Monday, May 28, 2012

Garlic Harvesting and Curing

We harvested our first ever garlic crop this past week!

We have been growing this garlic since last fall. Although the garlic heads turned out to be smaller than we had hoped, I am still super excited to at least have some home-grown garlic to cook with. Mmmm....

After harvesting, it is important to dry or cure the garlic so that it will last for several months. We hung the garlic up for a few days to dry first keeping the stems on the bulbs, then I very gently cleaned as much dirt off as I could and trimmed with end roots from each bulb.

After this was done we decided the best place that was cool and dry enough to cure it for 3-4 weeks would be our home office with the ceiling fan going. We thought about hanging it out on the screened in porch for ventilation, but decided temperature may get a little too hot. After the garlic is thoroughly dry and the outer skin wrinkled, you can braid the garlic using the stems. We hope to hang our garlic braid up in the pantry or somewhere else in our kitchen to pluck off cloves as we need them to use the rest of the year.

Also, did you know that the long green stems or "leaves" of the garlic bulb can actually be harvested  and eaten rather than discarded? They have a delicious flavor, almost similar to a green onion but with a strong garlicky punch.

We sampled the green tops with a few of our garlic plants early on before they began to turn brown and the leaves work well in dishes like salads, sauteed with onions for meats or in stir fry, or diced and used as a garnish. It is surprisingly very yummy!

Has anyone else tried this before?

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Depression-Era "Live at Home" Program: A Revival?

During the Great Depression in North Carolina, Governor O. Max Gardner established the "Live at Home" program, a state-sponsored initiative to encourage rural struggling farm families to produce what they would need for sustenance at home, or, as we know it today, to homestead!

Governor O. Max Gardner,  Image Source

The trying economic times during the early 1930s meant that cash crops like cotton and tobacco were no longer bringing the sums farmers once knew. The "Live at Home" program encouraged and helped to train families to devote more land to growing foodstuffs that would be needed for survival rather than using that land for cash crops. That way, families could spend less on food and essentials produced at home that they were formerly buying at the general store or local market. With fewer cash crops being sold, this would help prices to rise.

Governor Gardner partnered with the College of Agriculture from what is today North Carolina State University, the Department of Agriculture and the Extension Service to assist him in his efforts to grow and consume locally-grown food, train families in the arts of raising livestock, canning and preserving, and cultivating successful vegetable gardens. Home demonstration agents and 4-H clubs helped spread the campaign and educated local communities. The program proved to be very popular, so much so that local and county groups began hosting their own Live-At-Home training events and homegrown feasts.

Governor Gardner especially promoted the Live-At-Home program in public schools, implementing curriculum that taught children basic homesteading, gardening, and animal husbandry skills. Don't you think this is a GREAT idea for today's youth as well?

In this time of economic recession and financial hardship for many, perhaps we need a revival of the "Live at Home" program. Tutorials, educational resources, classes, training--all of these things could help families get started with homesteading to ease their pocketbook and make their home a healthier place.

What do you think? Is a revival of the "Live-At-Home" program needed? Would it make any difference?

(For more information on the Live-At-Home program, please visit for a wonderful article written by my former fellow co-worker and Associate Curator at the NC Museum of History, Diana Bell-Kite.)

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Today is a day to honor all of our mothers......

Let's remember those that have gone before us and make those that are still with us feel special. Let's also remember to honor the women who are like mothers to us regardless of any biological connection.

Jean and Janet Tieman, 1942

This is my Grandma, Janet, and her twin sister, Jean. Grandma Janet and Aunt Jean did everything together and were extremely close their entire lives. They wore the same clothes every day up until they were having their first children, and they even traded places on double dates with boyfriends! I was fortunate because having both Grandma Janet and Aunt Jean was sort of like having two Grandmothers! I miss them both very much but I know they are happy to once again be together in heaven.

And this is my mom and me......the next two generations after my Grandma Janet.  I don't know what I'd do without my mom. I may not have thought this as a teenager, but now that I'm a "grown woman" I am inspired by her wisdom and strength and feel so grateful that God chose her to be my mom.

And I hope one day to be a mother too....and to put into practice all that I have learned from those who have been a mother to me. 

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bedroom Chest of Drawers

I am sooooooo in love with our new bedroom dresser. We desperately needed another dresser for storage, so this one became hubby's very own and I took over the pink one. In addition to the dressers, we have a small walk-in-closet and a tall narrow chest of drawers.

This particular antique walnut chest of drawers is a ca. 1830s-1850s transitional piece which reveals the growing influences of the Empire style. The dealer from whom we bought the chest purchased it from an estate in Raleigh.  The scale and massing of the piece and its dark walnut finish with aged patina drew me to this chest of drawers even while there were many other beautiful pieces to choose from. It is wonderfully crafted and dovetailed, the drawers are hand-planed on the bottom, and I love how each drawer has its own lock.

For this post I thought I would try my hand at staging, and I like it so much I might just leave it this way! I used some framed wedding photos, books, a vintage glass canister with some lavender and greens, a piece of pottery, and a basket for my husband to corral all of his junk in.

I think I followed the recipe discussed in this post written by Camille from The Vintique Object. I know I didn't follow it to a "T", but I remember her doing a post on how she is drawn to vignettes with wooden chests, some kind of greenery, an orb shaped item, and a mirror or picture frames. I think I came pretty close!

And before you ask, NO I AM NOT PAINTING THIS PIECE!!! I have painted furniture a lot in the past but an antique piece with this beautiful finish I would NEVER paint. Good quality antique woods are beautiful in their own right and I prefer to leave them alone. 

I think two antique brass or primitive sconces on either side the mirror might be a nice addition,
 don't you? 

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