Category Archives: Garden

Tidbits

20161120_1003181600x1200We 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.img_20161119_112743_processedHere’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.20161120_1635431600x1200Sammich 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.20161118_1649221600x1200Here’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.20161119_1643391600x1200Just your basic cheeseburger – pickles, onions, mustard.img_20161119_112949_processedHere’s that mosaic filter again. The algorithm that draws in the tiles has trouble with the motion blurred background.  And that tongue!  LOL20161116_1225541600x1200I 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!

Moar Fresh Figs!

20161106_1144371600x1200This is the largest harvest yet but still shy of the bounty in my daydreams.  We cut them in half and squeeze the pulp out into our mouths.  We’ve already scarfed down all those that posed, cut, for their portraits.

Loving My Grape Vines And The Jelly, Too

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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.

Evening Harvest

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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.



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View From My Room

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Green Salsa Smothered Chicken Over Rice

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This is made from the green salsa I made from the tomatillos growing in my garden. There weren’t a lot, so I only had enough salsa for one meal. It was so good, I was disappointed by the amount.

I’ll post the recipe this weekend, fingers crossed. I’m very close to completing my original list of projects. The master bedroom is finished, complete with art on the walls. Freshly painted, shelves put in the closets, old furniture touched up, new bedding. My goal this weekend is to finish the music room (that will also serve as the guest room) and finish painting the new front door.

Meanwhile, I’m winterizing the yard, slowly, since it’s been 70 and 80s here the last week and predicted to be as warm next week. But the strawberries are almost ready to be put to bed. All my roses are blooming, so I’m holding off trimming them back just yet.

Oh, you wanted to know about the new puppy? It’s going well and I am charging up my video camera so I can get you some good tug of war action between Bailey and Bixby. It’s adorable.  Until then….



 

Fall Gardening

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About midway through August, I decided that I was going to just let most of the gardens do their thing while I focused on the section I knew I was going to eliminate and revert back to grass.

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I had my hands full with grapes, tomatoes and trying to figure out how to water properly and efficiently.

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As fall has progressed I’m feeling pretty good about that decision. I had summer to get well acquainted with all the flowers and develop my own vision. Now I have a clearer idea of what needs to be culled, transplanted and completely revamped.

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I’ll spend most of the winter culling what I know for sure I no longer want. I’ve photographed what I know I want to transplant, because I know come spring I won’t remember anything. (All these photos were taken this week, btw)

My biggest concerns for the next couple of weeks will be redoing the strawberry bed and readying it for winter. And winterizing the grape vines.

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I’m seeing a real vision for the excellent beds that are the bones of my yard. I’m also having a lot of fun discovering all the rocks, crystals and fossils the previous owner has spread all around the beds. I have a plan for those, too. I think it will be fun.

To be continued….



 

Garden Fresh Pasta Dinner

I had friends over on Sunday and by request, made a garden fresh entrée. The advantage with this type of dinner is, it is quick and easy to prepare while guests are there. We had pleasant conversation as I put it together, which from start to finish was less than 20 minutes.

I apologize in advance, I have no photos of the final dish because I was having such a good time I completely forgot to even get my camera out.

Garden Fresh Pasta

  • 4 tomatoes
  • about 4 basil leaves (or 1/2 tsp dry)

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  • 12 oz linguine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper (or red or orange as desired), chopped into large pieces
  • 2 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 large eggplant, cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tomatoes (I used a variety from my garden and my friends’ garden), chopped into large pieces
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 1 tsp dry)

saucepan, skillet, large pot

Blend 4 tomatoes and 4 basil leaves together until smooth and add to saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer while prepping the remainder of the dinner.

In large pot, cook pasta according to package directions, to al dente. Drain, but don’t rinse.

In skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil, add onions. Saute for a minute and then add peppers. Stir occasionally until they are softened and onions are translucent. Add additional tbsp of oil, once heated, add garlic, zucchini and eggplant. Saute until tender. Finally, add tomatoes and basil, cook for one to two minutes and then add the tomato mixture from the saucepan. Stir together gently and bring to a low boil for about 1 minute. Serve over pasta.

I served it with grated Parmesan, tossed salad and fresh baked bread

Go wild and add whatever fall garden vegetables you have on hand….



 

Random Wildlife

20160918_0955221600x1200Something has been sampling my jalapenos but I didn’t spot the caterpillar responsible till yesterday.  I first thought it was new new one because I had never seen one with those white things.20160918_0954181600x1200Next to the jalapeno is an ornamental pepper – a “Black Pearl”.  It has a visitor with the same white things.  A quick search online resolved the mystery, the caterpillars are the familiar hornworms with cocoons of a parasitic wasp.

Random Wildlife

20160917_1457181600x1200Saw this gal on the hummers’ favorite feeder the other day and nudged her off.  She came back to it yesterday.DSC_0926 [1024x768]I’ve seen them on there before.  I took a few pictures of this one a couple of years ago and didn’t think any more about it until someone mentioned that they have actually captured and eaten hummers.  That kind of freaked me out.20160917_1612111600x1200So I flipped her off of the feeder again.  Remarkable how much grip they get on plastic and glass.  I wish I had waited a little – there was a wasp just the other side that I didn’t notice until the mantis was on the ground.  You can just make out the tips of the wasp’s wings in this photo.  Click on the photo to for larger size.

Not Quite Ripe

20160910_111014Mrs J brought in a fig that was soft and starting to turn from green to brown.  We both had a half and concur – not there yet.