Sunday, October 17, 2021

Drat...

Anyone who has followed me for awhile knows what 'drat' means.  



 Drat means shoveling and the beginning of winter.  


At least we were able to enjoy fall, even if it was for one month while winter lasts for 9 months.




I've used my time off to continue canning.  Yesterday, I made some raspberry jam.  Last week, I also went to Spearfish to get material for this year's graduation quilt.  On the way to the quilt shop I passed this gentleman on the road.

I found this woodland panel at the quilt shop.  It will be perfect.  Now I'm trying to figure out what I want to do with the rest of it.  I always enjoy working on a quilt during the winter.

So fall fell and now winter begins.  I have a freezer full of meat, berries, and garden harvest.  There is a project to keep me busy.   I'm ready to settle in for the winter.  How about you.  Has fall fallen where you are?  Are you ready for winter?



Sunday, October 10, 2021

Elk-a-holic

 My elk hunt was done much faster than I anticipated.  It was a 3 day  adventure.  


I didn't shoot a monster, though my husband and I were almost run over by one.  We saw lots of bulls.  The highlight was seeing two bulls in the trees.  My husband cow called and one turned and ran straight at us.  He was absolutely huge, but I had no shot.  I thought he was going to run us down.  He came at us with a full bore charge.  At the last minute, he veered off and disappeared into the dark timber without a sound.

A few days later I called in a decent 6x6.  He wasn't all rutted up, so his meat is delicious.  I have been butchering for four days.  My husband smoked a tenderloin.  It melted in your mouth and was so flavorful.  


I've sealed and frozen countless roasts, canned stew meat, elk stew, stuffed summer sausage, sausage, and maple breakfast sausage.  There is still jerky to make.  Ella, of course, got a bone.


My 'vacation' has been exhausting.  Not only do I have a giant elk to contend with, but my apple tree has added to the fray.  We were supposed to get moisture and here you never know if that means a wet heavy snow.
As you can see, the branches were loaded despite the fact we had already picked a bushel.  I was afraid it would snow and break the branches, so we picked the rest.

I'm giving apples to everyone I see.  The bee keeper just left with a bag full.  It was a good exchange, as he brought honey from our hives.  He said they didn't do very well this year.



I made some pumpkin biscotti to celebrate our harvest and enjoy with coffee on the porch. 





I love autumn.  The feeling of preparing to settle in for the winter.  We are getting close to the end.  I have one more batch of tomatoes from the greenhouse and some banana peppers.   If I have enough jars some jelly, jam, and preserves as I still have berries in the freezer.  

Are you ready for winter?  What was your favorite harvest this year?

Sunday, September 26, 2021

An apple a day...

 I'm still working on the apples.  This weekend I made canned apple cider and a batch of hard apple cider.


I also cleaned out my outside garden.  I pulled up the beans, broccoli, corn, and pumpkins.  


They aren't the biggest pumpkins, but they sure are cute.  My flowers are still blooming.



The turkeys wander through our yard twice a day.  They keep the crabapples cleaned up.  Quite a few poults made it this year. 

The colors are fabulous.  Going for a walk feels like you are wandering through watercolors.  


My posts may be a little sporadic in October.  I have an elk tag and will devote my time to hunting.  I will try to keep you updated.  I always end up with photos of the beautiful things I see in the woods.

I hope everyone is enjoying your fall.  I can't wait to peruse your blogs and see the colors.


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Apples to apples...

 I'm sorry I don't have much to share this week.  Every weekend is spent preserving something.  Peaches a few weeks ago, then crabapples, and now apples.  


We have three different sets of apples.  I forget what the big apple is.  It is sweet and not very productive.  The green and red one is a Harrelson and perfect for pies and crisp.  This year it is loaded.  The little green apple is from our wild apple tree and somewhat tart.


This is just the tip of the iceberg.  I made and froze eight bags of apple pie filling.  I also made a delicious apple crisp.  I used the whole basket.  There is plenty more.  I think next weekend will be apple cider and caramel apple jam.  


Mom's Apple Crisp

4 c. Apples

1 c. Oatmeal

1 c. Brown Sugar

3/4 c. Flour 1 c. Cold Butter cut up

1 t. Cinnamon

Use an 8 x 8 baking dish.  Mix the dry ingredients and pour over the apples.  Use a paring knife to cut the butter thinly.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

That is what I've been up to in an apple peel.  I hope you had a productive weekend also.








Sunday, September 12, 2021

Well that didn't go as planned...

 Remember this photo from last year?  My compost bins were completely full.

This spring I added some alfalfa, turned the pile every weekend, and voila two full bins magically became half a bin. 
I used some of the compost when I redid my red/yellow bed.  The rest will be used to mulch my roses, mixed in with vegetable garden, and the butterfly garden.
I got a couple of nice carrots from the garden.  
I roasted two more sheet pans of tomatoes.  They are so delicious.

The title is about things not going as planned.  Well, I picked a plethora of crabapples for wine.  They make a pretty tart wine, so I thought I'd add some wild apples to sweeten it.  Usually, the wild apple tree doesn't produce much and generally they are too sweet.  Well not this year.  They are amazing and perfect for pies or crisp.  Change of plans.   The apples are saved for another day.  I added some grape juice to the crabapples in hopes of toning things down.
We had a ton of turkeys tonight.  Hens with chicks, jakes, and single hens.  What an uproar.  They were clucking like crazy.

My sister was out for a couple of days, while she presented at a conference.  It was the first time in years we were together without kids underfoot.  We enjoyed some nice visits on the porch and talked gardening until our hearts content.  

The highlight of her trip was being able to return some irises that she had given me long ago.  They came from a school where our grandmother had taught.   Her patch and grandma's patch had both died.  She forgot she gave some to me and thought they were lost for good.  Mine are multiplying like crazy.  I was more than happy to return the gift.
Ella has been on the alert.  While my husband was bow hunting deer, a young mountain lion joined him.    It was at one end of the meadow and my husband at the other.  It took off when my husband got out of his stand.  It isn't the best picture from his game camera.

Do you have generational plants?  Have you been using your garden harvest?  Do you have many apples?  Hope all goes smoothly in your neck of the woods.




Monday, September 6, 2021

Garden bed makeover...

 My Red/Yellow bed did terrible this year. Only the daffodils put on a show.  Nothing else gave much effort into blooming.  The problem is the soil is a heavy clay.  About every five years I have to dig everything up, chip off the clay that has smothered the roots, and add soil amendments.

The name of the game is to work slowly, because the bed is riddled with bulbs.  I cleared everything out.  Then added 6 bags of Miracle Grow topsoil for flower beds (on sale 75 percent off), a wheelbarrow of compost, and mixed it thoroughly. 


 I laid out all of the plants and bulbs on the cardboard as I moved along.  Then I dug a trench in the center and replanted my daffodils.  Everything else was replaced minus the grass, insanely aggressive columbines, and moss.  I over seeded with black eyed Susan seeds.  A good watering and we will see how things go next year.  All I need now is a little mulch (hopefully also on sale).


It was a good project to get done.  This is one of my favorites beds and it was very disappointing this year.

Do you have a flower beds that need TLC?

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Preservation...

I accomplished a lot this weekend.  It is hard keeping up with everything that needs harvested.  Sometimes it seems like a lot of work.  Then you have a perfectly smoked venison roast, green beans from your garden, sipping on homemade wine, and topped off with fresh peach cobbler.  That's when you know all is right with the world.

My first project was the bumblebee tomatoes needed picked and quartered.  I've been waiting all summer for this.  Cover them in olive oil, onion powder, garlic salt, basil, parsley, and pepper roast them at 400 degrees for 10-20 minutes.  After they cool, I take them directly to the freezer still on the pans.  Once frozen, they are transferred to freezer bags so I can savor them all winter.

Then there was a peck of perfect peaches to preserve.  Honey spiced canned peaches and peach salsa was at the top of my list.  Tomorrow I will make Spicy Vanilla Peach syrup.  
They didn't all make it to canning.  Many were eaten fresh, with cream, and in peach cobbler.
The weekend wasn't all work.  Plenty of time was spent enjoying the garden.  The bee below must have been drunk on pollen.  He stayed in that flower for two days.  Never moving, even when other bees crawled over him.


Despite finding out I have developed an allergy to bee stings, I couldn't help but take photos.  They were sure busy.  I suppose they feel the fall push.

Another project was to braid my sweetgrass.  It has been drying for a few weeks now.  I wish I could share the smell of sweetgrass.  Nothing compares.  That was not the only dried plants harvested.  One of the jars is filled with lemon basil, lemon balm, and lemon grass.  The other is licorice basil.  Currently, I'm making a cup of lemon grass tea.
Have you ever smelled sweetgrass?  Do you look forward to the peach harvest as much as I do?  What is your test to prepare peaches?  I hope you had a fabulous weekend.