My Own Private Idaho

Brian blog 2 1RThere seems to be so very much talk these days about ‘farm-to-table’ sourcing of food for an ever-growing number of restaurants.  The thought that perhaps the meat and produce were grown locally, or even better, on the premise, makes food seem extra healthy, no matter the amount of butter, salt or oil chefs add to make it taste good!  Restaurants based on this concept where I live in Minneapolis can’t find enough tables and chairs for their trendy clientele, and Pinterest can’t find enough bandwidth for the photos.

Brian blog 2 2LSo, what to do with all this extra land around my home, now that the flower gardens are maturing and the chickens are getting settled?  Create a ‘yard-to-table’ flow of fresh greens, vegetables and berries that can bring organic, healthy and creative benefits this summer and every summer that follows!

I can think of no one better to partner with than my Partner Aaron. He’s a farmer’s son and knows a great deal about planting and crop rotation. Me, I’m just a non-stop farmhand that can go after the weeds (including the roots!) for hours. I just start with 70’s hard rock in the a.m. and finish Brian blog 2 3Rhours later with the best of the 90’s blaring from my Bluetooth speakers and Spotify.

Over the winter, Aaron created a potager (a kitchen garden) and, together, we planted over 100 unique types of vegetables, fruits and berries this spring.

Five types of lettuce (including the delicious Red Romaine and Little Gem), three varieties of blueberries, French breakfast radishes, Roquefort beans, wax beans, and Dragon beans will for sure expand the gastronomic journey for all dining at our home.

Brian blog 2 4L (2)Sure, sure, you’re absolutely right . . . this is going to be some of the most expensive produce brought to any table, but it’s food we created for ourselves and friends.  And how exciting to see otherwise unused property become something very useful, and seeds go from packet to produce!

Oh and the seeds . . .  please don’t ask the price of the seeds! They’re not just any seeds.  Aaron had to find non-GMO seeds from probably one of the last places on earth that purvey Berian blog 2 5Lthem: the Baker Seed Co.  I guess we’ll just look the other way on the total cost of seeds, plants and water bills as we prove the cliché, “You get what you pay for.”

Is there a saying “A farmer’s work is never done”?  If not, there should be because in August we’ll be installing the next round of plants in the rotation per the potager.  More beets, squash and melons will be next on the menu for our fall harvest dinners with Brian blog 2 6Mfriends.

Brian blog 2 7ROh, and the rabbits!  Yes, they couldn’t be more excited for us and our little private Idaho. They eat well. They eat organic. They have variety. They, are very happy here.

So, tell me about your garden!

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The lazy days of summer?

As a girl who was born in Scotland and raised in northern Minnesota, no one appreciates the beauty of summertime more than me.  However, I’ve noticed a few funny contradictions . . .

Lynne blog

I love the feeling of the warm sun on my skin and all of the benefits of Vitamin D it provides. I love the warm, beautiful, sun-kissed glow my skin will have by summer’s end and look forward to the spattering of freckles across my nose and cheeks.   But, at that summer’s end, I’ll look in the mirror and panic! I ‘ll immediately return to the serums and creams I’ve so religiously applied morning and night to eliminate the new sun damage I just created with the goal of looking like I’ve never spent a single minute in the sun.

The ‘lazy days of summer’ is a concept that my brain has never quite figured out. It implies that I’m supposed to be snoozing in a hammock, sipping ice tea, sunning by the beach, dining al fresco every night and being stress free without really not accomplishing much. While great in concept, this whole idea totally stresses me out. I am a consummate list maker and list crosser-offer. As long as I can keep doing that while sipping ice tea in a hammock on a beach somewhere, I’m good.

One of my biggest passions is gardening. In Minnesota, we really get to enjoy the fruits of our gardening labor for a short 5 months. In my excitement, I usually start way too early. Inevitably, an early frost arrives and I’m covering up my pots and window boxes with blankets and will always lose some of my beautiful new flowers to the cold. Also in my excitement, I’ll spend a small fortune on flowers for my gardens. My rationale is that summer is such a short season so I just have to spend . . .  with my husband’s rationale is being that, since summer is such a short season, I shouldn’t spend!

In the end, come Labor Day Weekend I’ll do what any good Minnesotan will do when it really kicks in just how glorious (but short) a Minnesota summer can be.   I’ll wish I had soaked up the more of the goodness of the sun, I’ll wish I had relaxed and chilled-out just a wee bit more, and I’ll wish I had designed another colorful and beautiful back-yard garden.

Cheers to making this summer the best one ever!

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