Here it is, the end of the first full week in January and I have been looking forward to being elbows deep in our sewing projects, but instead, it seems that the weather has turned my attention back to the fast approaching growing season.
We can not believe how many beautiful days we are having in January! The warmest day last week was about 65°, turning my mind to mailing out the seed order. The thermometer in the greenhouse was reading 80° and my fingers were itching to play in the dirt.
Last February, I started our tomato and pepper seeds in an egg incubator, which worked great. They sprouted easily and after a few more weeks in a south window, they were placed in the greenhouse. This year I'm hoping to avoid any legginess the plants may have by sprouting them directly in the greenhouse. The problem with that is that our greenhouse is not heated and the cold nights wouldn't allow for germination.
By planting seeds in individual "mini" greenhouses, I'm hoping for good results. It sure doesn't hurt to try anyway. For added measure, I buried them at least halfway in the dirt to insulate them well.
There were enough old milk cartons and seed saved from last year to plant five different varieties of tomatoes, lavender and pink coneflowers (Echinacea) so far. Since we don't buy milk from the store anymore, I've asked friends and family to keep their milk cartons for us in exchange for some of the glorious harvest later. I'll be sure to gather them throughout this year for next years use.
Have you ever harvested carrots in January? I haven't, until this week. Incredible! I've read where you can harvest certain root vegetables all winter when left in the ground, but I hadn't ever tried it. These carrots got passed over somehow (forgotten about, is more like it) in the four square located in the greenhouse. What a treat to find fresh carrots in January!
All of this "warm" weather almost caused us to pull out the barb-que grill, in fact I think my dear husband actually did, but there wasn't enough daylight left to grill some delicious, grass-fed hamburgers. We didn't let that discourage us though, the hamburgers and buns were made, and the potatoes were fried in the cast iron skillet. You can find the Hamburger Bun dough recipe HERE. Simply mix up the dough, let it rise and then pinch off balls about 2" in size. Let rise under a damp towel in a warm place again on a greased cookie sheet then bake them at 350° for maybe 20 minutes. Everyones oven is different so just keep an eye on them. The dough recipe will make many buns or several loaves of bread. Break up it however you choose.
Here again I will say that nothing tastes better than cooking something in cast iron. We eat very little fried foods, and fried potatoes is no exception to that rule, but there are times when we indulge. This was one of those times. I used a big chunk of bacon grease, sliced up some Yukon Gold potatoes, added a bit of onion, salt, pepper and Cajun Seasoning. They were incredible! Worth every last bite! Try it, you will not be sorry.
And last but not least....here is a real jewel of a local treasure for those of you in the Ozarks......
On occasion, we travel to the nearest city to run some errands. After taking care of those errands this last time, it was late afternoon and we were tired from being in town. Humbly, I asked my dear husband if we could get a bite to eat somewhere and take it home. Being the kind, gentle and caring husband that he is, he did not hesitate to say yes, so we stopped by this little BBQ place called Hog and Sauce our oldest son had highly recommended. In fact, he went on and on about it, saying it was the best bbq he'd eaten in his entire life. I was skeptical. We are extremely picky about eating restaurant bbq and have yet to find one we would return to, but I can now firmly state to all of you that it was extremely good! Not only was the food delicious, the gentleman that runs it is extremely friendly, patient and a great cook! It seems to be solely operated by a local man, which works great for us since we love to support local small businesses.
Ok, I know you are saying..."What is it?" It is called the Pita-Que. This one specifically is called The Pig Pen. And just so you know, whatever eating a Pita implies, this cannot be picked up and eaten with your hands, lol. It is full of barb-q pork, beef or chicken (your choice), topped by cole slaw and beans, all covered in their special sauce, which is the most tastiest bbq sauce I have ever tasted in my entire life. I don't usually eat beans, but I'm here to tell you, they were gone before anything else was! I cleaned them up! Well...sorry to get carried away, but it was really good and we will be returning there for sure.
Hopefully this has given you a glimpse into life on the homestead here in the Ozarks during our January "winter" this year. The chickens are out scratching away at the dirt, the sun is shining and we are in for another warm week. I think I'll go out and check to see if the seeds have sprouted yet.
Here is something to remember as you go through your week....
I love to post these different verses in front of me to remind me each day. The Lord is good and greatly to be praised at ALL times. Not an easy thing, but very rewarding. May you have a very blessed week!
You can find me linked up at: Homestead Revival, Nourishing Treasures, Growing Home, Far Above Rubies, Skip to my Lou, Penniless Parenting, Titus 2sdays, Raising Homemakers, Frugally Sustainable, Women Living Well, Raising Mighty Arrows, Deep Roots at Home, Fingerprints on the Fridge, Farm Friend Friday, Life as Mom, Farmgirl Friday