Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I actually wrote few days ago. Wednesday? I don't know. Will's been on break and it screwed my sense of time all up. I did another homestead-y thing today and I'll document it tomorrow maybe, after a trip to our favorite herb farm.

Guess what I just did? No, really. Guess.

I ate a homemade graham cracker slathered with peanut butter. And it was AWESOME.

Or at least very, very good.

The recipe from Baking Bites proved to be spot-on and even when I totally mixed two steps up and wound up with largish blobs of butter in my rolled-out dough, they still taste good. Jeffrey is kind of squicky on the texture (he doesn't like crunchy at all and still speaks with longing of the thick, chewy slabs o' dough that were my second batch of crackers) and River refused to eat hers at all (it was sweet, you see, and I have decided this child might actually be a foundling--she eats neither chocolate nor peanut butter and...) BUT--Will and I liked them. Next time, I'll do a few things differently, starting with, you know, combining ingredients in the correct order. I also think I'll to process the graham flour a bit and try to break it down. The biggest difference between these and storebought was one of texture--storebought are smoother and...flakier, maybe? I also will substitute one of the tablespoons of molasses for honey. It won't change anything but the taste and I feel like, especially for the little ones, molasses makes for a more complicated taste. All in all, this was a successful test. I'm really stoked to think that in a few weeks I'll be able to mark one more item off my shopping list. Woohoo!

Now guess what I just did? It's about six hours later and I'm finishing up the post that work kept me from. I'm not snuggled down in bed because I had my very own Laura Ingalls Wilder moment and got up to water down the plants because of the expected frost. To my relief, it doesn't appear that it got down to freezing. NOAA has the temp at 35 degrees and while that's cold as poo poo, there's no frost on the car or the plants. I'll check again as it gets closer to twilight, but I think we were spared. (I have my fingers crossed for the peach farmers.)

The anxiety the forecast frost caused me was considerable; I'm not really sure why. Certainly, I don't depend on my garden for sustenance. And with our warm climate and long growing season, there's plenty of time to plant seedlings or even grow some crops straight from seed. I suppose it's that a lot of work went into my little seedlings--physical work, but also planning and hoping and dreaming. I'm starting to consider this venture to be less something fun to do because my Daddy gardened and more an actual lifestyle change, and the threat of frost threatened that lifestyle. Just checked the veggie garden frost! Yay!

So now I have a slew of newspaper-potted tomatoes and cukes and peppers sitting in my kitchen for no good reason. Ah, well. Better safe than sorry.

I dug out most of the seedlings from their winter-sown homes yesterday. (I had to leave some because the kids were clamoring for supper and my fingers were numb from making newspaper pots.) First, I needed to bring them in from the cold and second, they were getting a bit root bound and nitrogen-starved in the containers. It was odd to look at my garden sans containers. This has been an interesting experiment. I'm not sure what I'll do differently next year. I expected the peppers to go great guns, as I've frequently had volunteer peppers come up from missed fruit, but I only got two California Wonders and no banana peppers at all. I expected no eggplant, but yesterday I lifted two healthy seedlings and two "trying hard" seedlings from the container. (More than enough in our house, as I'm the only one who eats it.) The tomatoes got a mixed review, although I had to restart the seeds after a hard freeze. The Jelly Beans went pffff (I think I have three?), the Romas and Better Boys did okay, and the Cherokee Purples surprised me by going CRAZY and springing up all six. So...I'm set for tomatoes. (Will doesn't know this yet, but I'm thinking I'm going to be stuffing some of these jokers into a flower bed or two. Or, you know, seven.) I'd like to experiment a bit more...starting the seedlings earlier, bringing them in for frosty nights, etc. But I'm also going to look at a small grow-light set up for my herbs and peppers next year.

On Monday (again, ahead of the expected freeze), I hilled my potatoes. I had been meaning to do it, but I didn't get around to it and I had a good foot or so of plant sticking out of the soil.

Good old Ed and Daddy both recommend mounding soil or (in Ed's case) marsh grass around the plants as they grow to increase production. My soil being less than satisfactory in the organic matter department and lacking any marsh grass (or marshes, for that matter), I elected to do a hodgepodge and make my own marsh grass. I mixed soil from the big pile left from last year with grass clippings I got from friends and piled it all up around the plants. There was something so pleasing about the process: the rhythm of of shoveling the soil, stirring the clippings and soil together, forking it out of the wagon. Hilling potatoes is hard when you're using a box bed. The potatoes are crammed in as it is and mine are close to the edge. The answer was using a vinyl-wrapped chicken wire to create a sort of cage around the outside. I have no freakin' clue if this will work, but if it does, I figure I will have roughly eighty blue million pounds of potatoes. This means figuring out how to build a small root cellar, finding out if potatoes dry well, and unloading mounds of taties on all friemily who'll take them.

I think I'll head back to bed for a few more moments of snuggling with the hubs before the day gets going. It'll be warm today and there's still so much to do to get the garden ready. (Not least of which is figuring out what to do with a laundry room full of misplaced seedlings.)

Bonus shot of my precious little farmer boy:


TheOrganicSister said...

Homemade graham crackers?? no way! I'm gon have to try this. I LOVE graham crackers but never thought they were a homemade kinda thing. I just hope I can do them without messing them up. ;)


Not Hannah said...

I KNOW!! I was pretty excited about it. The search for the perfect graham cracker continues...