|Posted on January 20, 2013 at 7:20 PM|
Each Monday Daphne’s Dandelions hosts the “Harvest Monday” blog hop. Everyone participating submits links to their posts summarizing the week’s harvests. It’s always very interesting and inspiring to see what other gardeners are producing from so many different growing regions. Here’s my contribution to the weekly harvest recaps for the week of January 14th through 20th, 2013.
Most of our vegetables this week came from the freezer or storage – potatoes, onions, garlic, a small pie pumpkin, and frozen whole tomatoes, shelled peas, snap peas, and green beans. I realized this week that I have hardly touched my home canned items so far this winter. It appears we like the frozen versions better than the canned items, but I really need to make an effort to start using those up too. The only canned item that has been getting regular use has been the raspberry jam. Like summer in a jar and so yummy!
I did do some harvesting on Sunday. Early in the morning, I harvested some carrots.
These (finely sliced) in combination with sliced onions, crushed garlic, and grass fed beef stew meat were marinated in a mixture of white wine (1 ½ cups), olive oil (2 TBS), thyme (1/2 teaspoon), two crushed bay leaves, salt (2 teaspoons), and pepper (1/4 teaspoon) for more than four hours. Upon completion of the marinating, the beef was removed and dredged in unbleached flour until generously coated. The marinated vegetables, sliced fresh mushrooms, chopped (skinned) tomatoes (about 4 large whole frozen ones that once partially thawed have the skin slipped off), crisp chunks of bacon, peeled and diced potatoes (two medium) and the floured beef are layered into a dutch oven (two layers of each item) and then the marinade wine mixture is poured over the top and enough organic beef broth to just cover the layers. This is then brought to a boil on the top of the stove and then covered firmly with the lid and placed in a 325 degree oven (preheated) and allowed to cook for four hours until everything is tender and the sauce is thick and beautiful. This is my own slight modification of the Julia Child recipe “Beef Casserole with Vegetables and Wine”. My variation is the use of the frozen whole tomatoes instead of fresh ones and the addition of potatoes. This is well worth the time to make but takes all day, so it is reserved for weekends when we are planning to stay put for a day.
I also picked some beets on Sunday. These were trimmed up and put in the fridge to be used later in the coming week.
Most of the hens have now finished their molting process and are sporting some new rather beautiful plumage. One of our hens was attacked by a raccoon last weekend (he dug into the hen yard) but we caught him (her?) in the act and saved the hen and dispatched the raccoon with the rifle we always keep on hand. The hen is now in the house recuperating and is doing well, but her wing will likely never be really the same. This makes three hens of our four that have been attacked by predators and for which we were there to intervene and nurse them back to health. Two other hens were previously lost (killed) by predators. That leaves one of the remaining four that has (so far) escaped such an event. I hope for her sake she continues to live her charmed life. In the meantime, we have a hen in our house (in a large box) convalescing. The other girls have started back up laying eggs. It is a modest daily offering from them (1 or less a day so far) but the completion of molting and the increasing day length is doing it’s magic and they are getting back down to the serious business of egg production. Here are the three girls (minus our injured one) enjoying some supervised free range time on the front lawn. I was sorely tempted to put a balloon caption in this photo saying “Guess What? Chicken Butt!” (with an arrow pointing to the hens hind end of course). It just had to be said.
The weather has been wintery lately but daytime temps are generally getting into the upper 30’s or very low 40’s making it possible to get outside and do some chores. I have a lot of garden clean up tasks to do before the early spring planting season gets underway. If the weather continues to cooperate, it is my intention to tackle one item per weekend with the hope of getting them taken care of before the busy season of gardening arrives. First up this weekend was the cleaning out of the greenhouse. I left the spent pepper plants in there this fall and they have become a dead moldering mess that needed to be removed. There was also a healthy amount of weeds that were growing up around the base of the containers. Here’s what everything looked like before I started.
I then removed all the decayed vegetation and grubbed out the weeds and ended up with a tidy greenhouse ready for to be planted up with early lettuces and greens once the transplants are ready.
One of those greenhouse containers has ginger planted in it. I am hoping it will take off later this spring when things warm up. I started it last year and it did grow, but it produced vegetation quite late in the year so I did not bother trying to harvest anything from it, rather I am leaving it in the hopes that it will get a quicker start in it’s second year. Next weekend, I plan to grub out the back most garden bed which has the rhubarb in it and the rest of which is scheduled to be planted up as a new asparagus patch later this spring.
I hope your all having a good week and getting a little time in your gardens (and harvests too!).