Sunday, September 23, 2018

What didn't I do this weekend...

 I had a long list of things to do this weekend.  At the top of the list was the house needed a deep cleaning.  I tend to spend every second of the summer outside and cleaning isn't a priority.  I had to spend a day cleaning while the weather was still good and I could open the windows to air things out.  Then today the apples were begging to be picked.  The Harrelson did great and I even had a few on my Zestar trees.  We picked two and a half bushels.
 I set up an apple peeling and slicing station on the picnic table.  I froze eight bags of apple pie filling.  While I was freezing the apples, I pulled out the two pans of roasted tomatoes.  Yesterday, I quartered the few tomatoes my garden produced.  I drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled garlic salt, orengano, and basil over the top. I roasted them at 325 degrees for three hours.  Then I froze them on the pans and later transfered them to a bag, after eating a few.  They are great on homemade pizza.

 I also transplated Groot, the giant tree, into a better pot.  His was destroyed by the hail. Then my husband and I wrestled him into the house before he freezes.  I brought him home from work, where he was being neglected.  I'm here to tell you, that tree weighs a TON.  I also transplated my herbs into pots and brought them indoors.  There is nothing better than fresh herbs all winter.  The parsley took it pretty hard.

I also rebuilt my outdoor compost bin and worked on the worm composter.  I spread the worm compost in my house plants.

Then, just because the apple peeling and slicing station was still set up, I made some caramel apple jam and an apple crisp.  After that I finally cleaned everything up and called it a day.  I'm going to make apple cider, hard cider, and maybe some fruit roll ups.  Do you have any other suggestions?  

I think next weekend I will digup my garlic and make the olive oil herb ice cubes again.  I loved them last year.  It is amazing how quickly the weekend flies.  I still have a few things to do.  Are you almost finished with your fall to do list?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

12 Sweetgrass braids...

 Many years ago I planted sweetgrass down by our pond.  The patch has grown every year.  Last year I had 8 braids.  This year I had a whopping 12.  If you have never smelled sweetgrass it is like a freshly mowed field of hay.  It brings back wonderful memories of growing up on the prairie.  Below is a quick tutorial on how to make a sweetgrass braid.  First tie the sweetgrass into bundles and let dry 2 or 3 weeks. 
You will have to re-tie the tops, as they shrink immensely when they dry.  

 Next, either have your husband or a clamp hold the ends.  I gave my husband a reprieve this year, since there were so many braids.  As you see below, just start braiding a nice tight braid.  Don't be gentle.  They can withstand some twisting and pulling.  When you are all done, tie the end and trim any strands that are sticking out.  Trim the top and, if you want, the bottom. 
 What does one do with sweetgrass braids?  I put them in the windows and the scent drifts in with the wind.  Mom always gets one, since she started the whole thing by getting me a sweetgrass braid for Christmas.  I keep one in my office to calm distraught students.  The rest are given to friends and family.  
 There you have it.  12 sweetgrass braids.  Below are some butterfly photos.  There were tons of them today dancing through the flowers.

My bird of the week is a red-tailed hawk.  She is always around the place, but this year she has been super camera shy.  Usually, I get tons of photos of her.  She must know I am doing the bird count.  She flew away seconds after I took this one photo.
 I dealt with the crab apples today.  I made 5 pints of crab apple jelly, 2 sheets of fruit roll-ups, and 1 batch of crab apple wine.  I tried to make spiced crab apples, but forgot to prick them with a fork.  It seems to be an epic fail.  Below is my colorful assortment of wines:  Dandelion, watermelon, huckleberry, raspberry, red currant.  Quite the colorful assortment.  
 I am exhausted.  There was a lot to do this weekend.  I need to go back to work to relax.  I hope you had a productive weekend.  

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Finally production...

Finally, I'm getting some production from the garden.  Two tomatoes, peppers, and one lemon cucumber.  We tried some of the sweet corn and it was fabulous.   I have some late season rhubarb to cut up and freeze.  For some stupid reason I picked crab apples.  I have a plethora.  I will make some jelly and wine.  I may even try pickling some. 
 On the bird front I have a barn swallow and a turkey vulture.  I see the vultures regularly on the way to work.   The barn swallows nest on the school.  They make a bit of a mess, but my students always watch to see how many clutches they have.  I have been so busy with projects I haven't had time to update my bird count.  I will have to sit down and figure out where I am countwise.
 This fella has been hanging around the place all summer.  I think he is a bull snake.  As long as he eats mice I am happy.  I've seen him in the greenhouse, compost pile, and under the water tank. 
 My flowers are recovering from the deer decimation.  I have a few late summer blooms and the smell of phlox is divine.  

The rose garden is making a comeback.  These flowers are in the butterfly garden.  I should call it the butterfly and bee garden.  The bees love it. Does anyone know what kind of flower is below?  I've never seen it before.

 I need to get back to straining my crab apples.  I enjoyed this weekend immensely.  It seems like late summer is taking its time.  To everything there is a season and I'm fine with that.  As long as there is actually a season.   Does anyone have any ideas for those crab apples?  I don't know why I picked so many.  Don't worry the birds will still have plenty.  Hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Half a post....

Do you see him?  Way at the top of the tree?  It is a blue heron.  I see him almost every day going to and from work.  I have been trying to get a photo of him all year for my bird list and he seems to know when I have my camera.  I was running at noon and saw him.  The chase was on.  A group of my students went by and they thought I had lost it and was wandering aimlessly in the woods, with my phone out, looking at the sky.  It isn't the best picture, but by golly it is a picture.

 It was a busy weekend.  The painters came to caulk and stain the cabin.  While things were getting spiffed up, I decided to get some linseed oil and oil the wicker sled.  You can certainly tell the poor sled was seriously dry.  The linseed oil sure did the trick.

 I didn't stop at the sleigh.  The front door was next. 

Hopefully, you can see the difference.  I never liked the original color.  It was supposed to be maroon, but looked purple.  Can you see the difference?  I had every intention of showing a before and after photo as well as some photos of the freshly stained porch.  Unfortunatly, I have lost my camera and only half the pictures I took with my phone downloaded.  Maybe next week I can post a full post complete with before and after photos.

I got the camera to work. Here are a few more photos.

I hope you are having better luck with your memory and technology.  Maybe tomorrow I can add a finished photo.  Did you have an weekend projects?