Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Garden Update - Week 1

The garden has only been planted for a little over a week, but our garden is growing!  The first 3 or 4 days after we planted it was HOT.  Like low to mid 80's hot.  Although temps that high aren't totally uncommon, they are a little extreme for mid May.  Thankfully, we've since had a break in the high temps and are back to normal May weather - mid 60's to mid 70's.


We've lost a few plants, but we purposely planted way more than necessary because we figured that some transplants wouldn't make it.  We are also watering everything by hand to try and reduce the amount of weeds overtaking our garden.  It's time consuming, but I'd rather spend an hour watering every day than spending hours and hours weeding later.  However, we've been getting nothing but rain for the past few days so we've gotten a bit of a break from watering for now!


We started everything from seed this year.  Many plants we started in early April, but others we directly sowed into the garden.  I'm excited to say that most of the seeds we started in the garden have started to sprout already!!  Yay!!


Our radishes were the first to sprout - and they were planted two days after everything else!  I had forgotten to order radish seeds so I had to pick some up.  They are definite overachievers :)   We'll let them grow for another week or two and then we'll have to thin them out.


We've got beans coming up....


.....and corn.....


......and peas!


It's such an exciting time!  There's just something about walking out to the garden everyday to see how much bigger everything is getting or to see what has started to sprout.  Let's hope all this rain is doing us lots of good and not drowning us out.

Happy Gardening!

~ Sara :)


Monday, May 22, 2017

The Hayes Homestead Garden 2017

I'm a tad late posting this, but our garden is planted, y'all!!!

We spent almost the entire Mother's Day digging and planting.  Seven hours to be (almost) exact....so happy and excited to have it planted!!

     

I know you can't really see anything based on the above pictures, but trust me guys, there's plants and seeds all snug in there!

We went bigger this year - as we seem to do every year - and planted lots of goodies.  Some that we plant every year and a few new things, too!  We also started everything from seed this year - first time we've done that :)

This year we have planted:
  • Potatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Beans
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes (Paste, Cherry, Canning, and Husk)
  • Bell Peppers (Orange, Yellow, Red, Green, and Purple)
  • Cayenne Peppers
  • Watermelon
  • Celery
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers (pickling and regular)
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Pumpkins
  • Lots of different herbs
We really tried to plant the veggies with companion plants in hopes of a productive harvest.  We planted way more than we need, but we figure that not all of the plants will make it plus we can give any extras away, feed them to the chickens, or feed our compost.

     

Now, we water, weed, and wait.  As the great Tom Petty says, "....waiting is the hardest part....."

Stay tuned!

~ Sara :)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

'Round Here Lately....

It's been a few weeks since I've posted an update on our little homestead - I'm way overdue!  I haven't blogged, but I have been taking pictures of something nearly everyday.  We have so many (awesome) projects going on here! 

The most exciting thing!?!?!?  We bought ourselves a fancy new rototiller, y'all!!  Jason couldn't wait to fire that thing up and get the garden all tilled.  We'll till again right before we get all of our goodies planted into the ground.

     

He also removed the fence we had up separating the perennial area from the garden.  This makes the garden SO much bigger!

      

Speaking of our little seeds - they are growing so well!  I've had to transfer quite a few of them to larger pots.  If the weather cooperates, we'll be planting the garden either this weekend or next!!! :)

          


I've also been doing lots of weeding.  This is in our perennial area and where we planted raspberry transplants that we took from my moms garden last fall.  Thankfully, most of them lived through the winter and are beginning to grow.  All the greenery against the lattice fence are wild black raspberries.  They're all over our property!  (Not that we're complaining!!)

     

       
  
               

Our mini orchard is looking great.  Our Montmorency cherry tree was in full bloom just over a week ago.  It was gorgeous!


A few of the other fruit trees have begun blooming as well.  I'm beyond excited for this area in a few years. 


     

The fire pit transformation is in its last stage!  Jason has removed alllllll of the wood and most of the sand.   He has transplanted a little bit of sod and will transplant more once we expand the garden.

     

We now have a horseshoe pit!  Jason built it up to true horseshoe regulations and we're looking forward to some warm nights by the fire with cold drinks, s'mores, and horseshoe throwing!  (A full blog post about this coming soon!)

     

Another huge ginormous monstrous project we have going on is our deck.  We had quite a few boards that needed replaced and Jason took care of those, but we still have to power wash, stain, and level out the deck.  But, it is so going to be worth it when the we get to enjoy the end result!


     

Well, I think that's all of the bigger projects we've got going on now.  Looking forward to another beautiful, productive Spring weekend in just a few days!!

~ Sara :)



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Portable Seed Cart

Since we are starting our garden entirely from seeds this year, we needed a good way to get our early starts in and out of the house.  While we could just carry them in and out every day, we wanted something that they could not only be stored on, but something that could be easily moved from the house to the deck.


This was a fairly quick project for Jason and, he had everything except one board on hand for the cart.  He knew that this cart would need to handle a fair amount of weight so since he didn't have any thick boards laying around, he purchased one from Home Depot.  I didn't measure the thickness of it, but I would say it's about 3/4" thick.


This was the perfect size to hold four of the seedling trays we are using (similar ones can be found here). 


Then, he drilled holes into each corner for the legs.  The legs came from an old rotted table that was left at our house when we moved in.  The legs were in good shape and Jason just *knew* they'd come in handy at some point so he kept them around.  He was right!

     


Once the legs were drilled into the bottom, it was time to get the top "shelf" on.  For this one he used a piece of wood that we already had in the garage.



The top shelf isn't as thick as the bottom so he drilled a piece of wood vertically in between the two to reinforce the top.

     

And, voila!  It was finished!


He brought it inside and we loaded it up with our seeds and plants.

     

We wanted something under the trays to protect the wood from any water that may leak out of the cells, so we just laid a few trash bags underneath.


It's working so great and is so much easier to transport the seeds out onto the deck.  Jason does it again!


~ Sara :)


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Pot Pie (Vegetable or Chicken)

Pot pie is a huge hit in our house.  It's something that I can easily make for everyone - vegetarian for me and meat for the family.  It's fairly fast to whip up, full of veggies and so comforting! 


This is one recipe that I get some help from frozen veggies from.  You could definitely use all fresh (and I have, and it's even more delicious), but all the washing, peeling, chopping, etc. just adds a lot more time.  And, this tends to be a meal I make on nights where I don't have a whole lot of time.  This is just my basic recipe - feel free to change it up!  

Pot Pie
Serves 4-6


Ingredients:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced (optional)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more as needed
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 medium onion, diced
16 oz frozen mixed veggies (corn, peas, green beans, and carrots)
1 1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 batch The Easiest Buttermilk Drop Biscuits*

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Heat a large skillet (I use either a 10 inch or 12 inch cast iron pan that I bake the pot pie in as well) over medium heat and add the butter.  If using chicken, add the chicken and cook until it is almost cooked through.  Add the potatoes and onions and coat in the butter.  Cover with a lid, lower the heat to medium low and allow the potatoes and onions to steam and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are just beginning to be tender.

2.  Add in the frozen veggies, thyme, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.  Add another tablespoon of butter and, once melted, sprinkle the flour over the veggie mixture.  Coat all the veggies with the flour and cook until you can no longer see the flour, about 5 minutes.

3.  Add the vegetable broth, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan, and bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, turn the heat to low and allow to simmer until nice and thick with a gravy-like consistency.  Top the pot pie filling with the drop biscuits (if transferring the pot pie to another baking dish, do so before topping them).  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until pot pie is bubbly and biscuits are brown.  Serve and enjoy!

     

*  This pot pie is also great with a pie crust on top - even better if the pie crust is sprinkled with coarse salt and pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese!  :)

~ Sara :)