Spring is here.

Just another reason why the northwest is great. I got to hang out at a farm during lambing season and then pick mussels to make for dinner that night.Screen shot 2014-03-08 at 10.10.11 AMSure the fishing isn’t so great out here, but this is making explore other outdoor options. At least I got to be on the water.Screen shot 2014-03-08 at 10.10.27 AMSomeone was happy with the result. I hear that they were delicious.Screen shot 2014-03-08 at 10.10.39 AM

November 19th – Gardens.

In Hawai’i, there was always something growing and something being harvested on our property. Papayas, mangoes, pineapple, bananas, lilikoi, herbs, and some other stuff. It wasn’t a real garden in neat little rows that we were out weeding all of the time. This stuff can be found almost everywhere. People give you extra lychee or pineapples because they have too many at their house.

In Ireland, my grandparents had a garden and a greenhouse. My grandfather would grow rhubarb and when it was picked we would dip it in sugar and eat it raw. My grandmother would use mint from the garden to make a fresh mint sauce when we would have pork for dinner.

Here in Seattle, our outdoor growing season is fantastic and short without a greenhouse. Beside the curb, we made a raised garden bed and filled it with lettuce, kale, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, strawberries, and probably some more things.

Screen shot 2013-11-21 at 5.40.20 AMIndoors we developed a wall mounted aquaponics setup that was cheap and fun to make.photo 2We built a chicken coop, but the landlord sold the house we were living in before we could get the chickens.IMG_2841Gardens have started to turn me on to homesteading. Living in a new house, we need to start the garden from scratch. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to have a garden.

Razor Clams, Wine, and Sunsets.

For Amanda’s birthday, we headed to the coast. We lucked out with the weather as it was 70 degrees at the beach in October. We planned on surfing as the weather was so nice the day we arrived. Unfortunately, the wind picked up our second day and squashed our plans.

The sand dunes near our condo have some awesome colors.Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 10.28.52 AM The nice weather gave us a beautiful sunset. It felt a bit like Kona. The small specks are people digging for razor clams.Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 10.29.15 AMWe were successful razor clam hunters ourselves. It involved a bit more work than we thought, but being rookies, we kept our expectations low.Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 10.29.33 AM The next day, we hit up the Westport Winery. They had a fun I Love Lucy competition (we did not compete), grape stomping (we only watched), and wine tasting (we took part).Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 10.29.57 AM

Pink Salmon in Puget Sound

Every once in a while (2 years to be exact) it is fun to feel a big fish pull on the end of your line. I am not a fan of killing or eating fish, but once every 730 days or so seems alright to me. So we hit Dash Point (always at low tide) and dragged a couple to the beach. Now they are at the smokers. Lox anyone?Screen shot 2013-08-30 at 10.23.09 PM Screen shot 2013-08-30 at 10.23.26 PM Screen shot 2013-08-30 at 10.23.41 PM

Chicken coop.

Every homesteader needs a chicken coop. We had a shed that housed firewood despite our house not have any wood burning capabilities. I suppose there is an elevated fire pit outside that we use twice a year, but nothing that warrants half a cord of wood to be kept dry all year long. Here is the picture before:IMG_2660There were a couple of vegetable boxes that held some weeds and green onions, so we took them apart and moved them next to the street in the front of the house so that they might get some sun. Then we planted peas, kale, lettuce, and cilantro. Then we built a chicken coop. I have step by step pictures and one day I may put them all together. We re-did the roof so that we can collect rain water and have an automatic watering system. The feeder is also pretty cool, but I am going to make sure that it will work before I post the details about it.

Here is the picture after:IMG_2841There are only a few steps left before we get chickens. There is a lot of interest locally of raising chickens as well as vertical gardens.

Vertical aquaponic wall garden.

I am damn near finished. There are always small details to fix, but the major stuff is finished. I built a shelf for the fish tank, made a light, and put it all together. The light was my first time playing with electrical things. It felt good to see the light come on without me getting electrocuted. Thanks to TomorrowsGarden.net for showing me how to save $100 by making my own light. It was about $15 to make the light and another $20 for both light bulbs. Typically, these reflectors are about $100 without the bulbs.

photo 3Here is the light after being mounted to the ceiling.
photo 1Now we need more plants.
photo 2The fish poop and fertilize the plants. I got the idea from other aquaponic companies, but really didn’t want to pay what they were charging for complete setups. Amanda hates all of the wires, so those will be hidden somehow and then I will really be finished… until we work on the next one beside it.

What’s that smell?

That wafting deliciousness that hits you when you come in our only front door. Freshly baked bread. Your favorite homesteader is baking bread. 3 loaves in 2 days. This is the recipe I am using. I can’t seem to get enough. The stand mixer helps.

yeast in mixerPut the yeast and water into the bowl. Then add some flour and turn on the mixer.

mixingThen crank it up.
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Cover the bowl and let it rise for half an hour. Then punch it down.
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Flour the counter.
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Make a baguette shape. I don’t know how important this is, but it seems like fun. I put a few slits in the top to prevent some sort of explosion. I don’t really read all of the instructions, just the part I feel is important. Kind of like tying flies, I just need to understand a little of it and then I am on my own.

on flourSpread some butter inside a pan.
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Drop the batter into the pan.
Screen shot 2013-03-05 at 2.05.40 PMCook for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
Screen shot 2013-03-05 at 2.05.49 PMMake a big fuss about how delicious and warm your bread is.Screen shot 2013-03-05 at 2.05.59 PMPut toppings on and be amazed.
Screen shot 2013-03-05 at 2.06.05 PMHave someone make dolmas, tzatziki, and hummus from scratch. You supply the bread.
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