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Prairie Views

~ Dreamy abstraction in Four Square House on the Pairie

Category: Bois D’Arc Garden (page 1 of 5)

Swarms and Flowers

 

 

 

Even with the best of prevention methods you will get a swarm. Earlier this year I had done a walkaway split to a hive to prevent it from swarming. Still a couple of weeks ago I walk outside only to find a swarm on a cedar tree next to the hive. We quickly set up another hive to put the swarm into. The swarm is doing well although it is not likely to build up enough this year to produce honey.  The property still has blooms all over blooming strong.

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Prairie Views Updated Plans

Some times change is needed. I needed to do three changes to my plan. First I needed to add the quail and pheasant nesting, food and protection area.  I also needed to update my pasture paradise plan. Lastly I had to the way water moves in the property. I need to make plans to better get the water to move to an area I could make a very small pond for the dry seasons.

 

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Planting for Bees, Monarchs and Upland birds

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On the other side of the sidewalk the seed mixture was planted.

 

Today, I planted another area with the Monarch Butterfly and Honey bee Mix I purchased from Sharp Seed Company. This area has Iris , day lilies , tulips and Periwinkle. I tired to remove most of the periwinkle but left the rest.  Now all it needs to do is rain. I just might start watering this area since it is near the house.

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In the fore ground is were some of the upland bird plants will be planted. The seed was planted on the other side of the fence.

 

Last month I had planted a mixture of prairie grass and this Monarch Butterfly & Honey bee seed mixture. We have not gotten rain yet so I am hoping for some soon to get the seed to germinate. In front and the side of the prairie grass and wildflower mixture I will be planting the Pheasant Bundle plants I ordered from the Kansas Forest Service. These will also be good for the quail in the area.  My plan is to increase habitat for pheasants and other grassland-dependent species combined with habitat that will also increase populations of native pollinators,

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Yesterday I transferred some wild plums to this area near the road. This will provide animal cover and a wind and dust break.  There is some wild plums I transferred last year and other plants good for birds.

 

I also ordered a queen castle hive from Golden Prairie Honey Farm. This will be my new to go to place for ordering supplies.  Golden Prairie Honey Farms is a beekeeping supply and honey production business that serves as a training program for veterans and transitioning service members. You can order and have items shipped or call ahead to get supplies.  Later I will update about my queen making. 

 

 

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Fall On and Potato Harvest

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I got the Fall on. I only decorate the dinning room anymore although I really like fall colors. I know a lot of people already have the Christmas theme going on but I can’t until after Thanksgiving.

 

Today harvested the potatoes. It took about 3 hours to dig them all out getting this cart full. I tried and hope it will make for a good nights sleep. So now they are waiting for sorting. I boiled a few small ones for dinner and boy were they delicious. These will be great for storing, canning and drying later.

 

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Quail and Sweet Potaotes

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It occurred to me the other day that I had not seen any quail for a while around this farm. This is one the areas of primary range for the Bobwhite quail so I like to keep some areas for them. There have been reports of declines in numbers for this bird. These are delicate birds  need a variety of habitats. Today I looked outside of one window and noticed some around the carport. Elated I went to grab the camera but when I got back they were nowhere to be seen.

What do I do to help with habitat management

Nesting Cover

They like clumps of grass. Native prairie grasses with their clump-type growth form are ideal nest cover . They need clumps they can walk to but give overhead protection.

Brood Cover

Most quail dye during the brood period. Quail chick need to be able to move at ground level but still have overhead concealment and a variety of green plants or plant parts within pecking reach.  This is about two to three inches high. The ground cover needs to be very open with greens to also attract all types of insects they will eat. Beetles, grasshoppers and other insects are most of their diet for the first three weeks. This is why burned areas and just till areas are popular with the quail. The area I saw the quail I had just cleaned out  the day before. The garden area is next to the row of wild plum bushes giving cover.

Prescribed Burning

I do not do a while lot of burning but I just might burn the acre I am not using for agriculture. It is mostly grassland. Burning make me nervous so I will likely not do it but I have years ago done so.

Disking and Mowing

I just might do a path mow in the grassland area to give the birds an easy travel route. I am still in the process of deciding where a good place for a feeder would be. You want it accessible but in an area safe.

Legume Seeding

I am preparing the area of the garden for legume planting.  Korean lespedeza, ladino clover, white clover, red clover, and subterranean clover and alfalfa. These can be broad cast seeded in the winter.

Half Cutting and Shrub Planting

I have planted hedge rows in areas around my property for birds. In the future I plant to do half-cutting of cedar and other plants to create a living bush pile. You do this by cutting a tree 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through leaving a hinge of bark attached so that the tree falls. Hedging laying  is an old fence method used in europe to keep livestock in and has the added advantage of serving as a habitat for birds.

 

Sweet Potatoes

Learning to grow sweet potatos and potatoes are important for growing vegetables for calories.  I suggest everyone with a garden grow a few to have the skills needed to grow them.

My sweet potatoes were harvested yesterday and are now in the curing stage. Now the best harvest this year but with the potaotes I should have almost enough for the year. The soil was still very moist so the soil stayed on. When they get dryer I will clean them better.  I put them in a cloth bag in the car port to help the starches form into sugars.  As soon as they are dry enough to clean I will clean them better and bring insde to finish curing to avoid frost damage. If you live in an area that freezes you will want to harvest before a hard freeze. This can damage the potatoes if frozen and decay from frozen vines can affect the potatoes.

Curing can be done in 10 to 14 day.  It is best to have them in a warm area. The temperature should be around 80-85 F with high humility.  Afte curing you can put them in a cooler area with lower humility. 

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Salvia Victoria Blue for the “Bee” Intentional Garden

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I had high hopes for this plant when I planted it as a source of fall nectar and pollen. In July, when it Saliva began blooming, the plants were visited by bumble bees and butterflies but not my bees. I was beginning to wonder if maybe this was not a good plant for my “Bee” intentional garden. I was enjoying its long season of blooming and decided to check out the visitors to the flowers. My bees have begun visiting the flowers now.

Too bad this gorgeous deep blue plant is an annual in this area. I am hoping that maybe it might make it through the winter anyway so I can enjoy the same plants next year.  Still, if you plan to plant flowers for pollinators this would make a great choice for  fall blooms when fewer options are available for our pollinators to  help them make it through the winter in good shape.  The nectar-rich plant does best in full sun in a well-drained area.  It requires just a little water to keep the blooms going.

 

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Mariel’s Enchiladas

 

I had a potluck and had planned to bring something else by Mr. Gadget suggested Enchiladas. It was a good choice that went over well. I got this good freezer recipe I got a long time ago and had not made it in a long time. I forgot how good they were especially after changing it to more modern flavors.  Dipping tortillas in hot water instead of frying them helps keep the cholesterol and calorie count down and the dishwater one frying pan closer to completion.

Mariel’s Enchiladas

1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon or Penzey’s California Seasoned Pepper or a green pepper seeded and chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon of ground cumin

2 cans (8 ounces) tomato paste
2 cups beef broth or 2 bouillon cubes dissolved in 2 cups hot water
Salt
1 1/4 pounds ground round or turkey
1 dozen corn or flour tortillas
Green onions, ripe olives, and cheddar cheese for garnish

 

Saute’ onion, garlic, and green pepper in olive oil until vegetables are limp.  Sprinkle flour, cumin, and chili powder into onion mixture and stir until blended. Combine tomato paste and beef stock into onion mix. Cook until smooth and thickened, stirring frequently.  Add salt to taste.

In a separate pan, cook ground round and one-fourth of the cooked sauce until meat is browned and crumbly.

Dip one tortilla in hot water for 5 seconds and drain.

Spoon about 3 tablespoons meat filling down the center of tortilla. Roll tortilla around filling and place flap side down. In a greased shallow casserole place filled enchiladas side by side.

Spoon the remaining three-fourths cooked sauce over the surface of the casserole.

Cool Enchiladas, cover and freeze.

To use:

Bake, uncovered, while still frozen, in a 375 degree F. Oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Scatter chopped green onions, chopped fine olives and grated Cheddar cheese over Enchiladas, before serving.

Serves 6.

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captureyour365: In a Field of Green

captureyour365         In a Field of Green

 

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It still is  looking like spring today. Look at the lawn. Yikes, it needs mowing already. Time to get that mower really along with the tiller. The farmers are worrying about the wheat that has grown so tall  this month and then getting harmed by a freeze. The weather report is suggesting snow on Saturday which is a few days away so it might happen. I am fretting too with fruit trees blooming. Time to find the remay to try to protect them somewhat. Oh, I fancy some plumots this year. I only have onions out in the garden so far with the kale, broccoli, caulifower and cabbage in the greenhouse so I do not worry about a freeze with them  Right now, I will just enjoy the cool temperatures and the beautiful green grass and leaves starting to grow. The lilacs look like they will flower soon and give off their wonderful fragrants. I can’t wait.

 

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Root to Stem Vegetables

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Following the nose to tail practice with meat is the root to stem trend to reduce waste. Still, in many cookbooks and recipes, you are directed to remove the tops from beets and radishes or remove the stalk from broccoli top. All of these parts with their unique tastes and textures can be utilized.  With some tops such as carrots tops one must be careful since they tend to be very bitter. Other parts, such as stems, require peeling the outside layer or for making stock.

Leek Greens-

Most recipes tell you to cut off the top and use the bottom potion. The leafy top can still be useful for flavoring soups or used raw in salad and even sauted.

Potato skins-

I am personally peeling less and using the potatoes but for recipes calling for peeling. I still prefer my mashed potatoes not to have peels, you can save the peels by tossing in olive oil on a baking sheet and then placing in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 425 F until browned and crunchy. Sprinkle with spices  for extra flavor.

Asparagus stem

When I cooked asparagus I alway removed the tough woody ends and put into the compost bin. Now I throw the ends into a storage bag in the freezer to make stock.

Beet greens-

I really like beets but never really used the greens. The trend now is to make a pesto or saute. Using them in a salad when making borsch is a way to use the greens instead of compost.

Broccoli stalks-

I used to buy mostly frozen brocoli to avoid wasting the stalks. If you peel the sides of the stack you can avoid the toughness and waste less.

Carrot tops-

I have never eaten carrot tops. Research has told me that they are very bitter are edible. The trick is to blanch them to remove some of the bitterness. Use for stocks, saute, smoothies and instead of parsley but be careful of amounts.

Cauliflower-

You can eat the stems and leaves of the cauliflower. Chop up the steams and cook with the flowers.

Celery

I have used most of the celery plant for years. It is easy to toss in the freezer for stock. They can also be dried but I found they are tough so I suggest grinding them for celery powder or making celery salt.  Celery leaves can also be used instead of parsley.

Chard-

I have aways liked the stem better than the leaves. Saute them to use in dishes.

Fennel-

I discoved fennel a couple of years ago and found them quite good. Try the fonds in salads for extra taste.

Radish leaves –

These leaves do not last long but makes great pesto.

Turnips-

There are many areas where it is common to eat the turnips green. You can also try eating the greens in a tossed salad.

 

I hope you are able to take the time to experiment with using as much as the vegetable as possible to prevent waste. Next time you touch a vegetable think about another way to use the part you tossed away before. You might be surprized how much less you can waste. If you find a part not to your liking then compost the parts.

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One Step Back But Two Steps Forward At Pairie Views

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As I sit here I am in shock. Somehow 2015 went by so fast it is difficult to comprehend. It was a year of some adventure and many failures. I have the need to reflex back on those falure but I am finding it very difficult.

“Fall seven times, get up eight.” – Japanese Proverb
“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” – John Quincy Adams
“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” – Chinese Proverb
“Never give in. Never. Never. Never. Never.” – Winston Churchill
“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” – Samuel Johnson

 

All of these quotes really mean they same.  No matter how many times you run into obstacles, what matters is you are able to overcome, one at a time.

A step is considered negative. It can be a weekend wasted watching T.V. , breaks in your routine, personal tragedies, injuries. Most, if not all people, think that you have to start over. That is a huge mistake in thinking. You need to move forward. Take that one or two steps ahead and you are still past where you were before.

If you expect perfection you have set yourself up for failure. It is the time now to not to start over but to continue forward two steps into the new year. If you were losing weight as I was and have gained a few pounds of the weight back just more forward.

My vegetable garden was a complete disaster in weed control. I live in prairie land and the land wants to continue nurturing the grasses and not the cabbage, carrots and tomatoes I so want. In between the vegetables grass sprout at an amazing rate. Most times getting me far behind in removing them before that choke out my vegetables. This year was no exception. With the added problem of a late winter and not letting my vegetables gain a foothold before summer weather they all struggled. This year is a new year and I will move two steps forward using a ground cover to prevent the prairie from moving back in.

I have enjoyed the variety of birds can Prairie Views home. My years of effort of creating habitats and food sources for birds have paid off. I have a number of cardinals searching for berries and other  seeds moving from bush to tree and then back to the bush. It is a lovely sight. With the cardinals are other native birds enjoying the feast and shelters my property has allowed them. Quails have enjoyed the wild plums and I see their coveys. Young quail also feed very heavily on insects and I hope improving their habitual will give me the added benefit of grasshopper control. It is a careful juggle between giving them areas and areas for my livestock feeding.

So you will not see a new years list from me. I will be stepping forward two steps at a time to continue my goals some of which fell short last year. I can only more forward but will not start over. They are listed below.

Sheep– I will get a new ram with the added idea to have dairy type sheep. I noticed that my Dropers might be excellent for milk production but mine are a flighty herd. Many adding Awassi ram  would word. If I am not able to get one then I might try a katahdin. This is another more common hair sheep breed. Sheep milk is great for cheese and it freezes very well.

Goat– We miss our goats and plan to add at least one doe if we can find someone who will breed her back. We do not have enough land to support a herd. Goat cheese is delicious.

Vegetable garden– Using fiber ground cover I plan to reduce the amount of weeding that takes too much of my time. I tried some with the tomatoes this year and it seemed to work well.

Windbreaks and Habitats-_ I have ordered some native plants seeds and I am deciding if I will order more Forest Service plants to add more bird habitats. I plan to transplant some of the wild plums that have sprouted to new areas to create more thickets and added windbreaks.

Food Forest I have been slowly adding new plants for this area. This year I will likely more forward to more wild and cider types of fruit trees. Apples and pears do well in this area but other type of fruits seem to struggle. Will more wild type of tress endure better. Food for thought.

Bees- One hive did really well while one struggles all year. I do not think it is strong enough to survive the winter. I will be adding another hive and most likely redoing the one.

Reading – I have not been reading as much this year. I need to continue reading the list .

Bucket lists– I had two bucket list that are lost from changing my blog site. They were reading 1001 books to read before you die and visit all of the National Parks. I will move forward on those.

Well in a few more hours it will be the New Year. Do you have plans to more forward?

 

 

 

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