Friday, October 17, 2008
The lady who waxes my eyebrows (yes, one of my little indulgences) gave me a recipe for Cranberry beans...the likes of which I'd never heard of. They sell them at our local fruit stand so I decided to give them a try. First of all, they're beautiful. Gorgeous. My photography..or lack thereof...does not do them justice. The color is amazing...I'd like to try and grow them next season for drying. I have to find out if they're heirloom or not...I'm not sure I want to grow anything that isn't. I'm pretty sure I don't...but I'm still doing the research on that one. If they taste as good as they look, I'll share the recipe with you next week! It's a good weekend to do some cooking!
Friday, October 10, 2008
This is the door in my kitchen that leads out to the back deck. As you can see, it's plain. It needed something. Some color. Some pizzazz. I achieved the color but I'm not so sure about the pizzazz part! Either way...I don't mind it.
Let me share how I did it. Since my door is metal I took two metal, magnetic clips and spaced them evenly above the window. I then took a cute tea towel I had purchased in a packaged set and folded it in half evenly (pretty much, anyway!). Then I put the folded side of the towel into the clips and...voila! An inexpensive valance. Major mistreatment...but I still like it.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
As I thought about this project I thought that it would probably be more beneficial to dry the tomatoes in my dehydrator next time. And I would also make sure I had other foods to dry, as well...to make the use of energy worth it. For this particular batch I ran my gas oven all day on low...and it wasn't even full. Next time...no matter how I do it...I'll dry more items at once. Maybe more tomatoes...some figs...maybe some apples and orange peels...and whatever other great recipes I come across in the meantime!
After: The sink area...just because I have a picture of it. And you may notice that this counterspace and the bit of countertop near the stove, are the only bits of counter space that I have. So you can SEE why I NEED my beloved island! You may also notice in the dark corner there (the lighting in my kitchen is horrible) my giant zucchini. I found it hiding the other day and I was so excited! My zucchini plants last hurrah...
So here goes...
Morning breezes blow
Clearing my thoughts, fresh new day
Cool air on my cheeks
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
My main goal was to pick up some pickling cucumbers because I was determined to learn how to make pickles. The selection was beautiful so I stuffed a bag full and moved on. And because I can never just get what's on my list, I looked around for more. I came across some Cranberry beans I'd heard about so I loaded a bag full of them. I bought green beans, lemons, limes, garlic (in case I decided to go Kosher..and I did), onions and some Asian pears...just because I love them.
After dinner on Sunday night I scrubbed cukes, stuffed jars and boiled vinegar and water and before I knew it I had (9) pints of homemade cucumbers! Some are cut in half...some are in chunks...some are in slices...some have garlic...some have chile flakes...some have both...and they ALL have dill seeds! And to add the cherry on top...every lid popped with that sweet sound we all wait to hear after removing our hard work from the hot water bath. I set the processed jars out on the counter on a clean towel and went to sit down a while (canning is hard work!) and to listen for those wonderful sounds. After about 30 minutes I'd heard all (9) *pings* and I knew it was a success. Now...for the real test...the taste. And from what I've read, we have to wait a week or two. I don't know if I can wait that long!
The picture below is of everything I've canned so far: 16 pints strawberry jam (minus about 7 or so that we've eaten or gifted!), (9) pints pickles, (5) pints peach halves. I know we can't "survive" on this small larder of preserves...but you've got to start somewhere, right? I've got a few plum tomatoes I'm going to dry and store in olive oil and I'm still going to do some Dilly Beans...I found a recipe I think sounds good on Recipezaar...I'll let you know how it goes!
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I knew that this first garden experience was going to be experimental...and that I'd have to learn as I went along. So I expected some failures. But expectation doesn't make it any easier to swallow. I wanted immediate success and instant gratification! But it's not like that with gardening...it's a slow, patient process. There's a lot of waiting involved. And I don't know about you, but I am NOT good at waiting! Looks like this whole gardening thing is going to teach me a lot more than I thought! It's not just about food. It's about life. Sow. And wait. I just wish it were easier! In the meantime, I'll wait...expectantly.
3 In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I just started it last night so I don't have much of an opinion as of yet. I do know that it's kept my interest so far...which says more about it than the other 5 books I've got sitting around from the library. I'm such a picky reader...if it doesn't grab my attention immediately...it's outta here. Either way...this one grabbed me. So far!
The plant has a few more flowers on it...and some look promising. We'll see...I may just have to wait until next year to see what a REAL homegrown bell pepper looks...and tastes!...like!
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
The Romas are doing well. I've picked three so far...my husband ate one of them like an apple!
What are YOU harvesting this weekend?
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Armenian cucumber and Roma tomato fresh from my garden, sliced and chilling on a plate in the fridge. These were a delicious accompaniment to our dinner last week.I'll call this one, "Satisfaction on a plate".
Funny how something so simple can make me so happy.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I don't know why simple living is such a radical concept. Why am I not ALLOWED to have some dang chickens in my OWN backyard? Why is it weird to grow vegetables in your FRONT yard? Why are you so different if you want to make your own cheese or can your own food? If you think about it...and talk to your grandparents about it!...it wasn't that long ago that having chickens and gardens and knowing how to preserve food was a way of life, a necessity. My grandparents talk about making their own cheeses and salami and sausages...growing gardens...milking cows...my grandfather made shoes for himself and all of his siblings...all 11 of them! All of this was the norm less than a hundred years ago. In the scheme of things, that's a relatively short time. Yes, I get that life was harder...the work was hard...but if you think about it, it was also much more simple. And that's what I'm looking for...simplicity. Purity. Truth. I want these things in day to day life...in food...in everything.
I think my grandmother thinks I'm crazy for wanting to do things the way she did them. She always complains about how hard life was...how hard she worked...she blames her ill-health on all of her hard labor as a child. And she did work hard. Her story is an interesting one...maybe I'll share a bit another time. I admire her a lot...and respect all that she endured to make it to where she is today. I only wish that she and my grandfather had the desire to pass on everything they know...or knew, now...about gardening and preserving and digging root cellars and making cheeses and baking breads...I wish they had valued that way of life enough to pass it along to me. Unfortunately, they were sold on the idea of convenience and ease. I can't blame them. But...they sold out to it...and taught my mom to forage for her food in a grocery store...and she taught me the same...and now all of that old country knowledge is gone. All of the recipes and techniques for making your own food is nothing but a blurry memory in the minds of my 90 year old grandparents. I feel robbed. Oh, the irony...
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
This is my little melon patch. Apparently, the words "little" and "melon patch" don't really go together as these vining plants really like some room to spread out. But, this is where they are...hopefully they'll "bloom where they're planted"!This is a close up of one of my squash plants and more beans in the forefront. I love how the sun shines through the leaves...so pretty.
This is a view of my raised beds along my deck. You can see the melon patch in the distance back near the shed. The pots on the steps to the deck are full of herbs...basil, thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, cilantro, marjoram...beautiful.
You may have also noticed the dead grass in the background. Soon, soon, soon this will be replaced with beautiful green sod. There are some things I will do differently next year...like plant the beans near the cucumbers rather than by the squash. I grow the cukes on upside down tomato cages so that they'll climb. Doing it this way will leave just enough room for some bean plants in the same raised bed. This way I can grow the squash in the other raised bed, plant two plants right in the middle and let them sprawl to their hearts content!