Category Archives: Garden
Breakfast pr0n! Not what we had for breakfast, actually. More a breakfast for lunch. I don’t eat breakfast and Mrs J contents herself with a bagel but we both love waffles. The bacon is thin sliced porchetta.I didn’t dump all the patio herbs, I wanted to see if they would come back in the spring. The chives are doing great but the sage next to it still looks dead. The bare twigs at the far right are rosemary that I am still hoping will show new growth but nothing yet.The front gardens are just barely showing some color – the scilla can be counted on for a touch of early blue. The day lilies are greening, as are the daffodils and sedum.More meatballs! I made several, there are two left. Not enough for a proper sammich but I guess I can do a couple of meatball sliders.These were out for a last rise before baking. I busied myself about making that breakfast-for-lunch while they were out and they really puffed up before I could get them into the oven.Here’s Ollie, watching me compose this post. He’s already made himself at home. He is fitting in rather well with no apparent animosities developing with any of the other cats.One of the shelter cats. The eyes in the original picture were highlighted by a stray beam that prompted me to play that up with a few tweaks.
Above you can see I’ve started to add rocks. I did a few a day…
And this is how far I’ve gotten this week:
Next I’m going to plot out where the plants will be and create little areas for them and I’ll fill the rest in with rocks…of which I still have plenty.
I was lying in bed the other night and the full plan for the garden beds came to me. So the first nice day this week, I began to implement the vision.
Here is phase one of the side garden:
This bed is home to two Aspen groupings that are struggling at this altitude. My first order of business is to turn this into a rock garden with ice plants, black-eyed Susans, ornamental grasses and some flax for good measure. Hoping by clearing out all the high water plants, it will take some of the stress away from the Aspens. I’ll probably contact an arborist for tips on getting them healthy again.
Turning the bed into a rock garden will be easy. It appears it was a rock garden in a previous incarnation, before soil and mulch covered the rocks and plants added. The former owner collected rocks and fossils, so the yard (and by yard, I mean every inch of the yard) is full of some beautiful and unusual specimens. This was from phase one. I more than doubled it during phase two today.
Phase two – before!
An hour later, rock, mulch and plant free.
Making good progress with just a couple hours of work. I think I’ll have it completely scraped by the end of the week. Then I can begin to add the rocks back. After that, I’ll start pulling some of the larger unique ones from the backyard and add them.
I ground a pork butt that yielded 8lbs of meat and added 2lbs of store bought to make it an even 10lbs because most of the recipes I looked at were for 5 or 10 pounds. Also, the store varieties are heavier on fat and I thought that would bring the lean/fat ratio of my mix closer to ideal. Sausage needs a lot of fat, too lean and it will get tough when fried.I went with a combination of recipes, this garlic and pepper recipe looked good, and I knew I wanted sage in mine so I looked at the breakfast sausage recipes and ended up going with sage, thyme, and rosemary. My patio chives have gasped their last, I got some but nowhere near enough so some chopped green onions went into the mix.
I bagged the sausage in one big zip lock and let it rest in the fridge for a couple of days to meld all the seasonings. You can really get your OCD working hard when you weigh portions out on a digital scale for freezing. If it’s 1: 0.1 I won’t sleep well, thinking about how wrong it is.I was able to bag and roll 9 portions of exactly a pound each, the last bit was just zipped up in a bag for today’s lunch. These 9 went to the freezer.
I’m surprised the parsley and chives made it this far. That last surge of polar air did them in with extended below freezing temps. The oregano and rosemary might just come out of it, the thyme I really can’t tell because the leaves are so tiny. The sage is pretty hardy. The parsley had stopped growing and was getting used up with my own depredations. I should cut it all and put it in the freezer for holiday dinner dressing and making stock.
We are fast approaching Thanksgiving and we’ve had our second hard freeze. The first time I carted the vulnerable jalapenos into the garage overnight but I didn’t this time. I combed through the wilting foliage for the last harvest. The cornbread cubes are drying in anticipation of making a dressing. I baked a loaf of plain white bread earlier and dried them in a low oven.Here’s another treatment of the picture of Bea among the habaneros, it’s done with the “mosaic” filter in the Prisma app. It most effective when there are a lot of discrete elements within the photo like the leaves and peppers in this one.Sammich pr0n! This is a cod fillet that had been dredged one time in a commercial fish breading that I added some coarser cornmeal to. I made a very busy tartar sauce of mayo, onions, chives, horseradish, jalapeno, lemon juice, salt and pepper – and topped that with slaw.Here’s a chicken breast that was slow cooked in the toaster oven with my (current) favorite hot sides of fried potatoes and sauteed Brussels sprouts.Just your basic cheeseburger – pickles, onions, mustard.Here’s that mosaic filter again. The algorithm that draws in the tiles has trouble with the motion blurred background. And that tongue! LOLI had the stub end of a loaf of Italian bread left over from making garlic bread to go with a small lasagna I made the other day. The lasagna was pretty good but I served it right out of the oven and the layers slipped and slid all over the plate in the bechamel/tomato sauce. Served it in a bowl, I could have called it soup. Ha Ha I meant to do that!
My Concord grape vines are still bringing happiness with their vivid fall colors.
Making Grape Jelly was much easier than I thought. I was intimidated at first, because my experience with Apple Butter was painful. Jelly was much easier.
Probably the most difficult part was separating the grapes from the stems. I did a bunch at a time over a few days, so it wasn’t terribly tedious. Once they were free from stems, I whipped them through the VitaMix and then ran them through a fine sieve. That was enough to keep the flavor of the skins, but separate them from the seeds.
I made four batches as the grapes ripened in nice small batches. I decided to go with a low-sugar pectin (this one) because LFern had a box and gave it to me. Come to find out, it is one of the few without added sugar in the pectin itself. The grapes were sweet enough that I’m glad I did. There is only about a tablespoon of sugar per jar.
Calcium water is used to help set the jelly. It has a smoother texture than regular jelly. Also, because there is so much less sugar, the color is deeper and not as jewel toned as high sugar jelly. Turns out it’s all that sugar that gives it the vibrant, clear hues.
It only took about five minutes cooking from start to finish. Since I was freezing it instead of canning, that was it for cooking. The finished product lasts for up to a year in the freezer and about two weeks once thawed and refrigerated.
It is delicious and I cannot wait for next year’s harvest. I’m not including a recipe because it’s best to follow the one that is included with your pectin. In my research it appears each one has different ratio of ingredients to get the best texture and flavor.
Anyone else make jams and jellys this fall? How about wine? I gave way almost as many as I picked to someone who was going to make wine. Can’t wait to hear how it came out.