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


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.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Bed, butterflies, and broccoli...

We tried the sweet corn today an it was wonderful.  There are still raspberries.  Just a small harvest of broccoli, but quite a few Gerkin cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.  Perfect for snacking.

It finally cooled off here.  Even a little fog and some much needed rain.

The porch has been a delightful place to watch the butterflies and bees.  I am trying to keep my distance from the bees, as I found out last weekend that I am now allergic to them.  

The colors look so pretty shining through his wings.

Hopefully it has cooled down where you are.    Have you seen a lot of bees and butterflies were you are?

Sunday, August 8, 2021


 It was a busy weekend. There were quite a few things to do.   The beans are starting to ripen.  I had enough for dinner and some leftover to can.

I have been itching to do some beading.  I am by no means a professional, but it is calming.  

Someone asked what I planned on using the porcupine quills for.  This was one thing I had planned to do with them.
Along with harvesting flower seeds, I also trimmed my licorice, lime, lemon, and sweet basil.  They are great in teas.  I found this old metal something-or-another long ago and knew I could use it for something.  It makes a perfect herb drying rack.
My garden is starting to produce.  Here are the beans, cherry tomatoes, and Mexican gherkin cucumbers.  They are great for snacking.
My pumpkin is making great progress.  There is a little acorn squash hiding behind it.
There are still berries to pick: raspberries, chokecherries, and sand cherries.
In case you are wondering what a sand cherry looks like on the shrub.  I will say they are rather tasteless.
That's all I know for now.  Somewhere amid all of that I found a little time to sit on the porch.
Hopefully, you are enjoying your summer.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Tomato Taj Mahal update...

 I've been spending a lot of time in the Tomato Taj Mahal.  I decided to spruce it up a bit.  I made a sign and a twine holder.  I'm pretty happy with both projects.

I didn't take a photo after I tidied things up.  I pulled out the last of the bok choy and replanted the right side with lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers.  The cucumbers probably wasn't a good idea.  I guess time will tell.
The outside garden is fabulous.  The corn has tasseled.  I have some pumpkins and squash.  We ate our first batch of beans, yum.  My broccoli and cabbage are beautiful.

My butterfly and bee garden is flourishing.  Sorry the bee picture is blurry.  I was being buzzed while I tried to take it.

That's my adventures for the week.  I'm still picking berries.  Raspberries are pretty much it at this point.  Now it looks like my focus will be on the vegetable garden.  What are you focused on?