So I just now realized that I have yet to post a chicken specific post?! What kind of chicken lady am I? I guess with garden preparations in full swing, and my laying hens all grown up and hitting full production they've taken a back seat. But, with the new meat chicks arriving next month, the new layer chicks I bought this morning on impulse, and the overwhelming amount of eggs in my basket, it's time to put my girls front and center.
Simply put I love chickens. I find them to be absolutely hysterical and if I can be honest, I can't believe that they haven't managed to be wiped out due to survival of the fittest. Anyone who owns chickens knows they aren't exactly the smartest animals, but, I think this is a majority of their charm and what makes them so entertaining.
That being said, I find myself constantly talking about my chickens like they were my children. I talk chickens to chicken and non-chicken people alike. And one thing I have noticed even in the chicken people is how much you can learn whether you're a seasoned vet or new to the hen world. I've had many conversations with people who raise and have raised chickens for a while, I will mention a tip or trick I've used and they go "wow I didn't know that". You learn something new everyday right? I decided that I should compile a list of some of the tips and tricks relevant to raising chickens that have helped me with my layers most. Maybe you already know about all of them, maybe you don't! I narrowed my list down to my top three, so if you have a helpful tip, please feel free to share!
So assuming you planted your seeds properly and have kept them nice and warm, you should have beautiful seedlings emerging right about now! Once your seedlings have "popped" out of the soil you will want to remove the plastic cover as it has served its purpose. If you leave it on too long, the seedlings will begin to turn white at the soil line and essentially rot.
If they have not broken through after ten days or so, then a condition wasn't properly met whether it be over/under watering, not warm enough soil, or the seeds were planted too deep. Luckily, you still have time to replant at this point (assuming you still have seeds) to get your plants in the ground in time! Or if you haven't planted them at all yet, here's how to plant your tomato seeds. If everything went well though and your seedlings are thriving, now it's time to pay attention to the three main factors that affect growth:
With spring officially in full swing, all I can think about is garden season. What do I want to change? What new vegetable do I want to try? How can I have a more productive garden and maximize space? These are all questions that start to cross my mind at this point.
But, before anything else really needs to be considered or given much thought, first things first. Tomatoes. My family has kept the same two strains of heirloom tomatoes going for about forty years now. It all started with my great grandmother who bought some plants from an Italian man that brought them over from a trip he took to Italy. So, year after year, the best tomato is reserved, the guts scraped out, and seeds are saved for next year's crop. And here we are almost a half century later.
So what makes tomatoes heirloom, or any vegetable for that matter? "Heirloom" seems to be a buzzword a lot of people throw around like GMO and hybrid, although I'm not sure most people really know what it means, or how it's different than any other vegetable you buy at the supermarket.
Let me preface this recipe by acknowledging the fact that this pie goes against most of what I believe in when it comes to food. It contains artificially flavored, boxed Jello, and artificial tasting Cool Whip. Despite these downfalls, to this day is one of my favorite desserts ever! Maybe it's because it reminds me of childhood, or summer, or the fact that my Nana used to make this pie just for me.
Whatever the reason or reasons may be, I can't bring myself to change a single thing about it or even attempt to make it healthier or less artificial. I just accept it for what it is, know that it is a very rare treat, enjoy every crumb, and move on with my life.
Take advantage of strawberry season and whip up this very delicious dessert, it's as easy as pie!
In the words of the great Lidia Bastianich "waste not, want not". Like Lidia, I really hate wasting food. It genuinely makes me feel guilty, which is why I always try and utilize as much of the animal/vegetable as possible. Whatever scraps I do have I handle accordingly (aka feed to my chickens!)
Sometimes you just need a couple tablespoons of something like tomato paste or chipotle peppers in adobo. Even though you can buy those tiny jars, it's still too much! You use what you need, put the rest in the fridge, and then by the time you need it again you grab it and it's covered in mold. Very wasteful and not to mention inconvenient! I don't know about you, but my local small town grocery store doesn't have a whole lot to offer, and the closest real supermarket is a half hour away. I'm not looking to make an hour round trip for some chipotle peppers in adobo.
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