Friday, April 20, 2018

SUN TEA JAR THRIFT STORE FIND

This is something my Mom found in a thrift store once upon a time and we just recently found it when emptying another box I had put in the barn. 

Vintage Solar Tea jar
Has anyone ever made the Southern treat "Sun Tea"?  It's made by steeping tea bags in a jar (usually a gallon) of water in the sunshine.  The sun heats the water and steeps the tea.  It really does taste different. Well this jar dates from the 1970's and it pretty neat.  It's a round bubble shape and all the parts fit into the top just like this for storage.  This has obviously never been used.  


Here are the different tops all spread out...it even has the original instructions!


The first part is the domed lid that allows sunshine to come in through the top as well.  Pretty neat.  


The other part is an actual pour spout.  You just unscrew the ring, remove the dome lid and replace with the spout and screw the ring back down.  

Can't wait to use it when it gets hotter.  It will be nice to have a glass of cold sun tea after I finish mowing.

There is some controversy about Sun Tea and it's potential dangers.  I can say I had it for years growing up and never had an issue.  But if you do make it, you must follow some safety protocols.  The big worry is that it doesn't get hot enough in the sun to kill bacteria as opposed to boiling water in a tea kettle.  Need to do some more research on that but hey, people have been doing it for decades, and they haven't "banned" them yet so as with anything, follow the rules.  



Thursday, April 19, 2018

FLOWERBED ALTERNATIVE, INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm. Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

Image courtesy of CountryLiving.com
Simple outdoor decor that doesn't involve "much" work.  Objects as art/decoration and some flowers thrown in here and there.  We actually have a corner of the house where this could work.  We were also thinking about doing something like this around the barn and/or shed.  I think I might like a more formal "edge" to the gravel area, but still we like this idea for creating interest that doesn't require as much upkeep as an entire flowerbed, if that makes sense.

Be inspired!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

SHEET PAN MONGOLIAN BEEF RECIPE

We're still trying out sheet pan recipes. Anything that cooks in one pan is nice.  Now this does mess up an extra dish (a bowl) due to the sauce but it's worth it.  The first time I made this 2nd Man said "wow, you need to make this again".  Now he asks for it regularly. Yes, I give him the night off from cooking on occasion, ha!

Sauce ingredients
First you make a basic sauce.  It is a mixture of 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 3 TBSP sherry, 1 TBSP minced ginger, and 6 cloves of garlic, minced.


Just put it all into a bowl and whisk together.  


Next, take 1 LB of trimmed green beans (we cut ours in half as well) and toss on a sheet pan with 1 tsp of red pepper flakes and 3 TBSP of coconut oil. You could use any oil but trust us when we say the coconut really adds a great flavor. Toss it all together and put in a PREHEATED oven at 450 degrees. Roast for about 7-10 minutes.

Slicing flank steak
While the beans are roasting, slice the flank steak against the grain into thin pieces.  If they are too long, just cut each thin strip in half to make more bite sized pieces.


Remove the beans from the oven and set the sheet pan aside for a moment.


Toss the sliced flank steak in 1/4 cup cornstarch and allow to sit for a few minutes.


You know it's ready when you see that it has absorbed into the meat.


Move the green beans to the outside edges of the sheet pan...why?


To make space in the middle to spread out the meat.  Try to get it in one layer as much as possible so they will get the same sear that they would in a wok.


Roast at the same 450 degrees for 10 minutes.
But wait, where's the sauce? 


Take the sheet pan from the oven and pour the sauce over the meat, toss and put back in the oven for about 5 to 10 more minutes or until...

Sheet Pan Mongolian Beef and Green Beans
...it's browned and the sauce has started to turn into a glaze.  


Stir it all up so that the sauce gets all over the green beans and it's done and ready to serve.

Mongolian Beef with Green Beans
Dish it into bowls and serve!  We sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and some diced green onions just to add a bit of extra flavor and, of course, a pretty appearance.

Enjoy!


Monday, April 16, 2018

FRUIT HERBS VEGGIES HAIL AND RAIN

It was an odd weekend. Saturday a front came through and we had rain, wind, lightning, and pea sized hail at the farm.  Needless to say, Saturday was a stay in town day.  Then it got down into the low 40's?!?!?  


Yesterday though was quite possibly the most perfect day of the year so far.  Cool, breezy, low humidity, and just, well, gorgeous!  The wildflowers are starting to come out around the property too.  So pretty to see patches of color here and there.  


I mowed, it's always such a relief to mow.  I had to leave a few spots un-mowed because it was just TOO wet but for the most part, I got it all mowed and it feels good to see it.  Until next week or two when it's a foot tall again, ha. 


We have fruit! I can't remember which this is (and it looks odd, it's either peach or pear, like I said I took a ton of pics and now I don't remember which tree this was on, ha). 


We also have plums...


And peaches...


and pears!


Tomatoes are growing nicely and have blossoms...


The cucumbers both are starting to spread and have blossoms as well...


And look!  

We had an actual harvest There was ONE banana pepper, ha, and then I gathered some herbs to keep them growing and not blooming.  There are three kinds of basil, oregano, chives and Mexican tarragon.  

I also worked in the barn, did SO much in there too.  More on that in upcoming posts. It was a great weekend, after the storms of course.  

Friday, April 13, 2018

SHELVING UNITS TRASH TO TREASURE

Regular readers know that I have a favorite place to look for bargains...our downstairs trash area!  Our building has trash chutes on every floor and they feed into a separate room, but for boxes and other things that people can't put in the chute, there is an area (indoor) near the loading dock, where people can put the things they don't want.  

I've found quite a few cool items so far.
Here are the latest!


What are these?  I saw them laying next to the dumpster downstairs. I had a pretty good idea of what they were when I saw them all stacked up but wasn't a 100% sure how large they might be.  I looked and they seemed to be in good shape, other than a bit dusty.  I counted the poles and it was an even number so that was good.

I loaded them into the the Jeep (above in the back seat) and drove them to the farm.


I unloaded them in the yard to analyze all the pieces and figure it out.  It didn't take long to realize what I had found.  I was excited.  


Here it is after I started putting it together. It was so easy, there was a bottom with feet and then the poles just slid into the holes. Then you put the next part on top of the poles and they slide into holes in the bottom of the one above.  

I just repeated until the top and... 



BEHOLD!
A huge heavy duty shelving unit...

Resin shelving units
...oh wait!  
It's TWO heavy duty shelving units!

SCORE!

There is a grocery store and a restaurant in the building, these probably were used in their storage rooms.  We found some like them online at a restaurant supply company. These are more substantial than just plastic shelves, these are made of a heavy duty resin.  Each shelf supports 150lbs.  They are 36"wide and 24" deep and 6' tall.  They are crazy strong but oddly lightweight, I carried each one fully assembled, with no problem, to the barn. 

So excited, I put them in the barn and wow, they are perfect!  They'll stand up to the elements, support a lot weight, hold a lot of stuff because they are large and best of all, IT'S FREE STORAGE!



Thursday, April 12, 2018

COVERED POTTING BENCH INSPIRATION THURSDAY


Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm. Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

Potting bench under cover, image via Pinterest.com
A covered potting bench?  

Yep.  Who knew that was a possibility.  How cool is this?  It could be nice to have a potting bench covered somehow.  Shade in the hot summer.  Protection from a soaking rain.  Keep the tools and supplies somewhat protected.  

Another something for the possible plan list, ha.

Be inspired!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

COLLARD GREENS WITH BACON AND ONIONS

A few weeks ago, we posted about cabbage, onions and bacon with the cabbage we grew in our Fall/Winter garden.   I missed showing this, also with stuff we grew in the garden, this time collard greens.  This is a Southern staple for sure.  

We love collards!

Washed and cleaned collard greens
This was a batch that I had gathered.  We got about this much every weekend.  And we almost always cooked it like this.  Wash, chop and cut out the woody stem.  This was about 4 cups.  

It cooks down, we promise, ha. 

Fried bacon
While I was washing and chopping, 2nd Man fried some bacon in a skillet.  He took it out and set aside to drain.

Sautéing onions
In the bacon fat, he put some onions, sliced up, and sautéed them until they were golden and starting to turn a bit translucent.
Cooking collard greens
Then we pile in the collards.  Don't worry, they cook down quickly.  
Collards and Onions
Once they start cooking down, stir them around with the onions and continue cooking over medium heat until the cook down even more.
Collard Greens and Onions
They keep cooking down and we splash a bit of apple cider vinegar in there with it to add a depth of flavor.

Collard greens with bacon and onion
Lastly, add the bacon and stir.  
See! It DOES cook down, ha.

Collard Greens
Cook until the collards are tender and the flavors are well combined.  

Collard greens side dish
And serve!  A yummy side dish that goes well with meat.  In this case we had a nice steak on the side.  
We really love the collards, next Fall we'll be expanding them to a larger raised bed.




Monday, April 9, 2018

ORGANIZING THE KITCHEN STORAGE

So on a cold and wet day, what better thing to do that cleaning out a cabinet or drawer or two?


Firs thing I did was take everything out and stack it in a chair (and the counter and another horizontal surface).  These are various dish towels, potholders, and other kitchen linens we've acquired.  They were scattered around the house in various places. You know how that goes, a couple in a drawer, another in a cabinet, still more in the bedroom, a couple in the dining room...all in places they shouldn't be if they are going to be useful IN THE KITCHEN.  


You've probably seen this bench/cabinet before.  It's in the kitchen, next to the counter under the window.  I emptied it out (more junk of course) so I could start with a blank slate.


I got them all folded and organized and neatly stacked.  Believe it or not, there are quite a few in there.  Now we know what we have (and room for more, shhh, don't tell 2nd Man). 


The lid closes and it's all out of sight and safe.  This cabinet is definitely mouse proof, no gaps at all and  made of a heavy, hard wood.  The lid closes so tight, a sheet of paper won't pull out, so that's good.


Best of all, it let me clean out another couple of drawers in the hutch we have in the kitchen. So now there is space to reorganize something else into here. When you have a small house and limited space in the kitchen, every empty drawer or cabinet is important. Everything has a place. 

Got some more things done on this wet cold weekend.  Of course I need to mow, so hopefully that will come this coming weekend.