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Category Archives: Garden

Tidbits

These popped up in the yard the other day, I got photos today.  It seems that this is a toxic mushroom although with proper preparation it can be eaten.  Not sure it would interest zombies however much it looks like brains.It finally dried up enough to to some mowing a few days ago.  I’ve been overseeding quite a bit these last few weeks.  I scattered a couple hundred pounds of various seed mixtures, trying to go heavier on those spots that most need it but I have covered nearly the entire lawn.The crabapples and the flowering peaches are not at peak, a few more days should see some serious pretty.It’s still early but nearly everything is in bud.  The pond willows are showing traces of green.Lunch will be sloppy joes.  I’d better run out to see how Mrs J is doing with her containers.She’s coming right along.  We have scads of empty containers of all sizes and she will have most of them full of flowers before long.  I need to head into town later today or tomorrow to get mower fuel, and I suspect more potting soil.  I’ve made a start on my own container garden:Still on the lookout for the odd herb to add but I am more interested in pepper plants.  My bell peppers have been busts for the last few years and I have a mind to bring them into the patio garden where I can keep a better eye on them.

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Signs Of Spring

I’m happy to report that it looks like Spring is winding its way to us, despite a forecast for 2 to 6 inches of snow on Monday.

This Siberian Iris managed to survive the purge – I pulled out the overbearing flower bed by the front door and planted grass and added flower pots. This hardy guy defied the odds, popped up in the new grass and is here to stay.

My two Pussy Willows are doing great – I planted them at the beginning of fall and they are starting to bud. I have always loved them and they are huge bee magnets.

Tomorrow I’m going to continue cleaning out the front bed and trim up all the roses. I’m also thinking of bringing in a few forsythia branches to force. Meanwhile I’m planning out the rest of my spring clean-up and laying out the vegetable garden in my head.

There will be a puppy update later tonight…with bonus ducks. Until then…



 

Harvest Time

Not a huge haul, but we don’t use very many habaneros.  Nice bunch of ripe serranos under there.  We are getting freeze warnings and Mrs J is starting to winterize her gardens – she’s hauling all the containers around to the potting soil dump and stacking the pots in the shed and she isn’t going to let the patio garden slide.

Fig Jam

We gathered more ripe figs and decided to make jam after seeing how easy it was.  First step is to rinse them, then cut off the stems and slice them up.  I quartered these but I’ll be chopping them a little smaller in the future.Our batch weighed in at 2-1/4 pounds, the recipe we were looking at was for 3 pounds so we adjusted the proportions to suit.  We figured 1-1/2 cups of sugar for our jam – we used 3/4 c Splenda and 3/4 c granulated sugar.  We went ahead and used the one lemon for the zest and juice.The figs make their own juice so no need to add any.  These have been simmering for a little while.   Cover them and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.  The jam still looked too lumpy even after a go with a potato masher so I buzzed them with a stick blender.The jam got thicker and darker, we filled 2 half pints and this much of a third jar.  I kept it for the fridge.  You can see that, even still warm, it’s pretty thick.Thick and tasty!  This is on a hunk of the fig bread we made the other day.These are just out of a boiling water bath.  Recipe says give them 10 minutes at a full boil.  The lids sealed with that satisfying snap after a minute or two out.

Tidbits

This poor thing was brought in with two broken legs, the one appears to be less of a problem than the other, going strictly by the casts.  I have no other info but he is in good hands at St Francis.Made some mayo from scratch.  The other day I roasted a bunch of garlic cloves in olive oil and used a 1/4 c of that oil in this.  The recipe for the basic mayo is easy – put an egg with 1/4 c oil in the bowl of a processor, add a pinch of salt and 1/4 tsp of dry mustard and give it a spin.  Start drizzling in more oil until you’ve used about a cup, total, or until it gets to the consistency you are going for.  I added canola oil for the drizzle.  This turned out very garlicky.I used it on this sammich – very good!  I assembled it after the photo, and went sans lettuce.  That’s more of my maple pepper bacon.  Yum!Now here comes Bitsy, slowly, a step at a time.  Head on a swivel, looking for threats.  She finally made it all of the way in.  Yay!This was Taco Tuesday for us.  I’m torn between piling on the goodies or going sparingly with them for a better picture.  These white corn tortillas are smeared with refried beans, layered with smoked pork, cheddar, shredded cabbage, and pico de gallo.This looks like a short loaf of banana bread but it’s actually made with figs.  We had a fairly good batch we weren’t quite sure what to do with.I quartered them and stuck them in the dehydrator overnight – too long, alas.  They were barely pliable and too tough.  We dropped them into a stout blender and whirled them with water to break them up.  The result looked much like bananas that had been pureed so they went into a banana bread recipe.This is one of those soups that come from what I think of as a “bottomless” soup pot – I keep adding to it as we eat out of it.  Those diced potatoes were not in there yesterday and I added more carrots.  The beef will get scarce after a few iterations, but right now there’s still plenty.I’ll wind this up with another shelter kitteh.  This one looks like our own Ginger Boy.

Cats and Dogs Living Together

Tomatoes with Green Chilies

We are down to one tomato bush, it had a dozen or so ripe tomatoes when I looked yesterday, and there were enough poblanos to make it worth roasting them for a nice rotel copycat recipe.   I chopped several small sweet onions, the roasted green chilies, and a couple of jalapenos and added them to the tomatoes to simmer for a while.  I had enough for six pints.  This stuff is great for chili or mixing in with cheese for a nice dip.  There are a bazillion recipes for soups that include it – just plug rotel and soup into your search engine, rev it up, and pop the clutch.

Tidbits

Mrs J says these are the last of the tomatoes by which she means these are the last she is going to pick.  They have pulled out of their doldrums and have really come on.  Might have been the heat.I skinned them all, crushed them, added green peppers and onions, and boiled them down just a little…ending up with 15-1/2 quarts total in quart and pint jars.  Took the best part of a day – peeling the skins was the hardest part.  It didn’t take all that long to cook them, nothing like as long as it takes to cook the juice down when making soup.  It did take three pressure cooker loads to finish them, with the ramp up to pressure and the cool-down included it took over an hour per load.I hoisted down the big enameled cast iron pot from its usual spot atop one of the cabinets for cabbage and sausages.  (And carrots, potatoes, and onions.)Made enough for lunch the next day.  The sausages were particularly good – some were ordered up from Louisiana through the Cajun Grocer, and there were a couple left over from the package that I broke open for breakfast the other day.Sous vide is the killer app for steaks.  These were cooked to 138 degrees for half the day and were as tender as you would expect.Chili dogs!  Yay!  I keep cans of chili in the cupboard for those days when I’m just about covered up with other chores (canning tomatoes).I’ll wind up this one with Gabe keeping watch over the back yard.  There is often something to bark at and he doesn’t want to miss out.  Homer is keeping him company though his vigil.

Tidbits

Gabe waits for his dog mama, she won’t be gone long because she misses her dog boy.We eat some of the tomatoes fresh!  I set a few aside when we are processing for soup or stewed for canning.  I try to get the best ones – no marks or splits or spots.  This sammich started out wanting to be a BELT but I didn’t have the lettuce so it just gets billing as a breakfast sammich.  Brunch, actually, we don’t get up early enough…I used up some odds and ends of pasta for this one.  I still have plenty of parsley, the caterpillars that were eating it have gone away.  Still have a hornworm or two – they seem to be specializing on my hot peppers now that  the patio tomatoes are gone. We love these upside down cakes.  I cut them into single serving squares and freeze them in plastic containers.  They really hit the spot for late night snacks while watching videos.More cookies!  These are my current favorites.  I’ve been leaving out the almonds and adding raisins.  I’ve made these often enough that I can do them without looking at the recipe.Mmm… French toast and garlic pepper sausages.  The sausages are from that processing plant we travel to a few time a year to stock up.  They have the best ham hocks, and they are the closest place I know that has fresh pork bellies.  I buy a couple, cut them in two, and vacuum seal the halves for the big freezer.Mrs J said we have plenty of tomato soup canned.  I think she mentioned 40 quarts.  Well, we better get busy with it!  I used a veggie peeler to shave Parmesan for a garnish.Mmm… smoked pork makes a fine sammich.  The sides are potato salad in the back and bacon, tomato, and basil pasta salad.I’ll wind this one up with a few cute kittehs.

That’s Enough for Two Dozen Grilled Cheese Sammiches