Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The First Greens of Spring

pea flower :)


The first fresh Greens of spring!! and so it begins!Ohhh happy day! We are building some cold frames this year, so we can have greens years round,, because No one should go this long without a fresh salad from the garden ... We have used our hoophouse in the past, but even in the winter in can get so hot in there , so cold frames will allow us to adust the temperature easily.

Our gardens are starting to show signs of life, These are 2 of my 5 garden spots... They are slowly filling in. Our temps have been cool and while this is not so great for some of my warm weather crops, all my cool weathers are loving it!

I made up some Homemade bread in our solar /sun oven to go with our salads this evening. Perfect meal to end the day..

The Cool Family

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wild Edibles ; Natures garden in your own backyard


Its the time of year where everything is blooming and full of life! Atleast here in the Mountains Of NC. My gardens are thriving and everything is growing beautifully. But My garden ( or yours) is not the only place to find a plethora of edible goodness!
Perusing through your backyard is enough to find at least a little something, and if you live near a wooded area, you are sure to find a bounty of wild edibles!

So here are some photos, tips and facts about the food that is all around us, and often disregarded! Keep in mind, there are many many more out there than the ones I listed ( including Bloodroot which for some reason I saw everywhere yesterday and could not, for the life of me find today, go figure)..

Morel Mushrooms
a prized delicacy! Hunted by man avid wild food lovers, they are not always easy to find . Morels come up in early spring.
Containing 136 IU vitamin D content, B vitamins, including folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin and thiamine.

A cup also contains 28 mg of calcium, 271 mg of potassium, 13 mg of magnesium and 8 mg of iron, 128 mg of phosphorus, 14 mg of sodium.

oh and they are delicious...

I suggest doing a google search on them or getting a book on wild Mushrooms before hunting, as there are some look a likes that are NOT edible and actually extremely poisonous..
Please be sure to hunt responsibly !

Stinging Nettles

Many of you know stinging Nettle as that plant that when brushed up against, leaves a itchy burning rash.. and well, It indeed does, but that is only one aspect of this amazing plants! Nettles are extremely medicinal! they are used for everything from Bladder and prostate problems.. and really the benefits of this plant are endless, so I will leave you with these links :)

Nettles should be picked young( and before they bloom). They can be dried and crushed and used as a tea ( as in the link above) or they can be boiled for 5-10 minutes and used in soups, stews, omelets, etc...
You can even add them to your pesto when blended..
Its a wonder food folks.. :)
oh and yeah once you boil it or dry it,, no more sting, they are ready to eat!
Wild Violets
These pretty little violets are very high in vitamin A and C , studies have shown that these beauties contains more than twice the amount of vitamin c of the same weight of an orange and nearly twice the Vitamin A of spinach!
These flowers make a spectacular Violet jam!
Well I did not take a separate photo, but I am pretty sure we all know what a dandelion looks like ;)
ohhhh dandelions,,, How I feel for thee,,, so many people spray you with ugly pesticides when you have so many benefits!!!!
THey are high in Antioxidants, and are used as a diuretic, in Liver health, Bone and skin Health,,and are used as a digestive aid, just to name a few!!
You can make Dandelion Jam, Wine, and Tea! You can even just eat them fresh in a salad!

oh and leave some for the Honeybees, they love them too :)
Again, no separate Photo, but if you are familiar with ferns, then you are familiar  with those little compact curly cues that emerge from the ground in spring!.. They are so pretty to look at and when Picked from Ostrich or Lady Fern, they are edible!
They are high in potassium, iron, vitamin A and Vitamin C, to name a few!
Sautee them in butter and Garlic,, YUM!
Ramps ( wild Leeks)
These are my favorite. Probably the best tasting onion for cooking!!! They can be found in sandy soils and on hillsides. We were gifted some Ramps from some friends, so ours our in our yard and come back every year! You will often run across them while hunting for other wild edibles.
and last but not least ( and I have not tried these yet)
These produce a tiny fruit that is edible when ripe. GREEN FRUITS (unripe fruits) Are POISONOUS, they are edible when the fruit turns soft and yellow......

Again, these are just some of the many wild edibles Mother Earth has to offer. These particular ones are in abundance in my area ..
So get outside and see what Mother Earth has for you!! Happy Foraging!

The cools



Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Beautiful Easter Sunday


1 of 4 Queens that have hatched, this is one of the biggest virgin queens we have reared, she is at 1 o clock in the photos and is walking away,(pointed rear end )

                                                                        Recycling bin
                                               1 of my 5 gardens ( back garden) taken from Norahs tree house
Robb in Bee yard 1

A place to rest :)
We spent the Entire day outside day, it was the perfect way to spend Easter Sunday. The temps were in the mid 60's and it was a good solar day ;)  After the basket hunt and  annual chocolate breakfast sugar high,haha, Norah worked in her garden and got all her veggies in! She is  going with a purple theme this year. She has planted potatoes, Purple Kale, Purple Cauliflower, Purple Carrots and Purple Beans! She watered and even weeded around the rocks ( last year she didn't weed her garden much, and lets just say there were lots of tears come august, when the weeds were as tall as her,,haha)

Rob got into the hives today, to check on some Queen Cells,, We had a couple queens hatch today! If you look at the photo,  (its not the greatest pic) the queen is at 1 o clock and is walking away, you an only see her hind end :) She had only been hatched a few hours when the photo was taken.

Robb also built us a nice recycling bin, we have been using a trash can for the past 10 yrs.. without a lid,, haha, so you can imagine how messy that looks on the backporch... This one is made with recycled wood and has room for 3 buckets on the inside, it looks much nicer and will make recycling easier as everything will be pre-sorted! 
He Even had time to break out the chainsaw and make me a chair out of an old stump that is inside my back garden area,, isn't it cute ? :D

and me? well I weeded, seeded , planted, and hand dug some new spots for annuals, all day!... I am making good headway on planting .. Ive got almost all our cool weather crops in, so far I've planted, Potatoes, onions , Broccoli, Cauliflower, spinach, ,Kale, lettuce, strawberry plants, swisschard, radish, carrots, beets, arugula, cilantro ( and I might be missing something ;)
as soon as I am sure we are past our frost date, I will be planting, Beans, Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant, Squash, cucumbers, sunflowers( well I cheated and put some sunflowers in today ;) watermelons , sweet potatoes and winter squash,....

We all have a bit of sunburn, and are tired, and boy what a good feeling it is!

I hope everyone had a blessed Easter Sunday..
The Cool Family