Thursday, September 4, 2014

25# Concord grapes, 24# Winter squash, One young and enthusiastic rooster, and lots of vegetables! What a Day!

After the usual morning things, my garden fairy and I went to a nearby friend's home and picked the rest of her Concord grapes. She had used all she wanted and offered.  It was fun and we came home with about 25 pounds!  I will wash, stem and figure out what to do with them.  Stay tuned for that. Here are some of the grapes.  :)

After we got back, we went out into the garden and picked everything that needed picking.  Here are pictures:  This is a Marina di Chioffia winter squash.  (More about this later.)
 Tomatoes, of course...:
Some smallish winter squash and a honeydew melon:
 I couldn't resist digging up one the sweet potato plants!
 I had some onions drying out there.
Zucchini squash:
Cucumbers:
Peppers:
I dug a small bucket of potatoes to use.
 Ok, so now about the squash.  It weighed 24 pounds.  The bugs had started getting to the stem, so we decided it was time to take it in before it starts to rot.  The only way I could figure out to cut it open was to use my hatchet.  So, here goes!
 That was not enough.  I went and got my hammer to help cut all the way through.
 At last!
 Here it is on a baking sheet in the oven.  It took nearly 2 hours at 350 F before it was all tender.
 Before baking, I scooped out some of the seeds to save for next year.
 Here it is out of the oven with a knife sticking in it so you can see it's very tender.  It was also sweet and delicious!  I ate some with butter, mashed.
On to the sad part of the day.  We have/had a young rooster.  He became a very enthusiastic breeder and hurt 3 of my hens, because roosters grab the feathers on the back of the hen's neck.  My Buff Orphington hens are very docile, and they were getting the worst of it.  See this poor girl?
We've been dealing with this for a few weeks now and made the decision today that our poor, beautiful boy was going to become dinner.  :(
Here is the garden fairy, plucking his carcass:
I roasted him in my clay baker with a peeled onion inside of him, poured melted butter and salted and peppered him and sprinkled on some ground poultry seasoning. 500 F for 45 minutes  Here he is, cooked.
I had to remove the drumsticks before putting him in the clay baker, so he'd fit.  I have to say, his meat was a little tough, but quite delicious.

So, now I have a lot of produce I need to deal with.  It's a wonderful blessing to have too much food.  We had squash and chicken for dinner.  I didn't expect that.  Much nicer than the salmon burgers I had planned.



Monday, September 1, 2014

Got Cabbage? - Easy, healthy sauerkraut

Here is a picture of this year's sauerkraut.  I made it from the cabbages we grew in the vegetable garden.  Sauerkraut is VERY easy to make, and if you don't can or cook it, it is full of enzymes and other lovelies that will benefit your body.  Besides, it's delicious!  And this will keep for a LONG time.  I have some from a year ago, that I'm going to give to the chickens today, to make room for the new batch.

Some of this was fermented in Pickl-It jars and some in Fido jars.  Fido jars are less expensive, work just as well and are easier to use because you don't have to bother with the air lock.  I was able to buy my Fido jars at Ross for a very nominal cost. They are also available through Amazon.com.

Last year, I posted instructions on how I make sauerkraut.  That post is HERE.   Cabbages, at least where I live, are very inexpensive right now. What you see in those jars is about 10 pounds of cabbage, and I'd be able to purchase that much for less than $4 right now.  The only other thing you need is salt and a little time to do this.  Don't be afraid!  It's fun! It's easy!  It's good for you!

By the way, I did NOT add any caraway seeds this year.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sigh.... those canned caramelized onions are NOT good!

Warning!!!  Yesterday I canned 4 pints of caramelized onions.  One of them did not seal, so a little while ago I tasted it.  They are all mushy and do not have a nice flavor.  They tasted great before I processed them in the canner.  I hope I didn't lead anyone astray.  I am so sorry.  :(

Monday, August 11, 2014

Garden Bounty!


Yes, I'm barefoot.  When the weather is warm, that's how I like to work in the garden, and when it's harvest time, it makes it easier not to stomp on something edible.  We brought in quite a few winter squash this morning and some little melons as well as cabbages.  I was able to walk amongst the crowded vines without destroying anything.  :)  In that picture, I'm wearing my wonderful garden apron.  I can work out there without getting my clothing all dirty.  Here, I have baskets of cucumbers, jalapenos, green peppers, okra and zucchini squash.


 Some of the bounty!


Here is my garden fairy (a.k.a. our daughter) wheeling in the goodies.


And tomatoes!  I have to pick them before they are "dead ripe," because otherwise insects get to them first and they spoil.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I love this time of year....

I often think that this is the "real" time of the year.  The winter is, for me, just when I am waiting for the the summer and the garden bounty, nice temperatures, sunshine, bird song... in the words of a song from the  musical, "Porgy and Bess," --- "Summertime...and the livin' is easy..."  That's how I feel.  Even though I work really hard all spring and summer and into the fall, it makes me happy.

Here is a picture of what I had for breakfast this morning.  I went out to the garden and found a very small zucchini squash, melted 1 Tablespoon of butter in a small skillet and grated the zucchini into it.  I sauteed that for a little while.  Then, I took 2 of the tiny itty bitty eggs from our baby chickens that have just begun to lay, and scrambled them in a small bowl with a bit of water, some salt and pepper.  I poured that over the zucchini and cooked it together.  Then I put a 1 ounce slice of marble cheese on top, turned off the heat and let it sit until the cheese was nicely melted.  I ate all of that with a cut up nectarine.  Oh, it was so good.  Come over and I'll fix some for you too!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Free Garlic Seeds Again!!



Here is a picture of me, 3 years ago, when I harvested our garlic.  Well, it's that time of year again, and as I've been doing for a few years, I am offering free garlic seeds to my readers. If you would like some, leave a comment (I will not publish it) with your email address.  I will email my mailing address to you and then if you will send me an SASE with TWO first-class stamps on it, I will send you some seeds.  When you get them, plant them in some nice soil, mulch lightly, and in two years you will have garlic to harvest.  After that, you can plant the individual cloves each year and continue to grow it.  This garlic is wonderful and hardy.  When I harvest it, I hang it up to dry in the front porch and after about a month, I cut off most of the tops, and just keep the bulbs in a basket hanging above my kitchen sink.  I am still using some of what I grew last year!  You will love it!

HERE is a link to a great article/slide show, on how to grow, harvest, and store garlic, put out by Seed Saver's Exchange.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Canning Peaches Without Sugar and.... Outdoor cooking!

Here is a view of my kitchen when I got up this morning.  Yesterday, I canned 38 quarts of peaches, with no sugar, like THIS.  It took me 6 hours, start to finish and they are beautiful!  In case you are new to this way of canning them, you will be pleasantly surprised.  They are healthier, of course, but also it's more economical, as you don't have to buy any sugar, and more peaches fit in the jars.  All that is in the jars is peeled peaches.  No Water.  No Syrup. Nothing to prevent darkening.  If you do it my way, they will be wonderful.  I promise!  They do have to be ripe enough, of course.  I even did it one year when I bought 60 pounds of peaches and when I went to can them, found out they were cling peaches.  :-0   HERE is how I did that.

I worked so hard yesterday that today I decided to "play."  I have never, before, baked a loaf of bread over a fire, but my son sent me a link to a YouTube video on how to do that, so I had to try it!  I also made a wonderful beef stew over the fire.  I really love cooking over a fire outdoors.  It is so versatile.  The bread got a little too done on the outside, but it was still delicious.  Next time, I'll hang the Dutch oven not quite so close to the fire.  By the way, HERE is the link to that video.  I used my own bread recipe, but followed his method for baking.

Here is the bread...



Here I am stirring the stew.  The bread is hanging over the fire at this point.


Here is the stew, right before I stirred in the pint of beef chunks.  You can see that it is simmering there next to the fire.


It was a wonderful meal and so much fun to cook!

Now, I think I'll do the dishes and then read a book.  We are having sweet corn from the garden for supper.

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