Spinach Quiche Cups

I love looking for new recipes.  Not that I make half of them, but you never know when you might get the urge.  Well, I found this recipe for spinach quiche cups on Pinterest the other day and couldn’t resist.  Here’s a link to the original recipe.   They are easy and delicious.

Spinache Quiche Cups

Ingredients:

  • olive oil (to saute mushrooms and onions)
  • 10 oz of spinach (I used frozen because it’s what I had , but fresh would probably be better)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
  • 8 oz mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1/2 medium onion (diced)
  • 1 Tbs of milk (the original recipe call for heavy cream or half and half, but I didn’t have either so I used milK)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put a little olive oil in pan and saute mushrooms and onions

Cook spinach according to directions on the bag. Be sure to drain excess water.

Beat eggs in large bowl. Add the other ingredients and mix well.  Season to taste.

Spray muffin tin, and fill. Should nicely fill 12 muffin cups.

Bake for 20-23 minutes or until well set/ toothpick inserted in center should come out clean.

I topped mine with some tomato basil feta, and they were to die for.

Total preparation time was about 50 min.

If you have extra eggs and don’t know what to do with them, this is a great recipe.

 

 

A Milestone Reached

I can’t believe it.  After two and a half years, minus a one year sabbatical, I’m finally on my 100th post.  A huge thanks to all of you who are following along on my journey.  It’s been a bit rough as I was not sure in the beginning where exactly I was headed, but the future is much clearer to me now.  Thanks for putting up with me as I share my vegetable gardening, chickens and newcomer ducks with all of you.  I am hoping to be doing a lot of canning and preserving in the near future.  My goal is to become as self reliant as possible.  I know on one half acre that I will never be completely self reliant, but I hope to do the most I can with what I have. I saw this saying on a facebook page I follow and I think it says it better then I could,  “It is not the amount of land you own, but what you do on that land that makes you a homesteader.”

I have never been big on prizes and give-a-ways, but I think this special occasion deserves one.  I am going to give one of my Tote Bags to someone who comments on this post.  I will put all the names in a hat and Holly will draw a name.  Next Saturday, March 16th, I will post the winner, both on this page and on my facebook page.  Thanks for playing.

Looks like the weather this weekend, at least in my neck of the woods, is going to be fabulous.  Hope everyone gets a chance to go out and get their hands dirty!

The winner will receive this tote!

 

 

Vegetables To Plant In March

March is a busy, busy planting time of year.  The list of vegetables to plant in March seems endless.  If you are going to try to do one last planting of  winter veggies, get them planted as soon as possible.  Temps will be rising before we know it, which is hard to believe considering it’s been colder lately than it was in January.  It is definitely time to get your summer veggie seeds planted.  If you are brave and getting a head start on planting summer veggies in the garden, be prepared to cover them, it is possible we could get another freeze before spring gets here.

Vegetables to plant in March for zone 8b:

beans, bush and pole
beans, lima
beets
cantaloupe
carrots
celery
collards
corn
cucumbers
eggplant
endive/escarole
kohlrabi
lettuce
mustard
okra
onions – bunching
peas, english
peas, southern
peppers
potatoes
potatoes, sweet
pumpkin
radish
squash, summer
squash, winter
tomatoes
turnips
watermelon

I thought I would add a few pictures of how my garden is growing.

West Garden

Front row boxes have potatoes, second row on the right, onions on the left, very small bok choy, kale, and colorful swiss chard, third row is waiting for tomatoes and peppers, at the back is my low tunnel housing my seedlings.  I have been meaning to make a post on my low tunnel but just haven’t got to it.  To make a long story short, in the middle of last month some friends of mine gave me sliding glass doors and I plan on making a greenhouse, which will be to the left of the low tunnel.  I have not had time to build my greenhouse but needed somewhere to house my seedlings so the low tunnel was my solution.  It is fairly inexpensive and very easy, I will eventually get around to putting up the directions on how to build one.  I have to say I was a bit worried about my seedlings with this cold weather we have had the past few weeks, but they are doing well.  My tomatoes look like they are almost ready to up pot.

Cucumber seedlings in the low tunnel

Pepper, Eggplant, and tomato seedling in the low tunnel

 

East Garden

Above is a picture on my east garden.  Front row on the left, broccoli with a few cabbages and mustard plants, on the right, newly planted lettuce, bok choy, and beets.  Second row on the left, cabbages that are ready to be harvested in the next day or two, on the right, only a few remaining radishes, basically it is ready to be replanted.  Third row on the left has lettuce, carrots, and broccoli, and on the right mustard greens with a few radishes.  The trellis beds have peas, the front bed is doing great the back bed the top of the peas were eaten by the vols, which I have finally been able to get rid of, I hope.  I may have to replant that bed.  I will make my decision on that this week, as time is running out to plant peas.

 

Ducks Have Arrived

I am so excited I finally have ducks!  I have to admit that compared to chickens they are messy, messy little creatures.  If you thought having the chicks throw their food around was bad, well that’s nothing compared to water everywhere.  But as far as cute goes, they are adorable.

They are adorable.

We got them at TSC (Tractor Supply Co.) yesterday.  They were the last ones of the older batch and TSC was desperately trying to get rid of them.  The smaller ones are even cuter then these, but these guys needed a home so now they have one.  🙂   I have to say when looking for information on how to care for ducks there is little compared to the ton of info on chickens.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far concerning their care:

-Make sure their water dish isn’t to deep.  They can drown.

-They must have enough water to cover their bills when they drink.  They need to flush the vents on their bills.

-They must have water when eating in order to help wash down the food.

-They need a place to go to warm up after they are done playing in the water.

-Feed the growing babies a feed that has 20% protein, which is a higher percentage then the baby chick’s food.

For now they are inside and I’m planning on keeping them in for at least another week or two as the weather has been pretty cold.  Here is a picture of their condo:

Duck Condo.

Their water and food is in the bin in hopes of keeping the mess contained.  The other part has a light so they warm up and plenty of room for them to run around.  They are not too friendly yet, but they are getting used to me coming in the room and aren’t hiding in the corner anymore.  I have no idea if they are males or females as they came from a straight run.  I’m hoping they are girls, but I will keep you posted.  Next, will be figuring out housing for them.  From what I read they don’t need much, but protection from black bears and other wild animals will be key.

How To Make Laundry Detergent

I’ve been wanting to make my own laundry detergent for some time now, just wasn’t sure where to start.  Then awhile back, LaFountain Farms posted on facebook that she had made laundry detergent, and she shared her recipe.  To make it even better, it is a liquid detergent rather then powder, and for some unknown reason that is what I prefer.  So guess what?  I made laundry detergent today, and I can tell you that it was much easier then I thought.

How To Make Laundry Detergent:

1 Cup Borax

1 Cup Super Washing Soda

1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap (all was found together in the laundry aisle at the grocery store).

Ingredients for Laundry Detergent

Directions:

Fill a 5 gallon bucket with hot water, take out a pitcher of water and put in large pot and boil. Grate the bar of soap and slowly add to boiling water, slowly and stirring the whole time, it will suds up if you go to fast. Boil that soap until it is all melted. While that is boiling, add the two powders to the bucket and stir.

Boil water and melt soap

When soap is melted, add to bucket and stir good. Put the lid on and let sit overnight, it will gel up by morning. Then give it another good stir. Makes 5 gallons of concentrated soap, so then you can put this in an old soap bottle or milk jug and mix half and half with water. Shake it real good when you use it, as it will gel up again.

Jugs of concentrated laundry detergent

You can add smelly oils if you like, but I like it the way it is.

 

New Baby Chicks Have Arrived

I just had to share some pictures of our newest babies.  They are black sexlinks and one golden sexlink.  They are sooo cute.  We just got them yesterday, but they are 10 days old.  Since it has done nothing but rain, 2.75 inches between yesterday and today, they are safe and dry in the garage.  When everything dries out they will go to the outdoor brooder.

I’ll post more pictures as time goes.

 

Starting My Seedlings

Hooray, it’s time to start your seeds indoors.  Somehow, no matter how tired or busy I am, I seem to be able to muster the energy to start my seeds.  Starting seeds brings visions of a beautiful garden and plates full of tasty veggies.  Last Saturday was a hectic day around here with what seemed like an unending list of chores.  But, in between chores I did get my seeds started.  Even though I have doubled my garden size this year I still do not need 72 of any one variety of tomato, pepper or eggplant.  72 is the number of cells in the commercially available seed trays.  I probably don’t even need 18 plants but I like to make sure I have extras.

 

My cat Maya is inspecting my seed tray. Forgive that it is a bit blurry. Maya doesn’t get to be on my blog much and I thought she deserved the chance.

This year I decided to do things a little different.  In the past I have not had much success with the labeling of my seed trays in order to keep the varieties seperate.  Previously, I have labeled the lid.  But, the seedlings grow and lids come off and the guessing games begins.  Did the lid go on this way or this way?   So a new system was born.

New labeling system.

I painted numbers on the side of the trays and then used my gardening journal to note which seeds correspond to the numbers.  On the ends the trays, I also put a number.  This seems like a simple solution to my problem, not sure why it took me so long to come up with it.  The next thing will be the labeling of the pots when they get up potted.  Which has also been problematic, but that is a problem for another day.

Tomato, pepper, and eggplant seeds started.

One tip I have when starting seeds is to take note of germination rates.  Tomatoes take 7-10 days to germinate, while peppers take 10-14 days.  This is important to know because if you plant multiple varieties per tray, it is best that each tray have seeds with the same germination rates.  Once your seeds germinate it is time to move them under a grow light or outside in a protected area.  Having seedlings in the same tray at different stages of growth makes this more difficult.

 

Gardening for chickens?

Do you plant your garden according to what your chickens like?  My chicks have eaten all the grass from their section of the yard, or as my dad says, “they turned it into a desert.”   Since they can’t forage for greens, I give them a lot of veggies from the garden.  It’s quickly approaching a year that I have had my chicks and I have noticed they prefer some veggies over others.   When I was sitting down planning out my summer garden the other day, I found myself adding a few extras of the veggies I know my chicks really like.  Then, I heard a voice in my head telling me I had lost my mind.  I mean really, who actually gardens for the chickens?  Well, I guess I do.  🙂

They love their veggies.

Lucky for me, the list of veggies they don’t like is shorter then ones they do like.  Of the summer veggies, they like squash, watermelon, tomatoes (don’t give them too many of these at once), the greens from the potato plants (don’t give them the actual potatoes), but they love, love, love green beans.  Here is a picture from last summer of Holly giving them some beans.  Note, this is before they turned their area into the desert.

Holly giving the chicks beans.

Winter veggies are easier, because they will eat most all of them.  However, they seem to prefer veggies from the Brassicaceae (cabbage/mustard) family.

Carrots tops aren’t their first choice, but they’ll take them.

Hopefully, my chicks will be pleased with my selection of summer veggies.

 

 

 

Vegetables to plant in February

February is here and I don’t know about you but I’m getting a bit of spring fever.  I have recently added a page, Vegetable Planting Guide, to the site that has the planting guides for all twelve months.  However, I thought I would still make the monthly posts.

Here is the list:

Vegetables to plant in February for zone 8b:

beets
broccoli
cabbage
carrots
cauliflower
celery
chinese cabbage
collards
cucumbers
eggplant
endive/escarole
kale
kohlrabi
lettuce
mustard
onions – bunching
peas, english
peppers
potatoes
radishes
tomatoes
turnips

Now you may be asking, “why are there warm weather crops on this list, when our last frost date isn’t until March”?  The answer is, these vegetables, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes, can be started at this time, but they should not be placed out in the garden, unless you can protect them from frost.

I am hoping to get my seeds started in the next couple of weeks, in the cold frame I have yet to build.  🙂  By starting these veggies now it gives them extra time to produce before the summer heat beats them up.

I’m wondering what varieties of tomatoes and pepper are you choosing this summer?  Have you found a variety that does particularly good for you?  If so please share.  For me, my favorite tomatoes are cherry tomatoes, but I haven’t found a variety that I am completely in love with.  I do hope to plant some large tomato bushes, in hopes of having enough to can.  Last year the best large variety tomato bush I had was a volunteer, so I have no idea what variety it was.  Now, I am so wishing I had saved some seeds from it.