Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Eggs, Eggs and More Eggs!

The girls are all finally laying now, so we have eggs coming out our ears, but we seem to have no problem eating them all at this point.  They're laying 4-5 per day now and many of them are double yolkers.  The two on the far right, both top and bottom, in the picture below are double yolks.  I wonder if they hurt a bit coming out?!  The Cocoo Marans lay the most beautiful dark chocolate eggs.  One chicken in particular lays a darker speckled brown beauties, so pretty.

We had issues with the chickens eating their eggs at first, yikes!  I asked folks over on TBUH and decided to take the advice of putting fake eggs in the nesting boxes, and it worked thank goodness.

Nice family shot I took the other day of the girls.  Rarely are they all facing the same direction!  They're hanging out on the cool little outdoor roost Ron built them. 

Today for the first time our Ameraucana laid this green beauty!  

How are the eggs going over on your homestead?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The "I Am An Urban Homesteader" t-shirts have arrived!

Months ago some of the urban homesteaders asked me for an urban homesteader t-shirt, and I finally got around to doing it!  I created this cute design and the American Apparel shirts are made in the USA by a small California company called Fibers.com.  They come in 100% cotton and organic and many styles and colors.  I make a small profit off of each t-shirt sold and will be donating a percentage of my sales to urban homesteading causes as the need arises.  The back of the shirt has the Take Back Urban Home-steading(s) fb page address on it.  So show your urban homesteading pride and buy an urban homesteading t-shirt!  I'll be adding designs as time goes on, so keep checking back and feel free to add suggestions for designs.  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cooked Zucchini Blossoms

I decided to be adventurous today and cook up some zucchini blossoms.  I've been hearing how delicious and gourmet they are for a long time, and now I know firsthand.  Thanks to all of the kind folks on Take Back Urban Home-steading(s) fb page for the advice on how to cook these. They're very easy to make:

First, pick male zucchini blossoms.  These will be the blossoms growing highest on the plant on the longer stems.  Be sure to leave one or two near a female blossom so they will continue to pollinate and produce zucchini.  Remove the stamen from the blossom, (it's bitter), and rinse.

Next brush egg on blossoms and roll in corn meal.  The first time I did this I brushed a bit too much egg on the blossoms and it drowned out the flavor, so be sure not to over do it with the egg.

Add a dash of salt, pepper and fresh garlic. 

Fry them with olive oil on medium heat for around five minutes, turning when one side is crispy brown.

The finished product!  The blossoms have a very delicate spicy taste and are so good!  I hear they can also be stuffed and fried which is my next cooking experiment. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Harvest

It seems like we're finally harvesting most of the summer crops we planted months ago!  I'm enjoying my daily lunch garden salad and dinners with fresh veggies from the garden.  There are still a few crops we're waiting on:  tomatoes, brussels sprouts, crooked neck squash and broccoli.  Other than that our little garden is producing loads of fresh veggies!

Thanks to the greenhouse we have cucumbers this year!!  So far we've harvested five, and I see more growing.  Cukes are my all time favorite veggie, and I noticed that home grown ones are much sweeter than store bought.  Ron explained to me that the sugars begin to break down once they're cut from the vine, so if you buy them at the store the sugar is minimal by the time you get it.  Another great reason for growing your own veggies!

Here is the first zucchini we harvested and promptly gave to one of our garden visitors.  More are coming and it looks like we have a great crop this year!  The crooked neck squash are well on their way as well.  

We put green bell peppers in the greenhouse and were elated when we saw them pop up.  They're just about ready to harvest now, yum!

We got quite the crop of red and white bulb onions this year.  We're letting them dry out, and when the top bits are brown we'll cut off the excess and store them in our root cellar, aka outside shed.  

Our proudest harvest by far is our garlic.  We harvested 25 of these sweet lovelies, but have given 5 away because our garden guests rave about them.  I think I need to tuck this basket away so we will actually get to eat some!

My favorite besides the cucumbers is my sugar snap peas.  We've been harvesting these daily now for about two months and they're just about done for the season.  I put them in salads or dip them in ranch dressing, so good!

We planted twice the amount of carrots as last year because we love carrots and eat them on a daily basis.  They're great in soups, salads, or just plain.  So far the potato harvest seems to have done well.  These purple potatoes are so yummy! 

My typical lunch salad:  lettuce, carrots, peas, green onions, basil, cilantro, and cucumber.

Our cilantro is doing quite well this summer.  We use it almost daily for salads, tacos, Thai dishes and more.

We planted two huge bins of basil in the greenhouse and both were destroyed by an evil worm.  This pot was left alone for some reason.  You can't ever have enough basil!

Our five blueberry bushes are actually producing berries in their first year.  We got these plants small to cut costs and didn't expect for them to start producing this quickly, so it's been a pleasant surprise. 

The only edible we have growing in our front yard is strawberries.  These never make it into the house, and our little guy generally gets all of them.  Next year we hope to devote a raised bed to them. 

The green onions are doing well this season.  I love the pretty little seed pods.  We're also growing shallots which I didn't get a pic of, but they are so good, especially cooked. 

The tomatoes are growing like weeds in our greenhouse and are just about ready to harvest.  

See what I mean? 

So what are you harvesting how?