Thursday, July 29, 2010


It's almost that time...

Harvest and Storage

  • Leave your tomatoes on the vine as long as possible. If any fall off before they appear ripe, place them in a paper bag and store them in a cool, dark place (never refrigerate or store on a windowsill).
  • The perfect tomato for picking will be very red in color, regardless of size, with perhaps some yellow remaining around the stem. A ripe tomato will be only slightly soft.
  • Harvest tomatoes when they are firm and are at peak color.
  • If your tomato plant still has fruit when the first hard frost threatens, pull up the entire plant and hang it upside down in the basement or garage. Pick tomatoes as they redden.
  • Store tomatoes at cool room temperature (around 55ºF) out of direct sunlight. Never refrigerate fresh tomatoes.
  • To freeze, core fresh unblemished tomatoes and place them whole in freezer bags or containers. Seal, label, and freeze. The skins will slip off when they defrost.

  • Recommended Varieties
  • ‘Amish Paste, Mom's Paste’: Large paste tomatoes, good slicers.
  • ‘Brandywine’: A beefsteak with perfect acid-sweet combination. Many variants are available.
  • ‘Matt’s Wild Cherry’: Foolproof in any climate, cherries bear abundant fruit in high or low temps and in rain or drought.

In 1522, Spanish explorers returned home from the New World with tomatoes. Wealthy people believed that the fruits were poisonous. Only the peasants were brave (and hungry) enough to eat them.

Ease a headache by drinking tomato juice blended with fresh basil.

Yesterday as I strolled thru the garden I saw the first couple of tomatoes which weren't all still green. I am thinking the 30th I will be eating my first garden fresh tomato. Yum, yum.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Greeks called garlic “the stinking rose."

The “poor person’s antibiotic,” garlic was used in Europe as far back as the Middle Ages and in China possibly as far back as the Neolithic period.

Here are five unusual ways to use this incredibly versatile plant:
1. Deter bugs in your garden. Plant garlic cloves as a barrier to control aphids. Push a clove into the soil of your houseplants.
2. Rub raw garlic on an insect bite to relieve the sting or itch.
3. Rub crushed garlic on your skin to deter ticks and mosquitoes.
4. Eat foods heavy in garlic to speed recovery from a cold.
5. Chew garlic for stamina and courage (or so the Greeks and Romans believed).

Garlic Tips and Recipes

• Don’t peel garlic cloves before pressing (to save time and make cleaning the garlic press easier).
• Cut off any green on a garlic clove—it’s bitter.
• Store garlic at room temperature and far away from light, in a container with air holes. Don’t refrigerate.
• If you grow your own garlic, snip a few inches of the green tips and add to salads for subtle flavor. A big foodie happening around here now are these tips, also called scapes.
• To roast garlic, place an entire head on a square of foil, drizzle with olive oil, wrap up, and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour, until soft. Oh so yummy on toasted baguettes.

Monday, July 26, 2010

My Canning Day Yesterday

I took the time yesterday to teach DH the basics of canning.
The busy looking picture was of some of the ingredients which went into the jars.
Then the second picture is what came out of the pressure canner and water bath canner.
And, the last picture is my all time favorite.... Claussen style refrigerator pickles.
But, will have to wait on those as they mature into their full fledged goodness.
More and more filled jars are making their way to the shelves.
But, guess what? I need more shelves now. What I have are almost filled to capacity.
My friend, Lisa, is donating some shelves she doesn't need any longer.
Payment to her is a couple of filled jars.
Should I give her some Claussen clones?

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Corn, one of my all time favorite things to eat. This batch is growing in the raised bed and it is looking mighty fine. Tasseled out and small cobs are even now visible.

I was even lucky enough to find some of those old timey things you push into the ends of the corn cob so you can eat the corn without messing up your fingers. Remember those? They look sort of like corn cobs with three prongs. Funny gadgets but, they work well. I paid 25 cents at the Sally Ann for a brand new unopened package of them. Mind you there are only the two of us... wanna come for fresh corn on the cob one night? Got plenty of them corn holders to go around.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Yesterday's Sucessful Canning Runs - Yes RunS

I found out the day before yesterday it was going to be cool. Or, I should say cooler than what it has been up here. 85 - 90 degree days are just not cut out to be canning days. So I waited. Yesterday's high was only about 75 with a very overcast type of a day. Perfect!

I was up out of bed early and at the task of filling the green bean jars. I had set up late the night before doing the prep work after we picked the bejesus out of the pole bean patch. That was easy enough. They came out of the canner "pinging" their lids down right away.

Then after those were finished I started the bread and butter pickles. I followed the recipe mostly but, did add calcium chloride (pickle crisp) to the jars and I had to decide mid stream there was not going to be enough of the brine for all those pickles once I started filling jars. I had to make another 1/2 amount of the brine. What a pain that was. I would rather have too much than not enough. Anyway.... as you can see they came out very pretty looking in their jars. They will taste wonderful in the dead of winter. Every jar of those pinged too. Doing the happy dance here. LOL.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Finished Project

Even with Gracie helping the whole thing came out well.
Now I can stop drying on clothes racks in the house.
Being green is what it's all about.
Plus, who doesn't like the smell of line dried clothes?
Snuggling into bed sheets fresh off the line...... ahh heaven!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Need Help with That?

DH is installing a new clothes line for me. He has his handy helper with him as you can see in these pictures. Gracie.... always curious and usually in trouble for something. She's just turned two.... what can you expect from a teenager anyway? She's just way too cute. That's the hole he'll be cementing the pole into that Gracie has her head almost in.

The odd garden picture I included is of the squash/pumpkin patch. But, what primarily I want you to look at is the size of those sunflowers. They have grown taller than the building behind them. The building you can hardly see. Wow zee!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Zucchini and Crookneck Squash

Be forewarned..... if you are my friend you won't give me any of these squashes. Or, for that matter, any other kind right now. Or, recipes for said squashes.

When the patch of squash started producing in our garden back about two weeks ago or, so, I was excited. Very excited and enchanted by having such good food to eat. Readily available and lots of it. Being almost vegetarian it was almost exciting to have such a bounty for our table.

I am no longer of that frame of mind. I am already tired of having to think up different ways to eat the stuff. Or, having a bunch of friends sending me recipes or, recipe sites on the internet.

When it first arrived I was sauteing it with a bit of garlic and some S&P. And, that was it. It was so very fresh and so very good. Then came the more refined and longer cooking times recipes. All very good and very good for you. But, I can't take it anymore.

I am dehydrating it, freezing it and almost conversing with it as it is around so much. This has got to stop. But, I don't think it will for awhile yet.

I know... I know.... I shouldn't be bitching cause when winter rolls around and we have all this bright beautiful goodness packed and stored away.... I will be happy. But, for now..... well for now I am not.

And, this too shall pass.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Growing and Harvesting Tips

• As melons come in, place a board beneath them and the ground to keep them off the moist soil and to prevent insects from attacking.
• Beans have the best flavor if you harvest them in the morning.
• Are your tomatoes setting fruit? If it's over 90 degrees F, tomatoes don't do well; try shading them to reduce the heat.
• Keep plants moist but do not overwater (even in dry climates). Water slowly and deeply; let soil dry between watering. Wilted leaves in the morning is a sign of too little water.
• When you pull carrots, cut off the green tops; if left on, they will make the carrots limp.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Taking a Dog Canoeing

Taking a dog canoeing? It's not as easy task as you may think. And, you got to get your dog equipped to go with you.

First off you want them to be safe. How else to be safe than to purchase a beautiful new life vest for them? Well.....first make sure your dog will wear that beautiful new life vest.

Here's myself with Gracie trying to get her into her brand new beautiful life vest. What you might not be able to tell is she's got the neck snap buckle in her teeth and won't let it go. Oh no sirree, no. She's telling me in her own way she's not going to be wearing this horrible thing. Of course it doesn't help as I am in hysterics laughing so hard my sides hurt. And, dear dear DH is taking this picture laughing so hard he could barely take this picture.

All I can tell you is we did go canoeing. But, Gracie didn't wear her life vest. She hates it and wants no part of it. There goes that $30 (yeah they are expensive) I spent on it. Guess she'll be swimming on her own without the flotation help of the expensive life vest I bought her. Sigh.... hope we never have a problem and end up in the water with Gracie.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Yesterday's Harvest..... Yippee!

Just when I was starting to get frustrated... I went into the zucchini patch. Wowee! I came out of there with 8 or 9 zucchinis and a bunch of yellow crookneck squashes. I was duly impressed as I had gotten to the point where I thought nothing was going to grow anywhere, at anytime.
Here's some pictures for your viewing pleasure. Those are of course the aforementioned squashes, one lonely cucumber, green beans (the last of the bush kind I planted) and a single tomato.

That is definitely one weird looking tomato.... it's actually two I believe which fused when it first started growing. I picked it cause I was afraid the buggies would love all the crevices in it and eat it before we had a chance at it. And, believe me it won't go to waste. I'll be making fried green tomatoes with it. It's huge though you (out there in cyber land) can not really tell. It weighs in at just shy of a pound.... 15.8. Not bad. Laugh if you want.... I think it will taste wunder bar!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Everyone Needs One

This was made by my dear hearted hubby for me.
It was one of my many birthday gifts this year.
I know it's not a fancy store bought garden swing.
But, this is mine and has loads of sentimental value to it.
The back rest is a board which came from Lisa's farm and was a barn board off one of her out buildings. (Thanks Lisa!!)
It was designed last year actually after my friend came to visit and she my DH set in a swing out at Lake Bellamy eating ice cream sandwiches.
That's where the first and original idea came from.
(Psst.... remember Karen?)
He has planted three different pots of morning glories around the swing.
They are climbing up the trellises he installed to each side and the back.
It's quite a wonderful place to sit, swing and unwind.
And, occasionally I am joined by either Gracie or, DH.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cool It!

July is the hottest month of the year.Here's a couple tips to help you beat that devilish heat!

• Open your house to the breeze after sunset and leave it open until dawn. Place a fan in the window to suck the cooler air inside.
• In the early morning, draw the shades before the temperature starts to rise.
• To feel cooler, eat cooler. Reduce your protein intake and increase fluids.
• Avoid hot, caffeinated beverages, which are dehydrating.

Too much sun? To ease a sunburn, here are a few home remedies:
• For a mild sunburn, apply cider vinegar, witch hazel, or cold peppermint tea.
• Bathe a sunburned face in buttermilk. It’s great for the complexion, too.
• Add some black or green tea to your bathwater to soothe sunburned skin. Or pat sunburned skin with wet tea bags.
• Wear a hat! The wider the brim the better!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Green Site

This is a site where you can get a free static cling to remind you to bring your bags with you when you go shopping.

Go and check it out and get yourself that static cling!

Green Tomatoes

I am literally starving for a red ripe tomato. There are a gazillion tomatoes hanging on their vines in the garden but, all are green still. It seems to be taking forever for any to ripen.

So what I was thinking was this...
It just might be time for a skillet full of fried green tomatoes.
And, I do think this is a acquired taste.
(First year I had a garden and an excessive of green tomatoes when we got the first frost, I prepped a whole bunch of these and froze them.)

Here's the recipe:
Grab yourself up some firm green tomatoes from the garden.
Slice them a tab bit more than a 1/4 inch and a little less than 1/2 inch for the perfect thickness.
Dredge them in some seasoned flour...
or, 1/2 cornmeal and flour or, all cornmeal,
you can season that flour/cornmeal with plain S&P and you're good to go.
You can add garlic powder to the flour/cornmeal too. Or, not.
I have heard tell of folks adding Old Bay Seasoning to their flour/cornmeal.
Whatever your choice, it's time to get to the frying.

Choose your oil. Or, choose bacon grease or, lard.
Heat that oil choice and start to frying those flour/cornmeal coated slices.
I use a cast iron skillet for this as it heats in just the right way.
Fry to a golden brown and serve.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Almost Jungle

I thought today I would update the pictures of my gardens for those of you following this blog.

These pictures show the intensive growth that has occurred after 5 straight days of full on bright sunshine. Glad we have those 11 sixty gallon rain barrels we keep. There was no rain during these past 5 days of sun and high heat temperatures from hell and if you came looking for us in the morning you would have found us in hats and long sleeved shirts as we hand watered the gardens in the early AM (7) from the rain barrels. It took the two of us each 2+ hours to get it all done including the weeding and the picking. By 10 AM the outside temperatures were peaking in the 90s and for health reasons we had to call it a day and get the heck out of that sun. Those temperatures outside stayed like that for the rest of the day. (One of those days I went to see what the temperature was with the humidity factored in..... 111 F!)

This group of pictures shows the square foot boxes which contain the tomatoes, cukes, green beans and, the carrots. The inground garden is showing the pumpkins with the sunflowers planted along the back wall of the converted garage. These plants are getting pretty big. Which I am thrilled by.

Thank goodness it rained yesterday late evening after no rainfall to speak of for approx. 8 days. I won't have to hand water the garden this morning. And, I can rest a bit easy as the rain barrels got a much needed refill.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Flowers not Veggies

I was walking through the garden this morning and noticed we had a few flowers growing.
I decided to take some pictures to document them.
They are (not in any kind of particular order);
black pansies
morning glories and,
day lilies.
Of course there are also flowers on some of the veggies. Flowers which will soon be the vegetable they are.
Like the flowers on the black beans, green beans, peas, the pumpkins, squashes, peppers, tomatoes and eggplants.
Tomorrow pictures of the flowers on the veggies!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

When to Water Vegetables

How Much Water is Enough?
META Description:
This chart is a watering guide for a variety of vegetable plants. It tells critical times to water, and how much water is needed for each plant. From The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

With water becoming a scarce and costly commodity in some areas, many vegetable gardeners might wonder just how much water plants really need. Here's a guide to help you estimate when and how much to water, assuming rich, well-balanced soil. Increase frequency during hot, dry periods.

Vegetable Critical time(s) to water for a 5-foot row Number of gallons of water needed
Beans When flowers form and during pod-forming and picking 2 per week depending on rainfall
Beets Before soil gets bone-dry 1 at early stage; 2 every 2 weeks
Broccoli Don't let soil dry out for 4 weeks after transplanting. 1 to 1 1/2 per week
Brussels sprouts Don't let soil dry out for 4 weeks after transplanting. 1 to 1 1/2 per week
Cabbage Water frequently in dry weather for best crop 2 per week
Carrots Before soil gets bone-dry 1 at early stage; 2 every 2 weeks as roots mature
Cauliflower Water frequently for best crop. 2 per week
Celery Water frequently for best crop. 2 per week
Corn When tassels form and when cobs swell 2 at important stages (left)
Cucumbers Water frequently for best crop. 1 per week
Lettuce/Spinach Water frequently for best crop. 2 per week
Onions In dry weather, water in early stage to get plants going. 1/2 to 1 per week if soil is very dry
Parsnips Before soil gets bone-dry 1 per week in early stages
Peas When flowers form and during pod-forming and picking 2 per week
Potatoes When the size of marbles 2 per week
Squash Water frequently for best crop. 1 per week
Tomatoes For 3 to 4 weeks after transplanting and when flowers and fruit form 1 gallon twice a week or more
Needs a lot of water during dry spells. Needs water at critical stages of development. Does not need frequent watering.

Little old me...

My photo
An american yankee up past the 49th parellel.


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