Onion & mushroom soup with Chinese spices

Many people are familiar with using leftovers from roast chickens to make bone broth for soup. I recently experimented doing this with a duck carcass. I used a Chinese-inspired recipe for the duck, so the bird was cooked with ginger and five-spice. The broth: I simply put the leftover meat and the bones into a…

Statement autumn flowers

After getting in the leftover harvest from the vegetable garden and orchard, a part of me is always saddened at the prospect of the mostly dead garden in fall and winter. What makes the look of the faded summer splendor easier are a few flowers I’ve found bloom well late into fall. Most of these,…

Pumpkin, carrot and turmeric soup

Another recipe you can prepare with easy-to-grow and easy-to-preserve vegetables. I used chicken stock that I saved in the freezer from a rooster I butchered last month, but you can substitute with vegetable stock. Carrots are easy to preserve in a root cellar or in crates covered with sand. As long as a pumpkin isn’t…

Invasive species

Most ecosystems in the world today, have to deal with invasive species disturbing the natural balance of the system. Foreign plant species often get introduced through gardeners trying out something new in the garden, then losing control of what they planted. Some species, such as red oak and non-native honeybees, were introduced for commercial purposes….

Red beet and apple salad

It can be difficult, for those of us in northern climates, to maintain a diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Most methods of preserving the garden harvest require cooking, adding sugar, drying or another process that might remove nutrients from food. The inspiration for this gorgeous salad came from a recent restaurant dinner,…

Honey-walnut-almond cupcakes

These cupcakes might look plain, but they’re far from that! Cut up bits of walnut give a warm, earthy flavor and together with the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves it makes a great, wholesomely warm fall/winter dessert. These cupcakes retain a moist texture thanks to these walnuts and lend themselves well to being decorated creatively. Begin…

Keeping egg production up

Every chicken owner knows that egg production takes a nosedive when the days get short in fall. There is an egg season just like there is a cucumber, apple or tomato season. Most people who keep chickens to avoid buying eggs in the supermarket will prepare for this by either freezing eggs, pickling boiled eggs…

Quiet in the apiary

Today I believe my bees have finally gathered into their winter cluster. The temperature is circling 10°C and as I passed by the apiary a couple times today, I didn’t see any activity. During spring and summer, when the weather is cool or rainy, I can usually see bees peeking out around the entrance. Now,…

Processing the apples

What should you do with all the apples you’ll get during the fall season? I try to make lots of applesauce each fall. Last year I found some apple pie filling recipes I liked, so I went crazy with those, but this year I’m going back to basics. I don’t know too much about daily…

Quince harvest

We are lucky enough to have an 8-year-old quince tree growing on our property. Today, quince fruits are a rare find in stores or even farmers markets, probably because you really cannot use quince fruits until you put work into them. Quince fruits were traditionally used in various dishes, mostly desserts, stews, jams, jellies and…

Apple cake squares with honey

This one is the easiest and quickest apple cake recipe I have. You can use a baking tin, but if you dress a deep standard oven tray with parchment paper, you’d be able to make a very large cake (multiply recipe by at least 2 or even 3 for this) without needing a baking tin….

Apple varieties for permaculture gardens

The most important and rewarding area of a permaculture garden is probably the orchard. Although an orchard takes time to grow before you see any fruits, once established it will produce larger and larger yields, whilst demanding a minimum of care compared to a vegetable garden. I hope this list will help you choose varieties…

Perfect fall spiced apple cake

With fall comes colder weather, short days and a lot of rain. So we might want to reach for warm flavors and something that fills the air with an amazing enough scent to drive the chill and moisture out. This cake will do just that. I used apples from our own orchard, Red Love 119…

Water for honeybees

Every beekeeper should consider where his or her bees go to collect water. Water, besides pollen and nectar, is one of the main substances bees collect and bring back to the hive. Water is added to nectar to help it being digested again and again until it becomes honey, and when that honey is being…

Thalictrum Delavayi

Thalictrum Delavayi, or Chinese meadow-rue, is a flowering plant I would love to introduce you to. This China native can be kept as a winter-hardy perennial in western Europe, although in harsh winters there will be casualties. It does not seed out easily and propagating is best done by collecting seeds and growing young plants…

Raising rabbits: developing breeding stock

Rabbits are perhaps the cheapest, easiest and cleanest source of protein on a homestead, in an urban garden or on a small farm. Getting started with them isn’t always as easy as you’d want it. The importance of good breeding stock is impossible to overstate. In this post I’ll confess to some of the issues…

Planting for pollinators: moisture loving plants

Do you live in a part of the world where water is one of the causes of trees dying and gardens failing? Does it govern what you can plant? Welcome to the club everyone belongs to! Most of the world, however, has a problem with not getting enough water! If you live in an area…

Beekeeping: I’m ready!

The most exciting new project I started in 2018 is certainly beekeeping! I have been fascinated by the life inside a hive, the life-cycle of these creatures and their habitat. Since October 2017 I have been taking classes with a local beekeepers’ association, and I have been getting my kit together. I made a hive…

Introducing: Muscovy ducks

Muscovy (or Barbary) ducks are perhaps most common type of domestic duck that you will find in Dutch and Belgian gardens. Since I was very small my family has often had Muscovy ducks, which we bred for meat and eggs. Several years ago, we decided to keep less animals in the garden, so ducks needed…

Introducing: runner ducks

Ducks are an important part of the Lowland Homestead. Where chickens prefer their living space to be dry, ducks thrive on the humid, cooler weather conditions that are so common in the Netherlands. The breed we know as the runner duck, is originally an Indonesian breed and is well adapted to life around rice paddies….