ThistleDew Farm

ThistleDew Farm
Established 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Take of Tour of Thistle Dew What'cha Workin' on Wednesday

Here's what we look like from the front now....imagine rock wall where the dirt is....I can! I took the camera for a stroll yesterday afternoon - wanna see what I saw?

Here's my front porch basket - I am ashamed to admit I purchased all these plants - my one big garden splurge this year. Closest to us is a large Cuban Oregano - which is very prolific - if you'd like a start - just let me know!

That's the sign at the entrance to the craft studio, I have cork floors so you have to show off your pedicure when you visit me! Wanna see what I'm working on? Come on inside....
Back out onto the other side porch, here's another planted pot - this one is all rescued plants from my sisters house - her landscaper got tired and left these beauties! They love me for rescuing them and they look nice in this pot set in this old chair.

Let's walk out front and look back at the house - we've done a little landscaping since you saw it last, the lovely live statue is quite a showpiece! I don't think you've seen the stone on the front either.

Here's some plants I have growing...pussy willow from Mom's, rooting nicely in the bucket by the garage....

Here's all the monkey grass I planted on the back slope....

Here's the bed I recently rototilled which resulted in a bout of poison ivy....I planted cast off plants in this bed, a few holly starts, some canna's, a crepe myrtle and a lot of seeds harvested last fall. The marigolds and sunflowers are growing prolifically (guess I planted a bit thick!) but the Echinacea and wildflowers do not appear to have made it - sadly enough.

Let's walk down the hill and see the other beds....Hey is that a butterfly?

The painted ladies are very active at our farm.

This patch is in the middle of the "yard". Super Hubby left it intentionally for the deer to have a hiding spot. It is mostly clover and there are two or three does that visit it daily....

This clump of flowers made me think of Daisy....

Here we are at La Tres Belle, that's what we call this space. It gets a lot of water and tends to flood in the spring - raised beds have worked perfectly.

The horseradish made it through the winter....this is it's first full year - I bought it as a start from Richters Herb Farm

It's starting to get dark so this picture isn't very bright - is it just me or do you think this yarrow is miss named - looks pink to me not red!

Here's the bed from a different angle - the left half is mostly gravel and holds my original rosemary and a lavender started last year. The right half has a columbine from Mothers, the horse radish and two yarrows. The aforementioned red hiding beside the yellow (from my Mothers herb bed)

Volunteer For-Get-Me-Nots...

Hey isn't this a pretty black eyed Susan?

Don't they look pretty together?

Check out my garlic bed!
Don't you love the two guardian sunflowers? They are volunteers! The bed was the wererabbit garden - a successful crop of peas and onions - a few carrots remain as a sacrifice to the wererabbit - he was very merciful to us and did not bother the garden at all....neither did his little deer friends, luckily.

Let's walk over to Winonna's Bed - here's the bayberry in it's second year - another Richter Herb Farm purchase last year.

I can't wait for berries - I have been reading about making home made bayberry candles and fragrance - I hope it works - do you know how old the bush must be before it starts to make berries - or do I need a girlfriend for HuckleBerry Bay?

Let's move on further to Bob's bed and check on the lavender there - it's been so wet it should be in shock!

Looks happy - so is the bumble bee drinking up the pollen - to bad it isn't a honey bee. Haven't seen any around us....maybe I should get a hive.....hmmmm

The Russian sage behind Bird Rock is doing nicely as usual. This plant is about five years old and lived in a pot for the first three years so I could bring it indoors at our rental. Last year I planted it in the ground and it did fine. It is neither Russian nor a sage - go figure! It has lovely lavender blooms and is a favorite for a butterfly garden.

Come back up to the house and look at another project I'm working on....

Hopefully this sign will greet you as you drive up to the property after the y-split....

That was a great walk, and bringing back a fresh flower bouquet placed in a home made vase is what life is all about. I am blessed!

Come on back for a visit anytime!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Big Brother is Watching - beware

Now I know that all the security concerns I've secretly have a justified!

You know how your profile is supposed to be hidden...well some strange way - it's not.

I posted on a fun site today and when the word verification came up it was my last name with OG tacked on the I don't have a very common name and it isn't spelled the way you'd think it was if I were to pronounce it.

I have this crazy personal rule about not putting to much personal info in electronic format - in my blog I never use the names of my co-workers, don't list the name of the place I work and rarely refer to work in a reality way and I am pretty sure I have never used my last there really is no reason why my last name should have come up in the word verification when commenting on someone else's site unless the eye in the sky knew it was me....I don't even know how it was linked - pretty scary really!

Gotta go and take pictures for my blog -

Monday, June 15, 2009

Garlic - Hurray!

The most wonderful thing about garlic is, when most gardens look like this in May and early June....

My garden looks like this - really no kidding, come out to the farm and check it out. (This isn't a picture of mine - but I swear mine looks like this - I am amazed, can't you tell?). You plant garlic in the fall, and it actually sprouts and pokes it's little head out a few inches and waits for Spring. The first sign of longer days and warmer sun it shoots up so fast you can nearly watch it grow.

My garlic is dangerously close to harvest - the bottom two leaves are dying but I am being patient as I have to wait until the bottom six leaves turn brown (but not more than the bottom eight leaves, then the bulbs spoil - according to the experts.....) OK, so I'm not really being patient, I peeked at a bulb to see what it was doing - it seemed happy and looked like a small bundle of garlic! So I snuggled the dirt back around it so the garlic will continue growing in my happy garden.

I am growing three types of garlic - two hardneck varieties (more intense flavor and cool scapes)and a softneck (similar to the grocery store kind)

Chesnok Red garlic which is a standard purple stripe garlic and is said to make the sweetest baking garlics of all. Over at The Garlic Gourmet they say "The first time I tried Chesnook Red roasted , I thought someone had put some sugar in it - they are sweet." They even purport that if squeezed on vanilla ice cream and refrozen it tastes like butter brickle - I think I'll pass.

The other hardneck is a Porcelain, German White. It's properties include being a great eating garlic - and very richly flavored with an earthy muskiness and generally hot strong tasting garlic with very large cloves. The Porcelains are the densest of all garlics and research scientists say that makes it a superior medicinal garlic, especially the hotter ones. Don't forget the rule - if one eats garlic, we all must eat garlic!

The softneck I have is a silverskin, Mother of Pearl. Silverskin garlics are usually the ones that you see in braids. Silverskins are generally the longest storing of all garlics and have a soft pliable neck that lends itself to braiding and holds up over time better.

I long to have garlic this beautiful and show you a picture of my very own garlic braid!!!!

I want to talk with you about the scape - this is probably the number one reason I decided to grow garlic this year. At the farmers market in Lagrange KY, near Windy Meadows Horse Farm, I taste tested Meadowview Farms garlic scape cream cheese. Then I immediately came back and bought the cloves for planting. Yes it's that good!
Here's what a scape looks like.Toward the top of today's blog, in that picture you can see where the scape is on the plant. My garlic is further along than that picture. I've harvested my scapes and they look just like these cuties to the left.

If picked early scapes are very tender. They have a very mild garlic taste and are excellent sauteed with a little olive oil...the smell is out of this world! A subtle garlic aroma that doesn't fill the house with a lingering odor, but summons everyone with a nose and a fork to the table...I added shrimp to the pan to make a scampi, then served over spaghetti noodles - absolutely fabulous...I then did it with chicken the next night. You can also saute them and serve as a side dish. Garlic scapes are now synonymous with spring for me and I will have to grow garlic every year even if I don't need more garlic cloves (I know could I say such a thing - not need more garlic cloves.) I am learning how to preserve the scapes and also to preserve garlic. The only garlics to grow scapes are the hardneck variety which also have the shortest storage appears that you can dry the garlic and then crush into powder as needed and it tastes, although not like fresh garlic, infinitely better than store bought powder, which I never use because I don't like the preservative flavor. You can also press and then freeze garlic and use like fresh. It is pretty close to the real thing, my friend has been doing this for years. Alas, poor soul, her garlic did not survive the winter.
I'll keep experimenting with the garlic and let you any case, we have no vampires on my farm....think it's because of the garlic?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Peek a Boo

Where have you been - you might have asked yourself.....

I've been everywhere, man - I might have answered.

The house is done - ok those of you who have built or renovated a home are really laughing now! Actually there are already projects to do.....hopefully sometime the craft studio will be finished!

I've been landscaping some - I found a listing for free monkey grass on Craig's List so I went to their yard and helped them excavate it - and then had to plant it on a steep slope at the back of the house for erosion control - that was a lot of fun.....well it looks good now anyway.

I've been traveling - I went to Washington DC with Ashley - aka The Princess. We were really going to Maryland, Baltimore area to the Maryland Wool and Fiber show - it was awesome. I bought some fancy yarns and a few books. The Princess took a lace making lesson - can you believe lace making is so easy to learn an 8 year old could get hooked and sit for an hour doing the antique craft? I am now looking for a lace making guild in my area and going to keep her interested - you don't even have to spend much on the equipment to do lace making - you probably have everything at home in the craft studio - they even showed us how to make our own bobbins which are just as useful as store bought ones!!!!! Amazing. Of course this is one of those talents that can be amazingly challenging the more advanced you become, but you can make really pretty pieces of lace right from the start.

I've been playing with recipes - I'm on a quest to make Chicken Lo Mein like a particular local restaurant makes it - I've had mild success but not perfection. I probably don't have enough preservatives or MSG in it!!!!!

I've been reading a few good books - I read Clive Cusslers The Chase - it was an airport pick and I figured it for a time filler, but it was very entertaining! I loved it and hope his other books are as exciting - I just fell in love with the characters and descriptions! I read Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton about the initial entry of the US Special Forces into Afghanistan in 2001. Even if you don't like factual military books you should read this - it will really open your eyes about the area over there and maybe let you see behind what the media portrays - it is a fast read without much battle gore - also provided insight into how the events came together. I am now reading Water for Elephants - it had me hooked from the first page. It is the recollection of an elderly man - not going gently into old age, who remembers his youth as a veterinarian with the circus.

Other than that - life goes on as usual!

I must also report that the Laurel Bay has been reborn - I mostly killed it when I left it outside over the cold spell we was I to know that we were going to have a below zero day in February????? We don't live in Minnesota ehhh? Remember it is the Year of the Bay according to the Herb Association.