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Black Popcorn

Galloways are big popcorn fans and growing your own popcorn is super fun. In addition to two other varieties, this year we tried Dakota Black Popcorn variety from Baker Seed Co. Small cobs, easy to grow. And it looks so different that it catches everyone’s eye.

You are probably wondering two things. What color is it popped and what’s it taste like? The answers are that it pops white with a dark black (burnt looking) hull center. And it takes awesome. Smaller pieces mean more crunch when it comes to popcorn. I’m sure this will make a second appearance in our garden next year.

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Fisher(wo)men

Lola Jane & Rhonda both had some good catches today!

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It’s no secret I have a fascination and love for tomatoes. Last year, I planted 70 plants (and gave away 30) with 20+ varieties…red ones, yellow, orange, black, multi colored, even white tomatoes. This year I am planning an experiment. In my exclusive tomato lovers facebook group (yes, it’s a thing), I’ve been reading about all of the things people put in their tomato holes when they plant tomatoes. I’m going to plant some plants in bare holes. In others, I am throwing in all of the natural things I’ve been reading about…fish heads, worm poop (amazon), aspirin, bone meal, kelp meal, banana peels,

and egg shells for calcium. So we eat a lot of eggs…dozens per week…we have 8 kids. We’ve been keeping them and crushing them. And today I finally ground them in a coffee grinder.

From this.

To this.

To this. In this bag are over 500 egg shells ground to powder and weighing over 5 lbs.

With around 90 days till planting time and dozens of baby toms already under “daddy’s special lights in the basement” (this phrase can cause curious looks when the kids mention it to their teachers at church) this helps me get through these last cold wet days of February and assure myself spring will show up one day. So we’ll see if mother nature appreciates all of my help with the soil or if she can handle this on her own. Stay tuned.

Pics from 2018:

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DIY Popcorn!

Growing popcorn in the garden is a fun way to teach kids about gardening with a special reward at the end.

You can grow popcorn stalks the same way you would sweet corn; just not both at the same time.

Late in the summer, the kernels on the ears will harden and it’s time to harvest.

Our resident zipper spider ; )

Strip the ears and give them some time to dry out and fully harden. I also discovered this handy popcorn tool that makes the job much easier (and less painful) than twisting off the kernels by hand.

Now the popcorn kernels are ready to store or cook on the stove. (one year we even tossed an ear that still had kernels in the microwave…lots of laughs but makes a mess…worth doing once though)

Eat and enjoy!

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DIY Sunflower Seeds

Sunflowers are awesome garden plants for lots of reasons. They grow fast, and they grow big so kids love them. Birds love the seeds, bees love the flowers. And after the rest of the garden is done for the summer you can easily harvest the seeds for a fun salty treat. Here are a few pointers:

– grow big sunflowers that have big seeds

– black seeds have a bad taste and stain your skin so stick with gray or white seeds like Mammoth varieties

– let the sunflowers die and turn ugly brown before harvesting

– Cut the heads off the stalks and let the kids help you work the seeds out into a pile

– take the seeds inside, dump them out and separate the seeds from all of the leaves and dirt

– put the seeds in salt water overnight

– spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and add more salt

– cook at 300 degrees for 30-ish minutes and stir several times along the way

– err on the side of over cooking so your seeds dry out and get crunchy (damp seeds are chewy)

– pop them out of the oven and enjoy them while they are still warm!

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Dove Hunting

We bought the bigger part of our farm just 18 months ago. This was our first stab at working up our own dove field to hunt. So a morning hunt with a couple of doves on our own farm was a big win and lots of fun.

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