Thursday

Moving a Shed

Moving a small gardening shed or other small building is not impossible.  There are a couple of ways to move a shed; one takes hard work and numerous people, but not for lifting. 
The second is to hire the work out.

We learned how to move a shed with PVC pipes and jacks from a guy who moved a shed for us about 20 years ago. The shed was sitting directly outside my kitchen window and in the center of the yard.  Eyesore!  It took the guy about two hours tops to move the shed and we were impressed!



Moving the Original Chicken Coop:
We are in the process of rebuilding our farm’s original chicken coop and turning it into a camping cabin (or maybe a smoke house).  It was quite deteriorated so to move that small barn we had to completely rebuild the entire base or bottom third of the structure.

Moving a small shed with PVC pipes

That barn is small and light in weight compared to most structures, so we decided to use large PVC pipes and rolled it to its desired location. Here’s how we did it and the progress we’ve made with that little barn so far:

Moving the Gardening Shed:
When we purchased our farm there was also a large storage shed sitting right next to and up against our garage.  When relaxing on the back covered porch or the deck all you could see was the roof of the shed.  (That’s what it felt like anyways)

Gardening Shed near back porch, deck and garage


That shed is a much heavier building than the old chicken coop, so for this moving project we decided to hire the work out. 
To move a shed as large as this one, a large flat bed truck that tilts was used.  The shed was raised or jacked up enough on one end to get the tilted bed of the truck under it.  The bed of the truck was sort of like a conveyor belt that automatically pulled the shed up and onto the truck.  

Raising up  the end of the shed.
Truck and hauler used to move the shed

We were warned by the guy we hired that there could be damage to the shed.  But leaving it where it was not an option, so damage to the shed did not deter my determination to move it.



Nearly on the trailer

Once in the desired location, the edge of the shed was positioned on the ground and slowly slid off the truck.
We again raised the shed high enough using jacks to add foundation blocks underneath.
The cost for moving the shed was $150.00, which was well worth it to get back the view of the livestock barn, trees and pasture. 


Moving the shed to it's new location
 
Gardening shed et up near the top pasture and close to where I will build a veggie garden

  
My son's feet. He's putting fountain
stones under the shed
Since moving it, I have turned it into my gardening shed, and converted half into a chicken coop with a scratch yard.  See how I built both of those here:
Building A Chicken Coop.

After a couple years and adding lots more chickens along with turkey, ducks and guinea fowl, I decided to construct a larger chicken coop in one of our big barns 
The animals now free range in the large pasture.
(All of which we can now see from the back porch and deck!)
The small coop side of the shed is now used in the Spring for raising new egg laying chicks, for raising meat chickens and storage the rest of the year.  

After a couple years of adding landscaping and a new roof, the gardening shed appears as if it’s always been in this location. 

Fountain blocks visible in this photo
After a new roof and landscaping


Half gardening shed and half chicken coop with attached scratch yard near my vegetable garden

 Hope all your yard and garden projects are going well,

Elizabeth

Other Posts:






Wednesday

Blackberry Cobbler (or One Cup Cobbler)

This is a really quick and easy dessert, made with items almost all kitchens have on hand.  And it quickly becomes nearly everyone’s favorite.  
You will get repeated requests for this dessert! 
A berry cobbler is very homey, a comfort food even, a dessert that’s not really fancy but gets nearly the same reaction every time:  Dessert Heaven.

Blackberry is our favorite berry to use but just about any fruit works well.  Our next favorite fruits to use are peach and cherry.  
The great thing about this dessert is it can be made when berries are fresh and in season, or use frozen fruit in the middle of winter for a taste just as good as in summer.

What is a Cobbler?
I am not a stickler, actually I just don’t care enough to make sure a cobbler is a cobbler and a crisp is a crisp.  (But I actually do know the difference between those two).  But there are those who despise the use of the word cobbler for anything other than…….. well cobbler.  So here is a “definition” I came across on the inter-tubes:
A cobbler is a dessert consisting of sugared (and often spiced) fruit topped with a sweetened biscuit like topping and baked until the fruit is tender and the topping is golden. The bottom part of the topping sinks a little into the fruit and sops up its flavorful juices, acquiring a dumpling-like texture; the top part undergoes a reaction and gets brown and firm; while the middle part arranges itself into a light, spongy crumb.

Gently wash the berries

History of Cobblers:
I also found this little piece of interesting information about cobblers and how they got started. Seems pies have been around for hundreds of years across the big pond (England), but once here in America the colonists did it a little different.
From the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Volume 2:

"Without the resources of brick ovens...colonial cooks often made cobblers -- also called slumps or grunts -- and their cousins, pandowdies, in pots over an open fire,"..........
"In these types of pies, a filling made of fruit, meat or vegetable goes into a pot first; then a skin of dough is placed over the filling, followed by the pot's lid. As cobblers cook, the filling stews and creates its own sauce and gravy, while the pastry puffs up and dries."


So it seems that Cobblers, not pies are the true American dessert! And besides, I just love the idea of the first American settlers cooking cobbler in a Dutch oven over an open campfire and that the recipe has barely changed since then.

Mix together the flour and sugar, then add milk


Blackberry Cobbler
(Also known as One Cup Cobbler)

Ingredients:

1 cup Sugar
1 cup Self-Rising Flour (I use King Arthur brand)
1 cup Milk
1 stick real Butter
1 to 2 cups Blackberries (frozen or fresh) or other fruit
¼ cup sugar for topping

 
Add the melted butter
Mixing It Up:

Mix together 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup flour into a mixing bowl, Whisk in 1 cup milk. (that's where the original name comes from: One Cup Cobbler!) Mix well.
Melt butter in a microwave in a safe container.  It melts easier if you cube it first. Pour melted butter into flour /sugar mixture and whisk until mixed together.
Pour the batter into a buttered baking dish.

Pour batter into a buttered baking dish

Gently rinse and then pat dry the blackberries.  Fresh picked blackberries seem to be larger than store purchased so I use less of them, (1 to 1 ½ cup) but you can use as many berries as will cover the top of the batter pretty good.  Don’t be afraid to use more, fruit is good for us.

Add the berries to the top of the batter

Sprinkle or neatly arrange the blackberries over the top of the batter; distributing evenly. Do not push them down into the batter.  They will work their magic all by themselves!
Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the top.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden brown  and bubbly around the edges. 
If desired, sprinkle top with additional sugar 10 minutes before cobbler is done baking.

Serve warm by itself or with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream.

I hope to add photos of the dessert on a plate with ice cream at a later date.  This dessert is eaten warm right out of the oven and is never around long enough for photos.  

Warm and delicious! 


Easy July 4th Dessert:
For a festive July 4th dessert make this cobbler recipe with blackberries or blueberries. (Blueberries are native to America) 
When ready to serve top with whip cream or ice cream and a few red raspberries!

Tips and Suggestions:
  • You must use self rising flour (not regular) or it will not turn out right.
  • This dessert can be made with peaches, cherries, raspberries or other fruit!!
  • Of course fresh is best, but if nothing else on hand, use canned pie filling.
  • Experiment a little by baking it in a well seasoned cast iron skillet.
  • Add a ½ teaspoon of vanilla to this recipe, if desired
  • If using apples, add apple pie seasonings.
  • I add a little almond extract if using cherries.
  • If using blueberries, add a little lemon juice, if desired.
  • This recipe can be doubled.


 I'm starting a batch of Sweet Pickle Relish this week and since I have cucumbers, I think I'll also mix up a tomato and cucumber salad.  

Elizabeth

Other Posts:


Tuesday

Black Bean, Tomato and Corn Salsa

We love salsa and pica de galla and eat both year round.  I have a favorite Honey Lime Chicken kabob that I grill during summer months and needed a new side dish to compliment the chicken.
Salsa of course came to mind, and although I make different kinds, like strawberry and peach salsa,  I decided to try a new version. 

This is way easy and super delicious!  We ended up eating nearly half of it with tortilla chips before dinner was even ready so factor that in when making this recipe.

I’m going to keep this recipe in mind for our occasional Mexican Dinner night.

Thursday

Strawberry Pie Filling

Strawberries are among the first fruit to ripen in the Northeast.  
In my area of Ohio, strawberries are ripe around the first week in June.  For me, strawberries mark the passage from spring to summer each year. And besides, making delicious fresh strawberry edibles gives me something to do while I eagerly wait for my garden vegetable to ripen.

In 2010, strawberries surpassed apples to become the third largest among fruits in agriculture crops in the U.S., after grapes and oranges. And strawberries are the fifth highest consumed fresh fruit by weight in the U.S. behind bananas, apples, oranges and grapes.  The health benefits of strawberries include antioxidants, folate, potassium, vitamin C and fiber besides just being so darn delicious!

Every year we make Strawberry Freezer Jam, freeze cut up strawberries to use during cold winter months and sometimes other things like Strawberry Schnapps.  This year I decided to try homemade Strawberry Pie Filling.   There is nothing better as a cool dessert on a hot summer day than a chilled strawberry pie.

Sunday

Propagating a Clematis Vine

I just love flowering clematis vines!  
There are so many different colors and types and all are beautiful growing up a trellis, over an arbor, up a lamp post, along a fence or just anywhere really. 
The best way to grow clematis is from clematis cuttings.
Propagation is pretty easy and you can have anywhere from a 50% to up to a 90% success rate.

The Clematis is in the Buttercup family and hundreds of species and cultivars of clematis exist around the world. The popular vine is available in single- and double-bloom varieties, in dozens of colors that often change as the plant grows, and in cultivars that grow as high as 30 feet or remain about 6 to 8 feet. 

Certain clematis vines are winter hardy even to zone 3, while others are hardy in zones 4 through 9. Clematis originated in Europe and Asia and the late 1800's brought about numerous varieties through breeding and cross pollination.

Wednesday

Wire Garden Orb

I have an older wire orb on a stick I've had for years.  It started out painted a pretty lime green color I believe but all the paint has faded and now it’s just a drab rusted looking orb.

I am in love with Alliums, which is a perennial bulb that comes up in the spring and has a huge purplish or pinkish round flower.

Allium is the onion genus and comprises flowering plants and includes the onion, garlic, chives, scallion, shallot, and the leek as well as hundreds of wild species.
The majority of Allium species are mostly native to Asia but a few are native to Africa and Central and South America

The Allium I have in my flower gardens and that are most commonly used as ornamental flowers include A. cristophii and A. giganteum.   These are used as border plants because of their beautiful orb shape flowers.


Thursday

Cheesy Bacon Dip

Summer is nearly here along with endless barbecues, July 4th parties and family gatherings.  Looking for recipes to take along I thumbed through a cookbook my daughter Alexis gave me for Christmas last year.  

Trisha Yearwood’s cookbook Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood is full of really yummy recipes which were passed down through the years from Trisha’s mother, aunts, cousins and longtime friends.  I love those kind of recipes.
A few of my favorite recipes are the Lettuce Wedge with homemade Blue Cheese Dressing, Corn Salsa, Chicken Pizza and I really want to try her Magic Lemon Meringue Pie.   Included in the cookbook is this recipe for dip, which is easy to make and absolutely delicious.  It is one of those recipes you just can’t stop eating!

Sunday

The Birth Tree

My daughter Jami
The last time my daughter came to visit she had a surprise for us.  She asked if we would be willing to plant a memorial tree on our farm using the placenta from her last child’s birth to place under the new tree.
My grandson Dax was born in Texas, so the placenta had to be frozen until the planting ceremony.
Truthfully I had never heard of this before and it all happened so very quickly that I didn't have much time to prepare. 
Afterwards I did a little research and found out quite a lot. 
There are simple ceremonies, eloquent ceremonies and elaborate ceremonies preformed to honor the placenta all over the world. 

Many cultures, including the Navajo Indians and New Zealand's Maori, bury the placenta to symbolize the baby's link to the earth. 
The Navajo of the American Southwest customarily bury a child's placenta within the sacred Four Corners region to bind the child to its ancestral land and to its people. The Maoris of New Zealand bury the placenta in native soil for the same reason. They even applied their word for land to the placenta - "whenua."
In certain regions of Siberia, the buried placenta is thought to be ill or uncomfortable if the baby becomes sick. The gravesite is treated, and the placenta may be reburied in another spot in hopes of curing the child.  

Thursday

Blueberry Lemon Jam

Blueberry season is fast approaching! 
Blueberry-picking season depends on the geographical location of your blueberries, but most blueberries are ripe in June and July. Some years, depending on the weather, the season can start in late May or extend until early August.

I purchased my blueberries while on one of our trips to Michigan.  Once home I froze them until I could make blueberry jam and syrup, add to muffins or to mix up a batch of blueberry pancakes.  

Besides Michigan being a beautiful state, it is the leader in highbush blueberry production.  Michigan farms produce approximately 220,000 tons (490,000,000 lbs) of blueberries, accounting for 32% of all the blueberries eaten in the United States.


Picking blueberries and making jam always reminds me of one of my favorite children’s books “Blueberries For Sal” by Rovert McCloskey. “

Monday

Zombies and the Zombie Walk

With the popularity of the TV show The Walking Dead, more and more people are getting into zombie fandom.  But where did all this zombie love come from or what started it all?

First, What are Zombies? 
Zombies are fictional undead creatures, usually depicted as mindless, reanimated human corpses with a hunger for living human flesh. Zombies are most commonly found in horror and fantasy genre works.

The term Zombie comes from Haitian folklore:  The Haitian /French “zombie” and the Haitian / Creole “zonbi” is a dead body animated by magic. Modern depictions of zombies do not involve magic but invoke other methods such as a virus or illness.