Unexpected Conversations

 

Sam and Steve doing some crop inspection in the garden.

Sam and Steve doing some crop inspection in the garden.

When we are working side by side with our kids, we never know what types of conversations will occur.

One conversation with Sam was about weed identification. We looked at pig weed, lambsquarters, different grasses and velvet leaf. What was exciting to me, since I worked in weed science for three years, was that at his age – he did very well identifying weeds.

Another conversation was about corn and how corn kernels get on the cob. Learn more about how corn is fertilized and how kernels get on the cob on this blog which describes the dad (tassel), the mom (silk) and the baby corn (corn kernels).

This week, we have also had some tough conversations. It wasn’t around the garden but rather regarding our chickens. We lost some chickens this week to predators. Three of the chicks we hatched this spring were grabbed out of their pen, and then on another night one of our roosters was killed. We think the predator is a very smart, big raccoon. How it survived one of Minnesota’s coldest winters ever, is a mystery.

It has been a few hard mornings, awakening to these unpleasant and frustrating situations that we found during morning chores – finding dead chickens. But I know it is important for our kids to experience the cycle of life, to see Mother Nature at work and to understand that while animal care is our top priority – sometimes God has another plan in place. The good news – the rooster has some offspring, and a couple of the chicks appear to be roosters. So the boys are excited that the rooster’s genes will live on.

How do we handle these conversations? We take time to understand their questions, encourage their inquisitive nature and understand their emotions during these challenges with an end outcome of learning opportunities that will last a lifetime.

 “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” – Chinese Proverb

Garden Science

We have been staking the tomatoes slightly differently then we have in the past. We are excited to see how this works. We hope it will make harvest easier.

We have been staking the tomatoes slightly differently then we have in the past. We are excited to see how this works. We hope it will make harvest easier.

We replanted some carrots this week. Sam thought we should use his water gun as part of planting the carrots. Rest assured the area for this experiment was small.

We replanted some carrots this week. Sam thought we should use his water gun as part of the planting process. Rest assured the area for this experiment was small.

The boys have been inspecting the ornamental corn. It has been tasseling. Ask the boys about this process - I am sure you will be surprised at what is growing on in the garden.

The boys have been inspecting the ornamental corn. It has been tasseling. Ask the boys about this process – I am sure you will be surprised at what is growing on in the garden.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list.

Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – Wash your vegetables before eating – I love to use my salad spinner after washing the lettuces.

Prizeleaf Lettuce – A beautiful colored lettuce to add to the salads. Add some fresh strawberries or dried fruit to your salads and Enjoy!

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Wonderful color to your salads.

Spinach – Remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal!

Beets – One of my very favorite vegetables. The whole plant is edible.

Sugar Snap Peas – We are in between a crops. Some of them may be quite large – you may want to peal the pod off and just eat the peas inside on the larger ones.

Green Beans – They are growing strong ! Try freezing or canning some of your extras or simply eat them raw.

Cucumbers – The cucumbers are also growing like crazy. If you would like to can any pickles let us know. We also have dill for you to use as part of your share.

Summer Squash/Zucchini – Here is a recipe for you to try. Check out the Zucchini Brownie recipe below.

A few onions anyone.

A few onions anyone.

Onions –  Yellow, white and purple onions.

Keith was busy showing Grandma how to harvest cauliflower.

Keith was busy showing Grandma how to harvest cauliflower.

Cabbage/Broccoli/Cauliflower/Kohlrabi – These items have all been growing but not at the same rate which is allowing us the opportunity to rotate through to each of you. We hope you have been enjoying this addition in your boxes.

 

Some day Keith will value the opportunity he had to gather a bouquet of flowers for his Grandma's share in the CSA.

Some day Keith will value the opportunity he had to gather a bouquet of flowers for his Grandma’s share in the CSA.

Fresh Arrangement – Hosta leaves and a surprise flower lilies, zinnias or hydrangeas.

Recipe of the Week

While the zucchini is growing like crazy, it brings a few of our favorite recipes to mind. I couldn’t wait to make this one. It is a favorite in our house. Enjoy!

Zucchini Brownies - a favorite

Zucchini Brownies – a favorite

Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients

•2 cups all-purpose flour

•1/3 cup baking cocoa

•1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

•1 teaspoon salt

•2 cups shredded zucchini

•1-1/2 cups sugar

•3/4 cup vegetable oil (I substitute with applesauce.)

•1/2 cup chopped walnuts

•2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting

•1/4 cup butter, cubed

•1 cup sugar

•1/4 cup milk

•1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

•1/2 cup miniature marshmallows

•1 teaspoon vanilla extract

•1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

•In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, combine the zucchini, sugar and oil; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Stir in walnuts and vanilla. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° F. for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

•In a large saucepan, melt butter; stir in sugar and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook and stir 1 minute or until smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in chips and marshmallows until melted and smooth; add vanilla. Spread over brownies. Sprinkle with walnuts if desired. Yield: 2 dozen.

 

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