Saturday, July 26, 2014

It is still very hot and very dry here.  I see we are now considered in a mild drought on the maps.

I haven't been doing much outside.  I have had two episodes of muscle spasms in my lower back.  I thought it was using the trimmer, but the second time was after mowing about 30 minutes. 

I am hoping this will be like the polymyalgia rheumatica I had a few years ago and it, too, will disappear and stay gone!

DH will be using the mower for a few days....I know he is thrilled.  He always mows the orchard and part of the he will be doing it all.

I am still dragging the hose to  various places.  Today will be the fruit trees.  I need to pick green beans from the hoophouse.  We have had one tiny tomato and the little grape-type tomatoes by the patio are ripening.

This is a volunteer from last year.  It is sweet as sugar.

The swamp mallow (hibiscus moscheutos) by the kitchen window is in full bloom.  I think there are three different colors here. 

The Cleanup Crew's Work

The Ash Tree Bed is no more:

This had become a sad jumble of ash, euonymous, and various other saplings.  Sadly, I also let them cut a clematis that was almost completely hidden by the jungle.  I doubt it will come back  from the roots but I will water this spot deeply and see what happens.

I did take a before picture with a caption "want it completely gone"; now it is.

Random Animal

not an animal, but couldn't resist snapping a picture of it.  I kept thinking of the song 'there's a little green frog'

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I Did It!

Awake at my usual 3:30 AM time to a lovely cool morning.

Opened some windows to air the house and  listen to early morning sounds.  The cat and I thought maybe we heard coyotes off in the distance but are not sure.  Birds are singing in the dark.

Farm news is they are moving the round bales off the fields.  DH still has some fields to brush hog, especially the ones west of the house.  We usually take hay from them but didn't this year.

We are still very dry here.

Garden news is I am  starting  my watering round again; this time on the eastern (sweet corn) side.  First I need to trim  some weeds along the fence.

It will take me a few  days to get everything watered.

Cooking (I Did It)

We bought some very spicy and delicious Jalapeno pepper relish at our local winery a couple of weeks ago.
I thought I could replicate it and I did.  It has very few ingredients.

The test was our GD.  She absolutely loved the winery relish and turned thumbs down on some sweet pickled J. peppers I bought.  I made a snack plate of crackers, cream cheese and relish with mine on one side and theirs on the other.  She ate them and said all were delicious!  She picked mine as theirs....then said it was hotter though.  Great success.

It is really too hot and the next time I would  remove the seeds and membrane from half the peppers.

If any of you are daring to give this a try, here is a guideline.  Use your own taste buds to get it just right.

I got the amounts to begin with from a site called Little House Living.

What You Need:
  • 24 large jalapenos
  • 3 medium onions
  • 3 cups vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1  cup  sugar. (maybe less use taste test if you can stand the heat!)
    about a tablespoon of mustard seed and a tad of yellow mustard
     for color.
    Cornstarch to  thickens
  • disposable rubber gloves

    Wear gloves!!  Remove stem ends, slice peppers (I also chopped a few),  Chop onions.  Put all into large pot and cook down until quite reduced.  At the last minute I added enough corn starch to make it mound onto a spoon.

    It made two small jars.  I couldn't can mine because I have misplaced my canning lids! These will be kept in the refrigerator.  Otherwise follow canning directions for water bath method for relishes.

    Note:  I got enough peppers from one plant which is good because I accidentally gave my neighbor the rest of the J. pepper plants.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Another Day in the Life......

We are still in our cooler spell.  I was a little chilly during my walkabout this morning.

Our work crew just did 4 hours  yesterday and won't be back until Monday when they will paint the garage roof.  They got a lot accomplished in 4 hours.

This all that remains of the monster Elm tree downed by a tornado several years ago.  It was still alive when they began. 

I thinks he has gone as far as he can with it.  I hope it will  die now!

This is what I see from the garden now....used to be almost a solid wall of sapling trees 8 feet tall, brambles, poke weed, and various other weeds.

This is taken from another angle to show the huge amount of clean ground I now have.  I am standing on the west end looking northeast.

I think I will make this the new berry patch so I can keep a closer eye one it than way out back in the orchard proper.  Speaking of berries, I knew I would wait until cooler weather to plant my new 6 little potted Kiowa blackberries so I re-potted them in gallon size pots and have them in afternoon shade until I am ready.

I spent the morning cleaning the garden fence  row and picking my first small harvest besides the green beans from a few days ago.

A few Jalapeno, bell and cheese peppers, onion, volunteer cucumbars and one eggplant. I think there was a handful of green beans.  This new kind will never be planted again.  I am sticking  to Trail of Tears and Fortex.

I am pretty sure the eggplant was  Rosa Bianca and true to the description, no bitterness and was delicious.
Even  my non-veggie eating GD liked it! I just sliced it  tossed  it with salt and when the griddle was hot, rinsed it off, coated the griddle with oil and fried it until tender.  We tossed  parmesan cheese on top to eat.
Unfortunately the  big one came alone and the others are just blooms now. 

I want to try sauteing, yellow squash, onion and a variety of peppers for lunch.  Still no tomatoes but I hear a local neighbor has sweet corn and we may have  to buy some.  My corn is just now filling out.

Late in the afternoon, I made an angel food cake.  I had a surplus of eggs and still have two dozen ahead.
From cooking

The GD and friends went frog gigging last night and only got three.  I have warned  them I will not cook frog legs!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Clean-up Continues

Another wonderfully cool morning.  We set a record low yesterday at 53°!  We are loving it.

The only exciting happenings here are hay is being baled,  only 30 acres left with no rain on it thus far, and

the yard crew is still doing  a fantastic job.  I am almost delirious over it... silly I know but this has been driving me crazy as you all can probably tell.

First I will show some pictures of yesterday's work.  I see he just drove up minus the grandson.  That will slow him down some.

This area behind the garden proper was a  complete jungle since the previous crew had left piled up brush so I couldn't mow  around it.  I had them clear everything including the gone wild berry patch.  He was clever enough to leave a two-year old peach seedling from  my Red Haven peach and a few good sized clumps of blackberries.  He use to work for a landscape person and it shows!

See it now!  I wish I had taken a before picture but I was so shamed by it that I didn't!

This is the giant drainage  ditch we  used when we  were milking, it was completely covered with brush and saplings.

I can now mow it all with the riding mower set on high.

Still not finished with the back garden project,  but I will keep you updated.

I did my morning tour.  The grass was incredibly wet, but I wore my Muck boots.

Random Pictures

There have  been some butterflies here, hallelujah!

This is my next job:  Weeding and re-mulching this fence border.
I am also fighting an onslaught of Japanese Beetles.  I picked a coffee cup full and gave to the delighted chickens yesterday evening.

Today will be mostly spent on errands, my least favorite thing to do.

I did make bread yesterday which always makes me happy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Cool Tuesday Morning in July

Our cool front has arrived and it is delightful!  Of course that means a lot of dew so I won't be working outside until much later in the day.

I did my early morning walkabout and snapped some pictures that caught my eye.

First, the shrub border that isn't! 

This was a clean-sweep by the yard crew of two.  I did leave a couple of young lilacs and the Golden Vicaryi (hidden behind the weigela at the corner of the drive.

They are taking today off but will be here tomorrow morning to paint the garage roof.  I am also having them remove , including the blackberry patch, the jungle growing behind the garage. 

The retired gentleman likes to work about 20 hours a week and his grandson is available now and then.  I can't keep him busy that much but it will be great to have someone I can call for various things.


We now have 10 acres baled and about 25 cut.  I think they are raking now but I haven't been out to check.  DH is going back shortly to see where they are.

We are very dry again but, selfishly, are hoping for dry until our hay is finished.

Random Pictures from morning walk

I almost missed seeing this one.  It is ready to harvest.

I am surprised by the phlox doing so well as hot and dry as it has been.  I think I have watered this bed a couple of times.

I thought my Tiger Lilies had died out but I have two clumps.  This is across the drive from the phlox bed.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Summer Thus Far...............

As you may know our 19-year old granddaughter is spending summer this us.  We have been waiting all summer to get our hay cut.   We have killed 5 or 6 weeks waiting for a paint contractor to show up to paint the shop roof and some trim..............(the story there was another local man was going to do the painting then his alcoholic painter quit.  he suggested we try to find someone else but assured us he would be back  to do some various other work.

In the meantime I have been trying to keep the yard and garden going while both trimmers were in the shop.

I couldn't seem to find the time to blog and truthfully wasn't in the mood most days!!!!  I won't elaborate but it has been a very long summer.

To  catch up somewhat:  The new paint contractor failed to show and then when I chased them down decided they were just too busy....the old crew showed up and we threw ourselves on their mercy about going ahead with the paint job plus the other jobs.  Much to our delight the older of the crew (FIL) and his 15-year old grandson have been here part of 3 days and have done a fantastic job of everything so far.l  I wish I had taken before pictures of the growth around the shop but I didn't.  Suffice it to say there were sapling trees and poke 10 feet tall and Bermuda grass up to my waist.

Here is what they did:

The middle picture used to be a pile of brush left there from over a month ago by this same crew (the younger man did the cutting while the FIL painted the milk parlor)

They will be back Monday.  We are very pleased and I hope to keep them busy until I have everything shipshape.  Maybe then with the assistance of herbicides I can cope.

The garden is coming along nicely.  No tomatoes yet but cheese peppers, jalapenos, onions, garlic and cucumbers and squash.  I have harvested a lot of the onions and all of the garlic.  The onions were very disappointing in size.  They were the smallest plants Dixondale has ever sent and the season was not normal, wetter and cooler in the beginning then hot and zero moisture for a very  long time.  Corn has lots of ears but I am a long way from harvest. 

I have been baking more than usual.  I did two new recipes there were a big success.  One was a new sour cream coffee cake and the other was a soft sugar cookie with icing.  In fact, I am going to make it again this weekend.   Max even said he liked it better  than peanut butter cookies.  I almost fainted!

Here is the corn patch:

Well, I see blogger and Picasa have re-invented themselves since I last posted and the computer is  in a snit! so now I am.

Until next time, have a super weekend!