Thursday, May 26, 2011

Potato Experiment 2011

Back a few years ago we tried to grow potatoes in a five gallon bucket.  Unfortunately the experiment was not a success.  At the end of the growing season all we had to show for the effort were a few handfuls of marble sized potatoes.  After the failure we decided to read up on how to grow potatoes (no we didn't do that first).  Did you know you are supposed to 'hill' potatoes?!  Sure you did because everyone knows that, well except for us we didn't know that.  Anyway we decided to try it again this year with a little more knowledge and a little bit bigger buckets.  I went to TSC and got water buckets from the horse/barnyard animal department.  The color choice was made by the kids they actually agreed on the color!  It was a small miracle.  After we got the buckets we took them home and explained our plan to Jeff and then told him he needed to go with us and get dirt.   It was a little like how I got my garden last year.  Buy half the stuff then he will feel the need to help us with the rest.... I'm evil like that.  We went to several stores and got a bunch of different opinions about the soil we needed.  As with many things we decided to just wing it and got the supplies you see in the first photo.  Jeff grabbed one of the spare barrels and mixed them all together.  We let it all sit for a few days and incorporate.  Or we got busy, something like that.  Jeff drilled holes in the bottom of the buckets for drainage and we got some stones from the neighbors for the bottom of the buckets.  In theory it will help the water drain without all the soil also leaking out.  Well that's the way it's supposed to work for house plants right? 
These are the potatoes.  I purchased them from one of the stands at the Farmer's Market.  She gave me some advice about planting spaces and whatnot.  She's great and sells 50# bags of potatoes for $8 if you don't mind a mixed bag of the not so pretty ones.  Can't beat that with a stick right? 
So we (Jeff) planted the potato bits and then hauled them to the back rock area.  We didn't water the soil because rain was expected that night.  If you would like a great link to learn more about growing potatoes try this one.  Have a great week.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Book Giveaway

Dollwood Farms is having a giveaway for the book shown.  Just head over to the blog and add your comment :)

I have a blog post I'm working on but there are a ton of photos to go through and I've still got to catch up on some left over house work.  
See you guys tomorrow!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Jalapeno Poppers The Mans Way

OK so you are probably wondering what is up with the title. Well I (Jeff a.k.a. Photo Dude) made poppers for my lovely wife tonight. This is something I have never done before and kind of made up on the fly, as a guy may do from time to time. They worked out but I did some things that would have been easier if I would have looked for directions. So here we go from start to finish.

I started by cutting the tops off the peppers and then cleaning them out so I fill them. In hind site I should have cut them in half before cleaning them out. They cook better and are easier to work with. I ended up making some of them that way to.
The filling is real basic, cooked up some bacon, chopped it up. I added half a block of cream cheese, about a cup of graded cheddar cheese and the bacon. I had to warm up the cream cheese a bit to make it easier but that is it. This is the other part where having the peppers halved would have made it easier.
I used a butter knife to pack the whole peppers and then I pulled out some of our bread crumbs from the freezer and coated the cheese mix.
Now comes some of the guess work.
I put them into a small baking dish and as one set of directions I glanced at said "put a single layer". Really I didn't need that part spelled out, but there you have it.

Now comes the baking part, I baked at 350 Deg. for 20 to 30 mins until the bread crumbs start to brown and the cheese is melting. This is how they looked when they came out of the oven. OH yeah I do not know if this will make a difference or not but I did put them in the frigs for about an hour before cooking. I did this so I could have them ready when Erin got home. We of course had to use a bit of ranch to eat them with but they were great. This is what they looked like when we got done with them.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Garden Plans

 Here is how our seedlings are doing.  They are getting so big!  Wow what a mom thing to say huh?  I'm really should be replanting these suckers.  Next year I will definitely be using cups or something instead of the little thingies they are in now.  Most of what you see are bean plants and pumpkins.  Hopefully the neighborhood cats don't eat all the beans up again this year.  I mean really last year to look out into our fenced in garden and see a big 'ole cat eating the green bean plants was just too crazy. 
This is the state of our garden boxes.  We still haven't been able to get dirt to fill them although we have hope for this weekend.  Photo Dude and I have a great place near us that has composted mulch and that is what we will be filling quite a bit of these boxes with.  Our hope is to till up the soil that is there, fill in more dirt and then top with mulch.  The dirt in this section of the yard seems very good so we are going to just use what we've got instead of paying a lot of money for new dirt.
     Our thoughts for next year are much bigger.  Ya' see that strip of yard between the fences and the shed?  Our thoughts are to till up all of that for a huge in ground garden.  Then we will plant something like arborvitae to block the view from the street and cut down on the neighborhood kids cutting through our side yard.  The photo to the left is taken from Google Earth and is of our house with the plans for next year colored in.  So what do you think?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Jam Making Class

     Wow what a great crazy night!  Last night Photo Dude and I taught our first Jam Making class for our local Community Education department.  The room we used was hot!  Felt just like canning in July for sure.  We made a strawberry-honey jam and while that was in the canner I showed them how quick you can whip up a batch of freezer jam.  Strawberry jam is probably my favorite and isn't that color just so pretty!  The class was a lot of fun and I can't wait to do more canning classes again in the fall.
 P.S.  If you were in my class last night here is the recipe for the bread I made that I brought with me.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Young Inventors

Sorry we haven't been around this week.  I wish that I could say it was because if being so busy here at 4Rocks but it isn't.  As the school year winds down there are many projects for the kids to complete.  Our favorite was Miss M's Young Inventors project.  Since our garden plans are gearing up she came up with a stretchable fence for the plants to grow along.  It is actually a pretty creative idea and one that Photo Dude is planning on spending the winter tweaking with her to make it a little more feasible for the next growing cycle.  Seedling updates and more to come this week :)