Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Garden Journal

Every year I record my gardening adventures in a journal.  I have used many different types of journals over the years.  This year I made a stack of journals to use,
 each one serving a specific purpose.  
A calendar, several art journals, a gratitude journal, the yellow flowered journal below will be my Garden Journal for this season.


Bright and cheery colored papers were chosen to reflect a garden, flower, and herb theme.


Extra pieces of papers can be added for making notes or plans.



Several little pockets glued in can hold seed packets or other miscellaneous items.


I added this little "notebook" by stapling along one edge, attaching it onto a page. I used about 10 sheets of lined paper, and punched holes and threaded cotton thread through the holes,  The little flowers are actually buttons.


View an additional journal here:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring is Here!

a photo of geraniums and tomatoes growing by the garden shed in 2015

Spring is in the air! The past couple of days it has been raining instead of snowing.  The big 5 foot high snow piles in the driveway have melted away, creating a small lake in the front yard.  



The kale, chard, onions and garlic are growing happily in the greenhouse.



It won't be long before the rhubarb will be cut and made into delicious crisps,
pies, and my favorite rhubarb compote.


Soon I will be munching on one of my favorite garden snacks,
RADISH PODS.



Hopefully this year I can eat a few strawberries before the deer or racoons get them all.


The annual bunching onions and chives are up in the outside gardens.  

Yes, spring is HERE!
Time to gas up the tiller and get to work.
What are you planting in your garden this year?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Delicious Savory Crepes


Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh chives from the garden
 are added to this easy crepe batter.

2 eggs, beaten
2 tbs. melted butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
whisk until smooth
add chopped chives 
2-3 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese 
let rest for 30 minutes before cooking.
Pour 1/4 cup of batter on griddle.
 lift pan and swirl the batter into a circle.
Makes 8 crepes.
\

Cook on an oiled, well seasoned, cast iron griddle until golden brown on both sides.


I filled the crepes with fresh spinach from the greenhouse, shredded smoked salmon, sauteed mushrooms, toasted slivered almonds, and dressed with Greek dressing.


Add scrambled eggs for a hearty breakfast.

DELICIOUS!

Monday, March 13, 2017

It's Never To Late



"IT IS NEVER TO LATE TO BE WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN' .....george eliot


I always wanted to be an artist.  I spent hours and hours as a kid drawing and sketching.  I attended a small rural high school, but it did not offer any any art classes. I tried going to college, but the confinement of indoors and being told what to read and conforming to the opinions of professors just wasn't for me. 
Busy raising a beautiful family, working the soil on my organic vegetable farm, milking 20 goats by hand twice a day, has taken up most of my time, but with the last of the kids off to college, I have picked up my art again.  I am struggling, but I have decided it is like anything else, the more you practice, practice, practice, practice, the better you get.
This past winter I watched birds in my yard eating the seeds from the many flower heads I left uncut for them.  I tried to sketch the ever present sparrows, but my efforts weren't very good. 
 I made a goal.
  I would make 10 drawings or paintings of a sparrow and hopefully
 by the tenth one I will have made some progress.




Sketch number one.  AUGGGHHHHH!
Well, it can only get better from here!


Sketch number 3 & 4
hopefully I have made a little progress


I am finding this difficult! 
 Why do I have an easier time painting or sketching people?






Number 5. 
 This is totally wrong.  It looks more like a hawk, or a duck, than a sparrow.  
I told my husband of my goal to paint 10 paintings of sparrows,
 hoping as each painting is completed, it will help me capture them in a more realistic way.


I should just give up, but I made a goal and I am going to persevere!



This is number seven.  Well, I think  I am finally making a little progress.

One day a flock of 20 robins spent the day in the yard.  I grabbed my acrylics (I have never painted with acrylics before, I just recently purchased a beginners set with a 40% off coupon) and tried to capture them fluttering around in the snow.  I have spring fever so I painted the background green.



Not great, but I can see I am making a little progress painting birds.
                         When my husband came home I showed him this painting and he said,
"I can tell exactly what that is............. it's a SPARROW!"

"GOOD GRIEF!"

Well, back to the drawing board
I will need another 20, or 50, or 100 drawings to get it right.

If at first you don't succeed,
try, try, again, and again, and again, and...............





Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Owls


I  recently looked out the window of the little red house and this is what I saw.  The sun had faded the wood sufficiently to make this pair of owls visible.  I was honestly quite surprised and amazed that the boards created these two owls.  Six years ago we had purchased the boards at town, loading them into the trailer, then unloading them at the farm.  They were stacked awaiting time for us to build the purposed fence.  When we decided where we would be using the lumber, it was once again loaded on a trailer and re stacked on the east side of the house where the fence would be constructed.


Was it happenstance?
Or was it meant to be?

We have had many broods (parliament is the correct word for a group of owls) raised in the big trees surrounding the farm.  In the evenings the owls leave their nest and hunt for the plentiful mice we always seem to have.  I counted eight young owls 2 summers ago.  I recently took my grand-daughter for an owl hunt and sure enough there were 5 large horned owls sleeping in the trees. I guess a few of them didn't survive.  The first 2 years in an owls life is the most precarious. Owls don't reproduce until they are 2-3 years old so I am hoping to find several nests of them this summer. Owls usually occupy other large birds nest rather than building their own, hopefully they will run off some of the crows we have hanging around. Sometimes we are even fortunate enough to have several burrows of ground owls.

Some interesting facts about owls.

Some cultures believe the owl to be a bad omen, a messenger of doom. 
Other traditions and cultures have a positive view of the owl.
To the ancient Greeks the owl was a symbol of Athene who is goddess of foresight and knowledge, and a sign of good fortune.  
Some Native American Tradition views  people with an owl in their totem are adaptable and approach life in an easy-going manner.  They are artistic and adventurous, witty and flexible, sensitive and with a zest for life and can accomplish great things. They view the owl as a protector against harm, and that those who see owls should take the sighting as a sign to stand back from everyday life and turn inward for wisdom by listening to your inner voice. Others do not share this positive view.
Throughout  many cultures the symbolic meaning of owls deals with:  Intelligence, brilliance, wisdom, power, perspective, intuition, protection, quick-wit, independence and mystery.
 An owl is the Guardian of the after-life, a highly respected emblem.





I am in awe of the beautiful creatures and will think we have
"GOOD FORTUNE"
to have them living on our farm. 







Tuesday, January 17, 2017

TRIOPS and TRACKS

This past fall my son and I spent a few days doing some needed repairs on the house at the farm.  He ventured off to the pond at the edge of one of our 40 acre sections.  We had gotten a lot of rain the prior few weeks and he wanted to see how much water was in the pond and if the TRIOPS had hatched.  Triops are fossil like creatures that hatch out every time there has been sufficient rain to keep the pond full of water for their 90 day life cycle.  Sometimes it has been 10 years between hatches.  He returned home and said the pond and the outlying area was full of triops.  I ventured up and was amazed by the millions and millions of triops swimming in the shallow water.  I didn't have my camera with me and vowed I would return that afternoon to take pictures.  Well, a few days went by before I made it back to the ponds and unfortunately all the water had dried up.




I noticed a lot of tracks around the area and went on an adventure to see how many different kinds of tracks I could find.
These are skunk tracks preserved in the dried mud.


The neighbor's big black lab loved to play in the pond water.
Dogs leave claw marks in their prints.


We have both deer and antelope in the area.  


Not sure what bird made these.  This time of year we have many varieties of hawks, buzzards, crows, but they are probably not eagle tracks as the eagles don't come into the area until late November.



People tracks.  Sadly the neighbors have used our remote property for a dumping ground.

 

GASP! Do you know what this is?  The hair on the back of my neck stood on end when I saw these fresh tracks.  I wonder if this fellow was laying close by while we wandered around.  I purposely photographed the piece of wood next to the track to give an approximation of it's size. The piece of wood  measured an inch long.  The track was a good 5 inches across!  Have you figured out what kind of track this is?


Yes, it is a MOUNTAIN LION!
Needless to say, I scooted out of there as fast as I could!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What's for Supper?





I made this for supper the other night, breaded chicken breast, spinach noodles with home-made Alfredo sauce and Sun dried tomatoes. I harvested and dried, the tomatoes last year.  Covered with olive oil, and put in the freezer, these tomatoes will last until next year's crop is ready to harvest.
Find out how I  make these sun dried tomatoes (using your oven) by clicking on the link below.
As the weather is turning to the crisp days of fall, this is a great way to use up all your extra tomatoes.




Thursday, September 1, 2016

Grow your own Micro Greens


Micro Greens are very simple to grow.  The necessary equipment can be as simple as a plastic container with a lid.  I use the containers I purchase organic lettuce in during the winter months when I am unable to grow my own.



Punch several holes in the bottom of the container.  Fill with good organic potting soil.  Set container on a  baking sheet to catch the water as it drains out from the bottom.


Here's a great tip.  You can purchase seeds specifically packaged for micro greens, or you can do what I do and save yourself a lot of money.  I always have seeds left over from planting the garden, sometimes I don't used them all even after several years.  I gather all my old seeds (3 to 4 years old) and combine them into a single packet to use for my micro greens.  Because the seeds are older I do not want to plant them in the fields as the germination rate is lower.  It will not matter if the rate is lower if you are using them for greens because of the volume of seeds you will be planting.  Seed the container heavily and cover with a thin layer of soil.  I use a spray bottle to water the seeds in well.

USE ONLY ORGANIC OR UNTREATED SEEDS!!!!!!!


Put the lid on the container and keep evenly moist until the seeds begin to sprout.  Place in a warm southern window and water often.  By using seeds that sprout at different times you can have a harvest for a couple of weeks.

Try using seeds of radishes, cabbage, cauliflower, beets, chard, lettuce, sunflowers, peas, legumes, broccoli, alfalfa, wheat, clover, amaranth, etc.  (check out your local health food store for sprouting seeds) these usually come in bigger containers and are very cost efficient.


Using a sharp pair of scissors, trim off the amount desired.  Turn the tray often for even growth.  Use the greens over salads, soups, sandwiches and wraps.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Herd of Cows


Drove through Rock Springs, Wyoming the other day and ran into this herd of cows.






They were grazing out in front of the Chamber and Visitor Complex.









Thursday, August 18, 2016

SQUASH BUGS how to get rid of them




I attended an art workshop this past week.  Spending a few gorgeous days traipsing around Flaming Gorge National Monument Plein Air Painting was a break I really needed.  I met some wonderful people and fellow artists. Spent a few nights camping in my classic, vintage Avion trailer.  Watched three bucks, their horns still in velvet, come right into camp early one morning.  I had to stand still and couldn't run and grab my camera to take their picture. 


I did however snap a picture of these critters after I got home.  It is amazing how fast they can take over your garden while you are away for a couple of days.

The best time to catch squash bugs is early in the morning when they crawl out on the leaves to soak in the warmth from the sun.



I get a large garbage bag (black ones usually work better as they absorb more heat) and carefully break off the leaves with large colonies of bugs and place the leaves in the bag.


Check under the leaves for eggs.  I do not squish them, I will generally remove the whole leaf or just tear out the portion of leaf the eggs are on.


Tie the bag tight and leave in the sun to heat up.  The bugs will soon die.
  Now for the last line of defense.  Get out your shop vac and vacum up the remaining bugs.  Fill the tank with hot soapy water, thus drowning the bugs.  My sister, Trudy, gave me this great tip.  I don't have squash bugs at the big farm, but here in Roosevelt I do and I was asking her how she got rid of them.  Great Idea and it works!  You do however need to check every few days for newly hatched bugs.


BUG BLASTER!