Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gardening - Harvesting

Our company has come and gone! They left right after our BLT lunch. I am sorry to report the Arkansas tomatoes were not vine-ripened.....they drove through severe storms in the Jonesboro area and all the Farmer's Markets had packed up and gone home. They bought these at a local restaurant where they ate .

I guess I will be waiting for our local stands to have an honest-to-god, vine ripened tomato! Mine are going to be so late surely others will have them earlier.

Plans for today are:

Laying out mulch in the east end of the garden.
Straightening up the corn if need be.
Checking for JB's – spraying if necessary
Picking blackberries
Cutting more weeds from patch
Try experimental planting of sunflowers – I am very late with these.
Plant rose cuttings of Aloha rose????Where I am out of shade. I may do them under the lights instead.

I cooked a huge pot of pinto beans yesterday. I had a package of ham chunks to toss in. After sending a quart home with the kids, we still have lots left. I won't have to worry about lunch today:

Beans
Coleslaw (cabbages are ready)
leftover apple pie (forgot to send it with them)
leftover deviled eggs (they forgot to take home eggs and I forgot to remind them)

Well, I am in for the day, lunch and cleanup is finished. I processed and froze 3 very full quart bags of blackberries. I am delighted that I beat the JB's to them! I did see the first few on the berry patch early this morning............so after checking the label, I sprayed with Sevin. I will have to wait 7 days but that
is doable (I hope).

That is one thing off the
list. Let's see did I do the rest?

Laid out the mulch on the east end. Check
Didn't need to raise up the corn. Check
I sprayed the fruit trees in the Kitchen Garden, the berry patch, the roses and hibiscus for JB's. Check
Harvested blackberries (see above). Check
Didn't do the last three!

That is a pretty good average for me.

I added one, I harvested the row of garlic. I am sure glad I did. Between the rain and my heavy watering (they are on the east end next to the corn patch). They were beginning to either start regrowth or the hard stalks were beginning to rot at the bulb. There are some iffy one I will chop and freeze.
It was a very good harvest and I am pleased with it. I am new to growing garlic and now see they should receive no water two weeks before pulling/digging. But the were next to the corn and the leaves on it were beginning to curl slightly. I will plan better next year. Also they bruise easily and I sort of tossed mine into the garden cart over the fence. I will be watching them closely.

I pulled a few onions where the tops were shrinking at the bulb.

I laid all out in the open shed for curing.

Other added chore was edging and weeding the foundation and front porch beds. Then I mowed that path between the new shrub/tree/daylily border and the foundation bed. This included cutting the end off the garden hose with the mower! Not planned, but an easy fix. I take this in stride....I have done it before.



Joan Senior daylily in in bloom and seems larger to me this year. She needs to be moved away from the Aloha rose (yet another To Do thing).

I see I captured one of my gardening companions, the Japanese Beetle, on the rose leaf! Hard to miss them these days.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gardening

We got a very brief shower this morning. It went south and east of us.

My gardening chores seem to be the same. I spend between 2 and 3 hours each morning weeding, hoeing, watering, spraying for Japanese Beetles both in the yard, and garden and orchard.

For some reason they still aren't bothering the blackberries. I have let some very tall weeds grow up in the patch and am slowly trying to cut them down so I can get to the berries to pick when they ripen.

I watered the corn patch heavily yesterday morning; immediately very strong winds developed and blew over the center of the patch. I hope it will straighten up on its own. We tossed two bales of hay over the fence on that east end of the garden and I will place it as mulch this morning.

The onions, garlic and potatoes are very close to harvest time. I have already pulled several onions and have them laying in an open shed on a rack of sorts to dry. I am still new to growing garlic and have to check and see if I cut off the stalk immediately of the hard neck variety I grow before letting it cure.

Flowers are looking a little scrappy because of no rain and the heat.....which is returning with a vengeance this weekend.

The Kitchen Window Bed is well watered! I left the hose on all night. I haven't done that in a very long time.

My new Indian Giver daylily is already blooming and I am just thrilled. Something about the white edges really appeal to me. I have it in a bed with Hyperion(yellow) and that will be the only colors besides the white of the hydrangea and viburnum. I vow not to stick in some other color!

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and here is the entire bed; it looks tiny now but wait until it fills in the 3-foot space!
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This jumped out at me when I was checking the garden. What on earth happened to this one seed? They are all planted at the same time.

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The kids are dropping by on their way home from Florida. I asked for some good southern tomatoes....and have promised them BLT's if they bring them.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bagels, daylilies

Our brief interlude of normal weather has ended. The temperature rose during the night. It is now 74° and today will be in the 90's. Still no meaningful rain.

I enjoy bagels for breakfast now and then. I bought a bag of Lender's Bagels several weeks ago. I used to eat them all the time. The first bite and my thought was Wow! these are too salty! I just never noticed before. I did, of course, eat all of them. As Mom always said "waste not; want not".

I have a great recipe for homemade bagels from
Thibault's Table so I made my own and now have my supply in the freezer. I made a few with
Asiago Cheese and sauteed onions rolled inside but I still prefer plain. I haven't mastered the technique of keeping the extras all inside the bagel when I pinch off the blob to make the individual one. Some cheese and onions seems to peek through and bits fall out.

I see I didn't take a picture once they were finished....so here is one where they are waiting to be plopped into the boiling water.



Gardening

All I accomplished yesterday was my morning tour. The beetles are still here devouring things. I try to knock them off into my coffee can of water where possible. DH said he brushed under an Elm try while clipping the west calf lot yesterday and they swarmed off into the air. I could hear them hitting the siding on the house when I went out! I will be checking the blackberries this morning and intend to pick any I see that are ripe.

A few more daylilies are blooming.

This is a seedling I grew.



and Prairie Blue Eyes,



Hall's Pink


and last, Double Joann

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Gardening - Harvest - Bread Day

We are still needing a good soaking rain which seems to pass us by.

Two days ago, worked seriously in the Kitchen Garden doing some weeding. I finally exposed the potato row where I can actually find the potatoes to dig them They are getting very close to that stage. This was an interesting potato year. They barely bloomed and they got very tall. I do find potatoes under the vines. The onions are looking quite good.

This is the row of Yukon Golds, the vines are laying over but now quite ready for digging yet.



When I finished the weeding, I pulled all of the Early Wonder beets that were sizable, I pulled several onions to thin and because I needed onions in the
kitchen, I cut the first head of cabbage. It was a very nice first harvest.

I dug a few more volunteer potatoes out of the onion rows and that is the last of the broccoli. I will be pulling and adding it to the compost or more probably tossing it to the chickens.

I think the garlic is going to be nice this year. It is not quite ready to pull. I use the term pull loosely; it will need to be dug. The bulbs seemed to have grown more down in the soil than I planted them.

The next day I processed 5 pints of beets. I need help canning!!! I lost some liquid out of the jars.....Ilene what did I do wrong? I am very new to pressure canning.


I also made two loaves of white and 2 of whole wheat bread. I made up one loaf of the whole wheat into burger buns.



Late in the day we drove over to pick up the cured meat from the hog we bought. We haven't tried any bacon or ham yet.

Soap Making 101

I promised I would blog about making soap.

First, let me say I am no expert...I have definite failures. Fortunately, they are always usable but very unattractive.

I was fortunate enough to belong to a private forum where one member was an expert and sold homemade soaps. She taught an online course for members who were interested so I rely on her expertise and refer back to it often.

I began making our soap about two years ago. Just for fun and to use up lots of oils and fats I have left from cooking. In other words, I try not to buy lots of expensive soap making products which would really enhance the soaps. I do splurge for lavender and rosemary essential oils.

I use these products:

canned lye (my local True Value carries it for me in the plumbing department)
coconut oil (found in the baking section at Wal Mart)
olive oil (the cheapest you can find....no extra virgin)
solid fats (I have home rendered beef tallow and lard, but you can also buy lard or shortening and use)

Additives:

honey
oatmeal

These I always have on hand.

Equipment needed:

Rubber gloves
long sleeve shirt
apron
I wear glasses so don't use goggles

All this is to keep lye or lye products off your person....it burns!

Utensils must be glass, stainless steel or plastic

Thermometer (not critical)
Spatula, to get they very last drop of soap into the mold.
Oil melting pan (also used for blending the soap)..I use my largest stainless steel pan.
Container for lye and water. I use a glass pyrex bowl or a 4 cup measure, plastic.
Critical item: a digital scale with tare feature for measuring ingredients.


Stick blender (note: Mom just used a long wooden spoon and stirred......and stirred. This blender should be reserved for soap only.

Step 1:

I lay down newspapers or something to protect counter top before laying out all ingredients. (Note: I hadn't put it down yet in the picture).
Get all equipment out and ready. Plug in blender

Have your recipe at hand. There are lots of good websites with various recipes and there is one where you input your ingredients and it tells you how much water and lye to use. It also lists the qualities of the resulting soap. I think is is called Soap Calculator 9.

Have your mold ready. My first beginner recipe just filled a pyrex loaf dish that was lined with Saran Wrap. Have a small container lined in case there is overflow....and there was. I use a small plastic freezer container.

Here we go:

Set your water container (plastic or glass or ss) on the scale and use the tare function. Add water until scale reads the correct amount for your recipe. Tip a container with a pour spout is handy. You will be pouring the lye/water mixture into the fats later.

Place container down in sink. (be sure to move spout away from bowl so you don't accidentally hit the faucet and ruin your measure.

Set a small container on the scale for the lye. Hit the tare function. Add lye to the weight required.

Now very carefully pour the lye into the container of water in the sink. Never the reverse of water into lye. This will create fumes so have an open window or do not stand directly over the container. Stir with a ss spoon until all the lye has dissolved.

Note: I turn on the ceiling fan and open the window no matter the weather over the sink.

Our teacher recommends using the tare function for the oils....I don't. I just measure them carefully into a container using the tare function. Add the solid fats to the soap making pot and just barely melt them.
Add the rest of the oils to the pot. Note: I think using the tare with these would be a great idea and I am doing it next time.

You would just add the first fat and hit tare and add the next, and keep on until last you add the oils. The total should now read the total of the fats in your recipe.

Set the barely warm oils and fats into the sink next to the lye/water mixture.

When the lye has cooled to about the same temperature as the oils, add very slowly to the oils and fats with the stick blender going.

Tip. Here is where the thermometer is useful or touch the bottom of the lye container and it should just feel warm.

While the lye is cooling, measure out essential oils and other additives and place by sink. These can be measured using regular measures. These will be added at trace.

Trace is when the saponification process has reached the stage of looking like cake batter or leaves a slight trace when the blender is drawn across it.

Trace can be very fast or very slow. My soap took about 10 minutes. Usually it will thicken after adding the essential oils so Blend it quickly and pour into molds.

You can speed up curing by putting the mold of soap into a preheated oven set at 160 to 170 and leave it on for 2 to 3 hours and then turn off. Don't open the oven door! In 12 hours you can take the soap out and slice into bars.

It is too hot to do this and I hate to heat up that big oven so I just set the soap in a dark room and leave for 24 hours.....then proceed.

Soap should then be stored in a dark place while it cures....like a closet. Recommendation is 6 weeks.
If the soap tastes salty it is ready to use. If it burns or zaps your tongue, it is not!

Here was our first simple recipe with all supplies readily available.

I plan to make it next.

6 oz coconut oil
28 oz olive oil
6 oz lard
15.2 oz water
5.45 oz lye
40 oz. Total (fats only)

For practice go to soap calculator and plug in the ingredients (not the lye and water) and check the amounts of lye and water. It will also show you on the left hand side, the qualities of the soap.

and yes you can mix the oils to make it cheaper, but olive oil makes a beautiful soap.

The recipe I just did had beef tallow, lard, olive oil, coconut oil and canola oil in it.

I only use essential oils (as opposed to fragrance oils) lavender and rosemary at the rate of l oz per lb. Of fats. In this soap I also added honey and finely pulverized oatmeal. My daughter liked the scrubbing texture of the oatmeal.

Here is the soap at trace.



I quickly added the honey, fragrances and oatmeal, blended well and poured into my mold.



I like to use freezer paper for lining the mold, but was out.

And here is my end product.



I would suggest you try a very simple recipe first and get comfortable with the process. There are lots of ways to make soap, but this is the only one I have done.

You need to learn all about the fats and oils used in soap making and what qualities they add to the soap. There are limits for different fats and oils as to how much to use before it hurts the soap quality.

I love goat's or cow's milk soap but Willow is dry and I was out of canned goat's milk. The milk soaps are a little tricky but very doable.

Any questions?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lost Day - Soap - Garden

Not really a lost day. But it isn't how I wish I could have spent it.

My MIL is soon to be 93. She is still driving and quite well, I may add. She uses a computer, but barely. For two weeks she couldn't get on the internet. She tried two new modems, but nothing. So, yesterday I took her to Office Depot to get a new computer.....he talked us into going back home and bringing in the computer and modem......He beat himself out of a sale, but he gained world's of good publicity. I will never go back to Best Buy again! Then we dropped in to AT&T, her internet provider, and got the phone number for their DSL techs.

Back home where I spent maybe 3 more hours with the computer and the tech guy (India!). I was embarrassed at how many times he had to repeat things because I couldn't understand his accent. He was just a lovely person and very patient.
Long story, shortened a little; she now has internet service again.

I think she should have sprung for the new computer. You can make a pot of coffee just waiting for hers to boot up! So, from 10 AM until 4:30 PM, I worked on her computer. She felt so badly for using my time. They are wonderful in-laws and always have been but I was stiff from sitting in her tiny little office chair where the back hit the top of my hips.....still stiff this morning. I don't really have much hope that we can clean up her computer and stop the "error", send report messages to Microsoft. We only updated one thing and now I think it is causing compatibility issues. I promised to update things each time we visit. I hope it works for her. She used the internet very little or the computer for that matter.

We were under storm warnings as of 3 AM this morning but they have expired. I don't think we got any rain at all.

Today's plan is to cut down more malvas and hollyhocks that are now in the unsightly stage of rust. I also want to mulch and plant a hill of squash on the east end of the corn patch.

Soap


I think this is funny.....I have been making soap now a couple of years. The only fragrance I use is lavender and rosemary blended. I usually make goat's milk soap.
I am not fancy, it doesn't get trimmed or buffed and I don't use fancy molds. I have flops which are still usable.

Over this time, I have given soap to our daughter.....no feed back; I have given soap to my Sis in Iowa with some feedback. So, this trip home our daughter told me how much she liked the soap, especially the one with oatmeal but she used is sparingly because she didn't want to run out. Well, you know what Mothers do. I immediately went to my soap box and dumped almost all into a baggie for them!

When I got home late yesterday evening my Sis called and said "I am begging!". She told me she went to shower and her last bit of soap dissolved and she went to get more and was out! She asked if I had a good supply on hand; .... not now I said. She said they will be down after mini horse show season is over and I better have some made or mayhem will follow. All she cares about is that it better have lavender fragrance in it. She said I come out of that shower feeling pampered and in heaven. Guess what I am doing very shortly......maybe even this afternoon.

I will take pictures and post about making it.

Garden

New daylily blooms

This is Ed Murray. It is a very deep red that doesn't photograph well.

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and I have determined this is Fairytale Pink,

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My garden has now evolved into a "view-at-a-distance garden" because of the heat and lack of rain.

This is the end of the New Bed that is just north of the backporch.
Note: the seedling peach tree....that now excessively shades the red monarda. This winter I will prune the center out of the peach tree to open it up more. If the peaches are bad, down it comes. I planted the new sweet cherry just north and to the left or west of it.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers Day - Time in the Cellar

Happy Father's Day to all you lucky dads.

I am delighted to report we got almost an inch of rain last night. It was another very stormy one...we were awakened from a sound sleep by the weather alert radio and took shelter in the cellar (remember the cellar bed across the yard)for about an hour. I am so glad we had the lights fixed down there.
I will spend this week doing some cleanup. We need to have the floor drain reamed out so it runs smoothly. There is a leak around the base wall and it should just run out the drain quickly....Now I have to find the outlet hole in the front ditch....again and dig out around it.

We just got very strong winds, thankfully no one in the area had a tornado but there was the possibility so we took heed.

I just took a cursory look at the garden and the corn patch is laying pretty flat to the east. All the storm was from the west as usual this time of year.

Basically all is well though and we are very thankful!

We had the ordered breakfast of biscuits, link sausages, bacon and my added scrambled eggs. We had apple jelly and strawberry jam with biscuits.
Our daughter requested gravy.....I raised her right! So we added that to the mix.

They left at 9 am headed to Santa Rosa Beach, Florida for a week of vacation.

We are feeling a little droopy so will probably take a nap this morning before heading in to see FIL. We lost about 2 hours sleep due to the cellar run. I made him some Granola and may make peanut brittle too if I have enough peanuts left.

Garden


I love self seeders. Here are a couple. So far I have only found one Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate, but lots of nicotiana sylvestris.



More monarda here (in the New Bed). The self seeder here is the blue salvia.



and here is a red monarda, Jacob Cline. Monardas are spreaders, not self-seeders. This one is growing almost in full shade.
A seedling peach tree grew up beside it and, of course, I let it grow. I should move Jacob. It is on the To Do Picture List.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I have a new routine....now when I do my walk about, I carry a coffee can of water.
I am trying to pick off the Japanese Beetles that I see. I know it's a loosing battle but so was the traps.

I did pick another cup of black raspberries that I enjoyed with a little sugar and cream.

Daylilies are starting to bloom. I have lost the names of most but I enjoy them just the same.

I have several that should be moved to new locations because of color clashes. This first is one, Bama Music.


The location on this one is fine....but the grass is too large and you can't really appreciation it.

and this one I actually placed here in the 'Grace' bed because of the burgundy colors on the smoke tree and the barberry.



This is where I put 'Painter's Palette'. It is looking a little droopy but should perk up. I will have to water it pretty often until it takes hold. I thought it could self seed freely here without being a problem. This is the Ash Tree Bed and it is right next to the drive. Also Digger Dog has worked up the soil nicely in front of the plant.



Speaking of Digger Dog, here is what I am doing to defeat him. He has vast areas of the yard that he is free to dig in.....why does he persist in making these huge holes in my flower beds and around the patio area?



It isn't too noticeable,I hope. Note the two large holes he dug overnight right next to the fence.....there are three more to the right out of sight of this shot.


He has already exposed the roots of the boxwoods, dug up a huge clump of white iris and dug at the base of the rose bush. I will fill in around them now.

Cooking


Yesterday I made shortbread cookies for the kids to take with them on vacation.
I just started making this recipe a couple of years ago and it has become a family favorite.

I found it on Allrecipes where is is listed as Scottish Shortbread IV.

2 cups butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
4-1/2 cups flour

That's it.

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325 °
2. Cream butter and brown sugar. Add 3 to 3-3/4 cups flour and mix well.

Here is the interest part. Now you knead the dough.

3. Sprinkle the remaining flour on board and knead for 5 minutes, Roll out until 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 3x1 inch bars. Prick with a fork. Place on ungreased cookie sheets.
4. Bake at 325° for 20 to 25 minutes.



Tips from the cook: Don't bake in nice shiny new pan! I had trouble getting the light brown color, do use your old, dark cookie sheet.

I use a ruler and my pizza wheel to cut.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Gardening, Jelly. Cooking.

I just found something out.....the longer you don't blog, the harder it is to begin again!

I have had picture difficulties....Picasa is full, can't figure how to use Photobucket. Made some changes on my home page and now everything shows up telling me my Plugins have been disabled for that feature. I tried enabling everything on the list that came up...but still get the message. I am sure it is something of that nature that doesn't allow me to copy and paste the image link on Photobucket to the blog. I can't listen on online radio anymore....I love listening to Jango while I work. Anyway things have not gone smoothly and it is very frustrating.

I am hope our son is coming down over the Fourth....I have work for him to do with this computer. I know it is the chronic updates and my meddling but I need help!

I have spent the last week or so, working diligently each morning trying to catch up outside. I finally have all plants in except the herbs and that is because I can't decide where I want them. I think right outside the back porch door is a good location because of being so handy to snip for cooking.

What did I get done?

1. I finally mulched around 18 bales of old hay mostly in the Kitchen Garden
2. I planted the rest of the plants (except for the herbs)
3. I fenced around the back porch corner bed to keep digger dog out!!!
4. I went to the local greenhouse to take advantage of the $6 discount I had coming.
5. I planted some flower seeds which are up and growing.
6. I mowed down an area of blackberry vines, potatoes and weeds behind the garden.

Japanese Beetles have arrived once again. We are not using traps this year; supposedly they attract more beetles. I have already found them on:

roses, blackberries, cherry tree, hibiscus moscheutos, the sassafras tree. I am sure there are other plants I haven't spotted yet. I am picking them off and dropping them in a coffee can of water.

I did spray with Bayer 3in1 hose end product yesterday morning. I never have much confidence in that kind of spray but we will see. I hate those evil bugs. I am sure I will lose the blackberries to them again this year. Here they are munching happily on my new sweet cherry tree.



The mulched garden.
Not completely finished but the most important things are done.

This view is taken from the west end. Just to the left of this picture was an area of volunteer potatoes that tightwad me left growing.....couldn't plow so weeds grew right along with them....then the underground runners from the blackberries took over! I got so tired of dodging them that when I finished mulching, I set the mower on highest cut and mowed it all to the ground! Now I will have to get in there and do some hand cutting of the blackberry vines.




This is my 15 foot planting of Cherokee Trail of Tears Pole Beans.


This side of them are three hills of melons. I have just mulched the hills but will soon mulch the entire area before they start vining.

This is my hoop frame from three cattle panels that has Kwintus pole beans. The taller ones already blooming are volunteers from last year....don't look to be Kwintus.


When I was back of the garden in my mowing frenzy I spotted some ripe black raspberries. As soon as I finished I got a small bucket (old ice cream pail) and picked 5 cups, a first! I did see 1 or 2 J. Beetles back there. I made a batch of jam. This time I used Certo....liquid! I will never use that product again. I followed directions to the letter and the jam didn't set to suit me. It is way too soft, delicious but too soft!

I used my Maslin pan (still loving it).





Cooking

Late yesterday afternoon, hot or not, I decided to bake a chocolate cake. There was an ulterior motive here....not just for us. Our daughter and family are stopping by this weekend on their way to Florida for a week's vacation and GD requested a coconut cream pie (I will make this tomorrow) but our daughter does not like coconut.....so she will get chocolate cake instead.

This is a recipe I have posted before....I think so I won't do it again. I love it because all ingredients go into the bowl and then you mix....no creaming, etc.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kitchen Garden

Yesterday was an 'off' day on the farm. All I did was water around the porch because of newly set plants, fill the birdbath, water some pots. DH mowed some more pastures.

Since I was going to be in most of the day, I cooked a pot of pinto beans. I did go out to the garden for lettuce (had onions in the crisper) for wilted lettuce to go with the beans. Lunch was a simple meal of beans, wilted lettuce and deviled eggs.

I watered the east end (corn patch) a few days ago and will water the west half of the garden this morning.

The shade cloth is covering my lettuce bed.



The bad gardening stuff is happening.....rose disease on the heirloom roses; rust on hollyhocks and malvas, white cabbage butterflies hovering above cabbages and broccoli.

The potatoes are getting quite tall and leggy???? The volunteers look like normal.
I am wondering what that is about.

Hollyhocks and all members of this plant family don't do well for me for very long.
I don't practice a spray program so before I know it they are unsightly with rust.

I don't plant new ones.....the hollyhocks have morphed into a buff colored one that is actually very nice because it goes with anything.


The malvas started life as Zebrina and Mystic Merlin. This year I find only a single plant that looks like the original Zebrina.



The first is Mystic Merlin, the middle a cross and the blue one is Zebrina.
Before much longer they will look so bad, I will cut or pull them out.

I finished planting all the pot ghetto this morning. I also watered the west end of the garden for two hours.

I see the half-runner beans I planted at the base of the corn are coming up.

Lunch was sandwiches and cherry pie. I am still loving having the pie crusts in the freezer. It makes life so much simper.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mission Accomplished - Lilies

I finally did what I said I would: I finished planting in the Kitchen Garden (still have some flower plants and herbs to find a home for).

I planted Ambrosia, Jenny Lind and Green Nutmeg melons. I did two hills of crookneck yellow squash among the cabbages.
I did a hill of Butternut bush-type squash.

I also single-handed (DH was clipping pastures) drove three tee posts and set another cattle panel for a 15 foot row of Cherokee Trail of Tears pole beans. I was proud of myself. It isn't easy to drive one of those posts but I can still do it!

I tilled up the back side of the Cellar Bed and planted some bachelor buttons and lots of zinnias there. I will need to water it to get good germination. No rain is in our forecast for the next week; just 90° days and 70° nights....is it July?

I mowed part of the yard before quitting around my usual time.

My fake electric fence did not deter digger dog! I think I will check that green coated fencing about 2 feet high.

I planted the pre-soaked okra seeds this morning. I had the ground all ready for planting so that was a snap.

I told DH that I wasn't going to do any gardening this morning....except for the okra which was a must-do. You know how that goes....I spotted some tall poke I had missed so got the long-handed pruners and got those.....then a few sapling redbuds and ash were showing above the plants.....so an hour and a half later, I was finished.

The lilies are beginning. The first was the pink one in the path and then the trumpet Regale Lilies did their thing.


and this lime green one by the Smokehouse,


I found my missing Brunello lily! It is near the driveway. I must have dug it and moved it and it hasn't bloomed for a while. I will wait until more are open to take its picture.

I have three more clumps, all white, but different varieties that are loaded with buds but not opened yet.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Gardening (again) Bread Day

Out by 6 AM yesterday. Another warm night and very hot day predicted.

I seem to be moving very slowly in my effort to catch up. What did I do yesterday morning for 3 1/2 hours? I tilled up a new patch in the west end of the Kitchen Garden.

I hope this morning to plant there: Yellow Crook Neck Squash and melons and maybe 15 feet of Cherokee Trail of Tears Pole Beans.

I managed to load a black trash can of alfalfa meal into the dump bed of my trusty garden cart....you should have seen that operation. It was heavy; both utensils were slippery. I finally dumped the trailer bed down, rolled the cart to it and managed to tip it over and with my knees and arms shove it up the trailer until the thing tilted up again....Where there is a will there is a way (another favorite saying of Mom's)! DH wasn't here or I know an even better way to get it on the trailer.............

I dumped this load on the newly tilled ground stump bed and will till it in this morning. I will plant everything I have left here!

I watered the corn patch for about three hours while I was working. I want those Half Runner beans up. My garden is pretty dry all over.

I am heartsick about my favorite Buff Beauty Rose. I spotted three branches of Rose Rosette Diseased limbs. I cut them as near the ground and I could and will just hope for the best. I must take lots of cuttings for insurance. I disinfected the pruners after. They aren't really sure how it is passed. I do now how it starts...and we have more multiflora rose around than ever! I killed out one in my immediate yard this year by using glyphosphate but the surrounding fields have them.

I planted the vinca, and some agastache around the foundation beds. I am seeing more and more 4 O'clocks where the mother plant was last year. It took a while but I finally have them started. Mine are the multi-colored ones. I also spotted a few scattered cleomes. I love self-seeders.

I have promised myself to finish planting everything this morning.....

My lower back was beginning to tell me my time was up so that was it for the gardening part of my day.

This is another path. It is between the Kitchen Garden Fence (east) and the back side of the still not cleaned out Driveway Border. The plants on the fence are self-seeded malva sylvestris and the lily is (can't remember) but a lovely pink one that I have had for years.



I caught this butterfly on the salvia a day or so ago. The salvia is another self seeder.



Bread

We were nearly out of bread and completely out of buns so I decided very late in the day to make bread. I know that is not the best time to have the oven on but my mornings are taken for now.

I just planned to make a whole wheat recipe which makes three loaves and make one up into hamburger buns............plans changed along the way. All because I am too cheap to throw out two packages of proofed yeast.

I had yeast proofing in 1/2 cup of warm water...phone rang. I answered it because my FIL was having some tests done and I didn't want to miss their call. It was my aunt who talked for about 20 minutes or so. When I got off the phone, it didn't look like the yeast had done much. I added one teaspoon of sugar to feed it and see. I was so sure it wasn't good, I mixed up another two packages (actually using bulk yeast so it was 4.5 teaspoons) and added l of sugar. I measured out my flours and began the process. By now both yeasts are nice and bubbly............so I made a double batch; the first whole wheat and the second, a three-loaf batch of white bread. My oven in the new stove is huge so all of one batch can fit in....I just had to schedule the rises so one would be in the oven cooking while the other was rising. For a change it all worked out. Here are the results:



These were both new recipes. I wanted three loaves of each so looked for recipes of that size.

The white bread is from my new favorite cookbook The Joy of Cooking and the other is from Blue Ribbon Breads. The white bread was the softest dough and made a wonderfully soft bread that will be good for sandwiches.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Gardening

Yesterday was another very hot and humid one. I was outside by 6:30 AM and worked until about 10:00. I could have gone another hour but DH came in from the field (he was brushhogging) then so I thought that would be a good time to stop.

We spent another hour just resting on the Dining Room Porch. This porch is on the east side of the house and is actually used as the front door by everyone but family and friends who always come the to the pack porch door and into the kitchen. Rarely do we get beyond the kitchen if it is just a short visit.

While sitting there yesterday, I thought how lucky we were to live where we do.
Even though it is pretty close to the road, we don't get much traffic during the day. I think one tractor went by the hour we were sitting there.

DH always goes in and makes coffee for us (and brings it to me too)to enjoy while resting. I had to wash up first. I had been using the new trimmer (I love it!) and had bits of weeds stuck to my arms and face.

The camera was on the table so I took some shots of our peaceful view.
I am on the porch swing taking the pictures.

This is looking southeasterly (note the road)


and looking straight out which is east to the east yard and the cellar area.


This makes me aware that I have nothing blooming over there now. I need to do some shifting around of plants.

and this is DH's end where he sits in the shade of the honeysuckle vine.



I think another week of morning work and I will be where I should be in the gardening process. I lost a full month because of various things.

Yesterday I planted the peppers. BTW, Ilene, my peppers germinated after soaking (a great idea, thank you.) and are in a semi shady area on the patio. I will let them get some size before moving to the garden.

I also stuck more tomato plants along the fence and have 6 more to do today.
I did my last working of the corn patch, hilled them up and thinned them. I also planted some NT Half Runner beans down the outside row of the corn. I hope these beans don't get as tall of others because this is sweet corn and it won't be as strong as the field corn I did last year.

I haven't planted all the pole beans yet or any melons. I hope to till the west end of the Kitchen Garden today and get that done.

It is hard to believe, but I am going to water the corn patch today! These rocky Missouri soils dry out quickly in windy 90° days. I leave my hose stretched out along the garden fence so all I have to do is move the sprinkler head where I want it. It hooked up the the hydrant right outside the west end of the garden.

I also planted some dill and cilantro. I know it's late for them. I did the cilantro between the lettuce rows under the shade cloth so maybe it will make anyway.

I am trying Larry's Weed Free Vegetable Garden trick of using a board to cover the seeds until they germinate.

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