Author Archives: super awesome farmers

BUILD A ROCK PATH

Our rock path was our first big outdoor improvement. This was once bare dirt, turning to mud in the rain, and dust in the summer. Now the path has a rustic charm that looks like its been there for centuries.

rock path 1

Here’s how to make one of your own!

You will need:

  • Rocks (we got ours from a local quarry)
  • Shovels

rock path 2

Our rocks are set into the dirt a little bit, so they are flatter to the ground. To lay rocks this way, you will need to clear some of the dirt away with a shovel, making the ground as even as possible. We tried to do this in large areas at a time, to be more efficient.

rock path 5

Next, you can lay the rocks down in a pleasing arrangement, much like rock tetris. For each rock, you will need to customize the hole depending on any rock surface irregularities or depth differences. Add dirt in some places, or remove some in others.

rock path 4

After you are satisfied, fill the area around the rock with leftover dirt, packing it around the edges.

rock path 6

Repeat one million more times, and you will have a path!

FERMENTED GINGER CARROTS

We harvested these carrots fresh from the organic section of the store for less than a dollar. Cheaper than even the dollar store.

fermented carrots 5

Much like our green beans, these carrots will be made naturally into super foods by bacteria. More like they grow and develop into their natural super abilities, like Professor X, rather than being injected with something to become super, like Captain America.

fermented carrots 2

I have been on a hamburger pickle chip kick, so we cut them into slices, as opposed to matchstick pieces. These take approximately no time to make, besides the waiting. There is the waiting time after you sprinkle salt on them, and then the waiting for the bacteria to pickle them part.

fermented carrots 3 fermented carrots 4fermented carrots 1

But after you finish waiting for them, they will wait for you to eat them in the fridge for months. So at least they reciprocate. Make this delicious snack today, and you will be able to eat them in like a couple days from now.

RECIPE

3 organic carrots

about an inch of ginger (or to your taste)

One garlic clove (or to your taste)

about 1/2 tbsp sea salt

1. Cut carrots into slices. Slice up ginger. Smash garlic clove and cut in half.

2. Put carrots, ginger, and garlic into a bowl. Sprinkle the salt on top. Using your hand, mix up the ingredients. You can kinda be rough on the carrots, to help the salt soak in.

3. Wait about 5-10 minutes for carrots to start looking juicier. They will start to look kinda wet.

4. Pack the carrots into a jar, and pour any remaining liquid from the bowl on top of them. Fill jar with water to cover the carrots.

5. Leave jar on counter not in the direct sun for a couple days. *Gently put the lid of the jar on, do NOT tightly screw on. The organisms preserving the carrots will create gas that needs to escape, and you don’t want an explosion.

6. Keep tasting until they are pickled to your taste, a few days to two weeks, depending on temperature. When you like them, put in the refrigerator, where they will keep for a couple months.

Great for a snack with some more pickle chips!

VINE REMOVAL

After the great tree falling incident of April 2014, we are very aware about the health of trees. Early in the summer, we noticed a groot-like vine creeping through the trees, growing stronger by the day. Thankfully, we made some strategic cuts that were able to stop it, but it still left our tree a little funky looking in some spots. You can see the traces of its crispy dead vine body up in the leaves.

groot4

But due to its groot abilities to re-grow, the vine creeps through our side gate, once again asserting its power, slowly trapping us inside. The vine holds on tight, the tentacles very firm in their misguided convictions.

groot1 groot2

Super hero gate defender to the rescue. After a few snips, our freedom will be restored.

groot3

BATH TIME

Every once and a while, we like to give the houseplants a proper bath. They get that inside dust/cobwebby accumulation over time, and they need a nice shower to clean up. It was fairly cool today, so we lined them up on the porch for their bath time. I like to separate them into sections for most water to least water, so they stay happy.

plantbath

To give them a bath, you just need a hose and sprayer. Set it to the gentle garden rain setting.

plantbath2

Wet plants have the best colors. After you get them sufficiently watered/clean, let them soak up some rays and dry off in the air a bit. Fresh air is good for everyone. Then bring them back inside, and enjoy your nice, clean plants.

SAD PLANT DAY

Last Thursday, we had a healthy looking succulent plant. The decline was rapid. We believe that the plant is exhibiting attention-seeking behavior, and would be happy to hear any suggestions for stopping this behavior immediately.

deadsucculent

Previously, the plant looked like the below. He has been living happily in the same spot in our well-lit living room for 4 months. We are unsure what caused his current unhappiness. We plan on doing an in-depth examination later this afternoon.

deadsucculent3 deadsucculent2

SOIL SOLARIZATION UPDATE ONE

Our soil solarization experiment was going well. It was very hot out, and after 2 weeks, we decided to move the tarp to another area. We failed to take a picture, but we were very pleased to see that the weeds under the tarp had in fact died. We were very optimistic.

But after a couple days of multiple inches of rain, we are sorry to report that the weeds appear to be making their return.

soilsolarupdate

For curiosity’s sake, we peeked under the currently tarped area. Growing under there is an army of giant crickets, and some funk. The weeds haven’t quite fully died, and its a moist mess.

soilsolarupdate2

Hopefully we will start to dry out a little bit by next weekend, and we can launch another attack. For now, we shall hide from the cricket monsters, and try to find something to do with these similarly giant okra.

soilsolarupdate3

THE RAIN IN AUSTIN

Falls mainly in the middle of the night, accompanied by house shaking thunder and bright flashes of lightning. While nearly 7 inches of rain fell in some parts of Austin, I was wide awake, browsing the world from my phone. I was also noticing how hungry I was, and how much coffee we were going to have to drink in the morning.

At least your coffee mug can brighten up the day, even when you feel like a zombie. (1, 2, 3, 4)

mugs1   mugs2 mugs3   mugs4

HOW TO CATCH FRUIT FLIES

fruitfly

It seems like every time the weather changes, we get a new batch of fruit flies swarming around. Or every time we score some good fruit. Or have some sourdough proofing on the counter overnight. The flies come out of the woodwork to just be near it.

We’ve tried out different kinds of fruit fly catchers to various rates of success. But my mom taught us a new little trick, and so far, it really does work: Fill a small cup with some apple cider vinegar, then add a drop of dish soap. Swirl it around a bit, and that’s it. Leave it on the counter. The flies are attracted by the vinegar, but can’t escape the soap. We left a cup out last night, and we’ve already caught a handful of them.

Do you have any tricks for keeping the pests away?

(illustration from here)

PORTRAIT OF A HOUSEPLANT: LIVING ROOM CACTUS

Meet this funky cactus. He’s been living with us for over a year now. He joined our family in the first round of houseplants we acquired, shortly after we returned from our Hawaiian honeymoon. I suppose he reminded us a bit of the palm trees.

houseplantcactus2

His first home was on our dining table in a larger pot. But once we set up a workspace in our office, we moved him in there. The office gets morning light, but enjoys the afternoon shade. He spent a couple months complaining about the arrangement, and lost all his leaves.

houseplantcactus3

After he was done with his pity party, we got him a new pot, and moved him into the living room, next to a very sunny window. This window receives about 29 hours of sunlight per day, and it can get quite warm near it. The cactus can’t get enough of it. He has thanked us by growing non-stop leaves, and generally being a ray of sunshine.

houseplantcactus1

We’re really happy with this addition to our family.

ROSEMARY FOCACCIA

On Saturday morning, we sat out on the front porch in sweatpants, drinking warm coffee, and we didn’t sweat a drop. We skipped straight past the crisp, sunny late summer days, and went directly into the dreary drizzly days. We enjoyed it for a little bit, then got headaches from the rapid weather changes.

To celebrate the arrival of fall, and probably its quick exit in the next couple days, we enjoyed some warm bread. We snipped some fresh rosemary, and made ourselves a big pan of focaccia to nibble on through the weekend.

foccaciabread

The best part of making focaccia is poking it all over, and then filling the holes with olive oil. And then poking it a couple more times for good measure.

foccaciabread2 foccaciabread3

We also put pizza toppings on top of it one night like geniuses.

RECIPE

Sprinkle 4 1/2 tsp yeast in 1 cup warm water. Let it sit a hot minute, then mix in 1 cup of flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit somewhere warm for one hour.

Add in 3 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp sugar, and 1 Tbsp chopped rosemary. Add another cup of flour and mix in. Add another cup of flour and 1 tsp salt and mix as best you can.

Knead for about 5 minutes. Dough shouldn’t be dry, but not too sticky.

Coat bowl and dough in olive oil, and cover and let rise again for one hour, until doubled.

Oil a baking sheet. Put dough on baking sheet and stretch to fit. If you have trouble, stretch it as much as you can, then let it rest a few minutes, and then try again.

Poke with fingers to make indents. Drizzle with more olive oil, and top with bits of rosemary, sea salt, and cracked pepper.

Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Enjoy!