Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pumpkin Patch, October 2016

I wish I could report first hand on how the pumpkin patch trip went this year, but I didn't go .... I'm still not well enough to walk around that long, especially in the heat.  (You KNOW how bad I still feel if I would stay home from this event that I look forward to every year -- especially since it was Max's first time!!!!) But I know that I would have held every one up, and made myself just that much sicker.  So I stayed home and John took some pictures for me.

This was my favorite!! Max is really such a happy boy. He smiles all the time!
I love this one, too!  Ashley and her boy.
Taylor and KT, painting pumpkins.
Mighty Max!
Ashley and Max

Here's a few pictures that Colleen took today, too.  

Afterwards they came back home and we had a nice lunch, and the kids ran all over the place.  We had some tasty sliders, then an apple dip bar for dessert.  Delicious!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Turk and Gray

The turkeys are really enjoying these cool mornings, too.  They are ready and waiting for me to come out every morning, right at the gate of their pen, and they will beat me to the big gate so they can go out and run with the chickens during the day.  They flap their wings and run around in a circle for a few minutes -- its quite the sight!
 Gray has turned into quite a handsome guy! He's a show off, too!
Turk and Gray, waiting to be let in with the chickens.

Fall Garden Update - October 12, 2016

While we were gone on vacation, and since we've been back and I've been sick (pneumonia - I don't recommend it!), the garden continues to grow all by itself, along with many, many weeds.  I haven't had the energy to do much more then walk out there and stare at it.  Oh well, the strong will survive!

 The carrots are all growing well. 
 The Georgia Collards look good!
 Of course, the Choys are all looking good, but so many weeds! I may try to do something about these next week - surely I'll be able to do more then.
 I was surprised by the peas.  These are very short, only about a foot tall, but already covered with little pea pods.  I guess we put up a fence for no reason.
 I found a little volunteer tomato plant! Maybe I'll dig it up and put it in the greenhouse.
Yesterday I potted up a couple of tomato plants for the greenhouse. John picked me up a couple of tomato plants at the local hardware store the other day while I was sick.

I told him to get me a couple of full sized tomato plants (no cherry tomatoes) before they were all gone, and he came home with these two. Two of the same type, Surefire.  Can you believe that? I wasn't happy.  I mean, who goes to the store for two tomato plants and buys two of the same type. It's like he doesn't know me at all.  Surely he knows I like to try different types --- all I can say  is, MEN! Sigh...
 I'm trying a new skill this fall - propagation by stem cuttings.  The first one I'm trying is this Brown Turkey fig.  These will be in the greenhouse all winter, and we'll see if they root.  I dipped them in a root hormone first, so hopefully that will help them along.
Today I started these Chester blackberry canes - cut from our own bush.  These will go in the greenhouse, too.  I have some Aztec blackberry canes to start, and I ordered some black raspberry canes that should arrive in a few days.  I'm kind of excited to see if I can make these work!

Tomorrow I'm starting the potted greens for the winter.  It's so good to get my hands back in the dirt again!
The morning glory pole is loving these cool fall mornings!
Sydney examining something on our morning walk out to let the turkeys and chickens out.
Still bringing in lots of jalapenos.
The potted garden is still providing some chard, basil and kale.  Yum...salad makings!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fall Garden Update - October 6, 2016

Just a note to blog about the totals for the Spring/Summer Garden 2016.  We had some stupendous successes, and some total failures, as usual, but the total of over 262 pounds of vegetables makes me smile! 

Vegetable Name Pounds    Ounces
Beans, Green Pension 8 7
Beans, Green Rockport 5 8
Beans, Green Carson (yellow) 5 0
Beans, Green Calima (2) 8 13
Beans, Green Purple Pod 4 4
Beets Golden (2) 1 11
Bok Choy Bok Choy 1 6
Broccoli Green Goliath 0 2
Cabbage Early Golden Acres 6 0
Carrots (Various) 3 13
Cucumber Holland White 16 12
Cucumber Dragon's Egg White 1 12
Cucumber Holland White 14 12
Cucumber Dragon's Egg White 9 12
Kale Vates 0 0
Kale Redbour 0 1
Lettuce Buttercrunch 1 10
Lettuce Jericho 0 6
Lettuce Sierra 1 3
Lettuce Parris Island Cos 0 8
Lettuce Red Romaine 0 4
Melon Golden Crispy 2 8
Onion Red 0 4
Onion White 0 3
Onion Yellow 1 4
Okra Silver Queen 4 8
Okra Jing Orange 0 0
Okra Gold Coast 3 8
Peas Oregon Sugar Pod 1 7
Pepper Gypsy Hybrid 3 4
Pepper Gold 0 1
Pepper Jalapeno 25 4
Pepper Candy Apple Red 1 8
Pepper Grocery Store Red 0 9
Potatoes German Butterball 3 13
Potatoes Blue 1 9
Radish Easter Egg 0 0
Spinach American 0 0
Spinach New Zealand 0 7
Squash, Summer Gentry (Yellow Crookneck) 1 11
Squash, Summer Alexandria (Pale Zucchini) 16 11
Squash, Summer Table Dainty 6 8
Squash, Summer Fordhook Zucchini 3 8
Squash, Summer Tomboncino 0 5
Squash, Winter Japanese Pie 14 1
Swiss Chard Fordhook 0 9
Swiss Chard 5 Color 0 0
Swiss Chard Hot Pink 0 2
Tomatillo Green Husk (Volunteers) 0 10
Tomato Lemon Boy 1 5
Tomato Marion 3 1
Tomato Florida F1 4 15
Tomato Ten Fingers of of Naples 11 11
Tomato Rapunzel Hybrid 14 8
Tomato Sleeping Lady 5 4
Tomato Cherry Mix 1 4
  Total Spring/Summer 16 262 6
As far as the foods that were processed, the totals are:

Canned Food Tally
Dill Pickles 14 jars    
Pickle Relish 13 jars    
Dilly Beans 2 jars    
Bread and butter pickles 8 jars    
Pickled Beets 1 jar    
Jalapeno Rings 23 jars    
Jalapeno, Whole 4 jars    
Elderberry Jelly 19 jars    
Salsa 18 jars    
Cowboy Candy 9 jars    

Frozen Food Tally
Zucchini 11 pkg    
Beans 39 pkg    
Snow Peas 4 pkg    
Cabbage 11 pkg    
Carrots (mixed) 7 pkg    
Fried Okra 9 pkg    
Sweet Peppers 2 pkg    

The fruit.  We had a very bad peach crop (I think because we had such a mild winter last year, the trees didn't get the number of cold hours that they need), and a very big elderberry crop. Some of the fruit never made it to the scale, especially the blackberries which were eaten right off the bush!  I'm looking forward to see how 2017 does since we've added a few more fruit trees this past year.

Fruit Tree Outcomes, Spring/Summer 2016
Name Type Pounds      #          Ounces
Rio Grande Peach 0 4
Redskin Peach 0 2
Sam Houston Peach 0 0
Loring Peach 0 0
Methany Plum 0 0
Chester Blackberry 0 9
Brazos Blackberry 0 0
Pink Lady Apple 0 0
Gala Apple 0 0
Orient Pear 0 0
Warren Pear 0 0
Dwarf Everbearing (2) Mulberry 0 0
Victoria (3) Rhubarb 0 0
Everbearing Eversweet (6) Strawberries 0 11
Yale (2) Adams (2) Elderberries 16 0
Nanking (3) Cherries      
Huckleberry Garden 5 9
Total Fruit 23 5

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wine Season -- Elderberry Wine - Mis-Step

I just poured out five gallons of elderberry wine. I'm in mourning.
Let's not talk about it for a while.....I might cry.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Biloxi, Mississippi to Lake Charles, Louisiana Trip, 2016 -- Day Four

Salt rock
Today we checked out of the casino and moved ourselves to Louisiana.  First stop - Avery Island near New Iberia to see the place where Tabasco hot sauce is made! We saw an episode on TV recently about this place and decided if we ever got the chance we would stop. This place started on a salt dome that was processing salt before the civil war and providing it to the confederacy. The facility was destroyed by the Union army.

The company is privately held by the McIlhenny family since 1868, which is saying something in this day and time. Family still operates it.

The first building is a mini museum showing how the company has grown throughout the years, including some information about the family. 

They have a very nice tour of an example greenhouse.  They don't grow all of their peppers any more, but do rely on a network of small farmers that grow for them, but this showed how the plants are started. They use tabasco, habanero, and jalapenos now in their various sauces.  Then we got to see the mash warehouse where the peppers are ground into a mash which is aged (for three years) in barrels,
The barrels have a layer of salt on the top
then we got to walk through the mixing facility (where they add the vinegar, salt, etc.) and mix it, then the bottling warehouse.  They were making and labeling bottles for Japan today. The end of the line was where they package them up. 

Interesting to think how many bottles each of these barrels will fill...hmmm...55 gallons/6 oz bottles = ????

The mixing vats
The bottling, labeling, and packaging warehouse

We had lunch in their restaurant -- more Cajun food, of course.  

All in all, a very nice visit.  I have to hand it to this place, they keep it as tidy as can be - even the grass is cut in perfect lines! ha! Of course, John noticed that.  I have a deeper appreciation for how much goes into making something as simple as a condiment that we put on our food all the time. It was very interesting.
They have another whole park there for the families - the Jungle Gardens, but we didn't have time for all of that today.  We were off to Lake Charles for the night.
Steamboat Bill's butterfly shrimp meal
After arriving and resting a bit, we headed over to John's favorite place, Steamboat Bills, for dinner.  My VERY LAST Cajun meal for a while - I think I'm about up to here with Cajun food! ha! But John had his bowl of gumbo and was a happy camper.

Tomorrow we're headed home!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Biloxi, Mississippi Trip, 2016 -- Day Three

Excitement!! Today I got to do something I've never done before! We're going for a ride on an air-boat!
The day started with a nice, light breakfast at the Hard Rock Grill. Ugh...I've had too much food in the last couple of days. We both needed something light.

After breakfast we were off to find Moss Point, Mississippi, which was pretty easy since all these little towns just run into each other along Hwy. 90.  It took about 30 minutes to get to the Gulf Coast Gator Ranch and Tours. 
 If you want to see alligators, this is the place to go.  They have 105 acres here, and there are a bunch of grown alligators living right up near their building.  Some really big ones, too!
 They have about 5 different cages with babies in different stages of growth. They try to save them when they hatch because the older gators will eat the babies, so they move them along in these cages until they are old enough to fend for themselves.
There's a protected walkway through part of the swamp to the boat ramp, with plenty of gators on each side.  You can feed them along the way, and John did. 

 Some of the teenage gators getting ready to be released to their swamp soon.
Then we boarded the airboat! The ride was a little over 30 minutes, and we had a ball. Some fast speeding through the swamp and some slow trolling to feed gators. They give the gators marshmallows (can that be good for them?) to get them to come out - they seemed to love them!

That was so much fun! After our tour, we got in the car and took a ride along Highway 90 back up toward Pass Christian, just leisurely taking in the sites. Then we stopped for lunch at Pelican's Wharf. Good seafood again!
 Back at the hotel, we walked along the pool area by the bay to enjoy the sunset.  Just gorgeous!  There's a pelican on the top of each of those dock posts, but it's hard to see here.  The dock is roped off because it's in really bad shape.  I guess they don't use it anymore, but the birds sure do.

 Then we walked out front so I could get a picture of the big, neon Hard Rock sign!
 We had supper at the Hard Rock Cafe, but I forgot to take pictures.  Instagram fail!  Tomorrow we're off to Louisiana!