A culinary online center dedicated to promoting the importance and the joy of American home cooking with an emphasis on local products and talent, celebrating the unique spirit and energy of the new food world ethos, especially in Vermont.

amuse bouche

I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:

Americans who have been to France and come home craving a reminder of their magical European experience, love Vermont cheeses.
—Allison Hooper, founder, VT Butter & Cheese Creamery

Practice not cleaning your plate: it will help you eat less in short term and develop self-control in the long term.
—Michael Pollan

Sweet taste buds develop before all others, that’s why small children love sweets.
—Bronwyn Dunne

Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of milk.
—Michael Pollan

My rule of thumb is, when in doubt, cook more than you think you may need.
—Marian Cunningham, from Learning to Cook


Meet My Flock

I revel in the simply pleasures of being a duck-momma.  It’s amazing how quickly our six little ducklings grew into full-feathered birds; and their personalities grew up right with them!  If you’re a reader like I am, you’ll appreciate my inspiration.

Meet the girls!

Daenerys

If you’ve read or watched Game of Thrones, you know that Daenerys is a respected leader.  True to her name, my Daenerys is top of the pecking order.  She’s curious and forward, cautious but unafraid.  Any and all activities begin at her instigation: swimming, eating, drinking, foraging, you name it!

Kitty

While all the others loudly quack and squawk, Kitty squeaks, all the time, even while eating.  She is otherwise quiet, timid, and 100% unoriginal in her decision-making.

 

Cersei

Yes, another GOT reference.  When we first got our girls, I was tempted to name them all after female characters from the series…but their quirks have inspired alternatives.  While just little ducklings, Cersei appeared to be the leader. But in reality, she’s simply an independent, minor troublemaker.  Their first time outdside, Cersei led Kitty out of the pool and into the yard.  They were freaked out and separated from the others.  I had to scare the poor things by chasing them around the yard to get them contained again.

Fardi

How do you make the name Ferdinand more feminine?  You can’t really…thus we have Fardi.  Fardi is mellow and lackadaisical; not a leader or a follower.  While the others forage, she lays next to their water, sipping casually.  She’s affectionately named after Ferdinand the Bull.

Amelia

Another children’s book reference: Amelia Bedelia.  If you’ve ever read these stories, you know that Amelia is good-natured but clumsy.  Case in point – all the other ducks quickly learned how to get into their pool.  Poor Amelia struggled, clearly agitated by the success of her fellow flock (see video below).  When herding them into their pen at night, Amelia often misses the gate and runs into the fence.  Her lack of coordination leaves her easily flustered; in her photo, she’s not quacking…she trying to shake off the cotton seeds stuck to her bill. *sigh*

Duck

Ever watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s?  Inspired by Holly Golightly’s no-named cat, meet Duck.  She’s unoriginal – a true follower.  Her lack of individuality has not earned her a real name, though we are no less affectionate toward her.

In a few short weeks, these lovely ladies will do more than just entertain us.  They will be laying eggs very soon!

Eaten duck eggs before? Have any recipe suggestions?

*How embarrassing! I spelled Daenerys wrong with my original post…it’s corrected now!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

Posted: 8-5-2018

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I revel in the simply pleasures of being a duck-momma.  It's amazing how quickly our six little ducklings grew into full-feathered birds; and their personalities grew up right with them!  If you're a reader like I am, you'll appreciate my inspiration.

Meet the girls!

Daenerys

If you've read or watched Game of Thrones, you know that Daenerys is a respected leader.  True to her name, my Daenerys is top of the pecking order.  She's curious and forward, cautious but unafraid.  Any and all activities begin at her instigation: swimming, eating, drinking, foraging, you name it!

Kitty

While all the others loudly quack and squawk, Kitty squeaks, all the time, even while eating.  She is otherwise quiet, timid, and 100% unoriginal in her decision-making.  

Cersei

Yes, another GOT reference.  When we first got our girls, I was tempted to name them all after female characters from the series...but their quirks have inspired alternatives.  While just little ducklings, Cersei appeared to be the leader. But in reality, she's simply an independent, minor troublemaker.  Their first time outdside, Cersei led Kitty out of the pool and into the yard.  They were freaked out and separated from the others.  I had to scare the poor things by chasing them around the yard to get them contained again.

Fardi

How do you make the name Ferdinand more feminine?  You can't really...thus we have Fardi.  Fardi is mellow and lackadaisical; not a leader or a follower.  While the others forage, she lays next to their water, sipping casually.  She's affectionately named after Ferdinand the Bull.

Amelia

Another children's book reference: Amelia Bedelia.  If you've ever read these stories, you know that Amelia is good-natured but clumsy.  Case in point - all the other ducks quickly learned how to get into their pool.  Poor Amelia struggled, clearly agitated by the success of her fellow flock (see video below).  When herding them into their pen at night, Amelia often misses the gate and runs into the fence.  Her lack of coordination leaves her easily flustered; in her photo, she's not quacking...she trying to shake off the cotton seeds stuck to her bill. *sigh*

Duck

Ever watched Breakfast at Tiffany's?  Inspired by Holly Golightly's no-named cat, meet Duck.  She's unoriginal - a true follower.  Her lack of individuality has not earned her a real name, though we are no less affectionate toward her. In a few short weeks, these lovely ladies will do more than just entertain us.  They will be laying eggs very soon! Eaten duck eggs before? Have any recipe suggestions? *How embarrassing! I spelled Daenerys wrong with my original post...it's corrected now! Until next time, Corrie Austin " ["post_title"]=> string(13) "Meet My Flock" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(13) "meet-my-flock" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-08-05 14:02:33" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-08-05 18:02:33" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4898" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#371 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4873) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 09:00:55" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 13:00:55" ["post_content"]=> string(3676) " Having never tasted rhubarb outside of a strawberry rhubarb pie, I was clueless as to how it tasted.  Admittedly, I didn't even know what it even looked like until recently.  A peer at work has scads of it and was happy to share.  As a lover of new foods and food experiments, I was excited to have a new ingredient in my kitchen! Googling "rhubarb recipe" produces almost nothing but desserts: tarts, crumbles, pies, and crisps.  As a non-dessert-eater, I was eager to find a more creative preparation.  Not only are most rhubarb recipes for dessert, they almost all require the oven.  In a heat wave, the last thing I want to do is have my oven on for 45 min!   This recipe is sure to please and easy to make.  Take it to your next summer gathering!  It is a true celebration of the flavor of late spring/early summer using fresh strawberries, rhubarb, and cilantro. Ever heard of the "dirty dozen?"  It's a list of the dirtiest conventional produce and is distributed every year by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  Strawberries have topped the dirty dozen list for THREE years in a row!  This makes them the dirtiest of the dirty (ie: most pesticides).  I highly recommend buying organic strawberries.  If you're anything like me, you get crippled by decisions at the store: organic vs. local vs. non-gmo vs. ecologically-grown...the list goes on and on.  I use the dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists to help make my shopping decisions.  Save them in the notes on your phone for quick reference while at the store. Follow this link for the recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Salsa.  Eat it as a topping on anything: meat, chips, omelettes, seafood, or even just out of the jar with a spoon - yes! it's that tasty!  I served mine with wild-caught Atlantic cod over a bed of garden-fresh kale and avocado.  YUM! Until next time, Corrie Austin ***I fed the strawberry tops to my ducklings - it was their first time eating something that wasn't crumbles from the farm store.  Watch the video HERE!" ["post_title"]=> string(20) "Summer Crowd Pleaser" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(153) "Strawberry Rhubarb Salsa recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It's simple to prepare, no fancy ingredients, and pairs great with pretty much anything! " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(20) "summer-crowd-pleaser" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(69) " http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/recipes/strawberry-rhubarb-salsa/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 09:06:18" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 13:06:18" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4873" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#368 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4856) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-17 10:45:54" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-17 14:45:54" ["post_content"]=> string(3712) "[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/First-time-in-poolTrim.mp4"][/video] It's mildly self-inflating to describe myself as an "urban farmer..." but my husband and I have a pretty legitimate operation in the works.  I am growing 19 different fruits and vegetables, 17 of which were started from seed!  We recently adopted 6 darling ducklings, soon to be egg-laying machines.  We also have two terrariums setup as mealworm farms to raise fodder for our ducks. We are rewarded with small, sometimes unexpected, joys from our facilitation of, and participation in, the circle of life. In no particular order:
  1. The first beetle: mealworms are kind of gross...they aren't slimy, but they're squirmy and wiggly, and look too grubby to not be kind of yucky.  But, they are a great source of protein (for the ducks!) and very easy to raise.  They hatch as a worm, shed a few times, turn into a pupae, transform into a beetle, and the beetles lay eggs.  When I got my first pupae, and then my first beetle, I was surprisingly proud!  Who knew something so gross could be so rewarding?!  The best resource I found for mealworm farming is The Happy Chicken Coop.
  2. Pool parties: I have found my after work zen.  I take our girls to their pool, post up in a lawn chair, and watch - seriously, soooooooooo good.
  3. Ducklings are like drunk humans: they hilariously lack physical awareness.  They are constantly moving, either by choice or because they are falling over.[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/Clumsy-trim.mp4"][/video]
  4. The birds and the bees: last year I was horrified when my first squash blossoms died without producing any fruit...I had clearly forgotten everything I learned about flower genders in Biology 101.  This morning I saw my first squash blossom of the year - it's a boy!
  5. Grandmom's pride: my brother and I both don't have children (not yet!).  For a long time we didn't even have pets.  Now I have 6 little entertainers.  Here's a text from my mom after I sent her a duck video: "I LOVE them. My grand ducks <3"
  6. Starting or ending a business meeting with cute duckling videos: enough said!
  7. Pet fish = so American: one of my co-workers from India recently became a US Citizen, and she's never had a pet fish.  For her "welcome to America!" gift, we bought her a beta fish for her desk.  She thinks it's so American. American kids walk around with pet fish in a plastic bag, something that apparently doesn't happen in India.  The office has a new mascot, and his name is Fred.  Not quite farm material, but you get the idea...
Basically, nature rocks! Share your favorite nature photos, videos, and stories in the comments below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(27) "Seven joys of urban farming" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(27) "seven-joys-of-urban-farming" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 07:50:00" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 11:50:00" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4856" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#367 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4840) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:30:19" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:30:19" ["post_content"]=> string(3682) " Say it out loud, "The Northeast Kingdom."  It sounds wild and untamed.  The Kingdom is a year-round outdoor mecca, with mountain biking, hiking, leaf-peeping, and skiing.  For an interesting perspective on what, if anything, makes NEK different from the rest of Vermont, check out this VPR clip. I recently made NEK my destination to mountain bike the world renowned Kingdom Trails.  Just under two hours from Burlington, the drive rewards you with expansive views of rolling hills and picturesque farmland.  Akin to a sunset or the ocean, the visual effect is only fully appreciated in person - it is impossible to take a photo that effectively captures the essence of the place. For my most recent adventure, after a long day of hammering the trails, I treated myself to dinner at Juniper's Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn. From reading the reviews, I got the impression that Juniper's is a refined establishment, so I called beforehand to make sure it was OK that I show up trail-weathered.  I didn't realize how weathered I was until I caught sight of my mud-splattered reflection in the bathroom mirror...but I'm sure they've seen worse! The Inn is located right on the trail system. I started my meal with an AH-MAZING brussels sprouts salad.  The preparation was so well done, it would change the heart of even the most staunch brussels sprouts critic: thinly sliced and cooked until crispy, then tossed with pine nuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.  YUM!  For dinner, I ordered pan-seared scallops, which were tasty, but nothing to write home about.  They were served with garlic mashed potatoes and fiddleheads, which were the stars of the entree. But really, the best thing about Juniper's, is their location.  Seated atop one of the many hilly undulations, their back patio features a spectacular west-facing view, perfect for watching the sun go down while digesting a tasty meal after a day of adventuring.  I have no intention of turning this into a travel ad, but if you are looking for a getaway, this is an excellent escape.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(16) "Wild and Untamed" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(236) "In need of a vacation, I took a weekend to escape to the wild and beautiful Northeast Kingdom. It is calm in the way only rural areas can be, while also offering adrenaline-fueled mountain bike trails and an unrivaled bike community. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(16) "wild-and-untamed" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:36:37" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:36:37" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4840" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#281 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4813) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 10:45:32" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:45:32" ["post_content"]=> string(6275) "As a beginner gardener, I accept (somewhat grudgingly...my type-A personality gets in the way of 100% graciously accepting my errs) that I will not do everything right the first time.  However, I embrace challenges - so bring it on! 2018 marks year two of my life as a home gardener.  I learned some valuable lessons last year.  After a slow start, and purchasing some starts instead of seeds, I had a (mostly) productive garden.  This year will be even better! Namely because I won't repeat my five biggest beginner mistakes from last year... 1. Smothered with love Every morning and evening, ever so lovingly, I watered my seedlings.  I was sure to keep their soil moist at all times, just like the seed packets and online articles said.  Naively, I carried this same diligence to my garden beds!  Halfway through the summer, my beautiful, healthy squash started to rot right on the vine. With some googling, I diagnosed my problem as root rot - this happens when the environment around the roots stays too wet and doesn't get enough oxygen, developing a fungus which causes droopy leaves and rotting fruits.  Even though I had raised beds, the densely rich compost did not drain well.  We had a fairly rainy summer, and I was still out there watering every day and night...oops!

The fix: Assure proper drainage - add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your raised garden bed and avoid planting in low areas where water will collect and hold.

2. Helicopter mom Thinking the protected, heated, and well-lit indoor environment would be best for all my plant starts, I started my lettuce indoors.  I planted them next to the heater, put them under grow lights, and fussed over their soil moisture, all in an effort to shelter them from trying to start their lives in the harsh outdoors. Know what I raised?  Pathetic lettuce...flimsy, weak, and floppy lettuce.  They sprouted into tall, spindly starts that would tip over just by looking at them wrong.

The fix: Show some tough love and start your lettuce outside.  Let the natural forces of wind and rain force the lettuce starts to be hardier and sturdier than their sheltered counterparts.

[caption id="attachment_4825" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Last year's squash starts using egg crates[/caption] 3. Pinterest is pretty, not practical I'm pretty sure everyone has a story about seeing something cute on Pinterest, then failing miserably in an attempt to re-create it (check out this link for funny Pinterest fails!).  My Pinterest fail was using egg crates to start my seedlings.  In theory - it sounds perfect - they can be transplanted straight into the garden, egg cup and all!  In reality, my plants all germinated as expected, then almost immediately wilted and died.

The fix: Don't plant in egg crates!  My theory is they do not hold enough soil to provide nutrients after germination.  I also think they may have been treated or exposed to something that harmed the plants...but these are just theories.  Simply put, don't start in egg crates.

4. Give the carrots a break Literally!  Last year, I filled my raised beds with rich compost from a local dairy farmer.  It was wonderfully nutrient dense, but also, very dense.  My carrot-tops were vibrant and feathery, and when it came time to harvest, I chose the fattest looking carrots I could find.  They were the shortest, stumpiest little carrots I've ever seen.  Apparently, girth is not indicative of length.

The fix: To be fair, I have not yet been able to prove out my solution this year yet, but based on garden advise from family (and the internet!), I mixed my compost with sand and perlite.  The goal is to aerates the soil, giving the carrots some space to push through and grow nice and long.

5. Bunnies are cute, but they're pests I completely underestimated the damage a single little cottontail can do to a bed of kale.  I transplanted my kale and figured I could wait a day or two to put up a pest barrier...WRONG!  So wrong...Literally that night, a hungry bunny ate the tops of every plant!  I had to start over with seed on all except one plant that had a couple leaves left and held onto life like a champ.

The fix: Be diligent with your pest barriers!  I use mesh wildlife netting supported by 2x2 posts.  Definitely diminishes the appearance, but you'll be glad YOU are the one eating your kale, not the damn bunnies.

[caption id="attachment_4827" align="aligncenter" width="520"] This year's squash starts.  Notice how plump and healthy they look compared to last year![/caption] PLEASE SHARE your pearls of wisdom for home gardening!  I look forward to a more productive year than last, but there is still much learning to be had...

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(35) "5 Mistakes of a First Time Gardener" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(228) "Learn how to avoid home gardening mistakes! Last year I attempted my first ever home vegetable garden. There is definitely a learning curve, especially for Vermont's short growing season, and I learned some valuable lessons..." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(35) "5-mistakes-of-a-first-time-gardener" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(50) " https://diyprojects.com/pinterest-fails-make-day/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:15:29" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 18:15:29" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4813" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#372 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4898) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-08-05 10:31:36" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-08-05 14:31:36" ["post_content"]=> string(4782) " I revel in the simply pleasures of being a duck-momma.  It's amazing how quickly our six little ducklings grew into full-feathered birds; and their personalities grew up right with them!  If you're a reader like I am, you'll appreciate my inspiration. Meet the girls!

Daenerys

If you've read or watched Game of Thrones, you know that Daenerys is a respected leader.  True to her name, my Daenerys is top of the pecking order.  She's curious and forward, cautious but unafraid.  Any and all activities begin at her instigation: swimming, eating, drinking, foraging, you name it!

Kitty

While all the others loudly quack and squawk, Kitty squeaks, all the time, even while eating.  She is otherwise quiet, timid, and 100% unoriginal in her decision-making.  

Cersei

Yes, another GOT reference.  When we first got our girls, I was tempted to name them all after female characters from the series...but their quirks have inspired alternatives.  While just little ducklings, Cersei appeared to be the leader. But in reality, she's simply an independent, minor troublemaker.  Their first time outdside, Cersei led Kitty out of the pool and into the yard.  They were freaked out and separated from the others.  I had to scare the poor things by chasing them around the yard to get them contained again.

Fardi

How do you make the name Ferdinand more feminine?  You can't really...thus we have Fardi.  Fardi is mellow and lackadaisical; not a leader or a follower.  While the others forage, she lays next to their water, sipping casually.  She's affectionately named after Ferdinand the Bull.

Amelia

Another children's book reference: Amelia Bedelia.  If you've ever read these stories, you know that Amelia is good-natured but clumsy.  Case in point - all the other ducks quickly learned how to get into their pool.  Poor Amelia struggled, clearly agitated by the success of her fellow flock (see video below).  When herding them into their pen at night, Amelia often misses the gate and runs into the fence.  Her lack of coordination leaves her easily flustered; in her photo, she's not quacking...she trying to shake off the cotton seeds stuck to her bill. *sigh*

Duck

Ever watched Breakfast at Tiffany's?  Inspired by Holly Golightly's no-named cat, meet Duck.  She's unoriginal - a true follower.  Her lack of individuality has not earned her a real name, though we are no less affectionate toward her. In a few short weeks, these lovely ladies will do more than just entertain us.  They will be laying eggs very soon! Eaten duck eggs before? Have any recipe suggestions? *How embarrassing! I spelled Daenerys wrong with my original post...it's corrected now! Until next time, Corrie Austin " ["post_title"]=> string(13) "Meet My Flock" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(13) "meet-my-flock" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-08-05 14:02:33" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-08-05 18:02:33" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4898" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } ["queried_object"]=> object(WP_Term)#275 (16) { ["term_id"]=> int(1) ["name"]=> string(4) "blog" ["slug"]=> string(4) "blog" ["term_group"]=> int(0) ["term_taxonomy_id"]=> int(1) ["taxonomy"]=> string(8) "category" ["description"]=> string(0) "" ["parent"]=> int(0) ["count"]=> int(147) ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["cat_ID"]=> int(1) ["category_count"]=> int(147) ["category_description"]=> string(0) "" ["cat_name"]=> string(4) "blog" ["category_nicename"]=> string(4) "blog" ["category_parent"]=> int(0) } ["queried_object_id"]=> int(1) }
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4 responses to “Meet My Flock”

  1. Kellie Kutkey says:

    Yay! They have names! I love them all ❤️

    • Corrie Austin says:

      Yay! They’re real now 😉
      I really do love having them. Can’t wait for you to see them all grown up!

  2. Charly says:

    Corrie, baking with duck eggs is a lovely experience. Their yolks add such richness to breads, cakes and certain cookies. You can find the equivalences for chicken eggs online – in the “old days” I would use 1 duck egg to replace 1.5 to 2 chicken eggs. Please blog about your discoveries!
    Love your posts!

    • Corrie Austin says:

      Hello Charly,
      Thank you for the suggestion! I have not yet baked with ducks eggs. They are so rich and hearty, I imagine they would be excellent for baking.
      I’m so glad to hear you love the posts. This is a labor of LOVE <3

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Summer Crowd Pleaser

Having never tasted rhubarb outside of a strawberry rhubarb pie, I was clueless as to how it tasted.  Admittedly, I didn’t even know what it even looked like until recently.  A peer at work has scads of it and was happy to share.  As a lover of new foods and food experiments, I was excited to have a new ingredient in my kitchen!

Googling “rhubarb recipe” produces almost nothing but desserts: tarts, crumbles, pies, and crisps.  As a non-dessert-eater, I was eager to find a more creative preparation.  Not only are most rhubarb recipes for dessert, they almost all require the oven.  In a heat wave, the last thing I want to do is have my oven on for 45 min!   This recipe is sure to please and easy to make.  Take it to your next summer gathering!  It is a true celebration of the flavor of late spring/early summer using fresh strawberries, rhubarb, and cilantro.

Ever heard of the “dirty dozen?”  It’s a list of the dirtiest conventional produce and is distributed every year by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  Strawberries have topped the dirty dozen list for THREE years in a row!  This makes them the dirtiest of the dirty (ie: most pesticides).  I highly recommend buying organic strawberries.  If you’re anything like me, you get crippled by decisions at the store: organic vs. local vs. non-gmo vs. ecologically-grown…the list goes on and on.  I use the dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists to help make my shopping decisions.  Save them in the notes on your phone for quick reference while at the store.

Follow this link for the recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Salsa.  Eat it as a topping on anything: meat, chips, omelettes, seafood, or even just out of the jar with a spoon – yes! it’s that tasty!  I served mine with wild-caught Atlantic cod over a bed of garden-fresh kale and avocado.  YUM!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

***I fed the strawberry tops to my ducklings – it was their first time eating something that wasn’t crumbles from the farm store.  Watch the video HERE!

Posted: 7-1-2018

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I revel in the simply pleasures of being a duck-momma.  It's amazing how quickly our six little ducklings grew into full-feathered birds; and their personalities grew up right with them!  If you're a reader like I am, you'll appreciate my inspiration.

Meet the girls!

Daenerys

If you've read or watched Game of Thrones, you know that Daenerys is a respected leader.  True to her name, my Daenerys is top of the pecking order.  She's curious and forward, cautious but unafraid.  Any and all activities begin at her instigation: swimming, eating, drinking, foraging, you name it!

Kitty

While all the others loudly quack and squawk, Kitty squeaks, all the time, even while eating.  She is otherwise quiet, timid, and 100% unoriginal in her decision-making.  

Cersei

Yes, another GOT reference.  When we first got our girls, I was tempted to name them all after female characters from the series...but their quirks have inspired alternatives.  While just little ducklings, Cersei appeared to be the leader. But in reality, she's simply an independent, minor troublemaker.  Their first time outdside, Cersei led Kitty out of the pool and into the yard.  They were freaked out and separated from the others.  I had to scare the poor things by chasing them around the yard to get them contained again.

Fardi

How do you make the name Ferdinand more feminine?  You can't really...thus we have Fardi.  Fardi is mellow and lackadaisical; not a leader or a follower.  While the others forage, she lays next to their water, sipping casually.  She's affectionately named after Ferdinand the Bull.

Amelia

Another children's book reference: Amelia Bedelia.  If you've ever read these stories, you know that Amelia is good-natured but clumsy.  Case in point - all the other ducks quickly learned how to get into their pool.  Poor Amelia struggled, clearly agitated by the success of her fellow flock (see video below).  When herding them into their pen at night, Amelia often misses the gate and runs into the fence.  Her lack of coordination leaves her easily flustered; in her photo, she's not quacking...she trying to shake off the cotton seeds stuck to her bill. *sigh*

Duck

Ever watched Breakfast at Tiffany's?  Inspired by Holly Golightly's no-named cat, meet Duck.  She's unoriginal - a true follower.  Her lack of individuality has not earned her a real name, though we are no less affectionate toward her. In a few short weeks, these lovely ladies will do more than just entertain us.  They will be laying eggs very soon! Eaten duck eggs before? Have any recipe suggestions? *How embarrassing! I spelled Daenerys wrong with my original post...it's corrected now! Until next time, Corrie Austin " ["post_title"]=> string(13) "Meet My Flock" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(13) "meet-my-flock" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-08-05 14:02:33" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-08-05 18:02:33" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4898" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#371 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4873) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 09:00:55" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 13:00:55" ["post_content"]=> string(3676) " Having never tasted rhubarb outside of a strawberry rhubarb pie, I was clueless as to how it tasted.  Admittedly, I didn't even know what it even looked like until recently.  A peer at work has scads of it and was happy to share.  As a lover of new foods and food experiments, I was excited to have a new ingredient in my kitchen! Googling "rhubarb recipe" produces almost nothing but desserts: tarts, crumbles, pies, and crisps.  As a non-dessert-eater, I was eager to find a more creative preparation.  Not only are most rhubarb recipes for dessert, they almost all require the oven.  In a heat wave, the last thing I want to do is have my oven on for 45 min!   This recipe is sure to please and easy to make.  Take it to your next summer gathering!  It is a true celebration of the flavor of late spring/early summer using fresh strawberries, rhubarb, and cilantro. Ever heard of the "dirty dozen?"  It's a list of the dirtiest conventional produce and is distributed every year by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  Strawberries have topped the dirty dozen list for THREE years in a row!  This makes them the dirtiest of the dirty (ie: most pesticides).  I highly recommend buying organic strawberries.  If you're anything like me, you get crippled by decisions at the store: organic vs. local vs. non-gmo vs. ecologically-grown...the list goes on and on.  I use the dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists to help make my shopping decisions.  Save them in the notes on your phone for quick reference while at the store. Follow this link for the recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Salsa.  Eat it as a topping on anything: meat, chips, omelettes, seafood, or even just out of the jar with a spoon - yes! it's that tasty!  I served mine with wild-caught Atlantic cod over a bed of garden-fresh kale and avocado.  YUM! Until next time, Corrie Austin ***I fed the strawberry tops to my ducklings - it was their first time eating something that wasn't crumbles from the farm store.  Watch the video HERE!" ["post_title"]=> string(20) "Summer Crowd Pleaser" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(153) "Strawberry Rhubarb Salsa recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It's simple to prepare, no fancy ingredients, and pairs great with pretty much anything! " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(20) "summer-crowd-pleaser" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(69) " http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/recipes/strawberry-rhubarb-salsa/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 09:06:18" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 13:06:18" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4873" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#368 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4856) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-17 10:45:54" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-17 14:45:54" ["post_content"]=> string(3712) "[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/First-time-in-poolTrim.mp4"][/video] It's mildly self-inflating to describe myself as an "urban farmer..." but my husband and I have a pretty legitimate operation in the works.  I am growing 19 different fruits and vegetables, 17 of which were started from seed!  We recently adopted 6 darling ducklings, soon to be egg-laying machines.  We also have two terrariums setup as mealworm farms to raise fodder for our ducks. We are rewarded with small, sometimes unexpected, joys from our facilitation of, and participation in, the circle of life. In no particular order:
  1. The first beetle: mealworms are kind of gross...they aren't slimy, but they're squirmy and wiggly, and look too grubby to not be kind of yucky.  But, they are a great source of protein (for the ducks!) and very easy to raise.  They hatch as a worm, shed a few times, turn into a pupae, transform into a beetle, and the beetles lay eggs.  When I got my first pupae, and then my first beetle, I was surprisingly proud!  Who knew something so gross could be so rewarding?!  The best resource I found for mealworm farming is The Happy Chicken Coop.
  2. Pool parties: I have found my after work zen.  I take our girls to their pool, post up in a lawn chair, and watch - seriously, soooooooooo good.
  3. Ducklings are like drunk humans: they hilariously lack physical awareness.  They are constantly moving, either by choice or because they are falling over.[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/Clumsy-trim.mp4"][/video]
  4. The birds and the bees: last year I was horrified when my first squash blossoms died without producing any fruit...I had clearly forgotten everything I learned about flower genders in Biology 101.  This morning I saw my first squash blossom of the year - it's a boy!
  5. Grandmom's pride: my brother and I both don't have children (not yet!).  For a long time we didn't even have pets.  Now I have 6 little entertainers.  Here's a text from my mom after I sent her a duck video: "I LOVE them. My grand ducks <3"
  6. Starting or ending a business meeting with cute duckling videos: enough said!
  7. Pet fish = so American: one of my co-workers from India recently became a US Citizen, and she's never had a pet fish.  For her "welcome to America!" gift, we bought her a beta fish for her desk.  She thinks it's so American. American kids walk around with pet fish in a plastic bag, something that apparently doesn't happen in India.  The office has a new mascot, and his name is Fred.  Not quite farm material, but you get the idea...
Basically, nature rocks! Share your favorite nature photos, videos, and stories in the comments below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(27) "Seven joys of urban farming" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(27) "seven-joys-of-urban-farming" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 07:50:00" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 11:50:00" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4856" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#367 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4840) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:30:19" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:30:19" ["post_content"]=> string(3682) " Say it out loud, "The Northeast Kingdom."  It sounds wild and untamed.  The Kingdom is a year-round outdoor mecca, with mountain biking, hiking, leaf-peeping, and skiing.  For an interesting perspective on what, if anything, makes NEK different from the rest of Vermont, check out this VPR clip. I recently made NEK my destination to mountain bike the world renowned Kingdom Trails.  Just under two hours from Burlington, the drive rewards you with expansive views of rolling hills and picturesque farmland.  Akin to a sunset or the ocean, the visual effect is only fully appreciated in person - it is impossible to take a photo that effectively captures the essence of the place. For my most recent adventure, after a long day of hammering the trails, I treated myself to dinner at Juniper's Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn. From reading the reviews, I got the impression that Juniper's is a refined establishment, so I called beforehand to make sure it was OK that I show up trail-weathered.  I didn't realize how weathered I was until I caught sight of my mud-splattered reflection in the bathroom mirror...but I'm sure they've seen worse! The Inn is located right on the trail system. I started my meal with an AH-MAZING brussels sprouts salad.  The preparation was so well done, it would change the heart of even the most staunch brussels sprouts critic: thinly sliced and cooked until crispy, then tossed with pine nuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.  YUM!  For dinner, I ordered pan-seared scallops, which were tasty, but nothing to write home about.  They were served with garlic mashed potatoes and fiddleheads, which were the stars of the entree. But really, the best thing about Juniper's, is their location.  Seated atop one of the many hilly undulations, their back patio features a spectacular west-facing view, perfect for watching the sun go down while digesting a tasty meal after a day of adventuring.  I have no intention of turning this into a travel ad, but if you are looking for a getaway, this is an excellent escape.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(16) "Wild and Untamed" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(236) "In need of a vacation, I took a weekend to escape to the wild and beautiful Northeast Kingdom. It is calm in the way only rural areas can be, while also offering adrenaline-fueled mountain bike trails and an unrivaled bike community. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(16) "wild-and-untamed" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:36:37" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:36:37" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4840" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#281 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4813) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 10:45:32" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:45:32" ["post_content"]=> string(6275) "As a beginner gardener, I accept (somewhat grudgingly...my type-A personality gets in the way of 100% graciously accepting my errs) that I will not do everything right the first time.  However, I embrace challenges - so bring it on! 2018 marks year two of my life as a home gardener.  I learned some valuable lessons last year.  After a slow start, and purchasing some starts instead of seeds, I had a (mostly) productive garden.  This year will be even better! Namely because I won't repeat my five biggest beginner mistakes from last year... 1. Smothered with love Every morning and evening, ever so lovingly, I watered my seedlings.  I was sure to keep their soil moist at all times, just like the seed packets and online articles said.  Naively, I carried this same diligence to my garden beds!  Halfway through the summer, my beautiful, healthy squash started to rot right on the vine. With some googling, I diagnosed my problem as root rot - this happens when the environment around the roots stays too wet and doesn't get enough oxygen, developing a fungus which causes droopy leaves and rotting fruits.  Even though I had raised beds, the densely rich compost did not drain well.  We had a fairly rainy summer, and I was still out there watering every day and night...oops!

The fix: Assure proper drainage - add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your raised garden bed and avoid planting in low areas where water will collect and hold.

2. Helicopter mom Thinking the protected, heated, and well-lit indoor environment would be best for all my plant starts, I started my lettuce indoors.  I planted them next to the heater, put them under grow lights, and fussed over their soil moisture, all in an effort to shelter them from trying to start their lives in the harsh outdoors. Know what I raised?  Pathetic lettuce...flimsy, weak, and floppy lettuce.  They sprouted into tall, spindly starts that would tip over just by looking at them wrong.

The fix: Show some tough love and start your lettuce outside.  Let the natural forces of wind and rain force the lettuce starts to be hardier and sturdier than their sheltered counterparts.

[caption id="attachment_4825" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Last year's squash starts using egg crates[/caption] 3. Pinterest is pretty, not practical I'm pretty sure everyone has a story about seeing something cute on Pinterest, then failing miserably in an attempt to re-create it (check out this link for funny Pinterest fails!).  My Pinterest fail was using egg crates to start my seedlings.  In theory - it sounds perfect - they can be transplanted straight into the garden, egg cup and all!  In reality, my plants all germinated as expected, then almost immediately wilted and died.

The fix: Don't plant in egg crates!  My theory is they do not hold enough soil to provide nutrients after germination.  I also think they may have been treated or exposed to something that harmed the plants...but these are just theories.  Simply put, don't start in egg crates.

4. Give the carrots a break Literally!  Last year, I filled my raised beds with rich compost from a local dairy farmer.  It was wonderfully nutrient dense, but also, very dense.  My carrot-tops were vibrant and feathery, and when it came time to harvest, I chose the fattest looking carrots I could find.  They were the shortest, stumpiest little carrots I've ever seen.  Apparently, girth is not indicative of length.

The fix: To be fair, I have not yet been able to prove out my solution this year yet, but based on garden advise from family (and the internet!), I mixed my compost with sand and perlite.  The goal is to aerates the soil, giving the carrots some space to push through and grow nice and long.

5. Bunnies are cute, but they're pests I completely underestimated the damage a single little cottontail can do to a bed of kale.  I transplanted my kale and figured I could wait a day or two to put up a pest barrier...WRONG!  So wrong...Literally that night, a hungry bunny ate the tops of every plant!  I had to start over with seed on all except one plant that had a couple leaves left and held onto life like a champ.

The fix: Be diligent with your pest barriers!  I use mesh wildlife netting supported by 2x2 posts.  Definitely diminishes the appearance, but you'll be glad YOU are the one eating your kale, not the damn bunnies.

[caption id="attachment_4827" align="aligncenter" width="520"] This year's squash starts.  Notice how plump and healthy they look compared to last year![/caption] PLEASE SHARE your pearls of wisdom for home gardening!  I look forward to a more productive year than last, but there is still much learning to be had...

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(35) "5 Mistakes of a First Time Gardener" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(228) "Learn how to avoid home gardening mistakes! Last year I attempted my first ever home vegetable garden. There is definitely a learning curve, especially for Vermont's short growing season, and I learned some valuable lessons..." 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Googling "rhubarb recipe" produces almost nothing but desserts: tarts, crumbles, pies, and crisps.  As a non-dessert-eater, I was eager to find a more creative preparation.  Not only are most rhubarb recipes for dessert, they almost all require the oven.  In a heat wave, the last thing I want to do is have my oven on for 45 min!   This recipe is sure to please and easy to make.  Take it to your next summer gathering!  It is a true celebration of the flavor of late spring/early summer using fresh strawberries, rhubarb, and cilantro. Ever heard of the "dirty dozen?"  It's a list of the dirtiest conventional produce and is distributed every year by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  Strawberries have topped the dirty dozen list for THREE years in a row!  This makes them the dirtiest of the dirty (ie: most pesticides).  I highly recommend buying organic strawberries.  If you're anything like me, you get crippled by decisions at the store: organic vs. local vs. non-gmo vs. ecologically-grown...the list goes on and on.  I use the dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists to help make my shopping decisions.  Save them in the notes on your phone for quick reference while at the store. Follow this link for the recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Salsa.  Eat it as a topping on anything: meat, chips, omelettes, seafood, or even just out of the jar with a spoon - yes! it's that tasty!  I served mine with wild-caught Atlantic cod over a bed of garden-fresh kale and avocado.  YUM! Until next time, Corrie Austin ***I fed the strawberry tops to my ducklings - it was their first time eating something that wasn't crumbles from the farm store.  Watch the video HERE!" ["post_title"]=> string(20) "Summer Crowd Pleaser" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(153) "Strawberry Rhubarb Salsa recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It's simple to prepare, no fancy ingredients, and pairs great with pretty much anything! " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(20) "summer-crowd-pleaser" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(69) " http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/recipes/strawberry-rhubarb-salsa/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 09:06:18" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 13:06:18" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4873" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } ["queried_object"]=> object(WP_Term)#275 (16) { ["term_id"]=> int(1) ["name"]=> string(4) "blog" ["slug"]=> string(4) "blog" ["term_group"]=> int(0) ["term_taxonomy_id"]=> int(1) ["taxonomy"]=> string(8) "category" ["description"]=> string(0) "" ["parent"]=> int(0) ["count"]=> int(147) ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["cat_ID"]=> int(1) ["category_count"]=> int(147) ["category_description"]=> string(0) "" ["cat_name"]=> string(4) "blog" ["category_nicename"]=> string(4) "blog" ["category_parent"]=> int(0) } ["queried_object_id"]=> int(1) ["comments"]=> array(4) { [0]=> &object(WP_Comment)#233 (18) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208676" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4898" ["comment_author"]=> string(13) "Kellie Kutkey" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(20) "kutkey@integrity.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(13) "75.172.29.120" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2018-08-05 12:12:53" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-08-05 16:12:53" ["comment_content"]=> string(44) "Yay! They have names! I love them all ❤️" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" ["children:protected"]=> array(1) { [208677]=> object(WP_Comment)#1008 (18) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208677" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4898" ["comment_author"]=> string(13) "Corrie Austin" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(21) "micalou1735@yahoo.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(12) "174.199.9.78" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2018-08-05 20:33:06" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-08-06 00:33:06" ["comment_content"]=> string(102) "Yay! They're real now 😉 I really do love having them. Can't wait for you to see them all grown up!" 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They're real now 😉 I really do love having them. Can't wait for you to see them all grown up!" 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This is a labor of LOVE <3" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(6) "208678" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "1" ["children:protected"]=> array(0) { } ["populated_children:protected"]=> bool(true) ["post_fields:protected"]=> array(21) { [0]=> string(11) "post_author" [1]=> string(9) "post_date" [2]=> string(13) "post_date_gmt" [3]=> string(12) "post_content" [4]=> string(10) "post_title" [5]=> string(12) "post_excerpt" [6]=> string(11) "post_status" [7]=> string(14) "comment_status" [8]=> string(11) "ping_status" [9]=> string(9) "post_name" [10]=> string(7) "to_ping" [11]=> string(6) "pinged" [12]=> string(13) "post_modified" [13]=> string(17) "post_modified_gmt" [14]=> string(21) "post_content_filtered" [15]=> string(11) "post_parent" [16]=> string(4) "guid" [17]=> string(10) "menu_order" [18]=> string(9) "post_type" [19]=> string(14) "post_mime_type" [20]=> string(13) "comment_count" } } } ["trackback"]=> array(0) { } ["pingback"]=> array(0) { } ["pings"]=> array(0) { } } }
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4 responses to “Summer Crowd Pleaser”

  1. Kellie Kutkey says:

    I wonder if dad would try this? He basically shuts down when rhubarb is mentioned . . . What do you think?
    ❤️ Mom

    • Corrie Austin says:

      I vote try it without telling him what’s in it 😉 Then let him decide. Kind of like telling me Brussels sprouts were mini cabbages so I’d try them as a kid!

  2. Lori Seitz says:

    I planted rhubarb because Grandma Swanson had a big patch in her garden and made rhubarb sauce all the time. I’ll have to see if I can get that memory from this.

    • Corrie Austin says:

      Hi Lori,
      I had never eaten rhubarb outside of a strawberry rhubarb pie. I was surprised by its texture and flavor. I think this recipe celebrates both quite well!
      Miss you!
      Corrie

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Seven joys of urban farming

It’s mildly self-inflating to describe myself as an “urban farmer…” but my husband and I have a pretty legitimate operation in the works.  I am growing 19 different fruits and vegetables, 17 of which were started from seed!  We recently adopted 6 darling ducklings, soon to be egg-laying machines.  We also have two terrariums setup as mealworm farms to raise fodder for our ducks. We are rewarded with small, sometimes unexpected, joys from our facilitation of, and participation in, the circle of life.

In no particular order:

  1. The first beetle: mealworms are kind of gross…they aren’t slimy, but they’re squirmy and wiggly, and look too grubby to not be kind of yucky.  But, they are a great source of protein (for the ducks!) and very easy to raise.  They hatch as a worm, shed a few times, turn into a pupae, transform into a beetle, and the beetles lay eggs.  When I got my first pupae, and then my first beetle, I was surprisingly proud!  Who knew something so gross could be so rewarding?!  The best resource I found for mealworm farming is The Happy Chicken Coop.
  2. Pool parties: I have found my after work zen.  I take our girls to their pool, post up in a lawn chair, and watch – seriously, soooooooooo good.
  3. Ducklings are like drunk humans: they hilariously lack physical awareness.  They are constantly moving, either by choice or because they are falling over.
  4. The birds and the bees: last year I was horrified when my first squash blossoms died without producing any fruit…I had clearly forgotten everything I learned about flower genders in Biology 101.  This morning I saw my first squash blossom of the year – it’s a boy!
  5. Grandmom’s pride: my brother and I both don’t have children (not yet!).  For a long time we didn’t even have pets.  Now I have 6 little entertainers.  Here’s a text from my mom after I sent her a duck video: “I LOVE them. My grand ducks <3”
  6. Starting or ending a business meeting with cute duckling videos: enough said!
  7. Pet fish = so American: one of my co-workers from India recently became a US Citizen, and she’s never had a pet fish.  For her “welcome to America!” gift, we bought her a beta fish for her desk.  She thinks it’s so American. American kids walk around with pet fish in a plastic bag, something that apparently doesn’t happen in India.  The office has a new mascot, and his name is Fred.  Not quite farm material, but you get the idea…

Basically, nature rocks!

Share your favorite nature photos, videos, and stories in the comments below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

Posted: 6-17-2018

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I revel in the simply pleasures of being a duck-momma.  It's amazing how quickly our six little ducklings grew into full-feathered birds; and their personalities grew up right with them!  If you're a reader like I am, you'll appreciate my inspiration.

Meet the girls!

Daenerys

If you've read or watched Game of Thrones, you know that Daenerys is a respected leader.  True to her name, my Daenerys is top of the pecking order.  She's curious and forward, cautious but unafraid.  Any and all activities begin at her instigation: swimming, eating, drinking, foraging, you name it!

Kitty

While all the others loudly quack and squawk, Kitty squeaks, all the time, even while eating.  She is otherwise quiet, timid, and 100% unoriginal in her decision-making.  

Cersei

Yes, another GOT reference.  When we first got our girls, I was tempted to name them all after female characters from the series...but their quirks have inspired alternatives.  While just little ducklings, Cersei appeared to be the leader. But in reality, she's simply an independent, minor troublemaker.  Their first time outdside, Cersei led Kitty out of the pool and into the yard.  They were freaked out and separated from the others.  I had to scare the poor things by chasing them around the yard to get them contained again.

Fardi

How do you make the name Ferdinand more feminine?  You can't really...thus we have Fardi.  Fardi is mellow and lackadaisical; not a leader or a follower.  While the others forage, she lays next to their water, sipping casually.  She's affectionately named after Ferdinand the Bull.

Amelia

Another children's book reference: Amelia Bedelia.  If you've ever read these stories, you know that Amelia is good-natured but clumsy.  Case in point - all the other ducks quickly learned how to get into their pool.  Poor Amelia struggled, clearly agitated by the success of her fellow flock (see video below).  When herding them into their pen at night, Amelia often misses the gate and runs into the fence.  Her lack of coordination leaves her easily flustered; in her photo, she's not quacking...she trying to shake off the cotton seeds stuck to her bill. *sigh*

Duck

Ever watched Breakfast at Tiffany's?  Inspired by Holly Golightly's no-named cat, meet Duck.  She's unoriginal - a true follower.  Her lack of individuality has not earned her a real name, though we are no less affectionate toward her. In a few short weeks, these lovely ladies will do more than just entertain us.  They will be laying eggs very soon! Eaten duck eggs before? Have any recipe suggestions? *How embarrassing! I spelled Daenerys wrong with my original post...it's corrected now! Until next time, Corrie Austin " ["post_title"]=> string(13) "Meet My Flock" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(13) "meet-my-flock" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-08-05 14:02:33" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-08-05 18:02:33" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4898" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#371 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4873) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 09:00:55" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 13:00:55" ["post_content"]=> string(3676) " Having never tasted rhubarb outside of a strawberry rhubarb pie, I was clueless as to how it tasted.  Admittedly, I didn't even know what it even looked like until recently.  A peer at work has scads of it and was happy to share.  As a lover of new foods and food experiments, I was excited to have a new ingredient in my kitchen! Googling "rhubarb recipe" produces almost nothing but desserts: tarts, crumbles, pies, and crisps.  As a non-dessert-eater, I was eager to find a more creative preparation.  Not only are most rhubarb recipes for dessert, they almost all require the oven.  In a heat wave, the last thing I want to do is have my oven on for 45 min!   This recipe is sure to please and easy to make.  Take it to your next summer gathering!  It is a true celebration of the flavor of late spring/early summer using fresh strawberries, rhubarb, and cilantro. Ever heard of the "dirty dozen?"  It's a list of the dirtiest conventional produce and is distributed every year by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  Strawberries have topped the dirty dozen list for THREE years in a row!  This makes them the dirtiest of the dirty (ie: most pesticides).  I highly recommend buying organic strawberries.  If you're anything like me, you get crippled by decisions at the store: organic vs. local vs. non-gmo vs. ecologically-grown...the list goes on and on.  I use the dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists to help make my shopping decisions.  Save them in the notes on your phone for quick reference while at the store. Follow this link for the recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Salsa.  Eat it as a topping on anything: meat, chips, omelettes, seafood, or even just out of the jar with a spoon - yes! it's that tasty!  I served mine with wild-caught Atlantic cod over a bed of garden-fresh kale and avocado.  YUM! Until next time, Corrie Austin ***I fed the strawberry tops to my ducklings - it was their first time eating something that wasn't crumbles from the farm store.  Watch the video HERE!" ["post_title"]=> string(20) "Summer Crowd Pleaser" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(153) "Strawberry Rhubarb Salsa recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It's simple to prepare, no fancy ingredients, and pairs great with pretty much anything! " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(20) "summer-crowd-pleaser" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(69) " http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/recipes/strawberry-rhubarb-salsa/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 09:06:18" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 13:06:18" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4873" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#368 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4856) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-17 10:45:54" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-17 14:45:54" ["post_content"]=> string(3712) "[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/First-time-in-poolTrim.mp4"][/video] It's mildly self-inflating to describe myself as an "urban farmer..." but my husband and I have a pretty legitimate operation in the works.  I am growing 19 different fruits and vegetables, 17 of which were started from seed!  We recently adopted 6 darling ducklings, soon to be egg-laying machines.  We also have two terrariums setup as mealworm farms to raise fodder for our ducks. We are rewarded with small, sometimes unexpected, joys from our facilitation of, and participation in, the circle of life. In no particular order:
  1. The first beetle: mealworms are kind of gross...they aren't slimy, but they're squirmy and wiggly, and look too grubby to not be kind of yucky.  But, they are a great source of protein (for the ducks!) and very easy to raise.  They hatch as a worm, shed a few times, turn into a pupae, transform into a beetle, and the beetles lay eggs.  When I got my first pupae, and then my first beetle, I was surprisingly proud!  Who knew something so gross could be so rewarding?!  The best resource I found for mealworm farming is The Happy Chicken Coop.
  2. Pool parties: I have found my after work zen.  I take our girls to their pool, post up in a lawn chair, and watch - seriously, soooooooooo good.
  3. Ducklings are like drunk humans: they hilariously lack physical awareness.  They are constantly moving, either by choice or because they are falling over.[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/Clumsy-trim.mp4"][/video]
  4. The birds and the bees: last year I was horrified when my first squash blossoms died without producing any fruit...I had clearly forgotten everything I learned about flower genders in Biology 101.  This morning I saw my first squash blossom of the year - it's a boy!
  5. Grandmom's pride: my brother and I both don't have children (not yet!).  For a long time we didn't even have pets.  Now I have 6 little entertainers.  Here's a text from my mom after I sent her a duck video: "I LOVE them. My grand ducks <3"
  6. Starting or ending a business meeting with cute duckling videos: enough said!
  7. Pet fish = so American: one of my co-workers from India recently became a US Citizen, and she's never had a pet fish.  For her "welcome to America!" gift, we bought her a beta fish for her desk.  She thinks it's so American. American kids walk around with pet fish in a plastic bag, something that apparently doesn't happen in India.  The office has a new mascot, and his name is Fred.  Not quite farm material, but you get the idea...
Basically, nature rocks! Share your favorite nature photos, videos, and stories in the comments below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(27) "Seven joys of urban farming" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(27) "seven-joys-of-urban-farming" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 07:50:00" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 11:50:00" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4856" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#367 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4840) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:30:19" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:30:19" ["post_content"]=> string(3682) " Say it out loud, "The Northeast Kingdom."  It sounds wild and untamed.  The Kingdom is a year-round outdoor mecca, with mountain biking, hiking, leaf-peeping, and skiing.  For an interesting perspective on what, if anything, makes NEK different from the rest of Vermont, check out this VPR clip. I recently made NEK my destination to mountain bike the world renowned Kingdom Trails.  Just under two hours from Burlington, the drive rewards you with expansive views of rolling hills and picturesque farmland.  Akin to a sunset or the ocean, the visual effect is only fully appreciated in person - it is impossible to take a photo that effectively captures the essence of the place. For my most recent adventure, after a long day of hammering the trails, I treated myself to dinner at Juniper's Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn. From reading the reviews, I got the impression that Juniper's is a refined establishment, so I called beforehand to make sure it was OK that I show up trail-weathered.  I didn't realize how weathered I was until I caught sight of my mud-splattered reflection in the bathroom mirror...but I'm sure they've seen worse! The Inn is located right on the trail system. I started my meal with an AH-MAZING brussels sprouts salad.  The preparation was so well done, it would change the heart of even the most staunch brussels sprouts critic: thinly sliced and cooked until crispy, then tossed with pine nuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.  YUM!  For dinner, I ordered pan-seared scallops, which were tasty, but nothing to write home about.  They were served with garlic mashed potatoes and fiddleheads, which were the stars of the entree. But really, the best thing about Juniper's, is their location.  Seated atop one of the many hilly undulations, their back patio features a spectacular west-facing view, perfect for watching the sun go down while digesting a tasty meal after a day of adventuring.  I have no intention of turning this into a travel ad, but if you are looking for a getaway, this is an excellent escape.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(16) "Wild and Untamed" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(236) "In need of a vacation, I took a weekend to escape to the wild and beautiful Northeast Kingdom. It is calm in the way only rural areas can be, while also offering adrenaline-fueled mountain bike trails and an unrivaled bike community. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(16) "wild-and-untamed" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:36:37" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:36:37" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4840" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#281 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4813) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 10:45:32" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:45:32" ["post_content"]=> string(6275) "As a beginner gardener, I accept (somewhat grudgingly...my type-A personality gets in the way of 100% graciously accepting my errs) that I will not do everything right the first time.  However, I embrace challenges - so bring it on! 2018 marks year two of my life as a home gardener.  I learned some valuable lessons last year.  After a slow start, and purchasing some starts instead of seeds, I had a (mostly) productive garden.  This year will be even better! Namely because I won't repeat my five biggest beginner mistakes from last year... 1. Smothered with love Every morning and evening, ever so lovingly, I watered my seedlings.  I was sure to keep their soil moist at all times, just like the seed packets and online articles said.  Naively, I carried this same diligence to my garden beds!  Halfway through the summer, my beautiful, healthy squash started to rot right on the vine. With some googling, I diagnosed my problem as root rot - this happens when the environment around the roots stays too wet and doesn't get enough oxygen, developing a fungus which causes droopy leaves and rotting fruits.  Even though I had raised beds, the densely rich compost did not drain well.  We had a fairly rainy summer, and I was still out there watering every day and night...oops!

The fix: Assure proper drainage - add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your raised garden bed and avoid planting in low areas where water will collect and hold.

2. Helicopter mom Thinking the protected, heated, and well-lit indoor environment would be best for all my plant starts, I started my lettuce indoors.  I planted them next to the heater, put them under grow lights, and fussed over their soil moisture, all in an effort to shelter them from trying to start their lives in the harsh outdoors. Know what I raised?  Pathetic lettuce...flimsy, weak, and floppy lettuce.  They sprouted into tall, spindly starts that would tip over just by looking at them wrong.

The fix: Show some tough love and start your lettuce outside.  Let the natural forces of wind and rain force the lettuce starts to be hardier and sturdier than their sheltered counterparts.

[caption id="attachment_4825" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Last year's squash starts using egg crates[/caption] 3. Pinterest is pretty, not practical I'm pretty sure everyone has a story about seeing something cute on Pinterest, then failing miserably in an attempt to re-create it (check out this link for funny Pinterest fails!).  My Pinterest fail was using egg crates to start my seedlings.  In theory - it sounds perfect - they can be transplanted straight into the garden, egg cup and all!  In reality, my plants all germinated as expected, then almost immediately wilted and died.

The fix: Don't plant in egg crates!  My theory is they do not hold enough soil to provide nutrients after germination.  I also think they may have been treated or exposed to something that harmed the plants...but these are just theories.  Simply put, don't start in egg crates.

4. Give the carrots a break Literally!  Last year, I filled my raised beds with rich compost from a local dairy farmer.  It was wonderfully nutrient dense, but also, very dense.  My carrot-tops were vibrant and feathery, and when it came time to harvest, I chose the fattest looking carrots I could find.  They were the shortest, stumpiest little carrots I've ever seen.  Apparently, girth is not indicative of length.

The fix: To be fair, I have not yet been able to prove out my solution this year yet, but based on garden advise from family (and the internet!), I mixed my compost with sand and perlite.  The goal is to aerates the soil, giving the carrots some space to push through and grow nice and long.

5. Bunnies are cute, but they're pests I completely underestimated the damage a single little cottontail can do to a bed of kale.  I transplanted my kale and figured I could wait a day or two to put up a pest barrier...WRONG!  So wrong...Literally that night, a hungry bunny ate the tops of every plant!  I had to start over with seed on all except one plant that had a couple leaves left and held onto life like a champ.

The fix: Be diligent with your pest barriers!  I use mesh wildlife netting supported by 2x2 posts.  Definitely diminishes the appearance, but you'll be glad YOU are the one eating your kale, not the damn bunnies.

[caption id="attachment_4827" align="aligncenter" width="520"] This year's squash starts.  Notice how plump and healthy they look compared to last year![/caption] PLEASE SHARE your pearls of wisdom for home gardening!  I look forward to a more productive year than last, but there is still much learning to be had...

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(35) "5 Mistakes of a First Time Gardener" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(228) "Learn how to avoid home gardening mistakes! Last year I attempted my first ever home vegetable garden. There is definitely a learning curve, especially for Vermont's short growing season, and I learned some valuable lessons..." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(35) "5-mistakes-of-a-first-time-gardener" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(50) " https://diyprojects.com/pinterest-fails-make-day/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:15:29" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 18:15:29" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4813" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#368 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4856) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-17 10:45:54" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-17 14:45:54" ["post_content"]=> string(3712) "[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/First-time-in-poolTrim.mp4"][/video] It's mildly self-inflating to describe myself as an "urban farmer..." but my husband and I have a pretty legitimate operation in the works.  I am growing 19 different fruits and vegetables, 17 of which were started from seed!  We recently adopted 6 darling ducklings, soon to be egg-laying machines.  We also have two terrariums setup as mealworm farms to raise fodder for our ducks. We are rewarded with small, sometimes unexpected, joys from our facilitation of, and participation in, the circle of life. In no particular order:
  1. The first beetle: mealworms are kind of gross...they aren't slimy, but they're squirmy and wiggly, and look too grubby to not be kind of yucky.  But, they are a great source of protein (for the ducks!) and very easy to raise.  They hatch as a worm, shed a few times, turn into a pupae, transform into a beetle, and the beetles lay eggs.  When I got my first pupae, and then my first beetle, I was surprisingly proud!  Who knew something so gross could be so rewarding?!  The best resource I found for mealworm farming is The Happy Chicken Coop.
  2. Pool parties: I have found my after work zen.  I take our girls to their pool, post up in a lawn chair, and watch - seriously, soooooooooo good.
  3. Ducklings are like drunk humans: they hilariously lack physical awareness.  They are constantly moving, either by choice or because they are falling over.[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/Clumsy-trim.mp4"][/video]
  4. The birds and the bees: last year I was horrified when my first squash blossoms died without producing any fruit...I had clearly forgotten everything I learned about flower genders in Biology 101.  This morning I saw my first squash blossom of the year - it's a boy!
  5. Grandmom's pride: my brother and I both don't have children (not yet!).  For a long time we didn't even have pets.  Now I have 6 little entertainers.  Here's a text from my mom after I sent her a duck video: "I LOVE them. My grand ducks <3"
  6. Starting or ending a business meeting with cute duckling videos: enough said!
  7. Pet fish = so American: one of my co-workers from India recently became a US Citizen, and she's never had a pet fish.  For her "welcome to America!" gift, we bought her a beta fish for her desk.  She thinks it's so American. American kids walk around with pet fish in a plastic bag, something that apparently doesn't happen in India.  The office has a new mascot, and his name is Fred.  Not quite farm material, but you get the idea...
Basically, nature rocks! Share your favorite nature photos, videos, and stories in the comments below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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Kind of like telling me Brussels sprouts were mini cabbages so I'd try them as a kid!" 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Corrie" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(6) "208674" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "1" ["children:protected"]=> array(0) { } ["populated_children:protected"]=> bool(true) ["post_fields:protected"]=> array(21) { [0]=> string(11) "post_author" [1]=> string(9) "post_date" [2]=> string(13) "post_date_gmt" [3]=> string(12) "post_content" [4]=> string(10) "post_title" [5]=> string(12) "post_excerpt" [6]=> string(11) "post_status" [7]=> string(14) "comment_status" [8]=> string(11) "ping_status" [9]=> string(9) "post_name" [10]=> string(7) "to_ping" [11]=> string(6) "pinged" [12]=> string(13) "post_modified" [13]=> string(17) "post_modified_gmt" [14]=> string(21) "post_content_filtered" [15]=> string(11) "post_parent" [16]=> string(4) "guid" [17]=> string(10) "menu_order" [18]=> string(9) "post_type" [19]=> string(14) "post_mime_type" [20]=> string(13) "comment_count" } } } ["comments_by_type"]=> array(4) { ["comment"]=> array(4) { [0]=> &object(WP_Comment)#1028 (18) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208668" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4873" ["comment_author"]=> string(13) "Kellie Kutkey" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(20) "kutkey@integrity.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(14) "71.193.216.185" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 11:53:39" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 15:53:39" ["comment_content"]=> string(118) "I wonder if dad would try this? 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Kind of like telling me Brussels sprouts were mini cabbages so I'd try them as a kid!" 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4 responses to “Seven joys of urban farming”

  1. Niki Glanz says:

    Bronwyn,
    Congrats on your and your husband’s incredible step into the world of yes, urban farming. Your practices obviously reflect lots of research and thought. Now for the experimentation phase. Wishing you great results and fun in the process,
    Niki Glanz

    • Bronwyn says:

      Hello Niki,
      Thank you for the kind and encouraging comments. We are very proud of what we’ve started, and we have learned from our mishaps along the way.
      THANK YOU!

  2. Kellie Kutkey says:

    Omg, they are SO MUCH like little drunks! Have they navigated the ramp up to their house yet?
    Here’s a pic for you:
    (Trying to upload. . . . Failing . . . )
    Dang it! I’ll keep trying.
    Love you!

  3. Kellie Kutkey says:

    (I put it in a message to you in your Instagram . . . )

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Wild and Untamed

Say it out loud, “The Northeast Kingdom.”  It sounds wild and untamed.  The Kingdom is a year-round outdoor mecca, with mountain biking, hiking, leaf-peeping, and skiing.  For an interesting perspective on what, if anything, makes NEK different from the rest of Vermont, check out this VPR clip.

I recently made NEK my destination to mountain bike the world renowned Kingdom Trails.  Just under two hours from Burlington, the drive rewards you with expansive views of rolling hills and picturesque farmland.  Akin to a sunset or the ocean, the visual effect is only fully appreciated in person – it is impossible to take a photo that effectively captures the essence of the place.

For my most recent adventure, after a long day of hammering the trails, I treated myself to dinner at Juniper’s Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn. From reading the reviews, I got the impression that Juniper’s is a refined establishment, so I called beforehand to make sure it was OK that I show up trail-weathered.  I didn’t realize how weathered I was until I caught sight of my mud-splattered reflection in the bathroom mirror…but I’m sure they’ve seen worse! The Inn is located right on the trail system.

I started my meal with an AH-MAZING brussels sprouts salad.  The preparation was so well done, it would change the heart of even the most staunch brussels sprouts critic: thinly sliced and cooked until crispy, then tossed with pine nuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.  YUM!  For dinner, I ordered pan-seared scallops, which were tasty, but nothing to write home about.  They were served with garlic mashed potatoes and fiddleheads, which were the stars of the entree.

But really, the best thing about Juniper’s, is their location.  Seated atop one of the many hilly undulations, their back patio features a spectacular west-facing view, perfect for watching the sun go down while digesting a tasty meal after a day of adventuring.  I have no intention of turning this into a travel ad, but if you are looking for a getaway, this is an excellent escape.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

Posted: 6-3-2018

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I revel in the simply pleasures of being a duck-momma.  It's amazing how quickly our six little ducklings grew into full-feathered birds; and their personalities grew up right with them!  If you're a reader like I am, you'll appreciate my inspiration.

Meet the girls!

Daenerys

If you've read or watched Game of Thrones, you know that Daenerys is a respected leader.  True to her name, my Daenerys is top of the pecking order.  She's curious and forward, cautious but unafraid.  Any and all activities begin at her instigation: swimming, eating, drinking, foraging, you name it!

Kitty

While all the others loudly quack and squawk, Kitty squeaks, all the time, even while eating.  She is otherwise quiet, timid, and 100% unoriginal in her decision-making.  

Cersei

Yes, another GOT reference.  When we first got our girls, I was tempted to name them all after female characters from the series...but their quirks have inspired alternatives.  While just little ducklings, Cersei appeared to be the leader. But in reality, she's simply an independent, minor troublemaker.  Their first time outdside, Cersei led Kitty out of the pool and into the yard.  They were freaked out and separated from the others.  I had to scare the poor things by chasing them around the yard to get them contained again.

Fardi

How do you make the name Ferdinand more feminine?  You can't really...thus we have Fardi.  Fardi is mellow and lackadaisical; not a leader or a follower.  While the others forage, she lays next to their water, sipping casually.  She's affectionately named after Ferdinand the Bull.

Amelia

Another children's book reference: Amelia Bedelia.  If you've ever read these stories, you know that Amelia is good-natured but clumsy.  Case in point - all the other ducks quickly learned how to get into their pool.  Poor Amelia struggled, clearly agitated by the success of her fellow flock (see video below).  When herding them into their pen at night, Amelia often misses the gate and runs into the fence.  Her lack of coordination leaves her easily flustered; in her photo, she's not quacking...she trying to shake off the cotton seeds stuck to her bill. *sigh*

Duck

Ever watched Breakfast at Tiffany's?  Inspired by Holly Golightly's no-named cat, meet Duck.  She's unoriginal - a true follower.  Her lack of individuality has not earned her a real name, though we are no less affectionate toward her. In a few short weeks, these lovely ladies will do more than just entertain us.  They will be laying eggs very soon! Eaten duck eggs before? Have any recipe suggestions? *How embarrassing! I spelled Daenerys wrong with my original post...it's corrected now! Until next time, Corrie Austin " ["post_title"]=> string(13) "Meet My Flock" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(13) "meet-my-flock" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-08-05 14:02:33" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-08-05 18:02:33" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4898" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#371 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4873) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 09:00:55" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 13:00:55" ["post_content"]=> string(3676) " Having never tasted rhubarb outside of a strawberry rhubarb pie, I was clueless as to how it tasted.  Admittedly, I didn't even know what it even looked like until recently.  A peer at work has scads of it and was happy to share.  As a lover of new foods and food experiments, I was excited to have a new ingredient in my kitchen! Googling "rhubarb recipe" produces almost nothing but desserts: tarts, crumbles, pies, and crisps.  As a non-dessert-eater, I was eager to find a more creative preparation.  Not only are most rhubarb recipes for dessert, they almost all require the oven.  In a heat wave, the last thing I want to do is have my oven on for 45 min!   This recipe is sure to please and easy to make.  Take it to your next summer gathering!  It is a true celebration of the flavor of late spring/early summer using fresh strawberries, rhubarb, and cilantro. Ever heard of the "dirty dozen?"  It's a list of the dirtiest conventional produce and is distributed every year by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  Strawberries have topped the dirty dozen list for THREE years in a row!  This makes them the dirtiest of the dirty (ie: most pesticides).  I highly recommend buying organic strawberries.  If you're anything like me, you get crippled by decisions at the store: organic vs. local vs. non-gmo vs. ecologically-grown...the list goes on and on.  I use the dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists to help make my shopping decisions.  Save them in the notes on your phone for quick reference while at the store. Follow this link for the recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Salsa.  Eat it as a topping on anything: meat, chips, omelettes, seafood, or even just out of the jar with a spoon - yes! it's that tasty!  I served mine with wild-caught Atlantic cod over a bed of garden-fresh kale and avocado.  YUM! Until next time, Corrie Austin ***I fed the strawberry tops to my ducklings - it was their first time eating something that wasn't crumbles from the farm store.  Watch the video HERE!" ["post_title"]=> string(20) "Summer Crowd Pleaser" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(153) "Strawberry Rhubarb Salsa recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It's simple to prepare, no fancy ingredients, and pairs great with pretty much anything! " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(20) "summer-crowd-pleaser" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(69) " http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/recipes/strawberry-rhubarb-salsa/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 09:06:18" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-07-01 13:06:18" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4873" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#368 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4856) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-17 10:45:54" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-17 14:45:54" ["post_content"]=> string(3712) "[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/First-time-in-poolTrim.mp4"][/video] It's mildly self-inflating to describe myself as an "urban farmer..." but my husband and I have a pretty legitimate operation in the works.  I am growing 19 different fruits and vegetables, 17 of which were started from seed!  We recently adopted 6 darling ducklings, soon to be egg-laying machines.  We also have two terrariums setup as mealworm farms to raise fodder for our ducks. We are rewarded with small, sometimes unexpected, joys from our facilitation of, and participation in, the circle of life. In no particular order:
  1. The first beetle: mealworms are kind of gross...they aren't slimy, but they're squirmy and wiggly, and look too grubby to not be kind of yucky.  But, they are a great source of protein (for the ducks!) and very easy to raise.  They hatch as a worm, shed a few times, turn into a pupae, transform into a beetle, and the beetles lay eggs.  When I got my first pupae, and then my first beetle, I was surprisingly proud!  Who knew something so gross could be so rewarding?!  The best resource I found for mealworm farming is The Happy Chicken Coop.
  2. Pool parties: I have found my after work zen.  I take our girls to their pool, post up in a lawn chair, and watch - seriously, soooooooooo good.
  3. Ducklings are like drunk humans: they hilariously lack physical awareness.  They are constantly moving, either by choice or because they are falling over.[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/Clumsy-trim.mp4"][/video]
  4. The birds and the bees: last year I was horrified when my first squash blossoms died without producing any fruit...I had clearly forgotten everything I learned about flower genders in Biology 101.  This morning I saw my first squash blossom of the year - it's a boy!
  5. Grandmom's pride: my brother and I both don't have children (not yet!).  For a long time we didn't even have pets.  Now I have 6 little entertainers.  Here's a text from my mom after I sent her a duck video: "I LOVE them. My grand ducks <3"
  6. Starting or ending a business meeting with cute duckling videos: enough said!
  7. Pet fish = so American: one of my co-workers from India recently became a US Citizen, and she's never had a pet fish.  For her "welcome to America!" gift, we bought her a beta fish for her desk.  She thinks it's so American. American kids walk around with pet fish in a plastic bag, something that apparently doesn't happen in India.  The office has a new mascot, and his name is Fred.  Not quite farm material, but you get the idea...
Basically, nature rocks! Share your favorite nature photos, videos, and stories in the comments below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(27) "Seven joys of urban farming" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(27) "seven-joys-of-urban-farming" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 07:50:00" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 11:50:00" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4856" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#367 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4840) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:30:19" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:30:19" ["post_content"]=> string(3682) " Say it out loud, "The Northeast Kingdom."  It sounds wild and untamed.  The Kingdom is a year-round outdoor mecca, with mountain biking, hiking, leaf-peeping, and skiing.  For an interesting perspective on what, if anything, makes NEK different from the rest of Vermont, check out this VPR clip. I recently made NEK my destination to mountain bike the world renowned Kingdom Trails.  Just under two hours from Burlington, the drive rewards you with expansive views of rolling hills and picturesque farmland.  Akin to a sunset or the ocean, the visual effect is only fully appreciated in person - it is impossible to take a photo that effectively captures the essence of the place. For my most recent adventure, after a long day of hammering the trails, I treated myself to dinner at Juniper's Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn. From reading the reviews, I got the impression that Juniper's is a refined establishment, so I called beforehand to make sure it was OK that I show up trail-weathered.  I didn't realize how weathered I was until I caught sight of my mud-splattered reflection in the bathroom mirror...but I'm sure they've seen worse! The Inn is located right on the trail system. I started my meal with an AH-MAZING brussels sprouts salad.  The preparation was so well done, it would change the heart of even the most staunch brussels sprouts critic: thinly sliced and cooked until crispy, then tossed with pine nuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.  YUM!  For dinner, I ordered pan-seared scallops, which were tasty, but nothing to write home about.  They were served with garlic mashed potatoes and fiddleheads, which were the stars of the entree. But really, the best thing about Juniper's, is their location.  Seated atop one of the many hilly undulations, their back patio features a spectacular west-facing view, perfect for watching the sun go down while digesting a tasty meal after a day of adventuring.  I have no intention of turning this into a travel ad, but if you are looking for a getaway, this is an excellent escape.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(16) "Wild and Untamed" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(236) "In need of a vacation, I took a weekend to escape to the wild and beautiful Northeast Kingdom. It is calm in the way only rural areas can be, while also offering adrenaline-fueled mountain bike trails and an unrivaled bike community. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(16) "wild-and-untamed" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:36:37" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:36:37" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4840" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#281 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4813) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 10:45:32" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:45:32" ["post_content"]=> string(6275) "As a beginner gardener, I accept (somewhat grudgingly...my type-A personality gets in the way of 100% graciously accepting my errs) that I will not do everything right the first time.  However, I embrace challenges - so bring it on! 2018 marks year two of my life as a home gardener.  I learned some valuable lessons last year.  After a slow start, and purchasing some starts instead of seeds, I had a (mostly) productive garden.  This year will be even better! Namely because I won't repeat my five biggest beginner mistakes from last year... 1. Smothered with love Every morning and evening, ever so lovingly, I watered my seedlings.  I was sure to keep their soil moist at all times, just like the seed packets and online articles said.  Naively, I carried this same diligence to my garden beds!  Halfway through the summer, my beautiful, healthy squash started to rot right on the vine. With some googling, I diagnosed my problem as root rot - this happens when the environment around the roots stays too wet and doesn't get enough oxygen, developing a fungus which causes droopy leaves and rotting fruits.  Even though I had raised beds, the densely rich compost did not drain well.  We had a fairly rainy summer, and I was still out there watering every day and night...oops!

The fix: Assure proper drainage - add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your raised garden bed and avoid planting in low areas where water will collect and hold.

2. Helicopter mom Thinking the protected, heated, and well-lit indoor environment would be best for all my plant starts, I started my lettuce indoors.  I planted them next to the heater, put them under grow lights, and fussed over their soil moisture, all in an effort to shelter them from trying to start their lives in the harsh outdoors. Know what I raised?  Pathetic lettuce...flimsy, weak, and floppy lettuce.  They sprouted into tall, spindly starts that would tip over just by looking at them wrong.

The fix: Show some tough love and start your lettuce outside.  Let the natural forces of wind and rain force the lettuce starts to be hardier and sturdier than their sheltered counterparts.

[caption id="attachment_4825" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Last year's squash starts using egg crates[/caption] 3. Pinterest is pretty, not practical I'm pretty sure everyone has a story about seeing something cute on Pinterest, then failing miserably in an attempt to re-create it (check out this link for funny Pinterest fails!).  My Pinterest fail was using egg crates to start my seedlings.  In theory - it sounds perfect - they can be transplanted straight into the garden, egg cup and all!  In reality, my plants all germinated as expected, then almost immediately wilted and died.

The fix: Don't plant in egg crates!  My theory is they do not hold enough soil to provide nutrients after germination.  I also think they may have been treated or exposed to something that harmed the plants...but these are just theories.  Simply put, don't start in egg crates.

4. Give the carrots a break Literally!  Last year, I filled my raised beds with rich compost from a local dairy farmer.  It was wonderfully nutrient dense, but also, very dense.  My carrot-tops were vibrant and feathery, and when it came time to harvest, I chose the fattest looking carrots I could find.  They were the shortest, stumpiest little carrots I've ever seen.  Apparently, girth is not indicative of length.

The fix: To be fair, I have not yet been able to prove out my solution this year yet, but based on garden advise from family (and the internet!), I mixed my compost with sand and perlite.  The goal is to aerates the soil, giving the carrots some space to push through and grow nice and long.

5. Bunnies are cute, but they're pests I completely underestimated the damage a single little cottontail can do to a bed of kale.  I transplanted my kale and figured I could wait a day or two to put up a pest barrier...WRONG!  So wrong...Literally that night, a hungry bunny ate the tops of every plant!  I had to start over with seed on all except one plant that had a couple leaves left and held onto life like a champ.

The fix: Be diligent with your pest barriers!  I use mesh wildlife netting supported by 2x2 posts.  Definitely diminishes the appearance, but you'll be glad YOU are the one eating your kale, not the damn bunnies.

[caption id="attachment_4827" align="aligncenter" width="520"] This year's squash starts.  Notice how plump and healthy they look compared to last year![/caption] PLEASE SHARE your pearls of wisdom for home gardening!  I look forward to a more productive year than last, but there is still much learning to be had...

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(35) "5 Mistakes of a First Time Gardener" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(228) "Learn how to avoid home gardening mistakes! Last year I attempted my first ever home vegetable garden. There is definitely a learning curve, especially for Vermont's short growing season, and I learned some valuable lessons..." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(35) "5-mistakes-of-a-first-time-gardener" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(50) " https://diyprojects.com/pinterest-fails-make-day/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:15:29" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 18:15:29" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4813" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#367 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4840) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:30:19" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:30:19" ["post_content"]=> string(3682) " Say it out loud, "The Northeast Kingdom."  It sounds wild and untamed.  The Kingdom is a year-round outdoor mecca, with mountain biking, hiking, leaf-peeping, and skiing.  For an interesting perspective on what, if anything, makes NEK different from the rest of Vermont, check out this VPR clip. I recently made NEK my destination to mountain bike the world renowned Kingdom Trails.  Just under two hours from Burlington, the drive rewards you with expansive views of rolling hills and picturesque farmland.  Akin to a sunset or the ocean, the visual effect is only fully appreciated in person - it is impossible to take a photo that effectively captures the essence of the place. For my most recent adventure, after a long day of hammering the trails, I treated myself to dinner at Juniper's Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn. From reading the reviews, I got the impression that Juniper's is a refined establishment, so I called beforehand to make sure it was OK that I show up trail-weathered.  I didn't realize how weathered I was until I caught sight of my mud-splattered reflection in the bathroom mirror...but I'm sure they've seen worse! The Inn is located right on the trail system. I started my meal with an AH-MAZING brussels sprouts salad.  The preparation was so well done, it would change the heart of even the most staunch brussels sprouts critic: thinly sliced and cooked until crispy, then tossed with pine nuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.  YUM!  For dinner, I ordered pan-seared scallops, which were tasty, but nothing to write home about.  They were served with garlic mashed potatoes and fiddleheads, which were the stars of the entree. But really, the best thing about Juniper's, is their location.  Seated atop one of the many hilly undulations, their back patio features a spectacular west-facing view, perfect for watching the sun go down while digesting a tasty meal after a day of adventuring.  I have no intention of turning this into a travel ad, but if you are looking for a getaway, this is an excellent escape.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(16) "Wild and Untamed" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(236) "In need of a vacation, I took a weekend to escape to the wild and beautiful Northeast Kingdom. It is calm in the way only rural areas can be, while also offering adrenaline-fueled mountain bike trails and an unrivaled bike community. 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Your practices obviously reflect lots of research and thought. Now for the experimentation phase. Wishing you great results and fun in the process, Niki Glanz" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" ["children:protected"]=> array(1) { [208661]=> object(WP_Comment)#261 (18) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208661" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4856" ["comment_author"]=> string(7) "Bronwyn" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(35) "bronwyn@inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(12) "64.223.67.34" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 12:58:35" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 16:58:35" ["comment_content"]=> string(165) "Hello Niki, Thank you for the kind and encouraging comments. We are very proud of what we've started, and we have learned from our mishaps along the way. THANK YOU!" 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We are very proud of what we've started, and we have learned from our mishaps along the way. THANK YOU!" 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Have they navigated the ramp up to their house yet? Here’s a pic for you: (Trying to upload. . . . Failing . . . ) Dang it! I’ll keep trying. Love you!" 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Your practices obviously reflect lots of research and thought. Now for the experimentation phase. Wishing you great results and fun in the process, Niki Glanz" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" ["children:protected"]=> array(1) { [208661]=> object(WP_Comment)#261 (18) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208661" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4856" ["comment_author"]=> string(7) "Bronwyn" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(35) "bronwyn@inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(12) "64.223.67.34" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 12:58:35" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 16:58:35" ["comment_content"]=> string(165) "Hello Niki, Thank you for the kind and encouraging comments. We are very proud of what we've started, and we have learned from our mishaps along the way. THANK YOU!" 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We are very proud of what we've started, and we have learned from our mishaps along the way. THANK YOU!" 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Have they navigated the ramp up to their house yet? Here’s a pic for you: (Trying to upload. . . . Failing . . . ) Dang it! I’ll keep trying. Love you!" 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2 responses to “Wild and Untamed”

  1. Kellie Kutkey says:

    I want to know how the fiddleheads were!
    I think we’re too late to harvest them in the PNW, also too late for harvesting nettles, but ONE DAY!

    • Bronwyn says:

      Fiddleheads are kind of like asparagus…but less woody on the outside and maybe slightly nuttier in flavor.

      It’s a little late here, as well, so I’m not sure just where they got these…but they were tasty nonetheless!

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5 Mistakes of a First Time Gardener

As a beginner gardener, I accept (somewhat grudgingly…my type-A personality gets in the way of 100% graciously accepting my errs) that I will not do everything right the first time.  However, I embrace challenges – so bring it on!

2018 marks year two of my life as a home gardener.  I learned some valuable lessons last year.  After a slow start, and purchasing some starts instead of seeds, I had a (mostly) productive garden.  This year will be even better! Namely because I won’t repeat my five biggest beginner mistakes from last year…

1. Smothered with love

Every morning and evening, ever so lovingly, I watered my seedlings.  I was sure to keep their soil moist at all times, just like the seed packets and online articles said.  Naively, I carried this same diligence to my garden beds!  Halfway through the summer, my beautiful, healthy squash started to rot right on the vine.

With some googling, I diagnosed my problem as root rot – this happens when the environment around the roots stays too wet and doesn’t get enough oxygen, developing a fungus which causes droopy leaves and rotting fruits.  Even though I had raised beds, the densely rich compost did not drain well.  We had a fairly rainy summer, and I was still out there watering every day and night…oops!

The fix: Assure proper drainage – add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your raised garden bed and avoid planting in low areas where water will collect and hold.

2. Helicopter mom

Thinking the protected, heated, and well-lit indoor environment would be best for all my plant starts, I started my lettuce indoors.  I planted them next to the heater, put them under grow lights, and fussed over their soil moisture, all in an effort to shelter them from trying to start their lives in the harsh outdoors.

Know what I raised?  Pathetic lettuce…flimsy, weak, and floppy lettuce.  They sprouted into tall, spindly starts that would tip over just by looking at them wrong.

The fix: Show some tough love and start your lettuce outside.  Let the natural forces of wind and rain force the lettuce starts to be hardier and sturdier than their sheltered counterparts.

Last year’s squash starts using egg crates

3. Pinterest is pretty, not practical

I’m pretty sure everyone has a story about seeing something cute on Pinterest, then failing miserably in an attempt to re-create it (check out this link for funny Pinterest fails!).  My Pinterest fail was using egg crates to start my seedlings.  In theory – it sounds perfect – they can be transplanted straight into the garden, egg cup and all!  In reality, my plants all germinated as expected, then almost immediately wilted and died.

The fix: Don’t plant in egg crates!  My theory is they do not hold enough soil to provide nutrients after germination.  I also think they may have been treated or exposed to something that harmed the plants…but these are just theories.  Simply put, don’t start in egg crates.

4. Give the carrots a break

Literally!  Last year, I filled my raised beds with rich compost from a local dairy farmer.  It was wonderfully nutrient dense, but also, very dense.  My carrot-tops were vibrant and feathery, and when it came time to harvest, I chose the fattest looking carrots I could find.  They were the shortest, stumpiest little carrots I’ve ever seen.  Apparently, girth is not indicative of length.

The fix: To be fair, I have not yet been able to prove out my solution this year yet, but based on garden advise from family (and the internet!), I mixed my compost with sand and perlite.  The goal is to aerates the soil, giving the carrots some space to push through and grow nice and long.

5. Bunnies are cute, but they’re pests

I completely underestimated the damage a single little cottontail can do to a bed of kale.  I transplanted my kale and figured I could wait a day or two to put up a pest barrier…WRONG!  So wrong…Literally that night, a hungry bunny ate the tops of every plant!  I had to start over with seed on all except one plant that had a couple leaves left and held onto life like a champ.

The fix: Be diligent with your pest barriers!  I use mesh wildlife netting supported by 2×2 posts.  Definitely diminishes the appearance, but you’ll be glad YOU are the one eating your kale, not the damn bunnies.

This year’s squash starts.  Notice how plump and healthy they look compared to last year!

PLEASE SHARE your pearls of wisdom for home gardening!  I look forward to a more productive year than last, but there is still much learning to be had…

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

Posted: 5-13-2018

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I revel in the simply pleasures of being a duck-momma.  It's amazing how quickly our six little ducklings grew into full-feathered birds; and their personalities grew up right with them!  If you're a reader like I am, you'll appreciate my inspiration.

Meet the girls!

Daenerys

If you've read or watched Game of Thrones, you know that Daenerys is a respected leader.  True to her name, my Daenerys is top of the pecking order.  She's curious and forward, cautious but unafraid.  Any and all activities begin at her instigation: swimming, eating, drinking, foraging, you name it!

Kitty

While all the others loudly quack and squawk, Kitty squeaks, all the time, even while eating.  She is otherwise quiet, timid, and 100% unoriginal in her decision-making.  

Cersei

Yes, another GOT reference.  When we first got our girls, I was tempted to name them all after female characters from the series...but their quirks have inspired alternatives.  While just little ducklings, Cersei appeared to be the leader. But in reality, she's simply an independent, minor troublemaker.  Their first time outdside, Cersei led Kitty out of the pool and into the yard.  They were freaked out and separated from the others.  I had to scare the poor things by chasing them around the yard to get them contained again.

Fardi

How do you make the name Ferdinand more feminine?  You can't really...thus we have Fardi.  Fardi is mellow and lackadaisical; not a leader or a follower.  While the others forage, she lays next to their water, sipping casually.  She's affectionately named after Ferdinand the Bull.

Amelia

Another children's book reference: Amelia Bedelia.  If you've ever read these stories, you know that Amelia is good-natured but clumsy.  Case in point - all the other ducks quickly learned how to get into their pool.  Poor Amelia struggled, clearly agitated by the success of her fellow flock (see video below).  When herding them into their pen at night, Amelia often misses the gate and runs into the fence.  Her lack of coordination leaves her easily flustered; in her photo, she's not quacking...she trying to shake off the cotton seeds stuck to her bill. *sigh*

Duck

Ever watched Breakfast at Tiffany's?  Inspired by Holly Golightly's no-named cat, meet Duck.  She's unoriginal - a true follower.  Her lack of individuality has not earned her a real name, though we are no less affectionate toward her. In a few short weeks, these lovely ladies will do more than just entertain us.  They will be laying eggs very soon! Eaten duck eggs before? Have any recipe suggestions? *How embarrassing! I spelled Daenerys wrong with my original post...it's corrected now! 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Googling "rhubarb recipe" produces almost nothing but desserts: tarts, crumbles, pies, and crisps.  As a non-dessert-eater, I was eager to find a more creative preparation.  Not only are most rhubarb recipes for dessert, they almost all require the oven.  In a heat wave, the last thing I want to do is have my oven on for 45 min!   This recipe is sure to please and easy to make.  Take it to your next summer gathering!  It is a true celebration of the flavor of late spring/early summer using fresh strawberries, rhubarb, and cilantro. Ever heard of the "dirty dozen?"  It's a list of the dirtiest conventional produce and is distributed every year by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  Strawberries have topped the dirty dozen list for THREE years in a row!  This makes them the dirtiest of the dirty (ie: most pesticides).  I highly recommend buying organic strawberries.  If you're anything like me, you get crippled by decisions at the store: organic vs. local vs. non-gmo vs. ecologically-grown...the list goes on and on.  I use the dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists to help make my shopping decisions.  Save them in the notes on your phone for quick reference while at the store. Follow this link for the recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Salsa.  Eat it as a topping on anything: meat, chips, omelettes, seafood, or even just out of the jar with a spoon - yes! it's that tasty!  I served mine with wild-caught Atlantic cod over a bed of garden-fresh kale and avocado.  YUM! Until next time, Corrie Austin ***I fed the strawberry tops to my ducklings - it was their first time eating something that wasn't crumbles from the farm store.  Watch the video HERE!" ["post_title"]=> string(20) "Summer Crowd Pleaser" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(153) "Strawberry Rhubarb Salsa recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It's simple to prepare, no fancy ingredients, and pairs great with pretty much anything! 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We are rewarded with small, sometimes unexpected, joys from our facilitation of, and participation in, the circle of life. In no particular order:
  1. The first beetle: mealworms are kind of gross...they aren't slimy, but they're squirmy and wiggly, and look too grubby to not be kind of yucky.  But, they are a great source of protein (for the ducks!) and very easy to raise.  They hatch as a worm, shed a few times, turn into a pupae, transform into a beetle, and the beetles lay eggs.  When I got my first pupae, and then my first beetle, I was surprisingly proud!  Who knew something so gross could be so rewarding?!  The best resource I found for mealworm farming is The Happy Chicken Coop.
  2. Pool parties: I have found my after work zen.  I take our girls to their pool, post up in a lawn chair, and watch - seriously, soooooooooo good.
  3. Ducklings are like drunk humans: they hilariously lack physical awareness.  They are constantly moving, either by choice or because they are falling over.[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/Clumsy-trim.mp4"][/video]
  4. The birds and the bees: last year I was horrified when my first squash blossoms died without producing any fruit...I had clearly forgotten everything I learned about flower genders in Biology 101.  This morning I saw my first squash blossom of the year - it's a boy!
  5. Grandmom's pride: my brother and I both don't have children (not yet!).  For a long time we didn't even have pets.  Now I have 6 little entertainers.  Here's a text from my mom after I sent her a duck video: "I LOVE them. My grand ducks <3"
  6. Starting or ending a business meeting with cute duckling videos: enough said!
  7. Pet fish = so American: one of my co-workers from India recently became a US Citizen, and she's never had a pet fish.  For her "welcome to America!" gift, we bought her a beta fish for her desk.  She thinks it's so American. American kids walk around with pet fish in a plastic bag, something that apparently doesn't happen in India.  The office has a new mascot, and his name is Fred.  Not quite farm material, but you get the idea...
Basically, nature rocks! Share your favorite nature photos, videos, and stories in the comments below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(27) "Seven joys of urban farming" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(27) "seven-joys-of-urban-farming" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 07:50:00" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 11:50:00" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4856" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#367 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4840) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:30:19" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:30:19" ["post_content"]=> string(3682) " Say it out loud, "The Northeast Kingdom."  It sounds wild and untamed.  The Kingdom is a year-round outdoor mecca, with mountain biking, hiking, leaf-peeping, and skiing.  For an interesting perspective on what, if anything, makes NEK different from the rest of Vermont, check out this VPR clip. I recently made NEK my destination to mountain bike the world renowned Kingdom Trails.  Just under two hours from Burlington, the drive rewards you with expansive views of rolling hills and picturesque farmland.  Akin to a sunset or the ocean, the visual effect is only fully appreciated in person - it is impossible to take a photo that effectively captures the essence of the place. For my most recent adventure, after a long day of hammering the trails, I treated myself to dinner at Juniper's Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn. From reading the reviews, I got the impression that Juniper's is a refined establishment, so I called beforehand to make sure it was OK that I show up trail-weathered.  I didn't realize how weathered I was until I caught sight of my mud-splattered reflection in the bathroom mirror...but I'm sure they've seen worse! The Inn is located right on the trail system. I started my meal with an AH-MAZING brussels sprouts salad.  The preparation was so well done, it would change the heart of even the most staunch brussels sprouts critic: thinly sliced and cooked until crispy, then tossed with pine nuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.  YUM!  For dinner, I ordered pan-seared scallops, which were tasty, but nothing to write home about.  They were served with garlic mashed potatoes and fiddleheads, which were the stars of the entree. But really, the best thing about Juniper's, is their location.  Seated atop one of the many hilly undulations, their back patio features a spectacular west-facing view, perfect for watching the sun go down while digesting a tasty meal after a day of adventuring.  I have no intention of turning this into a travel ad, but if you are looking for a getaway, this is an excellent escape.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(16) "Wild and Untamed" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(236) "In need of a vacation, I took a weekend to escape to the wild and beautiful Northeast Kingdom. It is calm in the way only rural areas can be, while also offering adrenaline-fueled mountain bike trails and an unrivaled bike community. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(16) "wild-and-untamed" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:36:37" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:36:37" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4840" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#281 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4813) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 10:45:32" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:45:32" ["post_content"]=> string(6275) "As a beginner gardener, I accept (somewhat grudgingly...my type-A personality gets in the way of 100% graciously accepting my errs) that I will not do everything right the first time.  However, I embrace challenges - so bring it on! 2018 marks year two of my life as a home gardener.  I learned some valuable lessons last year.  After a slow start, and purchasing some starts instead of seeds, I had a (mostly) productive garden.  This year will be even better! Namely because I won't repeat my five biggest beginner mistakes from last year... 1. Smothered with love Every morning and evening, ever so lovingly, I watered my seedlings.  I was sure to keep their soil moist at all times, just like the seed packets and online articles said.  Naively, I carried this same diligence to my garden beds!  Halfway through the summer, my beautiful, healthy squash started to rot right on the vine. With some googling, I diagnosed my problem as root rot - this happens when the environment around the roots stays too wet and doesn't get enough oxygen, developing a fungus which causes droopy leaves and rotting fruits.  Even though I had raised beds, the densely rich compost did not drain well.  We had a fairly rainy summer, and I was still out there watering every day and night...oops!

The fix: Assure proper drainage - add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your raised garden bed and avoid planting in low areas where water will collect and hold.

2. Helicopter mom Thinking the protected, heated, and well-lit indoor environment would be best for all my plant starts, I started my lettuce indoors.  I planted them next to the heater, put them under grow lights, and fussed over their soil moisture, all in an effort to shelter them from trying to start their lives in the harsh outdoors. Know what I raised?  Pathetic lettuce...flimsy, weak, and floppy lettuce.  They sprouted into tall, spindly starts that would tip over just by looking at them wrong.

The fix: Show some tough love and start your lettuce outside.  Let the natural forces of wind and rain force the lettuce starts to be hardier and sturdier than their sheltered counterparts.

[caption id="attachment_4825" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Last year's squash starts using egg crates[/caption] 3. Pinterest is pretty, not practical I'm pretty sure everyone has a story about seeing something cute on Pinterest, then failing miserably in an attempt to re-create it (check out this link for funny Pinterest fails!).  My Pinterest fail was using egg crates to start my seedlings.  In theory - it sounds perfect - they can be transplanted straight into the garden, egg cup and all!  In reality, my plants all germinated as expected, then almost immediately wilted and died.

The fix: Don't plant in egg crates!  My theory is they do not hold enough soil to provide nutrients after germination.  I also think they may have been treated or exposed to something that harmed the plants...but these are just theories.  Simply put, don't start in egg crates.

4. Give the carrots a break Literally!  Last year, I filled my raised beds with rich compost from a local dairy farmer.  It was wonderfully nutrient dense, but also, very dense.  My carrot-tops were vibrant and feathery, and when it came time to harvest, I chose the fattest looking carrots I could find.  They were the shortest, stumpiest little carrots I've ever seen.  Apparently, girth is not indicative of length.

The fix: To be fair, I have not yet been able to prove out my solution this year yet, but based on garden advise from family (and the internet!), I mixed my compost with sand and perlite.  The goal is to aerates the soil, giving the carrots some space to push through and grow nice and long.

5. Bunnies are cute, but they're pests I completely underestimated the damage a single little cottontail can do to a bed of kale.  I transplanted my kale and figured I could wait a day or two to put up a pest barrier...WRONG!  So wrong...Literally that night, a hungry bunny ate the tops of every plant!  I had to start over with seed on all except one plant that had a couple leaves left and held onto life like a champ.

The fix: Be diligent with your pest barriers!  I use mesh wildlife netting supported by 2x2 posts.  Definitely diminishes the appearance, but you'll be glad YOU are the one eating your kale, not the damn bunnies.

[caption id="attachment_4827" align="aligncenter" width="520"] This year's squash starts.  Notice how plump and healthy they look compared to last year![/caption] PLEASE SHARE your pearls of wisdom for home gardening!  I look forward to a more productive year than last, but there is still much learning to be had...

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(35) "5 Mistakes of a First Time Gardener" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(228) "Learn how to avoid home gardening mistakes! Last year I attempted my first ever home vegetable garden. There is definitely a learning curve, especially for Vermont's short growing season, and I learned some valuable lessons..." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(35) "5-mistakes-of-a-first-time-gardener" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(50) " https://diyprojects.com/pinterest-fails-make-day/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:15:29" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 18:15:29" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4813" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#281 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4813) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 10:45:32" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:45:32" ["post_content"]=> string(6275) "As a beginner gardener, I accept (somewhat grudgingly...my type-A personality gets in the way of 100% graciously accepting my errs) that I will not do everything right the first time.  However, I embrace challenges - so bring it on! 2018 marks year two of my life as a home gardener.  I learned some valuable lessons last year.  After a slow start, and purchasing some starts instead of seeds, I had a (mostly) productive garden.  This year will be even better! Namely because I won't repeat my five biggest beginner mistakes from last year... 1. Smothered with love Every morning and evening, ever so lovingly, I watered my seedlings.  I was sure to keep their soil moist at all times, just like the seed packets and online articles said.  Naively, I carried this same diligence to my garden beds!  Halfway through the summer, my beautiful, healthy squash started to rot right on the vine. With some googling, I diagnosed my problem as root rot - this happens when the environment around the roots stays too wet and doesn't get enough oxygen, developing a fungus which causes droopy leaves and rotting fruits.  Even though I had raised beds, the densely rich compost did not drain well.  We had a fairly rainy summer, and I was still out there watering every day and night...oops!

The fix: Assure proper drainage - add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your raised garden bed and avoid planting in low areas where water will collect and hold.

2. Helicopter mom Thinking the protected, heated, and well-lit indoor environment would be best for all my plant starts, I started my lettuce indoors.  I planted them next to the heater, put them under grow lights, and fussed over their soil moisture, all in an effort to shelter them from trying to start their lives in the harsh outdoors. Know what I raised?  Pathetic lettuce...flimsy, weak, and floppy lettuce.  They sprouted into tall, spindly starts that would tip over just by looking at them wrong.

The fix: Show some tough love and start your lettuce outside.  Let the natural forces of wind and rain force the lettuce starts to be hardier and sturdier than their sheltered counterparts.

[caption id="attachment_4825" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Last year's squash starts using egg crates[/caption] 3. Pinterest is pretty, not practical I'm pretty sure everyone has a story about seeing something cute on Pinterest, then failing miserably in an attempt to re-create it (check out this link for funny Pinterest fails!).  My Pinterest fail was using egg crates to start my seedlings.  In theory - it sounds perfect - they can be transplanted straight into the garden, egg cup and all!  In reality, my plants all germinated as expected, then almost immediately wilted and died.

The fix: Don't plant in egg crates!  My theory is they do not hold enough soil to provide nutrients after germination.  I also think they may have been treated or exposed to something that harmed the plants...but these are just theories.  Simply put, don't start in egg crates.

4. Give the carrots a break Literally!  Last year, I filled my raised beds with rich compost from a local dairy farmer.  It was wonderfully nutrient dense, but also, very dense.  My carrot-tops were vibrant and feathery, and when it came time to harvest, I chose the fattest looking carrots I could find.  They were the shortest, stumpiest little carrots I've ever seen.  Apparently, girth is not indicative of length.

The fix: To be fair, I have not yet been able to prove out my solution this year yet, but based on garden advise from family (and the internet!), I mixed my compost with sand and perlite.  The goal is to aerates the soil, giving the carrots some space to push through and grow nice and long.

5. Bunnies are cute, but they're pests I completely underestimated the damage a single little cottontail can do to a bed of kale.  I transplanted my kale and figured I could wait a day or two to put up a pest barrier...WRONG!  So wrong...Literally that night, a hungry bunny ate the tops of every plant!  I had to start over with seed on all except one plant that had a couple leaves left and held onto life like a champ.

The fix: Be diligent with your pest barriers!  I use mesh wildlife netting supported by 2x2 posts.  Definitely diminishes the appearance, but you'll be glad YOU are the one eating your kale, not the damn bunnies.

[caption id="attachment_4827" align="aligncenter" width="520"] This year's squash starts.  Notice how plump and healthy they look compared to last year![/caption] PLEASE SHARE your pearls of wisdom for home gardening!  I look forward to a more productive year than last, but there is still much learning to be had...

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(35) "5 Mistakes of a First Time Gardener" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(228) "Learn how to avoid home gardening mistakes! Last year I attempted my first ever home vegetable garden. There is definitely a learning curve, especially for Vermont's short growing season, and I learned some valuable lessons..." 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I think we’re too late to harvest them in the PNW, also too late for harvesting nettles, but ONE DAY!" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" ["children:protected"]=> array(1) { [208659]=> object(WP_Comment)#289 (18) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208659" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4840" ["comment_author"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(35) "bronwyn@inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(12) "64.223.67.34" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-05 15:00:33" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-05 19:00:33" ["comment_content"]=> string(222) "Fiddleheads are kind of like asparagus...but less woody on the outside and maybe slightly nuttier in flavor. It's a little late here, as well, so I'm not sure just where they got these...but they were tasty nonetheless!" 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It's a little late here, as well, so I'm not sure just where they got these...but they were tasty nonetheless!" 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I think we’re too late to harvest them in the PNW, also too late for harvesting nettles, but ONE DAY!" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" ["children:protected"]=> array(1) { [208659]=> object(WP_Comment)#289 (18) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208659" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4840" ["comment_author"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(35) "bronwyn@inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(12) "64.223.67.34" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-05 15:00:33" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-05 19:00:33" ["comment_content"]=> string(222) "Fiddleheads are kind of like asparagus...but less woody on the outside and maybe slightly nuttier in flavor. It's a little late here, as well, so I'm not sure just where they got these...but they were tasty nonetheless!" 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It's a little late here, as well, so I'm not sure just where they got these...but they were tasty nonetheless!" 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2 responses to “5 Mistakes of a First Time Gardener”

  1. You did it, again, Corrie. I learned something about vegetable gardening from your post, and I’ve been gardening for too many years to mention! Thank you for the tip on carrots, getting rid of those sweet, hungry bunnies and avoiding cute ideas on Pinterest! Another winner!!

    • Corrie Austin says:

      Hi Bronwyn,
      It’s a humbling experience, as you just have to accept some failures. I’m hoping for a better turnout than last year! Only time will tell, and I’m sure I will make at least 5 more big errors!
      See you Friday,
      Corrie

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