The seeds are in the dirt! I took some time a week ago and cleaned out the seed starting trays and mixed together my mix (coco coir and worm castings). I used Apple Numbers to layout my trays and decide what to plant where.
I planted the seeds, based on what I had leftover from years past, knowing that the germination rate may turn out less than optimal. The seeds are under a light in the basement near the woodstove. The stove was running the first two days the seeds were in, keeping them nice and warm.
And lo and behold, we have sprouts!
Now with the slightly warmer weather I am moving the seeds to a sunny South facing window on the porch when it warms up.
Sometimes the best part of winter is looking forward to spring. I enjoy the anticipation that comes with opening my seeds again, deciding what to plant and where.
We have had a lot of snow this winter, and I am enjoying the beauty of it and the fun the kids are having, but I enjoy it for another reason too. I think having a cold snowy winter makes the first buds of spring all the sweeter.
As with so many things, the appreciation grows with the anticipation.
I started my first seeds of 2013 today. Since it is really early I just did tomatoes and peppers. There are nine starts each of eight varieties – four each of peppers and tomatoes. They are:
- Arkansas Traveler Tomatoes from Heirlooms Evermore
- Riesentraube Tomatoes from Baker Creek
- Amish Paste Tomatoes from Baker Creek
- Double Rich Tomatoes from Seeds of Change
- Sweet Cherry Peppers from Heirlooms Evermore
- Red Mini Bell Peppers from Baker Creek
- Chinese Five Color Peppers from Baker Creek
- Emerald Giant Pepper from Baker Creek
It is interesting to note that most of these seeds are from 2011 so I will be taking note of what the germination rates look like.
I have several plants that have been going strong all winter inside. Two of them make wonderful herbal tea – mint and lemon balm. I grab a small handful of leaves from either one and very lightly rinse them. Steep to taste and strain the leaves. I like to use the Teavana perfect tea maker.
I have used a few granola recipes over the years, but this was the first I tried and one that I go back to frequently because of how easy it is. The granola can be dried in the oven or in the dehydrator. The oven is quicker, but the dehydrator will preserve the enzymes if you are using raw honey. I usually double the recipe.
Here’s how I make it:
- 4 cups oats
- 1/3 cup of coconut oil (melted)
- 1/2 cup honey
- generous splash of vanilla
- 2 teaspoons (or just a generous few shakes) of cinnamon
- 1/2 cup crushed almonds
- Several tablespoons of flax-seed (optional)
1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees. (Or make sure your dehydrator is clean!)
2) Mix it all together and spread on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or on the dehydrator tray). The parchment paper makes all the difference when you’re getting it off the pan, trust me. Here’s what it will look like:
3) Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes or dry in the dehydrator on low overnight.
4) Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes (or even longer if you can stay out of it).
“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs
I am canning tomato sauce this afternoon and just had my first mishap. I loaded the last jar (a short pint jar) in and lowered the basket into the almost boiling water. Then “plumpf.” Said jar then did a backflip, losing it’s bottom and much of the contents in the process.
So now what do I do? I removed the offending jar and it’s better (worse?) half and lowered the basket back in. I figure that the other jars are ok, all the glass is out, and the water is boiling so it should be ok even though it is a bit saucy. I hope I am right. Does anyone know?
Has this ever happened to you?
I have spent the past month picking and smashing hornworms, all the while wondering where in the heck those wonderful parasitic wasps were. I guess they decided to make an entrance now that fall is banging down our door.