Garden · Life

A Week or Two in Pictures (3/27-4/10)

I’m starting this post out with a picture of my lovely girls enjoying a treat block. That block sure didn’t last long but we had fun watching them attack it! I like to give them a treat every now and then. Usually we just let them feast on the scraps we throw out from our chicken (ends of cucumber, carrot peels, etc) in addition to the layer pellets/corn we toss out.


I planted an Ichiban eggplant in my garden bed. I love eggplant though and hope to pick up at least another variety to add to my bed. A great way to use up eggplant is to make Baba Ghanoush – it is delicious!


My pineberries are looking good in my garden bed. Thankfully the recent burst of cold weather did not phase them as I see little berries forming! I’m awaiting on some Old North Sea strawberry plants to arrive from Baker Creek seeds any day.


We potted up a bunch of plants for the front porch. One contains herbs I started last year (lemongrass, chives, thyme, parsley), one contains violas, two contain a mixture of Rainbow Chard and Brussels Sprouts. There’s a rosemary lurking in the back (along with my Belle watching me from inside the house, she’s never far from me). The red pot and the pot in the middle contain shallots that I got from my grandfather’s house – apparently they’ve been passed down for a few generations!


On these pretty evenings, we’ve been working with the dogs a lot more than usual. It helps Belle run off some energy and it helps Jake (Robb’s dog) stay in shape for when duck hunting season rolls around.

The peach tree (located within our chicken coop) is doing fabulous. I’m glad that the cold weather didn’t damage it either. I love a fresh, juicy peach picked while still warm from the sun.


My comfrey is rocking it! I like to use it in products that I make for The Southern Belle’s Garden. In fact, most of the herbs I use I actually grow myself.


We went for a walk on Sunday. Robb wanted to check on a couple of potential turkey hunting spots. Though he really didn’t see what he was looking for, we did spook up a couple of deer and I found my first ever shed antler! Okay, so really Robb found it but only because he was walking in front of me!


All in all, it’s been a good couple of weeks! The next few weeks will fly by though and I don’t know how many pictures I’ll be able to snag! I enjoy letting you all have these little peeks into my life (plus it helps me remember to jot down information in my garden journal) and I hope you enjoy them as well!


*Heritage Harvest Festival (2 of 2)

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post detailing my adventures at the Heritage Harvest Festival at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. If you missed part one, please check it out.

This is probably my favorite photo out of them all.
TJ and I

For lunch, I ate at Gryffon’s Aerie (grass fed beef burger with aioli, arugula, local tomato) while my mom ate at Bada Bing (philly cheesesteak). My burger was absolutely delicious while mom’s cheesesteak had a nice heat to it. For dessert, we shared a refreshing popsicle from King of Pops (lemon basil). It was delicious (which I’ve had their popsicles a couple of times before in Atlanta).


That afternoon, after leaving mom in a nice breezy spot, I went to watch Jeanine Davis’ presentation on Unusual Edible Plants & Fungi for Home Gardens. Fun fact: Jeanine is a horticulture extension specialist with North Carolina State University (my alma mater). Listening to her presentation made me want to try growing wasabi again and is making me very curious about the status of the ginseng I planted last fall. It was a great presentation and she brought lots of goodies – grey griselle shallots and Japanese hull less popcorn seeds for us to plant and a dried ramp spice rub (which smells delicious). I haven’t had the opportunity to try ramps before and am delighted experience them.


We walked around, checking out some of the other sights – such as the farm animals. I love goats and cannot wait until I can have a goat of my own!



Before we left, I made it a point to stop back by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and take advantage of their 3 for $5 seed packet special (and no shipping!). SESE is one of my favorite companies to order from every year, right next to Baker Creek. I went with some seeds that were on my wish list (White Sage, Tulsi Kapoor Holy Basil, German Chamomile, Resina Calendula, Carolina Gold Rice), a few that sounded interesting (Seminole Pumpkin – which Jeanine discussed in her workshop, Rouge d’Hiver Romaine, Monticello White Sesame), and one “practical” seed packet (Georgia Green Collards).


My goodies.

Thank you to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation for making this a great weekend for my mother and I! I hope to come back again next year and encourage everyone to go at least once in their lifetime.


For a review of several of the places I ate and stayed at – Virginia Diner, The Fitzroy, and the KOA Charlottesville – please check out The Edible Coast. My post on the KOA Charlottesville is currently up and the others will be added soon.


*Heritage Harvest Festival! (1 of 2)

I finally made it to Monticello! I have been wanting to visit Monticello for years now and ended up going this weekend for the 10th Annual Heritage Harvest Festival. The Heritage Harvest Festival is this huge even

The first thing that you will notice when you arrive at the top of the mountain is the view. The view is gorgeous.



The garden at Monticello is amazing. It is basically my dream garden. There were so many varieties of plants (many, like fish peppers, I identified by sight) that I could probably have simply explored the garden all day. I want to go back on a non-festival day and really browse the garden.I’m also jealous at the large amount of fig trees and the size of the orchard! One day…~!


I’ve been wanting to grow these little peppers for a while now.
This was such a neat idea for growing beans that I snapped a photo to share the idea with my boyfriend.


The Tasting Tent seems to be the highlight of the event. We made our way around the tables for the Tomato, Melon, and Pepper tasting. There were so many different varieties that neither of us tasted every single product. We did have our favorites though – the main one being a tomato by the name of Nepal. I MUST have seeds for this one next growing season – it tasted like sugared tomatoes, that delicious touch of sweetness.





The first cider we tried from Castle Hill Cider was a bit to dry for our taste (Levity), but the Serendipity was perfection. We both ended up purchasing a bottle of it. Back Pocket Provisions was at the top of my list of vendors that I wanted to check out. We tried all three of their Bloody Mary mixes (Bloody Brilliant, Bloody Bangkok, Bloody Baja) and decided that Bloody Brilliant was our favorite. We purchased 3 jars of it. I’m not a big Bloody Mary fan but I loved the taste of their mixes and even more so, I love that they use local farms for their tomatoes.

American Heritage Chocolate

Barefoot Bucha was a bit hit with my mother and I as well. I love Kombucha but she has never tried it. We both tried the ginger kombucha, which we preferred over the Elderflower Sunrise. I ended up buying a 1/2 gallon of ginger. What is neat is that the container is refillable!


I had been curious about Falling Bark Farm’s Hickory Syrup since I had heard about it. It is an interesting taste and though I didn’t buy any then, I later purchased a small jar from the shop at Carter’s Mountain Orchard. I have followed Farmstead Ferments on social media for a while and was thrilled to see them there. My mom and I tried the strawberry mint water kefir. It was both of our first times trying water kefir and we enjoyed how refreshing it tasted. When we went back to buy some later that day, they were out. :-/ What was really neat is that they had kombucha scoby’s for sale as well. I purchased a small jar of hand-harvested salt from J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works. There were several other food vendors we tasted – they were all delicious. The Peppermint Dark Chocolate Sauce from Willie Byrd was delicious and the sage vodka (?) was quite an interesting experience.

Part two will be posted tomorrow! 

For a review of the places I ate and stayed at – Virginia Diner, The Fitzroy, and the KOA Charlottesville – please check out The Edible Coast. The KOA Charlottesville is up and the other two will be up soon!

Food · Life

Winter Coop Purchases (Week Three)

My order list for this week’s Farmer’s Market was low on fresh produce. There was plenty offered, but I still had a drawer full of the vegetables from the previous markets.

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I purchased:

  • 1/2 Gallon Whole Milk (Maple View Farm)
  • 1/2 Gallon Low Fat Milk (Maple View Farm – for my boyfriend’s house)
  • 4 lb. turnips (Somerset Farms – mom likes to eat them raw and I used some for roasting)
  • 1 lb. mild pork sausage (from some place in Gates Co., the same people I purchased the pork chops from – had this Sunday morning, delicious!)
  • A slice of 10 layer chocolate cake (Donna’s Dessert – this was a last minute pick-up as I was hungry that morning. It tasted much better than I anticipated, similar almost to my granny’s 16 layer chocolate cake)

My friend was on call this weekend so we couldn’t stray far from the house so he took me to look at this old graveyard we’d noticed before and then we stopped to an old farm for him to load up some wood.

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Saturday night, I ended up breading the pork chops that I picked up from the last market and baking them along with some vegetables – sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, butternut squash, plus an onion and an apple that I picked up from a produce stand nearby. This was a delicious supper and we finished it off with the chocolate lava cakes I picked up from Trader Joe’s which were topped off with vanilla ice cream.

Speaking of Saturday night, my boyfriend renting us some movies (he uses an antenna just like I do, so we usually rent a movie or two): “Fury”, “Young Ones”, and  “This Is Where I Leave You”. I enjoyed “Fury” – he didn’t. Neither of us enjoyed “Young Ones”, and we both loved “This Is Where I Leave You.”

I planted a bunch of seeds last Tuesday – Amish Paste tomato, Early Girl tomato, Better Boy tomato,  Rosa Bianca eggplants, Cisineros Grande tomatillo, and Cossack Pineapple ground cherry. The first one, a tomatillo, sprouted on Sunday and as of this morning, it looked like half of all the total seeds that I planted have some sign of germination. I expect some casualties, but if all germinated, I will have 144 plants to possibly sell, trade, or grow myself. I haven’t started any seeds yet for my own personal use really – that will come near the beginning of March.

Look at the lovely little lemon I picked from my Sambo lemon tree on Sunday.
Look at the lovely little lemon I picked from my Sambo lemon tree on Sunday.

Garden Update 12/24/14

I haven’t done a garden update in months simply because since the cool weather has rolled in, I haven’t been very active outside. This will be a text post because it is dumping rain outside (on this balmy rare 72* Christmas Eve) and I am preparing to head to my grandmother’s shortly.

Garden-wise: I cut down my sugar cane a few weeks ago. I’m not sure if any is useable though since I waited until after the frost to harvest. The garlic cloves that I planted has sent up shoots, so I covered them with straw. We have moved all of our planted plants indoors, creating a somewhat jungle atmosphere in the house. Everything looks good except for my olive which has dropped most of its leaves.

I received my first seed catalog for 2015 the other day and quickly placed an order before everything was sold out (one of my selections still ended up being out of stock). Everything that I ordered is all new to being grown in our garden. I can’t wait until it’s time to fill up my windowsills with little baby plants bursting out of the soil.

Here’s what I have purchased:

  • Cisineros Grande Tomatillo seeds (Southern Exposure Seed Exchange)
  • Soapwort seeds (Southern Exposure Seed Exchange)
  • Evening Scented Primrose, Tina James’ Magic flower seeds (Southern Exposure Seed Exchange)
  • Wonderberry (Sunberry) seeds (Southern Exposure Seed Exchange)
  • Cossack Pineapple Ground Cherry seeds (Southern Exposure Seed Exchange)
  • Ridged Luffa Gourd seeds (Southern Exposure Seed Exchange)
  • Rosa Bianca Eggplant seeds (Southern Exposure Seed Exchange)
  • Bloody Butcher Corn seeds (Southern Exposure Seed Exchange)
  • Burpee’s Butterbush Winter Squash Seeds (Southern Exposure Seed Exchange)
  • Early Snowball Cauliflower Seeds (Southern Exposure Seed Exchange)
  • Wasabi rhizome (Territorial Seed Company) – I’m super excited about this. I spent all of this year searching for a wasabi plant to grow but everywhere I looked was already sold out.
  • Grafted Ketchup ‘N’ Fries™ plants (Territorial Seed Company) – Days after ordering my wasabi rhizome, I received an e-mail from TSC listing some of their new plants for 2015. This plant is new to the US after having been sold last year to gardeners in the UK and I couldn’t help but to want to try it out. It’s a cherry tomato and a potato plant grafted together.

I don’t plan on purchasing many more seeds, though I would like to pick up a tomato or two. I have decided to try to sell some of my extra plants this season.

What seeds have you already ordered for the 2015 growing season?