Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Peach Tree Saga

Up very early but probably still won't go outside.  The excessive humidity isn't helping the bronchitis!

The saga of the peach tree (outside the kitchen)

This tree is a seedling.  I think maybe Red Haven.  I have kept it halfway pruned and sprayed irregularly for a couple of year.
It is hardy since it escaped the frosts this year and set a heavy crop for such a young tree.

Once the fruit began turning color, the resident groundhog has been feasting regularly.  This morning I discovered he had guests:

I even found some fresh pits on the porch steps!.

Some of our heavy winds combined with the weight of the fruit caused a couple of major limbs to break.  I left them attached hoping the remaining bark would allow ripening.  Each day I would check but they were still too hard.  Of course each day meant I lost another feast of fruit.

Yesterday was the last straw!  I drug out the drop  cord, the electric saw and my new ladder.  I picked all the peaches from the broken limbs but left a few on the east side to see if they would ever soften.


after trimming,

This side of the tree shows the broken area better.

This is the complete harvest from yesterday.  I was happy to see some size and lots of blemish free peaches.

So, the peach tree lives for another year.........

Random Picture:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Few Days on the Farm

 Note:  I took this from my daily journal so some things are repeated but I didn't go back to try to place them.

July 15 2016

Didn't feel as well today; coughing more. Maybe meds are loosening things up ? This is in reference to the recently diagnosed acute bronchitis.  My nurse Sis doesn't agree; she says just allergies.

Stayed in all day. Waiting for well (went out last night around 4pm); and oven man.
Need new pressure tank and all is well. (This is taken from my very brief daily journal)  Thursday evening around 5 pm we had no water.  Call to well man and he will be out in the morning...our old serviceman would have come out that evening since  it was 95°.  Those days are long gone.

Made two loaves of modified Annie's bread. Max thinks it is the best; added l cup white whole wheat flour and ½ cup steel cut oats to it.
Oven preheated quickly and worked well.

Saturday 7/16/16

Didn't sleep well after 1:30 am until I took a cough pill (codeine based) then slept and quit coughing until 5:30. Just the third one I have taken.

Toast for breakfast.

Outside to work but grass is sopping wet. Managed to spray 2 gallon of herbicide here and there. Will have to wait until things dry.

Japanese Beetles  on beans on fence. Spray later today.(didn't get to it).

Peaches are not ripening like they should. May just take down the entire tree. Getting very tired of the issues.

Got soaked to my knees so changed clothes.

Harvest: 4 eggplants, l cuc. Pulled lots of weeds in sweet potatoes and around fenced tomatoes and strawberry row.

July 16, Saturday

Early errands but still too hot at 9 AM when we got back to do anything. Will hit it tomorrow

I did manage to polish my kitchen counter tops.


My stove oven is finally repaired. That same afternoon I made two loaves of our very favorite
Annie's Honey and Wheat bread. I don't do half and half but just add a cup or two of white whole wheat and ½ to l cup of steel cut oats. I also do the double rise. Rise once, punch down. Let rise again, punch down form into loaves and let rise the third time and bake. I am happy to report the oven no longer takes an hour to preheat.

Also a good report on the new Breville larger countertop oven. I have baked a 12 inch pizza in it and it came out perfectly browned on the bottom and not burned on the edges. I am going to make Philly Steak Cheese calzones with the leftover pizza dough today.

They turned out great; very tasty.  Not too pretty but I had to stretch the dough......

I got a little carried away and made a chocolate sheet cake in the oven yesterday.....some call it Mississippi mud and some call it Secret cake. It is like eating a candy bar. Delicious but not a good thing.
I kept some out for one day and the rest is in the freezer for drop by guests.

Secret Cake (from Symphony of Cooking fifth movement – Springfield Symphony Association

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
½ tsp salt

Sift first three ingredients together.

Bring the next 4 ingredients to a boil

l stick butter
½ cup crisco
1 cup water
3 – ½ Tablespoons cocoa

pour over dry ingredients and blend well.

Add last 4 ingredients

2 unbeaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup buttermilk

Mix well; batter will be very thin. Pour into greased 11x16 sheet cake pan. Bake 400° for 20 minutes.


1 stick butter
3 – ½ tablespoons cocoa
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup nuts
1 cup flaked coconut
box of confectioners sugar

Boil first three ingredients until slightly thickened. Remove from heat add rest of ingredients
. Leave cake in pan. Frost while hot. Freezes well.

Yield 20 large pieces or 5 dozen brownie size.

Note: I have also iced half of the cake with the frosting before adding nuts and coconut for the grand kids.

Also made some peach jam and mincemeat turnovers in the Breville and was happy with them.

I think(hope) I have the baking out of my system for a while!

Sunday, July 17

I decided after yesterday that I needed to go out just as the sun was coming up to work. I see Ilene does the same. I was out by 6:30 AM and worked until 9:30 which is a long time for me.

First thing was trimming the corners of the driveway around the wagon wheels. I need to do the entire ditch roadside but that will be another day.

The beetles were back by the thousands. I spot sprayed with Seven and then realized I needed to mix up l0 gallons in the big battery operated sprayer. I think I covered everything in the yard.

Also something is already stripping down ears of corn checking for prime sweetness.
So far I have harvested 4 of the new variety of eggplant and love it! Max isn't so enthusiastic but he will eat a small portion. I got one very small cucumber and two yellow squash.

This is the new eggplant from Baker Creek,   Listada de Gandia,

I can get a few beans after the spray is safe. Borers got my one zucchini plant. Isn't that the way.
I planted the cucumbers way too thick and didn't thin thinking the borers would get them;
They are untouched and running rampant over everything. I have already cut them back some.
Same with the hill of yellow squash....

I see I have a few Sungold tomatoes to harvest. I tested one and was very disappointed. What happened to the sweetness?

Looked out the back door a few minutes ago and saw the groundhog running away from the peach tree in front of the kitchen to his hole under the gas tank.  I have begun seeing half eaten peaches on the ground.  I think I will harvest them all tomorrow ready or not just to keep that blankety blank varmint  from getting them......then down comes the tree!

Just had a calzone for lunch and we both  liked it.  Max says he will eat one for breakfast tomorrow.

Random Picture

This is the first time I have seen butterflies on the humming bird feeder.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Taking a Break

I am going  to take a break from blogging.   Lots of reasons.  I will still be keeping a journal for my use but just won't be publishing for a while.

Thank you all for reading.  I will still be checking your blogs.

Love you all.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Fourth!

This is a good day to remember how blessed we are to live in this great country.  I know we get disillusioned with politics and all that goes with it but when you consider the alternatives, we have it pretty darned good here in the USA!

Catch up time again.

We have been getting some nice little rains along.  We did manage to get 20 acres of hay baled (dry) before the almost daily showers started again.  The hay crew is just waiting for another dry spell and it looks like Tuesday - Thursday this week may be it.  Finger crossing time again.

The rains have also kept  me from doing much outside work.  I have set a goal of at least one hour outside daily and haven't even been able to manage that.

The groundhog once again got all the peaches from the tree in the garden area....has  missed the tree outside the kitchen so far.  We are having zero luck trapping him.

I am afraid to even look closely at the garden.....I know I have a few tomato plants that should have been staked.  When the leaves dry I am going to try to enclose them in some cages I have left from a few years ago.

The Japanese beetles have been as bad as I can recall.  I am spraying with Sevin (and then it rains) and that seems to drop them.  I tried using the orchard spray and now I see why the peaches are faulty.   The next morning after spraying they were still eating away merrily.  I am going back to my old method of mixing my own sprays.  I suspect the government has intervened with the large companies and forced them to reduce the strength of current sprays on the market.  They have still done considerable damage. Not much escapes their taste.


I have not been doing much inspired cooking these days....or anything else

My 6-year old very large oven went  kaput about a week ago.  They had to order a part.  Max suggested we could just eat 'store' bread for a while.  After depleting all the frozen rolls and breads out of the freezer we  bought a loaf.  He decided he  could live  with it;  I  could not.

I have been using a very small countertop  oven for biscuits and small things for a long time.  Of  course, it is too  small for  loaves of bread.  Finally I decided  to risk a small batch of dough for dinner rolls.  I made 5 very large buns and 4 caramel rolls.  I had to bake in three  shifts but it worked great.  We can use half a  roll for a slice  of bread  (and the caramel rolls are gone!)  have also ordered a larger oven to replace my small one.  I will use it for  most baking  chores.  I think it is more economical and also keeps the kitchen much cooler than using the large gas oven on my range. There is no telling  when the part will come in and it will get fixed.

The serviceman did tell us that we can take the oven door apart and  clean the glass.  Very early on it  leaked and has several streaks between the glass panels that look horrible.  I am  going to give it a whirl soon.  If  I can  find the screw head that fits the weird holes on the screws.

This is my 16x12x9  current oven that is still working.
 And these are the breads that I baked in it.

I haven't taken any recent pictures outside.  The rains have knocked some things over.  Scratch that comment.  I just went outside with my boots on a took a few.

The first thing I saw was  this:

I found this pink sport on my giant blue Shoal Creek Vitex this morning

I will save other pictures for a later post.

Again, Happy Fourth!