Showing posts from August, 2011

Mail day!

Too exciting!  Today we got the rest of our seeds for our Autumn garden. I received the following seeds from Peaceful Valley & Garden Supply.  Organic Kohlrabi, Spring Salad Mix for our sprout tray, Organic Bean Adzuki Sprouting beans also for the sprout tray, Organic Mung Bean sprouts also for our sprout tray.  I still need to get another sprouting tray.  Ours has lost a lot of the little siphons on the bottom of each tray.
I also FINALLY managed to find some dandelion greens. These have been extremely hard to find! I've been scouring several sites and kept turning up empty!
Talk about super yummy and SUPER healthy!  Saute some fresh dandelion greens with a bit of garlic in olive oil and you have a delicious side dish!  Just a note, I do NOT suggest picking dandelion greens in your local neighborhood unless you know for certain that no animals have been defecating or urinating on those as well as no pesticides or herbicides have been applied.   EWWWWW I also managed to get som…

To Bee or not to Bee, that is the question

Lately I've been thinking more and more that it would be great to have honey bees in the backyard. Two reasons actually. First and foremost is the honey production.  Next reason however is because they're great pollinators.
Now here's the big issue.  I live on a military post.  They govern what I can and cannot do in my yard and house.  So today I approached them with the question.  Can I have a honey bee hive in my backyard.
I told them, "Look, I already have wasps a plenty.  I don't want them.  I want honeybees.  They can only benefit the neighborhood as they go from plant to plant pollinating.  They don't tend to sting quickly unless provoked.  Wasps are worse then they are.  And last I have a large garden in my backyard.  Its a garden that's an inspiration to other neighbors. It's a great hang out spot.  People love it".  Oops.  Why did I have to go into so much DETAIL?  I sure hope I didn't just get myself caught.  Originally they told m…

Tasty Ideas

Recently I intended on making a strawberry jam marinated pork chop recipe however that morning I completely forgot that we were supposed to marinate the pork chops according to the recipe we were using.  I did have the pork chops out in the fridge though so I figured I might as well use them and see if I couldn't just make up my own recipe.
Now, I consider myself to be a pretty good cook but I don't usually come up with really inventive recipes so the success of these pork chops was really amazing (and tasty).
These turn out very tender, sweet and savory.  
White wine and strawberry jam Pork Chops Ingredients: 4 medium sized pork chops 1 cup white wine 1 cup chicken broth 1/4 cup strawberry jam(I used our homemade strawberry lemon marmalade from last year) salt and pepper to taste
Salt and pepper pork chops while olive oil is heating in large pan Saute pork chops in olive oil till brown.  Remove pork chops temporarily to a plate  Now add white wine to deglaze pan Add chicken broth and str…

Cutting Our Grocery Bill

Okay first let me say that yes, we have been eating out of yard a lot.  And from the farm nearby.  And from the dairy. 
Now oddly enough, our grocery bill has barely gone down.  My husband, Edward, and I think it's simply from extras that we buy here and there.  Plus, Edward has pointed out that many times we've gone shopping at Walmart instead of the Commissary or Shoprite and we've gotten things for the house/yard that just get wrapped all up in our budget as "Groceries".  Then July was a bad month for groceries.  We had a big surprise (the surprise meaning "surprise we're all coming to your house this weekend) party for the 4th of July.  Since I had almost no time to put something together I purchased a good portion of the supplies. Chi ching. $50 worth of groceries. My birthday was at the end of July and we threw a big party which meant we purchased about $75 worth of "snack" items to go along with some of the fresh dishes I served.  June …

Cooking with natures bounty

Saturday night in order to use up our excess cherry tomatoes we decided to have beef shish kabobs.  Unfortunately I don't have mushrooms going yet so the button mushrooms(blog coming soon on my new mushroom farm!) on this weren't mine.
However the onions and tomatoes were!  We used black cherry and Christmas Grape tomatoes here along with onions picked that day from the back yard.  I really gotta start leeks here soon.  I dried all our others since they were really needing to be picked.  Great news about drying just like canning is I can use these later.  I plan to make Cock a leekie soup this Autumn which is one of my sons favorites.  Serve that with some fresh bread and herb butter or olive oil and you have a great hearty meal!

This past weekend has been extremely busy as we rushed to use up all our tomatoes, banana peppers, cucumbers, and bell peppers.  We managed to put up 5 pints of Ratatouille.  One of which didn't seal so we'll be eating that can next week.  Then …

One last addition.

We discussed this and decided, it was time to harvest one more of our Blue Hubbard squash.  The most mature of the two.  We have theorized that this squash plant cannot produce more than two at a time of squash so we took one off.
I don't know if this is a correct assumption,(please correct me if I'm wrong) I just know that our squash so far will not produce any more adult squash while two are already on the vine.
This guy was 7.5 lbs on the scale!  I can imagine this will feed us several meals, pies or what have you!  WOW! Heck maybe next year I'll grow more winter squash vertically! Possibly butternut or acorn.  We'll see!

Harvest time

Whew.....let me say that again...WHEW!  Lately life has been hectic.  Full of harvesting each day and then choosing what is to be dried/dehydrated, what is to be canned and what is to be eaten as soon as possible.  First  I just want it known, at this moment I'm really SICK of eating tomatoes.  I eat them for snacks, I eat them with dinner, I eat them for breakfast.  Still more come.  I am sick of them yet I don't want to complain too loudly because I know that come February I will be craving fresh home grown tomatoes.  Lately I've even been drying any tomatoes that come off the vine with splits.  I figure might as well dry them so I can use them later.
I've been contemplating even making sun dried tomatoes(yes I know they're not REALLY sun dried but they are dehydrated so that should count for something) in olive oil.  I just don't know how long they would be good for.
I found out today that I can also dehydrate cucumbers.  I cannot tell you the relief I fel…

The battle of the pests-Aphids

This year I have encountered pests I NEVER knew existed!  Here I thought aphids were the worst of my battles.  Whew. I had a lot to learn.

For all of these recipes I use (except for the ladybugs of course) a cheap Walmart spray bottle.  Don't need any kind of fancy sprayers. 


Ladybugs: Whether I have to order them or they just naturally occur LadyBugs can cause massive death to Aphids. Soap water: I've found that water mixed with a little dishwashing soap(about a tsp of soap to a cup of water) and then liberally sprayed on plants does wonders on Aphids.  That is unless you live in Alaska.  Oddly enough, aphids in Alaska must be a more hearty bunch.  They tolerate almost every trick I know in Alaska.  Hot Pepper spray: Mix about a cup of water with about a tsp of dishwashing detergent. Mix in about a 1/2 to a full tsp of crushed hot pepper. (Chile peppers, cayenne, jalapeno, they all work) Put the mixture in a spray bottle and let sit for about a day or two.  As time go…

The Plants get graded~Mid term

So of course part of the reason I keep this blog in the first place is to simply keep track of what I have done wrong, what I have done right, successes, failures, and of course also my own opinion on each plant.  This way I know which varieties NOT to grow the next year, which pests I need to be aware of and how to deal with those pests. 

First, let me start with the plants themselves.  And also berate myself for NOT WRITING DOWN THE HEIRLOOM TOMATO PLANTS THAT I PURCHASED! Dummy!
So here I'm GUESSING about the plants I have. I could probably hunt down in a message board somewhere or another but that would most likely take me a week or two.  Forget it! TIP HERE! When canning tomatoes take any tomatoes that are your intended victims, uh I mean, tomatoes you intend to cook up, and throw them in the fridge till they're chilled.  Later start boiling your water to a full boil.  Now start putting a few tomatoes in at a time for about a minute.  No more or your tomatoes will start …