Saturday, 11 June 2011

Sowing, Sowing, Sowing and Soup!

I've been busy sowing more seeds...  spinach, lettuce, beets, carrots, beans, peas, leeks, onions, garlic, chard, cukes....  I'm sure there's more, I just can't remember!   I'm hoping this means that we'll have a more gentle, continual harvest instead of one large glut of each crop.  I will continue to sow root veggie seeds until July so that we can eat out of the garden right until frost and then hopefully use the later harvests as winter keepers.  That's the PLAN, but of course, we'll see what REALLY transpires in the garden...  Things don't always work out when the ever changing variables are as unpredictable as they are here in our northern climate.

On top of sowing, there's been a *little* weeding.  *ahem*  Make that a LOT of weeding! Hopefully, with some hard work in the coming weeks, I'll get a good handle on it and not let it get out of control.  Once the seedlings are a little bigger, I'm going to mulch between the rows for both water conservation and weed suppression.

I've been fighting a cough for many weeks and my stamina isn't what it usually is, so I'm having to pace myself and rest a bit more than usual.   That frustrates me, but I can't help it, so I've just got to forge on bit by bit and do the best I can each day.  I really have new found empathy for those of you dear readers who have chronic conditions or disabilities that prevent vigorous activity.  It's very humbling to be forced to stop working because of pain or fatigue.

On another note, we took delivery of 25 pastured chickens 10 days ago!  They were raised about an hour from us by a young couple who are working very hard to grow their farm (Serben Free Range).  We were so busy with guests and Ian's Graduation that I didn't get around to posting about it but we've devoured 4 already!  I made lovely stock this morning from the carcasses of those birds and turned it into a nourishing chicken and barley soup to help us ward off a cold that the kids have been exposed to.  I had nothing in the way of green vegetables to put in the soup today, so I made do with plenty of onions and carrots.

I use my pressure cooker to make my stock as it takes only one hour to turn a carcass and a little water into the most golden, flavourful, gelatinous broth.  I strain the broth to remove all the bones and meat, and add lots of onion, garlic, veggies, spices and our favourite - barley.  I return the broth to pressure for about 20 minutes and that's more than enough to fully cook the barley and veggies.  While it's cooking, I pick the meat from the bones and then add it to the soup right before serving to warm it though.  I didn't even have a chance to add fresh parsley today as everyone started dishing out bowls full before I had the chance, lol.

Homemade soup is an excellent way to stretch your food dollar and stay healthy.  It's easy to make and highly nutritious especially when served with whole grains such as barley or wholewheat bread.  Try it!


  1. I tend to save all chicken bones, beef and pork bones to make broth from. I try to keep a stock of both kinds of broth in the freezer for cooking with -- the key is to remember to pull it out of the freezer with enough time to defrost.

    I haven't had to cook since the baby was born, which has been nice, but I'm ready to get back into to it. I'm wondering how it will work, though, as he likes to nurse, nurse, nurse in the evenings, starting about 330 or 4 pm -- just when I need to start dinner.

    Our garden is a bit out of control, weed wise. I'm just starting to get back out there and do some work, but its so hot and the baby so unpredictable. I'm learning how to balance the various things I must do and what I want to do -- not an easy skill to learn! Thank you for your advice and thoughts, its gives me good fodder for thinking through these things.

  2. Hey Rachael, I can remember having to start supper in the daytime when baby napped so that I could nurse and snuggle baby during fussy times (late afternoon and early evening). Try loading a crock pot in the morning so that you can eat whenever it works out in the evening - that helped a lot. Also, my hubby helped me cook some good suppers on the weekend and we'd freeze leftovers so that I could easily reheat them during the week for simple family meals. You'll get the hang of it - it takes a good long while to get into a new groove of life with a first baby :)