Zucchiniland

Yep, it’s that time of the year folks.  Back in the spring it was so hard to only plant one zucchini plant.  Heh, now what are you going to do?

I thought I was being restrained. I really did.  After last year’s monster zucchini I didn’t see any reason to ever plant more than one summer squash.

I had picked up some sugar pumpkin seeds this spring at the seed swap at Homegrown New Mexico thinking, “What the heidi-ho? Some pumpkin pie would be nice.”  Well my friends, squash are infamous for being a little naive and a bit loose.   Clearly some some bees took last year’s pumpkin and a willing zucchini out for a few too many drinks because the love child of that tryst created a plant that makes the biggest baddest squash you’ve ever seen!

zumpkins 

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2nd Annual Kitchen Garden and Coop Tour

chicken-and-garden-graphic-small

Does your town have a chicken coop tour?  I love that they are becoming all the rage.  People are embracing the idea of backyard chickendry as the norm rather than something their eccentric neighbor does.  My friend Doug  just emailed us this article on how the crazy nutty folks in Davis, CA do their coop tour.

This Sunday, July 29th from 9am-2pm Homegrown New Mexico and Edible Santa Fe are presenting this year’s event showcasing seven gardens and coops.  It’s not too late to check out these exceptional properties and get some inspiration.  You can just show up and buy tickets on the spot.  All proceeds go to keeping Homegrown New Mexico’s classes free!   Last year we were out of town and missed it, darn it (stamping feet) but this year we will be there.

What?  What’s that you asked?  Why aren’t we on the tour? Well, we live outside of Santa Fe city limits.  We’d be the firefly ship on the outerboundries.  We are helping out as the camera crew though so we hope to see your smiling faces along the tour!

Does your town have a coop tour?  I’d love to hear about it!!  If you do have one link it in the comments or email us.

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Battery Indicator = Charged

We said we’d be gone a couple weeks.  It’s been a month and we’re leaving on Thursday for a vacation.  Oh nuts!  We’d better put something up before y’all figure we’ve given up the ghost (at least bloggingly).

We're back!

Molly:Weeee’re BaAAAack Peeps!!

Mike: That’s right! We needed some time to get some perspective on what we’re doing here at Mike and Molly’s House in internetland but we’re back with a sackful of stuff to share with you guys.

We both really like what we’ve created and love the feedback we keep getting from the community of like minded people that we’ve discovered through blogging and going out into the world as “Mike and Molly”.  It truly has changed our lives for the better (much better… a heartfelt thanks everyone).  We’re also realizing that full time blogging as an income plan is probably not all that realistic.

Pistol & Dumpling (in unison): Told you so!

Mike & Molly: Dang it!

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The Great Compost Shuffle

Around here if it rots it goes into the compost pile.  That includes chicken parts when we’re processing the meat chickens.  Hold on! All the gardening books insist that you can’t compost meat.  Well, you can.  Everything rots and given enough time and the proper conditions it turns into nice black humus.  Nature is very efficient and you can really see it in action in a compost pile.  We let our chicken compost go for two years so that the microbes have a nice long time to do their work.  In the end, aside from an occasional bone, we end up with great compost.

There is a caveat though.  Chicken guts don’t smell the best for the first couple of weeks as they are rotting.  In fact (big surprise) rotting chicken guts are really smelly!  We do our best to minimize the smell mixing lots of straw and other high carbon materials in to help combine with the nitrogen rich chicken parts.  After the first couple weeks the smell dies down but as we’ve increased our batches of chickens from 25 to 50 though it’s gotten pretty stinky around the compost piles.

Old compost piles » » »

Strawbale Gardening

I came across strawbale gardening last year but it was too late in the season to try it so it went on the back burner and waited for this year.  The idea is simple.  Put some dirt (about4″) on top of a straw bale, stick a plant in it and let it grow.  The dirt supplies the nutrients and the strawbale acts as a giant sponge holding and supplying water.  It also breaks down over the course of the season and supplies some nutrients as well.  Supposedly you can get two seasons out of a bale.  When it is spent you just compost it!

Strawbales » » »

‘The’ Chocolate Cupcake of Chocolate Cupcakes

I think one thing I make clear around here is that I am a lover of  baked goods.  My second love is chocolate.  That said, I don’t eat cake all that much. It’s a little to heavy for me so I hold eating cake to special occassions.  I’m a cake snob; I will pass over a cheap grocery store sheet cake at a graduation event.  I do this with ice cream too.

Mike: Not me, I can’t help it.  Even when I know it will be bad I’m still lining up for a piece of crappy cake.  It’s been happening a lot lately as we reach the end of the school year.

I love making cupcakes.  They are just a small piece of cake.  I can make a batch and toss them in the freezer (yes, icing and all) and have one when I get a hankering.  My all time favorite cupcake is this recipe I came across in America’s Test Kitchen years ago and have been tinkering with ever since.  The cake is moist and doesn’t crumble.  When you take a bite the frosting is light and fluffy then suddenly you discover a dense chocolaty surprise of a spot of ganache in the middle.  You don’t eat this cupcake, you experience it!

A chocola-tie experience!

A chocola-tie experience!

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Show and Tell @ Mike and Molly’s House | Boxcar Farm

Farm to table is a popular meme these days.  It evokes all sorts of romantic notions of land stewardship, organic foods and right living.  It lets those who would like to participate in this vision without actually farming themselves close the loop by buying from small local farmers at the farmer’s market or eating at restaurants that carry local food.

boxcar

The boxcar of Boxcar Farm

I got to briefly meet some people last week who are right smack dab at the origin of the cycle.  Kristen and Avrum Katz are the proprietors of Boxcar Farm up in Peñasco, New Mexico and by up I mean 8,000 feet up in the air.  Their high mountain farm picks up more moisture which allows them to do more growing with less irrigation.  I have to admit I was more than a little jealous of their lush pastures although I know they endure some harsh winters in the bargain. » » »

Spring Fever = Terracing

Every year around this time I seem to get waylaid by projects I wasn’t expecting.  This year it started innocently enough.  It was high time to deal with the north side of the yard.  We had some terraced garden beds that had always been neglected.  They had a few hardy succulents hanging on from the last owner but mostly just collected leaves.

North side bed

This bed extended almost all the way to the fence.  It was impossible to get through with a wheelbarrow. » » »

How to Make a Dirt Sifter

After putting up the post on making raised beds I realized I should probably go a little more in-depth on the dirt sifter since it’s a vital part of my gardening routine.  If your dirt is in need of as much amendment as mine you’ll be doing a fair amount of sifting too.  If not, well lucky you.

My sifter was scrapped together in an afternoon.  Even though it’s not real easy on the eye it functions quite well.  I’ve put thousands of pounds of dirt through it and it’s still holding up.

The Base

Sifter Base » » »

Show and Tell at Mike and Molly’s House | Movie Time!

This past weekend Mike and I serendipitously created our own film festival.  We are not huge movie buffs nor do we get out a lot but after this weekend we questioned why we are not big movie buffs and why we don’t go out more!  What we saw inspired us and kept us talking the entire weekend.  Since Monday is about inspriration we thought it was apropos to share what got us going…. » » »