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Monday, May 25, 2015

Save the Radish Greens!

The first gatherings of the garden in May of salads, radishes and herbs made me feel like a mother about her baby ... how could anything so beautiful be mine. 
Alice B. Toklas

The joy of the May garden is in full swing at Estle Schipp Farm.  The lettuce called Freckles is growing taller every day, the chives are already showing their lavender blooms that look like a flower that could house the little world of Whoville and the radishes are showing their beautiful red shoulders right above the soil.  I even saw the first blossom on the pea shoots today!  The May garden is full of greens for salads and greens for sauteing, all of which are so welcomed in my kitchen. 

I have a confession to make.  I had no idea you could eat the green tops of the radish plant.  I have always loved the crisp heat that comes from that radish pulled right from the ground and rinsed in the garden hose.  Some even make their way to the kitchen to go in the dinner salad.  I had always composted those beautiful, green, leafy tops.  What was I thinking??! 

Radish greens make fresh, peppery additions to your spring salads PLUS they are wonderful cooked like you would kale, spinach, chard, collards or beet greens.  Can you tell I'm on a 'greens' kick these days?  LOL 

I owe this discovery to Jenny at Nourished Kitchen who shared a soup recipe that called for adding radish GREENS to the pot after turning off the heat and letting them wilt just perfectly.  Today, I took the freshly picked bunch of radishes right to the kitchen and made quick work of cooking them right up and I loved them!  Here's what I cooked today: 

Radish and Greens Saute 
1 bunch of radishes with tops 
1 tsp. olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Wash radishes and greens well and remove the tip.  Quarter the radishes and chop the greens.  Heat the olive oil and add the quartered radishes.  Saute until golden brown.  Add the greens and cook just until wilted.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  (serves 1) 

I still cannot believe all the years I threw away this culinary gem.  The greens are full of vitamins and minerals too like folate, riboflavin, potassium, copper, B6, magnesium, manganese and calcium plus fiber.  We all love that!  The next time you see a radish, I hope you will try the tops...after all, there is more to this underappreciated vegetable than that red thing in the salad that you douse with dressing.  :) 

Peace be with you, 

Star Schipp 

This post may contain affiliate links which means if you make a purchase using one of those links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you.  It is a great way to support your favorite hobby farm blogger.  Thank you!   

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Growing Lilacs from Cuttings

Just now the lilac is in bloom
  All before my little room.
Rupert Brooke 

This quote made me smile as I remember that one of my granddaughters decided that the lilacs my daughter had cut and brought into the house *belonged* in her room.  "I need these" she declared.  

Few things can bring me as much joy as the lilac in full bloom.  The beauty of each perfect flower and the intoxicating scent fills my heart every single time.  Though the blossom is short lived, it always means that Spring with all her promise of growth and new life has arrived.

I think it is time to increase the number of lilac bushes at Estle Schipp Farm and I'm happy to report that it can be done from cuttings from existing plants. Here's how:

Growing Lilacs from Cuttings 
  1. Cut six inch stems from new plant growth. Older, mature growth is less likely to take root. 
  2. Remove all the leaves except for three leaves at the tip. Roots will grow from the area where the leaves were removed. 
  3. Prepare a pot with a light mixture of soil, sand and perlite.  If you are open to using it, moisten the stem and dip in rooting hormone.
  4. Make a narrow hole in the potting mixture with a stick and plant the stem.  Pat lightly so the stem stands upright.
  5. Keep the plant in a warm place, but not in bright light.  Water daily but never let the soil get soggy.
  6. It will take the lilac about two months to take root and start to have new growth but when you start seeing that, you have succeeded!  
I'm excited to increase my collection of lilacs in the garden in this very affordable way.  It will be such a sweet success to fill my home with the scent of lilacs in seasons to come. I hope you will add this lovely, old-fashioned floral classic to your gardens too!  

Peace be with you, 

Star Schipp 

This post may contain affiliate links which means if you make a purchase using one of those links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you.  It is a great way to support your favorite hobby farm blogger.  Thank you!   

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Spring is Here...Time for Spring Cleaning!

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. 
William Morris

Spring has definitely arrived on Estle Schipp Farm...the spring onions and radishes are growing rapidly in the garden, the lilacs are in bloom, the farm over on Highway 36 has new lambs and Bob has already fired up the, that can only mean it is time for SPRING CLEANING!  

This is the season of the year I both love and hate at the same time.  I love opening the windows and having the fresh air but deep cleaning not so much.  I am always happy when it is over - the cleaning, I mean.  

Over the winter, things pile up around here.  Projects get stashed away to make room for holiday gatherings and the natural cocooning I do over the winter does cause some clutter.  I also have some rather messy hobbies that add to the creative mileu we call home - painting, sewing, needlework all have quite a bit of equipment to store - not to mention the cheesemaking, food preserving, maple sugaring and all the fun things we do all year. 

And then there are the spring projects that are already underway.  Our dining room is full of honey supers in various stages of being built.  The kitchen counter has become a seed sorting station and very soon, the hobby table will be full of 4H projects.  So how to begin this project called Spring Cleaning

I had an epiphany as I was planning my cleaning time.  I realized that I need to consolidate our belongings so we know exactly what we have.  I think this will have at least two rewards - less time looking for a particular item plus seeing what you have can help you realize that you have a surplus and can donate some things.  I realized this when I started really looking with a critical eye.  Here are some examples: 

  • We have book shelves in the kitchen, bedrooms, living room and office...all with more books that we really need
  • I have yarn and fabric in my office closet, hobby room and in a basket by my living room chair....I'm frequently looking for a particular skein or cut of fabric and just can't find it
  • in Halloween and theatre...I found some in a tote in the hall closet, more in the closets of the children and for some reason a Captain Hook hook hanging off the back of a kitchen chair...LOL 
As you can see, I have some work to do.  I am confident that by consolidating our belongings, our home will be more organized and feel lighter and fresher.  The confidence I will have that everything has a place and that when I need it, I can find it will be so welcomed.  I have already found some duplication in belongings that were so unnecessary.  No one needs four size G crochet hooks - you only use them one at a time.  

I hope you will join me in lightening up our homes in this season of Spring Cleaning...remember William Morris' words:  everything in your home should be useful or beautiful (or even both!).  

Peace be with you, 

Star Schipp

This post may contain affiliate links which means if you make a purchase using one of those links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you.  It is a great way to support your favorite hobby farm blogger.  Thank you!