Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Friday, February 28, 2014

Give Cabbage a second chance

I plant several varieties of cabbage, the smaller early cabbage,  an early flat dutch, and my absolute favorite, late flat dutch.  I harvest the late dutch for a good crop to make sauerkraut.  Most of them grow to over 20-25 pounds per head!  They keep well into the winter in a root cellar or wrapped in a plastic bag and put in  the refrigerator.

  In the early summer, harvest the head of the early cabbage, leaving several of the bottom large leaves on the root stock.  Continue to water and tiny cabbages will form at each leaf node.  These small cabbages are sweet and tender and can be used in many ways, even on sandwiches.

I harvest the Early Flat Dutch during the summer and the Late Flat Dutch in the fall. 
 They can withstand several late and early frosts.

 For those of you who are fond of cabbage greens, in the spring you can have plenty of them by saving the cabbage root stocks from the prior season.  Dig up the stocks and roots, leaving the roots intact as much as possible.  Set them in a deep trench to keep them from freezing.  Mulch heavily.  If you live in areas with cold winters I would suggest holding them over in a root cellar, in a  box of moist sand.  In the early spring, plant the roots with a small portion of the stock above ground and soon you will have tasty, early, leafy greens.  Cover with a plastic covered hoop or box to encourage early growth,
try using wall of waters,
 or simply plant into a cold frame.

I also use black buckets (with the bottoms cut out) to collect heat during the day for better growth. 
 Covering at night with a plastic bag keeps the cabbage plants from freezing back.

 grow early cabbage greens in a green house:

Mid way through the growing season, plant cabbage seeds of a 60-80 day cabbage.  I like to use a purple cabbage.  Harvest the head just before the frosts kills everything in the greenhouse.  Leave the stock in place, but remove all leaves.  Now place a bottomless bucket over the stock and then fill the bucket with  straw or leaves packing them in tightly.  If your winters are severe add additional mulch around the outside of the bucket and cover with an old blanket.  In the spring, as soon as the green house warms sufficiently remove the bucket, leaving the mulch around the stock.  Water and cover at night to prevent freezing.  Little heads will form at the leaf nodules, or just harvest the  leaves as they grow.

After harvesting the main head, this cabbage produced 6 additional heads for harvest. 
 Each head measured about 6 inches in diameter.

more info here

The cabbage family who live on my little sustainable, bio-dynamic farm!

Make this Tasty CABBAGE STEW
using the fall harvested cabbage
it is absolutely delicious!

Fixing supper in my little vintage camp trailer "GYPSY ROSE'
The cabbage pictured above is a second growth cabbage.
Thanks Folks for stopping by,
kick off your boots, set a spell and read about the adventures on my little farm.
to visit my home page

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


As the season came to a close last fall, I snapped a picture of this chard plant
what's so special about this plant you may ask yourself........
it obviouly is a regular ole swiss chard,
 surrounded by weeds 
(note, there is also celery in there someplace)

well, let me tell you what was so special about this chard


I didn't have the heart to harvest it,
 other than the lower leaves that yellowed, I fed to the chickens
so I just let it go to seed
and as soon  as it warms up enough,
I will have little chardets coming up everywhere!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Hand Spinners Retreat

A few weeks ago I attended our spinning guild's 3 day annual winter retreat.
As usual it was a hoot!
Took my old 53 Flatbed Ford and piled in a few of the gals.
We went crusin to the grocery store,
(not having a mall or chain department store that is the best we could do)
had to pick up some supplies for breakfast anyway.

Darcy was given the assignment of holding onto the bungee cord that I have wrapped
 around my door handle
to pull on to keep my door shut.......a job that she took very seriously I might add.......
that is until we took a left hand  turn and her door flew open
 and about deposited her in a heap in the middle of the road!
Mindy sitting crammed in the middle didn't have a worry other than holding her purse,
 the items from the store stacked high in her lap,
 and me not cracking her knee caps when I tried to shift gears.

This is the WIMSEY JAR I got from Darcy
filled with tiny treasures,
she gave me this beautiful tea pot 
Thanks Darcy for the thoughtful gift
she must have read an earlier post

spun several hanks of yarn
novelty yarn (middle) is spun one thin, single ply and one thick ply
then spun together 

on the left is a single ply spun from a multi-colored roving,
 the center is the single ply spun into a two ply by drafting one
 strand from the center and one strand from the outside of the ball,
 on the right is one ply of the multi-colored roving and one ply of a mustard color, 
spun together to make a two ply  variegated yarn

I also worked on a sweater (background)
made from several different crocheted flower mofits

another example of plying from both ends of a single plied yarn
(single foreground) 
2 ply skein in back
had so much fun I went home and spun non-stop for another week
been paying for it now, my hands have been asleep since.
Here's a look at

I had a great time, Thanks to all who worked so hard to make it a success!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Make a Farmers Market bag from recycled plastic bags

cut the bottom off plastic bags
I stack them 6 deep before cutting

cut strips about 1 inch wide

join strips together to form a plastic yarn
 and roll into a ball
add strips as needed

using size J (or larger) crochet hook 
chain 30 
turn, double crochet, chain one, in every other chain stitch
when making this first row catch 2 strands of the chain for better reinforcement
of the bottom of the bag
double crochet 4 in end 
continue around with a double crochet, chain one, in open spaces
NOTE:  do not join rows

double crochet, chain one, 4 times in each end
continue across
place the 4 double crochet in the middle of the turn (between the 2nd and 3rd stitch)
continue around until the desired with of the bottom of the bag is achieved.

To make the sides:  double crochet, chain one, around do not increase at the ends
(I found that leaving out the chain one on each end (side) kept the sides of the bag straight)

for the handle, double crochet about 10 spaces, make a chain stitch for the handle as long as desired
 skip over center spaces and attach so that both sides are equal, double crochet around.
Now change to a single crochet and complete several rows
fill in enough stitches to cover the handle
(I caught the stitches down a row for better support at the base of each handle)

I made this bag with double crochet so the beauty of the vegetables could be seen,
 however the bag is a little stretchy and would be sturdier if you used single crochet throughout.

Thanks for stopping by
while your're here stay awhile and read about my beautiful,
organic, sustainable lifestyle.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Front Porch

My front porch,
a gathering place......
a brass and crystal chandelier dangling from the eves,
  catching the suns rays
casting rainbow prisms on the wall
 an old hand crafted bench seat  placed along the edge
 filled with potted geraniums
bees and butterflies softly landing on their delicate petals
an antique overstuffed love seat
to sit in and read the works of Emily Dickinson, Tennyson,
or Culpepper's Complete Herbal.
An outdoor room
 to set up my easel and paint the flowers
and herbs blooming along the rock pathway
 wind chimes made from oddities, bits and pieces of broken glass,
old hand forged nails, shards of broken plates, and other treasures found
in the yard of our 100 year old solid rock home
 are hanging from the posts
their sound of days long gone drift on the breeze.
Long talks, or comfortable silence
fill the twilight hours
as we watch the night quietly creep in
 the dark shadows
hide the toads
as they search for bugs
and make their way to the small pond I have built for them
I sit still on my porch and enjoy the
cycle of a summer's day.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Harvesting Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the first crops I plant early in the spring in my green house.  I raise the seedling in a sunny south window, transplanting several times until they are about 6-8 inches tall.

After planting in the green house, I place a large black bottomless buckets (say that 3 times fast) around them.  This helps guard against frost that can still kill plants in the early spring.  If it really cold, I place a plastic bag over the bucket for the night.

ready to harvest

Use the outer leaves while you wait for the head to develop,
 they are especially good steamed or stir fried.
Add them to your morning smoothy or green drink.

Check on the broccoli often. 
 To tell when the broccoli is ready to harvest :
1. notice the color, it should be a deep, dark green
2. the buds should be packed tightly together, run your thumb over them to check
3.  when the color changes and becomes just a little lighted,
 check to see if the buds have loosened up just a bit.
(don't wait too long or the buds will blossom)
4.  Harvest by cutting off the stock just below the branching head.
Leave the plant in the ground, secondary heads, side shoots, will form for another harvest.
Also continue harvesting the leaves.
5.  I have learned to quickly place the broccoli in a plastic bag and refrigerate.
If you leave it out it, the buds will open and it will turn yellow in a very short time.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Winter at the Farm

Winter at the farm means rest and rejuvenation.  Not only for the earth, but for myself.  It is a chance to rest my weary old bones, sit by the fire and spin, knit, draw garden plans, and read a good book or two.

my son made the birdhouse and my son-in-law made my  Farm name sign
thanks guys

One of my favorite books to read and re-read is by Ruth Stout

hardback copy
16th edition
printed in 1976

This lady is hilarious,  I look for this book every time I go to the thrift store.  I have found and given away several copies to the friends I have made while on my gardening journey in this great land of American.  If you can be the first to guess correctly how many states I have lived in my entire life
 (thus far, I'm sure there will be more)
 I will send you a copy of the book.
Please leave me a comment of........
1.  a  bit of garden wisdom
2.   your guess.

  Available to US delivery only!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


We have a long row of Elderberries growing along side one of the gardens.  It flowers in the spring with snowy white umbrellas consisting of hundreds of tiny white flowers.  If a late frost doesn't hit, killing the blossoms, I can gather the flowers to make fritters.  As the summer progresses, tiny, little green berries form.

just beginning to ripen, berries will be a dark purple when ripe

 When the Elderberries ripen I gather them quickly before the birds eat them all.  The berries are laid on paper toweling and placed on a window screen, out of the wind and sun, to dry.  I don't worry about taking out the stems unless I am making Elderberry  jelly or jam.  The dried Elderberries make a wonderful hot tea to help combat colds and flu.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

cold, snowy night

It is the middle of winter.   I don't have chores to do other than make sure the wood box is full.   I'm getting old enough I just want to stay in by the fire.  The other night my daughter and her husband had driven out to visit.  We pulled the stack of games out of the cupboard and picked APPLES TO APPLES to play.  When we were finished, my daughter said that the cards you win should tell a little about your personality.
Well, I think I am a little witty and I definitely don't have a clue!