The Great Sunflower Project ~ Hobby Farm Home May/June 2009

I received the May/June 2009 Hobby Farm Home magazine yesterday…and by last night it looked like it was read by 20 people in a doctors office. 🙂 Just love that magazine!

On page 38 in Garden Grit by Susan M. Brackney there is a tidbit on GREAT SUNFLOWER PROJECT ~

Sunflower from my front yard, Sparks NV, 2008 ~ these wee ones were sleeping in the flower. 🙂

You’ve probably heard that our Honey bees, bumblebees and other natural pollinators are dying back, but thanks to the Great Sunflower Project, we can all help these insects – and the researchers who study them.

Volunteers are asked to plant sunflowers and then count the number of bees it attracts in a half hour or less twice a month. The goal is 5 bees during that time setting.

The sunflower that they are suggesting is the LEMON QUEEN (an American Natitve flower) ~ you need a sunflower that has POLLEN…and because people don’t like the pollen on their cut flowers, some sunflowers have been altered to be pollen-free. 😦

Pollen is critical for new bees so the Lemon Queen has been picked as the sunflower of choice. They are protein-packed and can be grown in your garden or pots…it will produce multiple, lemon-yellow blossoms all summer long so bees can be counted for many months.

Ultimatley, researchers hope to pinpoint geographic regions in which bees are most scarce, so participants without any bee visitors on their sunflowers will supply the most important data of all.

To donate or sign up for the free program, visit, while supplies last, a packet of Lemon Queen seeds will be sent to you. But you can always buy them at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds ( and Gurney's Seed & Nursery ( ~ Here is a list from the Project Site itself.

I’m going to look around the Reno/Sparks area to see who carries them locally. NOTE: If you’re in the Sparks/Reno area…the Sparks Lowe’s has the Lemon Queen seed packets!

Wednesdays Ramblings ~ Hobby Farm Home

I picked up a copy of the March/April 2009 Hobby Farm Home magazine and was flipping through it last night. Big sigh. Am sharing some things I really like from it ~

Page 8 ~ Hobby-farm real estate around the country. I soooo would love this house and make it into a B&B!

History in the Making $340,000…historic, 3-story limestone house in Scandia, Kansas. Farmstead that was settled in 1868 with a house that was built in 1900 by a blacksmith, Charles H. Herrman, a native of Sweden. 15 rooms with 8 bedrooms and 4-1/2 baths ~ 3 bedrooms on 3rd floor with private baths. A dairy barn, corn crib and carriage house are situated alongside the house on 11 acres.


Page 10 ~ From the General Store ~

Eggstra Seating An Egg Gathering Stool is an old-fashioned milking stool that traditionally performed double-duty by securing eggs from the hen house in the specially designed holes. You can find it at Victorian Trading Company. Or just make one yourself out of scrap lumber. 🙂


Page 17 ~ Country Fare ~

Soup Spoons ~ Jonathan’s Lazy Spoons. Unique spoons, spatulas and ladles, handcrafted from cherry wood, have notched handles, so they can rest securely on the side of the pan, rather then taking up space on the counter or stove.

They’re found at Jonathan's Wild Cherry Spoons.


Page 18 ~ Country Fare ~

No-Towel Drying ~ Ditch the towel and don a pair of Grab & Dry Gloves. Made from highly absorbent terrycloth, the gloves have a soft, waterproof lining to keep hands dry and stretch to fit most hands.


Page 22 ~ Mad about Maple

Granny’s Maple Puddings (looks like Yorkshire Pudding with maple syurp! OMGosh! I’ve gotta try this recipe!)

6 oz Flour
generous pinch of salt
2 Eggs
1-3/4 cups Milk
1 bottle pure maple syrup
sour cream


Break the eggs into a bowl and beat well. Whisk in flour, salt and milk to make a very smooth batter of pouring consistency. Set aside for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, take a metal muffin tin and pour a tiny amount of light vegetable oil (less then a teaspoon) into the base of each individual muffin. Heat the oven to 400F and pop the muffin tin in to heat up the oil.

When the oil is hot, give the batter a quick stir and then fill each muffin place with batter to almost full.

Hurry the tin back into the oven for 35-45 minutes-try not to open the oven door for the first 30 minutes, but check on them after that. Muffin trays vary in size, and your cooking time will vary accordingly. They should come out of the oven when they’re golden brown and risen.

Serve hot with pure maple syrup and sour cream. Serves 6 (two puddings per person).

Chicks in the City by Cherie Langlois ~ page 50.

Article on raising chickens in the suburbs/city.

Love it…as I’ve been mulling over the idea of getting 3 laying hens for fresh eggs. There is enough room in the backyard for them…and they can eat the buggies in my garden during the summer. I just want 3 hens, no bubbas as I don’t want to subject the neighbors to crowing at all hours…although if their stupid dogs can bark all night long, I don’t know why I should care about a rooster crowing.

Page 102 ~

10 Good Reasons to Keep Chickens
1 ~ Scratching…Watching chickens as they scratch around in the dirt looking for morsels is very soothing.
2 ~ Roosting…Every evening at dusk, the flock makes its way tot he coop to huddle together for the night.
3 ~ Crowing…The day hasn’t officially started until a rooster announces its arrival.
4 ~ Motherhood…Hens are wonderful mothers and tenderly take care of their babies.
5 ~ Snuggling…Hand-raised chickens can be affectionate pets that snuggle in your lap for petting.
6 ~ Baby Chicks…Few things are as cute and innocent-fun to hold-as a baby chick.
7 ~ Gallant Roosters…Roosters are the epitome of chivalry, calling the hens to partake in their food discoveries and refusing to eat until the ladies have arrive.
8 ~ Pest Control…Free-roaming chickens spend the whole day working to keep down the bug population.
9 ~ The Shuffle Dance…It’s fun to watch roosters do this special cha-cha to impress their hens.
10 ~ Fresh Eggs…Nothing tastes better than fresh eggs!


Page 104 ~ Planting on Your PC

This sorta caught my eye…you can have a free 30-day trial, and if you like it, $25/year.

Garden Planning Tool ~ lets you plan out your garden online…enables backyard gardeners of all levels to easily design the perfect fruit and vegetable garden. It’s easy to draw out your garden plan and decide how best to plant it. The planning tool clearly shows how much space plants require and how to group them for maximum success, removing the need to look up planting distances and crop families. Will even send email reminders for planting seeds or transplanting seedlings; can be tailored to your climate zone which helps calculate frost dates and planting times.