27 May 2010

Sproing! Sproing! Sproing!

Man, if you listen closely you can actually hear the garden growing.  In less than 24 hours we’ve had sisters sproinging up like crazy.  About a quarter of the three sister hills have all three growing.  I didn’t even have any fish heads to give ‘em, although the seem pretty happy with Olbrich mulch.  Here’s two of them:

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Also in the last 24 hours, the basil has sprouted a second pair of leaves and little rosemary sprouts are appearing.

26 May 2010

The ONLY good thing about the hot weather…

…is that it make green things grow.  After a largely coolish pleasant spring, we have been beset with three days of 80’s and 90’s and plenty o’ humidity.  Not my favorite weather.  But look what it does to the plants:

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That was only six days ago!  And wee little things are sprouting all over:

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And crazy little herbies (cumin on the left and on the right is basil with its volunteer lettuce friend…I figure we might get a bitsy salad before the basil needs the space):

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And crazy little kidlets:

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And finally, since I had to be outside to limit the amount of chaos and mayhem generated by the Beeb, I finished some planting:

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I wasn’t real clear on which were the roots and which were the shoots on the Lily of the Valley, but I figure they’ll be smarter than I am and figure out which way to grow in spite of my efforts to confuse them.  The rhubarb isn’t looking too pleased about the change, but I am optimistic that will perk up once it gets a chance to acclimate.

Gotta run for now…I have a pan of gyro meat ready to come out of the oven…made with New Glarus ground lamb from Patty Reedy.  The tzatziki sauce, made with homemade yogurt is waiting in the fridge.  Jealous yet?

21 May 2010

From the files of “A village no longer in search of an idiot”

First a little animal husbandry.  I’m sorry if this insults your intelligence as I know for a fact that my five- and seven-year-old already know this, but clearly not everybody knows this.  This is the bovine food pyramid (borrowed shamelessly from the Raw Milk Facebook group):
bovine food pyramid As you can see, the typical bovine diet is very complicated.  Lots of stuff to measure and provide in proper proportions, etc.  Thank goodness for dairy science.  Okay, enough sarcasm. 
Prior to Doyle’s veto, this impassioned plea for a veto appeared in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.  It’s the fifth one down with the heading “RAW MILK.”  While I have plenty of compassion if anyone’s child is sick, I have a lot of trouble with her misleading letter.  Given the cow nutrition lesson above, do you want to know what this self-proclaimed expert on farming and nutrition feeds the cows on her family’s dairy farm?  Do you?  Are you sure?  Okay, you can look here at her blog*, but don’t say I didn’t give you a second chance to back away from the crazy.
How can you compare healthy milk from healthy cows that are fed a diet that is perfectly adapted to how cows have evolved to the so-called milk that comes from cows that eat inappropriate foods that make them so sick to the point that antibiotics are par for the course.  I would say it is like comparing apples and oranges, but I think a better analogy would be “comparing apples to sewage sludge.” 
Sorry for turning into rant central…I have some happier post drafts in the queue and will get to them sooner rather than later, but at the moment I have a whole bunch of ticked off to work through…

*ETA:  If you read Laurie Kyle's blog entry be sure to scroll down to see her response dated 5/30.  Apparently, she needs a copy of the bovine food triangle.  Preferably wrapped around a stick and applied firmly about her head, neck, and shoulders.

20 May 2010

Garden Time

Aaaaand, turning to a happier topic…

We will be doing the same CSA as we did last summer so we are getting very excited for lots of wonderful veggies to come.  The things I selected to plant around the yard were things for canning and/or to fill in CSA gaps.  I thought I would photograph, label, and blog so there is at least a remote possibility I’ll remember what is where when things start sprouting.  First, the little garden plot:


Herbs in front…we got the onions as transplants from a friend, the cilantro was just seeded today and the oregano and sage are back from last year

Tomatoes around the edge…three varieties.  We ran way short on canned tomatoes last year, partly due to the late blight, so my motto is “Never too many tomatoes.”

The three sisters in the middle…corn, beans, and squash.  Since we get a ton of regular squash from our CSA, we did half in sugar pumpkins and half in birdhouse gourds.  We will experiment with dried corn and cornmeal with the corn, dried beans to be canned for chili, pumpkins for canning, and birdhouse gourds to dry and make into projects.

Next along the side yard:


Watermelon for eating and rinds for watermelon pickles and a little bit of soybeans for edamame snacks.

In the front:


Lavendar for drying and making lavender syrup.  I have gotten fatally hooked on lavendar white chocolate iced mochas at the ‘Bou and rose white chocolate iced mochas at the Ear.  Wild flowers are for the pretty.  I will try again with bulbs in the fall.  I planted bulbs in the fall shortly after we moved here, but they keep getting nibbled by critters.  Not enough to completely kill them off, but enough to keep them from budding or thriving.  The little SOBs were tunneling under the steps and up into the bed.  So this spring I dug all the dirt (down to clay) out of the planter, made a five sided wire cage out of wire mesh left over from the compost bin project, and put the dirt back.  We’ll let the rodents give it the old college try over the summer and plant bulbs this fall if it is a success.

And finally, herbs on the porch:


The only planting I have left is three topsy-turvey planters that I will plant with seedlings that I’ll get when our CSA has its open house, a rhubarb plant I got at farmers’ market last week and some Lily of the Valley that will be put along the back of the house.  I’m thinking a cherry tomato, a jalapeno, and maybe a green pepper for the topsy-turveys.

19 May 2010

Dear Soon-To-Be-Former (but not nearly soon enough for me) Governor Doyle:

Good-bye, good riddance and don’t let the door smack you on the backside on your way out.

I hope the dairy industry and/or public safety have a nice big cushy chairmanship waiting for you.  I’ll bet you’ll be getting a nice fat paycheck for having your name on some board of directors with no actual effort involved.  Why else would you choose to have your legacy remembered as the Governor that killed the family farm and criminalized healthy food?  Here I thought I was living in a democracy where the people had a say.  Turns out I live in a state where the governor can be bought by the highest bidder.  I hope you are pleased with yourself. 

If you weren’t purchased by Big Ag, then you heard Public “Health” telling you the sky was falling and ran into the cellar like a good little chicken little.  That would mean that you think I am too stupid to decide what is healthy and safe for myself and my family.  I hope not.  That is probably the only thing that would piss me off more than having an elected official living in Big Ag’s pocket.

Yours truly,


17 May 2010


On the way home from the WPA homeschooling conference a week ago, we stopped at the Horicon Marsh, which is a huge wetland area.  Part of the marsh is managed as a National Wildlife Refuge and another part as a State Wildlife Refuge.  In the National Wildlife Refuge, there is the “Horicon Tern-pike” which, in addition to being a terrible pun, is a motor loop through the Refuge, complete with interpretive signs to stop and read.  Also, partway through is a parking area with a floating boardwalk that makes a nice short hike though part of the marsh and then back through woodland.  A fun side trip for Mother’s Day!


Lot of lovely scenery and a beautiful day for seeing it!


Trillium in bloom in the woods


Muskrat house seen from the floating boardwalk.


One of many turtles seen from the floating boardwalk.  A bit of “Where’s Waldo?” was involved to spot ‘em.


Goslings!  Babies!  Fuzzy and cute!


A couple of beautiful birds.  We saw zillions of different kinds of birds, but these were the only ones besides the geese that I could captures with my little camera.  The pros had their big gonzo fancy pants lenses.