When I walk outside right now the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, and my cherry tomatoes are overflowing! It’s time to learn how to make sun dried tomatoes!
I know it’s only February, but I have been spring dreaming the last few days! I’m ready to break out my tank tops and swing on a hammock in a gentle breeze. Sure, it might snow tomorrow, but my mood is looking to the future.
That makes it a great time to revisit my Bright Summer Salsa. This is one of my favorite sunny day foods! It’s spring and summer and fresh and color all swirled together in a beautiful deliciousness. You can eat it as a salsa with tortilla chips. Or you can do it like I do – straight from the bowl with a spoon!
This salsa includes corn, black olives, tomatoes, red onion, and bell pepper for bright bursts of flavor.
It’s got olive oil and avocado to smooth and balance out the flavors.
Then there’s jalapeño, lime, and salt to perk things up.
You’re going to love it!
If you’re a compost beginner, never fear! Composting is one of my favorite things in the world, and you’re going to love it, too! I mean, think about it… you can take your trash and turn it into something highly useful. How awesome is that?!
9 years ago I was a compost beginner living in a rental house. A house of my very own with all the yard in the world was right around the corner, but I wanted to get started with composting right away. When you’ve got enough of your own land you can have permanent compost bins. But as long as I was renting I got started with garbage cans.
I started with a big trash can (I don’t remember the gallons, but it’s about 3 feet tall) with a good lid. I drilled holes in the bottom and sides for air flow and bug access. Then I started dumping in our waste.
- Egg shells and cardboard egg cartons
- Fruit rinds, peels, seeds, and pits
- Veggie tops, bottoms, and wilted stuff
- Coffee grinds and our eco-friendly coffee filters
- Paper towels, cardboard toilet paper rolls
- Swept up random debris and dog hair
You might be amazed at how quickly this stuff builds up!
Some things that DON’T go in the compost:
- Meat, cheese, or any dairy
- Greasy or saucy stuff
- Bread, pasta, and rice are kept to a minimum
- People or dog manure
At one point my trash can compost got maggots. As a compost beginner, I pretty much panicked at that point! I knew the whole thing must be ruined. But, nope. Turns out they were a sign that my compost was too wet and had too much nitrogen. I worked in a LOT more dried leaves than I had previously been using, and the maggots went away.
Compost is easy like that. Even when you’re a compost beginner, problems are pretty simple and easy to turn around.
Another sign of a problem I enjoy looking out for is the smell. Contrary to popular belief, compost should smell good. It should not smell like a rotting mess. It should have a clean, earthy, dirt smell. During the maggot period, my compost smelled like shit. Literally. After working in more brown yard stuff, the smell came back to the pleasant earthy smell (with heavy coffee overtones!) I really love smelling my compost, both to check in on it and just to get a big nose-full of the earth-happy project I’m working on.
Are you a compost beginner? What do you need to know to get started?
You can learn how to raise a pig! I did it, and you can do it. In 2009 my partner and I moved from the suburbs of Atlanta to rural Tennessee. We put in a little garden and got a few chickens, but one of our big dreams was learning how to raise a pig. Well, two pigs, because pigs need friends! Learning how to raise a pig was a lot of fun, very satisfying, and now our freezer is always full of delicious meat we raised right here on our own property.
- GETTING STARTED RAISING A PIG – This article covers many initial considerations like:
- Reasons to raise a pig
- Types of pig operations
- Space needs for pigs
- Food and water for pigs
- Pig health
- Pig processing
- HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO RAISE A PIG? – This is an all important question as you start learning how to raise a pig! This article covers:
- Infrastructure costs like feeders, waterers, and shelter
- Fencing costs (I swear by electronet fencing. Aff link.)
- Price of piglets
- Feed prices
- Healthcare costs
- Transportation and fuel costs
- Processing fees
- HOW MUCH MANURE DOES A PIG MAKE – You don’t strictly need to know this, but it’s one of the interesting questions that arises when you raise pigs, and this guest post plays around with the numbers a bit.
- FIRST PIG SLAUGHTERED AT THE WALLOW – As you learn how to raise a pig, you will come to the choice of whether or not to do your own processing. This post is 44 pictures of the entire process start to finish of slaughtering a pig and butchering it into halves.
- HOW MUCH MEAT FROM A PIG – This is one of my most popular articles. Whether you are learning how to raise a pig yourself or you are participating in a pig share, and the end of the day everyone wants to know how much meat they will get. In this article you will learn:
- Pig processing terms
- The cuts of meat you will get
- The non-meat parts you will get
- How much storage space you will need (A cooler about this size per pig. Aff link.)
More Information on How to Raise a Pig
For more information on raising pigs, these two books are both excellent sources – How to Raise Pigs and Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs. (Aff links.) I used both of them when I was getting started. Whether you’re raising pigs for pets, getting started raising a 4H pig, or going purely for yummy pork, either of these books will help you out in getting started.
Do you have any other questions about how to raise a pig?
Have you heard about sprouting? It’s a way to garden without having to leave your kitchen. How cool is that?
I have been experimenting with growing fresh greens in my kitchen for me and my bunnies. It’s called fodder when you do it for livestock and sprouts when you do it for yourself. Either way, you’re making fresh, delicious greens right in your kitchen.
What are sprouts? Sprouts are the stage of a plant between seeds and full-blown plants. The seeds have just shot up into little stalks of greens but haven’t developed true leaves yet. You may have seen bean sprouts on a salad bar. This is that! Although there are lots of different plants you can try.
Why sprout? Because it’s fun and adorable to have little baby plants popping up in your kitchen. Then, it’s convenient to have fresh greens on hand when you want to add a little flavor, nutrition, or crunch to a dish.
(All the following Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.)
What can you sprout? You can grow sprouts of peas, lentils, some beans, radish, broccoli, alfalfa, wheat, barley, or sunflowers. There are some great salad mixes available, too. You could get started with something like this organic mix assortment.
What can you do with sprouts? You can add them to any meal that needs an extra bit of flavor, crunch, or freshness. I tried adding my sunflower sprouts to my salads and in place of lettuce on a sandwich. They were a perfect addition in both cases! You can also add them into your smoothies! Another idea I haven’t tried yet is to use an herb spread on crackers with sprouts on top.
Do they grow in soil? It is possible to grow sprouts without soil, which is what I’ve been doing. However, there are many benefits to using a sprouting soil. You’ll need to use less water and your sprouts will be more robust and tasty.
What other supplies do you need? You’ll need containers with drainage holes and a water collecting tray underneath. I’ve been using simple seed starter six packs, which are available online, or at any hardware, garden, or home improvement store. You can go cheap and simple by growing your sprouts in mason jars. Or you can go all fancy-schmancy with a cute counter-top system..
What do you actually do to sprout things? The simple answer? You soak your seeds for 12 hours, put them in your chosen container, then regularly give them water. A few days later you’ll have a little crop of fresh greens! Check out this page for very complete instructions.
Leave a comment telling me whether you’ve tried sprouts before and what you think you might do with them if you give them a try!