We are planning a big bonfire…as soon as we have our grapevines pruned. As of this weekend, we think that we are one third done with the initial pruning (which is where the massive amounts of vines come from). As we prune, we keep the cut vines on several piles in the center of every other row. This eliminates driving the tractor through every row, which cuts down on soil compaction by the heavy tires, and makes it altogether faster.
We attached the pallet forks to the tractor bucket, and then scooped up a pallet. Jeff drove through the row, and Lars and I lifted each pile of vines onto the pallet. Toward the end, its more of a rolling, rather than a lifting effort :).
Lars then jumped on top of the whole pile, in a belly-flop sort of fashion, and his weight kept the vines from falling off as Jeff drove toward the “burning pile”. (it’s quite a balancing act for him).
We have been dumping all the vines on one huge pile, which we’ll have to light on a calm, wet day.
We have not put the food dehydrator away, since Christmas! It is used several times a week and thus has been taking up a lot of my kitchen island space. We finally decided to move the small wine-rack out of the kitchen (who needs a SMALL wine-rack anyhow) to create a permanent spot for the dehydrator. Luckily we found a clearance kitchen cabinet a Lowes – exactly the right dimensions – and voilà… we have a dehydrator spot
The latest and greatest use of the food dehydrator?
Drying home-made noodles!
Temperatures “soared” to the upper 50’s today – a great day to prune grapes:
Also a good time to take some cuttings from lilac and forsythia bushes to force them into an early bloom indoors:
This recipe came with the following preface: “Leif and Freyja both loved it”. Leif is three and a half and Freyja just turned one. If they both like the same dish, it must be amazing. And it is! Really delicious – plus it is fast and easy to make:
- olive oil
- 1 lb loose Italian sausage (I used mild)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3- 4 carrots, chopped
- 3 – 4 celery ribs, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 14.5oz can stewed tomatoes
- 1 can cannellini beans
- 2 cans of condensed chicken broth, one can of water (may use 2 cans if you want)
- 1 cup rotini pasta, uncooked
- 1.5 cups baby spinach, cleaned
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Heat some olive oil and cook sausage in skillet, until done. Transfer cooked sausage into stock pot. Add the onions to the empty skillet, add a little more olive oil if necessary, and cook until they are “glassy”. Add the minced garlic to the onion and mix well, cook for another minute or so. Add the chopped carrots and celery, and stir in the skillet, together with the onions for about 5 minutes. (At this point, I add freshly ground pepper)
Deglaze skillet with about 1/2 a cup of (red) wine, then add all the vegetables to the stock pot with the meat. Add the tomatoes, beans, and the 2 cans of chicken broth plus 1 can of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes. (Test your carrots to see how done they are). Add the pasta and cook for at least another 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the spinach. Let soup stand for another 5 minutes. Top with grated cheese in bowls.