Showing posts with label gardening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gardening. Show all posts

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Let There Be Heat

This year I grew cayenne peppers. Yes I did. I love them so much. A friend loaned me her dehydrator and it has been plugged in and going full of peppers ever since. When one batch finishes, I reload and process another. Chad bought me a set of gallon glass jars and one is already filled to the top.

Tonight, I got out the mortar and pestle and crushed 4 of the peppers to seed and powder. I was surprised actually at how almost instantly they powdered. I thought I would have to grind and work it, but they just disintegrated under light pressure. Three strokes and I was done. I added some salt and had an amazing salt rub for the pork loin I was cooking for dinner.

From the farm, our bounty nourishes us. Making my own spices was not something I thought I would ever, or for that matter, could ever do. I dried poblano peppers too. I am super excited to try to make Mole sauce.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Giving Thanks for Food!

Every meal that we say grace Lil'Bug says, when it is her turn, "I AM THANKFUL FOR OUR FOOD!"
I am too.
The last couple weeks I have taken pictures of a couple beautiful food moments.

This is the very successful attempt at preparing a Shank Boil. I altered the recipe just a bit. I used a Dutch Oven, skipped the parsnips, and instead of cooking on the stove top, used my oven at 350 degrees for 3-4 hours. Good stuff. One of the best beef meals that we've done from our grass fed local side of beef, ironically on of the cheapest cuts and I was so nervous about it I set aside the cut with the tongue, heart, and liver. Sooooooo very good.

This is how we roast pumpkin to make pumpkin puree for pies and soups. Under each half is a tablespoon of salted butter.

Beans and ham. Easy. The beans are actually underneath the onions too. This is the heartiest, simple meal I know of. Usually I also add celery, but we were out. Another local mama adds cabbage. I want to try that in the future. The beans soak overnight, the soup cooks all day until the ham falls apart. Even yummier as leftovers and freezes very well.

One random afternoon Aunt Bee showed up bearing these. Tur-oreo-crispins. A play on turduckens of our heritage. She is so cool. I am thankful that I lent her my kids a cookin' cook book. ;)

I am thankful that we eat as well as we do, for less than most families manage, and that we've been blessed to live the life we do. Food is our fuel, how we maintain our bodies and mind, nourish. We thank God for the abundance we are granted, the generosity of friends and family that have helped stocked our pantry this year after our miserable garden output.

May you and yours also be blessed this Thanksgiving and the Thanksgivings following.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

More Clues?

Friday, 19 September 2008

Mystery Berry

Name this vegetation......edible or poisonous?

Sunday, 7 September 2008

VERY Busy Week

This week and weekend has been a whirlwind of frenzied chaos, to an end, it will bring order to our home.

Basically, we have been working our behinds off finishing loose end projects around the house.

However, were are some highlights from last week:

Blueberry watching clouds while we picked MORE apples. Yes, more. :) Seriously, half my deep freeze is filled with sliced apples and I have another bushel to process. Applebutter on Tuesday. Yummers. The babe looks so serious with her cloud watching. She laughed and squeaked. Then she started singing. I've never heard or heard of a baby doing this, singing, but that's what it sounds like and she bursts into it when she's really happy. Very cool. Also, before I took the picture, Blueberry had stretched her little body and reached her tongue out to lick the half eaten apple left by Lil'Bug on the blanket. Her official first taste of food other than mama milk. The serious look may have actually been annoyance that I moved her away from the apple.

Lil'Bug got the hang of tree climbing this week. The child has no fear. None.

No fear + little balance/attention span= fall on to mama holding camera. Lil'Bug has been a ball of volitale, nervous energy and things have exploded in her wake. I don't blame her. Change is scary, but the worst part is the calm before the change happens.
Lil'Bug and Dearest enjoy the view of a friend's farm. She was so gracious to let us come and raid her trees. The day spent there was glorious, indeed.

We brought home TWO more bins full.

This is what I have left to process.

My work station. I have seriously clean hands and lovely lemon juice bleached fingernails.

This pie is made with lard crust. I will never ever, ever, ever go back to the other ways of pie crusts. 1. It was simple divine and flaky and 2. It was simple. Um, I mean, really really hard back breaking labor. Hours and hours of work in the kitchen, did you hear that Dearest? I realize you think otherwise, given that I was in the kitchen at 10 AM and the pies were done and cooling by 11Am BUT here's the thing. I bent time. It's stretchy like that. I only use my super power in times of dire need like finals writing (or now, grading), cleaning house (the entire house) in the 25 minutes before Realtor shows up, or pie baking. Each task requires 10 hours of labor. Really. I stretched time.

No, I will no abuse my power just to fold laundry and make beds. Emergencies only.


Friday, 29 August 2008

Apple in My Eye

Last week a co-worker of Dearest's invited us to pick apples at her farm.

Ooooooh. Apples. I love apples. Really. A lot. (((((drool)))))

I finally had an excuse to buy a fruit picker arm.

The drive there was lovely.

Once we were there an older guy was working on a tractor. He helped me at first as I got set up and got the hang of it. He thinks the apple tree is the variety Wealthy. Neat. Also, they are absolutely delicious.

They are organic by neglect. Appearantly no one even picks them. I don't understand. How can you not eat the glorious fruits if they are growing in your own back yard.

While I was picking, Lil'Bug got a hold of my camera. I have never let her touch it, somehow she not only got the hang of it but has excellent eye for composition. I'll do a separate post with her pictures.

I got the hand of the tool, but before that happened I was beaned in the head a couple times by falling fruit. No, I did not invent calculus later that day. I did however eat a lot of apples!

I brought home a bucket load. Wealthy are not good for storing so I will be making pies, pie filling, and apple butter.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008


First let me start out by virtually head-smacking myself and doing the big L sign on my forehead. I did a stupid thing. That's what this post is about.

This picture here is BASIL. I took the picture not to brag or document my lovely plant, but to email it to my husband to verify that it is basil so I could confidently add it to my first attempt at from scratch pasta sauce. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't a noxious weed I was adding my lovely dinner. His co-workers got a giggle or two out of the overheard conversation. Hmph.nd

So, basil went into sauce and all was well.

Fast forward to today when the lovely Sarah and her clan visited and I was giving them the tour of the garden. My nervous habit of doing something while talking kicked in and I started pulling weeds that were among the plants as I pointed out the plants.

Guess what I did. Yup. I pulled up the basil. By accident. Gah. Oh and the spinach, the lettuce, and I left the weeds.

So I hung it up to dry thinking that I would get to it later. Yeah. No.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

100 Plants in Our Yard......

The 100 Species Challenge

Otherwise known as why my husband cannot remember where his keys are.....his brain is filled with plant names. Oh my.

1. Participants should include a copy of these rules and a link to this entry in their initial blog post about the challenge.

2. Participants should keep a list of all plant species they can name, either by common or scientific name, that are living within walking distance of the participant's home. The list should be numbered, and should appear in every blog entry about the challenge, or in a sidebar.

3. Participants are encouraged to give detailed information about the plants they can name in the first post in which that plant appears.

4. Participants are encouraged to make it possible for visitors to their blog to find easily all 100-Species-Challenge blog posts. This can be done either by tagging these posts, by ending every post on the challenge with a link to your previous post on the challenge, or by some method which surpasses my technological ability and creativity.

5. Participants may post pictures of plants they are unable to identify, or are unable to identify with precision. They should not include these plants in the numbered list until they are able to identify it with relative precision. Each participant shall determine the level of precision that is acceptable to her; however, being able to distinguish between plants that have different common names should be a bare minimum.

6. Different varieties of the same species shall not count as different entries (e.g., Celebrity Tomato and Roma Tomato should not be separate entries); however, different species which share a common name be separate if the participant is able to distinguish between them (e.g., camillia japonica and camillia sassanqua if the participant can distinguish the two--"camillia" if not).

7. Participants may take as long as they like to complete the challenge.

We opted for a simple list. Dearest sat down, inside, and did it. He didn't even look out the window. Could be said first 35 or so are the plants that make up our "lawn".....just kidding. Sort of.

From Dearest: "We used a limit of within three city blocks 'cause that's what MP remembered the rules being. I think I could get another hundred pretty quickly if I expanded the area a bit. Also, apologies all around - as MP pointed out I missed snapdragons . . ."
  1. kentucky blue grass
  2. rye grass
  3. bindweed
  4. quack grass
  5. plantain
  6. purslane
  7. wandering jew
  8. milkweed
  9. thistle
  10. ragweed
  11. poison ivy
  12. creeping charlie
  13. virginia creeper
  14. mullein (these are good luck!)
  15. dandelion
  16. queen anne's lace
  17. sunflower
  18. woodland violet
  19. millet
  20. locust
  21. mulberry
  22. redbud
  23. clover
  24. horseradish
  25. white oak, burr oak, pin oak
  26. silver maple, red maple, sugar maple
  27. sumac
  28. lily of the valley
  29. ostrich fern
  30. Cinnamon fern
  31. maidenhair fern
  32. bridal wreath
  33. chrysanthemum
  34. peony
  35. "tea roses, wild roses, fairy roses, rugosa roses"
  36. day lily
  37. Asiatic lily
  38. tiger lily
  39. allium (flower onion)
  40. chives
  41. "red onion, yellow onion"
  42. lambs quarter
  43. Egyptian walking onion
  44. bunching onion
  45. "tomatoes - early, pear, brandywine, cherokee"
  46. "peppers - jalapeno, Serrano, green bell pepper, habanero"
  47. spinach
  48. black eyed susan
  49. winter squash
  50. "apple - granny smith, rome beauty"
  51. peach
  52. pear
  53. daisy
  54. lilac
  55. birch
  56. magnolias
  57. Jerusalem artichoke
  58. ribbon grass
  59. hosta
  60. lungwort
  61. basil
  62. mint
  63. veronica
  64. Japanese maple
  65. German bearded iris
  66. Siberian iris
  67. Mexican top hat
  68. staghorn mushroom
  69. celosia
  70. false spirea
  71. lambs ear
  72. burning bush
  73. tulip
  74. daffodil
  75. hyacinth
  76. grape hyacinth
  77. gladiolas
  78. hydrangea
  79. wagelia
  80. moss on the roof!
  81. crabapple
  82. hackberry
  83. honeysuckle
  84. walnut
  85. ash
  86. spider wort
  87. Easter lily
  88. holly
  89. marigold
  90. petunia
  91. spider flower
  92. raspberry
  93. blueberry
  94. tree of heaven
  95. strawberries
  96. boxwood
  97. Indian paintbrush
  98. purple cornflower
  99. bleeding heart
  100. Japanese spurge

Saturday, 9 August 2008

August 9th

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Peaches for Me

For the first time since planting the peach tree four years ago, we have peaches. There is nothing like a fresh picked, still warm from the sun peach. Even better is sharing it with a little girl who LOVES peaches.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Jammin' With The State Fair Jam

I did not even place, BUT the judges said all the entries were wonderful and met standards. That meant a lot to me. I entered jam made from Spring crop and fall crop always has more flavor- so next year's will be from a fall crop batch AND with raw sugar instead of all white cane sugar (required by this year's sponsors, gah.).

I got great feed back from watching the competitions. I learned SO much. I also got the chance to explain to Lil'Bug all about "winning":
"Mama, you didn't win."

"Kiddo, yes I did. I may not have the blue ribbon BUT I tried my best, I met all of the requirements, I followed through with my plan and actually entered my jam, I watched the judging, I learned a lot about food canning, and now we get to eat the jam!"

She looked confused.

"Sometimes you get to be a winner because you have a good time and learn new things. You like having fun and learning new things?"

"Well, actually, I like crowns too."

I grinned. She thought I'd get a queen crown for winning the fair? LOL.

Also, I plan on making Christmas gifts from our fall crop. Hope you local mamas like raspberries! ;)

Monday, 4 August 2008

August 4th

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Good Luck MamaP!

Today mama podkayne entered her world famous raspberry jam in the Iowa State Fair! She did this despite myriad events conspiring to make it not happen.

Good Luck MP - we're proud of you!


Friday, 1 August 2008

August 1

Peppers, peaches, Table Ace squash, tomatoes, peas.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

First Harvest of Summer 2008

A small first harvest. We'll blame the tons of rain.

Ok, if we are being honest, the one red tomato is the only early one that survived Lil'Bug's budding culinary artistry, ala green tomato secret soup for the birds. Secret as in hidden for a week in the heat and found by a, "Hmmmmm, what is that awful smell and where is it coming from?"
First tomato was quickly eaten as was the first pepper.

Ha ha. The tot gets the prize.

What's this? A small green pepper? Mmmmm. Yum. Wait a minute.

What happened next? Mama had to put the camera away and assist with an emergency mouth is burning OMG help crisis from the tot who licked the pepper seeds out of the case. A Serrano pepper. Water, milk, strawberry ice cream, lots of tears, and eventually just time. Learning happens everyday!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Caterpilar Buddy

This is Lil'Bug's cabbage worm. She's holding it hostage. Normally I'd have a big problem with this, but cabbage worms are a pest and we usually kill them.

She has managed to feed it, water it, and keep its home clean. Now it is a cocoon. Soon it will be a pretty white cabbage moth.

Ah, the first taste of sunshine. Our raspberries are ripening! PS, I LOVE my camera. I love that I can take food pictures like this by simply pointing and clicking.

Oh, and pictures like this. See her eye? Not my imagination. It started as a huge welt, but light pink. Not tender. She never even noticed it and has NO idea where it came from. As it ripened, it turned lots of berry purple shades of horror, then it has been determined that it is a spider bite. Eh. I guess that is a natural consequence of playing with bugs. No harm done.

Blueberry has been sleeping, eating, and pooping. She weighs over 9 lbs now. Also, her hair is in a natural spiked mohawk thing. It is hilarious. Pictures to come.

That's been our week. That and more rain. MORE RAIN. Gah.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

In One Week

We were at the hospital four days. In that time my heiloom rose bloomed......

The iris burst open......

These iris were planted in the rotted middle of a maple tree stump. It just looks so magical, the picture does it no justice.

I predict the best raspberry crop ever. The berry buds are not much to look at, but the branches are laden with them.

Columbine is such a strange flower. It looks like an alien to me!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Garden Update, Spring Progress

Broccoli! These are doing awesome. The strange absence of bugs this year also includes cabbage moths and such so maybe we won't have a huge problem with them this year. I plan on harvesting and freezing these in June and another rotation in the fall. Yum. Also, Lil'Bug says we will find June Bug in the broccoli bed and that will be her birth day- just like we found her in the pumpkin patch 4 years ago, in Narnia, in Heaven. Ah, the creation story of a wee babe.

Yum. Spinach. I will have my first garden fresh spinach salad tomorrow and then use some for lasagnas to freeze for the first week June Bug babe is home.

The other part of my salad mix: lettuce and various greens. So tender are they when fresh and young. Drool....

Strawberriest blossoms. Two different kinds. Lovely with morning dew......or Lil'Bug do not spray Mama with the hose while I have the camera out here! AGH!

And last....we planted blueberries. Again. We are the gardeners of ever innocent hopefulness. Every blueberry plant we have ever planted has died. This one has blossoms! Ok, to be fair, it came with the the blossom buds, but still!