Saturday, May 7, 2016

Hobby farms, greenhouses, and strawberry salad!

Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back with more pictures of flowers, the garden, a farm, and of course, kids!
Here's my ten year old being smothered by our old cat. Don't worry; he was rescued!
I was researching and went to visit a little hobby farm near us. We live surrounded by real farms of hundreds of acres but I wanted to see a small farm run by people who have day jobs. It was so much fun!
The owner's husband made her this greenhouse from recycle materials. The windows came from an old school. I grew up in a house that had a large green house attached to the main house and just the smell brought me right back!
Edward said we needed one  and I agree! I spent hours and hours tending African violets and other miniature plants in my "special area" of my childhood greenhouse.
The builder even salvaged a pulley system from an abandoned mill. He rigged it to open an close the windows in the roof. The greenhouse I grew up with was automated (push a button, things open or close) and it was really neat to see this old-fashioned way of providing ventilation.
They had such lovely little raised beds. Nothing like our wild garden! Frog Hollow Farms (the name of this little place) also sold fresh bread, goat cheese, and cinnamon rolls. You can imagine that besides our heirloom tomatoes and other plants, we also came home with some tasty goodies.
Our garden is in full bloom and I can't help it. I have to share. One of our clematis.
My favorite rose. It smells delicious!
We have about ten bushes of these. They were here when we moved in almost fifteen years ago and have only gotten more beautiful.
Some of our peonies have opened but the later variety are so pretty when they are just beginning to bud.
One proud seven year old in the strawberry patch he's tended all spring.
The very proud five year old with his heirloom pineberries... these guys are mostly white with red seeds and taste like pineapple. They used to be very hard to find in the US but they've gotten more and more common in the last few years.
This is my amethyst basil plant. Isn't it pretty?? I love all kinds of basil but this one makes a beautiful pesto.
Ordinary strawberry.... if there ever was an "ordinary", sun-ripened, perfect berry from the garden!
And the grape vines don't look too impressive but I'm SOOOOO excited.
Because this--

Will soon become this!
Now, in honor of our very first strawberries, I'd like to share a salad that probably has been done before. I don't have any of my own pictures because I always remember AFTER I've eaten it, but this is a good spring salad that celebrates what's local and fresh!

Sweet berries, goat cheese, pine nuts, fresh baby spinach, and a little balsamic vinegar makes a perfectly refreshing lunch!

Until next time! Be sure to drop by my facebook page Mary Jane Hathaway or my blog at The Things That Last to see what I'm up to! (Which, honestly, is researching and revising right now. Nothing really cool. But pop on by anyway because I'm always up for a chat!)


  1. Oh your strawberry salad looks marvelous...and I am so missing real greenery. Flowering cactus just doesn't cut it.

    1. YUMMY! So jealous of your flowering cactus fruit!

  2. Oh!!! Mary Jane, I've been craving strawberry salad recently. This looks amazing. Of course it's in the 40s here so it feels weird to look at pretty spring salads.

    1. It's pretty warm here, about 80F and we're trying out new life jackets today at the river. We don't usually use them but we have two weeks at a lake house soon (the time at the ocean is normal, stay out of the big waves) and we want to make sure they fit/work in flowing water. :)

  3. Spring. Grapes, strawberries and everything else growing. I'm trying to wrap my head around that. It's all so beautiful!

    And our spring is just beginning. The lilacs are beautiful, and our cherry tree is in blossom, but basil? Strawberries? Tomatoes? Not yet!

    But that greenhouse! It's fabulous! I love the way they used the old school windows. So lovely and unique. :)

    You'll have to keep us updated on your own greenhouse!

    1. It is! I feel so blessed every time I look around. It's really a wonderful area to live if you want to eat locally!

      I'm IN LOVE with that greenhouse. :D I can't imagine we'd make one, though, unless it's after the deck project. *sigh* Fixer upper houses always have something...

  4. I love all this catching up though I'm a tad jealous about flowers in full bloom and strawberries already on the vine! But we have bus in our trees at last so the leaves won't be far behind and little green things are sprouting up in the garden beds so there's hope!!!!!

    And that greenhouse. Sigh. Love that it's upcycled and totally something I want to do but I just don't have the know-how.

    1. Kav, we don't, either! Her husband is an engineer and spent a lot of time researching and drawing up plans. I can imagine what it would look like if I tried that! My husband built a beautiful shed out of the cedar from something we tore down... but I'm not sure about working with all that glass!

  5. Loved the photos! My mom's peonies were blooming last week when I was there. Gorgeous! I'll have to share photos later. I can't wait to see yours open.

    1. I love peonies! I just went to a church brunch that was decorated with peonies from a local peony farm. They were so beautiful!

  6. I was crazy this weekend, but I honestly would give my right arm to have that greenhouse! Mandy and I have looked at making one from recycled windows, but I don't think we've got the skills to do it right, and this one is GORGEOUS! I love seeing the fresh food, the plants, the flowers... and the stinkin' cute kid! Go you! Sorry I missed the weekend, but yes, I could move into this greenhouse and just have a Ruthy party!!!

    1. Isn't it just amazing?? Her husband is an engineer, so I can guess that he didn't struggle too much with planning and building. My husband built a beautiful shed from recycled cedar planks... but he's not willing to try and work with glass.
      Honestly, I just thought that place looked like a big, old-fashioned lantern. Can you imagine it lit up with twinkle lights in the summer?? *SWOON*