Happy New Years Eve

December 31, 2010 in Food Porn, Gardening

Gabriel (above), I and my family wish you a bright and shiny New Year where you find your dreams blossom and the goodness in others as well as ourselves.

I dont do New Years resolutions but I can tell you a few things that I plan on doing this year.

I know that our garden and homestead will be growing in several ways (Humble Garden). We bred 10 lamancha goat girls and I think at least 9 of them caught so in early cold spring we will be midwifing more kidding and then we will be enjoying a LOT of fresh goat milk and cheese!

Our new chicklings!

We will also be getting a mess of new Rhode Island chicks to build up our aging laying flock of chickens.

Growing Mushrooms: in a tutu

Humble Garden 2010: Homegrown shiitake!

I am going to be expanding the permacultural plantings, expanding the forest gardening efforts, expanding mushroom cultivation (feral and closer to home) and growing more storage crops this year.

Let me know what new food adventures you will be doing this next year!

Fresh. Local. Delicious.

August 4, 2010 in Food Porn, Gardening, Humble Garden


Last year, in our garden (see our organic and permaculture homesteading gardening blog here – Humble Garden), we had a catastrophic tomato failure when I lost all 60 home sprouted heirloom tomatoes to the early blight.

I had a bonfire and then tried to forget but failed miserably as I mourned their loss all year.

This year is 100% different!

This is the year of the tomato in our garden so I thought I would show you a few photos of our lovely beauties in this post.

Every morning and every afternoon I go out into the garden, stroll along the raised beds and fill my pockets with red and golden orbs of savory and sweet delicious silky glowing deliciousness.

Not many photos here of RED tomatoes because we eat them as soon as they are ready to go. I will include a few photos below from past years showing previous tomato harvests.

If this makes you jealous I have two words for you: Start Gardening!

Humble Garden 2010: Tomatoes!

Humble Garden 2010: Tomatoes!

Humble Garden 2010: Tomatoes!

Humble Garden 2010: San Marzanos

Humble Garden 2010: Tomatoes!

Humble Garden 2010: Tomatoes - before

Previous years from our garden

Organic Garden Tomatoes: all our own!

Organic Garden Tomatoes: all our own!

Garden Project: Today's tomato harvest

Garden Project: tomatoes and watermelon

Disaster Cuisine

January 18, 2010 in Gardening


[When I donate during disasters, like the Indonesian Tsunami, I give to the UN World Food Programme. Please do the same for Haiti through THIS LINK]

Just like you, I have been struggling with the contrast between our cozy home life and the cataclysm in Haiti.

We are snuggled away in our snowy retreat, planning our gardening, animal husbandry, and permaculture projects for the year.

In Haiti, they are in shock and bleeding and dying and starving and in enormous extremis.

We are on the cool side of the moon, they are crackling on the surface of a cruel sun.

Haiti has suffered an enormous blow but lets all be honest, they have been suffering, in our backyard, for a VERY long time.

Hunger has stalked her streets for decades, centuries?

Unfortunately, people can adapt to very poor diets nutritionally and calorie wise. It means retarded growth and impacts on mental acuity in the short and long term.


What is happening since the earthquake has magnified this problem tremendously. Not only have the stores collapsed but emergency stores on hand were trapped in collapsed warehouses.

Thats the short term problem. In the medium and long term, the problem is a huge and expensive one. Haiti imports a large part of its food and the way it did that was through it’s port.

Guess what happened to that port during the earthquake?

You guessed it, utterly smashed to bits.

Haiti 2010 earthquake: collapse of port complex

[Give to help feed the people in Haiti in their hour of need]

As one resident of Port au Prince said, without the port, Haiti will starve and it will starve almost immediately.

What faces Haiti and the world next is the complexity of rebuilding. One non-negotiable project is the port. I have the feeling that donor countries with be sure to get that done because it is a hugely visible deliverable that will be easy to highlight in press releases, etc. I know, I am cynical, what can I say.

The harder part will be to remove endless dump trucks of rubble, where will that go?

Rebuilding will be also about putting in place things that were not there before, like sewers for one.


I have written at my organic permaculture homesteading blog Humble Garden about efforts (to which I am contributing to in ways that I can at the moment) to help the people of Haiti begin to build their food security through permaculture.

Read this post “One Helltastic Week: Haiti and Permaculture First Responders” to get more details.

Think urban gardening, think eco-villages, think rational and systemic design that uses appropriate low cost technologies available to Haitians on the ground.

I was curious about what the World Food Programme delivers to people in a disaster zone where there is unreliable water access and then what else it might deploy when water becomes available for cooking and not just emergency hydration. These foods will never be on Bon Appetit but they are formulated to deliver calories AND extremely critical minerals and nutrients that are needed to survive.

I found the following images at the WFP site and thought I would share them with you. It should get you thinking about how you can help now and in the future. I have pasted in their descriptions of each food.

[Give to help feed the people in Haiti in their hour of need]


(Copyright: WFP/Rein Skullerud)

High Energy Biscuits are wheat-based biscuits which provide 450 kilocalories of energy and at least 10 grams of protein per 100 grams. They are fortified with vitamins and minerals.


(Copyright: WFP/Rein Skullerud)

Compressed food bars (BP5) – These are often used in disaster relief operations when local food can’t be distributed or prepared. They can also be used as a supplement to local food when treating moderate malnutrition.


(Copyright: WFP/Rein Skullerud)

Date Bars – These date-filled biscuits can be used as an energy-providing snack in a variety of situations. They are fortified with vitamin A and iron. They are easy to distribute, don’t require any preparation and are a known and accepted food.


(Copyright: WFP/Rein Skullerud)

Fortified Blended Foods (FBFs) – FBFs are cereals mixed with other ingredients such as soya, beans, pulses, oil seeds and dried skimmed milk. They are fortified with vitamins and minerals. Corn Soya Blend (CSB), which is shown here, is the main blended food distributed by WFP.


(Copyright: WFP/Rein Skullerud)

Ready-to Use Supplementary Food (RUSF) – RUSFs are well suited to meet the nutritional needs of young and moderate malnourished children. This is a peanut-based one which also contains vegetable oil and dried skimmed milk.


(Copyright: WFP/Rein Skullerud)

Ready-to-Use Supplementary Food – This product is mostly used in emergency operations or at the beginning of a WFP intervention for prevention or treatment of moderate malnutrition.


(Copyright: WFP/Rein Skullerud)

Micronutrient Powder, or ‘Sprinkles’ – These are individual sachets containing the recommended daily intake of 16 vitamins and minerals for one person. They can be sprinkled into home-prepared food.


(Copyright: WFP/Rein Skullerud)

The Food Basket (General Food Distributions) – The key components of the WFP food basket are: a staple such as wheat flour or rice; lentils, chickpeas or other pulses; vegetable oil (fortified with vitamin A and D); sugar; and iodised salt. Often these are complemented with fortified foods, such as Corn Soya Blend.

Please give what you can. I know your budget is stressed, ours sure is. I was only able to give a small amount, for now.

What I could do was to blog about this and encourage you to also give so that this disaster cuisine can tide the Haitians over until they have what they need to make their own delicious traditional meals.

[Give to help feed the people in Haiti in their hour of need]

Edamame: homegrown, organic, delicious

September 15, 2009 in Gardening, ingredient


In my garden (Humble Garden) I grew soybeans this year. They are open pollinated non-genetically modified and organically grown.

They have been fascinating to grow and have been a continual homeschool lesson for the kids.

Humble Garden 2009: organic open pollinated soybean


Humble Garden 2009: soybeans


Humble Garden 2009: soybeans

Almost blooming on the top. But wait, thats not the only place!

Humble Garden 2009: organic open pollinated soybeans

Fuzzy, disturbingly so, pods.

Humble Garden 2009: organic open pollinated soybeans

They grew quite tall, see the middle layer of the photo?

They grew much larger than I expected and in ways I thought were quirky and odd. For one, they sprouted little blossoms in what we called the “armpits” or when branches grew out of the main stem. From those blossoms they grew fuzzy pods. They also had bunches of pods at the top of the plant.

Now its time to harvest the crazy fuzzy pods.

Humble Garden: soybeans

Humble Garden: soybeans

From the day I ordered the seeds I figured I would serve them like the Japanese edamame or make some miso. I rinsed them and then boiled them for 20 minutes. After that I cooled them and then served them like you see below, with salt. You then pop them from the pods and sprinkle a bit more with salt, eat. A nice snack indeed!

Humble Garden: organic open pollinated edamame