Saturday, 24 July 2010


We went blueberry picking this morning. We got 30 quarts in under 2 hours. The price was pretty good too. And, I don't think he sprays his blueberries! A definite plus!

I harvested 2 more cucumbers. I think by the end of the season I will have gotten several hundred from those 7 vines! They just keep producing, despite the stink bugs that are on them.

I really wonder if I will get more than one watermelon. The way the stinkin' deer keep at em'. I have one vine at the house that has a watermelon on it, and I have a few vines that have not been touched.

No corn last night. I expect something tonight though. I dammed up the creek a little more. I am wondering when it is going to dry up. Probably sometime in August, the driest month of the year.

I plan on working some more on the winery, get it all cleaned up so I can bottle some wine next week. I have friends coming over next week that will be staying for 10 days (ages 12-15). I hope I can get them and my younger siblings to count corks for me. I would like to get 4000 corks in 40 bags, one hundred each. That way, when I get an order I can quickly send it off.

I watered my tomatoes by the creek today. Did about 12-14 gallons. I picked to roma looking tomatoes. One had so many bites in it from stink bugs I threw it over the compost (freebies next year?) and saved the one of them.

I am amazed at the amount of hops on my hop pole. WAY more then I expected and they keep coming (the hops).

Well, I'd better go, stop writing and start doing something.

English Vintner

Friday, 23 July 2010

Corn Missing

At this rate I am losing one stalk of corn a night. How many stalks can I afford to lose before they are 'ripe' enough for me? :) I am planning on mixing up some cucumber spray and spraying it on the corn from a few of my cucumbers.

The deer didn't seem to have eaten much, though they did trample down the beans again. I think next year I might have to see about interplanting cucurbit with EVERYTHING to keep the deer and coons away. The funny thing is that last year I had one wild pumpkin growing in the strawberry bed, and one morning a deer came by and ate all the leaves. I didn't think they really liked squash, but I guess it didn't have much else to eat.

I harvested all my rutabaga yesterday evening. 10 pounds before cutting off top and bottom. A measely amount to what I wanted to get. The biggest one was 3 inches in the middle. I plan on freezing them chopped to add to soups. If I get my greenhouse tilled up I plan on growing some this fall. I think the reason why I didn't get a good harvest were a few things. They should have been started earlier, more water during the drier times, and less bugs. The leaves had a LOT of holes in them.

Do wasps eat onion stems? I found a wasp on an onion stem and once it flew off I found that something had eaten away the stem revealing the hole inside. I was curious as to wether or not this was common. Also, basically all my shallot and onion stems have fallen over, is this normal?

I have plenty of compost composting. I have the one compost pile that is basically done, still condensing. And then the pile to its left is huge. Tons of stuff. Weeds, hay, kitchen scraps, rutabaga leaves. The hay that I got started composting. But it has sorta stopped. So I have hay that is whitish from the mold. So, I try not to breathe when I throw some over the compost.

I need to sort out my seeds again. I like that Johnny's seeds packets are probably the most informed seed packets I have gotten, but they don't have pictures on them that you can readily identify the packet. It probably saves costs, so that is a good thing though.

I can see the hops forming on my hop vine.

Well, I guess that is all.

God bless!

English Vintner

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Lettuce, carrots, beans, peas, kale, brussels sprouts, wheat for green manure, and a few more cucumbers

I planted some stuff this evening (got pretty sweaty doing it too!). I planted some summer lettuce. I planted about 2 sq. ft. of carrots. I also planted pole beans along the fence I put up as trellis. I planted a few peas where I had some brassica. And where I pulled out the beans I planted two rows of kale, and two rows of brussels sprouts.

I planted some wheat among the sweet potatoes.

I found a few spots to throw in some cucumber seeds here and there! :)

Anyway. Man! 9:20p! I would like to get up early tomorrow and do some more work! Yipes!

God Bless!

English Vintner


I have been reading through a very cool book, The Homebrewers Garden. It explains how to grow hops and grains, and also numerous other herbs for brewing. Most of the herbs cultivated today were used in brewing 1-2-400 years ago. It is my desire to at least me malting my own barley and growing hops and some of the other herbs. I don't know if I will get to grow barley next year or not, but if I think I have enough space, then I will try a small plot with barley.

Speaking on hops, I have quite a few on my hop vine! I cannot believe how big it is. It grew to the top of the pole, and halfway down, and sent shoots ALL over the place! I think I might get a couple ounces of hops this fall!

I have not really had to water my plants for the last two months, and I am happy to say, the only things that have suffered from it are the tomatoes. My parsnips are getting close to 24 inches. My onions are very nice. My shallots are doing well. And my leeks are growing fabulous.

My corn is growing well, and Saturday night and last night a raccoon has come and eaten at least one ear of corn. It's not even ripe! Maybe he is getting me back. In the spring Tasha (our dog) chased a raccoon out of the blackberry patch, he ran right past me, tearing at my bare legs with his venomous teeth, foaming at the mouth. Sorry, I made up that last part. But he did run right past me. And, it probably is the same one. We see his prints all the time in the creek.

Basil is doing well. Mint is growing, maybe a little too well? :) Horehound is well, I think I will harvest some next year. Comfrey, I've harvested TONS of it and it is growing madly!

When can I plant peas for a fall crop? I think I have about 15 heads of cabbage, that are doing alright, about half of them are about half as big as the others.

I am planning on using a couple row covers next year. I'm tired of worms in my cabbage. Do you know what row covers are? It is a hoop house greenhouse, except instead of plastic you use a fine mesh fabric. The results? Plants that are VERY healthy, and don't need ANY pesticides or insecticides of ANY kind, organic, or nonorganic. A lot of farmers that are growing organicly and I think some that are not certified are using them. The main cost is the fabric. Which, actually, thinking about it, couldn't you probably just buy white fabric, of the right kind at a cloth store? Or, maybe it would be wide enough? Some ideas to think about.

I planted chickling vetch and winter rye this morning. I did it where I planted the zucchini early spring. I discovered that the deer had visited the sweet potatoes (ate all the leaves off one vine that was 2.5' long) and watermelon. Well, I know one thing, I know where I am growing watermelon next year! Closer to the greenhouse, maybe under a row cover.

Maybe I can get around to planting some brassica later today. I go down to the garden to do one thing, and I see all the other things it needs. More poles for the beans. Weeding for the sweet potatoes etc.

Well, I'd better go, and see what I can do for the rest of the day!

God Bless!

English Vintner

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Bad News

bI am writing this here, because most of you who read this, were supporting me, either in prayer, or finances. Our Haiti trip has been canceled. We had already purchased tickets. So, at this point, we are planning on postponing the mission trip until next year. And, wether we go to Haiti next year, or another place will depend. Maybe we will go to Peru.

On a lighter note, gardening.

I got up at 6:30am today. I fully considered sleeping in till 7am or later, but knew I would regret it later. So, I forced myself to get up.

I weeded the blackraspberry bed. I found that three of the long canes of blackberries, had gone over and were touching the ground and one of them already had roots on the other end! So, I planted that end in the bed. This Autumn I will probably cut it in two. The canes I bought from Stark Bros, and the ones I got from my cousin wild, look exactly the same, identical. The difference was this year mine bore fruit, and his did not. I like how the canes have that, frosty white look to them. By the way, why do people like blackraspberries better? I tasted them and they didn't taste that much different, I mean, I guess they tasted a little more juicy, but did not have as strong a 'raspberry' flavor as red ones do. Anyone care to comment and answer as to why they like them better?

I got the rototiller in the greenhouse, and started rototilling. The ground is hard as rock (almost), but I did get somewhere. I shut it off because it was making a sorta chugging, sorta bang bang bang sound. I filled it up with all the gas left, making it 1/4-1/3 full (maybe a little more). It had a little trouble starting, but started up. And then, it died. The motor quit. I didn't want to try to start it again, so I didn't, I left it. I hope to till up one fourth of the greenhouse, move some stuff around and to another fourth. I am thinking do about half of the greenhouse tilled up. I need it pretty deeply till if I'm growing roots!

I found that something had pulled to corn stalks over and had gotten to the corn, and eaten part of one cob. I saw foot prints at the dam, right before I stepped on them. I don't know if they were possum or raccoon. Do possums eat corn? It didn't look like a deer, besides I sprayed the corn with smelly blood meal. So...what am I going to do? Well, the next time I go to Lowes I need to get some 5ft (at least that tall) fencing of some sort, to put around at least some of the corn.

I was just reading on how to keep raccoons out of corn. The easiest method sounds like a radio, or a light, you keep out in the garden.

I also heard cucumbers work real well too. You plant them and they grow up the corn. So, next year I will be growing cucs with the corn! Kinda hard to plant cucs with the corn since the corn is 5ft tall. :)

Anyway. Thats about all for right now.

God Bless!

English Vintner

Friday, 16 July 2010

I have worked Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and now I get a day off. I needed the work though, so it was good. $200 will help pay for the corks I bought, and for the motor too. Speaking of which, I would have thought it had shipped by now, I payed the next day after getting the highest bid.

I took a 3 hour nap yesterday (could have slept for probably 5) so I could get up at 6am this morning. Getting up at 6am during the summer is my favorite thing to do, I have some time to go down to the garden while it is still cool, while the dew is still wet (and maybe prevent some mishaps from happening?).

Speaking of the garden, I went down today and found something had been up to know good. It was not a deer this time. My guess is squirrels or raccoon. See, I had indian corn which I had been thinking of planting, but I had it in a box with gourds and it was tipped over. I had thrown some of the cobs around the garden (I threw them as far as I could over the fence, behind the greenhouse etc.), but had saved a few. Well this morning I found a few of them all gnawed off. I then found shallots that had been dug up. Four or five of them at least, and more had been trampled (crushed to the ground). Do raccoons like shallots/onions? What about squirrels? Well, my best guess is that one or more squirrels decided to plant some corn, along with eat it, and also decided to pull some shallots. I replanted them, they were only about the diameter of a quarter. Not too much damage done, but still annoying.

It looks like the deer may have come back and eaten some more bean leaves, hard to tell though. I sprayed everything with blood meal water. I have to say I hope the deer stay away. The smell of it is AWFUL! I can hardly stand it. I was opening up my sprayer because the hose and sucked up too many granules of blood meal to spray, and it had a lot of pressure in it, and it blew me right in the face with the blood meal! Yuck! If I don't like it, will the deer? I took some of the water and poured it all along the fence, and where I was growing the watermelons. Then I sprayed all my grape vines with a weaker solution of it. I also sprayed most of the plants in my garden. Not only does blood meal work as deer deterent (supposedly, I guess we will see eh?), it works as a foliar feeder. Foliar feeders (I think I am getting the name right) are liquid fertilizers that you spray on the plants to get quick absorption of nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus. Liquid sea weed extract is the most popular. It is mainly used for plants that are under stress, that have been attacked and could use a 'shot of caffeine' you might say.

My squash plants are going WILD! I can probably harvest round zucchini any day now, I have two ready. My lufa vines are going mad, and my winter squash vines are doing real well. Most of the vines that we planted in the spring don't seem to be doing too well. Probably part deer, part lack of water, care, food. I have one squash vine that looks like it has about 6 butternut squash on it.

My onions are doing pretty well, the bulbs are forming pretty fast right now. I am hoping for no animals to eat them, though I don't think onions are normally a favorite thing of most animals, since garlic is pretty offensive.

I have pulled up all the zucchini that I orginally planted. The vines were looking so bad, under a lot of attack from stink bugs (I forget the correct name), they were not SVBs thankfully. I got a lot of zucchini from them. I would like to do even more zucchini next year. I think I will get a few more from the other plants that we planted later. Though they are under some severe attack as well.

My peppers haven't done much at all. No flowers, I wonder if I will even get a couple before a frost. They were getting attacked by some bug. I think I might get a few egg plants from my eggplant. It is flowering and doing quite well.

My corn is doing well. Though, I can guarantee you, once it is ripe, either the deer will get it, or the raccoons. And at that point I will have a couple of options. Some how fence the corn, maybe put paper bags over each head, or sleep out in the garden.

I got another tomato this morning. A Thomas Jefferson. It had a bad spot in it, and wasn't quite ripe, I ate a slice out of it, BOY is it good! No wonder it is an heirloom tomato! Very sweet, even when it wasn't fully ripe!

Cabbage is doing well, it has heads the size of my fist. And the worms seem to be gone again (for what, a week or two?) that were eating it.

I need to pull the bush beans and plant brassica in it. My hands still smell of blood meal. Think of rotten meat kinda smell. :) Yeah, not a very nice smell at all.

I am getting a few ideas for how to keep the deer out of my garden. They say you need a 10+ foot fence to keep deer out of your garden. What if you had a bed, 6ft wide, 20ft long. And had that fenced with 5-6ft chicken wire? Could a deer jump into it and still get out? It seems it would be like getting real close to a wall, and then jumping up and over it, if you catch what I'm saying. If it took a running jump to get in, wouldn't it nearly jump right over the other side? Some ideas I've been thinking up. The cost of the chicken wire might be expensive. But it might be worth it.

I need to work on some cold frames. A couple months back I picked up a bunch of 2x" stuff. Some of it 4" wide, some of it 6" wide. So, I have free wood for it. And I have a couple glass windows and some doors I can use. I might need to buy some screws though.

I made some yogurt last night. Cannot wait to try it. Wednesday I made some peach chutney with all the peaches we got. It is pretty good, though a little on the spicy side. I need to make some more freezer pickles.

Some friends from church want to buy at least a couple hundred corks, so that is good. The guy asking about 500+ corks hasn't replied back, yet. Isn't human nature, your interested in something, you ask the person about it, he tells you about it, and then, for some reason you decide you don't want it. And the guy asks you a few times if you are still interested, but you are to afraid to reply and tell him you don't want it? I know I've done it a few times. And, on the one hand you feel bad for the person for not replying, but on the other hand you'd rather not tell him you don't want them.

Well, I'd better go. I hope to do some math today, some gardening, and some cooking/preserving. Have fun! God bless!

English Vintner

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


I am not sure what to say. Except, I am MORE than annoyed with the deer in my woods. It has been weeks since I have gone out to my garden and not seen foot marks, a leaf eaten here, and vine here. Up until today I could handle it alright. But, today has gone to far, I don't know what to say. I had almost 30 heads of summer lettuce that are the best summer lettuce seed you can buy. I had it up by the fence, you know, the L of corn around the summer lettuce. Well, today I went out and found that the deer had eaten 28 out of 30 of the heads of lettuce. Yeah, I'm not sure what to say, in 30 days I could have been harvesting heads of summer lettuce. What do I do? I mean!! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! Man!

And that isn't all. I had sugar baby watermelon. Yeah, well, the deer thought they looked good too. I am not sure if I lost the actual melons (only a few inches in diameter each), or just most of the leaves off the watermelon plant. They also snapped in half a butternut squash vine I had. Meaning the two squash on it had to be harvested. They are about half the size they should be.

So, I took immediate reaction. I went to the house, got my sprayer, filled it with water and blood meal, and a little soap and sprayed. The lettuce, beans, corn, squash, watermelon, and anything else that was by the fence.

I know I should have known better than to plant the lettuce so close the the fence, but....

Oh well. I was just SO looking forward to some watermelons and lettuce. And now......

All I can do is sigh. I guess I need to be spraying with blood meal and garlic more often. Take warning fellow gardeners! :) If you see the foot marks, spray with garlic or blood meal. :) Don't do what I did. :)

Have fun, try to garden without killing all the deer. ; ) hahaha! :)

English Vintner


I just bought a motor off ebay, for my cider grinder and press plans. I bid $20 on one motor and got out bid, and went to the other one that was the exact same model, sold by the same person, and bid $10.50 and got it. :)

Now, they do not garuntee that it works, but, I sure hope it does. :) Otherwise I'm out $32.96. Now, the next thing is to find a cheap garbage disposal. See, I don't really need it to work because I don't use the motor in the disposal, that is what this motor is for. It works much better, so, now I need a coupling to connect the motor to the shaft of the disposal. I am hoping the disposal won't cost much more than $50. That way I could make the whole press and grinder for under $100 hopefully.

Well, I guess that is all for now. I hope to get out to the garden today, but probably won't do a whole lot. My siblings and I and Josh are planning on playing a LotR model game. My two younger brothers have LotR models that they paint and then have battles with, quite fun.

Keep chillin'!

English Vintner

Monday, 12 July 2010


My day started off at 3:45am, it was time for work. With the help of a friend, Josh, (he is the one who helped me clear out my greenhouse yesterday, and hauled the rocks with me for the herb bed, really great to have someone working with me on projects) and my dad we did the bread route. Because Josh went with us it sped things up, and I was working pretty fast most of the time anyway. We got home at 1:10pm and were done work.

My Johnny's Seeds order has arrived. It is always fun to open a package, eh? I love anticipating it. Usually more so with books, but seeds are usually pretty captivating too.

The funny thing was that I got two packages today from Johnny's. They shipped out one package via UPS (cause it was 9lbs) and the other USPS. But, I guess because the way they traveled the both got here the same day (they were shipped two different days). The package in the mail was the Fava beans, a type of broad beans. According to the package I should sow in August/September to get a spring harvest. They can stand temps. down to 10ºF, so, I think I should be good. 4 years ago it got down to 4ºF, but rarely does it get down to 10ºF in Concord NC. We might get a day or two during the winter that will get down to 10-12ºF, but other than that it is usually in the 30-20ºFs. Anyway, I am glad to get that, I got a half pound, which, is only 110 bean seeds. I tried to start some earlier this year, but because of the extreme cold and wet they rotted. I actually got 4 beans to sprout, but they didn't produce cause the aphids got them.

The other stuff that I already talked about. 1 pound of chickling vetch, and 1 pound of hairy vetch, 5 pounds of winter rye, and some other seed packets.

I have been reading the two books that I got from Amazon last week. The Whizbang Apple Grinder and Cider Press. I read through it real quick, but most of what it is is about how to build it. So, I will be going through it again. The other book is about growing, making, and using your own barley, hops, and herbs to make beer. All about growing herbs and hops and grains for beer, and how to malt grains. A very good book. (Can't wait to show my cousin Jether it)

I would really like to build a whizbang cider grinder and press. Because I could do large amounts of cider at a time, or only spend 5 minutes grinding the apples and 15 minutes pressing the cider. It would probably cost me about $200, maybe a bit less for the grinder, and then maybe $20 for the press (maybe nothing). The main cost is, insinkerator (disposal), and a motor. The motor is because the motor for the insinkerator is useless for grinding apples (heats up every 30 seconds). So if I can find an insinkerator for $50 (on eBay) and a motor like what I need for $50 then that is basically the only cost I need to spend. For more information on the Whizbang apple cider grinder and press, google whizbang apple cider, and you will come up with his website and blog.

Bees. We are not going to be able to do bees this year. I was late in finding out about where to get bees, and then Powell Andrews asked if we wanted to go into business with it. Powell is talking about starting out with even more hives (I don't know, sometimes he talks bigger than we can handle), I am not sure though. If we did we would only have 4 or 5 here, and he might start one, and a few others might be interested. I would be happy to start with 4 hives. And build from that. At least not getting bees this year relieves a little stress. Everything should be in perfect order by early next spring, I'm gonna see if we can get bees as early as possible. We will probably save some money buying them in the spring, they get expensive after April 25. The guy who said would have bees did not call us, we left numerous messages, and it usually did take him a while to answer the phone. Sounds like an old hill billy from the south to me. :) Anyway, He guides our paths in the right does he not?

I'd better go. I did harvest some produce today though. My first two tomatoes (Abraham Lincoln), 3 cucumbers, 6 zucchini, and a dozen beans.

God Bless!

English Vintner

Saturday, 10 July 2010


Well well. I just spent $500! Yipes! The most amount of money I've ever spent on one thing at one time.

The thing is, I expect to get back all my money (and or more) by selling what I just bought. You see, I just bought 5000 corks, yes that was thee zeros. The last time I ordered was I think a year ago (no, I think it was back in march of last year) and I bought 1000 corks. Well, I have 485 left, and someone just asked me if I had any left, he wants 500+. So, I just now ordered the corks, I hope them to arrive soon.

I am making one cent off of each cork I sell, so if he buys 500 corks I get $5. But, see, the more he buys, the better deal he gets, the worse deal I get. If you are only buying 100 or 200 I get quite a bit of money. If you only want 30-50 I make even more. I started this business when I cam across a place that sold wine corks, wholesale pricing.

I advertise on a wine and beer forum I am on, and that is where I have gotten most of my customers. Though, I have a few friends who also buy from me. Yup, an entrepreneur at aget 15.

So, anybody want to buy some corks? :) I have made probably about $50 off of my business so far. It is not a whole lot of money, but it is fun, and I am learning more about dealing with orders and business, which is good.

Have fun!

English Vintner

Thursday, 8 July 2010


I recently ordered some greenhouse tape. It is UV resistant and heat resistant. I am very excited and hope that this will fix the problems I have had with my greenhouse roof.

I need a few holes to repair (holes made on purpose, but need to be patched) and I need to tape the two sheets or plastic together.

Last fall I used packing tape, and actually that worked pretty well. Held up till about 2 months ago. Than it came loose. So I bought some cheap duct tape and used that, I figured it would work better, but, it can't stand the heat. I guess 130ºF heat melts and glue, and once it melts it is useless. So, that didn't really work. I was really getting disappointed with it.

I did some research and came across a web site that sells greenhouse supplies. I bought the two rolls, a little pricey, but, if it works than I think it will be good.

I ordered a few books off Amazon, also along with the books I got some stevia seeds. I'll probably get some sort of pot for them, so that I can bring it inside during the winter. I got a book on making the most efficient apple cider grinder and press, and a book about growing herbs and other things for brewing beer. I'm excited about those.

I finished the rock wall for my herb garden. Probably a couple tons I would guess of rocks. Actually practically broke our wheel barrow doing it. I might need to look into buying a new one. I'll see what I can do to repair it.

Now I just have to figure out where I am getting the dirt to fill my herb garden with. I might buy some top soil from Lowes, I don't know. I would get the cheap stuff, a dollar or two per cubic foot. I have some compost up here that would work for some of it.

Anyway. I need to pick some cucumbers today. I got up at 6am and hand weeded the corn up by the fence that is (the corn) in an L shape around the summer lettuce. It was enjoyably cool this morning, 68º. Tonight it is suppose to get down to 70º and tomorrow night 65º. So, it looks like Friday night will be good. We have a whole house fan that we use to suck in the air from out side into our house. Which on hot days like these, you need someone like me to get up early before the sun and turn on the fan to cool the house before 8am.

Too much work to do, too little time. I just have to remember who is taking care of things, and working out everything for my good.

God Bless!
English Vintner

Wednesday, 7 July 2010


I've ordered a few things recently. The latest was the order from Johnny's Seeds. I ordered the following from them: 1 oz Allstar Gourmet Lettuce Mix (leaf lettuce), 1 piacket of Spinach seeds, 1 lb Hairy Vetch OG, 1/2lb Fava Beans, 5lb Winter Rye OG, Chickling Vetch OG 1lb, Gold Flower Packet, a colored watermelon that was on sale, almost two dollars off.

Most of the seeds are ones that I don't have and want to plant for the fall garden, or through the winter in the greenhouse. I have radishes, and I think rutabagas, carrots, and a few other things I want to grow over winter. I am hoping to grow lettuce through the winter and fall. So far we have not gone a week where there was not at least some lettuce growing in the garden. I have some really good summer head lettuce that is growing, I have it growing in a block, and then have corn growing in an L around it, providing more shade. Speaking of lettuce I am starting to get the seeds from my Romaine lettuce that I let go to seed. Hoping to grow some of that this fall/winter. The hard thing is that all the flowers don't open at the same time. So, I have to cut them and dry them when most of the flowers have seeds.

I'm going real big on the cover crops this year. The chickling vetch is said to fix nitrogen in 45 days. So, I will probably put some of that in some of the bare spots real soon, to keep down weeds, and if I start too late it might not work as well.

The hairy vetch is doing basically the same thing as chickling vetch, but takes longer. I ordered some of it because it is a little more winter hardy. I'll probably sow some of it with the rye grass.

The rye grass, as some of you know I did that last year. Pretty cheap, EXTREME winter hardy (surviving temps. down in the teens) and what more could I ask for? :) It is not leguminous, in that it does not fix nitrogen, but it keeps erosion down and is a green manure, meaning I plow it in in the spring, sow it in in the later summer/fall.

The Fava beans will be fixing nitrogen too, but they are not really for that, more for eating, but I am starting them off in the fall so that they get a good quick start in the spring. Especially since the beans rotted last year.

I am really excited about the green manures. I don't know how much manure I can get next year, but with good crop rotation and growing leguminous green manures I should be able to keep up the nitrogen level in my soil!

I finally got my rototiller working. For a while it wasn't, I wasn't sure what was wrong, but I sorta figured out how to start it and it worked. I am very grateful.

Well, I guess that is about all. Busy day ahead.

English Vintner

P.S. Anyone want to help fund my missions trip to Haiti this August? I need $800, and any more will go to the church in Haiti. Please pray, even if you cannot give. Pray for wisdom in the planning, packing, and that I would not get sick while in Haiti. And that God would use this to further my walk with Him!

God Bless!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Carrot Bread

I just made some carrot bread. I will post the recipe, I took it off the web, but modified it a bit. I'm claiming it as mine, but, the author of the original is CL, so thank you CL.

Why did I make carrot bread? I woke up at 6:00 went down to the garden to do some work, I love working early morning hours. You are the only one up. Its just you and nature, or you maybe better said, you and God. You get to spend some quite time talking to him. I love the bird calls, the dew, I like to take it all in. Plus, seeing the sunrise is always a great way to make my day!

Anyway, so I was down in the garden. One of the first things I did was turn the compost. I layed down some branches at the bottom to provide a little more air at the bottom. Then I put some of the compost I had just turned on Saturday (it was a little steamy!) on to the pile to add some almost ready compost to help this pile. I than put some comfrey leaves on it and put the whole pile on it. The bottom was actually doing quite well, but the top was some what dry. I mixed it in layers with fresh grass clippings I had raked up earlier (the grass was cut saturday). So, I have that one turned, I will probably continue to add to it, but now I have a new pile. After that I did some hand weeding. I really do enjoy hand weeding, especially in my garden. I have things in blocks not in rows, making it easier to weed by hand. You only do a few sections at a time. So I weeded the carrots, beets, and leeks. I than wanted to check on my carrots that I had planted back in March/April. I pulled up one I had transplanted and thought it was the funniest looking carrot I had every seen. It was sorta like a ball at first, and then it had 4 small carrot roots coming off from it. I then pulled up another and found it had carrot root fly maggots in it. I pulled up another and found the same. So, I lifted all my carrots, 3 out of all of them (15-20 small carrots) didn't have the root fly maggots.

I was able to salvage most of them, cutting off the top where the maggot was in. I was now worried about the parsnips, so I dug up a smallish one. It was doing great and no maggots! It was about half an inch diameter and 5-6 inches long. I was very excited.

My watermelons are doing well, my biggest are about 3 inches diameter. They are small red sugar baby, so they will only get a to four or five pounds. Next year I am thinking about doing 3 kinds of watermelon.

So, thats about all. I picked four more cucumbers today. I think I have picked at least 30 this year. I hope to get at least that many from the vines. And at least that many from the cucumbers just sprouting now (I planted more). A lot of my squash is going wild. Every day growing about 4 inches.

My garden still seems to be a bed and breakfast for the deer. But they haven't done a lot of damage. Just a leaf here and there. I saw three of them today while weeding.

I am hoping to get some cedar logs and stumps for a herb garden I am working on up here today. Maybe I can get my younger siblings to come with me for a trek in the woods.

God bless! Have a merry fourth (I know it was yesterday, but some are celebrating it today) of July!

English Vintner

p.s. Almost forgot the recipe. :) Tell me if you try it!

Carrot Bread From the Kitchen of Zachariah English

2 eggs
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. oil
1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1/4 tsp grape fruit extract

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
zest from one orange

1 c. grated carrots
1/3 c. raisins
1/3-1/2 c. crushed pineapple

Mix eggs, sugar, oil, and extracts together. In separate bowl mix flour, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, zest. Combine the two, stirring just until mixed. Fold in carrots and raisins. Pour half of the batter into greased 9x5 pan. Mix together 2TBS of cream cheese with 1TBS milk and heat to soften, once warm add a little flour. Spread this mixture on top of the batter, pour the rest of the batter over top. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on it and dot with walnuts.

Bake at 350º until well browned, 40 min to and hour. Makes one loaf, or a dozen small muffins. If making into muffins reduce the baking time to about 12-15 minutes.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Artisan Bread

I have been making Artisan Bread lately. My definition is simple ingredients, usually but not always crisp crunchy crust, and usually fancy looking.

The real definition is bread made by hand, at home.

What I really like to do is do a preferment, type method, usually overnight. So, I mix up usually all the dry ingredients, minus most of the flour and anything liquid besides water or milk.

So I mix up usually 2 cups of water with 3 cups of flour, and about a tablespoon of yeast, 2 tsp. of salt, and a little sugar for the yeast to eat.

Than, in the morning I mix in the rest of the flour, and or egg or oil and and kneed it. Though lately I have been using a method to get the crust crispy which means I leave the dough somewhat sticky. After I let it rise once I shape it into loaves put them on the pan and let them rise, than right before I put them in the oven I brush them with egg or milk if I want it, and or make slashes on the top.

I usually have a pan of water in the oven while it is warming. I than bake the bread usually at 400ºF or higher, for a crispier crust. For the last 5 minutes I turn the oven off and get the moist air out of the oven, I take the bread off the stone and directly on the rack. After 5 minutes I take it out and let it cool completely.

Now, on to gardening and other.

Last night I made some artisan pizza dough and it was really good! Than we went to Pops in the Park. We played Rook while we listened to the concert.

I got up at 5:40 this morning. Read my bible and prayed, came down, made a cup of coffee and went down to the garden. I did a lot of weeding and picked a few blackberries for breakfast. :) I turned the compost pile, turning the middle compost pile onto the right stack.

I finally came up at 8:00am and got a bowl of granola. I got some water and went back down. I weeded for another hour. Came up, had devotions with the family and figured out what I needed to do.

Since then I harvested three zucchini , three cucumbers, and some oregano.

I made a dog food and water bowl thing. Not sure how to explain it, but I made basically a box that is rectangular, the top has to holes where the dishes sit down in. I put the dog food down beneath and the two bowls on top. It is great, and was fun to make.

I made some more bread today, I made some yesterday also for lunch. I'm into making bread a lot arn't I? :)

Anyway, not sure what else is planned for the agenda. Hopefully do some more gardening work, and pick some blacberries. Mix up some sticky bun dough. And some other jazz. :)

Have fun everybody, and a blessed Lord's day tomorrow!

English Vintner