The Taste of Summer-Kale

Kale!-Yet another fantastic leafy green we have coming out of our ears!!IMG_2536In fact we have so much Kale we give it away to our friends and family, share it with our chickens, bunny and even worms…But what I really like to do is throw it in the food processor with a little water and then put it in ice cube trays.  IMG_8804This provides us with perfect little Kale Cubes for counting into smoothies whenever we wish.IMG_2579I don’t think my kids know you can actually make a smoothie without Kale… so don’t tell them!IMG_2587They drink it right up!

My favorite mix these days I stole from the Whole Foods Drink bar…One especially self indulgent day I threw down a whopping $8 for a cup of this stuff and was hooked.

Luckily I can make my own and so can you!

The Green Goddess Drink


Kale( frozen or fresh)

Apple Juice

Lemon Juice

and Ginger ( small amounts, for kids detect it quickly!!)

Ice Cubes on a hot summers day!!

Blend and drink.

It is excellent and the kids can’t get enough!



The Taste of Summer- Swiss Chard

IMG_2548This summer we harvest Swiss Chard every day…or at least we should!  I looked and looked for recipes that were tasty and used A LOT of Swiss Chard.. this one adapted from Farm Girl Fare won the prize!

Swiss Chard DipIMG_2559

Get the biggest baking dish you have

IMG_2547Get as much Swiss Chard as you have—up to 5 lbs or so

IMG_2558Chop stems and leaves separately


Toss stems with olive oil and roast for 20 mins at 350

Add leaves gradually in handfuls and stir every 7 mins (approximately).

Everything will shrink down considerably.  Once everything looks pretty well roasted take out of the oven and cool.

Meanwhile chop a bunch of onions and garlic and saute them in butter in a skillet.

Once you have all your things sautéed put half of everything in the food processor.  This makes a nice creamy effect.

I then add Sour cream, parmesan and some yogurt.

Now add the rest of your sautéed onions, garlic and chard and just pulse quickly to mix everything together.

Now transfer to a baking dish and put in the oven at 350 for about 10 min or until warm.

Sprinkle with parmesan and serve.

It is not pretty (so there is no picture!) but once you taste it, you will appreciate it’s beauty.  Great for a potluck because you simply must share or you will regret it later!




The Taste of Summer- Rosemary Lemonade

This summer we have been eating well!! Mostly because other people have been cooking for us, but also because we are blessed with bountiful harvests.  Here are just a few of the recipes we have been enjoying this summer- dedicated to those we have shared them with… and asked for the recipes!

IMG_2602Grandma Tutu’s Rosemary Lemonade

First you make the

Simple Syrup

1cup Fresh Rosemary Leaves ( striped from the stem)

1 Cup Water

1 Cup Organic Sugar

(You can multiply this recipe and the syrup will keep in the fridge for months.)

Bring all ingredients to a boil and them turn down to a simmer for at least 1/2 hour. Turn off heat and let cool then strain out leaves.

IMG_2609Rosemary Lemonade

1 Cup Organic Lemon Juice (fresh squeezed or bottled)

1 Cup Simple Syrup

6 Cups Water

Mix, stir and serve

*You can replace Rosemary for Basil, Lavender, or other herbs that strike your fancy



Spring Greens

IMG_1658What a spring we have had! Erratic whether, moisture, crisp cool air, and really spring greens like nothing better!  I have begun harvesting multiple pounds of Lettuce, Spinach, Kale, Chard and Chinese Cabbage every week and just wish I had more garden space to plant more.

IMG_1666If you are doing succession planting in your garden planning, timing and leaving space for the future is everything!!  You have to think about how long it will take for a head of lettuce to produce,(about 60 days in the spring) and then plan what you will pop in its place once harvested.  In these pictures above and below you can see I planted Cabbage babies among the cut and come again Lettuce, so that by the time the Lettuce is bitter the Cabbage will take over.

IMG_1799I usually plant a lot of cut and come again varieties of Lettuce, Spinach and Kale and Chard so I don’t have to keep planting…but this year I knew I could sneak in a bunch of head Lettuce before the warm season crops needed the square footage, so now the garden is full of butterhead and romaine varieties so I can remove the whole plant and put in warm season crops the same day…..lots of salad ahead for Mama’s Mini Farm CSA!


The next three days are leaf days, so in go the last of my greenhouse Romaine starts and I will be sowing directly more Cilantro, Spinach, Arugula and Lettuce.  Possibly for the last time till mid July, as once my attention and garden space goes towards the warm season crops I simply don’t have enough room or time for greens…not to mention when the weather heats up many of these spring babies go bitter or bolt quickly.  Luckily my Chard and Kale keep pumping through the heat and I may not even need to replant them if I care for them right…


Which is to say I have found that if you shade cool season greens in the high summer they really like it and last longer.  As you already know I am a huge fan of row cover for a long list of reasons… but when it gets too hot and plants don’t get enough fresh air they can get very flimsy and over succulent.  So much so that they couldn’t survive one day in full exposure and they will just turn to mush before your eyes, so I try to gradually remove the row covers for more and more hours at a time to toughen them up to the real world.

IMG_1810I often raise the row cover so wind and beneficial insects can find their way in on the ends, because another set back of having your crops under constant cover is pests, namely good old aphids can take over while you aren’t watching.

At some point when cool spring breezy days shift to hot summer days, Often around June 1st.  I take the row cover off all together and replace it with shade screen.  This lets light, water, and beneficials in, but it takes the edge off those sweltering afternoons that will cause a cilantro to bolt in one day!


I have found in full sun gardens these shades are very helpful for almost all crops even warm season crops, throughout the whole summer. I have learned my lesson with more than one June hail storm destroying my precious babes!  More info on what to use is in  this previous post.

So if you aren’t out there already….get sowing!! You can plant pretty much any cool season crops, flowers and roots right now and in a few short weeks it will be tomato time!! Hooray! IMG_1670




Mid winter meal

Oh baby it is cold outside, but the garden is still growing, slowly slowly, & generously provided us with salad for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years!  Thought I would share some tips I learned this year on my season extension.

First off plan and plant your fall/winter crops in late summer and cover with floating row cover when frost start to get rough.


Seeds Savers American Spinach does beautifully in my winter beds!


When it snows, sweep it off while it is still fluffy, if not it will freeze, harden and smash your hoops down and freeze your little greens underneath.


When the weather is really nasty, cold and snowy add a layer of plastic, like the rolls of painters drop cloth you get at the hardware store, over your row cover to collect sun heat and help the snow shed.  The heavier duty the better– this is 4mm.



Open up beds in the middle of warm sunny days, other wise you might be shocked to see that some of your greens are actually frozen…but if you wait, they can bounce back and be eaten!!

In this weather, I barely water in ground crops, especially cause snow melts slow in this spot, and when I say barely I mean I haven’t watered in over a month!!

Hope your harvests are still feeding you well.  Happy New Growing Year!

Swapping the Sweetness

Yesterday we swapped, today we ate…homemade sourdough bread, fresh goat cheese, pear ginger butter, and homemade cultured butter…yep, all in one bite!!  Image

I know, I should save all these goodies and slowly dool them out over the year, but hey, it feels like time to celebrate.  Not just the food, but the efforts, the thought, the attention that when into all this bounty.  Everyone one who came this year put so much time into their offerings, and some serious creativity.  Image

I am talking tinctures that have been steeping for months made from wild crafted herbs, cheese made from Almonds, Mushrooms gathered from the mountains, Mustard made and labeled by homeschooled hands, homemade, frozen and indivdiually wrapped cinnamon buns that just need to be heated up on that special Sunday morning!!!  I mean really, this was above and beyond anything I ever dreamed of when I was staring at my pile of green tomatoes wondering who, oh who might be willing to trade for something, anything!!


OK, I admit, I do have some amazing friends, but it is not just that.  What amazed me the most is that all of the swappers stepped off the hamster wheel of consumer culture, stepped into their creative capacity, whipped up some magic and yes, gave it away!!  All in the name of sharing.  To give and receive comes so naturally to us human beings, we work so hard with our children on these fundamental human skills, and yet when I look around in most of the messages our culture is sending us, I see very little authentic generousity.  It’s mostly ‘ get yours’ ‘every man for himself’ and ‘you gotta look out for your own’ which all negate all that we learn in kindergarden about ‘doing unto others as you would have them do unto you’.  There are many days that is feels hard parenting a child to share in a world that may later tell him otherwise.  But yesterday, It felt so good to see reciprocity in action and to know that at least for today, we are setting a good example.


I just want to say Thanks to these folks who came out on Sunday morning with their arms full of their precious handmade and home grown to share.  We all left with boxes full as well, all mixed up with herbs, spices, seeds and fruits of other peoples labors of love.  I am starting to see a tiny glimmer of new economies, new possibilities, new options.  Sorry Whole Foods, I don’t see hand rendered Beef tallow on your shelves!


After some of the sampling I had a brilliant idea…. to make a Santa Fe Harvest Swap Cook Book, but then I quickly realized, no I don’t want Lisa’s Mustard recipe, I want Lisa to make my Mustard, and Sarah to make my pepper jelly and Kyce to make my medicine and Becca my butter!!  I want us to nourish each other deeply and truly like we did yesterday.  I want that for all of everyone and all of our children.  I will do whatever it takes to make that happen, weather it put on more swaps, weave more webs, or construct more soap boxes….I see now my true passion is bringing our gifts, our talents, and our hearts together, because all this goodness needs to be shared and spread, onto a piece of Ty’s homemade bread!!  If you are up for more learning, sharing and co-creating, make sure to check out what else we are up to here.


The Tomato Report

As the first frost looms around us, threatening to nip my tender garden with it’s frigid fingers any night now…..and I am having a hard time letting go.  You may already know, my tomatoes are overly doted upon, but to me everything I have given them has been worth it.  It all started way back in January you see, sowing those baby seeds, a bit early maybe, but I just couldn’t wait. I watering and pinching back flowers,

fertigating and tending to their care daily, and they grew and grew and grew

Until it was time to harden them off and send them out into the great wide world

Where a ceremonial garden once grew

…we rearranged things a bit to accomodate our growing family of vegetables.

Wheel burrow upon wheel burrow of yummy Soilutions compost, bags and bags and bags of my neighbors leaves,


hand digging, fluffing, shaping of soil into beds…..

drip tape irrigation,

Finally planting them loving into the well prepped earth

Mulching like crazy

Even laying tiles in the paths for solar/rain collection as well as for walking…excessive maybe, but I had them laying around


tying & pruning & training

And of course the waiting……

And then one fine, late July day, they started to come on.. pound by pound….

… pound


Well paced, but incredibly abundant!!

And boy were they good!  It was all worth it!

There were a few problems of course, like blossom end rot

And some serious cracking

But I still ate them of course

and sauced and roasted and stewed them —

125lbs pounds of ripe gorgeous tomatoes to date, and at the looks of things I might still be in for plenty more.

You see, my husband decided he could whip a little hoop house over them to protect them from frost and help them ripen.

I thought he was crazy at first,I mean they are over 6 feet high by now… but of course, whip on up he did.

With 8 cattle panels, contractors plastic

an old post from a stop sign & some scrap lumber made into a ridge pole, some bailing wire and some of those cool paper fastener things….

Amounting to about $275 and 2 afternoons… we got ourselves and hothouse baby!!

And hot it is, steaming in fact, so much the tomatoes were sweating and my camera was clouding up.

It is all an experiment of course, I have no idea how it will all end, but I do know it sure was tasty fun and I will let you know when they finally fade,

but for now….no frosty nights for these girls!

All Prepped up and ready to Sow!

This watery full moon in Pisces brought me back to the garden, knowing it would be one of my last chances to plant fall greens, I went at it with great gusto.  Though not a great time to harvest roots, I simply had to make room in the garden for greens so I dug up a potato row, planted around St. Patty’s Day.  It was a beautiful harvest, perfectly rain moisten soil, cool air and sunshine on my back, baby and daddy sleeping and just me and the mother earth..and 16lbs of perfect plump taters…

After I dug, I sprinkled a nice layer of compost I had stashed from this spring onto the bed

And then the Zen art of raking a bed, brought me back to my days at CASFS, where I studied gardening as a fine art.  We would spend what seemed like hours, leveling and raking the beds, so they were perfect plane and the very finest of tilths.

The finer and fluffier the bed is, the easier it is for those tiny seeds to nestle in and take root.

Then I laid down the drip tape and made little furrows along it for my seeds

Tucking in so tenderly the last lettuce of the season

Ahh.. nothing like the joy of seeds well sown.  I covered them with a thin layer of straw so the birds wouldn’t get them too quickly, and of course to keep the freshly raked soil nice and moist and warm.  I also placed 19 gauge wire hoops over it, for when I cover them with row cover when the cold does come..and they act as a good baby deterrent too,  though he was not too happy about not being able to walk on my perfect bed..

Ok big watery harvest moon, rain down and let’s get one more salad crop out of this season.

Happy Harvest Moon

Thus subtle shift in light, the slight tilt of this precious world seems to have changed everything in me and all around me.  The exhale at the end of our days are luminous and splendid

And first light, direct and perfectly focused through our east facing window, awakens me. Shining directly on our family alter, these rays bring me to each day with a reminder to be present with what I hold so dear.

The garden continues bestowing us with her generosity,

Reminding us of the deep nourishment of beauty so needed as we let go into this senescent season

And as the darkness comes, how important it will be to bring that beauty inside us for the long winter

The comfort of homegrown food warms us deeply as we eat together and share now three years of marriage under this bright, abundant moon.

We are blessed, so grateful and so humbly grown by yet another cycle around the sun, with the moon and all the power of the stars.

Happy Harvest Moon.

Bring on the Bounty & pass it along

The Tomato basket weighs as much as my baby!!  (well almost!)

Oh the bounty of these days is so divine & delicious!! This must the best fruit year as long as I have lived here in the high desert and I am buying stock in the Ball Jar company right now! No, Not really, but I am stocking up as well as co-planning a local harvest swap with my Radical friend Kyce.  This is not a new idea, people have been swapping their bounty, well forever, and the new wave of happy homesteaders are doing this in cities all over the country, like here and here, with great success and tons of great resources like here.  As far as I have heard, this will be Santa Fe’s First Harvest Swap.

Gathered from the garden, and that’s just today

It is open to all – though you must register here to save your spot – (the room is only so big).  It surely will be a good time, just think a room full of canners, gardeners, seed savers, wild crafters, milk maids, foragers, and even a few hunters and their stashes!  It is such a wonderful way to celebrate the bounty of our abundant desert, share the fruits of our labors, and experience a truly fair version of Fair Trade. To me this feels like a way to bring our work, our livelihoods and our hearts together to eat, swap and be merry.

Better make room in the pantry for more jars, oh my!!

So here is the official invitation, Come join us!!

Dear Fellow Preservers of the Harvest,

You are cordially invited to a Delectable Harvest Swap in which the bounty of our gardens, barnyards, orchards, and wild lands will be celebrated and shared.

Consider this your advance notice to put up extra of whatever putting up you do. Bring that extra bit you know you can’t use, and let it be your currency to barter your way to a dream pantry while spending a morning amidst fabulous folk.

Wondering what to bring? 

Whatever you’ve canned (according to Dept. of Ag regulation specs, please!)—chutneys, jams, fruit butters, sauces, salsas, whole fruits, pickles, but also vinegars, condiments, fermented fare, dried fruits, cider, chiles, and garlic.

Not a big canner? How about baked goods, salves, tinctures, honey, soap, seeds, dried culinary or medicinal herbs…or whatever your homemade, homegrown, or wild harvested specialty is. Oh, and don’t forget pumpkins, cabbages, and other fresh fall crops.

Register here: Santa Fe Harvest Swap

Learn more about food swaps here: Food Swap Network

As you can see I am very excited to swap, meet and eat the bounty of our harvests together, in the meantime, I’ll be out picking!!

Glistening Choke Cherries, one of New Mexico’s Finest Wild Offerings