day…~!

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I’ve been wanting to grow these little peppers for a while now.
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This was such a neat idea for growing beans that I snapped a photo to share the idea with my boyfriend.

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The Tasting Tent seems to be the highlight of the event. We made our way around the tables for the Tomato, Melon, and Pepper tasting. There were so many different varieties that neither of us tasted every single product. We did have our favorites though – the main one being a tomato by the name of Nepal. I MUST have seeds for this one next growing season – it tasted like sugared tomatoes, that delicious touch of sweetness.

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The first cider we tried from Castle Hill Cider was a bit to dry for our taste (Levity), but the Serendipity was perfection. We both ended up purchasing a bottle of it. Back Pocket Provisions was at the top of my list of vendors that I wanted to check out. We tried all three of their Bloody Mary mixes (Bloody Brilliant, Bloody Bangkok, Bloody Baja) and decided that Bloody Brilliant was our favorite. We purchased 3 jars of it. I’m not a big Bloody Mary fan but I loved the taste of their mixes and even more so, I love that they use local farms for their tomatoes.

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American Heritage Chocolate

Barefoot Bucha was a bit hit with my mother and I as well. I love Kombucha but she has never tried it. We both tried the ginger kombucha, which we preferred over the Elderflower Sunrise. I ended up buying a 1/2 gallon of ginger. What is neat is that the container is refillable!

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I had been curious about Falling Bark Farm’s Hickory Syrup since I had heard about it. It is an interesting taste and though I didn’t buy any then, I later purchased a small jar from the shop at Carter’s Mountain Orchard. I have followed Farmstead Ferments on social media for a while and was thrilled to see them there. My mom and I tried the strawberry mint water kefir. It was both of our first times trying water kefir and we enjoyed how refreshing it tasted. When we went back to buy some later that day, they were out. :-/ What was really neat is that they had kombucha scoby’s for sale as well. I purchased a small jar of hand-harvested salt from J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works. There were several other food vendors we tasted – they were all delicious. The Peppermint Dark Chocolate Sauce from Willie Byrd was delicious and the sage vodka (?) was quite an interesting experience.

Part two will be posted tomorrow! 

For a review of the places I ate and stayed at – Virginia Diner, The Fitzroy, and the KOA Charlottesville – please check out The Edible Coast. The KOA Charlottesville is up and the other two will be up soon!

Garden Update 8/26: Or That Time I Chopped Down A Tree

So in my last garden post, I mentioned that I thought my apple trees were past the point of no return and needed to be cut down. Well, this weekend, mom and I ventured in to town and noticed that one of the stores had just brought out their selection of apple trees. In the pouring down rain – and I know people were wondering what is wrong with us – we stood out there picking out two trees: a Winesap and a Honeycrisp.

I also purchased an Arapaho Blackberry on sale from another shop (they had raspberries on sale as well, but they had thorns and I’m searching for thornless). After loading them all in the truck, we got home realizing that we should probably go ahead and cut down/burn our two infected apple trees. Only problem? All we have available to use was a pruning saw and an axe. Not an issue, I say. Let me tell you – if you have never cut down a tree by hand, I definitely recommend that you try it because you gain a lot of appreciation for our ancestors who built their homes out of hand cut logs. It was a job.

With mom helping *some*, I managed to cut down a tree on Saturday and the other on Sunday. My hands are still sore two days later. But you know what? I actually ended up enjoying it, though Saturday about broke me. It was hot and muggy that day, while Sunday was cooler with the occasional sprinkles of rain.

Chopping away.
Chopping away.
One down, one to go
One down, one to go
The blackberry is all nestled in to its spot, and I ended up planting the fig that I had potted up earlier in the year.
The blackberry is all nestled in to its spot, and I ended up planting the fig that I had potted up earlier in the year.
Pulled these today - mostly peppers are all that's left producing in the garden right now: Jalapenos, Cherry Tomatoes, Hot Cherry Peppers, Scotch Bonnets
Pulled these today – mostly peppers are all that’s left producing in the garden right now: Jalapenos, Cherry Tomatoes, Hot Cherry Peppers, Scotch Bonnets
Our newest additions to the yard. After these, I'm only allowed to plant one more fruit tree and I already know it will be an apricot.
Our newest additions to the yard. After these, I’m only allowed to plant one more fruit tree and I already know it will be an apricot.