right now

right now

Aug 20, 2011

A little progress!

Funny how a week ago the upper 80's temps felt like an wonderful Arctic breeze, yet after a week my body is now getting used to it and now 89º feels hot again!  Still, I'll take it - and managed to spend a few hours finally getting some work done out there.  Hubby got the lawn mowed and some general cleanup of the piles of debris I have been staging around the yard, and I was able to clear a path to the garden again :)



I should really be cleaning up the center veggie garden and preparing for fall planting, but with the temps cooling off a little, I really wanted my place to relax to be ready to go at the end of the day.  I can finally see my hammock again! 

Dehydrating tomatoes this weekend, they will be great in hummus this winter.

I'm hoping to harvest beans and dig potatoes today - late, yes, but I wasn't very hopeful about them this year and they were kind of forgotten.  After the year's awful weather and insect plagues, I'm sure the tomato digging will be interesting, I actually think I'll have the kids do that job!

Hoping to get a few hours' worth of work done, and than a date night with the family bike riding down at the oceanfront this evening.

Aug 19, 2011

Warning - 10 minute video!!!

You saw that title and you're still here?  I didn't realize it was that long until I got inside and starting uploading it, sorry about the length!  I get distracted in the garden easily, like watching a soccer team of 4 year olds playing in a field of butterflies LOL, before I knew it I had a 10 minute video :)  I figured instead of taking lots of photos of the end of season messy garden, I'd do a video tour to give you a better perspective on what's going on out there.

The end of season mess is always there on some level, but thanks to this year's 6 weeks of 100+ temps and my lack of willing participation in those lovely working conditions, I have my work cut out for me.  Get ready, there lots of mess and bugs to gasp at!  Now remember folks, I'm a 'Master Gardener' - insert howls of laughter here...  It's truth-tellin' time!

the "Honest" garden...

Hubby has the day off today, so I expect we will get a bit done out there with him running burn barrels of bugs and twigs while I prune and yank :)  Hopefully, results soon...

Aug 18, 2011

Yesterday was a bust...

Once again I was foiled in my plans to spend the day outside working!  This time it was grocery shopping.  Some of you may know, but I hate this chore with a passion.  My grocery shopping tactics have changed in the past few months, the kids are getting older and eating more, I am preparing more things from scratch at home, and those facts combined with my hatred of the weekly shopping run have forced me to rethink my strategy.  I have become a club-store shopper, yikes!  It's the equivalent of the mini-van driver, only in the kitchen :)

My ultimate goal is to have a 6 month supply of everything in my house, and I'll probably post more about that project this winter.  Ideally, a year's supply would be great, but that won't happen in this little house with no closets, no garage and no basement.  So far we could live very comfortably for about 30 days and after that it's hit or miss, so I have a ways to go.  Our financial situation dictates that we build this supply over time, by shopping sales and using coupons, although at least we don't have to worry about the veggie stuff! Consequently, you may find that right now I have a good supply stashed of things like dishwashing liquid and pasta & beans, yet not enough coffee or flour, etc.  It will take time, but I figure 4 months of shopping like this and we'll be set.  

So anyways..... after pleading with the kids for over an hour to get them out the door, we didn't arrive to the store until past 10 am and it took about 2 hours to shop "smartly" with kids in tow - I can't wait until school starts!  I'm trying to look through my list, stack coupons with sales, and mentally figure out where to store things the whole time my normally well behaved boys are making me crazy.  I even had 2 different people comment on how well behaved they were LOL, this always amazes me.  I will say that they are oodles more well behaved than most kids I see in the store, but yet they still make me crazy.  "Erratic" is the word that comes to mind, they just move and jerk around too much LOL.  I even gave Loch a notebook and had him round up the price of each item and jot it down (buying bulk adds up before you realize it), but yet he still had time to poke Finn with the pencil, make a paper airplane, etc.

Don't get me confused with those crazy people on 'Extreme Couponing' - that's not me, I don't think I have enough time in the world to do that and I don't really use much of that garbage they stash anyways, but I do try to be smart when I can.  Apparently, that's not good enough for Loch.  Upon checkout, my total was $204.00 and the cashier brought it down by $15.00 through my coupons, Loch looks and says "$15 bucks?  That's not very extreme, mom."... Maybe I have found a calling for this kid LOL, I'll put him in charge if he can do it better!

So after that and lunchtime, it was then 1 pm so I figured I'd better scratch working in the garden and straighten up the kitchen and unpack everything.  I did have time to use up some cream I had in the fridge in 2 batches of ice cream...

Strawberry from some of my freezer puree stash

Finn cleaning up my vanilla mess...

Before I knew it, the day was about over and it was time for dinner.  Some of you have asked what do I DO with all those pickles and peppers I make?...

Busy night dinner can be fresh, too!  

Veggie burgers on toast with Brandywines, marinated bell peppers in oil, pickled pepperoncini and pepper & onion relish!  Then as a "side dish" I slapped down some chips and salsa - this goes to show you that us gardeners have healthy "fast food"!  

It's 10:30 am now and I should really get out to the garden and start bushwhacking a path through the grapevines to find my old pathways instead of prattling on about my grocery trips LOL... send in search and rescue if I'm not back in a day!

Aug 16, 2011

More kitchen...

Another incredible 84º day out there, dry and breezy, and I'm missing it again!  BUT... this is the reason I have a garden, right?  More canning today!  Since it took a week to amass the tomatoes I needed this time to warrant canning, it's obvious that the season is winding down out there.   Yet another sign that summer is ending...

Butternut Squash!

I'm starting to get a lot of grape tomatoes off the plants I put in after the Amish Paste succumbed to blight, I'm thinking I'll dry these since they are wonderful added to hummus during the winter.  The second planting of beans are starting to produce now.  At least those and the bell peppers above are easy to take care of:

Although if I'm ever arrested for a crime, it will probably involve the heist of a semi-truck carrying FoodSaver bags, they sure are expensive.  I start to get nervous when the roll starts emptying!

The week's batch of Brandywines were turned into crushed tomatoes with basil.  I also decided to strain and pressure can the juice separately as well today.  It can't hurt to have some of that on hand to add to stews or chili this winter, although I'm sure hubby will have a different idea for that - probably involving added jalapenos, a celery stick and a little something extra :)

Just for fun and information - 

I have some ornamental gourds growing on the fence, and I noticed one that had little holes drilled all over it.  Hmmm "what now?" I ask myself.  I'm not too torn up about this since they aren't for eating anyways, but I couldn't resist finding out what new-to-my-garden pest have I encountered?

I already had a bowl of water/bleach mixture to dip my squash in before storing, so I decided to be a little demented and throw the little gourd in just to see who's living in there...

See it?  Little green worm on the left side being flooded out of his comfy home!  I put it on the counter to dry off, thinking the bleach surely would have killed him when I came back.  Nope, 10 minutes later he was inching across the counter towards safety.  Needless to say, he went down the drain a second later, but what the heck worm lives through a bleach bath and keeps on truckin'?... a Pickleworm!  Apparently they prefer the squash family and are easily distinguished by those little drillbit looking holes bored into the fruit.  So now we have that to look forward to, since I assume it won't be happy with inedible ornamental gourds and will surely move on to become my nemesis in some other fruit next year.  If you want to read more about the Pickleworm, click here, and if you prefer to remain in the dark about new pests, I can't blame you!  Anytime we start googling things like "un-killable green worm drilling holes in gourds", do we really expect good news?!

Aug 15, 2011

A Good Man...

To say I've been overwhelmed lately is a huge understatement.  I haven't done a thing when it comes to weeding or keeping the gardens even remotely pleasant to look at and it's all I can do to harvest and preserve this year with the heat.  I think Sailor/Farmer/Husband could feel a mental breakdown coming on (guess who usually bears the brunt of that fine event?), so he asked what he could do while I was stuck inside doing laundry and computer stuff this weekend?  I responded in typical Type-A fashion, whipping out a dry erase board that has everything listed that needs to be done! 

 He didn't even roll his eyes, he just walked out the back door and disappeared for about 3 hours.  When I took a break to see what, if anything, got accomplished, I was stunned!

I figured I'd find him cleaning out his shed or working on his bicycle :)

You wouldn't believe what the before photos looked like of the fenceline beds before he cleaned them up, but I'm sure you can imagine from all the debris!  I couldn't even find my apple trees thanks to some native 6 ft weeds that had forested around them.  

9 ft tall Mammoth Sunflowers were yanked.  You would have gotten a laugh out of where I planted them this year... they looked awesome... from the neighbors' yard LOL.  Note to self, plant on the other side of the yard next year :)

He tossed the heads on the patio for the birds to pillage whatever's left.

Eggplant, anyone?  I'm done!

After doing all that, he then proceeded to get ready and go ride 20 miles!

and that's why I married a much younger man!

I'm on my own for the center garden tomorrow... if I can find it!  The pathway is getting a little obscured.

Finally, check out what Lochlann is building today, it had like 1200 pieces!

That thing would be torture for me, but he gets so excited when he gets a new one!