Monthly Archives: April 2009


MorelThanks to my nephew Jake for finding it and this is his photograph as well. I ate the mushroom though… my first and boy was it good! Now I understand why they are so sought after and I know I’ll be looking for them too. I sauteed this one and then scrambled it with three of our chicken eggs. Very tasty!!

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Pesto with Hickory Nuts!

A couple weeks ago I wrote about using dandelion greens with basil for making pesto and today I have another variation on that. I’ve got gobs of kale coming up in the garden so I wanted to try mixing those in with the basil and dandelion but realized that I had no pine nuts. But I did have about 1/3 cup of hickory nuts that I de-shelled a couple weeks ago so I tried that and it tastes fine to me. So, no more need to buy pine nuts for pesto!

Can I just say how cool it is that I have a Shagbark Hickory tree growing ten feet from my cabin? I get plenty cool summer shade and buckets of hickory nuts in the fall. For those that may not know, hickory nuts look and taste very similar to walnuts. My only complaint is the amount of work to get the nut meat out of the shell. Yeah. That takes a good bit of time. Which reminds me that it seems a few permaculture folk have a notion that nuts can be a more important, more substantial part of the human diet, possibly even replacing cereal grains. While I certainly like the idea I’m not sure it is practical given the work involved in getting the nut from the shell. Perhaps there is a technique or some inexpensive equipment but from a quick search on the Google I don’t think so. In fact, I’d like to plant a few more nuts in our food forest and need to investigate the nutritional content and ease of processing of those that will grow well here.

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Busy Birds and Bees

As I sit waiting for my evening coffee to brew I’m reading through a variety of news feeds and listening to the frogs and birds outside. A Carolina Wren just landed on the corner of the front porch and is carrying on about something important. It has been a rainy couple of days so not much done other than letting chickens in and out of their coop to the newly fenced in chicken range. I’ve also set up the bee hive with cardboard and mulch and removed a few small cedar trees that were growing in the area.

It’s been a whole week since my last post?? Wowza time flies. Lots of little happenings around the permaculture homestead last week and weekend. I got the second hardy kiwi arbor set-up in the food forest, complete with a nicely mulched seating area. Kerry and I got the nasturtiums, dill and chives planted around the base of half of the fruit trees. We also transplanted a few plants from her woodland garden to our gardens down here: columbine, wood poppy, purple coneflower, hosta and a few others. I planted zinnias and cosmos along the outside of the garden fence. I also planted New Zealand spinach and a few other greens in the keyhole beds near the cabin. I moved gobs of rock that had previously been out in front of my cabin up to the greenhouse to provide better drainage and a bit of a heat sink. Of course before I could put the rock in I had to dig a good bit of soil which was used to form growing beds inside and just outside the greenhouse. About half a day of work and 75% finished. Greg got the first four rain barrels which all had food/drink ingredient residues, nothing too bad. I’ve cleaned them and moved them to the back of the cabin.

This week or weekend, when it stops raining and dries a bit I’ll start getting seeds in the ground: squash, melons, cukes, herbs will be in the first round. Then corn, beans and another round of salad greens. Last will be tomato, pepper and comfrey transplants which are all looking fantastically healthy after a bit of a rough start. I’ll also need to get the holes dug for posts of the rain barrel stand. Oh, and I picked up a Heritage Raspberry which will need to go into the ground probably up along the fence of the chicken range so they can share in the fruit. Three elderberries ordered from Edible Landscaping so those will get planted in the food forest sometime next week. Lots to do.

Last but not least, a bit of community news. Friday night is the first of many weekends of Pickin on the Square: free bluegrass music every Friday night on the town square of Fredericktown. I can’t wait. I’ve got the new website for the Fredericktown Revitalization Initiative up, have a look. We still need to tidy up the pages and add more content but it’s a good start I think.

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Zebra Swallowtail

Zebra SwallowtailI’ve been seeing these around but usually while I’m working, hands dirty and no camera around. Went out this morning to work on the path to the kiwi arbor in the food forest and saw one nectaring from the Autumn Olive so I grabbed the camera and got a few shots.

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Food Forest and Garden Update

IMG_3215I’ve got seedlings everywhere: 70 tomatoes of 5 varieties, 40 peppers of 5 varieties, 70 eggplant of 5 varieties and 22 comfrey. The remaining cabbage, broccoli and kohlrabi, about 40 plants total, will be getting transplanted into the garden tomorrow. The peas and fava beans are all up as are lettuce, radish, spinach, kale and a few others. The garden expansion is all fenced in and about 80% mulched with cardboard and straw. I’ll finish it off as soon as I get more cardboard. Thanks to Karen and David we have something like 25 straw bales for the rest of the mulching and for use in the chicken coop.

Food ForestThe four Hardy Kiwi vines are planted though two will be getting moved this week as I put them too close together. Two will remain at the arbor at the entrance of the kitchen garden and the other two will go into the food forest, planted on a trellis between the established sycamore trees. I also picked up 6 blueberries but they are not all that healthy as they were not watered in the store. I’ve put them in pots and if they do survive they’ll be going into the food forest.

I also put up a small, 2 foot high fence around the keyhole beds near my cabin to keep the rabbits from snacking every night. I’d rather not have fences everywhere but the rabbits are many and they are apparently very hungry. Last, the lake front area has been cleaned up a good bit. We’d cut the tornado trees all up last fall and I’ve cleared out all the small branches and twigs and have created a bit of lakeside lawn. If it is up to me that is the only lawn we’ll have in any of the common areas!

So, a good bit of progress even with all the rain and cold. A week of warmth and I imagine everything will start to pop into action.

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Dandelion and Basil

BasilI grew some Basil in a pot this winter. Not alot but almost enough to make decent batches of pesto. I had the thought this morning that I just needed a bit more to stretch it so why not substitute in a bowl of dandelion greens? I made the decision last year that I would eat more wild greens like dandelion and violets since they are so numerous and high in vitamins. Kinda silly not to! Dandelions are an excellent source of Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Manganese. Source. Dandelion Greens

Seeing the nutrition content listed on that page has me wondering why in the hell we have not all been eating dandelions on a regular basis? 112% of the daily recommended Vitamin A???? 32% of daily Vitamin C, 535% Vitamin K. What’s really great is that they come up so early in spring, long before most planted annuals. I’ll certainly be adding them in to all my salads, pesto, and any other meal that calls for greens.

Pesto Pasta

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