SovBo

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    Sunday
    Oct232011

    Final Harvest 2011

    We had our first freeze this past week.  I went out to the garden to see what was left to pick.  There were jalepenos, bell peppers, and some green tomatoes.

     

     

    A lot of the peppers are small, so I will dice them up and put in freezer bags for this winter.  Then I can get them out as needed for omelettes, soups, and stews.  I am going to try and ripen some of the tomatoes and the rest will be turned into fried green tomatoes.

    To ripen the tomatoes, I will wrap each one in newspaper and put in a box in the closet.  I have had mediocre success with doing this.  Some years it works and some years it doesn't.  Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    If you are going to chop a lot of jalepenos, I'd suggest wearing some disposable gloves.  The oils of the jalepenos can soak into your fingers and will stay with you even after washing your hands several times.  Don't rub your eyes!

    I have a mini Cuisinart that I never use.  Well, I remember using it once, years ago.  It was a gift.  It just sits around collecting dust.  For the most part, I don't use a lot of kitchen gadgets.  I may try processing the peppers with it and see what I end up with.  I'm sure it would be faster, but will it be as good as hand diced?  We'll see.

     

    Sunday
    Aug072011

    The Death of "Big Red"

    When I moved from an apartment building to my new home 13 years ago an elderly gentleman gave me a check for $100 as a house warming gift.  He said he had appreciated the nice things I had done for him during the time we were neighbors.  I spent the money on planting several fruit trees in my back yard.

    I do my best to maintain an organic garden and that also applies to my fruit trees.  Since growing fruit trees was completely new to me I'm sure my care of them could have been better.  I learn as I go.  Six years ago my purple plum tree died of some sort of disease.  Two years later my red plum tree died (probably of the same disease).  Not to be wasteful, those trees provided lots of wood for the smoker.  Plum wood is a mild smoking wood and made lots of tastey briskets, ribs, and pulled pork.

    Now "Big Red" has gone the way of the plum trees and will be providing the barrel smoker many loads of wood next year.  A strong thunderstorm blew through 3 nights ago at about 4 am.  It was strong enough to wake me up.  The trees were really blowing around.  In the morning I went out back and saw that "Big Red" didn't make it.

     

    On closer inspection it was just as well that the storm took it out.  It was dieing from the inside out.

    I hadn't paid much attention to the trees this year as only my Kiefer pear tree has any fruit because of the bad weather.  This had been my best producing tree.  Usually loads of Red Delicious apples.  I gave away lots every year.  I mostly gave them to a woman at work that made them into applesauce.  In exchange for the apples she would give me a dozen quarts of applesauce.  The apples were so sweet that she never had to add any sugar, which is good for me since I have type 2 diabetes and try to watch what I eat.  Glad I still have several quarts in the pantry.

    So long "Big Red". 

     

    Wednesday
    Mar312010

    Marshmallow Bush

    Ingredients

    1 bag mini-marshmallows

    1 bag regular marshmallows

    1 budding Lilac bush branch

    Utensils

    Sharp knife or pruning shears

    Skill level

    Easy (if you've ever played the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus)

    Advanced (if you're just not very sneaky)

    Directions

    Trim a budding branch from a Lilac bush

    Push it in the ground at the edge of your garden (or even a flower pot)

    Tell anyone that will listen that it looks like a good year for marshmallows

    After the buds start to open, sneak out and push mini-marshmallows onto the branches

    Show off your early crop and even let folks sample a few.  Make sure to comment on the perfect marshmallow growing weather

    When you are ready, replace the mini's with regular marshmallows

    Harvest them with some little folks and enjoy!

    Tuesday
    Mar302010

    Carrots

    Ingredients

    Carrot seeds

    Utensils

    Shovel

    Rake

    Skill level

    Easy

    Directions

    Loosen dirt to at least 12"

    Smooth dirt with rake

    Make shallow rows in dirt with rake handle

    Sparsely sprinkle seeds into rows

    Lightly rake dirt to cover seeds

    Water rows and keep damp until seeds sprout

    After plants are 4" high thin to a few inches apart

    As with all gardening...wait, then wait some more.  Enjoy your carrots! 

    Thursday
    Mar252010

    Onions

    Ingredients

    Onion sets (small dried onion bulbs)

    Utensils

    Shovel

    Skill Level

    Easy

    Directions

    Loosen dirt to at least 12".

    Push individul onion sets 3" into dirt.  Space 6" apart.

    Cover with dirt.

    Wait.  Wait some more.  Wait even more.  Pull onions when green tops are over 12" tall for small onions.  Pull (or dig) onions when tops are dead or dying for big onions.

    Note:  Do not wash off the onions until you are ready to use them...they will store for a longer period of time.