Snow and sunflowers

 It is currently snowing outside.  I needed a little sunshine, and found it in the form of some flowers.  These are from a while ago, but they are still lovely.

 We have warm weather on the way, so hopefully more garden changes coming!



I started a few things right before spring break, and they are doing nicely.  The self-watering tray I bought makes for MUCH healthier seedlings.  I've been quite pleased with them, so the slightly higher price was worth it to me (and I can probably re-use it).  Now, we just need to get some grow lights so that the seedlings don't get too leggy.
Tomatoes- 4 different kinds

Several medicinal herbs and Marconi peppers

Eggplant and mini yellow stuffing peppers
Most of my seeds this year came from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds. I have a lot more to get started, but these will have a big head start.  Outdoors there are a few things coming up as well:
Peas and greens just starting to come up. 
 What are you growing right now?  What are you most excited about growing and why?  I am excited about my medicinal herbs so I can make some herbal medicine for us.


Yard update

We spent this afternoon putting in some fruit bearing plants- apple trees and raspberries.

Apple trees in along with apricot trees. The mini-orchard is starting to take shape.

Blue watching over the trench for the raspberries
Raspberries planted- 3 different kinds

We are looking forward to the fruit of our labor! :)


Hot Springs and Cold Showers

Jackson Hot Springs- Christmas Day 2012. ~103 degrees in the water and 20 degrees outside. 

This year, instead of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we got away.  Instead of gifts for one another we spent a couple of days at Jackson Hot Springs.  It was such a wonderful experience.  However, that's not really what I wanted to focus on.  Instead, I'd like to talk about hot/cold hydrotherapy treatments.  See the snow in the first picture?  Several times I got out of the pool, laid in the snow for a minute, and then got back in the pool.  It wasn't exactly a comfortable thing to do, but it felt so great afterwards.  It just gets everything in your body going.  It helps blood circulation and your lymphatic system, as well as giving your immune system a boost.  It is one of the oldest treatments around, but it works!  You don't have to do it with snow and hot springs, though.  You can just alternate the water in your shower.  I know it can be hard to make yourself do, but when I do make myself- I come out of the shower warmer.  And, all that hot water isn't so good for your skin.  My skin looked its best in years the first summer I worked on a farm.  There were several factors at play (lots of sunshine/vitamin D, drinking a lot of water, plenty of exercise), but I also showered right after I got off of work, which meant cool showers because it was 90-110 degrees out.  The cool showers were refreshing, made my skin look good, and saved energy.  There is good information out there about hot/cold treatments if you want to learn more.  And/or, you could just try it.  :)


Gluten-free pancakes

Gluten-free pancakes
Make a basic gluten-free pancake mix and then add beet root powder, chia seeds, and orange zest.  So good, and the beet root powder makes them pink!  You can add as much or as little as you like.
My recipe is similar to this:
1 C gluten-free flour mix (King Arthur, Bob's Red Mill, etc)
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
pinch baking soda and salt
freshly grated nutmeg, and sometimes some cinnamon
1 tsp orange zest
1-2 TBL chia seeds
3/4 C- 1 C milk (local, organic, non-homogenized cow's milk or nut milk)
1-2 TBL beet root powder
3-4 TBL coconut oil or butter (I melt it in the cooking pan and then pour most of it into the pancake mixture, leaving a bit in the pan to cook the pancakes in)
Whisk everything together.
Can also add berries and/or nuts while cooking.
Serve with real maple syrup, honey, or berry sauce.

I do not suggest using most gluten-free flour mixes a lot, as they can still contain starches that spike your blood sugar quite high.  I have not tried this with almond or coconut flour. The nutmeg and orange zest give it great flavor, and the chia seeds add a nice light crunch. They are great serves with real maple syrup.


Little things

Today started covered in snow and ended in beautiful blue skies (and most of the snow gone).  We are supposed to have a stretch of good weather so hopefully we can get some projects done outside.  I started spring cleaning inside tonight.  We have one room that has become a total junk room.  I am slowly making progress on it.

Not the greatest picture, but it shows the raised bed we built.  The white fencing is just up temporarily to make sure Blue doesn't jump up on it.  We seeded it with peas, sweet peas, mixed greens, and poppies (the culinary kind).  There are some things popping up- either greens or poppies.  We plan to build more of these soon.  


Sunday happenings


Tomato seedlings growing

We also have onion, peppers, and some medicinal herbs started indoors.  Outdoors we have some poppies and greens going.  We also planted peas, but they haven't come up yet.

Brunch-Vegetable herb goat cheese omelet 
Bell peppers, greens, garlic, farm fresh eggs, goat cheese, dill, thyme, sea salt, pepper, and Braggs sea kelp delight seasoning

This morning we were out in the yard planting our second apricot tree and a neighbor we had never met came over to talk.  Turns out he is an arborist. He said he could give us pruning pointers and such, which is great because we are planning to put in a mini-orchard. 


Starting Anew

A new state, jobs, and home since the last post.  Thought I would try this again and be more consistent this time.  We are now in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana. We absolutely love it here, and are anxiously awaiting being able to hike a whole lot.  We brought our two kitties with us, added a dog, and 4 little chicks.

Blue, our german shepherd/husky who thinks he is a wolf.

Hiking last fall, before the snow fell.

Sapphire, one of the 4 chicks we got a couple of weeks ago.  She's a Buff Orpington.

Pictures of the house and yard to come soon. Also to come- some recipes I've been working on (gluten-free!)  I will leave you with a picture of one of my favorite places so far.