rural living

Garlic for Barter and Trade

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What do 3 dozen eggs, 3 bottles of honey, and a beautiful handcrafted dish have to do with garlic?

In trade for garlic: pottery, honey, eggs

In trade for garlic: pottery, honey, eggs. Yes! We love all these things!

Barter Fare!

This picture is of my three most recent trades: a pottery dish made by Linda R. Hughes, three bottles of raw, unheated honey, and 3 dozen fresh eggs. Quite an assortment! And each one special in its own way.Read More »Garlic for Barter and Trade

Happy Day – Rodent or Otherwise

What? Looking for shadows to predict weather? I’d say the bees are better indicators! As well as the snow geese, the pussy willows, and the Cornelian cherry…not hard to find things that say Life is Good! Happy Groundhog Day!

Frosty Morning at Barbolian Fields

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Frost is on the grapevine! The dill looks like a sparkling fireworks! And our friend, Toad, well, he looks like he could use a little warm sunshine!

Permaculture by Nature

Before we coined the word, “Permaculture,” Nature was already perfecting it on her own. Here, Paul Gautschi describes his methods of mimicking nature by applying mulch in his garden. The results? Absolutely amazing! His approach has recently been featured in a film, “Back to Eden.” Happy International Permaculture Day!

Warre Hives Set Up at Barbolian Fields

A video and some close-up pictures on the Warre hives we built. If you are looking for something simple, inexpensive, and something that naturally lets the bees do what they instinctively do – this is it!

Nettle Soup

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Looking for a good recipe for Nettle Soup? Look no farther! All these nutrient-dense weeds growing out there wild and free – and free for the taking! Indulge in one of nature’s superfoods!

How to Prune an Old Apple Tree

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Got pruning phobia? Never fear. This 5-step approach to fruit tree pruning will help you get those old apple trees back into shape in no time! (Well, maybe in a few years, anyway.)

Square Foot Gardening and Getting a Grip on What You Really Need

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Want to grow more food in less space with less effort? The “All New Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew has the approach you might be looking for. With gas headed skyward, putting away the tiller and growing what you need makes a lot of sense. 100% of the harvest at 50% of the costs, 20% of the space, 10% of the water, 5% of the seeds, and 2% of the work – that makes it a no-brainer.

Garlic Under Snow

Snowstorm in the PNW! The garlic is under a blanket. Here’s a good recipe for a simple high-energy food mix for the birds.

Themes and Resolutions

Did you make any gardening New Year’s resolutions this year? Do you have a strategy when it comes to keeping up with your garden? Last year, I used goal-setting and time-management techniques to try to get an upper hand on the weeds. My mission was to “Establish Boundaries” over which no weed should dare cross! Lesson learned: weeds do not respect my boundaries. Many things – particularly the garden – are beyond my control. This year, I’m working more from an attitude of cooperation rather than conflict. We’ll see whether Mother Nature agrees.

New Year’s for the Birds

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As the winter weather sets in, there has been a frenzy of activity at the bird feeder. This post gives some ideas on how to make muffins for the birds out of suet, nuts, seeds, and other goodies. We also made a bird feeder by drilling holes in a small log and filling them with a suet mix. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving – today and every day

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A happy Thanksgiving to one and all, and a few thoughts about abundance, gratitude, supporting family farms, and thinking about what is important in life. Thank you everyone for all your support, and may you have a wonderful and safe holiday! Remember to buy local!

Harvest Now for Holiday Gifts from the Garden!

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No time to lose! You still have time to harvest things to use in making gifts from the garden. Holiday gift ideas include seed sharing, taking cuttings for propagating plants, herb blends, food treats, an assortment of crafts, and a recipe for calendula salve.

Fall Abundance – and a Great Recipe for Apple Cake

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So many reasons why I love this simply gorgeous time of year! But aaaghhh! So much to do! …last-minute scramble to button things up for winter, can and freeze surplus produce, get the garlic in the ground, don’t forget fall cover crops…and what to do with all those apples? Try this Skillet Apple Cake Recipe – it’s fast & easy!

Harvest Celebration Farm Tours

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Tomorrow, Saturday, October 2, is the 14th Annual Harvest Celebration Farm Tour in Clallam County. If you are on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State, this is a very fun event that gives you a glimpse of what the Peninsula has to offer. This year, nine different farms are opening their barn doors and throwing a party – hayrides, music, great food, farm animals & produce, demonstrations – a ton of down-home family fun.

We are incredibly blessed to have such an abundance of “real” food and local products available to us. It’s up to us to insure that availability. By supporting our local family farms, we are supporting our independence, our self-sufficiency, and our communities. Our health – and our quality of life – defined on so many levels – depends on it. So when you check out some of our local farms this weekend, take time to get to know our farming neighbors. We’re all in this together.

Capturing Sunshine in a Jar

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Save money, eat healthier, control the ingredients, be more self-sufficient – all good reasons to can your own food. It is a connection to past generations who understood the importance of self-reliance to survival. And like our grandparents, come some blustery day in the midst of winter, we can gather with family and friends, crack open a jar of those home-canned peaches, sit back, and close our eyes at the sweet taste of summer. Mmmm-hmmmm. A little sunshine in a jar.

Addicted to Oil? Sharpen your hand tools!

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The oil still gushing out of the bottom of the ocean in the Gulf should make us all aware that we are all part of the problem. Choosing to use hand tools instead of machinery is one small way we can cut back on our consumption. In this post, I describe how I sharpened an old sickle and cut down my green manure crop of a rye-clover-vetch mix (mostly rye) by hand. Let me tell you, it made me feel pretty darn powerful! Try it. You’ll like it. And so will our environment.

Pre-spring Garden and Wild Greens for the Pickin’

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Early March: what’s in the garden? Chard, kale, collards, beets, leeks, early garlic & onions, lots of herbs, rhubarb — and then there are some of the bold & unusual: lovage, French sorrel, and cardoon — but don’t forget wild greens! Dandelions, nettles, mustards,chickweed, purslane, and others are nutritional powerhouses and are great to add to soups & salads before the rest of the garden gets going.

Support our Local Farms: PCC Tour of Nash’s Delta Farm; Visit Nearby Dungeness Valley Creamery

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Saturday, Jan. 16, is the PCC Farmland Trust tour of the Delta Farm, part of the 400+ acres farmed by Nash Huber and his crew. Sign up and see first hand how he manages to keep us all fed through the winter. While you’re in the area, stop in and see the Dungeness Valley Creamery, which recently received some bad press by the WSDA which implied a link between e. coli and their certified raw milk. Nothing could be further from the truth! See for yourself what a wonderful dairy they have and taste the difference in raw milk that comes from cows that are catered to! Supporting our local family farms is just so important to preserving farmland in our region. It is such a privilege to have them here. Meet the hands that provide us with such incredible bounty!

Blue Moon Garden Review

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A cold winter’s night beneath a blue moon: December 31 and it’s that time of year again: time to evaluate what worked and what didn’t in the garden. Once you complete this year-end ritual, you can dive into all those seed catalogs. But don’t skip this pre-garden planning step: a realistic evaluation now might prevent you from making crazy impulsive purchases based on glossy photos, mouth-watering descriptions, and a human tendency to forget the bad and remember the good. Or not.

Buy Garlic, Not Gold!

Garlic has been named the Best Performing Asset in China this year, outperforming gold, silver, oil, and real estate, a consequence of supply and demand and the H1N1 flu epidemic scare. If you’re looking for good garlic, though, the very best can be found at home. Buy local.

Tomato Saga and Green Tomato Mincemeat

A story of growing tomatoes, from training them up a trellis to having them take over the garden. If you are wondering what to do with all those green tomatoes left at the end of the season, here is the best mock mincemeat recipe I have found. Ingredients include tomatoes, apples, raisins, citrus, and spices. No meat, lard, or suet. Makes a great mock mincemeat pie just in time for Thanksgiving and upcoming holidays. This post also recommends a couple of good garden cookbooks and a great place to purchase seeds and get gardening information.

Zucchinis Gone Wild

How many zucchinis in this bowl?

How many zucchinis in this bowl?

This is a tale of two zucchinis. To tell the tale, you first have to learn how to spell zucchinis, which no matter how many “c”s or “n”s you put in there, just looks wrong. But that’s not part of the story. Actually, the story is kind of long, so if you want to continue, I will give you the option to click on the more button.Read More »Zucchinis Gone Wild

What I Love About May

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May was an absolutely gorgeous month in the Sequim Dungeness Valley. This post features some spring photos, including some of a brand new baby calf, born at the Dungeness Valley Creamery. The Brown farm is a fantastic source of fresh raw milk from pampered Jersey cows.

Rainwater Collection System

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Conflicting demands of population growth, agriculture, and environmental needs (endangered salmon and other fish) are putting a huge strain on our water supply. Setting up a system to collect rainwater is easy and inexpensive and can not only get you through the dry spells, but leave precious water for other uses.