Saturday, June 23, 2012

Deer Proof Gardens

Deer Proof Gardens.

Is there any such thing? Not usually, in my experience.

But I'm giving it a valiant effort this summer.  I'll admit, it did cross my mind today that I miss my vegetable garden quite a lot. But in the midst of all of my deer proof plants I planted 2 tomato plants-You know, just to see. And I had to laugh when I went outside today and one of them was lopped right off! With deer proof plants all around them. (Apparently you really can't have everything in life all at one time. It's funny how mother nature often teaches us life lessons that we'd probably learn faster if we just observed & listened.)


So far, my deer proof gardening success consists of this bed right next to the back door of my house. It's deer proof mostly because of it's location & the fact that I've been vigilant about spraying the hydrangea with Liquid Fence (which you cannot spray food you are going to consume.)

There is also lavender, moon flower (which are crazy beautiful when they bloom-I've had one so far) and lantana (but you can't see them from this angle.) and some pineapple sage.

Inpatients which are the pink flowers that you can see above are flowers I usually don't bother with-They always remind me of the 1980s since that is ALL that seemed to be planted in my neighborhood growing up) but perhaps I've underestimated them. I got them for free and proceeded to completely neglect them until they almost died, so that I would feel justified in throwing them away. But my husband watered them and brought them back to life and by then I felt like I couldn't throw them away...They are workhorses though-Bringing patches of color and growing quickly and are usually really cheap. (Even when they aren't free.)





And also this mixed boarder next to the driveway. (You'll have to excuse the picture quality, I've been playing around with Instragram lately.) At any rate, this bed is truly deer proof. I was pretty ruthless last fall when I removed anything that the deer routinely destroy.  I'll update this post as the summer goes on because there is all kinds of stuff in here that you can see from both sides and I only took it from this angle. But this bed makes me happy every morning when I go to work or water it and most evenings when those garden lights are going on.

This bed contains:

Lady's Mantle
Lavender
Chives
Oregano
Bee Balm
Lemon Balm
Russian Sage (which is going to be too little to make much impact this year, but will be awesome come next!)
Thyme
Rose Campion (which must taste like poison to deer because they NEVER eat this-That's the silvery plant with the pink flowers-This plant is also super easy to take care of and spreads easily, but is not invasive.)
Hellebore
Foxglove
Purple Cone Flower
Iris
Sage
Daylily (stella d'oro)
And there are a few more whose names I can't remember and flowers who haven't bloomed yet.

My other gardens are not looking all that great yet (lots of rain and sunshine and no mulch, means lots of weeds) but I'm having no trouble with deer with the following:

Potato
Cabbage
Broccoli
Garlic
Onion
Parsley
Loveage
Basil
Dill (delicious wonderful fresh dill....)
Marigold
Cosmos
Zinnia
Coleus
Rhubarb

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fresh Free Range Chicken- Fisher Hill Farm

So here I am after a long absence.

I feel like I just took a long slow breath to collect my thoughts. (maybe it's all the vitimn D I've been getting outside lately. ) But rather than tell you those thoughts, I'm going to tell you about something else.

Free Range Chicken.

This weekend, in an attempt to start substituting  the vegetable garden I didn't plant this year (save, potatoes, broccoli, cabbage and a host of various alliums and herbs) by consistantly going to the farmers market (Something we are hit and miss about when the garden is full) we headed out to the Webster Village farmer's market.

It turned out to be a poor excuse for any kind of market. It was terrible, interspersed right on main street in Webster.  The vendors were sparse, placed between cars parked on the street. There were TONS of signs for this thing, parking signs, market signs. There were more signs than vendors....One vendor told me there were not a lot of vendors because the farmers don't have that much food yet??? There was one woman with a compelling booth of handmade soaps and lotions but she had an overbearing customer who was bugging me so I couldn't stick around. We won't be back to that place.

This is a trip that could have certainly ended in disaster without the graceful pivot that my family was able to make. (I mention this only because this is NOT a skill any of us possess in large quantities.)

But pivot we did as I looked up the Pittsford farmer's market on my phone. We also decided to eat by the Canal in Pittsford because it was a gorgeous day.

Apparetly the farmers in Pittsford had more food avalible to them than the ones in Webster, because, while this was still a fairly small market, it had everything you'd need to eat well this week. We bought strawberries, lettuce, garlic scapes, some kind of strawberry juice for my girl, a large onion, free range eggs and A FREE RANGE CHICKEN from Fisher Hill Farm.

Not only was the chicken free-range, it was.... I don't know how to say this any other way..... butchered the day before. And never frozen. It was $4 a lb, which is a lot for chicken, but not as much as Wegmans charges for a free range bird.

I have a complicated relationship with Organic chicken. I look at those little tiny Organic chickens from Wegmans and it's hard for me to pay $15 for them. It really is. This chicken weighed in at a respectable 4lbs, which equaled $16. It was a larger chicken though, though not huge like a factory farmed roaster.

Today was chicken day! When I opened up the wrapper on this chicken was beautifully prepared, with nary a stray feather on it. It was free of any remnant of the butchering process if you know what I mean (though the neck was a little long for my asthetic taste.) It just seemed like it was really well handled.

I tossed it in the oven this afternoon using the BEST ROAST CHICKEN RECIPE EVER. And tonight we feasted on AMAZING CHICKEN LOVLINESS. Jeannine told me once that the chickens she had in Italy tasted different. Like real food. I bet they tasted like this chicken. I don't know if it was the fresh part of it, or the organic or the free range, but I'm betting it's a combination of all three.

This evening my husband was the one making stock out of it, I would have but he beat me to it. We're not wasting an ounce of that delicious (expensive) chicken!